Music We Love – Grown Below: The Other Sight

Grown Below: The Other Sight album cover

Can doom metal ever escape its self-imposed exile into the wastelands of mediocrity and disdain for anything accessible? A new wave of bands who step out just a bit beyond the confines of Doom are saying an emphatic "Yes."

Grown Below released their first album The Long Now in 2011 to rave reviews by metal fans. Mixing traditional doom with ambient and atmospheric interludes including chilling violin and female vocals, the band created a traditional, yet nuanced sound. With that release, Grown Below announced to the world that sludge and doom could be legitimate forms of musicianship.

With The Other Sight, Matthijs Vanstaen, Lennart Vanstaen, Johan Heyrman and Jolan Chen have further evolved their sound in a way that should appeal to current fans while making their music available to metal fans who desire a little more energy.

This is a very different album than the band's first. Gone are the violins and female vocals. New are brass instruments and a modern guitar sound. All in all, a new and unexpected direction for Grown Below's sound.

The Other Sight continues the story of The Long Now, taking the protagonist to live in a cave of mirrors. His descent into madness drives him to suicide after realizing he is alone and everyone around him are mere "Phantoms" of his own reflection.

A dark story for a dark album. Are the songs up to the challenge? "New Throne" starts us off pensive, growing in power and arrogance and introduces a couple new tricks in Grown Below's toolbox. The song commences with the heavy riffs we'd expect and meanders through atmospheric interludes before ending with horn and trumpet and a bit of high, fast guitar previously unheard from the band.

"My Triumph" continues the pensive mood and incorporates some heavier doom elements. Coming in at thirteen minutes, this song provides ample opportunity for a complete sludge song.

With "Phantoms", we are taken in a completely new and surprising direction. Reminiscent of old God Smack, this song might — dare I say it — be suitable for some airplay. I could definitely hear this song on WAAF in Boston or KUPD in Phoenix. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing pop about the sound. It's just more accessible than the rest, and may be the best song on the album, showcasing Vanstaen's vocal talent to the fullest.

With it's slow build to a straight-out doom payoff, "Reverie" gives us ten minutes of everything Grown Below does well wrapped in a fascinating story. Passionate singing, interesting interludes and heavy guitars. If I could define the band with one song, it would be this one.

The Other Sight isn't the album Grown Below fans expect, but it is most definitely the album Doom Metal needs. I highly recommend it to fans of doom and sludge that want something more than forty-five-minutes of plodding, repetitive riffs and indecipherable growling. For those who simply love good music, and don't care about the genre, this album is sure to deliver something different for your music collection.

Doom is moving in new and refreshing directions. Can it escape the shadows, moving into the fore?

Yes, and Grown Below just might lead the way.

Find more about Grown Below at Facebook and Bandcamp

Jason Horton – Passionate Film Director

I recently had a short email exchange with director Jason Horton and it’s cool that he’s the type of guy who will email just to let me know of a new movie he’s worked on. He didn’t ask for anything. He just wanted to give me an opportunity to watch his latest film.

That’s the thing about Jason. He is passionate about film, yet he doesn’t seem to let that define him. Rather than a filmmaker, hes a regular guy who happens to love and have a talent for film and story.

Our brief exchange turned into a short interview on a few topics I’ve wanted to ask him about. What’s really telling is how low key he is when I ask him about diversity. There’s no grand scheme. No soliloquies about the importance of his work. Just a guy who embraces multi-culturalism with true respect.

Jason’s latest work is a thriller called Deceitful. He also created the campy Monsters in the Woods. My favorite Horton film is The Trap. It really shows his talent as a writer who creates nuanced and believable characters. It truly is a great find among the dregs of Amazon VOD.

Check out the discussion and trailer for Decitful below.

Teasing vs Showing – Your sex scenes seemed to tease more than show. Was that intentional? Is there a philosophy behind that?

On a lower budget productions, I’m not really comfortable asking actors to go too far in regards to sex scenes. When you have more money, you can implement both legal and practical safe guards that protect both the actor and the production. That said, I decided to use the restrictions I had to enrich the movie. So, yeah, I chose to tease. In the end, the implication can be much more powerful than the actual act.

