Clatto Reviews: ‘Dead Ant’ World Premiere at 2017 Screamfest!


Screamfest LA kicked off its 17th annual horror film festival with the world premiere of Dead Ant, a horror-comedy from writer-director Ron Carlson about an aging hair-metal outfit on the road to a big music festival in the hopes of pulling off the comeback performance of a lifetime.

Sonic Grave haven’t had a hit since their power ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes” topped the charts in the late 80s when glam-metal ruled the airwaves and the only thing bigger than their dreams was their hair. Armed with a never-say-die attitude and the promises and assurances of their loyal if not misguided manager, the band is determined to reach a new audience at the Coachella music festival.

Just one problem… they couldn’t get Coachella and are instead booked at fledgling new hipster festival No-Chella (sounds way cooler to us). Understandingly bummed, the band take it in stride and continue on their quest for new found relevance with a pit stop at Joshua Tree for hallucinogens and musical inspiration.


They purchase peyote from a native American called Bigfoot and his short-tempered cohort Firecracker, a seen-it-all-before duo happy to sell college kids their contraband of choice. Dubbed “The Sun,” the peyote is powerful and comes with a warning: don’t harm any living thing – big or small – or suffer the deadly consequences of an ancient curse.

We get a glimpse at those consequences – and so much more – during the film’s opening sequence when horror hottie Cortney Palm (Zombeavers) desperately attempts to outrun a giant ant across a desert plain, stripping away at her bikini in the process and racing right into our scream-queen loving hearts!

Prior to the screening, Carlson had compared his film to a Playboy magazine you enjoy and pass around to your buddies. It’s an accurate analogy. From the first sight of nudity to the campy CGI and the gleeful gore – this is exactly the kind of movie you love telling people about almost as much as watching. It’s a guilty pleasure you want everyone in on – like your Pretty Boy Floyd tape.


But, there’s more to Dead Ant than boobs, blood, and giant bugs. There’s heart and humor and, if you were part of the 80s rock scene or at least a fan, there’s familiarity – you know these guys!

Jake Busey (”From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”) plays Merrick, Sonic Grave’s earnest front-man, an impassioned Brett Michaels-like troubadour, lamenting modern music’s lack of showmanship and power ballads. He’s got a girl, Cameron Richardson’s Love, the apple of his mascaraed eye who still makes him feel like a rock star.

Rhys Coiro (”Entourage”) is Pager, the band’s guitar hero and an incorrigible Lothario who is not above dry-humping a distracted damsel in distress while facing impending doom. Sydney Sweeney (Spiders 3D) plays bikini-clad stunner Sam, the aforementioned damsel in distress and unexpected muse for the band’s new comeback anthem, “Side Boob.”


Leisha Hailey (”The L Word”) provides Sonic Grave’s thunder – and Mad Max desert racing skills – as drummer Stevie, while Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) rounds out the cast as Art, the band’s ill-fated, absent-minded bass player who inadvertently curses them all by drowning an ant in a stream of urine, pissing away whatever chance they had for a magical weekend of enhanced inspiration.

Tom Arnold, arguably in his best role since True Lies (or at least Big Bully), is the band’s seemingly insensitive – yet, oddly endearing – motor-mouthed manager, Danny.

Together they attempt to fight off a colony of ants that continue to get bigger and more aggressive. It’s Tremors meets Spinal Tap kind of fun – brilliantly acted and hilariously written. It really doesn’t even matter that the threat Sonic Grave face is enormous ants. It could have been aliens or sharks or grunge! It’s watching the group band together that makes Dead Ant rock… well, that and righteous Kix tunes!



Screamfest LA will host the Los Angeles premiere of 1922, a Netflix original film adapted from the Stephen King novella about a proud Nebraska farmer, who along with his son, brutally murders his wife when she asks for divorce and decides to sell her part of the land and move to the city.

Thomas Jane (The Punisher) plays farmer Wilford James. Molly Parker (”Deadwood”) and Dylan Schmid (Horns) are his wife and son. A Q&A will follow the premiere with director Zak Hilditch (The Final Hours), Jane, Schmid, and Kaitlyn Bernard, who plays Schmid’s girlfriend in the film.

Screamfest is the biggest and longest-running horror film festival in the U.S. The show is a star-studded event where filmmakers and actors  talk horror with each other and the public. For complete movie lineup and to purchase tickets, visit the Screamfest website.

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‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Is GonnaBe Better Than a Box of Eggos!


A new and final trailer has gone online for season two of Netflix original series “Stranger Things.” Picking up a year after the events of season one, the show finds 12-year-old Upside-Down survivor Will Byers as key to saving the people of Hawkins, Indiana from a new more monstrous force.

The show returns Oct. 27 and that still isn’t soon enough!

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Buzz Worthy: ‘Leatherface’ Screens at Screamfest LA Tonight!


Leatherface, the eighth entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, is set to screen tonight at the 17th annual Screamfest LA Horror Film Festival. Inside directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury are at the helm. Lati Grobman (Embrace of the Vampire) and scream queen/ex-Playboy model Christa Campbell (Day of the Dead) produce.

Leatherface is a prequel to the 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, providing an origins story for its iconic chainsaw-wielding madman – one of four escaped mental inmates who abduct a young nurse and take her with them on the lam as a pair of twisted Texas Rangers hunt them down on a personal mission of vengeance.

Screamfest is the biggest and longest-running horror film festival in the U.S. The show is a star-studded event where filmmakers and actors  talk horror with each other and the public. For complete movie lineup and to purchase tickets, visit the Screamfest website.

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Stranger Danger: ‘Strangers: Prey at Night’ Gets Release Date!


Aviron Pictures has set a March 9, 2018 release date for Strangers: Prey at Night, the long gestating sequel to Bryan Bertino’s terrifying 2008 home invasion classic, The Strangers. Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) is at the helm with a script penned by Bertino and Ben Ketai (30 Days of Night: Dark Days).

Christina Hendricks (”Mad Men”) plays the busty matriarch of a family stranded at an abandoned trailer park and tormented by masked killers – Pin-up Girl (Lea Enslin), Dollface (Emma Bellomy), Man in the Mask (Damian Maffei) -  during an ill fated road trip.

Lewis Pullman (Aftermath) is Hendricks’ husband and Bailee Madison (”Trophy Wife”) is their surprisingly flat-chested daughter.


New ‘Last Jedi’ Trailer This Is!


Disney has released a second trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, episode VIII in the Star Wars Saga and the follow-up to 2015’s The Force Awakens. Helmed by Rian Johnson (Looper), The Last Jedi finds Rey looking to Luke Skywalker for mentoring as the battle against Kylo Ren and the First Order intensifies.

The trailer is emotionally powerful and epic and reminds us just how invested we are in this new trilogy. The reveals in the footage are absolutely thrilling. Kylo Ren is everything we had hoped Anakin would be in Episodes I-III and Luke looks mean. Will he teach Rey or will she be seduced by the darkside?

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Clatto Reviews: Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2017!


The dead have surfaced once again at the Queen Mary in Long Beach to treat themselves to a fresh new batch of ill-fated Halloween thrill seekers at the iconic ship’s annual Dark Harbor event, running select nights now though Nov. 1.

Joining the dead’s legion of drowned mariners, salty savages, and seafaring monsters is Chef, a rotting Ramsey-like culinary master burnt alive in his own oven for serving up WWII soldiers as flavorful delicacies. Not one to let a bad review torpedo his career, the Chef is back from the dead with a bone to pick. Your goose is cooked if you fail to successfully navigate Feast, the ship’s brand new maze!

But, don’t worry. Clatto made it down to the docks to test the waters and brave the terror lurking at every corner of Dark Harbor. In addition to the unholy hordes of hellions and freakish fiends, the event includes seven maddening mazes, immersive attractions, live undead entertainment, tasty grub, and intoxicating spirits (booze!).


Feast is this year’s new maze and it marks the fourth on board the Queen Mary vessel, joining B340, Lullaby, and Soulmate in taking passengers deep into the ship’s engine rooms, corridors, and galley for a uniquely terrifying experience. Serving up a smorgasbord of unimaginable cannibalistic horror, Feast provides an unsavory tour of Chef’s kitchen from the chopping block to the oven and all gruesome meat lockers in between.

Hungry for a Filet-O-Fisherman? Some Shrimp Louie (or Bob, Carol, John, any person next to you really)? Maybe some tots? We did see some children simmering in stew. If the menu isn’t to your liking, you’re outta luck. The only one getting Chopped is you and, most likely, roasted! Such was our fate when we took to our hands and knees to crawl through the vents only to come face-to-kinda-face with Chef! We escaped… to the oven. Doh! Our tip: if you can’t bum knee pads off a slider, do a butt crawl instead and spare your knees.

Chef Venting

Chef Venting

B340, Lullaby, and Soulmate are altered slightly this year to offer a more intensified experience. While each maze remains the same thematically, their design and scare actors continue to impress. B340 is dark and gory – a snapshot of passenger Samuel the Savage’s lunatic mind. Lullaby and Soulmate evoke dread and misery through tragic characters Scary Mary and Graceful Gale, respectively. Drown child-victim Scary Mary mocks and beckons passersby with sing-song taunts and tiny-voiced whispers while lost at sea debutante Graceful Gale haunts quietly.

On the docks, the layout has changed – providing a sprawling landscape where more creeps and monsters than ever before roam freely, pouncing on the lost and distracted. Our tip: wear comfy running shoes to sprint to the nearest shot-girl for some liquid courage. Or, enjoy a flight of chilled vodka at Chef’s Meat Locker, a 7-degree ice bar with prices so horrifying you’ll still get hot under the collar. Regardless, it’s good to have some firewater in your belly when facing the dead, especially in seven bone-chilling, heart-stopping mazes. Bonus tip: stick to beer or wine as many of the bartenders are slow and lack mixing/pouring skills.


Deadrise tells the story of a sunken World War II escort ship haunted by drowned crew members and their fearsome Captain. It was our favorite land maze last year and remains one of Dark Harbor’s most fun attractions, and possibly its longest and wettest. Surprisingly, last year’s biggest disappointment, Intrepid, returns to give it a run for the money. Revamped with a new design and more actors, it provides a unique thrill in a green lit scare room that creates a waist-level mist, hiding the Iron Master’s monstrous minions below!

Crowd-pleaser Circus is still fun in it’s ability to disorient guests through its mirrored maze. Potentially adding to the mayhem is a secret bar, but you have to figure out how to win favor with the Zoltar machine to gain access. If you’ve seen Big, you know these Zoltar types can be kinda dickish. We caught a glimpse of the bar as the door was shut in our face! Don’t sweat it. You can find another in the Feast maze.

Tickets – including online deals – are available now and can be purchased at the Dark Harbor website.


Get On the Bus w/ ‘Wolf Creek’ Season 2 Teaser!


Australian streaming service Stan has released a new teaser for season two of its series “Wolf Creek,” an adaptation of Greg McLean’s 2005 slasher, starring John Jarratt as colorful outback killer Mick Taylor. POP, a joint venture between entertainment giants CBS and Lionsgate, broadcasts the show in the U.S.

Running six episodes deep, the series finds Mick Taylor terrorizing a bus load of vacationing tourists. Jarratt reprises the role of Taylor. New blood includes Matt Day, Ben Oxenbould, Stephan Hunter, Chris Haywood, Laura Wheelwright (“Animal Kingdom’s”) and Tess Haubrich (Alien: Covenant).

Our review of “Wolf Creek” season one can be read here.

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Preview Bella Thorne’s Lesbian Kiss w/ Samara Weaving!


Netflix has released a trailer for The Babysitter, a horror-comedy from producer and director McG (Terminator: Salvation) for New Line Cinema, starring Bella Thorne and Aussie model-turned-actress Samara Weaving (Hugo Weaving’s daughter).

The Babysitter follows a 12-year-old boy (Judah Lewis) and his ridiculously hot nanny (Weaving) on a night when dreadful things occur. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, Thorne and Weaving share a sultry lesbian scene in the film as well.

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Francesca Eastwood Is a Sexy Dirty Harry in M.F.A.


Dark Sky Films has released a trailer for Natalia Leite’s rape-revenge drama, M.F.A. Francesca Eastwood, daughter of movie icon Clint Eastwood, plays a sexual assault victim turned vigilante after her college campus turns a blind eye to rape and she experiences a fateful confrontation with her assailant.

Eastwood’s genre creds include playing mutant Molly Walker on NBC event series “Heroes Reborn” and co-starring in photographer and then boyfriend Tyler Shield’s revenge thriller Final Girl. She is best know for burning a $100K Birkin bag in a photo shoot for Shields.

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