Archive for September, 2015

The Den (2013)

Posted: September 26, 2015 in Movie Review
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It’s interesting how one movie can get you watching other movies. Following on from my viewing of Megan Is Missing, I was recommended to check out The Den. The film’s IMDB page states this movie as falling under the genres of comedy, horror and thriller. Some would be quick to dismiss the comedy factor of this movie but I guess, apart from all the horror, there are brief moments of comedy although not enough that I would ever put this in the comedy genre. Basically, this movie is part slasher, part found footage, and all round gruesome.

The Den is directed by Zachary Donohue and written by both Donohue and Lauren Thompson. The film centers around Elizabeth Benton (played by Melanie Papalia); an adorable and very likable young woman who receives a grant to study the online habits of people via a program called DenChat which is similar to something like ChatRoulette. Elizabeth flicks from user to user to look for someone to speak with that has something interesting to say until she stumbles upon an account that she cannot see because their webcam is broken yet eventually she observes a murder. Thankfully she has a screen recorder that will record every cam conversation she has and she calls the cops and shows them the gory footage. Like all movies when the cops are called in, they don’t have an enough evidence to go on to start a full scale investigate, even after viewing the video her screen recorded.

From here shit gets really weird with someone hacking her account and recording the screen even when she isn’t aware of it. Whether she’s being intimate with her boyfriend, Damien (no, not me), or contacting her friends, someone else is recording her every movement online including all her interactions with friends and family so they are one step ahead of Elizabeth who cannot get out of the world wide web she’s now caught up in. One by one, those who are close to her are disappearing and/or being murdered and all is being recorded right up until Elizabeth herself is kidnapped. It’s here that we finally see what The Den in question is.

After being attacked by her killer, we now find that there is more than one which complicates the story in all the good ways. Elizabeth wakes up in a room chained to a wall and this is when the shit really takes off. She manages to get herself free and she sets off to escape from wherever she is. The ending is a completely bizarre plot twist that will make you go “oh my god, no fucking way!” regardless of its similarities to another horror film from the UK that I could mention that was made in 2001 and stars a singer from a metal band, but i won’t. You do the math. Once you’ve seen The Den, you’ll know the movie I’m talking about if you have seen it. If you are still unsure, well, be thankful cos it’s not really that good a film anyway and this is much more superior.

I won’t spoil the ending of The Den for you because this movie is well worth watching. As a horror movie, The Den builds up perfectly at a great pace and does everything a horror movie should do. There’s no Hollywood flair to it or any sugarcoated moments. It’s gritty, dark, and shocking. At times you will jump, your blood will run cold from being freaked out, and there is enough gore and horror here to keep any aficionado of the genre happy. With a strong story that is relevant to today’s use of social media, there are lots of twists and turns and little pieces here and there to get you thinking. I would say that The Den is destined to become a cult classic if it’s not already.

You can order The Den from Amazon at this link.


Let me start by saying that this movie is both important and hugely disturbing. It’s based on actual events which is enough to make you sick. So here we go: After watching the massively messed up movie The Poughkeepsie Tapes for the Podcastmania radio show that I am a part of, the conversation led to a movie with the show’s host, Charlie Brown, saying that if The Poughkeepsie Tapes was disturbing for someone then “you don’t want to see Megan Is Missing”. Well, that sounded like a challenge, so I watched it.

Megan Is Missing is a movie that falls into that genre of ‘found footage’ yet it’s a lot more in-depth than that. I went in not really knowing what to expect besides my guess that it was a movie about a girl named Megan who goes missing. Obviously. But as the film went on I was both not only emotionally disturbed over the way the 14 year old teenager, Megan (played by Rachel Quinn) haphazardly lived a care free life of sex, drugs and douchey guys, but also knowing that this was based on actual events really knocks you around. Megan’s best friend is 13 year old Amy Herman (played by Amber Perkins) and is everything Megan isn’t when it comes to behavioural lifestyle choices. Amy feels like an outsider and at times wonders why Megan is even friends with someone so vanilla and unadventurous, so to speak. It should also be noted that both girls were around 20, I believe, when they played these parts which has to be said that they played their parts incredibly well.

So as the story goes, after we see Megan party hard, Andrew WK style, we see how fragile she really is when she is alone with Amy divulging secrets and disclosing the happenings in her life which is told via webcam chats ala Skype. There are moments that are heartbreaking such as when Amy interviews Megan and she reveals details of her unfortunate past. It’s here where we see that both Amy and Megan are what sells this movie. It’s almost as if these girls weren’t acting and were actually lifelong friends.

Through one of these webcam chats we find out that Megan is told about a “sensitive” and “shy” guy named ‘Josh’ aka Skaterdude by his screen name, whose webcam is conveniently broken but he sends through some pictures to entice Megan. He puts on his nice guy persona and invites her to a party to which he doesn’t actually introduce himself to Megan. She’s pissed but soon believes his confessions that he was too shy to talk to her. Megan is suddenly swept away by his sensitivity and he then wishes to reschedule a meet up. He successfully persuades Megan into meeting him behind a diner and we see Megan leave to go meet him and unfortunately, we never see her again.

The movie is then mainly told through Amy’s handycam video diary entries and the news reports on Megan’s disappearance. Amy contacts Josh to see if he knows anything about her disappearance to where he advises her that she never showed up to meet him yet then starts his nice guy act on her. Being such an innocent yet weary girl, she starts to catch on that he may be behind Megan’s disappearance. She tells the police what she knows, Josh contacts her and begins threatening her. While recording one of her diary entries, Amy is kidnapped. As the films continues, you will not only feel uncomfortable over what you are seeing onscreen but also emotionally distressed over the safety of these two girls. But unfortunately, this is just only the beginning of what is to come.

Before the film really enters the realm of completely fucked up-ness, we are shown two photos of Megan that once you’ve seen them, you can’t un-see them. From here we are advised that the following footage is of the last 22 minutes that were on Amy’s video camera and this is where the film really messes you up. I won’t spoil what happens from here on but just know that watching this film, depending on how weak your stomach is for such horrific things, you are going to see some things you probably wish you hadn’t.

The film is not so much a horror movie as it is just plain horrible with its disturbing subject matter. It is here to warn people, especially easily influenced teenagers, of the dangers of the Internet, talking to strangers online, revealing too much of yourself on social media and the unfortunate reality of sick online predators. Megan Is Missing is also a movie that will no doubt generate some intense discussion. There are parts of Megan Is Missing that will stick with you for days, possibly weeks, after viewing. It’s highly effective in its horrific nature and that’s something that you can make your own mind up on whether it’s a film you need or even want to see.

Writer and Director Michael Goi really managed to get an important message across to its viewers, and while the movie has received both positive and negative reviews, personally I found it a disturbing yet effective piece of work that will have probably have me talking about it for years to come. Since viewing it this week I have pretty much asked everyone I know who likes horror movies if they have seen it. Something I didn’t do when I saw movies like Pighunt and Death Valley, just sayin’. It’s impact is strong so prepare yourself if this movie sounds like your thing.

Wanting to know more, I found this online interview with Rachel Quinn and Amber Perkins after the filming was completed and it sheds light on just how they got themselves into the certain aspects of their roles and the support they gave each other through the filming, especially during the last 22 minutes. It’s quite an interesting read and if you watch the movie I would recommend reading these also.

You can order Megan Is Missing from Amazon for a couple bucks at this link or if you’re in Australia, you can find it at JB Hifi at this link.


Posted: September 17, 2015 in Album Review
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W.A.S.P. – “Golgotha” (Napalm Records)

Sometime in the early 90s someone told W.A.S.P. vocalist, Blackie Lawless, that from that moment forward he should write concept albums and make sure every song goes for ages and has shitloads of solos and an over-usage of drum fills. He took that on as gospel and released the epic The Crimson Idol; a self-indulgent story of his debaucherous rise to fame and his detachment from his family. It actually sounds better than it appears on paper and he even manages to say the word “doctor” about 400 times through the course of the album… but that’s not important to anyone but the folks at LGL cos for some reason we thought that fact was worthy of a 20 minute rant on one of our podcasts.

Over the years Blackie and Co. have dished out countless albums of ass-kicking heavy metal meets rock n roll. Just take a look at 2001’s Unholy Terror. All killer, no filler. Listen to the track Hate To Love Me for a tasty sample to see I ain’t talkin’ jive. But I digress. In between his love of concept albums, Blackie decided to go right back to the formula used on their debut self-titled album and he released the brilliant Helldorado complete with charming song titles like Dirty Balls and Don’t Cry (Just Suck). Yeah, it sounds juvenile and it totally was but let’s face it, no one is going to award W.A.S.P. an AMA for their intellectual lyrics anytime soon. They’re W.A.S.P. – a band who jokingly referred to their band name’s initials as standing for We Are Sexual Perverts and whose vocalist happily wore a cod piece with the words “I FUCK LIKE A BEAST” emblazoned on it. Stay classy, Blackie!

Golgotha is the band’s 15th studio album. Yeah, really. I had to double count them as well to make sure but yep, it’s true. They may have gone under the radar for the most part but believe me, there’s a lot of gold to be found in their back catalogue (I won’t mention that horrible period in which Blackie thought embracing the idea of industrial metal would be a great innovative way for the band to move forward… just trust me when I tell you it sucked so don’t cry). With Golgotha though, the band have stuck to the one thing the people love in a W.A.S.P. album; those simple chord structures of D to A to E. Its simplicity is more intricate than most albums cos it takes some serious talent to write albums where you play the same chords over and over again.

Golgotha opens with the track Scream and as it builds and builds, it gets you psyched for a wild ride. A great opener and first listen had my foot tappin’ and I possibly played some air guitar but it wasn’t until the second track, Last Runaway, where the band hits their most melodically best. This song is an absolute killer and repeated listens were all the rage in the LGL office. I’m a sucker for a good melody and this song has it all and clocking in at 5 minutes and 20 seconds, I realised that I can only listen to the song roughly six times an hour. What a bummer.

Shotgun follows and is another upbeat rocker with bitchin’ guitar solos while the song Miss You is the token ballad which is a lengthy one at almost eight minutes long. The solo is like that extended version of Sleeping In The Fire where the guitarist (whoever Blackie has at the time when you see them live, it’s a revolving door in the W.A.S.P. camp) just goes on and on wailing away. This is by no means a bad thing cos the less backing tapes Blackie needs live for his vocals, the better. It should also be noted that six of the album’s nine tracks all start exactly the same way; acoustic mellow intro before the big build up to the power chords. Once this started happening from song four onward, I began thinking “haven’t I already listened to this one?” But nope, it was just how they all start. Good times! The album’s title track finale is an epic seven and a half minute closer filled with every W.A.S.P. cliché you could possibly fit. Well, besides using the word ‘doctor’. Basically, it’s awesome.

It has to be said that the playing on Golgotha is solid. Blackie’s double-tracked vocals sound great and the nine songs are all winners. Okay, so maybe Eyes Of My Maker fell a bit short but that’s only five minutes out of an album that goes for about an hour. Just listen to Last Runaway again, that’s what I do.

Even though Blackie Lawless doesn’t acknowledge his fans when they get their albums signed at meet and greets, I’m still gonna go on record and say that this album is classic W.A.S.P. and while Lawless has matured lyrically, he is still delivering the goods and writing albums that are holding up. Hell, he’s doing a lot better than ex-W.A.S.P. guitarist and co-founder, Chris Holmes and his latest album, Shittin’ Bricks. Seriously, don’t even bother, regardless how good the guitar playing is.

I hearby give Golgotha a whopping 4 blind armadillos in Texas out of 5.

Sawblades, fuck the world!!!