About Adam Troutt

A depraved maniac born in the backwoods of Tennessee, Adam Troutt spends his days attempting to overtake the world with horror through writings, demented musings, and mainly subliminal messages. Oh, and he spends his nights feasting on virgin blood.

Strange Sex (Book Review)

Author: Various
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Strangehousebooks.com

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Fuck the bland doldrums, puritanical stories that sit in the pages of Penthouse, giggling to one another at their own modest escapades as if they were sordid filthy tales. Instead, if you’re looking to break out that industrial bottle of hand lotion, then grab a copy of the demented, vile, disgusting (and several other adjectives expressing really fucked up shit) book from Strangehouse Books entitled “Strange Sex”.

An anthology of 13 different stories churned out by 11 writers giving their sick thoughts as to what constitutes erotic. Though the tone changes from story to story the best
way to possibly describe this book would be erotic horror fiction, with an added bit of strange. Spewing their deliciously foul seed all over the pages are such writers as Rich Bottles JR., David C. Hayes, Amanda Williams, Don Noble, and Kevin Strange to name a few, who pump out a group of stories that will have you readying the shower after reading.

To all of you no-budget horror fanatics out there, the name Kevin Strange could trigger something on that dusty light bulb swinging from the attic ceiling. Mr. Strange is a prolific filmmaker who along with writing, directing, and acting in his own flicks, ran the production company known as Hack Movies. Under that banner, Kevin Strange churned out , by my count, 6 no-budget horror flicks and several different short flicks. Think Troma but with heavy amounts of well written -yet at the same time hilariously juvenile- dialogue then you’d come up with movies like Dream Reaper which is about an entity known as “Dream Reaper” who’s pissed at a shitty metal band soiling his name with epic songs about sea monsters.

Deciding to stop at the writing phase Strange -along with Don Noble, the other infected mind behind this book- has created a new publishing company known as StrangeHouse Books. Dedicating this company to releasing odd and, well, strange tales straight from the brains of said gentlemen and lovely gentle ladies listed above. “Strange Sex” is the first release from the company, and a well done book it is. I’m not sure where else you’ll find stories that will tickle your little testicles, sprouting up that hard-on and making you feel sick and guilty at the same time, like when you fight back the loss of blood to your brain every time your aunt with the big tits comes up and gives you a hug… (that is so not lifted from my real life).

You’ll find in this tome to the offensive, a man with a scat fetish who finds a perfect use for bed bugs in “Love Bites”. What does TSA searches, a pedophile, and an orgy have in common? Find out with “Pulmonary Ed” as your guide. Learn what other worldly creatures from far off dimensions do on vacation -spoiler, it involves fucking people with a maggot cock- in “Foreigner”. Or… you know what, you should be won over by now, so I’m stopping there. I’m here to review the damn book not hold your hand and walk you through it… okay, fine, “Were-teddy Bears”, I’m done.

Admittedly, I’m not much of a reader of books, though I find myself picking up the ancient form of entertainment more and more. With Strange Sex I never felt like I was struggling to get myself through it or as if I was forcing myself into finishing the book. Flipping page after page of the gruesome debauchery had me giddy and was an absolute joy. I found myself curious as to how much further the lines of “decency” would not only blur, but be covered, by various fluids, leaked, spilled, and skeeted out by all manner of assorted creatures. One minute you can read a dark depraved story that will leave a film of filth all over your body, the next you’ll be laughing at stories about priests who use sex as a tool for exorcism, and have a 3 headed dildo called “The Holy Trinity”.

If you’re into offensive, tasteless humor, I really cannot recommend this book enough. With the beauty of the internet there is no need to take my word for it. Head on over to the official StrangeHouse website. There you can find a link to purchase the book along with a youtube video (or a .pdf if you’re not the audio book type) of one story from the book being read aloud. Now go get yourself all hot and bothered with a little “Strange Sex”.

Birth of Separation (2010, Review)

birthofseperationposterDirector:  Louis Mansfield

Cast: Ashley-Rebekah Faulkner, Steve Saturn, Tony Slade

Official Site / 1.78:1 Widescreen / Color / English / 105 minutes / Drama-Suspense-Thriller

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I’ve always seen home invasion as a very specific type of “breaking and entering”. I’ve always associated home invasion with the concept of someone forcefully entering your house; not in an interest for your possessions, but in an interest for you. I’m not sure if this idea pretains to just me or if it’s more of a universal feeling. Either way the home invasion movie is one of those plot devices in horror that seems to always keep my interest. I guess it’s the simplicity in the storytelling and the raw emotion that goes into a film with a plot that we all can relate to, seeing as we all live in houses and there’s that always unfortunate possiblity that someone will betray that comfort we feel in our homes. The twisted minds behind Birth of Separation must understand this concept completely.

The film centers around Elizabeth, a housewife and mother with another little bundle of joy on the way, and in fact teetering very close to that 9 month mark. The day starts out like any other ho-hum day with her getting her daughter ready for school and kissing the adoring husband goodbye, until she’s alone and then comes the knock at the door. The sweet and trusting Elizabeth takes pity on the gentleman on her doorstep, who is desperately going door to door handing out flyers for his missing son, and invites him in for coffee. Given that this is a horror movie, things begin to take a bad turn for Elizabeth at this point.

When I first saw the trailer for Birth of Separation I thought it was going to be alot like Inside (which if you haven’t heard of or haven’t seen you should seek it out now). Other than the invasion, a pregancy, and the highlighted weapon being a pair of sissors, Birth of Separation is a completely different movie. This of course is a good thing considering I’m sure Hollywood is on their way with an official remake so the last thing we need is an unofficial remake.  Birth digs itself under your skin; not with gore, as with Inside, but psychologically as the intruder fucks with Elizabeth’s mind more than he causes her physical bodily pain, though he does cause some physical pain as well. In fact I’d say that Birth is actually slightly similar to Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, just in the tone of it being more psychological than visceral.

Birth of Separation was directed by Louis Mansfield and I have to say that he did one helluva job. He creates a dark atmosphere of dread by directing a film that imitates reality. He doesn’t fill it with big orchestral scores, instead the music remains subtle and complements the movie like a score should. Also he uses long takes, that admittedly could try the patience of many music video fans, and few angles allowing the preformances of the actors to tell the story.  I’m offically paying attention to Louis Mansfield’s sophomore effort, whatever that may be.

Speaking of the preformances, I’d be doing a huge disservice to this movie without mentioning the two actors that portray the main characters. Ashley Rebekah Faulkner plays the lead, Elizabeth and delivers a fantastic, very real performance. Having to give such a draining performance with long uninterrupted takes speaks of how great of an actress she is. Any horror awards out there take note of the name Ashley-Rebekah Faulkner because she deserves to win. Steve Saturn plays the bastard who decides to fuck up Elizabeth’s day. Portraiting a meancing but hurt beast, Steve’s performance can make you hate him with ever fiber that resides inside you yet also leave you feeling a slight bit sorry for him… only a slight bit though. I don’t think I’m revealing anything by stating that without the kickass acting chops on the two leads this movie couldn’t have survived, not in the style it was shot.

Birth of Separation is a brutal, unflinching example of what a good horror film can be, with the right director behind it and of course the right actors in front of it. It’s not the typical jump scare after jump scare invasion flick (cough, The Strangers, cough cough) instead it’s a slow burning example of the true horror that can come out of a situation like this. That to me is much more terrifying.

Fugue (2010, Review)

fuguedvdartDirector: Barbara Stepansky

Cast: Abigail Mittel, Richard Gunn, Erika Bruun-Anderson, Julie Mond

Official Website

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Before viewing this movie I had never heard of the word “fugue”. I don’t know, maybe I was just poorly educated. The word has basically two definitions. The first one is, and this is in my own words so it’s a more simplified version, “a musical composition” and the second one is “episodes of amnesia that are usually temporary”. Both meanings come into play in this movie which, fittingly enough, has the same title. Now that we got the pointless school lesson out of the way, I must say that I enjoyed Fugue quite a bit.

The film is centered around “Charlotte”, played by Abigail Mittel, who has just moved into a new house with her husband Howard and is trying for a new start after recovering from an accident she suffered a few months back. Everything starts off great of course. Her and the husband are getting along wonderfully, the house is beautiful, and Charlotte finds out she’s pregnant. But, as often happens in movies like this, things turn to shit as Charlotte starts to hear strange noises and see unexplained figures. While her husband explains it all away with theories pertaining to her accident, Charlotte feels something deeper than a hallucination, something much scarier. What happened to Charlotte in the span of time she had amnesia? Does it have anything to do with what’s happening to her now? Is Charotte really going crazy? Or is a former tenant hellbent on making life a bitch for Charotte and co.? Am I asking way too many fucking questions? Ok moving on!

Fugue is an excellent example of the type of ghost movie I want to see. It doesn’t force feed the audience a bunch of lame boring jump scares accompanied by second rate musical cues trying as much as humanly possible to evoke some sort of fear out of us, and usually failing miserably. While it still doesn’t bring anything really new to the table it’s up there with other good  ghostly horror flicks. Sadly that makes it a little predictable… at first. It starts out fairly typical like older haunted house flicks. It summons the creep factor with creaks and groans, and doors slamming shut, etc. Like in many movies before, she can’t get her significant other to believe her and her accident becomes a scapegoat for what could really be going on. Then, however, the movie takes a swift turn in the opposite direction and kicks us in the ass, becoming a competely new movie.

