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In each issue, self-described "Videophiliac" Dave Lewis gives the low-down on indie horror flicks on video . . . because it's so much more fun to get scared in your own living room.

Blood Kiss Duck! The Carbine High Massacre Strawberry Estates Rage of the Werewolf Bloodletting Curse of the Cannibal Confederates

Blood Kiss     
From the Nightmare Productions video studio, Michael W. Johnson introduces us to a new kind of bad guy. He's not a vampire but (as Nightmare scream queen, Stephani Johnson, puts it) a, "Neck-biting, blood-sucking, psycho-freak." In actuality he is "The Dark One" risen from the dead and he possesses a patent-pending "Blood Kiss" that leaves behind a neck wound and a perfect trail of blood from neck-to-pubis on his naked female prey.

Johnson has the uncanny ability to make films with everyday/regular folks, like you might find nextdoor, and makes a video that you could rent from Blockbuster. So, if you've ever thought of being in a low-budget film, to get your feet wet, you might want to give him a call. Johnson's productions are shot-on-video, so there are limitations to the original format, but the execution is top-notch and BK will undoubtedly bubble to the top of your most wanted videos of the year.

Danny Dodd (Jeff Murphy) lost his wife, Elaine (Kathy Roth) and daughter, Trudy (Amanda Murphy) sixteen years ago. It all started at a yard sale hosted by a gypsy (Sarah Losey) who sells Elaine a "Journal of Strange Occurrences," a 300-year-old historical document. Elaine, a member of a local coven, becomes obsessed with the book and a ritual sacrifice that will re-summon The Dark One. Since Danny doesn't believe, he discounts the whole affair. Elaine conducts the ceremony using Trudy as the sacrifice and summons Adam Mortis (Steve Lee) from the dead who takes the life of Elaine and absconds with Trudy instead.

Now, sixteen years later, Danny spends his evenings alone at Augie's Bourbon St. Cabaret, always looking but never touching. The blood-draining killing of women has revisited Minnesota and, when one of his favorite strippers (Melinda Shaffer) gets whacked, Danny is certain that Mortis has returned to slaughter the town's female population.

Mortis is aided by his blood-slave, Miranda (Michelle DeGuzman) who helps supply him with the naked nourishment that he requires to continue his so-called life.

The department has become suspicious of Dodd because the murders are so similar to the case that was never closed sixteen years prior. They've assigned a detective (Steven Mark Hahn) to the case to keep an eye on Dodd. Dodd breaks into the morgue and decapitates the body of the dancer to assure that her, "dancing days are over."

The detective frequents a local hooker (Stephani Johnson) in exchange for "protection." Even so, she falls victim to The Dark One's evil scheme as he embraces her to the life of the undead by bestowing upon her his blood kiss and teaches her to do likewise.

Now Dodd and the detective are equally determined that the killer must pay (although they do not necessarily agree on whom that might be).

In a spectacular performance (that reminded me of Francoise Blanchard in Jean Rollin's Living Dead Girl) Stephani, gets ill, stumbles around to find victims to claim - while maintaining integrity - even though she's naked most of the time. (A very exciting trip down memory land for me ... Thank you MWJ ... you d' man!) In an exploitative effort of staff photographer Lew Wurdeman, Stephani tracks down and administers the blood kiss to a model that wears a t-shirt carrying the logo of his photo company.

There are plenty of twists and turns ahead in this nasty thriller. I slapped myself on the forehead a couple of times saying, "I should'a known that was coming."

NUDITY ALERT:
When viewing a film by Michael W. Johnson note that there will be nudity. If there is a female cast member, chances are you'll see her naked. Chances are good that you'll get a good view of her pubes. Just in case you think your significant other might go ballistic, not to fear. You can normally count on male full frontal nudity also. If this offends you... don't watch this film.
'nuff said

This film is eerie and erotic. Steve Lee gives a deadpan performance as the emotionless, bloodthirsty, Dark One, but I'm keeping my eyes peeled for anything that features Stephani Johnson...

Blood Kiss is available from Video Addicts Hotline.

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.



