31 Years of Horror in 31 Days: A Halloween Must-Watch List

By Andrew Buckner

The following is a list of thirty-one horror films. This is with one genre selection, some independent and some mainstream, from each of the past thirty-one years. Each feature, all of which comes with my highest of recommendations, is supposed to represent one of the thirty-one days in October. It is also meant to be a must-watch horror list where one movie is viewed per day of the month. This is to create the ultimate AWordofDreams/ Andrew Buckner approved Halloween film festival.

Without further ado, here is the list in its entirety.

Tetsou: The Iron Man (1989)
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Director: Joe Dante.

Nekromantic 2 (1991)
Director: Jorg Buttgereit.

Dead Alive (1992)
Director: Peter Jackson.

Fire in the Sky (1993)
Director: Robert Lieberman.

Serial Mom (1994)
Director: John Waters.

Castle Freak (1995)
Director: Stuart Gordon.

The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
Director: Dario Argento.

The Wax Mask (1997)
Director: Sergio Stivaletti.

Bride of Chucky (1998)
Director: Ronny Yu.

Stir of Echoes (1999)
Director: David Koepp.

Ginger Snaps (2000)
Director: John Fawcett.

Frailty (2001)
Director: Bill Paxton.

May (2002)
Director: Lucky McKee.

High Tension (2003)
Director: Alexandre Aja.

Saw (2004)
Director: James Wan.

Land of the Dead (2005)
Director: George A. Romero.

Bug (2006)
Director: William Friedkin.

Inside (2007)
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury.

The Strangers (2008)
Director: Bryan Bertino.

Antichrist (2009)
Director: Lars von Trier.

The Loved Ones (2010)
Director: Sean Byrne.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)
Director: Tom Six.

Sinister (2012)
Director: Scott Derrickson.

The Conjuring (2013)
Director: James Wan.

Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Directors: Severin Fiola, Veronika Franz.

The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers.

Raw (2016)
Director: Julia Ducournau.

Mother! (2017)
Director: Darren Aronofsky.

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2018)
Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini.

Doctor Sleep (2019)
Director: Mike Flanagan.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Director: Charlie Kaufman.

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Fall Short Film Festival 2020 – Film #1: “Entropia” (2018)

By Andrew Buckner

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Fall Short Film Festival 2020, which will focus primarily on everything horror related, commences with the award-winning “Entropia”. It is the first of thirteen films in the aforementioned online gala.

Boasting a superbly engaging and altogether terrific performance by Sissy O’Hara, the 14-minute and 54-second project resonates a wonderfully atmospheric 1970’s style. It is apparent in the mesmerizing cinematography by Amanda McGrady. The use of sound and the haunting music by Evan Phinnicie masterfully reflect this quality. Brilliantly written and directed by Marinah Janello, the work unfolds with deft confidence and memorable imagery aplenty. The effects, another frequently strong aspect of the visual appeal of this endeavor, are often gooey and tremendously well-done. Moreover, the story itself is fascinating. This is especially true of the “show over tell” nature of the way the narrative unveils. 

Character-driven, unpredictable and unforgettable, “Entropia” is a perfect treat for the Halloween season. 

FILM #1: “ENTROPIA” (2018)

Sissy O'Hara in Entropia (2018)

IMDB Link for Cast/Crew, Synopsis and other Information for the Film:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7385642/?ref_=nm_knf_t1&fbclid=IwAR0NQX5XpymlfGb6ySbusKfvrkga4Q2yrh_6cACG3xvTptjQTHC9bPVa6UU

28-Second Trailer for the Film:

You can screen the film in full below:

*All films featured in this festival were used with the kind permission of those involved with the work itself.

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival – Films 13 and 14: “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories” (2020) and “The Man Who Fears the Rain” (2020)

By Andrew Buckner

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival concludes with the final pair of films in the 14-part series: “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories” (2020) and  “The Man Who Fears the Rain” (2020). Both are deeply introspective works that I wrote, produced, directed, scored and narrate. In “The Man Who Fears the Rain”, I even make a brief appearance. Both projects cost absolutely nothing to make. They were also filmed primarily in my backyard and with my phone.

As promised, the festival concludes with:

Film 13: Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories 

Synopsis:

A 14-minute and 45-second documentary which focuses on director Buckner’s personal memories and admiration of the movie theater. The piece draws primarily on midnight movie and family experiences to describe the intimate connection he has to said place. It also describes how the recent cinema shutdowns due to Covid-19 have altered his feelings as a filmgoer.

Told with audio narration and using three bits of symbolic video bits, the endeavor is a truly unique project.

(Re)Search my Trash Review of the Film:

http://www.searchmytrash.com/cgi-bin/creditsb.pl?andrewbucknersbigscreenmemories(2020)

30-Second Trailer for the Film:

Film Still:

Additional Information:

Color.

