Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013)

AG PosterHow do you judge a movie about an axe-wielding mutant giant? Answer: with mucho beer and low expectations.

America, though relatively young as a nation, still has its fair share of folk heroes and tall tales of fantastic men and weird creatures: Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, the Jackalope, Mothman and Ryan Seacrest. Added to this bunch is the biggest of them all, Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack with a pet blue ox named Babe. The character originated in folktales among lumberjacks in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada at the end of the 19th Century, and then found more widespread recognition when reworked into a logging company’s advertising campaign starting in 1914. Since then, many children have read about him, and many towns and companies have tried to make a buck off him by claiming to be his original birthplace or be his favourite beer and crap like that.

But to my knowledge, he’s never had a whole movie to himself. And if he has been, I’m sure he hasn’t been portrayed as being as… grumpy as he is in AXE GIANT, from Gary Jones (SPIDERS, MOSQUITO), a movie that shows you don’t have to be SyFy or the Asylum to make crap but fun movies like they do.

And they'd run out of beer, too...
And they’d run out of beer, too…

The movie opens in winter in 1894, in Minnesota, where a group of lumberjacks led by foreman Bill (GRIZZLY ADAMS’ own Dan Haggerty, who gets top billing in most lists for what will amount to a cameo), who are getting ready after a long day of moving logs and working their choppers (yes, I’m gonna go a bit Benny Hill on this one, folks, so strap yourselves in) to feast on the most massive piece of meat roasting over a pitifully small fire; there’s gonna be food poisoning with that undercooked meat, I tell ya! Foreman Bill goes off to the outhouse… and returns to find the lumberjacks and their women all slaughtered, so I guess the food poisoning scare was a bit unnecessary. Sorry.

A man appears, with a face only a motherfucker could love, and an axe to grind, and though looking no bigger than Haggerty, scares Grizzly Adams enough to chase him into the nearby sawmill, and cutting up our hirsute hero in half like a silent movie heroine. And the first thing you’ll notice is that the gore is plentiful. And animated. It’s CGI, but it looks cartoonish, but fortunately it’s quick enough that maybe you won’t mind.

Well, *someone* has to be the first to die...
“Wow, I feel great! Like I’ve got my whole life ahead of me!”

We then fast forward to the same area in the present day. Sergeant Hoke (Thomas Downey, SORORITY PARTY MASSACRE) from the Minnesota Department of Corrections is going to take one of those ragtag bunch of “juvenile” delinquents that you only see in the movies on an expedition to the woods to rehabilitate them. And of course Sgt Hoke is one of those drill sergeant wannabees who comes up with nicknames for his charges like “Prairie Dog”, “Happy Hour” and “Chicken Little”, and when he tells you to jump, you will ask How High, maggots! Accompanying him is a social worker (Kristina Kopf, ETERNAL), and of course Sgt. Hoke has no time for her liberal wishy-washy crap, but since this is a mixed group (as we will see later when one of them gets her top off for a few seconds)…

The “kids” are the usual mix (a nerd hacker, the bad ass Latina chica, the young girl whose father happens to be a local sheriff and I’m sure that won’t be relevant later, will it?). Hoke and the Social Worker take them into an isolated part of the woods, where they’re watched by local crazy guy Meeks (Joe Estevez! Hi Joe, whaddya know?) as Hoke puts them through the usual boot camp paces (to his credit, though, Downey doesn’t make the character too much of an asshole, and at times even comes across as self-deprecating.

Batter up!
Batter up!

Meanwhile nearby, we see a bear sneak up on a deer, which seems oblivious to him (maybe coz he’s CGI). But the bear is himself oblivious to the giant man sneaking up on him (maybe coz they’re all CGI!) and breaking his neck. And the giant man (Chris Hahn) is GIANT, as in twenty feet tall and weighing several tons. How the hell do these animals not hear this elephant-sized creature stomping through the forest?