Duck! The Carbine High Massacre     
On April 20, 1999, the world was shocked as two teenagers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado ran through their school - armed with bombs and guns - killed 12 classmates, one teacher, then turned their weapons on themselves. The world watched as headlines broke and news cameras rolled followed by a horrifying contemplative silence.

Young screenwriter, Todd Russell armed with little more than some good video equipment and a strong alliance with some young friends, was ready and willing to step up to the plate. William Hellfire and Joey Smack assist Russell in telling the tale of the two troubled youth, from their perspective in Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, a fictionalized account of what really happened that day in Littleton, Colorado.

In Duck!, Derwin (William Hellfire) and Derock (Joey Smack) are the two Trenchcoat Mafia youths who dare to be different in a community that praises conformity and ridicules individuality.

The rest of the cast (classmates) are reduced to their simplest, stereotypical roles, while the focus remains on the main characters. Duck!, depicts the youths spending a great deal of time together, at the computer, listening to Goth-flavored music and experimenting with explosives, while isolating themselves further from the school's acceptable appearance and behavior.

While Derwin and Derock have a common-bond, they do have a few accepting acquaintances that are also social misfits like Goth-boy (Mike Roser) - who says, "Just because we dress this way, doesn't mean we don't have feelings," when he is taunted - and his Goth-girlfriend (Liz Bathory). Like all non-conformists at Carbine High, they are rejected by the majority and targeted by the jocks.

One day, Derwin is severely beaten by the jocks, led by Benchpress (Ryan Trimmer), for looking at his girlfriend (Lilly Tiger). When I say, "severely," William Hellfire makes it clear that this beating is SEVERE. They go so far as to carve the word, "FREAK," on his stomach. An effective ploy to get the audience to begin to understand and have empathy for the outcasts.

Bible Girl invites Play Girl to youth group concert

Meanwhile, a Christian classmate (Misty Mundae) attempts to persuade fellow classmates to attend her youth group meeting that will feature a live, Christian rock band.

Derwin and Derock discuss their options. They can't go anywhere else, as it will be likely that they will treated the same anywhere, so they decide to leave the planet altogether, while making Carbine High a better place for others in the process. They collect their financial resources and set out to buy the hardware needed to put their plan in motion.

In a comic diversion from the otherwise dark commentary, the boys visit a gun dealer who presents sophisticated weaponry like prizes in a gameshow, where the models displaying the firearms appear topless.

The next day, on the anniversary of Hitler's Death, they rage war on the social conditions of their school, while making a statement heard 'round the world, in a gruesome and graphic climax.

Duck! has been viewed by many as exploitative and it has been said that the producers were only behind this film for the bucks. I have seen other films by Hellfire, and this one will have little appeal to his normal audience. I believe that in Duck!, Hellfire has something to say - and he says it loud and clear - in his best performance to date. I doubt that there are many out there who want to see what he has to say - and many are hoping it will just fade away - like the headlines that inspired it.

If you want to see a twisted, low-budget commentary penned by Todd Russell, based on grotesque reality and brought to life by the likes of someone whose last name is Hellfire, then Click here to order online.

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.



STRAWBERRY ESTATES    
Ron Bonk brings a film to the table that has the medium of delivery written into the script, a presentation format brought into public acceptance by Indie-film-made-good, The Blair Witch Project. Strawberry Estates was originally shot and intended for release in 1997 but Bonk was not happy with the execution, so placing himself behind-the-wheel and on-the-line he set out to do his script justice.

I have always been a fan of shot-on-video features that have the format written into the script. I love this kind or approach as it helps bridge the gap between budget and low-or-no-budget and prepares the viewer ahead of time for what to expect. Although BWP achieved critical acclaim and is credited for being the first, it is not so. This framework for shooting video has been around for years, its just that BWP was the first to break-through, and for that, I and many other Indie fans are happy that someone made it.

The premise is that in November of 1999, Jonathan P. Laurel (Bob Fullenbaum) schedules an expedition to the allegedly haunted Smith-Garrett building with a small staff to ascertain the mysteries of the property commonly known as Strawberry Estates. All that remains of the expedition are a handful of videotapes shot by videographer, Jason Knoweles (Jason Reed), who was a member of the team. The tapes are now the property of the F.B.I., labeled as Red File #66-905.

