In the midst of Orange County there beats a heart. A heart full of the stuff that runs through each and every one of us… blood and lots of it! The 2012 EVERYBODY DIES HORROR FILM FESTIVAL gave us horror fans exactly what we needed… blood and a healthy dose of horror.
We here at Truly Disturbing got a chance to visit the Orange county based horror film festival both the nights of October 12th-13th and let me tell you… This festival is a breath of fresh air. In a county that was made famous by certain hipster shows this festival is out to show that Orange County has teeth… big ones. Since Truly Disturbing was there to crown the 1st ever TRULY DISTURBING award we had the distinct advantage of checking out all of this years films. So I’ll go through each film briefly and give my opinion.
First up was the animated horror short “MURGI KENO MUTANT” or “ATTACK OF THE KILLER MUTANT CHICKENS” Written and Directed by Nayeem Mahbub with production credits going to Kazi Zahin Hasan. This film helmed all the way from Bangladesh is about a bunch of killer mutant chickens that have their sights set on world domination. Well some kung fu chefs have an alternate future in mind with chicken on the menu. Unfortunately the mutant chickens got to the footage and the movie was cut short, but from what we saw the film was awesome. The animation was traditional, but the concept was from that. From what we got to see it was an entertaining film with a nostalgic feeling given the type of animation. Job well done to the filmmakers for creating this unique and awesome looking short.
SHE’S NOT ALONE
Next we got the retro looking short horror film “SHE’S NOT ALONE” written and directed by Mike Streeter and starring Morgan Poferi. Based out of Los Angeles this film brings on the retro in such a convincing way. The film is a homage to 80’s slasher flicks in every sense. From the appliances to the clothing no detail was spared. The story is about a young lady who comes home with groceries in hand, but what she doesn’t know is that “She’s Not Alone”! The title pretty much explains the premise, but the story itself is well written and the pacing creates suspense making way for the scares at hand. One of the things I can’t shake from this film, literally I’m humming it all day, is the catchy and infectious main song that plays during the title sequence and end credits (which was also created by Mr. Streeter as well). Bravo to director Mike Streeter for creating a truly effective slasher flick and Kudos to actress Morgan Poferi for her performance as the slain victim. As an added bonus the festival attendees got to participate in a Q & A with director Mike Streeter and Main actress Morgan Poferi. In the Q & A we got to find out exclusively that this short was intended to be a feature so we could definitely see a feature length version of “SHE’S NOT ALONE“.
Next up we have the cerebral, visceral force that is the short horror film “OTHER“. Directed by Daniel DelPurgatorio and starring David Stelger this film delves into the world of Patrick, a genius doctor who has immersed himself into changing his current predicament. In the process of doing so he creates something that is not only life altering but can change the world as we know it. The film comes in at 15 minutes but man it feels like you get so much information in such little time. As the story progresses we are carried by the almost soothing noir-ish voice of Patrick (Stelger), who explains his story and his life changing creation. Visually the movie was outstanding! the visuals were cinematic, dark, and added a sense of dread throughout. The story was interesting and progressed perfectly while managing to disturb us at the same time. The film definitely didn’t spare any expense when it came to blood and gore, there was definitely enough to please the everyday gore aficionado. Overall the film was amazing and intriguing till the final moments.
Next we have the quirky horror musical comedy, ready for this, “LIFELESS #BEINGKINDADEADSORTASUCKS“. Yep that is the full title. I know what you’re thinking… seems short. The short film is directed by VP Boyle an ensemble cast starring Gabriela Hernandez, Ashton Foster, Mary Delgado, Lee Harrison Mitchell, Minette Bouma, Sofiya Akhoyan, Carolina Voigt, Mary Davila-Delgado, and Dominique Lalonde. The film follows 8 high school grads that are looking to have a good night, but unfortunately a healthy dose of Blue Plumber gel with their shots that makes this a night they’ll never forget. The next morning the friends wake up not only to a major hangover but slightly… dead. The undead students spend the rest of their time breaking into song and holding onto their digits whilst trying to find a cure for their current undead status. The film was well made and the musical numbers were all original pieces written by VP Boyle with an original score by Andrew Gerle. Overall the music and choreography were well done, the acting was good, and the story was definitely a unique take on the undead (a bit less focus on the gore and a bit more focus on jazz hands).
In this ode to old school creature films and grind house features alike the 8mm black and white short “BRAINEATERS” makes horror metal! Written, directed, produced, and edited by the auteur man himself Mitch Urban, this short was shot completely on 8mm film which is unheard of these days. Shooting on film nowadays is a lost art and it’s a breath of fresh air to run into a director like Mitch who made the choice of resurrecting it. The story itself is about a group of girls who are having a camp out in their backyard while being chaperoned by actress Katie Powers. Ms. Powers’ expression throughout shows us the audience that she has no intentions of enjoying the party. After one of the adults in the house decides to come out and share a story with the girls, but little do they now the story is about to become a reality. We here at Truly Disturbing got a chance to meet Mitch and he is definitely passionate about BRAINEATERS and proud of his first venture into film making. Mitch discussed how he found the 8mm camera and thought that since he had a camera now he just needed to point somewhere in style. Well Mr. Urban you definitely produced a film with not only style, but uniqueness and honors a dying branch of film making.
ORANGE COUNTY HILL KILLERS
Deep in the hills of Orange County, Black Star Canyon houses some of the most sadistic and savage killers of all time. “ORANGE COUNTY HILL KILLERS” Written and Directed by Katie Downer is a a take on the hillbilly horror genre, made famous by “WRONG TURN“, and it does the genre justice. The film is about four teenagers who hike up Black Star Canyon and huddle around a campfire to talk about the local urban legend of the Orange county Hill Killers. As the group take their interests to the hills for a firsthand experience which they may soon regret. The film does a great job of marrying comedy and horror together, but the majority resting more on the horror side. The film does feature some of the most cringe-worthy scenes around but overall the film was able to bring on the scares and definitely held a constant feeling of creepiness. The Cast features Cory Knauf as Tanner, Mirela Burke as Tiffani, Carter Czech as Chad, Nicole Travolta as Amber, Jeff Elam as Ruffin, Jeff Bowser as Jessup, and Joseph D. Reitman as Guy Dragging Tire. Job well done to cast and crew and be sure to check out anything coming from Katie and company in the future!
The woods hold many mysteries but in the case of our next film we got to focus on the biggest mystery of them all. “EAGLEWALK” Written and Directed by Rob Himebaugh tells us a classic tale of Bigfoot. This film is shot against a Summer landscape beautiful in scope and the camera moves beautifully to a wonderful score created by Rob Himebaugh as well. The film follows a group of camp counselors as they return to a long-abandoned camp that they previously worked at. The cast includes Christopher Emerson as Elliott, Matt Lasky as Bigfoot, Joseph Bonilla as Lewis, The story revolves around these characters and their involvement in the desecration of the sacred totem pole that Sasquatch protects. After this the story follows Bigfoot’s blood laden Vengeance against the camp counselors. The story was almost fairy tale like in it’s story telling and tone which provided a nostalgic feeling to the film. It had all the charm of Super 8, and dramatic appeal, but actually managed to scare us as well. The film itself is a wonderful homage to several types of horror. From Slasher films to monster it’s extremely reminiscent of the original Friday the 13th with the lurking feeling of the Wolfman. Overall this film is amazing and as if Bigfoot wasn’t amazing enough Rob Himebaugh and company make him even more legendary!
