The Weed Spreads


The good news is that Ryan Cauchi and Nick Stathopoulos’ superlative, low-budget, practical FX-driven, monster plant flick, It Grows!, is sending out its tendrils, and taking root in film festivals worldwide.

The short film had its world premiere on October 11, at the Salty Horror International Film Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah, where it picked up the award for Best Editing. The same weekend, it screened at Halloweenapalooza in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Below is the screening schedule for It Grows! (to date), complete with dates for those wanting to track it down (and believe me, you want to see this film):

Official Selection List (note: this list will be updated as new festivals are added)

  • The Salty Horror International Film Festival
  • Halloweenapalooza
  • The Eerie Horror Film Festival — Erie, Pennsylvania, Oct 17
  • Northwest Horrorfest — Seattle, Washington, Oct 21
  • Fargo Fantastic Film Festival — Fargo, North Dakota, Oct 24–26
  • Knoxville Horror Film Festival — Knoxville, Tennessee, Oct 26
  • Terror Film Festival — Online Competition, Oct 30–Nov 1
  • ZED FEST Film Festival — Burbank, California, Nov 7–9
  • The Sci Fi Film Festival — Parramatta, NSW, Nov 14–16 *Official Australian Premiere*
  • Buried Alive Film Festival — Atlanta, Georgia, Nov 23

Writer, producer, co-director, FX designer and star Nick Stathopoulos (pictured in his role as star) commented:

It’s great to see It Grows! being accepted in film festivals and  screened to large audiences. It started out as such a low — brow and budget — project. Ryan and I have learned so much, which was one of the things the project was meant to do. I’m really pleased with the look of it, and Ryan’s just taken out an editing award from one of the festivals [The Salty Horror International Film Festival], which is a major achievement. He did an awesome job blending the new material seamlessly with the original seven-minute version. That’s been very successful.

it-grows2The film’s 17-minute run-time is packed with eye-popping imagery, all created by Stathopoulos, and is a homage to some of the great genre films of the past. “I grew up obsessed with Universal’s Classic Monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man), the original King Kong and Ray Harryhausen’s entire body of work,” director Cauchi told Undead Backbrain. “It Grows! is my love-letter to all of these. It combines my enthusiasm for practical effects with an unashamed love for tacky horror and B-grade schlock.”

Certainly Sydney will never be the same!


Cauchi and Stathopoulos decided to rework the film’s initial 7-minute “Tropfest Cut”, adding characters and scenes, expanding the plot and finessing some of its technical aspects, in the end making it an even-greater wonder to behold than it had been. As well as Stathopoulos himself, the film stars his dog Bonnie (who proved to be a born thespian), writer and friend Catriona Sparks, Jaimie Leonarder (aka Jay Katz, well-known Australian musician, archivist, social worker, film critic, radio announcer, and DJ), and Stathopoulos’ sister, Henri Stathopoulos — along with cameos by Greg Kaplan, Chris Hawkshaw, artist Lewis Morley, poet Adrian Robinson and Alexander Wright. As well as a terrific music score by Andrew Thomas Wilson, it boasts a theme song vocalised by media personality Bob Downe (alter ego of comedian Mark Trevorrow).

it-grows05The plant makes a house call

it-grows06Cat Sparks as the long-suffering girlfriend

It-grows01Jaimie Leonarder as the bemused scientist


Nick Stathopoulos as Zac, about to be consumed by his non-digital, FX-created co-star

Cauchi added:

The new cut has been a really fun creative challenge. We’ve had incredible support from both Tim Newsom (Sound Designer) and Andrew Thomas Wilson (Composer), as well as film industry figures like Matt Ferro (EP, ‘Happy Feet’) and Craig Wood (Editor, ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Rango’). But my biggest thanks go to my co-director and producer, Nick Stathopoulos. He is an amazing collaborator and a real joy to work with. We already have two more short films lined up and you can be sure that Undead Backbrain will be the first to spread the news!

See! Good news all ’round. Stay tuned!

Source: Ryan Cauchi and Nick Stathopoulos

Posted in Apocalypse, Australian, Fantasy, Flying Saucers, Giant Monsters, Man-eating plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hellyfish Slouches Towards Us?

As the poet Yeats asked: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Well, folks, it’s a giant jellyfish. It may not be slouching towards Bethlehem, but it is heading towards a TV station or online site near you….


Remember the giant jellyfish flick the Backbrain profiled back in August 2012, when we interviewed the director? No, well, go here to jog your memory. There’s lots of squishy information.

At any rate it’s called Hellyfish and is directed by Patrick Longstreth and Robert McLean.

Now there’s a poster (above) and a new official trailer:

[vimeo 100958041]


America’s only missing nuclear weapon is leaking radioactive material into the ocean just off the coast of Tybee Island, GA. The trifling existence of a hapless cast is disrupted by a vicious force of nature that shows no mercy.