Anyway, while being bored, one of the kids finds a charred circle with some bones, and a huge curved ox horn. He brings it back to the others, hoping to turn the hollow item into a bong, and as the wind races through the horn its sound alerts our mammoth friend, who hasn’t gotten any prettier with age, and begins chopping and slicing his way through the group who have desecrated the remains of old bovine friend. Who will survive, and what will become of them?

There's a really filthy joke here if you look hard enough...
There’s a really filthy joke here if you look hard enough…

AXE GIANT is fast-paced (though it does take about 30-40 minutes before we start seeing more body parts flying), bloody, dopey fun. It’s an insanely silly premise but is at least original. They even try to come up with a plausible explanation for the titular creature’s existence (a genetic disorder that prevents his body from knowing when to stop growing and also retards his ageing) and attitude (abused and mistreated Frankenstein monster style by the people in 1894, who then built up a false story of the Big Friendly Giant to keep the tourists coming along). And the creature is given moments that actually really work, where he’s alone in his cave lair, silently cleaning his axe, and Hahn is able to make him sympathetic and yet still dangerous.

The acting is serviceable, carried by Downey and stolen by Estevez, who never did learn to dial it down, did he (for that matter, neither does the director, giving Estevez whole scenes alone where he just chews everything in sight for no good reason, almost as if he wanted to pad out this movie. Hmm…)? As for the effects, well, the quality varies

I sense danger...
I sense danger…

(as does Paul Bunyan’s size, often from scene to scene). Some work very well (especially if you squint). Others go back to that thing I mentioned earlier, about them looking like hand drawn cartoons. If you can tolerate that, you’ll love this, because you’ll see people chopped in half (through the middle and from top to bottom), beheaded, abused and otherwise manhandled.

In other words, good clean fun.

The trailer is below. The movie itself will be available on DVD in the US on June 18th. Watch it if you love monster movies like I do!

Deggsy’s Summary:
Director: Gary Jones
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Derek “Deggsy” O’Brien. The D is silent. And is really a smile that’s been turned on its side. Awww…

New Video Project … Cereal Killers!!

Well it’s summer time and the kids are officially on vacation (my son is 7 and daughter is 4).  I love spending the time with them but we’re in Texas and have already had 6 consecutive days of over 100 degree weather.  Even swimming gets too friggin’ hot!!  So on the warmer days I do what all good dads would do:  I bang out a 2-3min script, gather up some props laying around the house, and I make a video about 2 kids killing their abusive father!!  We had a ton of fun and the kids are looking more natural in front of the camera.  We already have our next film lined up about a killer doll.  For now enjoy CEREAL KILLERS!!

If you liked it, please visit our YouTube channel and “like” it.  You can go to my family channel here, or my Anything Horror channel here.

Stay Bloody!!!

Blogger Zombie Walk 2011: The Disappearance of a Family

Zombie walk-a-thon’s have become a really popular nowadays.  Even knowing that one’s taking place, there’s always some kind of primal instinct that kicks in when you see a street full of hundreds of people dressed up like zombies.  Good friend of anythinghorror.com, Terri (of GoreGirl’s Dungeon) covers the annual Vancouver Zombie Walk and is an active participant (check out her coverage of 2011’s here).  And I always spend a little time at the zombie walk that occurs the same weekend as the Texas Frightmare Weekend.  They’re a ton of fun and it’s a great way to embrace the zombie in us all and show off just how gross you can make your costume!!

Last year another good friend of anythinghorror.com, AutumnForest, started the 1st annual Blogger Zombie Walk.  This wasn’t for any particular cause other than AutumnForest’s desire to spotlight some of her favorite horror websites and to let their zombie freak-flags fly.  Well it was such a success last year that she decided to do it again.  But this year it’s bigger, badder, and zombi-er (is that a friggin’ word??)!!  This year there’s 50 websites participating.  After watching my entry in this year’s event, you can find all the other participant’s links at the end of this post.  Check them all out; there’s some really great entry’s this year!!