Shot in June of 2020.

The Film in Full:

Film 14: “The Man Who Fears the Rain”

Synopsis:

A lone man ponders his fear of turbulent weather, namely rain, and wonders what it says about his inner-self.

10-Second Trailer for the Film:

Additional Information:

Color.

Runtime: 2 min. 14 sec.

Filmed in July of 2020.

The Film in Full:

* All films included in this festival were used with the kind permission of the directors themselves.

“Salvation” – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

Stylishly and strikingly directed by Gabrielle Rosson, “Salvation” (2020) brilliantly captures the look and feel of its summer of 1957 setting. Based an original script entitled “Fink” by actor Kris Salvi, the twelve-minute short film never wavers as a masterclass in elegant Martin Scorsese-like mood. Briskly paced and fluently entertaining, the project benefits from the natural on-screen chemistry, likability, and overall marvelous performances from leads Justin Thibault (as Santo) and Salvi (as Salvatore). Further benefitted by often cryptic dialogue, especially in the masterfully done diner sequences which take up the bulk of the effort, Thibault and Salvi command every bit they are in together.

The plot revolves around the consequences of a grim past affecting the present state of long-time friends Salvatore and Santo. Rosson’s rich screenplay takes what could have been a relatively straightforward narrative and gives it intimacy, depth, and complexity. The endeavor never loses its eye on the central figures. Best of all, it smartly develops Salvatore and Santo in a largely banter-driven manner. It is one which is, like the entirety of the attempt, both slick and engaging.

What also helps the work become so magnificent and robust is the colorful, eye-popping cinematography by Manx Magyar. Additionally, Ian Rashkin’s music is superb. It suits the smooth attitude of the exercise terrifically well. Michael Hansen and Rosson’s editing is pitch perfect. The same can be said of Kimmi Monteiro’s set decoration. The fleeting turns from Paul Kandarian as Ciro and Sarah Morse as Bambi are just as effective. The opening, especially the early black and white portion which perfectly reflects the decade appropriate flair of the narrative, and concluding credits are visually remarkable bookends to the undertaking. What is just as noteworthy is the climax of the venture. It is beautiful and violent in equal measure.

In turn, “Salvation” is classy, sophisticated, and brooding. It is a bullseye of talent in front of and behind the camera. Like Rosson’s previous brief picture, “Being Kris Salvi” (2020), it stands as one of the greatest narratives of its type of the year. Similarly, it continues to establish Rosson as a fantastic moviemaker with a firm grasp of the medium. “Salvation” is highly recommended viewing.

“Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

The world is in desperate need of laughter in our increasingly bleak times. Director Richard Griffin and screenwriter Duncan Pflaster provide just that with their latest collaborative effort: the rapid-fire hilarious Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2 (2020). Griffin’s latest feature is on par with the massively entertaining original entry in this series, Strapped for Danger (2017), in every way. I cannot recall a single joke in the brisk 88-minute runtime of Undercover Vice that doesn’t land with either a smirk, a chuckle or a slew of knee-slapping guffaws. Even the quieter sight gags, such as one clever moment that utilizes a water cooler at twenty-six minutes into the work, are effective and well-done.

As has become a trademark with Griffin films, the piece has numerous jokes pointed at the private lives of Republicans. While this attribute is successful enough to add a personal political point-of-view to the piece, the endeavor does not linger too long on these bits. It simply adds its own perspective, as is the right of every artist, and moves forward with the tale. In an age where subtly seems to be a forgotten art, such actions are evermore admirable.

What is just as worthy of respect is that there is never a bitter flash in the entirety of the production. There are a few dramatic instances. But they play out in a manner which heightens the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, joyously campy quality of the affair. A subplot involving a central figure getting his grandfather out of a nursing home is where many of these touches are mechanized. Regardless, the unabashedly quirky tone of the picture is never broken.

The plot involves two police officers, Andy (Sean Brown) and Kevin (Chris Fisher), who pose as porn stars to stop a ring of corruption involving a local politician. Pflaster gives this story life with dialogue that is endlessly smart and witty. Furthermore, there is an enviably quick and efficient pace throughout the entirety of the silver screen opus. This is largely due to Griffin’s masterful editing. There not a single unnecessary or overlong scene in the production. Such measures greatly compliment the jovial atmosphere of the project.

What also helps this matter is that every performance herein is gleefully pitch perfect. Brown and Fisher are brilliant with their endearing lead depictions. Sarah Reed is fantastic as Zooey. The same can be said of the respective turns of Sissy O’ Hara as Sister Dymphna and Samantha Acampora as Rebecca. Johnny Sederquist is always enjoyable as the delightfully named Pinata Debris.

