I once had a friend (no behave, I really did) who came from a sophisticated and well to do family. It's safe to say that she was something of a classy girl. She wore the best designer clothes, listened to the latest music and had read vociferously the works of Chekov - and yes, I was besotted with her. In all truth, I had always thought that she was way, way, way out of my league, what with my unashamed love of Sci-Fi & horror, comics and the like. However, it became clear that we had something of a connection and soon became the best of friend until one day she invited me around to her parents house.
After the usual pleasantries and stilted conversation between myself and her parents she asked me if I wanted to see her room, but first I was told that I had to prepare myself for a surprise. Of course I wanted to see her room - however, before your dirty little minds start getting ahead of the story let me warn you that you're on the wrong path. This is not that type of story. After making me promise for about the 36th time that I wouldn't divulge what I was to see in there, she took me in. Now, I'm not sure what I was expecting to see, but there in one corner was what she described as her one true love - it was a wall-to wall collection of marvel comics, Stephen King Novels, slasher dvd's, B-movie science fiction tapes and finally her absolute pride and joy - every single Jean-Claude Van Damme action film ever made. She described this area as her guilty pleasure sanctum and something that nobody was to know about. She told me that she was in awe of me (me?!) because I didn't give a toss what people thought of my tastes.
I must admit that I dislike the term 'guilty pleasure' when it comes to admitting ones love of something, whether it be music, movies or literature. I also dislike the elitist tone some that occasionally comes to the surface in some conversations within the scifi and horror genre community - you know the ones I mean, such as the one where you simply must love 2001: A Space Odyssey but at the same time you simply must deride Flash Gordon. Elitist nonsense. There's room for everything. You should never be embarrassed about what floats your boat, never.......... Well maybe except for a predilection for certain things that may cause a rather lengthy stay in a correctional facility. Those you should keep secret.
So when 5D headquarters received the following message this week one of my own particular boats was well and truly floated:
"Hey! Love the site! (That's always a good start for Mr Ego here).
We’re representing the new action-horror film THE HORDE, released this May, and thought it’d be up your alley! The flick stars rising action star Paul Logan, Mad Max icon Vernon Wells and Costas Mandylor. Keen to review the film (below) and/or interview some of the cast/crew?"
"The film follows ex-Navy Seal John Crenshaw (Paul Logan) as he accompanies his girlfriend and her students on a weekend nature-photography expedition deep in the woods. What should be an educational and fun-filled trip turns into horror as the group is besieged by an unspeakable evil: a horde of hideously disfigured, mutated humans with an insatiable taste for blood.
With the stakes higher than ever, John must once again embrace the life he left behind and become the unstoppable combat soldier he was to track down and kill the horde.The mutants have no idea who they are up against when the hunters become the prey in this life-or-death, kill-or-be-killed conflict that proves how much one man will do and endure to save the woman he loves and get them out of this Hell alive."
Ok, lets get a few things out of the way straight away.......... Yes, the lone warrior type person against a rag-tag group of low-lifes has been done many times before......... Yes, the fusion of action film with mutant hordes has been done before.......Yes, the story of some less than appealing teenagers getting far more than they bargained for on a camping trip has been done on countless occasions......... and yes, the increasingly inventively violent ways to kill a bad (or good) guy isn't new either........
But who cares? Because, bloody hell, I enjoyed this film immensely. In fact if truth be told, one or two of those familiar tropes are actually turned on their head in this film. For a start one of the keys to its success is that The Horde doesn't attempt to take itself too seriously. It knows from the start what it is - a high energy slice of action intended to simply entertain it's audience with no grand or elitist pretensions. I dare anybody not to be seduced by its charm and endeavour.
I have it on good authority (namely, my wife) who suggests that Paul Logan has at least two major attributes in order to make him a fine action hero - firstly, a very nice smile; secondly, muscles to die for. I did ask her why she suggested that I started working out myself when I don't actually look that different from the degree holding martial artist action star. I must admit that I did take her uncontrolled hysterical laughter a little personally while she was barely barely able to breathe, let alone talk at that point. "Just what is that supposed to mean? I have a degree too!"....... at that remark she collapsed in incredulous laughter once again.
In all seriousness, Paul is perfectly adept at the requisite (sometimes deliciously cheesy) one liners as he progresses to dispatch the mutant baddies in an ever increasingly inventive and brutal manner as the hunters now become the hunted. In addition to that, it is quite clear that as writer and producer of the film this is a very personal and important project to Logan, and this factor certainly comes through. So let's see......another all round talented guy, good, that's another one of us then.......
The Horde must be praised to in giving a sizeable amount of screen time to the selection of bad guys, with particular mention being given to the legendary Vernon Wells who, as one of the horde, completely steals the few scenes that he has in the film. I was incredibly honoured to speak on the phone with Vernon a few weeks ago while he was filming in his native Australia and wow, what a nice guy! If you have a moment you can see the transcript of the interview RIGHT HERE. In this film, not only does he display a nifty skill with a an electric saw, but also a some wonderful lines, especially the sequence where one of the unfortunate students is about to succumb to the sharp delights of his steel blade.....
"Well of course there was the screaming and the begging...... oh and the crying....... But then there's the realisation...... that when this cold steel blade cuts into warm flesh and that burst of spray of blood......ha!.......what's left?....... What's left is just the screaming........oh god........I love the screaming....."
In fact the film as a whole boasts a fine selection of bad guys with Costas Mandylor (Saw IV) and Matt Willig adding an excellent addition to the bad guy ensemble.
The supporting student characters are suitable annoying and obnoxious in parts but special praise must go to to Tiffany Brouwer as the students teacher and love interest of John Crenshaw. To say that she is on the right side of delicious would be an understatement and has absolutely no bearing on my saying how fine she is in the movie. The fact that I have just sent her a friend request should not be seen as questionable in a court of law, after all, she's a friend of Paul Logan and while there's a small chance that he could kick my arse, well I really don't want to take that chance.
As I mentioned earlier, The Horde takes some familiar themes and does it's very best to fuse them with elements of horror and gore, and for the most part it succeeds. That's not to say that the film is without it's faults however. At times the combination of traditional action picture and horror gore don't quite always work with a couple of scenes feeling a little disjointed to leave the narrative feeling somewhat less linear than it could of been. In addition the soundtrack is perhaps the least successful part of the production, and something which at times clearly detracts from the the experience rather than adding to the atmosphere and tension.
However, these are but minor negatives. It is abundantly clear that everyone involved fully enjoyed the whole filming process and this transmits itself effortlessly to the audience. The result is a hugely enjoyable since of action and horror fun. Yes, that's the word - FUN. And nobody should be ashamed of embarrassed about enjoying that experience here.
The Horde will be available in the US and Canada on the following platforms : iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies , Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Video Store, Playstation Network, Hoopla, and in the US on AT&T U-VERSE, DISH, DirectTV, Cox, Charter on Demand, Verizon FiOS, Suddenlink, Mediacom, Insight, WOW, RCN, and in Canada on Eastlink TV, Rogers on Demand, and Shaw.
You can find out more about The Horde at its official website at http://www.thehordemovie.com
This article can also be found via the 5D website www.5d-blog.com. There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.