Normal-looking actors/actresses – Your actors and actresses are all attractive, but still look like people you might see on the street.

In all my flicks, I try to stay grounded. Even if the material is fantasical, I try to keep the cast and tone real.

Symbolism in the movie – angels, sex, flash scenes, etc….

There’s some Angel/Devil stuff going on. Also some materialism commentary.

What’s it like for a white guy casting black characters?

It’s really no different than any other kind of casting. I’ve always, even in my early work, cast multi-culturally and in the past few years, I’ve worked on a lot of “Urban” flicks, so the casting on this was pretty natural.

As a writer, what’s the difference between writing black characters who just have black skin and those who are culturally black — you could call this the difference between token characters and authentic characters.

I think it’s just a matter of treating the characters with respect and not just scratching the surface or playing the stereotype.

Twitter Follow Friday – Three Great Encouragers

Many tweet to engage, and many to inform, but they are few who allocate their Twitter resources to encourage others. Today's post highlights those wonderful people who always have an encouraging word or a bit of advice at just the right time.

Sadly, this theme was not an easy one. I found much more grumbling than encouragement on Twitter. Let's resolve to help out our internet friends and build a little more karma in the future. This search was eye opening to me and I will definitely make a conscious effort to be more encouraging when I take to the tweetways and twitways. So, without further ado, here are three great encouragers.

Ksenia Anske Twitter profile picKsenia Anske (@kseniaanske) – Not only does Ksenia have the coolest name ever, but she has psychic abilities to transform space and time into whatever fantasy her brilliant mind can conceive. These powers extend around the world, breathing new life into frustrated writers everywhere. Ksenia doesn't just encourage, she literally creates cheer-leading sections for downtrodden writers. All one needs is to ask. Oh yeah, she also starts companies, rides a bad-ass sport bike and speaks with a Russian accent. I'm pretty sure she is actually a superhero in some clandestine group fighting for peace and justice for all man kind. If you love words in written form, you will love Ksenia. For excellent writing advice, check out her blog.

Nevada Hill Twitter profile picNevada Hill (@NevadaHill) – A spiritual being who just happens to inhabit a human body that heals, nurtures, writes, lives and loves. Rarely do I ever tweet an accomplishment unacknowledged by Nevada. This mother, wife and grandmother who enjoys beer and baseball spends her Twitter time encouraging others and sending out blessings to the ether. When she's not tweeting, writing, cooking or caring for loved ones, Nevada heals the sick as a night-shift nurse. Of course. Could such a person be anything other than a nurse, one who cares for people by doing all the dirty work doctors won't do? I just bet Nevada is the person everyone around her comes to for advice or for hours of chat. I bet you a dollar her friends are comfortable enough to go in her kitchen and pour themselves something to drink without asking. Find more about Nevada on her blog.

whoislise Twitter profile picI.A.M.L.I.S.E (@whoislise) – Who is Lise? No idea, but this amazing person spends her Twitter points sending warm wishes, love and positive thoughts on a daily basis. How can anyone not respect that? Very cool!

Well, that's it for today. Let's be inspired by those who spread goodwill. A few seconds is all it takes to make someone's day.

The Muse Movie – Indie Film At It’s Best

The Muse Movie – At what cost for your hearts desire?

Poster for the movie The MuseHave you ever tasted success only to fall short? Maybe as a salesperson who had a couple months of closing deals and great prospecting? You knew the right words to say. You never stumbled and you were always moving forward. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to lose weight. You've tried every diet, and once, just once, it worked. You got so close to your goal. So close…. Then, you slowly gained it all back. Ever since, you've struggled, trying to replicate what worked before to no avail. Any artists out there? You've had a streak where lines and curves and colors shot through your hands onto the canvas. Vibrant creations almost sprung to life with little effort on your part. Then, it faded away.

What would you do to get it back? What price would you pay? What if a genie rose from the lamp, offering it back for the small price of your sanity? Oh it might be tempting, but most of us would say no. Decisions like that are easy when the cost is high and the consequences are clear.

Now suppose that genie never gave you a choice? Instead, he granted your heart’s desire and slowly extracted payment. Now the option isn’t so clear, is it? Good people do bad things with sufficient reward and when opportunity is presented in very small, incremental steps.

Why the hypothetical? Because that scenario lies at the heart of The Muse. Starring Isaac Simons and directed by Rufus Chafee, The Muse is a psychological thriller where one-hit-wonder Addison Taylor struggles to find his next song, the one to put him on top. He's talented and has flirted with the big time, but he just can't find that next hit. Enter Jimmy, Addison's agent played by Paul Blumenfeld. He sends Addison to a secluded lake-side cabin to get away for a while and concentrate on writing music without the distractions of being Addison Taylor in the city. At the cabin, Addison hits a great streak. Brilliant new music effortlessly flows through him, but at what price and from what origin? Are the new songs coming from Addison's own inspiration and crazed mind or is something more sinister at work? I'm not telling. In fact, even after watching the movie twice, I'm not quite sure.

Did you know the lake house Addison stayed at is on Granite Lake in Keen, NH? The city scenes in the movie were shot in Arlington, MA.

the muse movie addison on the lake

Questions, questions, questions

Not many movies stick with me, forcing me to ponder deep questions, but The Muse did. Even as I write this, I can't help but wonder if the movie tells a ghost story, a story of madness or something else. Audiences don't want everything hand-fed to them, and Rufus does an excellent job of providing just enough to hook us without explaining every last detail. He seems to understand the power of questions in storytelling. Five people might watch this movie and walk away with five different explanations about what happened. That's wonderful storytelling that even some of the masters don't achieve.

Have a little class

The Muse is not the movie I expected. Sometimes indie films come with certain expectations. We all know the terms low-budget, b-movie, exploitation, etc…. While this movie was made on a small budget, none of the other descriptors apply. In The Muse, Rufus created a classy thriller that stayed away from the cheap and easy to provide subtlety and intrigue. If you're looking for blood and gore over great storytelling, this isn't the movie for you. Shock and titillation just aren't tools Rufus employed. Don't get me wrong, I like shock and titillation as much as the next guy, but never at the expense of good storytelling. Even the choice to use a classically-trained pianist as Isaac's Muse shows the type of movie Rufus wanted to make. While she easily could have been a trashy groupie-type character, she was portrayed as a classy, ethereal figure who is above humanity like Liv Tyler's Arwen in The Fellowship of the Ring.

The muse movie love scene with Addison and the muse

Why it works

I want to make sure I accurately describe The Muse as I don't believe calling it a psychological thriller does the story justice. If I had to choose a genre, that would be it, but the thriller part of the movie isn't what makes it tick. Is there plenty of suspense? Sure. Is protagonist Addison off his rocker? Maybe, but that's not the key. What really makes The Muse enjoyable is the mystery, or what I like to call "the but". The moment Addison Taylor steps on the lakeside property we feel a sense of foreboding. Nothing has happened, but we're already worried for him. He's basically okay, but…. He's gaining success, but…. He found his muse, but…. It's these buts that create a sense of unease throughout the film. We never jump out of our seat, yet we never feel comfortable either.

Go see The Muse

The Muse is an intelligent film with fantastic storytelling created by a passionate director and cast. It will stick with you like few other recent movies.

You can see The Muse at

The muse movie Addison with the muse

Blanca Beyar Interview: Attributes of Mastery

Attributes of Mastery
I recently had an opportunity to interview Blanca Beyar about her new book Attributes of Mastery. I love that she provided detailed and thoughtful answers to questions concerning the origins of spirituality.

Read through and let me know you thoughts.

First a little about you and your philosophy.

You describe yourself as a seer, a medium and an empath. Can you describe the common usage of those terms, and more importantly, what the terms mean to you?

Leo, I love this question. I love it because it allows me to share both the dogmatic meaning of these labels and what they truly mean to me. A seer is an individual who possesses the ability to “see” into the matrix of a soul. By matrix, I mean that a seer can see the past, the present and even capture the “potential” of a soul’s future. I use the word potential because as creators, individuals can always create a shift in what their future matrix is. I always tell anyone that I am working with that a seer can only see the potential of an outcome, but as creators, everyone has the ability to create their future and to also change it.

A medium is an individual who can communicate with the afterlife. The word “medium” is typically used to define someone who exclusively dedicates themselves to sharing messages from the afterlife.

An Empath is someone who can tap into the emotional frequency of others and because of this sensitivity, can describe what an individual is feeling on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. Many Empaths can be affected by the energies of others because they are so sensitive. Learning how to harness the empath insight is key to working with it at an optimal level.

I love that you ask what these terms mean to me because in truth, they are labels that help define what I do as a vessel for the divine. I believe that we all possess the attributes of divinity and when we open ourselves to being of service, these gifts naturally develop. To me, these attributes represent being in touch with the God Force within.

How would you describe your philosophy boiled down to its utmost essence?

I humbly believe and teach that we all are luminous spiritual beings and that we all possess the ability to co-create with the God Force. I inspire people to recognize that it is their disbelief in this divine truth that limits them from experiencing life in its greatest potential. When we embrace our divinity, we step into the role of co-creation.

You talk about offering mind, body and spiritual healing to others. Is it the same healing you’ve gone through in your life? Do the same processes work for everyone? What is the connection between the three?

Great question! I believe that that we are a divine trilogy that is composed of the Mind/Body/Spirit. Each of these aspects allows us to experience and process life in a very unique way. Yet, when one of these aspects is out of alignment, it affects the other two. Discord in the body may indicate that there is disharmony in the mind and spirit, and conversely, if there is clutter in the mind, the body and spirit will only follow in the same energy response.

Although some may believe that disharmony of the body is due to environmental or genetic composition, I teach that the body was built like a machine, to work optimally, however, if there is emotional vulnerability in the mind or spirit, then, the body will simply reflect it in the form of illness.

I have observed and experienced this same process in my own spirituality and have also witnessed it in countless of individuals who I have worked with and this is why I take such a strong stance in the Mind/Body/Spirit connection.

Now about your angelic experiences.

Can you describe one of your angelic experiences?

There are so many beautiful experiences that I can share but one stands out in my heart. I remember asking my angel for assistance in helping me find a perfect location for my first office 13 years ago, and I immediately was shown a vision of me standing behind a mountain, greeting people to my office. I had seen several places but a few days after my vision, I received a call to go see a new location. When I arrived at the address, I noticed that the cross streets were Victory and Mountain View! I knew instantly that this was going to be the home for what became the “Spiritual Path.” The street, “Victory” was validating that I had been victorious in finding my sacred space and “Mountain View” was the beautiful Mountain top that my angel had shown me in my vision.

What or who are the angels?

There are many forms of angels. There are many physical angels that live their lives being of service to others…we see them in all walks of life; some are advocates for humanitarian causes and some are “whispers” that gently inspire and offer guidance. Then there is the angelic realm…God’s thought forms, I call them, who gently guide and love us and enter into our lives if we are willing to experience them. And finally, there are the spirits that have transcended to the afterlife, who are like angels, and who also provide direction, love and guidance when we are willing to acknowledge their presence in our lives.

When you talk about faith in a higher power, do you know of a specific higher power?

I have personally experienced a higher power in my spiritual life. To me, this higher power is not a person or entity, but rather, a limitless and boundless energy field that supports and sustains “All that Is.” To some, it may be more comfortable to call this higher power, “God, Universe or Mother Earth.”

This higher power has spoken to me and has revealed itself to me in so many ways that it is undeniable in my soul.

I am an advocate of “Validations” because when something is validated in the spiritual realm, it is not someone else’s truth or belief but more so, an individualized experience that speaks truth to you. I have complete faith in my higher power because it has validated itself in my life and in the lives of so many that I have been privileged to work with.

A little perspective for my readers

I’ve been looking into spiritualism from a physiological point of view, learning what various spiritual or religious experiences mean in terms of their impact on the brain, heart and nervous system. Have you studied the physiology of spiritualism? For instance, what does it mean to be in a particular state of being?

Does studying spiritualism from a scientific perspective cheapen or defame one’s experiences? An example would be tying a person’s chakras to specific glands, or defining meditative states by what frequency your brain waves are running at.

I love that this question follows the previous one where I speak of validations. I believe that reaching a “state of being” is an experience that can only be measured by one’s unique development and validation of certain experiences. I like to say, “You know, that know because you know.” At this level of being-ness, you no longer seek to have your experiences or truth to be validated by others but you know it in your heart that it is true because you have had a direct experience with the Divine within you.

I advocate and embrace the physiological aspects of spirituality and encourage people to recognize the connection between the Mind/Body/Spirit but to also expand it to the “invisible evidence” that resides within our makeup as spiritual beings. I work and introduce the chakra system to individuals who I work with and teach them to learn the relationship between the spiritual, emotional and physical bodies.

Although Science has come a long way in expanding the connection between spirituality and our existence, I feel that it still struggles to validate the most fundamental question…”Who are we?” This is why I am passionate about the direct experience of discovering who we are by have an intimate, internal exploration.

About your book.

What should readers of Attributes of Mastery expect when picking up your book? Do you teach through stories? Practical application? Other methods?
What makes this book different than others? What is unique or more effective about your message?

Attributes of Mastery presents 21 fundamental principles that create a foundation for readers to experience a whole new way of living and experiencing life. Each principle is like a piece of a divine puzzle; that practiced on its own, can introduce a shift in our internalization and perception of life. And yes, the attributes are a practical application because each one invites us to simply make a simple choice of how we are going to choose to process and respond to the arrival of life’s circumstances.

The uniqueness of Attributes of Mastery is that I offer a final chapter that illustrates my own spiritual journey and how each of the attributes assisted me through some of my most challenging experiences—and which helped me to prevail and to truly discover my life’s purpose. In sharing my own personal experience, I hope that readers are inspired and willing to explore the attributes that are presented in the book.

What impact on the world do you hope Attributes of Mastery will have?

My greatest endeavor is for readers to walk away with a great sense of empowerment and inspiration in knowing that even through life’s challenges we can rise above the obstacles and grow beyond the feelings of victimization, to a place of spiritual grace and mastery. My hope is that readers can see that it is the challenges of life that truly hold our greatest opportunities to expand our spirit and to persevere to a state of freedom and wholeness.

Is there anything else you want to say about your book? Anything we’ve missed? Anything some people seem to misunderstand?

Yes…that Attributes of Mastery is not a book that requires readers to reach a state of perfection, nor is it a book that promises that life will be perfect all the time, but rather, it is a book that will help readers to reach a state of grace and of acceptance on a spiritual level that will then allow them to experience “a state of inner-grace” that says, “all is perfect and divine!”

The final question.

The Story In is a blog about stories in life, word, art, music and film. What are some of your favorite stories in any of these domains? Are there any stories that have impacted your life?

It is wonderful when we can learn and hear inspiring stories about the arts and the individuals who passionately pursue their creative calling. I particularly love the “Life Stories” because they allow readers to step into the individualized experiences of one soul and it allows readers to savor an intimate account of a person’s vision of life. In this kind of sharing, we are invited to remember that there is no definitive way to live life; there is no right or wrong, but truly, a unique way to express and to experience! Thank you so much for gifting us with “The Story.”

Support Local Artists This Christmas

Last-minute shopping? No problem.

Need last-minute gift ideas? Tired of hitting the malls or Amazon? What’s wrong with you. Amazon is awesome. Why not give the gift of art from local artists? Who wouldn’t love to get one-of-a-kind paintings or sculptures from people who love creating and sharing. I can’t guarantee shipping in time for Christmas, but if you live near these people, I’m sure they would welcome a visit.

Arizona artists:

Big Chris Art: The JokerBig Chris Art: Chris is simply The Man. Super talented, cool as hell and makes everyone feel like his best friend. Oh yeah, he also creates some of the coolest horror and comic art you’ll find. Chris is active on Facebook, so hit him up to see how you can get some great art before Christmas. He lives near Gotham City Coffee and Comics and will be happy to meet you there.


Tom Deadstuff - Little dudesTom Deadstuff: What can you say about Tom. He builds amazing sculptures out of recycled dog-track tickets and scrap wood. What makes his stuff so cool is the detail he puts into each one. Every piece has not only a subject, but a feel or an emotion. from creepy, to scary to whimsical or any mish-mash of the three, each piece captures something unique. Tom may be in California right now, but you should be able to contact him on Facebook.

Lyon Fine Art: AngelsHoward Lyon Fine Art: Howard paints classic religious pieces with an emphasis on realism. His stuff is quite beautiful and really captures the mystery and magic of religion.


Milan Fine Art: HorseMilan Fine Art: Milan Fine Art sits in beautiful Queen Creek, AZ. With artists from around the country, they are sure to have something you’ll like. Unfortunately, it looks like they are away right now, but their email is listed on the site.


NH Artist

Lisa Artista: TreeLisa Martin Artista: Lisa paints beautiful pictures with bold colors and strokes. I don’t know enough about art to adequately describe her work. Just take a look. It doesn’t take a trained eye to appreciate the passion that goes into her pieces. She lives somewhere in NH I believe and I’m sure she would be delighted to sell some work before Christmas.

New York Artist:

Trashbat: EyeRaven: Not quite sure how to describe the original Trashbat. She creates art out of roadkill, human blood, emotions, words and probably the ashes of dead virgin fairies. Her stuff is super cool. You will not find art like hers anywhere else. I believe she lives in NY city. Twitter is probably the best way to contact her. If you need a gift for a fan of dark, goth or trashy culture, Raven is your girl.

Oregon artist:

Lisa Wilde: SampleLisa Wilde: Lisa paints with bright colors and mixes the macabre with the beautiful to great effect. Utilizing pastels and deep shades of red, she creates wonderful art work that would be at home in your suburban home or a rock club. If you have a wall, she has something to put on it.

Three Fantastic Horror Shorts

Horror shorts

Nothing starts a Saturday morning off right like finding a few good horror shorts. Well, I could think of a few things, but this is a family-friendly place. Here at Story In blog, storytelling trades as a priceless commodity, and while these three shorts are very different from each other, they all share a common trait – great storytelling. So grab a drink, sit back and enjoy some fantastic films.

Something poignant: Crestfallen

Careful. Nudity ahead.

When Lo has her life come crashing down on top of her, she makes the impulsive decision to end her own life. Now with her health hanging in the balance, she questions her decision. With every drop of blood rippling in to a new memory, will the bad ones take her life, or will the good ones overpower them?

So much to love about this film that tells a complete story in six minutes. Strong imagery and an outstanding job of acting through facial expressions and body language by Deneen Melody make this a visually striking film. But, its the musical score that pushes Crestfallen from good to great. With perfect pacing, Harry Manfredini chooses just the right moments to pull our heartstrings back and forth from hope to dread. In Crestfallen, writer Russ Penning delivers a poignant story guaranteed to make you cringe.

I couldn’t find any information on Russ Penning. If anyone has a web page or Twitter handle for him, please let me know.

Something horrific: No Way Out

Directed by Kristoffer Aaron Morgan Written by Eric Vespe Starring AJ Bowen Isolated in a place where twisted creatures torment him from the dark, a man desperately tries to find an escape.

Revulsion and dread all wrapped in a squishy package of giant spiders, monsters and gore. For an added bonus, No Way Out throws in some awesome sound effects that ratchet up the unease even when closing your eyes to escape the horror. Watch as actor A.J. Bowen transitions from runner, to fighter, to madman all in the space of nine minutes.

**Special note. One thing that often ruins independent films for me is screaming. Few actors and actresses scream well, and even fewer when actual words are called for. You know, the “What’s going on!” type of thing. A.J. nails it in this film, building rather than destroying tension.

Something charming: I Love Sarah Jane

Jimbo is 13 and can think of only one girl – Sarah Jane. And no matter what stands in his way-bullies, violence, chaos, or zombies-nothing will stop him from finding a way into her world.

Remember that moment when you first fell in love? What was it that jabbed your heart? Was it a look? An action? Lets just say Jimbo is living the ultimate zombie geek’s dream in I Love Sarah Jane

Independent Film: Trap by Jason Horton

Trap by Jason Horton

I recently found a hidden gem in the movie Trap by Jason Horton. It’s an independent film about two men who kidnap a girl for ransom. Things go awry when one of the men falls for her.

I was surprised by the quality acting in the movie. Allen Perada, Alonzo F. Jones and Ashton Blanchard were all cast perfectly. They fit their respective roles and delivered performances that enhanced the film.

Focusing on three main characters, Horton allows us to get to know them well. And while the theme in Trap is about being trapped by life’s circumstances, I thought the subtext concerning complex relationships provided ample opportunity for a deeper exploration of those things in life that aren’t ideal but we we learn to cope with anyway. That’s the beauty of this movie, and its handled with real deftness and subtlety. It’s as if the plot was created as a vehicle for delving into topics many of us don’t like to talk about.

Anyway, you can buy or rent Trap on Amazon VOD. It’s well worth the $1.99 and 90 minutes you’ll spend. If you see it, let me know what you think.

What are your favorite hidden gems? Lesser-known or independent films that deliver more than just a plot. Have you found anything recently? Let us know.

Awesome Movie Review: Found

Found Poster - Internet size

What lies beneath the surface? That’s the question truly good horror must ask. And when it answers, there better be a payoff worth waiting for. Forget the gore and drama. Forget the great acting by young Gavin Brown. What makes Found such a good movie is the constant reminder that inside us all lies the capacity for great evil and great courage. Good stories, horror or otherwise, never forget that lesson.

The first time I watched Found, I was a bit disappointed. What started as a coming of age story, turned into a gore fest that was quite unexpected. As I’m not a fan of over-the-top violence and gore — I prefer psychological horror to slashers or serial killers — a scene in the middle of the movie distracted me from the overall story. At that time, I watched while checking Facebook, Twitter and important email, and didn’t catch all of the themes and subtext in the movie.

Glad I forgot to write a review then and decided to watch it again since it had been weeks since I first saw it. This time I paid attention throughout, catching themes about what “respectable” people hide. Prejudice, violence, contempt and arrogance. Within the context of that theme and the overall transformation of Marty from bullied weakling to bad ass, the more disturbing parts of the movie fit much better. Don’t get me wrong, some scenes are a bit overdone for my tastes, but I’m not your typical horror fan. Trust me, gore fans will not be disappointed.

The thing is, the gore in this movie was unnecessary, because at the heart of Found lies a great story told through a child’s eyes. Nothing was more chilling than Marty in scary or merely uncomfortable situations. Whether we think Marty is in danger, or he’s having a conversation with a well-meaning, but naive pastor, we experience the appropriate emotions from a twelve-year-old’s point of view. I found myself rooting for Marty, and chastising those around him.

Besides Gavin’s acting, Ethan Philbeck was fantastic as Marty’s older brother. In particular, Ethan had a knack for showing anger and love, often at the same time, using facial expression and body language. Phyllis Munro and Louie Lawless were more than credible as parents of the two boys. Outside of them, performances were generally adequate or better.

Special notices should go to writer Todd Rigney for crafting outstanding dialog and a complete story. Too many low-budget, horror movies focus on special effects and camera tricks at the expense of storytelling. Not so with Found. This story would be just as powerful with or without significant special effects. I’d love to see the screenplay turned into a novel.

Let’s recap, shall we? Great story, fantastic acting, and excessive gore. Sounds like a movie festival fans will love!

So, what lies beneath, deep within Marty? Does he have the capacity for great evil? I’m not tellin’. Watch Found to find out. You’ll be glad you did.

Virtual Zombie Walk 2012 – King of the World

Virtual Zombie Walk 2012

It’s the mooossst wonderful tiiimmmme of the yeeeaar. That’s right. The Walking Dead is on, Halloween is coming up and it’s time for Virtual Zombie Walk 2012. So read my entry for Jezrie’s Nightmares Zombie Run contest, and check out the rest of the zombie walk linked below.

King of the World – by Leo Godin

Ain’t fair. Putting this in my hands, like I’m some sort of arbiter for humanity. Fuckin’ kill me, but don’t do this. Too much temptation. Too easy to let it all burn.

What am I trying to save? Got no job. Stuck-up bitch, whore took care of that. All I wanted was a date. That so hard? Never even touched her, but somehow talking to pretty girls goes against company policy on harassment at McDowells. Like no one’s supposed to talk while flipping burgers. Doesn’t Reynold’s know what goes on in his office after closing time?. Not like she hadn’t been in there, either. With Julio and Jim, both at the same time.

Just wanted my piece. No reason to get fired.

Who’s left? Not like my family wants me around. Not after the last time. Hate Thanksgiving. It’s all “Lost another job?” and “You smell like pot.” I give thanks. Thanks I don’t live there anymore. Thanks that I finally had the nerve to punch the old man right in the head. Knocked the fucker right to the ground. Not going’ back there.

Who is this prick? Locking me up in here with a key. Not just any ol’ key. The key. Yeah, I can get out. Easy. Only thing, so will they. Sick fuck’s watched Saw one too many times.

Do I really want to die here? No food, no water? Just to protect the world? What’s the world ever done for me? Did the world stop to help when my car died on 101 North? Hell no. Walked eighteen miles that night. Guess nobody’s gonna pick up a guy like me. Not with these scars.

Did the world keep me out of that fire? Did it save my face? I don’t owe it nothin’. Might just let these things out right now. Look at them. All mealy-mouthed. Maggots falling out of their faces. Fuckers stink to hell, too, and they’re hungry. Even dead eyes show hunger.

I can get behind that. I know what hungry feels like, and not just food either. Hungry for something you can’t define. Anything. Just to change what is. You know? Just a girl, or a friend, or something cool to happen. Yeah, I know that feeling. I’m closer to these dead things than any people.

Been two days, and man I’m thirsty. Gotta get out of here. Can I do it? Things look slow, all shambling around in there. I can get past them. But that door. It don’t close once it’s open. That’s what the guy said, and I believe him.

I seen the movies. Know what happens when these things get out. World goes to shit. Everyone dies. Well, most everyone. Not me. I can swing a bat. Forage for food. That world’s made for people like me. It’s that bitch and Mr. Reynolds who’ll die out there.

So, whoever’s on the other end of this camera, watch out, cuz I’m gonna be a king in the new world.

A plethora of zombie links

Zombies Everywhere
Halloween Blues
The Southern Northerner
Martha’s Journey
Annie Walls
GingerRead Review
App’y Talk
Kweeny Todd
Jenny’s House of Horrors
Bubba’s Place
Fictional Candy
herding cats & burning soup
Author Sherry Soule Blog
Paranormal research Group Blog
Adult Urban Fantasy by Sherry Soule
Moonlight Publishing Blog
Candid Canine
Ghost Hunting Theories
Above the Norm
A Dust Bunny In The Wind
Faith McKay
Zombob’s Zombie News & Movie Reviews
Flesh From The Morgue
The Living Dark
Some One Else’s Cook
Stumptown Horror
Forget About TV, Grab a Book
Zombie Dating Guide
Strange State
The Paranormalist – Renae Rude
Idée Fixe
Random Game Crafts
WhiteRoseBud’s Tumblr
Book Me!
Carmen Jenner Author
Sarasota Zombie Pub Crawl
Not Now…Mommy’s Reading
Love is a Many Flavored Thing
Its On Random
Ellie Potts
Attention Earthlings!
Horror Shock LoliPOP
The Spooky Vegan
The Story In…
DarkSide Detectives Blog
Something wicKED this way comes….
Julie Jansen: science fiction and horror writer
Author/screenwriter James Schannep
The Zombie Lab
Creepy Glowbugg
Sharing Links and Wisdom
Midnyte Reader
This Blog Has A.D.D.
Carol’s Creations
Jeremy Bates
Vanessa Morgan