Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What Do They Call a Big Mac in Japan, or Thoughts on Battle Royale バトル・ロワイアル

If you find yourself weary of watching teens fall in love in the midst of killing each other off in dystopian futures, the Japanese movie Battle Royale (2000, バトルロワイアル Batoru Rowaiaru) is to blame.  Based on author Koushon Takami’s 1999 novel of the same name and from director Kinji Fukasaku of Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Battle Royale takes place in an alternate Japan where the most popular TV show is the country’s annual teen murder lottery.  A class is selected, gassed, fitted with exploding GPS collars, dropped off on an island, and ordered to fight to the death.  The students are also given a variety of weapons ranging from crossbows to frying pans.
The movie has slasher violence mixed with martial arts action and (these are teens, remember) a number of romantic sub-plots that end up in suicide or murder.  Unlike a Western slasher featuring a supernatural entity like Freddy Kreuger or unstoppable killers like Michael Meyers or Jason and his hockey mask killing teens, in true Japanese efficiency Battle Royale eliminates the middleman and just has them kill each other.
Battle Royale appeals to adults because, let’s face it, grownups hate teens, and to younger audiences because it is essentially a live action video game.  There are tasks, problems to solve, goals to achieve; the entire movie is structured like a game down to the televised death notice/score cards.  And when hasn’t high school been a life or death situation in terms of drama or young romance?  All this movie did was take it literally.

Battle Royale’s influence on western cinema is vast, from a movie poster in Shaun’s flat from Shaun of the Dead (2004) to Chiaki Kuriyama reinterpreting her role from Battle Royale as GoGo Yubari in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003).  And most significantly, there are those three movies about that girl with the bow and arrow who was always hungry.  I suppose all of these movies can be interpreted as a broad metaphor for the draft or national conscription; feeding on the teen paranoia that we all want to get rid of them.  What are we to do with this surplus of young people what with their apps and dubstep and crazy text lingo?  The answer is elegantly simple (at least in Battle Royale):  kill them off.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Monday, January 30, 2017

Buffy the Werewolf Slayer, or I Watched Red: Werewolf Hunter, So You Don’t Have To

There’s only two reasons to watch Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010), a TV movie that plays like a failed pilot, the first is that it stars former Buffy alum and Nerd Dream Girl Felicia Day as a werewolf hunter.  The second is that it stars former Buffy alum and Nerd Dream Girl Felicia Day as a werewolf hunter.  Yes, I repeated that sentence twice, for emphasis.  And science
An updated Red Riding Hood, but I bet you already figured that out, Felicia Day, who you remember as Vi, potential slayer in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001, and one of her first roles) is Virginia, current FBI agent (huh?) and lapsed werewolf hunter from a family of hunters, who along with her FBI partner-fiancé is visiting her grandmother’s  house (Red Riding Hood, remember?) deep in the Canadian wilderness.
The werewolves, led by Canadian actor Stephen McHattie from Pontypool (2008), are a combination of digital makeup and guys in suits.  The transformations are sadly all CGI, and it shows.  Also, the werewolves in this movie inexplicably explode into flames when killed, which seems unnecessary.
I really wanted to like this movie, I have a soft spot for goofy redheads and I suppose I was hoping for something reminiscent of Maria Thayer in Night of TheLiving Deb (2015).  Instead what I got was a confusing, poorly written Supernatural episode where, coincidentally (not really) Felicia Day portrays another hunter, Charlie Bradbury.  Instead the movie is closer to Skinwalkers  (2006), another werewolf movie that suffered from a weak screenplay and wasted casting opportunities.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Don’t Buy Anything from Grand Moff Tarkin, or Thoughts on From Beyond The Grave

Much like Kwaidan (1964), From Beyond The Grave (1974) is an anthology film by Amicus Films featuring Peter Cushing, recently resurrected from the grave in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story https://goo.gl/MvuldW (2016) as the Proprietor of Temptations Limited, an antique shop specializing in cursed items.  Punters come in the store, buy something, and then the movie follows them for a bit.  Each of these customers cheat the Proprietor in one way or another but of course, Peter Cushing has the last laugh.
The first story, “The Gatecrasher” has David Warner buying a haunted mirror that demands blood, you know, like most haunted mirrors.  In An Act of Kindness, a desperate City Worker buys an old war medal after he meets Donald Pleasance. He then embarks on an unwise affair with his daughter Emily, who might be a witch, portrayed by Donald Pleasance’s actual daughter Angela.  The third tale, entitled The Elemental, has Ian Carmichael cheating the Proprietor out of a cursed snuffbox, only to encounter some pesky demonic forces.  And in the final story, The Door, Ian Ogilvy buys (you guessed it) an antique door that leads to another dimension.  Watch out for Lesley-Anne Down from Upstairs Downstairs, The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) and Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) as Ian Ogilvy’s wife Rosemary.
Director Kevin Connor would go on to make Motel Hell (1980).  Amicus Productions, easily confused with Hammer as they produced similar movies in the same decade and switched actors, including British classics like Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965), Tales From the Crypt (1972) and one of my favorite titles, And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973).



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Friday, January 27, 2017

That Time When Jack Sparrow and Marla Singer Ran a Pie Shop, or Thoughts on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Essentially Tim Burton’s Les Mis, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) is technically a horror/grand guignol/penny dreadful musical, but without the modern/retro-cool sensibility of, say The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).  Based on the award winning musical by Broadway Living Legend Stephen Sondheim, Tim Burton’s adaptation stars (like you didn’t know) Johnny Depp as the titular homicidal barber, along with the director's then wife Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, singing in a Cockney accent and serving the worst pies in London.
And it is a lovely, painterly film, easily one of Tim Burton’s most spectacular productions in terms of set design, art direction and costumes.  Similar to Sleepy Hollow (1999), but on a much grander scale, Sweeney Todd has a superficial visual presence that is easy to mistake for substance.  For all its talent and undeniable star power, the movie is humorless, lacking in that signature Tim Burton whimsy and oddly passion-less.  Which is ironic, as everyone in the movie is singing.
No one has noticed that Johnny Depp is playing another barber, though this time he’s deliberately cutting people.  Alan Rickman portrays the decadently perverse Judge Turpin, while fellow Harry Potter alum Timothy Spall is the odious Beadle Bamford, Turpin’s henchman.  There’s also Sacha Baron Cohen as Adolfo Pirelli, a rival barber.  Everyone’s performance is adequate, professional, but there’s no soul to this movie, and it ends up being a paint by numbers production, reminiscent of The Phantom of the Opera (2004), which suffered from the same lack of passion.
Heck, even Madonna’s Evita (1996) fares better in comparison.  Johnny Depp talk/sings in Sweeney Todd, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; Rex Harrison did the same in My Fair Lady (1964) and Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen made brilliant careers out of that style. 

Like the modern western, musicals have struggled to find a contemporary audience.  We still love musicals, they’ve just split off into a separate genre and we now call them music videos.  But then again, Sweeney currently has a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, so clearly, everybody liked it except me.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Everybody Calm Down About Tilda Swinton, or Thoughts on Doctor Strange

Do we really need another origin story?  And what value do they have when Marvel will reboot the franchise every 10 years?  How many times do we need to see Thomas and Martha Wayne get murdered, or in Doctor Strange (2016) Benedict Cumberbatch doing his best Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark impression as the rich douche bag who loses everything only to gain a larger, more selfless perspective and go on to dedicate his life to fighting bad guys and saving the world.  Can’t we just jump into the story like it’s a James Bond movie and assume the viewer will keep up?
With Matrix-y fight scenes in an Inception (2010) world (which was the original title of this post) and fighting with Hellraiser  (1987) fire squares, Doctor Strange is visually stunning.  However, watching these sorcerers reform the world like so many 3-D puzzle pieces may be initially impressive but it’s ultimately impotent, it's a green screen, these actors are staring at nothing.  And yes, I do understand that there are these things called backdrops that have existed ever since theater was invented but those were painted canvases that everyone could see: the audience, the actors, and the camera.  I suppose it was more of a shared experience.   But now as movies and video games start to blend it doesn't seem as relevant to a modern audience.
Which brings us to the actual title of this post. 
Tilda Swinton is perfectly adequate as The Ancient One, and that’s speaking as your friendly Asian-American movie blogger.  She’s ethereal, timeless, androgynous, elven and mysterious, all aspects that one would require as a master of the mystic arts.  She didn’t change her English accent, or squint, or do anything even remotely Asian except for her fighting style and wardrobe.  And nobody’s complaining about Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagall for appropriating Asian martial arts.  One could easily argue that the original depiction of the Ancient One in 1963 is far more stereotypical, he looks like Ming the Merciless. 
She’s no Joel Grey in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985, and the adventure did not begin), or John Wayne as Genghis Kahn or the gold standard of horrible Asian stereotypes, Mickey Rooney's Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, side note: I actually met Mickey Rooney at a book signing, it seemed disrespectful to bring it up that particular performance, he was already 90 and near the end of his life.  And besides, he was married to Ava Gardner).
And what about Chiwetel Ejiofor, who you may remember as The Operative in Serenity (2005) as Karl Mordo, the random black guy in Nepal?  Why isn’t that an issue?  And speaking of Nepal, why is this movie set on the Nepalese side of Everest, rather than the Tibetan side?  Could it have something to do with China not acknowledging Tibet as a sovereign state and Disney needing that precious Chinese distribution?  If you continue to poke and complain at your toys they’ll fall apart and you won’t be able to play with them.  Is that what you want?  I didn’t think so, so just enjoy Doctor Strange for what it is, a grown-up American Harry Potter with Sherlock Holmes (another title for this post).
Watch out for Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius, the enemy sorcerer, he had a great year between this movie and his portrayal of Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Vampire Apocalypse Now, or Thoughts on Daybreakers

Directed by The Spierig Brothers of Undead (2003), Daybreakers (2009) features an alternate world where vampires won, they’ve hunted the humans to near extinction and now breed them for blood in endless futuristic warehouses like the machines in The Matrix (1999).  It’s a well-defined dystopian vampire future with blood lattes and high-tech shutters on houses and cars.
Ethan Hawke, is a vamp scientist researching a blood substitute while Sam Neill is Charles Bromley, CEO of Bromley Marks, the country’s largest blood distributor.  If Bromley sounds a bit like Brom Stoker, that’s probably not a coincidence.   Of course every dystopian future needs a rebellious underground, and this one is no different.  Willem Dafoe is Elvis Cormac, former vamp and current human, who has a cure, of sorts.
The strength of Daybreakers lies in its impressive realization of a sleek modern night world full of stylish retro fashions and chrome furniture.  The chain smoking vamps dress in black suits and fedoras (actual film noir fedoras, not the trilbys you crazy kids insist on calling fedoras.  There’s a difference, learn it), and have amber, glow in the dark eyes.  The vamps also degenerate into Nosferatu-esque bat winged creatures from blood deprivation.  The premise falls apart when the movie shifts into daylight/human rebellion mode; if you didn’t want the audience to sympathize with the vampires, why did you have to create such a cool world for them?
Sam Neill will always be known as Dr. Grant from that dinosaur park movie but he has a history of genre movies including Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), Dead Calm (1989), Event Horizon (1997), and John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (2004).  Ethan Hawke starred in the far superior Gattaca (1997), while Daybreakers is reminiscent of Ultraviolet (2006), a movie with a similar premise but also starring Milla Leeloo Dallas Multipass Jovavich, so automatically sexier and girl fight-ier





my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don’t Be Afraid of the Remakes, or Thoughts on Guillermo del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Based on the 1973 TV movie that writer and producer Guillermo del Toro listed as one of the scariest films of his childhood, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010) is a moody, atmospheric, yet regretfully uneven update starring Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes.  Guy and Katie play Alex and Kim, a young couple who move into Blackwood Manor in Providence, Rhode Island.  The movie is heavy on the Lovecraft references and it’s reminiscent of Lovecraft’s The Rats in the Walls (1924) except these ain’t your typical New England rats, these are creepy little rat-human hybrids that eat teeth.
Along comes Sally, portrayed by child actor Bailee Madison as Alex’s estranged daughter.  Popping Adderalls like they’re Tic Tacs, she quickly finds a secret basement and an old, child-sized furnace.  Much like a modern fairy-tale, the creatures talk to her in whispers through the air vents like they’re her imaginary friends.  And do I have to mention again that they like to eat teeth?
While Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes may be the biggest stars, Bailee Madison’s Sally is the primary focus, and the story told through her perspective.  This isn’t necessarily the most effective strategy for an R-rated horror movie, and Guy Pearce, while a generically handsome actor, doesn’t generate much sympathy or charisma.  The movie suffers from weak casting that never coalesces, though it’s a very pretty film in which you can see the roots of Crimson Peak (2015).
Filmed in Australia, yet set on Rhode Island, creates a subtle geographic tweak, an otherworldly, different America, far older and more sinister.  Peter Jackson used Wellington to the same effect in The Frighteners (1996).  The music was by frequent Del Toro collaborator Marco Beltrami including Mimic (1997) and Hellboy (2004) but also Resident Evil (2002, and one of my favorite soundtracks).






my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gangnam Style of The Dead, or Thoughts on Train to Busan

 Train to Busan (2016, 부산행), an efficient, innovative and clever South Korean zombie outbreak movie from Director Yeong Sang-Ho starts with an intensely impressive reanimation of some road kill.  We’re talking Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)-level CGI graphics for an undead dear (dearly undead?), a quiet start that you know will build over the next 108 minutes of this fast-paced, very effective film.
After this impressive start and a quick montage of the inevitable government cover-up as they try to control and spin the outbreak, the movie slows down to establish some central characters.  Gong Yoo portrays overworked yuppie single dad Seok-Woo while 10-year-old Kim Su-an shines as his daughter Soo-an.  They take the titular train to Busan to see the mother, one infected sneaks aboard, you can guess what happens next.
 We have seen this scenario before, over and over, but to my knowledge this is the first zombie on a train movie.  Werewolves on a train, sure.  And then there’s the confusing and enigmatic dystopian Snowpiercer (2013).  But a train is linear, very well suited to the narrative structure of the film, a controlled environment, and fighting from car to car, left to right in scenes reminiscent of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2003) and The Raid: Redemption (2011) help to create a very organic action horror movie.
These are bitey/twisty zombies, with more of a 28 Days Later-rage virus/bio-horror aspect that also swarm like the infected in World War Z (2013, the book is SO MUCH better).  And speaking of so much better, Train to Busan is head and shoulders above Fear the Walking Dead and the Rick and Daryl (I do miss Shane) misery-palooza. 

There’s a refreshing optimism to this zombie movie that you don’t see in American movies, and a very different sensibility than Hong Kong or J-horror.  Koreans seem so polite and cooperative, at least in this movie, there’s a group mentality to the culture that’s far more suitable to surviving a zombie outbreak.  The movie has an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is easily the best modern zombie movie since 28 Days Later (2002).




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hunger Game Road Warriors, or Thoughts on Death Race 2050

David Carradine abolished the race in the 1975 movie, but it’s business as usual in Death Race 2050 (2017), a direct to video movie from the original producer, the legendary Roger Corman.  New Zealand superstar Manu Bennett, Crixus from Spartacus (2010) and Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit Trilogy (2012) takes over David Carradine’s role as Frankenstein, the cyborg driver with a heart of gold.
Rob Zombie collaborator Malcom McDowell from Halloween (2001) , 31 (2016) who is stretching the limits of the free pass he gets from me for A Clockwork Orange (1971), is the Chairman/President of the UCP, the United Corporations of America.  The movie takes place 50 years after the original and the premise is the same; a live televised race (now in virtual reality) where drivers accumulate points by killing pedestrians.  Think Hunger Games but with cars and actual adults.
There are some new drivers; Jed Perfectus in a golden speedo, along with an artificial intelligence car with a kinky German co-pilot, a religious fundamentalist driver and a hip hop/rap star driver.  Alexis Hamilton takes over Thomasina Paine’s role as the leader of the rebellion.  David Carradine had a Marlon Brando level of arrogance that is missing from Manu Bennett’s likeable performance, and the movie ignores the Jason Statham 2008 remake and subsequent trilogy with Death Race 2 (2010) and Death Race 3: Inferno (2013, I have to say I love that title). 
 Equal parts Escape From L.A. (1996), Idiocracy (2006) and Battle Royale (2000), the movie doesn’t really offer anything new, nor none of the visceral excitement of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).  The digital explosions and carnage look fake and cheap, but are in spirit with the original movie.  Most of the budget was spent on the cars, as it should in this kind of movie.  I was continually reminded of Tony Curtis’ The Great Race (1965), the gold standard for race movies with goofy personalized cars and quirky drivers.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Is There Such a Thing as a Psycho Killer Rom-Com, or Thoughts on StalkHer

 A Hard Candy (2005) for grownups, or perhaps a more openly homicidal Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966), the Australian psychological thriller StalkHer (2015) is crazy, dysfunctional, sociopathic, and yes, also kinda sorta romantic.  John Jarrett in his directorial debut plays Jack, a serial killer who breaks into Emily’s home only to be tazed, pumped full of scopolamine and tied to a chair in her kitchen.
The entire film takes place within Emily’s kitchen, and unfolds in a series of conversations over the kitchen table like a theatrical play.  Emily as it turns out, is one of those Angel of Death nurses, and has quite a bit of experience in her personal life tying up men and having her way with them.  Emily is portrayed by the brilliant Kaarin Fairfax, a striking woman of a certain age, and much like Sidse Babett Knudson in The Duke of Burgundy (2014), the movie explores an older, more mature sexuality.  Also a violent, sadomasochistic sexuality, but then again it’s nice to see the tables turned on Mick Taylor from Wolf Creek (2005),
The takeaway from this movie seems to be that Australian women are just as hard as the men, and the movie fades in and out between sexually violent fantasy and homicidal reality until the viewer is confused, punch-drunk and left reeling from the experience.  It’s an uneven psychological thriller but a clever twisted romance, featuring a fantastic Aussie punk rock soundtrack including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It Takes All Kinds of Critters, or Thoughts on Motel Hell

Equal parts Friday the 13th  (1980), Psycho (1960) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Motel Hell (1980) is a low budget, oddball and surreal movie based on the primordial fear that if you trick people into eating humans, they’ll actually enjoy it and develop a taste for it; an uncontrollable craving, if you will.  It’s the kind of diet that can make a person run around wearing a pig head waving a chainsaw
Veteran TV actor Rory Calhoon is Farmer Vincent, owner and operator of Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats and the Motel Hello (but the O is burned out, get it?).  The secret of his beef jerky is of course, supplied from the unlucky motorists that check into Motel Hell or crash from the numerous traps Farmer Vincent has set on the back roads surrounding his farm.  Once he gets his victims it gets weird; along with his sister Ida they bury the people alive in their garden, leaving the heads exposed like a severed head cabbage patch.  I think this was a technique to season the meat, but the filmmakers weren’t specific.  Trouble arrives when Vincent saves Terry, played by Nina Axelrod, and decides to marry her.
From director Kevin Connor of From Beyond the Grave (1974), Motel Hell has been presented as a satire, but in truth it comes across more as a failed horror comedy.  Coming as it did at the height of the slasher movie, the satirical moments were overwhelmed by the gore, which even now seem more like lame jokes and bad writing rather than a deliberate, directorial choice.  

Watch out for legendary Rock n’ Roll DJ Wolfman Jack as Reverend Billy, the town preacher who promises to marry Vincent and Terry.


my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An Aussie Grindhouse Rom-Com, or Thoughts on 100 Bloody Acres

 100 Bloody Acres (2012), a gory, unapologetic Australian horror comedy and a twisted romance that puts a new twist on the old meet cute trope (or in this movie, meat cute) is more fun than it has any right to be.  Written and Directed by Colin and Cameron Cairnes, the movie begins with a familiar premise; a gal and her two (awkward) boyfriends breaks down in rural South Australia, they’re picked up by Reg Morgan, who along with his homicidal older brother run a fertilizer company.  Much like Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies or Farmer Vincent’s Smoked Meats, the Morgan Brothers Organic Blood and Bone Fertilizer grows prize-winning veggies because of the “secret ingredient”.  The brothers used to use road kill and accident victims, but soon realize that fresh meat makes a better product.  Doesn't it always?
But this is no Wolf Creek (2005), and is closer to Peter Jackson’s Braindead  (1992) and Housebound(2014).  Reg, the younger brother played by Heath Ledger lookalike Damon Herriman isn’t all that bad and actually sympathetic, as far as psycho backwoods killers go.  He bonds with Sophie, the gal with two boyfriends played by Anna McGahan over their shared affection for 70’s Aussie pop hits and spends the rest of the movie trying to get out ofrom under his brother’s thumb.
The bloody sight gags are juxtaposed against a sly, subversive romantic comedy, as if this rom-com went off the rails and somehow ended up in an abattoir.  It makes for clever scenes like relationship talks during the inherently absurd situation of being tied up and hung upside down and waiting to be ground into fertilizer, and marriage proposals over buckets of blood.
Anna McGahan guest starred in one of my favorite Aussie TV shows, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and watch out for a cameo from Mick Taylor himself, John Jarratt as Burkey, a friendly motorcycle cop. 




my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).