The video composite of the tapes you are about to experience are labeled: "This tape is intended for F.B.I. officials only. Possession by non-authorized personnel is prohibited..." making it the perfect party video. Let me explain:

For those of us that were lucky enough to record Special Bulletin when it was originally broadcast in 1983 (you know who you are)... we all got more entertainment value from that film than was originally intended. It was shot as a live documentary of a nuclear explosion in South Carolina. We re-cut it, took out all the disclaimers, and ran it in the background when we had guests over. We would nonchalantly look over at the screen to say, "Oh my gosh..." to draw them in, then wait until they've made a fool of themselves the next day at work - asking co-workers if they knew that Charleston had been blown to bits yesterday. (Wa-hoo! Those were the good ol' days.)

You get the idea. You ditch the original packaging and tell your friends that you got this weird FBI tape off the Internet about some supposedly haunted house and ask them if they want to watch it... yadda, yadda, yadda... and it works! There are no end credits, so it leaves you wondering... what the heck just happened here?

In Strawberry, after the first night (which is a flop, 'cause nothin' happens except for some kids with Halloween masks show up to try to freak out the crew), Doc Laurel sends the crew home. Now it's just the primary characters: the videographer, Sarah Richmond (Chrissy Frick) a passive student of the paranormal, and Jennifer Brahms (Lisa Chelenza) a psychic. A very lean cast of four, armed with nothing more than a couple of camcorders.

There is plenty of extra footage left in as "evidence," i.e., Jason videotaping his seduction of Sarah, some philosophical discussions about the mysteries of life, death and what lies between here and there and lots of Doc Laurel's monologues about the history of Strawberry Estates.

Chrissy Frick

As the plot thickens, strange things are starting to happen, the psychic's vibes go off-the-chart, she gets possessed and the Doc goes (as Jason puts it), "totally ape-shit!" It's all very unpredictable, somewhat fragmented, and strange, which all lends credibility to the unsuspecting.

Did I mention first-timer, Chrissy Frick? How fortunate was Bonk to be able to hook up with an actress who could very well be the next Gillian Anderson?

Get a copy of Strawberry Estates right on - you guessed it - the Internet.

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.



RAGE OF THE WEREWOLF    
Indie video production powerhouse and Brimstone leader, Kevin Lindenmuth has the nerve to deliver the goods to a medium that is over-populated with vampires, bringing us a tale of the oft'neglected Lycanthrope (Werewolf).

Rather than stick to the age-old tale of the cursed werewolf, Lindenmuth spins a yarn that plagues the earth with a genetically-altered race of werewolves that the world must contend with. In a science-fiction delivery, introduced with excellent visual effects by Tim Thomson's Lunatic Fringe, the stage is set:

It appears that back in the summer of 2001, a giant meteor was on a crash-course with earth. Nuclear weapons were used to destroy the meteor but were only effective enough to send it off-course causing it to crash into the moon, which changed the moon's orbit bringing it closer to earth. A certain percentage of the population possesses a latent gene that is activated by the lunar activity causing lycanthropy.

Jake (Santo Marotta) is a real werewolf, from the olden days... an actual "cursed" werewolf who has the power to initiate the change at will. He sees his plight as unfortunate and seeks to help others who have been afflicted with the new strain of lycanthropy. Those who do not have it, fail to understand it and would rather see it extinguished, so there is a bounty on the head of all werewolves.

Jakes's brother, Laslo (Joe Zaso) is also a cursed werewolf but has a totally different spin on the current state of affairs. He sees himself as superior (being cursed) and the genetically altered as his underlings. He is forming a pack of the genetically-disadvantaged to form a giant army that under his control can rid the world of the human disease.

Laslo is driven to persuade Jake to take his rightful place beside him to conquer the world. Jake will have nothing to do with it... but Laslo persists, using high-technology, friends in high (political) places, and spies-in-werewolves'-pelts. Against his better judgement, Jake and his friend, Ralph (Tom Nondorf) rescue Gina (Sasha Graham) a werewolf woman who is being attacked by a pack of bounty hunters.

