LA Horror Review: “Dwelling”

I love ghost movies, and if done correctly, I personally find them to be the scariest horror sub genre.  There’s just something so unsettling about malevolent spirits, something you cannot see or touch, something that plays by their own rules in this world.  And while ghosts personally scare me more than almost anything else, that’s not initially the case for the leads in the new supernatural horror film “Dwelling,” who intentionally move into a haunted house to connect to the spiritual world.

Synopsis:  “Dwelling”, is a paranormal horror film about a young woman, Ellie (Erin Marie Hogan), who deliberately buys a haunted house in attempt to make contact with the spirit world. Driven by a horrific experience in her past involving her sister, River (Devanny Pinn), Ellie is willing to put herself and family at risk to seek the truth. In doing so, Ellie releases a soul that is more malevolent and terrifying than she could ever imagine. Something dwells in the house called Amara…and it wants to get out.

“Dwelling” is an impressive directorial debut from writer/director Kyle Mecca.  It’s stylish and creepy from the first shot to the last, and legit had me jumping.  Pair that with a bone chilling score and haunting performances from the cast, “Dwelling” is a creepy little gem that’s on par with bigger filmsWatch this with the lights out for sure.

While “Dwelling” works as a ghost film, I also enjoyed it because it works on the character level as well.  We may have seen films where a couple moves into a haunted house before, but the depth in these characters made this film gripping.  The fact that this couple intentionally moved into this house adds a fun new element to it that I can’t recall seeing in a ghost film before, and also blurs the lines between who you want to root for.  I love films that make me question the motivation of each character, and “Dwelling” does this very well.  This especially works based on the strength of the films cast, for which there really wasn’t a weak link.

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Erin Marie Hogan takes command of the screen in every scene and gives us a character that’s truly intriguing to watch and full of layers.  This is one of Hogan’s strongest performances, both in the softer scenes as well as when shit totally hits the fan.  This performance is a major factor in why I found this film successful, but she’s definitely not alone.

Devanny Pinn as the disturbed River brings some real intensity to her role, which left me feeling disturbed at several moments throughout the film.  You can tell that Pinn gets really invested in her characters, as whenever I have seen her in a film I am riveted.  The dynamic between Pinn and Hogan is really special in this film, and seeing them on screen together again was a real treat. (The pair also appeared together in Brandon Slagle’s “House of Manson,” another film we greatly enjoyed).

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Lastly, Mu-Shaka Benson as the rational husband Gavin is especially heartfelt and believable, and potentially the character I sympathized with the most.  Some strong choices, natural delivery and great direction make this trio of leads the thing that pushes this film into a higher category than other indie ghost flicks.  I found myself fully invested in this cast and film.

I love ghost films and I don’t say this lightly:  this film creeped me out throughout.  Major props to writer/director Kyle Mecca – this film is an early indication of a promising filmmaker with sharp vision.  Now stop dwelling on this review and see the movie for yourself!

“Dwelling” is now available to purchase exclusively at your local Wal-Mart, or you can pre-order the DVD here.

LA Horror Presents: “The Deal”

Ahhh, Valentines Day. The day of love, romance & desire. That is, unless you’re Jade Whitney, in which case the romance has been replaced with greed, betrayal & brutal murder…!


I am very proud to share with you, “The Deal,” a new short thriller written, produced and starring rising indie horror actress Jennifer Nangle! LAHorror.com produced this film along with Richard Trejo & Alex Napiwocki (of Safety Meeting Productions), and Brian Curly Sapir (of We Are Indie Horror). The film stars Colton Wheeler opposite Nangle. It was directed by yours truly, Hunter Johnson.

So grab your date and watch “The Deal!” I can’t promise that it’ll help you get laid tonight, but I CAN promise that it will make you reconsider that prenup!

Happy Valentines Day, Horror Lovers!!

Be sure to follow Jennifer Nangle on Twitter!

LA Horror Review: “HEAD”

Woodsy slasher films have a special place in my heart.  There’s just something so fun about watching a group of fun loving, beer guzzling friends get sliced and diced deep in the woods.  And Jon Bristol’s “HEAD” is a great entry into this genre, as our heroes find out that they’re camped at the same site that a group of friends were brutally murdered years ago.  Add a couple of sketchy locals and a mysterious writer who just happens to be there to try to solve the murders, you’ve got a pretty solid slasher that delivers on the good stuff.

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Don’t be fooled by the cute puppets, guys.  “HEAD” is definitely not for kids – unless your kids are into brutal gore, tent sex and lots of severed noggins.  I guess nowadays, who isn’t?  I loved that Bristol went for a hard R rating for this film, it definitely added a lot and made it super fun to watch.  While the film is very campy at times, it never goes fully over the top and fully respects the genre, which I thought was a great choice.  While “HEAD” is generally light hearted, it does have several surprisingly unsettling scenes, including the climax of the film which I found to be pretty brutal and effective at getting under my skin in a weird kind of way.  Let’s just say you might remember some of these puppets for a while.

And while I honestly feel that this isn’t so much a puppet movie, but rather a horror movie that just happens to star puppets, some major props go to these puppeteers executing this vision.  Weaving in the puppets with real life props and environment felt so seamless, and it helped me get honestly invested in the characters.  On top of that, I felt that the puppets were well designed and each had a great character look.  Some really fun voice acting here as well, I particularly liked the performance from Jim Williams.  Gnarly stuff.

bts3I love ambitious indie horror and this is exactly that.  It’s so cool seeing people tackle the this genre in new and wild ways, and this flick shows what passion and a unified vision can deliver.  On top of that, they made a pretty damn entertaining movie.  Some really great work from Bristol and his team.  This flick is lots of fun if you’re into wild, campy horror…or if you just have a thing for puppets.  Either way, definitely check it when you can!  If you don’t, you might lose your HEAD!

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HEAD, along with other work from Elmwood Productions, is available to rent or purchase here.  Be sure to follow Elmwood Productions on Twitter and Facebook for more information & screenings.

Frank Merle’s #FromJennifer Drops Trailer!

Horror icons Tony Todd (Candyman, the Final Destination series) and Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, Predators) join Aaron Abrams (Hannibal, Blindspot), Meghan Deanna Smith (Sharknado: Heart of Sharkness), Trae Ireland (13/13/13) and Danielle Taddei (Pretty Little Liars) in #FromJennifer, the latest feature film from writer/director Frank Merle (The Employer).

#FromJennifer follows a struggling actress named Jennifer as she tries to navigate the high-pressure world of social media stardom. When she gets dropped by her manager for not having a big enough social media following, Jennifer loses her grip on reality and sets out on a bizarre revenge plan, designed to be filmed and posted online in a desperate bid for internet fame.

#FromJennifer is the third installment in the Jennifer franchise of found-footage horror- comedies, a spiritual sequel to To Jennifer (directed by James Cullen Bressack) and its sequel 2 Jennifer (directed by Hunter Johnson). #FromJennifer features a stand-alone plot and characters, connected to its predecessors through the themes of obsession and surveillance. The first two films were shot entirely on the iPhone, while #FromJennifer was shot using multiple GoPro cameras.

#FromJennifer is currently in post-production and will be released this spring (2017) by Sector 5 Films, the distributor of the previous installment 2 Jennifer, which has recently been released on VOD and DVD.

#FromJennifer is produced by Frank Merle and Hunter Johnson, with James Cullen Bressack and Warren Croyle as Executive Producers.

 

Final TWO DAYS to support IRRATIONAL FEAR!

Friends in horror, we need your help!  The FINAL two days to support IRRATIONAL FEAR are upon us!  Our feature film collaboration with Slasher Studios is sure to be our nastiest work yet!

The film follows six therapy patients as they go to a secluded cabin to confront their own unique irrational fears, including drowning, ghosts, choking, fear of touch & more.  One by one, they fall victim to their own fears by way of gruesome death!

Starring Charles Chudabala, Baker Chase Powell & Leah Wiseman, IRRATIONAL FEAR is sure to please even the most demented lovers of horror – and that is my personal promise!

Support / Preorder / Contribute here!  We cannot make this film without you!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050068098/slasher-studios-and-la-horror-bring-you-irrational

Slasher Studios & LAHorror Now Casting: IRRATIONAL FEAR!

A few weeks ago, we shared the news that we are teaming up with Slasher Studios to create a new horror film that will explore your strangest fears – “Irrational Fear”!



We are looking for actors to be a part of our production!


“Irrational Fear” is now casting the following roles. Email IrrationalFear2017@gmail.com with the character you’re interested in and we will send sides / details. Filming spring 2017 in WI.

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HELEN (age range: 40-50)— Middle aged, alcoholic housewife. Helen is the kind of woman who realizes her best days are behind her as she turns to the bottle for a trip down memory lane. Hates her husband as she believes she gave up her best years for him. Has a fear of being in or around water.

JAKE (age range: 13-18, if looks younger)—- Preteen boy. Blonde hair, blue eyes, Jake looks like the poster child for a whitening toothpaste commercial. Outgoing and charming, he hides his insecurities by closing doors on his emotions.

NATE (age range: 40-50)— Jake’s father. Much like his son, he is obsessed with personal appearance and order in life. He is a high profile lawyer who has taken this weekend off to be with his son, something that he never lets his son forget. He’s slick and sophisticated with a George Clooney type style.

KELLY (age range: 30s)— Thirtysomething tough, wilderness girl who has grown up around the area and knows the ins and outs of the land. She’s not afraid to get dirty but she has a softer side after she lets her guard down.

CAMERON (age range: 16-24, if looks younger)– Teenage jock, muscles are larger than his brains even though he normally means well. Tries to appear smarter than he actually is but it normally backfires on him. He’s a sweet guy who tries to do what he can to help out others. His biggest fear is choking and he obsessively cuts up his food into the smallest pieces “just in case”.


Thanks for your early support on this project! It will be KILLER!

Be sure to like “Irrational Fear” on Facebook and follow the film on Twitter!

Aaron Mento’s “Ugly Sweater Party” Drops a Horrific Holiday Teaser!

What up horror lovers??

Yesterday, Daily Dead dropped the teaser trailer to Aaron Mento’s dementedly funny Ugly Sweater Party and goddamnit if this doesn’t get you into the holiday spirit, then chug some more eggnog.

I’m very proud to say that I was a producer as well as an actor on this film, and it’s easily one of the wildest projects I’ve ever been a part of.  Our first sneak peek is available now in the form of this super wild, NSFW teaser trailer!

Ocular Migraine Productions presents UGLY SWEATER PARTY, a new holiday horror comedy from writer/director Aaron Mento (Standards of Living, Crypt TVs Choose Their Kill)!  The film was produced by Mento, Charles Chudabala (Death House) and Hunter Johnson (2 Jennifer).

On Christmas Eve, at a bible camp deep in the woods, an ugly sweater party is in full swing. But an outside visitor has unknowingly brought an ancient evil to the yuletide fun. An ugly sweater that is possessed by the ghost of a brutal serial killer…

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Mento on the film, “If I had to describe the tone of Ugly Sweater Party, I’d say it’s a mix of John Waters and John Landis. A violent holiday horror comedy that is completely unpredictable, shocking, but also really fun and jolly. Unlimited replay value is the goal.”

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UGLY SWEATER PARTY features a cast of horror studs, including Sean Whalen (The People Under the Stairs), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Brad Potts (Puppet Master X, Zombies vs. Strippers), Lara Jean Mummert (Anomaly) & Tiffani Fest (Circus of the Dead). The film also features a wild ensemble including Marv Blauvelt, Emily Dahm, Berna Roberts, Matt Holbrook, Jody Barton and Kevin Caliber as several misfit campers invited to the party.

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Mento was particularly thrilled to work with scream queen Felissa Rose.  “Sleepaway Camp was like my gateway drug for awesome oddball horror movies. So having Felissa Rose play a vampy camp counselor in Ugly Sweater Party was a dream come true. I wrote the role specifically for Felissa, and she completely kills it.”  Felissa Rose returns to camp!

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Next year, grab your ugliest sweaters and come to the UGLY SWEATER PARTY!  You’ll be dying to be there! Happy Horror Holidays!

Be sure to follow UGLY SWEATER PARTY on Twitter and Facebook!