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At Last!!!...First Details for Nazis at the Center of the Earth!!!

I am a sucker for titles, always have been. I've bought books, movies and albums based on the title more so than any other determining factor, and that includes quality. I love words, and, to paraphrase Johnathan Swift, when the right words are in the right places, it's magic.

So then it should come as no surprise whatsoever that my second-most anticipated film of 2012* would be the awesomely-titled Nazis at the Center of the Earth, a film The Asylum announced they were making a few months ago. And now, after all our patient waiting, we at last have cast, crew and plot details, and boy-ar-dee are they delicious.

First let's take a look at the plot: "Researchers in Antarctica are abducted by a team of masked storm troopers. They are dragged deep underground to a hidden continent in the center of the earth. Here Nazi survivors, their bodies a horrifying patchwork of decaying and regenerated flesh, are planning for the revival of the Third Reich."

Oh my god. So, not only is it a modern-day Nazi flick, and a Vernesian-secret-continent flick, but it's also a zombie flick? Dear lord this is gonna be even better than we thought. And just who are the creative powerhouses set to pull off this masterpiece? That's where shit gets even better... 

At the helm of the flick is Joseph Lawson, best known to Asylum fanatics as the company's visual effects supervisor, a position he's held over for 18 films and counting. This guy was in charge of making Moby Dick breach his hump like a snowhill, the guy who made those python mega and those gators oided, among many, many other fine feats. N.A.T.C.O.T.E.  will mark Mr. Lawson's first time directing, but come on, let's be serious: the guy is responsible for heading up the best FX the studio's ever had; is there any doubt he's going to knock this one out of the park? Not from where I'm sitting...

...especially when you consider whose script he's working off of: none other than Paul Bales, Asylum partner and the pen behind two of my favorite Asylum films (all ass-kissing aside), and certainly two of the smartest (see my last parentheses): Sherlock Holmes and 2010 Moby Dick. You put these two guys together, and what we now have is an Asylum Prestige picture...and that's not even taking into account the cast...

First up - and there are no hints as yet as to who or what these folks will be playing - is the lovely and talented Dominique Swain (Lolita, Face/Off, New Best Friend with Born Bad's Meredith Monroe). You gotta love how no matter the situation, The Asylum finds away to work in a foxy lady. God bless those guys.

As if you needed further enticing, the film is also set to star Christopher Karl Johnson of Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes and the one, the only...Jake Freakin' Busey.

Jake is best known for memorable turns in films like Starship Troopers, The Frighteners, The Hitcher 2 and Roadhouse 2, but around here, he's most-remembered for his earlier appearance in an Asylum film, in the very film, in fact, that launched the Mockbuster craze: War of the Worlds. Nice to see him back in the stable.

Josh Allan is also slated to star, but there are a handful of Josh Allan's on IMDB, so I wasn't sure which Josh was Josh. Alex Yellen is shooting the film, his 18th turn as cinematographer for the studio.

Nazis At The Center of the Earth has a tentative release date of April 24th, 2012. I've already marked it in my phone calendar.

*c'mon, you know what my #1 is

Lovely Ladies of the Asylum vol. 7

I'm not a fool, gentlemen. I know what brings you here, what lures you in, coaxes your hits, some of you at least. It isn't the snarky commentary, or the breaking news, the hard-hitting interviews or deep-digging profiles, no, it's not me at all, is it? I see the keywords from my Google hits, and I know a picture of a pretty lady brings in more readers than the phrase "observation notes." 

Not that I can blame you: The Asylum employs a score of attractive and - more importantly - capable, intelligent and talented actresses well worthy of your search engine adoration. So, to gives my readers something I know they want and would never ask for, I tastefully present a pictorial tribute to some of The Asylum's beautiful leading ladies, this time the stars of the studio's 2011 productions. Enjoy.

