Sunset on The River Styx Review

With major blockbusters taking a hit this year with the coronavirus shutting down theaters we still have a surplus of great independent genre films gearing to come out. Sunset on The River Styx is no exception.

This visually stunning film starring 2019’s breakout indie star Phillip Andre(Pledge, The Art of Self Defense) does an admirable job carrying the load as the main lead here. This movie is definitely one of the more unique vampire films shot on a shoestring budget you’ll find with glorious jump sequences that will remind you of video game jump scenes.

Aaron Pagniano does such an incredible writing fantastic dialogue that gives his actors Phillip Andre and Jackie Jandrell have amazing chemistry throughout the film. The way he chose to direct this film must have been a bold choice and it really paid off. It’s very stylish and slick.

This may require some patience from most of our readers on this site because it is not a fast paced film by any means but it is worth while if you stick with it. There is some romance in here too if you want some romance with your horror every once in a while.

Overall grade:

4/5 stars

Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies Launches Archival Classes Online, Welcomes New L.A. Branch Co-Directors: Filmmaker Graham Skipper & Film Historian Amy Searles

So this is really interesting Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies will be launching archival videos of online courses by donation access.

Released periodically over the Summer and viewable globally, the online roll-out will begin with confrontational artist Penny Slinger’s (An Exorcism, published in 1977) talk with filmmaker Jacqueline Castel at Miskatonic L.A. in December 2019. This will be followed by a Masterclass from British exploitation/horror filmmaker Pete Walker (FRIGHTMARE, COOL IT CAROL) moderated by Bret Berg of The American Genre Film Archive, and closing out with one of the most significant and celebrated sold-out events in the history of the Institute: THE SHADOW OVER LOVECRAFT: INTERROGATING H.P. LOVECRAFT’S RACISM – a panel of revisionist Lovecraft authors including Matt Ruff (Lovecraft Country), Victor LaValle (The Ballad of Black Tom), Ruthanna Emrys (The Innsmouth Legacy series) and longtime Lovecraft scholar Peter H. Cannon that took place at Miskatonic NYC in April 2019. The latter will be released in August, the same month that Jordan Peele and Misha Green’s hotly-anticipated series adaptation of Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country premieres on HBO.

In addition, Miskatonic is pleased to welcome actor and filmmaker Graham Skipper and film historian Amy Voorhees Searles as the new co-directors of its Los Angeles branch, based at the storied Philosophical Research Society headquarters in Los Feliz.

Graham Skipper is best known from Re-Animator: The Musical where he played the iconic role of Herbert West, and on-screen from his leading roles in Joe Begos’ ALMOST HUMAN and THE MIND’S EYE, and his directorial debut SEQUENCE BREAK. He is also the founder of the celebrated Rated-R Speakeasy, an immersive movie-inspired pop-up bar and event series, which has quickly risen as a social hot-spot within the vibrant Los Angeles horror community.

Amy Voorhees Searles is an award-winning Senior Producer at Trailer Park, Inc and second-generation horror fan currently living in L.A., as well as co-author of the forthcoming book “Unhealthy and Aberrant”: Depictions of Horror Fandom on Film and Television.

“I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into this role alongside Amy,” says Skipper, “and look forward to building upon Miskatonic Los Angeles’ already-strong foundation to provide the L.A. horror community with a home for learning, cultivating dialogue and ideas, and examining the horror genre we love in new and exciting ways.”

“I have followed the growth of the Miskatonic Institute with great interest since its inception in 2010,” says Searles, “and was thrilled to finally attend classes when the Los Angeles branch opened in 2018. Becoming involved with the Institute is a dream come true, and I look forward to promoting education regarding the historically maligned and misunderstood genre that has proven so foundational to my life. I consider myself doubly fortunate to be working with Graham Skipper, a stalwart of the horror scene, who shares my commitment to giving back to the community we hold so dear.”

The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies presents a conversation with British surrealist filmmaker, collage artist, sculptor and performer Penny Slinger, moderated by filmmaker and Miskatonic NYC Co-Director Jacqueline Castel. This class originally took place on December 12, 2019 in the Manly P. Hall Library at our Los Angeles host venue, the Philosophical Research Society.

In 1969 Slinger created her student thesis on the collage art of Max Ernst, which was a combination of written text, film and original collage work. “Having discovered the magic of surrealism,” she later wrote, “I wanted to employ its tools and methods to create a language for the feminine psyche to express itself. The kind of language that dove into the subconscious for images and wantonly combined them into situations and relationships that were both confrontational and expressive.” It was the beginning of an artistic identity that, while always evolving, frequently addressed themes of interior space, body horror, female sexuality and psychosis.

Penny’s work – from with her early student short films and first book of collage art, 50% The Visible Woman to her collaborations with filmmakers Peter Whitehead (LILFORD HALL, 1969) and Jane Arden’s Holocaust Theatre troupe (culminating in the feature film THE OTHER SIDE OF THE UNDERNEATH, 1972), and her masterpiece of psychic trauma, the collage art book An Exorcism (1977) – was the spark for a new mode of surrealism focused on the female experience that would have ripples throughout the film and art worlds, though it would take many years for her pioneering influence to be acknowledged – something that has recently been rectified with Richard Kovitch’s illuminating documentary PENNY SLINGER – OUT OF THE SHADOWS, which is available on VOD in North America now, at the links below:


Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020 – 12:00 Noon PST


Miskatonic is proud to present an evening in conversation with the great British horror and sexploitation director Pete Walker, moderated by Bret Berg of The American Genre Film Archive. This class originally took place on Thursday, May 9, 2019 in the main lecture hall at our Los Angeles host venue, the Philosophical Research Society.

Starting out in softcore sex shorts in the 1960s before turning to features in 1968 with films like THE BIG SWITCH, SCHOOL OF SEX and his breakthrough, COOL IT CAROL! in 1969, Walker then self-financed a decade of brilliant horror and terror films including DIE SCREAMING MARIANNE (1971), THE FLESH AND BLOOD SNOW (1972), HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (1974), FRIGHTMARE (1974), THE CONFESSIONAL (1976), SCHIZO (1976), THE COMEBACK (1978) and HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983), with the odd sexploitation film still peppered in, such as TIFFANY JONES (1973) and HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT (1979).

Walker’s work was often critically reviled in its day – even while being immensely successful commercially – although some astute critics did note their sophisticated subtexts, often dealing with double lives and the sadism of conservative authority figures who dole out various degrees of punishment to their younger, less repressed counterparts, who they see as vulgar or sinful. We’ll talk to Walker about being an upstart in an uptight industry, making a horror icon out of elderly Scottish actress Sheila Keith, turning communion wafers into weapons in The THE CONFESSIONAL, working with horror giants Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine on HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS, his ill-fated Sex Pistols documentary, and so much more.

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020 – 12:00 Noon PST

There is no denying that H.P Lovecraft was a racist. Though racism was not uncommon in his day, and some have argued that this excuses his attitudes, his racism and xenophobia were especially vehement, even for his time. These attitudes are directly apparent not only in an infamous 1912 poem denigrating those of African descent, but in journal entries and personal correspondences, as well as both directly and allegorically in his fiction.

Often held as Lovecraft’s most racist horror story, The Horror at Red Hook was addressed, revised and reclaimed by writer Victor LaValle in his brilliant, multiple award-winning novella The Ballad of Black Tom in 2016, which reconfigures the perspective of the story to that of African American protagonist Charles Thomas Tester, which Locus magazine praised for “co-opting Lovecraft’s epic-scale paranoia into the service of a trickster tale.”

The same year saw the release of Matt Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country, which similarly explores issues of race in Lovecraft’s work through its tale of an African American science fiction fan named Atticus Turner, traversing through New England during the heyday of the Jim Crow laws in search of his missing father.

The release of both of these books – coincidentally in the same week – prompted renewed questioning into the legacy of Lovecraft’s fiction for a legion of fans and fellow writers who have found magic in his Mythos and Cosmic Horror, easily one of the most influential strands of horror in literary history. But does Lovecraft’s racism overshadow his incredible contributions to the field? Should Lovecraft be demoted in the pantheon of horror writers based on his personal ideologies? Can people of those races and ethnicities Lovecraft directed hate towards still find value his work?

This momentous class, moderated by Miskatonic board member, author and festival programmer Rodney Perkins, features special guest speakers longtime Lovecraft scholar and Mythos author Peter H. Cannon and authors Victor LaValle, Matt Ruff and Ruthanna Emrys – whose debut novel Winter Tide (2017) was called “A mythos yarn that totally reverses the polarity on Lovecraft’s xenophobia, so that in the end, the only real monsters are human beings.”

George A. Romero film Amusement Park finally seeing the light of day

As some know there have been rumblings around George A. Romero’s film Amusement Park after 46 years after its completion. Produced by Suzanne Romero, it was restored in 4K by IndieCollect.

THE AMUSEMENT PARK is an alluring snapshot of the filmmaker’s early artistic capacity and style, and would go on to inform his ensuing filmography. The film was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. Romero, however, conceived of what was perhaps his wildest, most imaginative movie, an allegory about the nightmarish realities of growing older. THE AMUSEMENT PARK stars MARTIN’s Lincoln Maazel as an elderly man who finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies, and humiliations of aging in America manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds.

Yellow Veil Pictures Co-Founder Justin Timms said “We couldn’t be more excited to team up with the George A. Romero Foundation to bring this horrifying lost film to audiences. George’s work here, as always, is an unnerving criticism of American society, this time embodied through a relentless amusement park”

Suzanne Romero said: “Though not in the horror genre it is George’s most terrifying film. It has Romero’s unique footprint all over it!”

I for one am excited that this is finally coming out and that the masses can see this.

The Twilight Zone season 2 review

As many horror fans know, getting a chance to review something like The Twilight Zone is a huge deal. So when our good friend Jen McGowan(Rust Creek) directed an episode from this upcoming season of Twilight Zone we had to ask her if she knew anyone that could point us in the way of reviewing the upcoming season. She came through for us at Infamous Horrors in a big way!

Some of you may know I thought the first the first season, was overly ambitious for its own good. However, season two takes a step back and reminds us why The Twilight Zone is a historic piece in horror and science fiction art.

CBS All Access is the wonderful streaming service from CBS. Jordan Peele is still a magnificent storyteller even though I was underwhelmed by US.

Now let’s get into the new season. The first episode I watched happens to be the season finale with Jimmi Simpson giving a masterful performance that should remind us once again this It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia actor has such dynamic range and the fact he hasn’t had his own film by now baffles me. Also, a scene-stealing Gillan Jacobs, even though you only hear her voice most of the episode she’s still cultivating. The story in Meet In The Middle is a hopeless romantic love fantasy go awry.

Gillan Jacobs ”Meet In The Middle”

The second episode they sent us was The Who Of You. Which was a very ambitious heist thriller episode that would make Cristopher Nolan proud. Featuring a powerful performance from Billy Porter and Daniel Sunjata who should be on everyone’s watch list after this season giving a very charismatic controlling screen presence here is admirable to witness. This may be my favorite one of the bunch they sent me to review here. I will be interested in seeing people’s reactions to this episode after the launch.

Daniel Sunjata gives a charismatic performance.
Billy Porter is breathtaking in The Twilight Zone season 2

However, like most anthology series there are some episodes that won’t be up to par as the rest of the bunch and Twilight Zone season two is no exception to that. You Might Also Like seems like one that falls in the category as too ambitious to me or I’ve seen too many replicas of the same plot this year with the outstanding Vivarium and the flat out awful Room now streaming on shudder. Gretchen Mol seems out of place in this episode that seems to be a drag for everyone involved. Great Lee also gives a performance that doesn’t seem suited for her or that she wasn’t clear on what was going on in this over-ambitious episode.

However, if the mold of season two continues as it has in these three episodes they sent us to review. We are in for one hell of a treat as horror and science fiction fans with performances we will be talking about all summer long.

Interview with Director Joshua Caldwell for Infamous

This week we were lucky enough to chat with Joshua Caldwell for his new movie Infamous starring the always brilliant Bella Thorne also features an appearance from the most recent Pinhead Paul Taylor. We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did!

AJ: What were some of the inspirations for writing this film?

Josh: I was hugely Interested in heist movies Bonnie and clyde the thing about Bonnie and Clyde they weren’t turned into celebrities it was a really interesting to see those type of characters in today’s society.

AJ: Whenever you write a script where do you like to start?

Josh: From the beginning thinking of who are these people and it really became about the people and it become unrelenting people. It’s really fascinating to see this all unravel in front of you because you don’t really know the characters yet and what they do totally surprises you. There’s a platform for these type of people with Instagram for Natural Born Killers type of characters

AJ: How was it working with the cast?