Jake and Ralph (who desperately desires to be a real werewolf, like Jake) figure it's best to hightail it out'a Dodge, before things get any worse, but Laslo keeps applying the pressure and the wayward pair are attacked by a mob of mutants.

Debbie Rochon and Sasha GrahamMeanwhile, Laslo has another evil plan to further exalt himself above all other creatures, and for this next phase he requires a vampire. He is successful in capturing Kessa (Debbie Rochon) to initiate his experiment resulting in his transformation into a werewolf/vampire hybrid.

When Laso lays waste to Jake's buddy, Ralph, all hell breaks loose in a no-holds-barred mutant/hybrid/monster bash, the likes of which you'll not find elsewhere.

The story line is solid as a rock and there's something for everyone - even a homeless werewolf holding a "Will Work For Human Flesh" sign. Thanks to Lindenmuth, we have a hip re-telling of the tragedy of the werewolf with a sci-fi twist. What more could you ask for? (Maybe more films featuring the super-creature-hybrids?... If I know Lindenmuth, this is just the beginning.)

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.



Bloodletting     
A side-step from Petticoat Planet, writer/director Matthew Jason Walsh tells the tale of a pair of serial killers, with bite, twist and appeal that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The dialogue, snappy comebacks and one-liners will keep you amused as you get sucked into the story of the carefree, killers without a cause.

Bloodletting starts out innocently enough as we are made aware that there's a psychotic killer on the loose. This killer slices, dices, even makes julienne fries and the authorities are dumbfounded. This guy is so creative, his only M.O. is that he doesn't have one, just an insatiable drive to kill randomly selected victims.

Serena Stalin (Ariauna Albright), a sexy, little bombshell posing as a cosmetics saleslady, visits the home of Walt Lipske (James L. Edwards) and breaks the news that she knows that he is really Butch Harlow, the serial killer. She then proceeds to blackmail him into training her as a student of murder, because she attended one of his previous bloodlettings and achieved her first orgasm as he was doing his thing.

The training begins and we're allowed to watch and learn all the tricks of the trade: the entire, who, what, where, when, how and most importantly the don'ts. Just being able to witness the pre-class material was quite cool, and Butch is so good at matter-of-factly delivering the program material... very cool.

We've covered all the bases, now it's time to put our knowledge to the test: Butch invites a drunken Bobbie Jo (Nina Angeloff) over to his place for a threesome. They retreat to the bedroom, downstairs, and the real-life final takes place - although not quite as smoothly as the instructor would have liked. She earns a passing grade and a celebratory copulation with the instructor atop the bloody corpse.

Clean-up is an important part of the act, so they clean up the blood and to get rid of the body, they decide to cut it up into chunks and send it to various Post Offices in care of General Delivery.

Then the two decide that they have fallen in love... although there's a snag. Serena's over-bearing/bar-room-brawling/macho-man boyfriend, Rupert (Randy Rupp) won't let her go without a fight. The two killers introduce Rupert to a new game of bloody, Little Piggy... clearing the way for cohabitation.

Kick-starting their romance and shared killing sprees they dress up as a priest and a nun. Visiting a couple with a newborn baby, they whack the parents. When the squalling brat spooks Butch, he instinctively whips around and pulls the trigger of his shotgun reducing the baby to a blood-splattered mass. It's a sobering and religious moment as he intimates that he's, "never killed a baby before."

Serena's idea of a light lunchYou get the idea... There are plenty of thrills ahead as Serena bites off a guy's penis... Butch gets invited to a lesbian video store owner(Sasha Graham)'s web of weirdness... and the climactic scene where the two face-off... with the occasional twist and comic surprise yet to come.

I wasn't, at first, convinced that Edwards was right for the part of Butch. I thought that it would have been better to cast Rupp as the seasoned killer... but as the film progressed and Edwards more and more seemed to take the part to heart, I realized that this needed to be a loveable pair of psycho killers. This might well be your first inclination, but follow it through and you'll see Walsh's genius in selecting Edwards for the part.

Get a copy of your very own by clicking here.

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.