In San Diego there rests a home infamous for its paranormal flare… That house is the Whaley House. “THE HAUNTING OF WHALEY HOUSE” Written and Directed by Jose Prendes with an ensemble cast starring Alex Arleo as Jake Wildman, Arielle Brachfeld as Vanessa Dane, Graham Denman as Craig Gavin, Stephanie Greco as Penny Abbot, Carolina Groppa as Giselle James, Lynn Lowry as Bethany Romero, Howard McNair as Keith Drummond and Jason Owsley as Ray Roundtree. This movie is about Penny (Greco) who works as a tour guide in America’s most haunted house. Since she has the distinct advantage of working at this extremely haunted place her friends feel it’s a good idea to go there at night to confirm its haunting. Not only does Penny and her friends find out they find themselves a little more involved then they’d like to be. This film is brought to you by the Asylum which is the same folks that created such gems as Sharktopus, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and much more. Right off the bat it’s easy to see that this film stands apart from the other films that share the Asylum banner. However there still are some things that holds true… like the ability to cross hatch campy humor with horror seamlessly. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and seems to just simply blend into the vast array of “Haunting” films that exist. The film is entertaining and manages to provide the laughs and thrills where needed.
If you crave 80’s goth rock and love yourself some vampires than the next film is right up your alley. We started off Day 2 with one of the most unique horror shorts shot in two parts set to the music of UK Goth rockers Witching Hour. “VAMPIRE KISSES/BLOOD INSIDE” is Produced and Directed By Derek Frey with a cast starring Yusura Bush Watcher, Valery Nuttail, Sabrina Lecordier, Leah Gallo, Benoit Moranne, Chris Nuttail, Malcolm David, and Tim Burton as Van Helsing. That’s right folks the Edward Scissorhands man himself makes a cameo as the famous Vampire hunter. The film is shot as a music video with the music providing the pacing of the film. The film follows 3 women who wish to invoke the powers of the vampire goddess. I found the imagery to be almost dream-like heavily infused with the sexuality that vampires used to be associated with. With recent vampire adaptations falling short of portraying true vampire nature it is refreshing to see that Derek still respects the vampire genre and this film is a direct reflection of that. All the way till the very end of the film you are entertained and you’ll be left with the sultry tunes of Witching Hour for hours to come.
All the way from France the next film has all the sophistication of an Taratino flick with all the blood of a Fulci film. “BABY-SITTING” Written and Directed by
Lucas Masson Starring Morgane Housset as Elise, Wendy Nieto as Elise’s Friend 1, Bénédicte Emoult as Elise’s Friend 2, Vasco Bailly-Gentaud as Little boy, Prune Richard as Little Girl, Roma Léone as Mother, Laurent Gérardin as Father. The movie follows a young lady who shows up for a babysitting job that ends up being more than she bargained for. This film features some really awesome acting from everyone on the “BABY-SITTING” crew but some of the best performances come from the two children in the lead. What makes this even better is that the children are 100% silent throughout the film. To pull out a performance like they did while remaining quiet is a testament to their acting. The whole movie works because the actors are extremely convincing and the comedy that is laced in between is very smart and well timed. When it came to the blood well there was no short supply of that. The blood was plentiful and it flows on till the very end. Overall Well done film with some truly unforgettable scenes.
If you’ve ever heard the term love you to death than you know the premise of this next film. From the UK “LOVEBUG” Directed by Ben Kent who also co-wrote with Joel Wilenius this movie follows Frank (Thomas Coombes) as he makes his way through a blind date with Tara (Erica Emm). Everything looks grim until Tara (Emm) contracts a mysterious virus that leaves her falling for Frank in a big bad way. The film also stars Daniel Carter-Hope as Barry, Leigh Jones as Dave, and Viola Newbury as Kate. The film’s writing is comedic gold! it manages to make you laugh while still delivering a hefty dose of bloody goodness. The film takes a love potion number 9 scenario and gives it the Ben Kent special making it incredibly funny and 100% horrific. The acting is well done especially from Erica Emm’s character Tara. She is psychopathic to the max and turns in a terrific performance.
Do you ever wonder what happens while slashers wait for that perfect moment to slaughter their victim? Well wonder no more! “SLASH“, written and directed by Caleb McKenney, manages to provide the service with some of the best comedic pacing. This film was provided as an alumni screening since it was an official selection of 2011. So good it had to come back for another round! The film stars Lara Deam, Lucas Linehan, Shaun Brown, Dan Hall, and Leigh Hetherton. It follows a group of friends who are being stalked by a madman. As he stacks the bodies high, in classic slasher fashion, he strategically stalks his next victim.The film honors the slasher genre with exact precision and lays on the entertainment. This film had the audience rolling with laughter throughout and had a great premise. If their were steps to follow in making a great slasher film this one has them all and more. Its easy to see why the great people at the Everybody Dies Horror Film Festival chose to bring this film back and we thank them for that!
This next film was as mysterious as its title. “VADIM“, which means “to know”, was left somewhat a mystery given the fact that there was an issue with the subtitles, however it was nonetheless creepy. Written and directed by Peter Hengl this film managed to speak on a universal level of scary because even I couldn’t understand what our characters were saying yet it still managed to scare. Starring Eva Pröglhöf and Johannes Schüchner who play a couple, Katja and Andreas respectively, that move into a new place in which they discover an old chest. After spending time in the apartment the mysteries that the chest holds reveals itself and the magical history that lives within it will now live with the new tenants. Like mentioned previously even though we couldn’t understand what our protagonists were saying it didn’t stop the story. If anything this method added to the mystery making the scares genuine. Visually the film is eerie throughout with most of the color desaturated. It added a sense of old and created an overall feeling of dread throughout. We here at Truly Disturbing would love to check out the movie again this time with subtitles so we can get the full story, but for now we’ll hold onto the horrific memories we have from this great film.
Fast cars, 80’s music and mass amounts of blood… our next film takes advantage of these with a John Carpenter flare. “VICKI” is written and directed by Bill Palmer and stars Adam Conger as Leslie Waterhatch, Joshua DesRoches as Brenden, Will Coleman as Coal, Doug Manley as Vicki’s Ex, Allison Spiegel as Ashley, and Scott Bird as Birdman. This film is definitely one of the favorites of the festival due to some amazing writing and it’s ability to update and pay homage to a John Carpenter favorite. Much like the film “CHRISTINE” “VICKI” takes most of the source material and gives it a modern twist, but still honoring it’s 80’s roots. The film follows Leslie Waterhatch (Conger) a nice guy that rubs Brenden (DesRoches) and his accomplices the wrong way. Well after a severe beatdown Leslie gathers himself and makes his way home with his tail between his legs. On the way there he notices a bright fine yellow piece of machinery that he seeks out to make his. Much like Christine the car becomes attached to Leslie and Leslie with the car. From that point on “VICKI” takes you for a hell ride that doesn’t stop until the streets run red with blood. On top of this film having some of the best pop culture references i.e. “MONSTER SQUAD“, “STRAW DOGS“, and of course “CHRISTINE“. The writing is flawless and the pacing of this film makes its 14 min run time go by so quick. After it’s done it makes you hope for a full length version. If Carpenter is ever looking for a director to take the reins of a “CHRISTINE” remake Bill Palmer is your guy. He’s already proven in 14 mins that he can honor the original while still making the film his own. The jokes hit every time and there are buckets of blood to accommodate the heftiest of bloody appetites.
DESERT ROAD KILL
As a family makes their way home they come upon a mysterious hitchhiker. Attempting his good deed for the day the dad picks up the hitchhiker only to find out that his intentions are to rob them. What the thief failed to realize is that maybe this family’s good intentions aren’t exactly all that good after all. “DESERT ROAD KILL” is written and Directed by Michael Carreno with the story by Alejandro Patino. Starring Alejandro Patino, Josarra Jinaro, Justin Henrickson, and David Koff the cast is the driving force of the film. The family members play it as a normal family with a bit of a creepy edge. The film does have a disturbing twist that it incorporates in the credits and it is some of the funniest material I’ve seen. It almost has an Eli Roth feel towards the end because it felt like a nod to “CABIN FEVER“. The writing matched the tone of the film and the subject material definitely isn’t for everyone, but it is an extremely fun film to experience. The payoff is great, the story is intriguing and the direction is solid. Comedic, horrific, and entertaining it’s got all the ingredients to fulfill your horror needs.
A disgraced surgeon becomes marooned on an island and takes the ultimate journey of survival. Will he do everything he can to survive? “SURVIVOR TYPE” is directed by Billy Hanson who also adapted the script from a short story by Stephen King. We did an in-depth review of this film, since it was the recipient of the 2012 Truly Disturbing Award, which you can read HERE. As mentioned in the review this film is amazing. Tone, writing, acting, directing, effects all flow seamlessly to create one of the most intriguing survival films of all time. Gideon Emery puts out a performance made of nothing but gold and I can’t wait to see what his future holds for him. Billy Hanson hits a home run with the direction of this film and we here at Truly Disturbing see great things for him. After seeing this movie you’ll agree that not only is it deserving of the 1st ever Truly Disturbing award but every award to come.
DEER HEAD VALLEY
In an effort to not have to give anything away regarding the plot we’ll just explain to you our experience. Wow. One word explains how we fill about this film. The premise was terrifying, and the cinematography accompanied it beautifully. There was something perfect about how the camera would explore its surroundings setting the mood for the terror to come. “DEER HEAD VALLEY” Directed by Travis Greene and Co-written with Ronnie Prouty this movie is as interesting a story as they come. Starring Ronnie Prouty as Kevin Ralston, Jayme McCabe as Jake Dube, Rebecca Reynolds as Winnie, John Kirk as Harlan Goldman, Galen Howard as Edward Benson, and Tod Purvis as Tal McKenzie. The cast pulls together for a great ensemble performance that was laid against a pitch perfect tone. The flow of the film is cinematic and gives the pictures your seeing on screen a validity. It makes them seem realistic and fuels the more disturbing moments of the film. The grim has never looked more beautiful and thanks to this film we can say that for sure. The reason we’re not giving away too much on this film is because the twist at the end is a major spoiler in itself so doing this wouldn’t let you see it for yourself. This was definitely one of the favorites of ours and if there is ever a chance to see it make yourself comfortable because you’re going to need it.
A father and son attempt to rehash a a complicated past by taking a hunting trip into the woods. They soon come to terms with their past, but not before fighting for their lives against a darkness that haunts them. “IT’S IN THE BLOOD” is full of rich characters, a tragic love story and a terrifying creature but they all equal an amazing film. Directed by Scooter Downey and co-written along with Sean Elliot, starring Lance Henriksen as Russell, Sean Elliot as October, Rose Sirna as Iris, and Jimmy Gonzales as Michael. This film isn’t your conventional horror flick it is full of almost fairy tale storytelling, realistic writing and A-plus acting. It takes real situations and adds a horror twist to them. The relationship between Russell (Henriksen) and October (Elliot) is so intriguing and gives heart to the story. They play off each other so well and every time they grace the screen they bounce good acting off each other crazy. Another performance that stands out is by Jimmy Gonzales’ character Michael. He plays creepy so well and does it to the max. Every time he’s on screen he leaves you with a dirty feeling and his actions are hard to swallow, but when the story comes together it makes his presence that much more meaningful. This film is full of metaphors and dark imagery but the outcome is hopeful. When one is on a journey to confront their demons the road may not be paved but there is an outcome. That outcome is up to you and in this film we experience that along with our main character. Pretty thought provoking for a horror film and that’s exactly why this is another favorite of TD.
Overall this Festival was amazing! the films provided some of the richest horror films around and it’s exciting to see such ambitious film makers out there expanding the genre and making it their own. Major thanks to festival directors Sara Parrell and Jeff Smith who are awesome hosts and have created a truly remarkable festival here. It’s refreshing to see these folks bring some terror to the OC and we look forward to visiting this festival again in the future. Our experience with each and everyone of these films and their respective creative teams was unmatched. It was nice to see fellow film makers get together and express excitement for each other’s films. Most of the positive energy that was flowing through this event was due to its hosts and we are all thankful for this. Thank you to all the film makers, and their teams for creating some amazing art and allowing us to view your films. For more information on these films you can visit the official Everybody dies horror film festival HERE where you can view trailers and a brief synopsis of the films. As always don’t forget to come visit us here at TrulyDisturbing.com for all your horror needs or visit our official Facebook page HERE and hit Like.
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