Josh: It was so easy trying to figure out their world and working with Bella she knew that world and really let go and played a wildly type character, it was her first day we didn’t great amount of time and everyone so welcoming and took on the challenge. To see her just dive into her role and like you said give a breakthrough performance in front of our eyes was just astonishing, we were so thrilled working together on set.

AJ: Also working with such a great actor like Paul Taylor who was the latest Pinhead?

Josh: Paul Taylor was great I feel kinda bad because the past three days he was basically playing a dead character. He was such a great sport and a better person on the set. It’s surreal to get all these people working together it was just a blast.

AJ: What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Josh: Not really enthralled with horror, but I love when they mix in the tension with the drama to fuck with the audience. Even with stuff like Psycho and I had a couple of great friends who wrote A Quiet Place and thought they absolutely killed it and knocked it out of the park.

The Rental trailer debuts

IFC Films hit us today with the highly-anticipated directing debut of Dave Franco’s The Rental. Starring Alison Brie and Dan Sevens. It looks to be a promising thriller.

Special Advance Drive-In Screening and Q&A with Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White
Thursday, June 18th at 8:30 PM – Vineland Drive-In

Directed by: Dave Franco
Written by: Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg
Starring: Alison Brie (GLOW), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless)

Two couples on an oceanside getaway grow suspicious that the host of their seemingly perfect rental house may be spying on them. Before long, what should have been a celebratory weekend trip turns into something far more sinister, as well-kept secrets are exposed and the four old friends come to see each other in a whole new light. Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Jeremy Allen White, and Sheila Vand star in this unnerving and sophisticated debut thriller from Dave Franco (NEIGHBORS, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, THE DISASTER ARTIST).

This looks to be a prime Drive-In experience. Are you excited for The Rental?


Announcement trailer ahead of Thursday’s official trailer for Dave Franco’s The Rental

We got word from our friends at IFC Films that the trailer for the highly anticipated directorial debut of Dave Franco(yes James Franco’s brother). The Rental has quite the cast with Dan Stevens(The Guest) and Alison Brie(TV’s Community, Netflix’s GLOW).

ArcLight Cinemas and IFC Films’ will host a special sneak drive-in screening followed by a Q&A with Dave Franco on Thursday, June 18th at 8:30 PM at the Vineland Drive-In.

Directed by: Dave Franco
Written by: Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg
Starring: Alison Brie (GLOW), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless)

Two couples on an oceanside getaway grow suspicious that the host of their seemingly perfect rental house may be spying on them. Before long, what should have been a celebratory weekend trip turns into something far more sinister, as well-kept secrets are exposed and the four old friends come to see each other in a whole new light. Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Jeremy Allen White, and Sheila Vand star in this unnerving and sophisticated debut thriller from Dave Franco (NEIGHBORS, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, THE DISASTER ARTIST).

Resident Evil 8 trailer arrives

Resident Evil 8 has unveiled its trailer with the PS5 dropping some information about what games we can expect. Wow does this look amazing and the graphics look unreal. How many of you plan on buying the PS5 the first month it’s released? I know I will but j know a lot of people want to wait till they fix all the bug issues in the software.

“Ethan’s world suddenly comes crashing down once again when Chris Redfield, an unexpected yet familiar face makes an appearance, setting off a chain of events that sees a distraught Ethan seeking answers to Chris’s shocking actions… and ultimately finding him in a mysterious village,” Capcom said on the PlayStation Blog.

So what do you think of Resident Evil 8?

Infamous(2020) review

Infamous summed up perfectly is… Natural Born Killers for the Instagram era. That’s exactly what we get here. Equally unlikeable characters with good performances that are often over-the-top especially from Bella Thorne who is in this channeling her best Spring Breakers which was full of former Disney stars gone bad.

Bella Thorne stars in Infamous

Bella Thorne really gave it her all in this chilling unrelenting performance which could be her breakthrough with this gearing up to take over Drive-Ins across the country. It’s nice to see the independent film industry make a comeback during the pandemic.

I’m sure audiences will get a kick out of the over-the-top action in this dark comedy. For most of our audience on Infamous Horrors, this is by no means a horror flick. If you’re into stuff like Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers you’ll enjoy this film. If you want straight-up horror steer clear of this one.

3.5/5 stars

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