CURSE OF THE CANNIBAL CONFEDERATES  
14 years before he worked on Dinosaur Valley Girls, Tony Malanowski directed the Southern-fried-zombie-nightmare, Curse of the Cannibal Confederates a.k.a. Curse of the Screaming Dead. This is another of those shot-on-film productions intended for viewers - parked in their cars with their date - with something better to do than watch the movie at the drive-in theater.

The production values are consistent with that medium, so for viewers of home video, be forewarned... the quality of the audio still sounds as though its coming from one of those speakers clipped to your window. There are some inconsistencies in the shooting schedule that you can either enjoy, ignore or make fun of, depending on your disposition when viewing this forgotten treasure.

In Curse, a camper full of long-haired (almost hippie-looking) men and their chicks are off on a deer-hunting/camping-trip. They try a new unknown territory to camp and hunt, rather than to use their old unproductive/overused hunting spot because, "the deer know what kind of beer we drink."

Mel (Christopher Gummer) is the troublemaker of the group, is a kleptomaniac, liar and thief. He's brought along exploding bullets - just for fun - that'll leave nothing but the rack if he takes aim at a deer. The group has also decided to bring fireworks along (although I'm not a deer hunter, I've never heard of anyone bringing fireworks with them as an accessory for deer hunting. I suppose they could be used to flush out a herd of deer to parade in front of a bunch of hunters).

Kiyomi (Mimi Ishikawa) is a blind girl that starts to pick up strange vibes. Mel offers to scout the area. He discovers an old, run-down church with a graveyard alongside it. While scouting the church, he discovers a Confederate flag and a Captain's diary in a chest. He swipes the diary, returns the flag neatly, and then reports back to the hunting party.

Mel tells the others of the cool place he's discovered and takes them there. Wyatt (Steve Sandkuhler) discovers the chest and an argument breaks out amongst the group as to whether they should take the flag or not. Sarah (Rebecca Bach) thinks they should take the flag and sell it for the money, but she is out-voted. The rest of the group decides that it belongs to the Confederate soldiers buried alongside the church.

Confederate CannibalSure enough, we start seeing a raft of half-rotted Confederate soldiers - some in white make-up and some with full-head masks - are clawing their way out of their graves. The group has made camp a safe distance away from the church. Later that night, lights are seen moving around near the church. They figure it must be a party someone's having at the old church grounds and discount any ideas of further investigation.

Lin (Judy Dixon), Kiyomi's older sister, hears something and goes to check it out. Sure enough, a Confederate-zombie attacks her. Her scream sends the whole camp into a panic. Instinctively, Mel figures that a good head-shot is the only way to incapacitate the re-animated soldiers (hmmm... and those exploding bullets sure did come in handy). Bill (Jim Ball) orders Wyatt to throw the fireworks into the fire. Using the fireworks as a diversion, the group escapes the attack.

A couple of flat-footed, Maryland cops stop the group, who try to explain the goings on. Police Captain Hal Fritz (Richard Ruxton) finds the story hard to believe and starts writing up tickets until he's interrupted by an attack of the Confederates, who now start gut-munching on the victims as they are taken down. The soundtrack is flooded with gross chomping and slurping sounds as the Confederates devour their prey. (These sounds were inserted to get your date to wriggle up beside you and bury her head in your chest. It's up to you to take it from there.)

Although the film was produced and run in 1982, it feels like a solid low-budget seventies film. So, if you like that kind of treasure, it will make an excellent addition to your collection.

Will any of the group be able to escape alive? Will they figure out that all these dead guys want is their dead Captain's diary back? Will you be able to score with your chick? The answer to these questions and more can only come from getting a copy to try it for yourself, by clicking here.

Have you seen this movie? Tell us what you thought and share with other Video Addicts, or send an e-mail to thoughts@videoaddicts.com with the film's title in the SUBJECT line.


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Dave Lewis, a non-recovering videophiliac, is constantly on the lookout for strange and unusual videos. If you have an independent film (with or without good production values) or know of a rare or unique film that may be good for review, please write:
Dave Video Addict, P.O. Box 1753, Aberdeen, WA 98520. Or, e-mail Dave at webmanabc@hotmail.com.

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