I imagine it’s pretty difficult to carry a movie and be in virtually every scene, having to go through and show a wide range of emotions. Abigail Mittel owns it though. In fact all the actors in this flick deliver the goods. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything else, or have even heard of anything else, that Barbara Stepansky has done, but I will make sure to note her name in my mind from now on. She manages to put together a fresh, creepy little ghost story in a genre that has been put through the proverbial ringer. If this is one of her first efforts, then I have extremely high hopes that she’ll be putting out even better movies in the, hopefully, near future. If I had to complain about one thing with this movie, it would have to be the use of some CGI. I never have been a fan of CGI and really can’t see the point of putting cartoons into a live action movie, unless this is Cool World. Seeing as CGI has become an everyday occurrence and they have gotten admittedly better this is a fairly small complaint to an entertaining film.

While most hardcore haunted house flick fans out there may not be blown away by Fugue, specifically in the first half, I still found it to be a worthy opponent to the weaker efforts that plague this sub-genre. I was pleased to see it not take the “modern” route and use the quick cut style that haunts many MTV music videos, and oddly enough a lot of horror flicks nowadays. Nor does it use boring, tired video software filters. Fugue sets out to tell an actually story instead of numbing its audience with a bunch of visuals for 90 minutes, and in that way it very much does succeed.

Meadowoods (2009, Review) Monterey Video

meadowoodsdvdDirector:  Scott Phillips

Cast:  Conner Thorp, Michele Roe, Michael Downey, Ila Schactler

Monterey Video / Rated R / NTSC Region 1 /1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 / 88 minutes

Special Features:  Trailer, Alternate Ending

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The mockumentary is nothing new in the horror genre, though many mainstream fans would like to think it all started with The Blair Witch Project.  And while I must admit it did in fact start one helluva unfortunate trend, it certainly wasn’t the first.  Long before a witch hung up twig figures in trees and put grown men in time-out there was the beautifully banned, disturbing tale of cannibal tribes in the jungle: Cannibal Holocaust.  Despite a few great ones like Cannibal Holocaust this sub-genre is one where I stand as a completely jaded viewer.  Having seen one too many shitty mocumentaries I sometimes find it difficult to stomach them.  So when I tossed the newest mockumentary horror flick into the DVD player I must admit that I got that sinking feeling in my stomach.  Is this going to be just another shaky-cam borefest complete with barf bag and jumbo pack of Advil (I’m looking at you Quarantine)?  Or will it use the “breaking of the fourth wall” to its advantage and allow it to add realism and tension to the overall storyline (thank you so much [REC])?  That sinking feeling started to subside as Meadowoods, thankfully, went with the latter.

Meadowoods is the story of three friends armed with a camcorder and WAY too much time on their hands.  After growing up in quiet Sleepy Town, USA and being ignored by their parents these three friends decide they are in desperate need of an extracurricular activity.  After spitballing a couple of ideas they land on the obvious choice of kidnapping and murdering someone whilst making a video journal of the events. The movie follows Ryan, Stephanie, and Travis as they go through all the steps of finding their perfect victim, location, and method to murder someone.

Travis is the fun jokester type who doesn’t take himself or life too seriously.  He’s also the ringleader of the group and seemingly the initial mastermind of the task at hand.  Stephanie is a bitter young lady, practically emo, sans the Hot Topic makeover.  She has, for whatever reasons, completely given up on life in any, shape, or form.  Then there is Ryan.  Ryan is the meek, shy videographer who is obviously not so sure about participating in his friend’s science project.  It becomes apparent from early on that Ryan’s apperension will create tension in the group and possibly serve as a means for Ryan to grow a set of nuts and do what he knows is right.

The film doesn’t break any new ground in style or storyline, given all of the knock-offs that emerged after Blair Witch hit it big.  This story has been done before in various forms and it travels, for the most part, down the path you imagine it would.  What makes this film different and interesting to watch is the execution of the story and the characters within the film.  As they set their plan in motion, going through the necessary steps, it’ll cut back to interviews that Ryan has conducted with the various characters, giving us the chance to get to know them and see what they are truly like.

Meadowoods is a disturbing movie, but not in the same way as its mockumentary predecessors.  Where movies like Man Bites Dog, The Last Horror Movie, and the August Underground trilogy are basically about film crews documenting serial killers, and are disturbing in showing people being murdered in brutal graphic ways, Meadowoods is disturbing in the characters seeming like real college kids.  Not to say that those movies before didn’t have realistic characters, because they did, but those were males around their 30′s.  Here they are college kids roughly around the age of 19 or 20.  They are written and portrayed as real people and not the token jock or slut etc. that you see in so many slasher flicks.  They could be your neighbor or maybe your friend or sibling and that’s what makes it scary, to think people like them are out there and they could snap at any moment.