Here’s a little video I threw together on Sunday morning last week.  I wanted to get the kids involved and my six year old son had a blast!!  If you listen towards the end of the video you can hear him ad-lib a line, “Deer Poop.”  Hey, why not!!  Enjoy my zombie video and be sure to check out all the zombie entry’s below.  And of course, a huge thanks to AutumnForest for thinking up this idea and putting it all together!!

Now check out all the other zombie-related posts:

Ghost Hunting Theories http://autumnforestghosthunter.blogspot.com

Above the Norm http://above-the-norm.blogspot.com

Zombies Everywhere www.zombieseverywhere.org

Holly’s Horrorland http://hollyshorrorland.blogspot.com

Little Gothic Horrors http://littlegothichorrors.blogspot.com/

Anything Horror www.anythinghorror.com

Katy Bennett Horror Writer and Poet http://kaybeewrites.blogspot.com/

Bubba’s Place http://thisisbubbasplace.blogspot.com/

Horror Smorgasbord http://horrorsmorgasbord.blogspot.com

Gnostalgia http://gnostalgia.wordpress.com/

Monkey Man http://petzoldspracticalprose.blogspot.com/

Words and Music http://leogodin.net/

Red Shoes Chronicles http://redshoeschronicles.blogspot.com/

The Wolf’s Eyes http://thewolfseyes.blogspot.com/

My Day in a Sentence http://mydayinasentence.blogspot.com

Pixie’s Horror Galore http://pixieshorrorgalore.blogspot.com

Strange State http://strangestate.blogspot.com

The Misadventures of HalloweeNut http://halloweenut.blogspot.com

Kweeny Todd http://kweenytodd.blogspot.com

The California Blogging Massacre http://thecaliforniabloggingmassacre.blogspot.com

Horror Shock Lolipop http://horror-shock.blogspot.com

Vanessa Morgan http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com

Improbable Frontiers http://improbablefrontiers.wordpress.com/

No Really, You Can Eat It http://noreallyyoucaneatit.blogspot.com

Art By Living Dead Girl Nicole http://livingdeadgirlnicoleart.blogspot.com

Two Gory Chicks http://twogorychicks.blogspot.com

A Dust Bunny in the Wind www.dustbunnyinthewind.com

A Ghoul’s Best Friend http://aghoulsbestfriend.blogspot.com

Zombies Are Magic http://zombiesaremagic.blogspot.com

Cherry Neko Saves the World http: www.cherrynekostw.blogspot.com

www.lisafee.com

http://atthemansionofmadness.blogspot.com

www.thehauntedrose.blogspot.com

http://therottingzombie.blogspot.com

Halloween Overkill http://halloweenoverkill.blogspot.com

Out of the Shadows http://viviennemoss.blogspot.com/

www.keyholegallery.blogspot.com

http://creepyglowbugg.blogspot.com

Bifocal Univision http://bifocalunivision.blogspot.com/

Haiku-Koo-Koo http://haiku-koo-koo.blogspot.com/

Sherry Soule http://sherrysoule.blogspot.com/

Anchors and Roses http://anchorsandroses.blogspot.com

Paranormal Researchers Group http://paranormalresearchersgroup.blogspot.com/

Whispering Pines History http://whispering-pines-history.blogspot.com/

Lovely Miss Megs http://lovelymissmegs.blogspot.com

Sean Thomas Fisher’s Blogwash http://www.fishblogwash.blogspot.com/

Rise and Fight www.riseandfight.net

Stump Town Horror http://stumptownhorror.blogspot.com

LoliClown’s Little Blog of Horror http://loliclownshorrors.blogspot.com

Zombies Can’t Love http://zombiescantlove.blogspot.com

Books and Beyond http://booksandbeyondreviews.blogspot.com

The Grave Bandits www.thegravebandits.com

Screaming Goregasm http://www.screaminggoregasm.blogspot.com/

Lazy Daisy Life http://lazydaisylife.blogspot.com

Icky Monster http://ickymonster.blogspot.com

Pretty in Fiction www.prettyinfiction.com

Ivy’s Closet http://bonjourivyparker.blogspot.com/

Justine’s Halloween http://justineshalloween.blogspot.com

Annie Walls http://annie-walls-author.blogspot.com/

Just Johnny http://thetimebi.blogspot.com/

(Very) Special Guest Contributor: Assly the Puppet's Video Review of Dead Hooker in a Trunk

I know, I know; I already reviewed  DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK back in July of 2010.  But this is a special occasion.  Nix that … it’s actually TWO special occasions.  First I want to share with you all my new favorite online video reviewer.  He’s got a lot of attitude, he’s kind of an asshole (ok; he IS an asshole), and he cracks me the fuck up.  That’s right; I’m talking about Assly the Puppet, the creation of the warped mind of Kristian Hanson.  Hanson was born in Chicago and raised in Giblet, Arizona and now resides in Arizona making funny videos and writing craptastic novels and short stories. You can check him out at www.craptastichorror.com to see more of Assly and more of his short stories and daily hororscopes.  I first “met” Kristian through Twitter but we forged a friendship base on horror films and each having twisted minds and a fondness for writing our own brand of horror novels.

Kristian Hanson & Assly (honestly, I'm not sure which is which!!).

Speaking of “twsited minds:”  The other special occasion we’re celebrating today is the VOD and limited theatrical release of the Soska Sister’s DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK.  This, in my humble opinion, is long overdue.  DEAD HOOKER is, simply put, one fun and gory-ass flick.  The Soska Sisters (a.k.a., the Twisted Twins) have warped minds and some mad skills both behind and in front of the camera.  Check out my interview with them here, and you can read the entire press release for the new distribution of DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK here.  But now onto the main show.  Kristian was kind enough to beg and plead Assly to tape one of his (a-hem) “unique” video interviews for anythinghorror.com.  This is it!!  So enjoy, and make sure you send some love Kristian’s way by visiting his website and supporting him in all his projects.

Without further hesitation, heeeeeeere’s Assly!!

Oh that Assly; absolutely no respect for Kristian!!  But a huge thank you to Kristian Hanson for coaxing Assly to tape that review.  So get out there, faithful anythinghorror.com readers, and go check out DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK.  And if you’re lucky enough to live in a city where it’s playing in the theater, FOR GOD’S SAKE GO SEE IT ON THE BIG SCREEN!!  I’d kill to see Badass tear shit up on the big screen.

Stay Bloody!!!

New Film Project: Send in Your Scary Halloween Short Films

It’s that time of year again everyone.  The time when horror films grace the airwaves and scaring people is on everyone’s mind.  Well I figured I’d do another “call for submissions” to all my faithful readers and ask for you to submit your scary Halloween short films.  They can be about anything as long as they are scary; I mean really scary.  I know you all have a good, solid feel for horror and “what’s horrifying”, and now wanna see what you can come up with!!  The shorts should be at least 2 minutes long and no longer than about 8 minutes.  All submissions will have individual postings on http://www.anythinghorror.com.  Like Detective Cameron says in NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, “Thrill Me!!”

Let’s get those submissions in before Halloween; let’s say the week or 2 before.

Stay Bloody!!!

Blog Film Projects: AnythingHorror Scott’s “Interruption”

As promised here is my horror scene clip.  I had a ton of fun doing this and stressed the fuck outta myself doing it.  I had a couple of free hours today when the kids were at school so I was determined to get this shot and edited so I could post it tonight.  I like the final product.  I rehearsed 3 times and then set out to get this all in one continual shot.  It clocks in at 4:31; I wanted to try and throw everyone off as to what I was doing!!  I felt even more pressure after watching AutumnForest and Steve S’s horror scenes.  AutumnForest did a great little creepy scene in the vein of William Castle while Steve’s scene is more in line with the old John Carpenter.  My scene?  Think of it as the Lloyd Kaufman/Troma clip of the group!!  LOL

I shot this one on my MacBook Pro camera and edited it on iMovie.  I wanted to play around with the final picture but just ran outta time.  The final product looks a little washed out but I kinda like that.  I also wanted to edit some cool sounds in but that was a little beyond my abilities.  This was the first time I ever shot and edited on video (I worked with super 8 film back in undergrad where I was a film minor), and I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side to play around today.  But I had such a blast that I guarantee this won’t be the last scene I ever shoot!!!  And let me extend this offer to everyone out there reading this:  If you ever get the “bug” and you wanna shoot a small horror scene (30 seconds to 5 minutes long) I’d love to post them.  Just make sure they’re horror-related!!

Enough stalling; here’s my scene titled Interruption (and I wanna hear what you think):

Do like I did and

Stay Bloody!!!

Blog Film Projects: Steve S’s Intrusion

Boy do I have a special treat for you!!!  My buddy, horror aficionado, loyal reader, and all around creative guy Steve S. shot and submitted a horror scene just for AnythingHorror.com!!!  Among other things I’m glad to call Steve a friend … we went to high school together and both grew up in Southern New Jersey.  Steve is also a designer, illustrator, animator and writer.  Near the end of last year Steve sent me one of his scripts, Breach Point Castle. I had never read a script before and that one just immediately grabbed me.  I know by their very natures scripts aren’t supposed to be as detailed as novels and short stories.  The characters aren’t as fleshed out and the scenes aren’t as detailed.  But damn Steve did an amazing job developing the story and really leaving me wanting to know more about every single character he wrote about.

Steve also runs 2 websites.  PlasmicStudios.com showcases Steve’s work in the fields of web design, illustration, multimedia, and animation.  His other site, MeMakeMonster.com is a crazy fun website where you can design your own creature and then put it on tshirts, hat, mugs, mouse pads, etc ….  Check it out!!

If you’re a geek like me (and I think most of you are), then you’ll appreciate the technical info:  Steve shot this scene by himself (he even catered it himself!!!) on a Panasonic HVX-200a with a Letus adapter.  It’s a great looking scene that is really crisp and vibrant.  Steve, brother; ya really did a phenomenal job!!  Steve edited this scene on Final Cut Studio and created the audio with GarageBand.  Wait until you hear the music accompanying the scene …. great soundtrack Steve.  It really adds to the atmosphere.  Without further delay, here’s Steve S’s Intrusion (and I promise I’m working on my scene.  I’ve been playing around with some fake blood and trying to practice when the kids aren’t around …. I can’t afford to start them in therapy!!!):

Blog Film Projects: AutumnForest and Dale

Hey Everyone.  It’s been about a week or 2 since I presented the challenge to everyone about sending in a homemade, self-shot horror scene.  I have 2 already (I’ll post the next one later tonight or tomorrow) and will hopefully get some more.  Don’t be shy about sending in any kind of horror scene….. and I do mean ANY KIND OF HORROR SCENE.  I haven’t shot mine yet because I’m having trouble nailing down a scene.  All the ideas I come up with have 2-3 people in them and a small budget!!!  I need to write a scene with one person in it (me) and no budget!!

But the 1st scene comes from AutumnForest.  She runs the website http://autumnforestghosthunter.blogspot.com/ (check it out while she still has a picture of her legs up on it)  :-)  AutumnForest is an extremely creative person passionate about ghost hunting (REAL ghost hunting and not the fucktards you see on TV) and writing.  She is full of great ideas and runs a great web site.  The scene she sent in is with a recurring character on her website, Dale.  Enjoy, and just wait until you see the creepy last shot: