KILLING GROUND is a Killer Movie!

Today’s review is about another great Australian film. The film scene down under consistently puts out a few great films a year. WYRMWOOD, Wolf Creek and Animal Kingdom come to mind as great thriller/horror films since 2005. It also goes without saying FURY ROAD is in another category all together! But before I get into KILLING GROUND I think it is worth a moment to clear up what is a HORROR film and/or THRILLER film. When I am asked what makes a film a thriller or horror I often give a quote ex-vice president Al Gore’s wife stated (for another reason, but works for me) during her fight to censor music lyrics. When asked what are explicit lyrics she said, “Well it’s like pornography. I am not sure but I know when I see it.” I feel the same way about a HORROR film or THRILLER film. Hard to define, but I know when I see it. I did a little research and here are the best definitions I can find (although vague) that make it easier to really know the difference and why so many films have been described as BOTH!

Horror: an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. Thriller: with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or a high degree of intrigue, adventure or suspense.

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SHE WAS SO PRETTY: This is what an Indie film should strive to be

Jason's Reviews She was So Pretty

This is another film I was able to see because of attending Days of the Dead (DOTD) in Indianapolis in early July and I am so glad I did. I was able to meet the director, Brooke Ewing, a first-time director that pulled no punches telling everyone and anyone that she made the film for $0. Brooke had an idea, friends, passion and time. I was able to hear her talk about her film making experience on a panel where she spoke about the joy and pain of being an indie film maker. Making her movie was the easy part and selling her film was a challenge and hence her marketing phrase $5 movie “Buy it, don’t pirate it”. I loved chatting with her at her vendor table and was excited to hear that she had wrapped on her sequel to SHE WAS SO PRETTY!

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MST3K “Watch out for Snakes” Tour a Riffing Riot!

I purchased my ticket for the MST3K “Watch out for Snakes!” tour about ten minutes after they’d gone on sale. At the time, my trip to New England was winding down and I remember feeling grateful to have something new to look forward to. In addition to the general admission tickets, fans could also choose between two types of VIP passes. After reviewing the details, I opted for the cheaper one…and the operative word here, folks, is cheaper not cheap. When the big day finally arrived, my friend Nikki and I battled Windy City construction before settling in at a parking garage near Chicago’s Vic Theater. Although the garage itself looked as if it were being held together by spit and gum, it was a pretty neat part of the city that I’d never been to before.

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Pondering the Riddle of the Bridgewater Triangle!

I wasn’t sure when I’d ever make it back to New England until the lure of the other Dave’s recent surprise birthday party (featured in my last post) unexpectedly made it this year. Sure, the timing could’ve been better but I was grateful for a chance to return; not just to see friends but also more of Massachusetts which has intrigued me since my first visit back in 2010. And how could it not? “The Old Colony State” is rich in American history with some of our country’s oldest and most sinister roots stretching just below the surface of its otherwise beautiful landscapes. It’s a State with the type of scenic countenance and coastal charms a Midwesterner like myself often pines for. Yet, despite its allure, Massachusetts unnerves me with a subtle creepiness I can feel if not adequately explain. I’m not sure why that is considering I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and am certainly not naïve to my own city’s spooky tales and violent past (nor present I might add). I guess for me visiting New England is like stepping into an old attic loaded with strange relics, musty memories, and a glimpse of an ominous history we grazed over in school. In keeping with that metaphor, Massachusetts is like the old, locked trunk sitting in its darkest corner. This year I decided to pull back some of the cobwebs and use the party as an opportunity to covertly visit and explore a series of sites in Massachusetts that are all part of its infamous Bridgewater Triangle. If you live outside of New England, you’ve probably never heard of it but, for many of the locals, it’s arguably more notorious than Salem itself.

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Happy 50th Birthday David Albaugh (and the story behind that amazing surprise party)!

Would you believe I spent the better part of last week hiding in New England? It all started back in December when my fellow Terror Dave’s amazing girlfriend, Melissa, unexpectedly reached out to me. For those who read our recent posts from Erie, Pennsylvania, you may recall the purpose of that get-together was to celebrate David Albaugh’s 50th birthday (albeit two months early) since I was unable to make it out to Rhode Island in May.

Or at least that’s what I thought back at the time.

Just two weeks after formalizing that trip, Melissa’s message arrived asking for my assistance in throwing him a surprise party. Tracking me down took a bit of work on her part as I was in the midst of a “90 days without Facebook Challenge” and it’s not like she could ask David for my email address, either. I was truly touched by her efforts as well as the kind words that came with them. “You’re the first person I want to talk to about this as you’re so incredibly special to him,” she wrote. “The way he talks about you is so heartwarming to me, and I seriously doubt he’d consider it a birthday party without you there.”

I was very grateful for her sharing that with me. Best friendships are a rare gift that can be a challenge to maintain even when you don’t live a thousand miles away from each other like we do.  Melissa helped me see that despite the distance, we Terror Daves really have evolved into a family of sorts. Whoever this new woman was in David’s life, she gave me some much-needed clarity and I, in turn, would give her my full support. With the two co-conspirators officially aligned, it was time to see to it that David got the birthday celebration he deserved.

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The Terror of Trundle Manor

Trundle Banner

As my pre-birthday celebrating wound down it was obvious Dave still had some surprises in store for me. Once again, for our final stop, I had no idea where we were going or what to expect. Ever since I was a teen I have been fascinated by sideshows. Not so much by the human oddities but more so with the illusion and gaffs (something fake advertised as real, or “unreal”). Show me a real live lizard man (a person with scaly dry skin) and I will probably quickly move on but show me something like a feejee mermaid, something weird in a jar or a fur-bearing trout and I am there! Over the years I have even collected some various gaffs so this fascination of mine was definitely noticed by Dave which lead us to our final destination…Trundle Manor.

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