Undercover Vice is bigger and grander than its predecessor. Still, its wonderfully intimate with just the right amount of character focus. Every frame is a visual feast for the eye. This is a courtesy of the marvelous, colorful cinematography from John Mosetich. It is as just as much a sonic smorgasbord with some truly excellent musical selections peppering the undertaking. This is especially noteworthy during the superbly constructed end credits. Yet, Griffin’s exercise is just as brilliant in sections such as the near two-minute opener of the chronicle. This sequence uses only voiceover dialogue to describe what is transpiring and the names of those participating in the article.

These elements come together to craft another inspired and dazzling masterpiece in Griffin’s cinematic canon. Undercover Vice is one of the funniest flicks in years. It is also one of 2020’s top-tier movies. Griffin has crafted another triumph of independent storytelling via the visual medium. Strapped for Danger Part 2 is a must-see.

The 15 Best Albums and EPs of 2020 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

15. Molocular Meditation by Jan St. Werner

14. Versus (EP) by Jonezen

13. After Hours by The Weeknd

12. Mystic by Mackenzie Nicole

11. My Brother’s Keeper by Swifty McVay, Kuniva

10. The Allegory by Royce Da 5’9

9. EnterFear by Tech N9ne

8. Guided Meditations (EP) by RZA

7. Pray for Paris by Westside Gunn

6. RTJ4 by Run the Jewels

5. Gorilla Twins by Ill Bill, Nems

4. No Hermono by Sean Strange

3. Loud Is Not Enough by Public Enemy

2. All My Heroes Are Dead by R.A. the Rugged Man

1. Music to Be Murdered By by Eminem

Runner-up:

Your Birthday’s Cancelled by Iron Wigs

“Stuck”(2020) – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****.

Director Steve Blackwood’s fourteen-minute short film, “Stuck” (2020)”, is an all-around clever and well-done comedy. It finds a plethora of successful laughs and a subtle undermining of heart amid its engrossing premise.

Such concerns the goings-on of George (Blackwood) and Helen Simon (Sandy Bainum). They are a couple from New York, employed in advertising, who are thrust into a situation of dire emergency. The duo bought a machine of an erotic nature. It is one meant to enhance their relationship. This is as well as their routine lives. Yet, when the inebriated young delivery guy, Finn (Max Schochet), passes out and becomes unmovably entangled in said device during its installation, the scenario becomes more than a little nerve-racking for the pair. Not only is this because they are unaware of how to get Finn out of the gadget, but also because their overly judgmental friends are on their way for dinner.

The script, from Blackwood and David Susman, does a fine job of telling this tale in an engaging, hysterical, and always credible fashion. It develops the all-too-relatable characters of George and Helen in an equally organic and satisfying manner. This is often through the knee-slapping banter between the team. Blackwood and Susman keep the pace brisk throughout the endeavor. There is not a wasted frame in the storytelling department. Moreover, the humor is successful and witty. The project gets funnier as it goes along. This is with it becoming even more effective in the second half of the production. Blackwood and Susman’s narrative also weave a nice bit of dramatic symbolism with the title word involving George and Helen themselves near the finale.

What also works in the undertaking is the cheery, sophisticated, and stylish opening and closing credit sequences. They beautifully echo the overall tone of the effort. The animation used in these moments is outstanding. Furthermore, the performances are pitch perfect. Blackwood, Bainum and Schochet are excellent in their respective turns. The cinematography is vibrant, and the musical bits are just as good. Blackwood’s behind the camera control of the venture is sharp.

In turn, “Stuck” is masterful on all accounts. It is one of the best and most uproarious brief pieces I have seen all year. I highly recommend it.

Press Release: Andrew Buckner Releases 5 1-MINUTE FREESTYLES EP

 

 

Musician, author and filmmaker Andrew Buckner, under the name Buckner, released his fifth EP yesterday afternoon via YouTube. It is entitled 5 1-Minute Freestyles. The project is a collection of five a capella rap freestyles. All of which run just a little over a minute. They were all recorded and performed by Buckner himself on the morning of June 10th, 2020. The 6-minute and 11-second work can be heard in its entirety at the YouTube link above. 

 

“What is Music?” Album Announcement by AWordofDreams’ Andrew Buckner

Andrew Buckner, writer and site owner of AWordofDreams, released his debut album, What is Music?,  on his Facebook page yesterday.

Unveiled under the artist name Buckner, the project is a 5-part, 26-track, 33-minute experimental/concept record. It showcases the many forms music can take as well as the spontaneity of the art. Covering spoken word, freestyle rap, acoustic guitar, a capella singing, natural sounds and more, this 100% indie work is completely improvised and original. It was performed and recorded by Buckner himself.

You can stream the album in full at the Facebook link above.