Erin Coker, 11/11/11

Aurelia Scheppers, 11/11/11
AnnaMaria Demara, 200MPH
Hennely Jiminez, 200MPH

Julie McCullough, 2012 Ice Age

Michelle Boyd, 3 Musketeers

Heather Hemmens, 3 Musketeers

Patrica Velasquez, Almighty Thor

C.B. Spencer, Ballistica

Jeneta St. Clair, Barely Legal

Melissa Johnson, Barely Legal

Lisa Younger, Barely Legal

Nia Peeples, Battle of Los Angeles

Theresa Jun-Tao, Battle of Los Angeles

Meredith Monroe, Born Bad

Bonnie Dennison, Born Bad

Cecily Fay, Dragon Crusaders

Shinead Byrne, Dragon Crusaders

Courtney Abbiati, A Haunting in Salem

Debbie Gibson, Mega Python vs Gatoroid

Tiffany, Mega Python vs Gatoroid

Taryn Manning, Zombie Apocalypse

Lesley-Ann Brandt, Zombie Apocalypse

observation notes: 3 Musketeers

It isn't often we get a straight-up action film - no mutated creatures, no sci-fi elements, no natural or unnatural disasters, just a good, old-fashioned, explosive shoot-em-up - from The Asylum; Ballistica they only distributed, and other than that you got The 9/11 Commission Report, last year's Airline Disaster and this year's 200MPH. But that's exactly what you get with 3 Musketeers, the studio's modern adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' seminal adventure novel, written by Edward DeRuiter and directed by Cole S. McKay, the man responsible for 200MPH.

Released to coincide with the major-studio 3D revamp (which incidentally bombed), in The Asylum's version, Musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are thrust into the modern era, portrayed as an elite squad of international spies. When they're framed for an atrocity they did not commit, it sets in motion a chain of events meant to conclude with the assassination of the President of the United States. It's up to Alexandra D'Artagnan, a junior NSA officer, to draw the Musketeers out of hiding and enlist their help in thwarting this dastardly plot. 

And what a plot it is. All in all, 3 Musketeers is a pretty rad political-action flick with wry comedic dashes, explosive, astounding VFX and suspense in spades. In addition to solid scripting and pulse-racing direction, it's the cast that really works to make this one a success.

Our heroes are comprised of actors Xin (Athos), Michele Boyd (Aramis) and Keith Allan (Porthos), while Heather Hemmens plays newbie agent D'Artagnan. Xin was picked for the part primarily, I would imagine, because of his status as one of the world's foremost urban ninjas; if I'm honest, I was expecting some spectacular martial arts and some less-than-spectacular acting from him, but, happily, I was wrong. Xin is certainly an adrenaline-rush just to watch, but he is also sly, stoic and commanding; guy brought his A-game, all-around. 

Michele Boyd's Aramis is vicious grace personified, sleek, sultry and lethal. As the squad's youngest member, she is also its most passionate, thus perhaps its most dangerous. Her beauty is a weapon she wields with a confidence and stern sincerity beyond her years. 

Actors Xin and Heather Hemmens
Heather Hemmens character has a uniqueness to it, as not only is she trying to thwart said dastardly plot, she's also trying to prove herself to the Musketeers. As such, Hemmens occupies the role as intelligently aggressive, respectfully ambitious, impulsive and pure of heart. She's also a certified grade-A badass, the very definition of a strong woman and acted with tangible aplomb. 

And Keith Allan turns in an energetic performance as the squad's resident tech-genius, a wise-cracking, snarky and delightfully sarcastic character, the strongest of the film. Allan provides tension, relatability and most important, levity.

The film also boasts outstanding supporting roles filled by the likes of Alan Rachins ("L.A. Law, Dharma & Greg") as The Cardinal, the cold, zealous, megalomaniacal mastermind behind it all, David Chokachi ("Baywatch," Born Bad) as a consummate soldier living under his own ideals of loyalty, Steven Williams ("21 Jump Street," "Supernatural") as the former agent who gets this conspiracy rolling, the ever-present Gerald Webb as a trusting NSA agent and even a cameo from horror-legend Kane Hodder - 3-time Jason Vorhees and hella prolific actor/stuntman - as the torture-dealing Dr. Kim.

The VFX are practically a character all their own, heightening the suspense and thrills at every opportunity. There are aerial sequences galore, and they're nail-bitingly phenomenal, as well as explosions all sizes, and not once did I lose myself in the CGI - everything was real and seamless and the augmentation to story it was meant to be. 

