Film Review: Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (dir by Nathan Thomas Milliner, P.J. Starks, James Treakle, Sean Blevins, John William Holt, Jon Maynard, and Justin M. Seaman)


You may remember that, last year, I raved about an independent horror film called Volumes of Blood!  Did you take my advice and track it down?  DID YOU!?  It’s available on Amazon and, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re running behind because the sequel has just been released.

Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories opens with the following warning:


That warning pretty much tells you everything that you need to know.  Full of clever references and call backs to previous horror films, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories was made by people who love horror and it will be best appreciated by other horror lovers.  Like the first film, it earns the title Volumes of Blood because the blood never stops flowing.

Like the first film, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is an anthology film, telling 8 different but inter-connected stories of gore and horror.  Things start off with a nicely done little slasher parody called Murder Death Killer.  Directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner, Murder Death Killer deals with three small-time crooks who make the mistake of visiting a junkyard that’s haunted by the vengeful spirit of Atticus Crow.  Murder Death Killer is nicely directed, with Milliner exploiting that junkyard for every ounce of ominous atmosphere that it has.  One of the crooks, Mr. Dawson, is played by Thomas Dunbar, an actor who gives off a welcome Sid Haig vibe.

Murder Death Killer is followed by Haters, which is directed by the film’s producer, P.J. Starks.  Haters deals with two horror fans who, after watching a remake of Murder Death Killer (one that we’re told stars Vin Diesel and Eric Roberts), make the mistake of pissing off the wrong usher.  Haters features many references to my favorite part of the first Volumes of Blood, a fictional movie called The Dewey Deathimal System.

The atmospheric and gory Trick or Treat (directed by Sean Blevins) picks up directly where the first Volumes of Blood ended, with the town of Owensboro, Kentucky coming to terms with the massacre at the local library and the first film’s mysterious murderer continuing to seek fresh victims.  You’ll never look at candy corn the same way again.

Trick or Treat leads directly to Killer House (directed by James Treakle).  A mysterious realtor (played by Christopher Bower) leads a couple on a tour through a mysterious house.  The realtor is quite insistent on visiting the cellar but the couple wants to see the upstairs first.  However, regardless of where the tour leads, each room triggers a different story.  The highlight of Killer House is the wonderfully creepy performance of Christopher Bower.

Feeding Time (directed by John William Holt) is a nicely done little film about an insurance salesman who is desperate to make a sell on the day before Thanksgiving.  The house that he visits doesn’t appear to be occupied by anyone other than a mysterious teenage girl (Shelby Taylor Mullins, giving a memorably off-key performance) who swear that there’s a monster in her closet.

In Blood Bath (directed by Jon Maynard), a man fears that his bathtub may have eaten both his wife and his best friend.  Is the bathtub truly possessed or is the man just suffering the side effects from having forgotten to take his medicine?  Blood Bath will keep you guessing.

Fear, For Sinners Here (directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner) was my personal favorite of all the stories in Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories.  On Christmas Eve, Carol (Jessica Schroeder) sits in her living room and she wraps presents while melancholy Christmas music plays on a record player.  Carol is wrapping toys for someone name “Joey.”  She’s sad, sometimes crying and sometimes growing angry.  I don’t want to spoil too much of this story, beyond saying that it’s superbly done.  It starts as a poignant look at holiday depression but then there’s a twist and then another.  Jessica Schroeder gives a great performance.

And finally, Death Day Party (directed by Justin M. Seaman) follows a seemingly sweet elderly couple as they celebrate a birthday in a definitely less than sweet way.  Full of rude humor, Death Day Party will appeal to those with an appreciation for the morbid and macabre.

Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories ends with a dedication to Wes Craven, Angus Scrimm, Gunnar Hansen, and Herschell Gordon Lewis.  It’s an appropriate dedication because Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is a film made by people who love horror for viewers who love horror.  Mixing humor with gore, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is a fun celebration of the macabre.


People of Earth – Pilot, Season 1, Episode 1 – Review by


People of Earth is the amazingly quick-witted and fast paced comedy show that you better watch or ALL of the unicorns will die… especially the cute baby unicorns- they’ll die first!

I was primed to like this show more than a 50% discount on Blue Jays tickets.  The comedy cast is overflowing with known national treasures: Wyatt Cynac, Ana Gasteyer, Brian Huskey, and Oscar Nunez, but is blessed with new talent who have quick comedic timing that matches perfectly with the snappy dialogue.  In short, this is NOT a show to knit to, tweet during, or otherwise be distracted by when watching; so, take your adderall and focus because this show is NO SHIT LEGIT!  SIDE NOTE: I’m seriously thinking about getting on the adderall bandwagon; weight loss inducing intellectual steroids sound pretty fucking awesome to me!

The pilot begins with Ozzie (Wyatt Cynac) having a nightmare about hitting a deer in Beacon, New York with a deer behind him saying, “Don’t get weird, but you’re about to hit a deer” and he wakes in a sweat.  He’s on assignment to Beacon to investigate a UFO Abductee support group.

At the support group, we learn that there are three types of Aliens: Reptilians, Whites (who look like Lord of the Rings Elf People), and Greys (who look like scrotums).  Also, we learn that the jokes fly fast.  The group therapy scenes are the heart of the sitcom.  The jokes play off of one another brilliantly!

Ozzie finishes his alien support group article and goes to his boss Jonathan Walsh (Michael Cassidy) in New York City who basically runs a Buzzfeedish clickbait listicle mill.  His boss doesn’t get humor and speaks in business school-ease at all times like a young Mitt Romney.  Jonathan wants Ozzie to return Upstate to Beacon and learn more about the people in the support group.

Upon returning to Beacon, Ozzie discovers that the abductees all have boring jobs or don’t work.  Ozzie learns about the abductions and that their stories are similar.  However, there are two people who don’t share abduction stories: the group leader Gina and Gerry who has never made contact with an alien, but wishes that he did.  There have been some reviewers who think this points to these two or either being aliens, but I don’t know or care because their delivery is fucking great and I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.  Ozzie realizes that his nightmares match the stories that he is hearing.

Ozzie believes that HE was abducted.  Ozzie becomes furious when he discovers that his boss published his draft article about the group with their REAL names, causing Ozzie to quit his job with Buzzfeedish.  He decides to explore his abduction memories and takes a job in Beacon at the local paper.

The show ends with us learning that Jonathan is a Reptilian – DUN DUN DUN.


There are aliens on the mothership above earth being hysterical.  The funniest and snarkiest alien is the scrotum looking whom I shall call Scroty on the show he’s named Jeff, but Scroty is more apt.

This show is THE funniest show on television.  Period.  Remember, if you don’t watch, ALL the unicorns will die!


Cleaning Out the DVR Pt 10: Halloween Leftovers

cracked rear viewer


Halloween has come and gone, though most people have plenty of leftovers on hand, including your Cracked Rear Viewer. Here are some treats (and a few tricks) that didn’t quite make the cut this year:


ISLE OF THE DEAD (RKO 1945, D: Mark Robson)

Typically atmospheric Val Lewton production stars Boris Karloff as a Greek general trapped on a plague-ridden island along with a young girl (Ellen Drew) who may or may not be a vorvolaka (vampire-like spirit). This film features one of Lewton’s patented tropes, as Drew wanders through the woods alone, with the howling wind and ominous sounds of the creatures of the night. Very creepy, with another excellent Karloff performance and strong support from Lewton regulars Alan Napier, Jason Robards Sr, and Skelton Knaggs. Fun Fact: Like BEDLAM , this was inspired by a painting, Arnold Bocklin’s “Isle of the Dead”.


THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS (Allied Artists 1954, D: Edward…

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Music Video of the Day: 99 Luftballons by Nena (2002, dir. Marcus Sternberg)

I guess I should bring Nena forward from 1984 to 2002 first.

While often considered to be a one-hit wonder, they did have some success with a few other songs in German. However, you know how these things always go. One minute you are on top of the world, then your lead singer is caught with their underarms unshaven, the follow-up songs/albums don’t do well, and ultimately internal differences cause the band to come to an end.

I’m not kidding about the shaving bit. Apparently it was big news when Nena toured the UK in 1984 that her armpits weren’t shaved. A woman from continental Europe without shaved armpits is totally unheard of said no one except of course by British red-top press at the time. In response, she shaved them, and has kept them shaved ever since. She even brought it up in her mémoires when she said, “Can a girl from Hagen, who dreams of the big wide world and is in love with Mick Jagger, have no idea that girls can’t under any circumstances have hair under the arm? Yes she can. I simply had no idea!” I can’t wait to see the nonsense people wrote after watching Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. Taking one look at that, and thinking that it generated so much buzz makes me see an animated GIF in my head of Cyndi Lauper face-palming with a poster of Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics behind her and holding a picture of Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. The music video even references this armpit thing around three minutes and twenty-three seconds by giving us a clear shot of her shaved armpits.

Nena is one of those bands like Alice Cooper where people tend to think that they are seeing a solo artist when in fact the lead singer just happens to share the same name as the band. Nena the band disbanded in 1987. Nena herself went on to a solo career, but it didn’t quite come together till 2002 when an album was released to celebrate a 20th anniversary (I’m not sure what the starting date is here). That explains the existence of this music video. The album that was released was comprised of newly arranged versions of her hits from the 1980s. That brings us to 2002.

The first thing you’ll notice about this song is that it is the German version, not the English one. You’ll also notice that it is more like something you would expect from Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, or another female pop-singer of the era. I certainly get making it sound nostalgic, but updating the sound kind of bothers me. It just doesn’t sound right to my ears.

I get pairing it with images that start empty and melancholy, then progressively get more empowering from the middle finger bit onwards. I am not sure what the deal is with the colors other than that they act as a reference to the multi-colored balloons and smoke from the original music video. If you are familiar with her songs, then you’ll notice she is walking by their titles that are on the boardwalk railing. You’ll also notice that the last song is 99 Luftballons followed by the name Nena. It’s a nice touch that I certainly missed the first time around. I was too distracted by the merry-go-round at the beginning that made me think of the cover of Dave Matthews Band’s album Under The Table And Dreaming and the black guy who is doing the Limp Bizkit Rollin’ thing with his arms. I guess since Nena is still around today it is appropriate since she has kept Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’.

Director Marcus Sternberg appears to have been doing music videos since the mid-90s. They seem to be mostly with European bands–probably German ones.


99 Luftballons versions:

1. 99 Luftballons by Nena (1984, dir. Bert van der Veer)
2. 99 Red Balloons by Nena (1984, dir. Bert van der Veer)