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Review: ‘Lake Michigan Monster’ is an Inventive, Crowd-Pleasing Delight

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Lake Michigan Monster

Lake Michigan Monster is a deliriously fun homage to the classic monster and adventure movies of the 1950s. Every detail is lovingly crafted to create this perfect little capsule of a film that is absolutely soaked with character. As a self-funded microbudget film, the simplistic effects and in-camera tricks add buckets of charm that will make you fall in love with every ridiculous minute.

In Lake Michigan Monster, the eccentric Captain Seafield hires a crew of specialists to help him plot revenge against the creature that killed his father. After several failed attempts, Seafield is forced to take matters into his own drunken hands. What began as a simple case of man versus beast soon plunges down a rabbit hole of mysterious unknowns and Lovecraftian hijinks.

The film has already hit the festival circuit, winning the Audience Award for Best International Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival in 2019 — and for good reason. In a world of franchises and slow burn atmospheric dread (not a bad thing, mind you), Lake Michigan Monster is a delightful reminder of how joyfully bonkers film can be.

Visually, it’s everything you’d want from a stylized period-inspired genre comedy. With simple sensibilities, at times it’s hilariously low-budget, while others give you that feeling of a surreal drug-fueled fever dream. The VFX and the editing (both done by Mike Cheslik) have a perfect marriage that hits every comedic mark just a little bit harder.

The film stars Ryland Brickson Cole Tews as Seafield, Erick West as weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy, Beluah Peters as sonar whiz Nedge Pepsi, and Daniel Long as former N.A.V.Y. (Nautical Athletes and Venture Yunit) officer Dick Flynn.

It’s no surprise that the film’s dynamic lead, Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, also wrote and directed the film. His performance as Seafield — the self-appointed Captain of this motley crew — is absolutely golden. He’s perfected the line delivery and goes over-the-top to build a precise caricature, but it’s never ostentatious. Tews walks straight up to that line, flirts with it constantly, but never crosses.

If you’re a fan of truly absurd campy comedies, this low-budget marvel is an absolute treat. What Tews and the team are able to pull off is insane and wildly impressive. Lake Michigan Monster has all the makings of a beloved cult classic, with a script laced with whip-smart quips that are shot like a quick-draw gunslinger.

But as goofy as the film is, it shows a mature understanding of — and passion for — the world of cinema. The camera tricks and moments of visual comedy perfectly capture that maverick spirit of the early days of film. It’s inventive, engaging, and consistently fun.

Lake Michigan Monster is — incredibly — Tews’ first feature film, and with all honesty I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next.

 

If you’d like to check it out yourself, Arrow Video will be hosting a 24-hour virtual premiere on AltaVOD on July 31st that comes equipped with an introduction from the filmmaker and a Q&A session featuring members from the cast and crew. Or, you can catch it streaming on The Arrow Video Channel in the UK & US from August 3.

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Brad Dourif Says He’s Retiring Except For One Important Role

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Brad Dourif has been doing movies for nearly 50 years. Now it seems he is walking away from the industry at 74 to enjoy his golden years. Except, there is a caveat.

Recently, digital entertainment publication JoBlo’s Tyler Nichols talked to some of the Chucky television series cast members. During the interview, Dourif made an announcement.

“Dourif said that he’s retired from acting,” says Nichols. “The only reason he came back for the show was because of his daughter Fiona and he considers Chucky creator Don Mancini to be family. But for non-Chucky stuff, he considers himself retired.”

Dourif has voiced the possessed doll since 1988 (minus the 2019 reboot). The original movie “Child’s Play” has become such a cult classic it’s at the top of some people’s best chillers of all time. Chucky himself is ingrained in pop culture history much like Frankenstein or Jason Voorhees.

While Dourif may be known for his famous voiceover, he is also an Oscar-nominated actor for his part in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Another famous horror role is The Gemini Killer in William Peter Blatty’s Exorcist III. And who can forget Betazoid Lon Suder in Star Trek: Voyager?

The good news is that Don Mancini is already pitching a concept for season four of Chucky which might also include a feature-length movie with a series tie-in. So, Although Dourif says he is retiring from the industry, ironically he is Chucky’s friend till the end.

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Editorial

7 Great ‘Scream’ Fan Films & Shorts Worth a Watch

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The Scream franchise is such an iconic series, that many budding filmmakers take inspiration from it and make their own sequels or, at least, build upon the original universe created by screenwriter Kevin Williamson. YouTube is the perfect medium to showcase these talents (and budgets) with fan-made homages with their own personal twists.

The great thing about Ghostface is that he can appear anywhere, in any town, he just needs the signature mask, knife, and unhinged motive. Thanks to Fair Use laws it’s possible to expand upon Wes Craven’s creation by simply getting a group of young adults together and killing them off one by one. Oh, and don’t forget the twist. You’ll notice that Roger Jackson’s famous Ghostface voice is uncanny valley, but you get the gist.

We have gathered five fan films/shorts related to Scream that we thought were pretty good. Although they can’t possibly match the beats of a $33 million blockbuster, they get by on what they have. But who needs money? If you’re talented and motivated anything is possible as proven by these filmmakers who are well on their way to the big leagues.

Take a look at the below films and let us know what you think. And while you’re at it, leave these young filmmakers a thumbs up, or leave them a comment to encourage them to create more films. Besides, where else are you going to see Ghostface vs. a Katana all set to a hip-hop soundtrack?

Scream Live (2023)

Scream Live

Ghostface (2021)

Ghostface

Ghost Face (2023)

Ghost Face

Don’t Scream (2022)

Don’t Scream

Scream: A Fan Film (2023)

Scream: A Fan Film

The Scream (2023)

The Scream

A Scream Fan Film (2023)

A Scream Fan Film
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Another Creepy Spider Movie Hits Shudder This Month

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Good spider films are a theme this year. First, we had Sting and then there was Infested. The former is still in theaters and the latter is coming to Shudder starting April 26.

Infested has been getting some good reviews. People are saying that it’s not only a great creature feature but also a social commentary on racism in France.

According to IMDb: Writer/director Sébastien Vanicek was looking for ideas around the discrimination faced by black and Arab-looking people in France, and that led him to spiders, which are rarely welcome in homes; whenever they’re spotted, they’re swatted. As everyone in the story (people and spiders) is treated like vermin by society, the title came to him naturally.

Shudder has become the gold standard for streaming horror content. Since 2016, the service has been offering fans an expansive library of genre movies. in 2017, they began to stream exclusive content.

Since then Shudder has become a powerhouse in the film festival circuit, buying distribution rights to movies, or just producing some of their own. Just like Netflix, they give a film a short theatrical run before adding it to their library exclusively for subscribers.

Late Night With the Devil is a great example. It was released theatrically on March 22 and will begin streaming on the platform starting April 19.

While not getting the same buzz as Late Night, Infested is a festival favorite and many have said if you suffer from arachnophobia, you might want to take heed before watching it.

Infested

According to the synopsis, our main character, Kalib is turning 30 and dealing with some family issues. “He’s fighting with his sister over an inheritance and has cut ties with his best friend. Fascinated by exotic animals, he finds a venomous spider in a shop and brings it back to his apartment. It only takes a moment for the spider to escape and reproduce, turning the whole building into a dreadful web trap. The only option for Kaleb and his friends is to find a way out and survive.”

The film will be available to watch on Shudder starting April 26.

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