It will be a short film [13 minutes] — and will slouchingly reach its destination on Halloween 2014. First off though, it will be screening at the DC Shorts Film Festival on Friday, September 11th at 7pm. I’m rather keen to see it myself, though getting to Washington from Wollongong, Australia, that evening might be a bit impractical.

Source: Facebook page.



Posted in Film, Giant Monsters, Independent film, News, Short Films, Update | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

New: Evala, The Land Mine Daikaiju


The details of this new daikaiju clip are sketchy to say the least, but for what it’s worth Evala, The Land Mine Daikaiju came to the attention of News Hound Supremo, Avery Guerra via the following Youtube clips — marked, as you will see, as a “pilot film”. It was made by Yuki Kurosu, who commented that the footage was produced “as a hobby”, but with the hope of making a short film or even a feature film… eventually. We should consider it as him slowly “gearing up”.

[youtube y1yUFDPOE2E]

This second video is a breakdown of the visual FX moments from the first:

[youtube 0SgcBKwI4OI]

It will be interesting to see if this comes to anything. It certainly looks rather impressive. But what is a “land mine daikaiju”, I wonder?


Source: Avery Guerra.

Posted in Film, Giant Monsters, Japanese | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Favourite Horror Film Theme Songs

Films in the horror genre — particularly films that can be described as exploitation horror comedies, even if they’re only incidentally funny — seem to inspire excellent theme songs. For the purposes of this list — let’s call it My Top 10 Favourite Horror Film Theme Songs — I define “theme song” as a song written specifically for a particular movie and containing in its lyrics a high level of relevance to the actual plot.

The type of theme song I’m referring to isn’t the kind of award-winning cinematic music epitomised by the famous orchestral theme to Star Wars (by John Williams), or the theme to Lawrence of Arabia (by Maurice Jarre), or “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago. Nor am I including famous non-lyric-based (“instrumental”, if not “orchestral”) horror themes such as those for Jaws, The Exorcist, Psycho, Dario Argento’s Suspiria (in fact, any cinematic score by Goblin), Carpenter’s The Thing or the same director’s Halloween. I’m referencing a different beast altogether. This “subgenre” has lyrics, and the lyrics make direct, often (but not always) humorous reference to the film itself. A high level of irony generally comes into play. There’s a profundity to these often tritely cheeky songs that’s rather hard to rationalise… so I won’t bother.

This might be a genre of movie music unique to horror and horror comedy. Or maybe it isn’t. After all, some of the Bond franchise theme songs more-or-less fit this definition (such as “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey). But never mind the definitional problems. Let’s just go with it!

Here is a list of my Favourite Horror Film Theme Songs (not in order of preference).


This one holds an almost iconic place in the genre. The wonderful tongue-in-cheek pop sensibility displayed in the music and the lyrics would seem at odds with the pseudo-serious tone of the film. Yet somehow, it turns out to be just right.

blob-original-poster“Beware of the Blob” — from The Blob (US-1958; dir. Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.), performed by The Five Blobs [Burt Bacharach and Bernie Nee]

[youtube XzHDvzGmmw0]

Lyrics (Burt Bacharach, Mack David)

Beware of the Blob,
It creeps and leaps
And glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the Blob…



The Ghostbusters theme is nearly as iconic as “Beware of the Blob”, though for different reasons. It captures both the late-night commercial marketing hype that inspired it in the first place, but it also embraces the sort of communal celebratory attitude towards New York that engulfs the entire cast at the end of the film — though, of course, it also transcends the Big Apple and celebrates the communal nature of humanity as a whole. Profound, right? On its first release in 1984, I saw the film at a cinema in Parramatta (Parramatta is a non-capital Australian city, just west of Sydney, in case you were wondering). It was a packed house and by the end communal oneness (now manifesting in these wild-and-woolly western suburbs) was being expressed via a spontaneous, almost ritualistic, mass shout-out to the question “Who ya gonna call?”

ghostbusters_ver4“Ghostbusters” — from Ghostbusters (US-1984; dir. Ivan Reitman), performed by Ray Parker, Jr.

[youtube r1-NvLJFDsw]

Lyrics (Ray Parker, Jr.)

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call? (Ghostbusters)
If it’s somethin’ weird, and it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call? (Ghostbusters)

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

If you’re seein’ things, runnin’ thru your head
Who can you call? (Ghostbusters)
An invisible man sleepin’ in your bed
Oh, who ya gonna call? (Ghostbusters)

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
Who ya gonna call? (Ghostbusters)

If you’re all alone, pick up the phone
And call (Ghostbusters)!

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
I hear it likes the girls.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters)

Mm… if you’ve had a dose
Of a freaky ghost baby
You better call Ghostbusters

Let me tell ya somethin’
Bustin’ makes me feel good
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

Don’t get caught alone, oh no…
When he comes through your door
Unless you’ve just got some more
I think you better call Ghostbusters!
Ooh… who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters)
Who you gonna call (Ghostbusters)
Ah, I think you better call (Ghostbusters)
Who ya gonna call? (Ghostbusters)
I can’t hear you… (Ghostbusters)
Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters)
Louder! (Ghostbusters)
Who you gonna call? (Ghostbusters)
Who you can call? Ghostbusters… (till fade)



The Killer Klowns theme song is perhaps my favourite — not because it’s more profound than “The Ghostbusters” or more lyrical than the others mentioned here, but just because both it and the film it tags are so goddam soul-expandingly absurd. As always, Coulrophobes beware!

killer-klowns-from-outer-space-movie-poster-1988-1020469216“Killer Klowns”  — from Killer Klowns From Outer Space (US-1988; dir. Stephen Chiodo), performed by The Dickies. Music video directed by Chuck Cirino.

[youtube tGVX033PiDA]

Lyrics (The Dickies)

PT Barnum said it so long ago,
There’s one born every minute, that you know
Some make us laugh, some make us cry
These clowns only gonna make you die.
Everybody’s running when the circus comes into their towns.
Everyone is running from the likes of the killer klowns…
From outer space.
Killer klowns from outer space.

Ringmaster shouts let the show begin,
Send in the klowns, then let them do you in.
See a rubber nose on a painted face
Bringing genocide to the human race.
It’s time to take a ride on the nightmare merry-go-round,
You’ll be dead on arrival from the likes of the killer klowns…
From outer space.
Killer klowns from outer space.

There’s cotton candy in their hands
Says a polka-dotted man with a stalk of jacaranda
They’re all diabolical bozos…

Oh, look around! What do you see?
Tell me what’s become of humanity.
From California shores to New York Times Square,
Barnum and Bailey everywhere.
If you’ve ever wondered why the population’s going down,
Blame it on the plunder from the likes of the killer klowns…
From outer space.
Killer klowns from outer space.
Killer klowns [repeat]



If that’s not weird enough for you, how about a rhapsodic love-song to a rat? Okay, it’s not meant to be funny, but the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to create such a seriously sappy melody to capture the essence of a revenge horror film about a boy and his pet rat (an intelligent rat that happens to be the leader of a pack of killer rats) — and then to get the young Michael Jackson to sing it — is just too good not to mention. Okay, “Ben” is not actually a favourite song of mine, but I love the fact that, bizarrely, it exists.

Ben“Ben” — from Ben (US-1972; dir. Phil Karlson), performed by Michael Jackson

[youtube T5PJVNYlnkE]

Lyrics (Don Black and Walter Scharf)

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You’ve got a friend in me
(You’ve got a friend in me)

Ben, you’re always running here and there
(Here and there)
You feel you’re not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don’t like what you find
There’s something you should know
You’ve got a place to go
(You’ve got a place to go)

I used to say “I” and “me”
Now it’s “us”, now it’s “we”
I used to say “I” and “me”
Now it’s “us”, now it’s “we”

Ben, most people would turn you away
I don’t listen to a word they say
They don’t see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I’m sure they’d think again
If they had a friend like Ben
(A friend)
Like Ben
(Like Ben)
Like Ben



This Friday the 13th flick isn’t a comedy. It’s exploitative and schlocky though, and is the first of the franchise in which Jason is unequivocally a zombie — not just back in another film, but back from the dead. Being rhapsodised by none other than Alice Cooper seems entirely appropriate.


“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” — from Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (US-1986; dir. Tom McLoughlin), performed by Alice Cooper

[youtube qglpDlSlPzE]

Lyrics (Alice Cooper, Tom Kelly and Kane Roberts)

You’re with your baby
And you’re parked alone
On a summer night
You’re deep in love
But you’re deeper in the woods
You think you’re doin’ alright.
Did you hear that voice?
Did you see that face?
Or was it just a dream?
This can’t be real
That only happens, babe
On the movie screen.

Oh, but he’s back!
He’s the man behind the mask,
And he’s out of control.
He’s back!
The man behind the mask,
And he crawled out of his hole.

You’re swimmin’ with your girl
Out on lovers’ lake
And the wind blows cold
It chills your bones
But you’re still on the lake,
That’s a bad mistake.
But the moon was full
And you had a chance
To be all alone —
But you’re not alone!
This is your last dance
And your last romance.

Oh, if you see him comin’
Get away if you can.
Just keep on runnin’
Run as fast as you can.
He’s a dangerous, dangerous man.
And he’s out tonight,
And he’s watchin’ you
And he knows your house.
No, don’t turn out the lights!

Oh, but he’s back!
He’s the man behind the mask,
And he’s out of control.
He’s back!
The man behind the mask,
And he crawled out of his hole.



Little Shop of Horrors (1986) is one of my favourite cultural artifacts ever. Whatever the virtues of the original Corman Z-grade movie and the subsequent Broadway production, all the musical performances in Frank Oz’s film are top-notch, the choreography is breathtaking and the casting so perfect and endearing it made the original They-All-Get-Eaten ending a no-go. (Mind you, the originally filmed ending, featuring a superb kaiju-rampage FX sequence, is so awesome it needs to be preserved — as it now has been, as an alternative “version” on the newly released Blu-ray.) Meanwhile, the opening title sequence with the titular song finds a well-deserved place on this list.

little_shop_of_horrors_ver2_xlg“Prologue: Little Shop of Horrors” — from Little Shop of Horrors (US-1986; dir. Frank Oz), performed by Chiffon (Tisha Campbell-Martin), Ronette (Michelle Weeks) and Crystal (Tichina Arnold)

[youtube y4AoRc0Qfys]

Lyrics (Howard Ashman)

Little shop,
Little shoppa horrors.
Little shop,
Little shoppa terror.
Call a cop.
Little shoppa horrors.
No, oh, oh, no-oh!

Little shop,
Little shoppa horrors.
Little shoppa terror.
Watch ’em drop
Little shoppa horrors.
No, oh, oh, no-oh!

What a creepy thing to be happening!
(Look out, look out, look out, look out!)
Feel the sturm and drang in the air.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah.)
Stop right where you are, don’t you move a thing.

You better,
You better,
Tellin’ you you better
Tell your mama
Somethin’s gonna get her.
She better,
Everybody better beware.

Oo, here it comes, baby.
Tell the bums, baby.
Oh, oh, no!
Oo, hit the dirt, baby.
Hit the dirt, baby.
Red alert, baby.
Oh, oh, no!
Oh, oh, no!

Hurry off to school child, I’m warnin’ you.
(Look out, look out, look out, look out!)
Run away!
Child you gonna pay if you stay, yeah!
(Yeah, yeah, yeah.)
Look around,
Somethin’s comin’ down, down the street for you!

You betcha,
You betcha,
You bet your butt, you betcha.
Best believe it,
Somethin’s come to get ya.
You betcha,
You better watch your back and your tail…

(Come-a come-a come-a.)
Little shop,
Little shoppa horrors.
You’ll never stop the terror.
Little shop,
Little shoppa horrors.
No, oh, oh, no, oh, oh, no, oh, oh, no!



M.I.B. the song isn’t really as much of a favourite as the rest of the theme songs mentioned here, but the movie itself is, and the theme song sits well with the general tone (not to mention the fact that it’s performed by star Will Smith himself). It’s got rather a lot of lyrics, too. Just stare into the light!

men_in_black“Men In Black” — From Men in Black (US-1997; dir. Barry Sonnenfeld), performed by Will Smith

[youtube ghoedCxz8IA]

Lyrics (Will Smith)

Here come the Men in Black
(Uh it’s the M.I.B.s)
(Uh here come the M.I.B.s)
Here come the Men in Black (Men in Black)
They won’t let you remember

Nah, nah, nah,
The good guys dress in black, remember that,
Just in case we ever face to face and make contact.
The title held by me… M.I.B.
Means what you think you saw, you did not see.
So don’t blink,
Think what was there but now’s gone.
Black suit with the black Ray Ban’s on.
Walk in shadow, move in silence,
Guard against extra-terrestrial violence.
But yo we ain’t on no government list.
We straight don’t exist,
No names and no fingerprints.
Saw something strange,
Watch your back.
‘Cause you never quite know where the M.I.B.s is at,
Uh and…

Here come the Men in Black. (Men in Black)
The galaxy defenders. (uh oh, uh oh)
Here come the Men in Black. (Men in Black)
They won’t let you remember. (won’t remember)
(uh uh, uh uh)

Now from the deepest of the darkest of night,
On the horizon, bright light in the site tight,
Cameras zoom, only impending doom.
But then like BOOM black suits fill the room up.
With the quickness talk with the witnesses,
Hypnotizer, neuralizer.
Vivid memories turn to fantasies.
Ain’t no M.I.B.s.
Can I please,
Do what we say? That’s the way we kick it.
Ya know what I mean,
I say my noisy cricket get wicked on ya.
We’re your first, last and only line of defense,
Against the worst scum of the universe.
So don’t fear us, cheer us.
If you ever get near us, don’t jeer us.
We’re the fearless.
M.I.B.s freezin’ up all the flack.
What’s that stand for?
Men In Black.
Uh, M-m-m-…

The Men in Black.
(Uh uh uh)
The Men in Black.
(Uh uh uh, ah ah ah)

Let me see ya just bounce it with me.
Just bounce with me.
Just bounce it with me. C’mon,
Let me see ya just slide with me.
Just slide with me.
Just slide with me. C’mon.
Let me see ya take a walk with me.
Just walk with me.
Take a walk with me. C’mon,
And make your neck work.
Now freeze.

Here come the Men in Black. (Men in Black)
The galaxy defenders. (ooh ooh)
Here come the Men in Black. (Men in Black)
They won’t let you remember. (uh no, no)

A-right check it.
Let me tell you this in closin’.
I know we might seem imposin’,
But trust me if we ever show in your section.
Believe me it’s for your own protection.
Cuz we see things that you need not see,
And we be places that you need not be.
So go with your life,
Forget that Roswell crap.
Show love to the black suit.
Cuz that’s the Men in,
That’s the Men in…

Here come the Men in Black. (Here they come)
The galaxy defenders. (Galaxy defenders)
Here come the Men in Black. (Oh, here they come)
They won’t let you remember. (Won’t let you remember)

Here come the Men in Black. (Oh, here they come)
The galaxy defenders. (Uh oh, uh oh)
Here come the Men in Black.
They won’t let you remember.



Okay, there’s got to be one that’s completely tasteless, right? Well, this is it. It’s the theme song of a schlocky, sexploitation vampire flick from the 1970s (where all the best films of that sort came from). Vampire Hookers was made in the Philippines and starred an aging John Carradine at his gaunt, melodramatic best. The two things we learn from the film are that Shakespeare was a vampire… and that tasteless puns “sell” movies.

vampire-hookers“Vampire Hookers” — from Vampire Hookers (Philippines/US-1978; dir. Cirio H. Santiago) — performed by someone whose identity is a well-kept internet secret. Unfortunately the YouTube version below cuts off before the end. Very sad.

[youtube O0mcAL8oBk8]

Lyrics (unknown)

Don’t get hooked by a hooker
When you sail in seven seas
Even though she’s a looker
she can bring you to your knees.
She’ll take you to the graveyard
And try to ease your fears,
But her friends out in the graveyard
have been dead for a hundred years.

They’re the Vampire Hookers
Yeah, they’re Vampire Hookers
Well, they’re Vampire Hookers
and blood is not all they suck!

These girls are illusions,
They slit throats from ear to ear.
They want you for transfusions,
They’ll never shed a tear.
They make real bloody Marys
And have a grand old time,
But you’ll find out if you visit
That your life’s not worth a dime….

… To those Vampire Hookers
Yeah, they’re Vampire Hookers
Well, they’re Vampire Hookers
and blood is not all they suck!

So if you meet a hooker
And she seems so sweet and kind,
Be careful if you date her,
Your life may be on the line.
They’re beautiful and sultry
But they’re not what you expect.
You’ll be begging them for mercy
[As they bite you in the neck

They’re the Vampire Hookers
Yeah, they’re Vampire Hookers,
Well, they’re Vampire Hookers
and blood is not all they suck!]*

* a guess on my part



Over the years, Undead Backbrain has been introduced to many independent films — films made with love and passion, even if at times they’re rather rough around the edges. This next song comes from one such film — a Z-budget, tongue-in-cheek, sexy, irreverant and gore-splattered horror comedy about sideshow freaks, salacious women and inbred backwoods trailer trash. An interesting thing about Crustacean (US-2009; dir. L.J. Dopp) is that it is accompanied by a superb CD of original music written by the director and performed specially for the film by Dopp and members of the cast. I love this album and heartily recommend it. The theme song is one of the more sedate tracks. Others, such as the hilarious hillbilly ode to “Lemur’s Holler” or the trailer trash love-song “Trailer Park Queen”, up the ante on satirical humour and outlandish imagery. But “Crustacean” is a good theme song — so here it is.

crustacean-poster“Crustacean” – from Crustacean (US-2009; dir. L.J. Dopp), performed by L.J. Dopp, Peter Atkins, Brian Sheridan, and Maxine Gillespie.

[youtube fnBpFkkRsyc]

Lyrics (L.J. Dopp)

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have claws
Instead of normal hands.

Day after day,
You’re put on display
The king of the freaks
On the midway…

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have the claws
Instead of normal hands.

You’re living a lie,
You ask yourself why
You’re so full of rage
Maybe it’s because you live in a cage.

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have claws
Instead of human hands.

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have claws
Instead of normal hands.

Day after day,
You’re put on display
The king of the freaks
On the midway…

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have the claws
Instead of normal hands.

You’re living a lie,
You ask yourself why
You’re so full of rage
Maybe it’s because you live in a cage.

Crustacean, come out of your shell.
Crustacean, you’re harder than hell.
Frustration, they just don’t understand
What it’s like to have the claws
Instead of normal hands.



One last favourite. This theme song isn’t funny or ironic. But I want to put it in anyway. In my opinion, Paul Schrader’s Cat People is severely under-rated. Yes, it makes unsubtle the subtly suggestive 1942 original by Jacques Tourneur (via Val Lewton), but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. By drawing out the original’s fairly quiescent sexual elements, it creates a much more explicit and complex mythology, all of which is very 1980s. It also stars Malcolm McDowell and Nastassja Kinski as were-panthers… which they’re both very good at. And it has an excellent and evocative theme song by David Bowie.

“Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” — from Cat People (US-1982; dir. Paul Schrader), performed by David Bowie.

[youtube VpdHMaccjw4]

Lyrics (David Bowie)

See these eyes so green
I can stare for a thousand years
Colder than the moon
It’s been so long

Feel my blood enraged
It’s just the fear of losing you
Don’t you know my name
Ohh, you’ve been so long
And I’ve been putting out fire
With gasoline.

See these eyes so red
Red like jungle burning bright
Those who feel me near
Pull the blinds and change their minds
It’s been so long

Still this pulsing night
A plague I call a heartbeat
Just be still with me
Ya wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through
You’ve been so long
Well, it’s been so long
And I’ve been putting out the fire
with gasoline
putting out the fire
with gasoline.

See these tears so blue
An ageless heart
that can never mend.
These tears can never dry
A judgement made
can never bend.
See these eyes so green
I can stare for a thousand years
Just be still with me
You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through.

You’ve been so long
Well, it’s been so long
And I’ve been putting out the fire
with gasoline
putting out fire
with gasoline.


That’s it, folks! Anyone else got any favourites that aren’t here?

Posted in Horror, Humour, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It Grows! Has Grown Bigger

The film, It Grows!, by Ryan Cauchi (director/editor) and Nick Stathopoulos (writer, producer, director, SFX, art design, star) — first introduced to the world by Undead Backbrain back in February 2012 — was originally made as a 7-minute short. It received a faux-theatrical screening as part of the Aurealis Awards ceremony of that year and went down very well with the crowd.

Since then, however, Cauchi and Stathopoulos (who are also credited with the film’s cinematography) have been hard at work on it — and the film has grown into a monster. Now it is a 17-minute epic, with improved image quality and post-production glitz, new cast members, more plot, and many added scenes.

It Grows! TEXTURED POSTER D A3Click image to enlarge it

When asked about the film, Stathopoulos described it like this: “….it’s a 17-minute short monster movie made by me and my mate Ryan Cauchi along with some other friends who were roped in. We’ve finally finished it … it’s full of matte paintings and hung miniatures and puppet creatures.”


Zac (Nick Stathopoulos) has a problem. He suffers from ‘cyberchondria’ – he contracts every disease he ever reads about online. His long-suffering girlfriend Jan (Catriona Sparks) has had enough. But that’s not his only problem. Something is growing in his garden… and it’s growing fast! Is it just a cute little plant, or could it be the harbinger of something more sinister?

Can Zac, and his trusty canine companion Rip, nip it in the bud before it’s too late, or will they be pushing up daisies before it’s through?


Believe me, if you knew exactly how Stathopoulos achieved the FXs (and the Backbrain was treated to a live “commentary track” of the first version, by Stathopoulos himself), you would be even more impressed than you’re going to be when you see it. There’s no CGI here — just fantastic artistry, and old-school techniques used with aplomb and loads of skill.

With a cast that includes Stathopoulos himself, speculative-fiction writer Cat Sparks, Jaimie Leonarder (Flights of Angels, The Movie Show, Three Chords and a Wardrobe) and Henri Stathopoulos, among others — not to mention an award-worthy performance by newcomer Bonnie the Dog — this “love letter to classic B-grade monster movies” is a real treat.

“[The music] was done by Andrew Thomas Wilson, who is best known for his commercial work,” Stathopoulos added. “He created a ‘symphonic’ score for our modest little film. It’s brilliant.” In evidence is a theme song worthy of keeping company with the theme songs from such classics as The Blob (1958) and Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988). Vocals are by comedian Bob Downe, who reportedly “did a brilliant Shirley Bassey” on it.

The sound design of the film generally is by Tim Newsom.

In short, It Grows! is fun, made with love at all levels and is very impressive visually. Ever wanted to see Sydney completely consumed by rabid plants? Then this is the film for you!

Check out the newly released official trailer:

[youtube Ps5SmBwfD3c]

As for the future of the film, Stathopoulos commented: “… who knows? It might just keep growing!

Source: Nick Stathopoulos.

Posted in Exploitation films, Film, Man-eating plants, Monsters in general, News, Short Films | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Issue of Dimension6 Speculative Fiction E-zine Available Free

Issue 2 of Keith Stevenson and Coeur de Lion Publishing’s amazing (and free) speculative fiction e-zine, Dimension6, is now out!

D6cover2cdl-225x300In this issue:

  • ‘At Dawn’s Speed’ by Dirk Strasser
    Swift and her tribe have been running their whole lives, because the touch of the sun brings the ‘silvering’.
  • ‘Upon a Distant Shore’ by Alan Baxter
    Astronaut Anatoly Novikov wanted a mission that would inscribe his name on the ages. Finally he got one.
  • ‘He Ain’t Dead’ by Robert N. Stephenson
    It’s simple really. Don’t mess with native American burial mounds.


Be sure to grab your free and DMR-free copy in either ipub or mobi format from this site now!

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The Old Man and the Monster: New Swedish Horror

Nordic Noir (as crime fiction from the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden is being tagged) already has a strong presence on the Backbrain’s TV must-watch list (not to mention reading list). But there’s also been a decent smattering of Nordic Horror over the past five or six years. Several films spring immediately to mind: vampire drama Let the Right One in [aka Låt den rätte komma in] (Sweden, 2008), zombie Nazi horror Dead Snow [aka Død snø] (Norway, 2009) and its sequel Dead Snow: Red vs Dead [aka Død Snø 2] (Norway/Iceland), hospital horror Dark Floors (Finland/Iceland, 2008), eco monster epic The Last Winter (US/Iceland, 2006), slasher horror Cold Prey [aka Fritt vilt] (Norway, 2006) and its sequels, glacial monster flick Frost (Iceland, 2012), evil Santa horror-comedy Rare Exports (Finland/Norway/France/Sweden, 2010) and, of course, the infamous Troll Hunter [aka Trolljegeren] (Norway, 2010).

Now a new one is set to be unleashed:


Hermit: Monster Killer (Sweden-2014; dir. Ola Paulakoski) is touted by its makers to be a horror comedy, “a mixture of Jaws and Åsa-Nisse (an eccentric elderly character created by Swedish writer Stig Cederholm — Åsa-Nisse has featured in humorous stories, over 20 films and a comic series), Tremors and a Värmländsk local revue, with elements of Moby Dick and Predator”. HMK-02-Borje Lundberg

Directed by Ola Paulakoski and produced by Gustaf Karlsson from a script by Fred Anderson, Hermit: Monster Killer tells the story of an aged and rather cranky recluse (played by Börje Lundberg, pictured above) who decides to take matters into his own hands when a mysterious monster turns up and has the tasteless audacity to kill his dog! HMK-06-Ola Paulakoski

<p>”>The titular character, an ageing eccentric, seems to represent a popular stereotype in Nordic popular culture. Here he is in some concept art, with a hint as to the shape of the beast as well.



Värmland, Sweden — where people are happy. Clean air, crystal clear waters, green forests. Way out there in the wilderness lives a grumpy old hermit and his faithful dog. The only thing they need to worry about are the brats who pinch his apples and the occasional lost tourist. It’s a good life, maybe a little lonely, but far from the worst you can have.

The nearest town is a small place with a grimy pizza joint and a single cop who has hold of the law. It is also home to Palle, a lucky loser who thrives quite well as the local rugby team’s mascot and is deeply in love with his beautiful girlfriend, Ulla. Sure, life is perfect right? Or it was until the day the bad thing happens. Yes, THAT! The day the MONSTER came!

Now it’s up to the hermit Palle and his rugby friends to hunt down and exterminate the mysterious beast that threatens to tear apart the town and eat up every last man, woman and pet it comes across! Soon the once-beautiful scenery is filled to the brim with horror beyond our heroes’ wildest fantasies!

Only one man can stop the monster’s rampage: the old hermit — and his hunting rifle. But is he past his used-by date?

 [youtube l9579FusvH4]

[youtube T46LCcHRQMU]

More trailers/teasers can be viewed on the film’s website.


More images, both behind the scenes and unprocessed screenshots, are available on the Facebook page.


I’m very keen to see this one. It looks like a lot of gruesome fun.

Sources: Official Publicist Avery Guerra; Facebook page; Hermit: Monster Hunter Website

Posted in Film, Horror, Humour, Monsters in general, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outing the Lake Champlain Monster

It seems every decent-sized lake with dark, murky waters is home to a monster — or at least to a legend of one. Most of them are, like the infamous Nessie in Scotland’s Loch Ness, rather plesiosaurian or at least serpentile in nature and persistently camera-shy.

Lake Champlain, which lies across the Canada-United States border between New York/Vermont in the US and Quebec in Canada, is no exception. Its amphibious, serpent-like beastie is named Champ. Though legends of Champ’s existence have the support of local Native American tribes, the Iroquois and the Abenaki, and there have been over 300 reported sightings since French explorer Samuel de Champlain (founder of Québec) came to the area in 1609, concrete evidence of Champ’s existence remains elusive. The serpentile lake monster was apparently quite famous in the 19th Century. Showman and entrepreneurial cryptozoologist P.T. Barnum even offered a reward of $50,000 to anyone who could produce a carcass of Champ (source). Naturally Barnum would have used the carcass as one of his freakshow exhibits. I guess no one took up the offer.

Now producer/director Lori Kelly-Bailey of Oneonta is making a film about the legendary beast, shot in the area and using local actors and crew. Titled Champ-o-Sauras, the low-budget independent film, touted as a horror spoof and a mockumentary, tells of a doco filmmaker who turns up with the intent of debunking the legend of the Lake Champlain monster. Competition over a reward for anyone who can produce evidence of Champ’s existence results in savage competition and pranks that turn deadly.

Of the film’s plot Kelly-Bailey said that there are two central questions: “Is there proof that Champ exists? And will anyone make it out of the lake alive?”


The regional cast includes Dyani Mae Bryant, Mackenzie Peters, Giovanna Contini-Marrow, Brenda Baker, Rex Baker, Thomas Scozzafava, William Farrar, Cody Lang, Andy Miritello, Randy Miritello, Marie Ann Logue and Peggy Benjamin. Still be cast are roles for two children to play a 1920s paperboy between the ages of 6 and 8, with an English-Irish accent, and a 1920s shoeshine boy. Casting will be held in Essex County, with tryout times and location to be announced.

Anyone interested should send a current photo along with basic information, including child’s height and weight, any special skills or previous acting experience to: Tandem Cage Productions, P.O. Box 707, Oneonta, NY 13820, and include contact information.

Shooting for the film has begun and will continue through May and June. It will be released on DVD and various streaming services once completed.

Sources: via Avery Guerra. Press Republican; Cardinal Points Online.

Posted in Cryptozoology, Film, Giant Monsters, Horror, Humour, Lake Monsters, Mysteries, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It Came From … A Big Blue Hole in the Sea: Poseidon Rex

Poseidon Rex (US-2013; dir. Mark L. Lester) is, without a doubt, a B-monster pic, SyFy-style. That’s not necessarily bad. “B-movie” is not synonymous with “bad movie”. “Low budget movie”, yes. Generally formulaic? Sure. But they can be fun if you are able to adjust your expectations according the dollars available.


A small, secluded island off the coast of Belize suddenly finds itself terrorized by a deadly predator from the planet’s distant past, when deep-sea divers accidentally awaken an ancient evil. Jackson Slate and his team of underwater cave explorers unearth much more than long-lost Mayan treasure while plumbing the depths of a world famous blue hole. They disturb a creature that’s been hibernating for over 60,000 years—a rampaging behemoth of death and destruction not only at sea but also on land.

Unlikely. Dodgy FX. Stereotypical characters. But I’ll give it a go. I like the look of the trailer. I can lower my expectations enough — and who knows? It might surprise me. After all, its director, Mark L. Lester, has made some half-decent exploitation flicks in the past — Firestarter (1984), Commando (1985), the robotic teacher movie Class of 1999 (1990), Misbegotten (1998). Apparently Poseidon Rex is even getting a US theatrical release on 18 April.

[youtube 4VyY27n6eQs]

Posted in Dinosaurs, Exploitation films, Film, Giant Monsters, Monsters in general, Trailers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Update: Meateaters Is Ready To Chew the Scenery

Meateaters is the latest B-monster flick from the Polonia Bros. Entertainment. It was highlighted during January by Undead Backbrain in an article that explored the world of Monsters vs The Mafia on film.



An excavation blast unleashes prehistoric terror on a small community in this pulse pounding Sci-Fi action film! A group of small time bank robbers and a thieving gun-moll end up unlikely partners during a botched heist.  They’re after the money, the mob is after them, and the hungry dinosaur has everyone on its menu!

Vegetarians beware and prepare to become extinct!  There’s a new criminal in town and it’s hungry for flesh and blood!

The good news is this low-budget/high-enthusiasm thriller that pits Monster against Mob is now playing as a streaming exclusive on By voting to support the cult filmmakers that created it you get to see this brand new feature exclusively on the site. Of course, you have to subscribe to a 3-month membership (only $18.00) — but for this pittance, you get to see Meateaters and an incredible wealth of other maverick indie movies, plus the entire Full Moon library — which includes classics such as The Puppet Master flicks, Evil Bong, Robot Wars, Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust, Trancers, Killjoy, Dollman vs Demonic Toys…. and more — in fact a vast library of weirdness such as you won’t believe!


So give Meateaters and director Mark Polonia a hand! After 50 votes the movie gets a nationwide DVD release, and every subscriber gets a free DVD of the movie, so vote now and enjoy hours of sci-fi, horror and fantasy entertainment from industry giant, Charles Band, and a plethora of independent film-makers.

According to publicity, this film is an homage to films like The Beast of Hollow Mountain and Beast of Haunted Cave. It features traditional effects such as stop-motion animation,  puppetry, forced perspective, and all that retro goodness we love!

Time is running out! Go and vote now! Here is the direct link.

Source: via publicist Avery Guerra

Posted in Dinosaurs, Exploitation films, Film, Giant Monsters, Horror, Independent film, News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment