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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Shed

January 16, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Shed

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #539: The Shed

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been attacked by a vampire because, you know, vampires are bullshit, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and thirty-nine, I take a look at the new low budget horror flick The Shed, now available on Video On Demand, DVD and Blu-ray.

The Shed


The Shed, directed by Frank Sabatella, is one of those slick, well-made low budget horror flicks where you don’t like any of the characters. That reality isn’t by design, as I do think that Sabatella and the producers really want you to like the protagonist of the story but, unfortunately, the protagonist is, too, just awful. The movie is still worth checking out, as it does contain a few actual surprises, but I do wish that there was someone in the movie that I could actually get behind.

The Shed stars Jay Jay Warren as Stan, a somber, troubled, hip and edgy high school student that basically hates his life. His parents were killed in some sort of accident, he lives with his asshole grandfather Ellis (Timothy Bottoms), and he’s had various troubles with the law (he’s on probation). Stan’s best friend, Dommer (Cody Kostro), is a troubled douchebag that gets his ass kicked daily by the school bully, Marble (Chris Petrovski). Stan tends to spend most of his free time with Dommer, although those experiences are becoming less and less appealing to Stan with each day (they often ditch class and go hang out in a field in the middle of nowhere and sit on an old, abandoned couch and drink beer). Stan would much rather spend his time with Roxy (Sofia Happonen), his long standing school crush that really isn’t interested in him since they hang out in different social circles (but she does know who Stan is and, to a degree, considers him a kind of friend).

One day, while walking his grandfather’s dog, Stan is freaked out by something that he finds in his grandfather’s shed. At first, he thinks a crackhead has taken up shop in the shed, but after the crackhead attacks the dog (rips the poor thing’s head off) Stan suspects that something else entirely is in the shed. But what? Grandpa Ellis, pissed that his dog is dead, attempts to enter the shed and deal with the suspected miscreant inside. Ellis doesn’t survive the encounter. What the hell is in the shed?

The audience knows what’s in the shed. At the very beginning of the movie, we see a hunter (Bane, as played by Frank Whaley) being pursued through the woods by a strange humanoid type creature. When Bane eventually confronts the creature face-to-face, Bane is bitten by the creature, which turns out to be a Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot type vampire, and suddenly Bane is a vampire, too. Unable to exist in the sunlight, Bane tries to move from shaded area to shaded area so he can get to a nearby shed and, perhaps, figure out what to do next. That shed, of course, turns out to belong to Ellis.

Now alone, Stan has to figure out what to do next. He can’t go to the authorities as he figures no one will believe his story (he’s some punk kid on probation. Of course he killed his asshole grandfather). Stan eventually tells Dommer about the vampire in the shed and what’s happened. Dommer doesn’t believe a word of it until he sees the vampire creature for himself. However, instead of becoming worried about the vampire, like Stan, Dommer wants to use the creature to get revenge on Marble and everyone else that has bullied him/treated him like shit his entire life. Will Stan allow his best friend to use the creature to get his revenge, or will Stan find a way to kill the vampire and save lives?

As I said at the beginning, most of the main characters in The Shed are just awful and annoying. You don’t really like any of them and, to a degree, because you don’t like any of them you don’t really care about any of them. You’re certainly curious about what’s going to happen to them as you know that they’re all going to come in contact with the vampire at some point in the movie. But do you necessarily want to see any of them live? Maybe the sheriff, played by Siobhan Fallon Hogan, as she’s the closest thing the movie has to a sympathetic character, but you also know that she’s probably going to die because she’s a secondary character and secondary characters exist in these kinds of movies to be victims for the vampire. But any of the main characters? None of them really have to survive. Not really.

The movie also takes place in a weird small town and a weird time period. The small town is rural but, at the same time, isn’t exactly what you would call a farm town. You think the town might exist somewhere in the south or, maybe, the Midwest, but you’re not quite sure (the movie never says). As for the time period, the high school characters seem to exist in a modern setting, but no one has a cell phone and you get the sense that the movie could actually be taking place in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. No one has a flat screen TV and you can watch Roger Corman’s The Terror on TV late at night. And Stan has a Walkman. The lack of a specific setting was likely meant to make the movie seem timeless, but all it does is make you wonder about the actual time period. That isn’t a good thing, in this case. It’s distracting.

The Shed also has pacing issues. Everything should be happening faster than it does. The movie is never really boring, but there are times where you’ll want the plot to move ahead quicker. We know what’s in the shed, so why keep acting like we don’t? Perhaps if the movie didn’t feature that opening vampire attack sequence, forcing the audience to wonder, along with Stan, what the hell is in the shed, the pacing the movie currently has would have worked. Maybe.

The movie’s special make-up effects are well done and quite gory. There’s a terrific bloody arm removal scene and there’s plenty of blood thrown around, which is what you want in a vampire movie. The look of the vampires is also cool as hell. Yes, the Bane vampire sort of looks like a zombie, but when he’s hidden in the shadows he’s scary as hell. And I love the bug eyed, glowing eyes vampire look of Bane’s victims/vampire henchmen. That wild eyed stare look always seems to work. The movie’s soundtrack and sound design is also well done.

The outside shell of the shed is also well done. Even before Bane decides to hide out in it the shed looks like a structure you want nothing to do with. The shed interior is just some dark place with random streaks of light in it. A vampire getting momentarily burned by moving past those streaks is an idea the movie never does anything with.

I know that I’m supposed to sympathize with Stan since his life is terrible and his parents were killed and all that, but Jay Jay Warren never once makes you want to like him. Even when he’s getting his ass kicked by Marble or Grandpa Ellis you want to grab him by his shirt collar and scream into his face “Get over yourself, son! Stop being an asshole like everyone else in this town!” And his indecisiveness later on, when he’s trying to figure out how to proceed after Ellis is killed, is just annoying. Just go kill the vampire and go ask Roxy out on a date and get on with your life, man.

Cody Kostro also never allows you to like his character Dommer. It’s not cool that he gets his ass kicked every day by bullies but, at the same time, does he have to be such a goddamn douchebag the rest of the time? Why the hell does Stan hang out with him? Why did Stan ever want to hang out with him in the first place? I’ve never wanted to see a potential protagonist character die horribly so much in my life.

Sofia Happonen does an okay job with Roxy. For a good chunk of the movie it seems like the only reason she’s in the movie is the movie needed another female character besides the sheriff and Stan needed a potential love interest. It would be nice if Warren and Happonen had an ounce of romantic chemistry but they really don’t. And while Happonen is sort of naturally appealing, her big “deep conversation” with Stan is so excruciating you end up wanting her to die, too. That shouldn’t happen but it does.

Timothy Bottoms is terrific as Stan’s grandfather Ellis. He makes Ellis a loudmouth, belligerent piece of shit, which is what he’s supposed to be. I am curious to know if Ellis was an asshole Stan’s entire life or if he became an asshole later on, like when Stan’s parents died. Did he lose it and become an asshole because he felt like he was saddled with a no good teenager? If he was an asshole his entire life, my God, how did he live as long as he did? Why didn’t some non-vampire stab him in the neck thirty years ago? You will remember Bottoms.

Chris Petrovski is a perfect bully as Marble. He’s got the swagger, the longish hair, and the badass Trans-Am, which is what all bully assholes had in the 1980’s and, to a lesser extent, the 1990’s. Marble also had two lackeys with him all of the time, something all of the top movie bullies had back in the day. I’m surprised he didn’t get his ass kicked sooner in his life.

Siobhan Fallon Hogan is, as I said earlier, the closest thing the movie has to a truly sympathetic character. She’s got a soft spot for Stan because she knows what kind of shit he’s gone through, but she’s also leery of him because he is a delinquent. What happens to her is just horrific. I think it’s high time someone makes an action movie where she, as the town’s sheriff, has to take on a drug gang or mobsters or some shit like that. I’d watch that movie.

And then there’s Frank Whaley as Bane, the hunter that becomes the vampire in the shed. He does a good job as the vampire but, at the same time, why is he the vampire? Why isn’t he someone else in the movie, like a character that has actual dialogue? Why isn’t he the school principal or someone like that? At least his make-up is nasty looking.

The Shed has issues, yes, but it’s still a new low budget horror movie worth checking out. It could be better, but it has enough good stuff in it to make it worthwhile. So if you’re in the mood for a new horror movie, check out The Shed. It’s imperfect but still pretty cool.

See The Shed. See it, see it, see it.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 7

Undead bodies: 6

Explosions: One.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: The woods, a close up of a spider, a guy with a gun, a guy with a cape in the woods, neck biting, exploding vampire, running in the woods, a serious problem with the sun, hiding out in a shed, potential Saturday pancakes, a dream that turns into a nightmare, bullet through the head, bike riding, douchebags in a red Trans-Am, bullying, an almost school fight, homophobia, class skipping, graffiti, tall boys, a couch out in a field, knife throwing, pulled teeth, off screen dog killing, a severed dog head, spittle, an off screen vampire attack, a blood puddle, a creepy nightmare, more class ditching, off screen ass kicking, attempted baseball bat hooey, vampire arm attack, sheet metal hooey, a hot female vampire dream, a missing shoe, mega face punching, running, a shaking shed door, more neck biting, bloody arm removal, more face punching, attempted brass knuckles, a major argument, a wicked punch to the side of the head, a sharpened stick, sharp stick to the gut, a burning vampire, dead body removal, a making wood stakes montage, off screen body destruction, power box destruction, an argument about the attic, sunlight, stake to the heart, decapitation, door breaking, double barrel shotgun in the mouth with exploding head, face destruction, more knife throwing, decapitation, and a weird ending.

Kim Richards?: None, but there probably would have been if there had been kids in the movie.

Gratuitous: Frank Whaley, a married couple that’s still into one another after all of these years, “the problem with you kids today,” a Walkman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a couch out in a field, hanging out in the attic reminiscing, a “blood brother” scar, a generic soda called Bubble, a wind up laughing skull, a “meaningful” discussion, Roger Corman’s The Terror on TV, country music on the radio, “I can handle my shit!,” sharp stick making montage, a final vampire siege, a weird ending, and something that sounds like a rocking instrumental homage to Dokken’s “Dream Warriors.”

Best lines: “Ewww! Gross!,” “Goddamit! How many times have I told you not to lock this door?,” “Stanley? What the hell are you doing?,” “I’m sure you’re looking forward to going up my ass, deputy Dave,” “Shut the fuck up, Marble,” “Language!,” “See you around, you piece of shit,” “Friggin crackhead,” “All right, asshole, it’s your funeral,” “Bye, Roxy,” “No fucking way,” “Are you kidding me? Are you sniffing glue or something?,” “Holy shit, man, that was so rad! Goddamn!,” “All right, Stan, it’s the end of the line. What?,” “Ellis? Is that you in there?,” “If you do this we’re fucked!,” “Get in the shed,” “What the fuck is that? Is that a fucking arm?,” “Stan? What the hell is happening?,” “Dommer, please don’t do this,” “I think you really should go before the sun sets,” “You’re bleeding again. It happens a lot,” “I’m gonna kill you! Wrong again! You die!,” and “Heads up, motherfucker!”

Rating: 7.0/10.0


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Things to Watch Out For


Running with the Devil: Another week, another new low budget Nicolas Cage movie. In this one, Cage co-stars with Larry Fishburne, Barry Pepper, Leslie Bibb, Peter Facinelli, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins, Jr., Adam Goldberg, and Natalia Reyes, and it’s all about cocaine. Based on the trailer, it looks like Fishburne is the head of a cocaine cartel or some shit like that, something bad happens, and Cage is brought in to somehow “fix” whatever happened. The movie looks kind of sleazy and disreputable, which probably means it’s entertaining and morally reprehensible. Worth a rental, no doubt. And, man, I really need to watch more of these low budget Nicolas Cage movies. I feel as though I’m missing out on something potentially spectacular.


Beyond the Law: This is a new low budget Steven Seagal action movie, and DMX and Johnny Messner are in it, too (the immortal Bill Cobbs, Zack Ward, and Patrick Kilpatrick are in it, too). I have no idea what it’s about. I mean, DMX is apparently playing a cop, and Seagal might be playing a cop, and, I guess, Messner is playing an ex-cop of some sort. It takes place in a city with lots of crime. Seagal beats some people up for some reason. I have a feeling this is going to be bland/kind of bad, but, at the same time, I’m hoping it’s great in its own way. Definitely worth a rental, or a purchase if you’re one of those Seagal completists.


Line of Duty: This new low budget action flick from director Steven C. Miller (he did the awesome Escape Plan 2: Hades) that’s been getting stellar reviews since its limited theatrical release at the end of last year. The movie stars Aaron Eckhart as a cop that’s in a race against time for some reason. Giancarlo Esposito and the perpetually gorgeous Dina Meyer are also in it. This is definitely something I plan on seeing soon, based solely on the reviews and the presence of director Miller. And, well, the trailer is fabulous. Anyone out there see this yet? Anyone at all?


Girl on the Third Floor: Modern pro wrestling legend C.M. Punk stars in this new low budget horror flick that’s been getting all sorts of buzz since its film festival debut in March of last year. Punk apparently plays a guy that’s renovating a haunted house, and in the process of doing that weird shit happens (of course it does). This is Punk’s first big deal starring role, and, heck, if his performance is as good as the reviews say it is, movie acting could be the next thing he tries to do, and that would be cool, wouldn’t it? Definitely want to see this and then, after this (he’s also in that Rabid remake the Soska Sisters did but I believe that wasn’t a starring role), what kind of movie will he do next? Another horror movie? An action movie?


Gemini Man: I actually managed to see this big budget sci-fi action flick starring Will Smith and directed by Ang Lee when it was in theatres and it was… okay. It has its moments, but as an “event” movie, it’s seriously lacking. The special effects are dodgy at best, especially the Will Smith clone part, the movie doesn’t have enough action in it, and Will Smith himself is all wrong for the part. I mean, Will Smith can do an action movie, sure, but do you really want to see the Will Smith of now fight a younger version of himself? Why? He just doesn’t have that badass aura that a guy like Denzel Washington or Tommy Lee Jones would have, or a legit action star like Stallone or Ahnold would most definitely have. Still, Gemini Man is okay/decent and worth seeing at least once. I do hope that someone, some day, writes a book about how long this movie was in development. I know that would be fascinating.

Did anyone out there see this in that High Frame Rate 3D?


Next Issue: It’s the new action flick The Mercenary directed by Jesse V. Johnson!


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

The Shed

Jay Jay Warren– Stan
Cody Kostro– Dommer
Sofia Happonen– Roxy
Frank Whaley– Bane
Timothy Bottoms– Ellis
Siobhan Fallon Hogan– Sheriff Dorney
Chris Petrovski– Marble
Francisco Burgos– Pitt
Uly Schlesinger– Ozzy
Mu-Shaka Benson– Deputy Haiser

Directed by Frank Sabatella
Screenplay by Frank Sabatella, based on a story by Jason Rice

Distributed by RLJE Films

Not Rated
Runtime– 98 minutes

Buy it here