Seriously, this one never gives you a chance to catch your breath. The action starts  in the first minute and rarely lets up: there are air strikes, fire-fights, more hand-to-hand combat sequences than you can shake a stick at and stellar free-running martial-arts displays from one of the form's foremost practitioners. When the action does briefly recede, there's an intense and intelligent political thriller running underneath, a riveting rivulet of intrigue that keeps your heart excitedly palpitating between explosions. This is a credit to screenwriter Ed DeRuiter. This was DeRuiter's first script for the studio, but he also wrote the story for 2 Headed Shark Attack, which I wrote the script for, so I can tell you first-hand dude's the real deal. I'm not sure there's ever been an Asylum script quite so lively as 3 Musketeers.

Director McKay applies the same fast-paced, thrill-inducing storytelling skills he showed us in 200MPH, but on a much, much grander scale here. And what was rad with car chases is RAD with all the stuff going on here. His use of quick cuts, handheld cameras, shifting perspectives within scenes etc., really fuels the film's addictively frenetic atmosphere. And whoever was in charge of the fight choreography gets an especial tip of my hat: there were fists, guns, grenades, choppers, jets, missiles and - yes - even swords, and each conflict was more spectacular than the last.

All in all then, I say this is a fine effort from all involved, and one of the better - if not the best to date - straight-up action films The Asylum has delivered. It's got action, intrigue, suspense, PG-13 sexuality, quips, kills, guns, chase scenes, deceptions aplenty and frequent blossoms of fire; what more do you want?

Don't Forget to Give to Toys For Tots!

With all the Mega Shark 3 hubbub blowing around right now, you might have forgotten that The Asylum is also in the midst of a super-important toy drive for the venerable charity Toys For Tots, and they're asking for our help. 

All you need to do is get your hands on as many unwrapped toys as you can and mail them or drop them off at The Asylum:

Santa Elf
c/o The Asylum
72 East Palm Ave.
Burbank, CA. 91502
It's just that simple. And for an added perk - as though helping a needy and deserving child have this Holiday Season needed an added perk - if you give a whole bunch, you just might get yourself an Asylum DVD, the perfect stocking stuffer; may I recommend A Haunting in Salem.
Check out my original post on the matter right here for more details, and get going on those donations - December 2nd is a week from this Friday!

Mega Shark 3 is a REAL POSSIBILITY!!!

...all we have to do is increase the number of people following The Asylum's Twitter account from 1,100 to 3,000 by December 31st, 2011, and THEY WILL GREENLIGHT A PART THREE!!!

So what are you waiting for? Share this link with EVERYONE YOU EVEN REMOTELY KNOW, NOW! NOW!!!

Could There be a MEGA SHARK 3...?

So, big news over at The Asylum site today: seems some deeply-committed, highly-motivated, forward-thinking fan (not me) has decided to establish an online petition in hopes of persuading the studio to produce a third film starring the wildly-popular Mega Shark.

Obviously, I think this is an OUTSTANDING idea, and applaud the visionary behind the petition. At press time, I was the 96th person to sign this thing, and I figure a good 50,000 or so should convince them to get the wheels rolling. So hit the site, sign the petition, then Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or whatever else you got the crap out of this thing, and let's make Mega Shark 3 happen, or Mega Shark Cubed, as I'm calling it, with the subtitle Mega Shark vs Mega Shark vs Mega Shark; only one of several scenario-ideas I have - you better believe I want to script this one...

Sounds Like An Asylum Film to Me

This one practically came up with itself, especially when the picture below was thrown in:

So, then - and this is mined from an article over at Reuters - the basis is simple: scientists think that one of the big ways to solve our impending energy catastrophe is by harvesting "space solar power," which is, of course, solar power harvested in space. Pretty neat idea, and it sounds pretty feasible, too. All we'd need are a few dozen couple-kilometer-wide satellites (see the picture again) to collect this energy, convert it into electricity then shoot it back to Earth, "by a large microwave-transmitting antenna or by lasers, then fed into a power grid."

See what I mean about coming up with itself? You expect me to read an article on a plan to put dozens of these things into geosynchronous orbit, collecting sunlight and shooting it down to Earth via lasers and not immediately begin conceiving a disaster film? C'mon...

In Solar Destruction, Brewster Pennington (David Charvet) is the lead scientist for a private energy corporation's Space Solar Power program, attempting to beat the government into space with working satellites so they can reap the contract profits. When Pennington discovers that their haste has lead to a small but real chance the electricity conversion could go dangerously awry and transform the sunlight into a giant death ray, he immediately brings it to the project director, Russell Marsh (Jack Scalia). Marsh, an old-school corporate henchman with allegiances to only himself and the almighty dollar, says they don't have time to start over, they launch now or never, and thus dismisses Pennington's claim. When Pennington threatens to take it higher up the food chain, Marsh removes him from the project and bans him from the facility.

Sure enough, once there are a good dozen satellites up in space just soaking in that limitless sunlight, that small but real chance happens and all 12 start shooting down death rays, first right into the power grids of the top 12 American metropolitan areas, knocking out the power of approximately 101,000,000 homes, then the rays just sort of drag across the landscape, burning black swaths across the country and destroying everything and everyone in their path, including, coincidentally enough, the control facility. Marsh has fled but hundreds of others are killed at the facility, and any chance of controlling the satellites is destroyed.

In the wake of this, Pennington is called in by Marsh and those very higher-ups he threatened to go to, now seeking his help. But with the control facility gone, the satellites are acting autonomously. Furthermore, with the power infrastructure fried, all weapons guidance systems are down, meaning they can't shoot these puppies out of the sky, either. And as if all this wasn't enough, the lovely and brilliant Trajectory Cartographer (huh? what?) they've brought in to try and predict the rays' paths (Olivia D'Abo) is 95% certain four of the rays are going to converge over Yellowstone National Park, triggering the supervolcano there in a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG way, the sorta way that just completely cracks the planet like an egg, all fire and lava and ash and smoke, a real Hell on Earth. 

So then they gotta figure a way to stop it. And here I'll say no more, because should it ever get turned into a flick, I wouldn't want to spoil it. Also, because I haven't really thought it out. But it's gonna involve a homemade laser, or some kind of hand-rigged remote control, or a bunch of really big mirrors, or maybe even all three.

Point is, Solar Destruction - or possibly Solar Annihilation, which I think might have more heft - would be a pretty kick-ass flick. I'm gonna add it to my list of potential pitches and turn it into a treatment; I've written 15 other treatments since 2 Headed Shark Attack (all for myself, of course) and there are some real gems in there; I think this could be among the higher-end. If anyone knows Charvet's people, let him know I got his next starring vehicle right here.

creature feature: Nat, the Devil-Child of 11/11/11

I know the flick only recently came out, but I was so effected by the creepy, haunting and fearsome Devil-Child at the center of Keith Allan's 11/11/11 - portrayed by the talented Hayden Byerly - that I wanted to write-up a creature feature on the kid while these impressions were still freshly scarred on my feeble psyche.

Devil Kids are nothing new - The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned, The Exorcist, Demon Seed, The Good Son, Children of the Corn, The Omen, Godsend, Joshua, every other episode of "The Twilight Zone," and Curly Sue - in fact, it's probably a safe bet that ever since the first child was born (however you believe that may have happened), people have had the idea of these little bundles of Heaven being sent straight from Hell. 

Too often, however - in my opinion, of course - the kids they cast in these roles are already hella creepy: Patty McCormack? Harvey Stephens? Linda Blair? Macaulay Culkin? There's a motley pantheon of frightening, frightening children if I've ever seen one. But the actor portraying "Nat" in 11/11/11 is not that scary-looking, on the surface, at least. Hayden Byerly's just a nice, normal kid, the kind you find everywhere in this nice, normal country of ours. And that makes him MUCH creepier; from mugs like the other kids, you expect some evil goings-on, but with Byerly, you don't, you can't - seems like the cruelest thing the kid's capable of is eating the last slice of pizza without asking if anyone else wanted it - and so when he goes total freaking demonic on you, the effect is far more chilling, because he's the Everykid, not the wonky-eyed, ghoulish sort. Even his name is nice: "Nat." I knew a Nat in grad school, and he was a genuinely sweet and gentle guy. You never expect the rebirth of Satan from a Nat. No way.

So then right off the bat, advantage Nat. Now let's get into what he actually is: according to the movie and the handy "How to be a Demon" book neighbors keep passing on to him, "the Devil will be born on 11-11-11." The Devil. THE Devil. Not the Antichrist like Damien (a human destined to lead public opinion and an ally of the Devil), or possessed by a demon like Regan in The Exorcist, but the ACTUAL Devil, Lucifer, The Fallen One, pitchfork-n-horns DEVIL. And with him come all the horrors and powers of Hell. That's really all you need to know about that. Again, advantage Nat.

What I found coolest about 11/11/11 and Nat, however, was that the boy's greatest (albeit unrecognized) ability was that of inspiring vicious loyalty. Nat doesn't transform fully until near the end of the film, on his birthday, so most of the movie's violence comes from those intent on delivering the Devil in Nat. First rule of unleashing a Biblical Apocalypse upon the whole of humanity? Never do the dirty work yourself. Damien kinda knew this, but Nat is so powerful and so important, he doesn't have to know it, it's the job of others to just handle that shit. 

So then when you look at the kid's bulletpoints:
  • deceptively creepy
  • the ACTUAL Devil, not just his tool
  • no heavy lifting
...there's really no doubt whatsoever that Nat Vales is the freakiest, scariest, most powerful Demon-Child in cinema history. Or at least in Asylum history. Or at least in this blog's opinion. Today. Judge for yourself if you haven't seen the film, on DVD now, or if you have, watch it again with these things in mind. Either way, just watch it.

Asylum Should-Stars #12

Here at Committed, I'm always looking for ways to prolong my love affair with Asylum blogging. I've done inmate profiles and I've done pitches, but now, I'm melding the best of these features into one, amalgamated column: the awkwardly-named Asylum Should-Stars, in which I present actors/actresses/other cultural figures I think would make lovely additions to the Asylum's stable of performers. More mindless fun to wile away your workday! Let's dive right in, shall we?

Name: Rachel Miner

Best Known For: Dani on "Californication," Meg on "Supernatural," Hide, Penny Dreadful, Bully, etc.

Plays: uber-vixens, the petite firecracker with a sass ten times her size, devious femme fatales who are often the smartest person in the room.

Could Be Cast As: the ringmaster of some nefarious organization/cult, the sinister agent of a clandestine government program, any of a variety of supernatural horrors - witches, demons, vampires, werewolves; anything but a mummy, really - or step outside the box and offer her a straight leading role, the scientist battling a strange cataclysm, the mother seeking protection for she and her children from a natural disaster or creature attack; pretty much name it, and she'd nail it.

Name: Jeremy Miller

Best Known For: dude, it's Ben Seaver from "Growing Pains"

Plays: pretty much Ben Seaver from "Growing Pains," but over the last handful of years he's been more active in taking small film roles. This guy's ripe for a giant squid movie.

Could Be Cast As: let's start with the giant squid movie - any small town hero at the heart of a in-your-face creature feature sound's right up Miller's alley. He's got that Greg Evigan, Colin Ferguson everyman thing going on, the kind of guy it's easy to root for.

Name: Cynthia Rothrock

Best Known For: being the late 80's/early 90's martial arts Queen, kicking mad ass in flicks like China O'Brien 1 & 2, Rage and Honor 1 & 2, Lady Dragon 1 & 2, Fast Getaway I & II, Martial Law 1 & 2 and Tiger Claws 1, 2 and 3; finally got that hat trick.

Plays: women with crazy martial arts skills; usually this involves being a cop or a teacher or some other noble profession, but, you know, a cop or teacher who can fight her way out of a packed dojo without messing up her hair.

Could Be Cast As: though she hasn't acted in seven or eight years, Ms. Rothrock is the perfect sort of cultural figure who would shine in a small, mentor-like role in a martial arts or action film. Seriously, someone should snatch her up now before Tarantino remembers she's out there.

Help The Asylum Help Kids in Need!!!

As the holidays are somehow already upon us, it's time again to remember that in this season of receiving, it is far, far more satisfying to give. And one of the most venerable and long-standing of holiday charities, Toys For Tots, is getting its annual hand-up from the fine, fine folks at The Asylum, who are asking for our help. 
Below, please find the call-to-arms from Asylum executive producer David Michael Latt; read it, act on it, then spread it around to as many of your friends, family, co-workers, roommates, significant others, amiable strangers or pretty much anyone you know who has email or a social networking site, and ask them to do the same. It isn't so much the physical gift that can make the biggest difference, often times it's just knowing someone cares. So help out the studio that has given you so many outstanding hours of awesome entertainment over the years by pledging a toy or seventeen to the drive. Info is below, and again, please pass it on!
"This is Latt from The Asylum, and yes, it's that time again: TOYS FOR TOTS!!!

This is my favorite of all charities, because unlike that other cancer one we do ever year, this one actually has an immediate result: Happy, smiling, kids! Instant good Karma!

So, what do I want from you? 

That's it! 
(It's so easy to buy good karma)

Mail it, or drop it off...and if I'm at the office, let me know and I'll say hello (lucky you!).

AND…the person(s) who brings in the most toys will get their choice of an Asylum DVD. Yeah, that's right. A real Asylum DVD. You're welcome, world. 
Here's what you need to do:
-Find a toy.
-Don't wrap it!
-Mail it, or drop it off to:
Santa Elf
c/o The Asylum
72 East Palm Ave.
Burbank, CA. 91502
All toys must be delivered to the office by December 2, 2011.
Good Toys:
-Books (used are fine, but they must look new)
-Anything that doesn't require batteries
-Nothing wrapped
Lots of little toys are better than 1 big toy
Bad Toys:
-Occupy Wall Street Posters

David Latt & the whole Latt Clan
(David, Kim, Audrey, Brady & Moise)
P.S.: Please forward this email, post it on Facebook, Twitter, etc... We want to break records for the most toys this year!!!
What is Toys for Tots? It's a charity that gives holiday gifts to underprivileged and impoverished kids. It's founded by the US Marines. For more information about the US Marine's Toys For Tots program:

Sounds Like An Asylum Film to Me

Dibs dibs dibs...that adorable-lookin' fella above you're thinking can't possibly be real is in fact very possible, very real, and very much so a script I want in my immediate future. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, that there is the first discovered CYCLOPS SHARK!!!

No shit, they pulled that thing out of the belly of a "legally caught" and pregnant dusky shark in the Gulf of California earlier this year, and after much scientific scrutiny, it was confirmed that what we have here is a 22-inch dusky shark fetus with a single, functioning eye front and center on its head. Imagine, just IMAGINE the melee that might have erupted had Clopsy up there been birthed and allowed to grow to what I can only hope would have been a colossal size.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, what advantages would a one-eyed shark have over, say, any other shark? Truthfully, probably none; truthfully, it's probably a big detriment. But I'm not in the business of truth, I'm in the "wacky concept" game, and in here, your silly, restrictive rules about biology, chemistry, physics etc, these things are Play-Doh to me: squishy, shapeable and delicious. 

In my world, of course having only one eye is an advantage: it makes for a far more adept and efficient hunter, there are redirected sensory electrodes or whatever that heighten its other senses - that's right, Cyclops Shark can smell - and maybe, just maybe, it can hone these extra-sensory skills into a beam of invisible force, like telekinesis or carbon monoxide, that shoots out of its one, large, scary eye. Maybe it's a tractor beam that pulls you in, or has a numbing effect that disables its prey from a distance. What about that, science? You didn't think about any of that, did you? No, you didn't, because to science, a cyclops shark is impossible. But in here, we've had 'em for centuries. Way to catch up, science.

Wow, that got a little off course; science and I have been at odds since middle school after a heated argument over the liklihood of Encino Man. I digress. Point is, there's a lot to be done with a cyclops shark, cinematically speaking, and I want to be the guy to do it. Gimme two weeks, 70 High Life Tallboys and "Eddie" from Family Matters and I'll give you the second-best direct-to-DVD shark film of all-time. You don't really have to ask what the best is, do you?

The Amityville Haunting Trailer is Here!

The final Asylum film of 2011 - The Amityville Haunting, on DVD (note the new date) December 27th, 2011, the same day as Zombie Apocalypse - at long last has a trailer, and it's frightening as all get out:

This is a found-footage film centered around an American family - the Bensons - who had the misfortune of moving into a house that wasn't completely uninhabited, spiritually-speaking. From the trailer, this looks to be the scariest of the found-footage projects The Asylum has distributed (Paranormal Entity, Gacy House, Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes), and is laced from start to finish with pure, unadulterated terror.

Relive for yourself the horrible fate of the Benson family - as seen via their own videotapes - in the waning days of 2011 when The Amityville Haunting finally comes to light...

creature feature: The Witch-Ghosts Who Haunt Salem

Nicholas Harsin and Shoshanna Chagall
A lot of the time, I'm winging these Creature Features; most of it is just speculation and hyperbole. But this time, for this feature, I know exactly what I'm talking about, because I came up with the creatures in question. That's right, I'm talking about the ghoulish and grotesque witch-ghosts haunting the Corwin House and the Downs family in The Asylum's most-recent horror flick, A Haunting in Salem, directed by Shane Van Dyke from a script I penned.

See, for me it's all about the double threat: you take witches - already bad enough - but then you kill 'em, give 'em a few hundred years to get nice and vengeful, and what you end up with are ghost-witches, which are, like, 100 times worse. They can do ghost stuff like walking through walls, disappearing, making scary-ass whispers, and they can also do witchy demon stuff like rot your teeth or make you puke or steal your bat or possess your family, turn your bathwater to blood, all sorts of extra shit.

Point of truth: the poor unfortunates killed in the Salem Witch Trials weren't actually witches. Okay, that's fair, but think about this: maybe they weren't witches when they were alive, but maybe after they died, real witches took pity on them and came up with a spell or a broth or something like that to turn their ghosts into witches. Or Satan, what about Satan? He can do that stuff. Either way, witch-ghosts or ghost-witches, it's all the same in the end.

Regardless of how they came to be, there's no question as to what they want: to enact revenge on all the subsequent sheriffs of Salem for the torture and murders they suffered at the hands of Corwin. And they want you to feel what they felt, quite literally: harassment, condemnation, boiling water and blades as torture implements, and eventually foul death, by hanging if the situation allows, but they got no qualms about throwing your ass out an upper-story window or shivving you with a piece of glass or some garden shears, if they're handy. They're witch-ghosts (or ghost-witches), they truly don't give a fuck: revenge is revenge.

So then what are one's possible recourses against a platoon of undead bitches (not a typo)? Maybe I didn't make myself as clear as I could have on this issue in the film, because a few bloggers and reviewers seemed confused by certain actions. In the Salem Witch Trials, each of the unfortunates sentenced to death were executed by hanging. This is not a traditional witch-killing method. You got yourself a witch problem*, the only thing you can do is burn 'em out. That's what Corwin got wrong (if they had been witches, hanging woulda just pissed them off) and that's what the Sheriff in the film's opening sequence was intending to do, knowing, as Wayne did when he got the gas can, that things in the house had escalated past a point of return. Both men were taking a more traditional route to the situation, and both were willing to sacrifice themselves as, with their families gone, they had no further reason to live. The witches were the house, so the house had to go to get rid of them; sometimes you gotta cut off the hand to save the arm.

And there you have it, whether you wanted it or not, an insider's look at the creatures central to A Haunting in Salem, those doing the titular haunting. I think, armed with this knowledge as you now are, you should go right now and watch the film again, see if our discussion adds any layers to your enjoyment. Tell a friend, while you're at it, or all of them.

*I am, of course, talking ONLY about fictional witches, not any person or persons who might actually practice witchcraft, and certainly not the Wiccan religion as a whole. Don't be silly. My witches are creatures, not people; I don't advocate killing sharks, either, if that had to be said. 

outside the walls: November DVD Releases

I recognize that not all great films are made exclusively by The Asylum and that, in fact, there's a whole world of film outside these walls, some of which might actually interest Asylum fans - when they're not watching or re-watching Asylum films, of course. And, being as I'm only looking out for your viewing well-being, here's a peek at some other DVD releases this month which might satiate you between Asylum releases. But remember, as always, Sweet n' Low ain't sugar.

November 1st


written by Kiff Scholl & Keith Allan
directed by Keith Allan

November 8th

Bedlam: Season One

Born Bad

written & directed by Jared Cohn
starring Michael Welch, Bonnie Dennison, Meredith Monroe & David Chokachi

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

November 15th

Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao

November 22nd


Conan the Barbarian


Night Crawlers

November 29th


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil