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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Burying the Ex (Image Blu-ray)

What movies do you think of when you think of Joe Dante? For me it's Piranha and The Howling. I think of The Burbs. These are mean little movies with some comedy, gore and some pretty fun effects usually with outstanding casts. The Howling still has my favorite werewolf transformation and one of my favorite end credit songs. Of course there's that little picture called... Gremlins too. We all know how great that is, and if there's one thing we know with absolute certainty it's that Joe Dante, cinephile and brilliant film mind, knows how to balance comedy with Horror to create something special that is lasting. Burying the Ex at first glance has all the trappings of a truly fun rom zom com with a bunch of hot actors and a lovable Anton Yelchin as the mixed up mate in love (or falling out of love) with Miss wrong.  Does the picture hold up to further scrutiny.

Decidedly no. Unfortunately Burying the Ex plays out quite a bit like Warm Bodies (which I enjoyed) without the feeling of meta irony that I felt while watching Bodies. It's exactly what the cover looks like and the story doesn't deviate from comedy plot A and zombie spin B. Yes Yelchin is good, but we've seen him do better. I love his character and his world of macabre costuming and Horror art collecting but just because I can identify with him doesn't mean I'm going to fall for the formula and seemingly a lack of effort. I also adore Alexandra Daddario, but she's just feels second fiddle in this picture. Underused.

Simply put and not to be mean to a truly excellent director, I didn't get much out of Burying the Ex. The HD presentation is great and I still love the cover art. I just wished this felt like Joe Dante finding a spark in the played out rom zom com to spark something inside me to care, but unfortunately, I'm left waiting for a proper sequel to The Howling and settling for Dante's awesome extra work on the recent Arrow Spider Baby Blu-ray.

You can pick up Burying the Ex now. It has an audience. It truly does, but I'd be hard pressed to recommend this to true horror folks. Twilight-ers should apply. Serious gore hounds, Dante fans and fans of clever, funny zombie pictures like Return of the Living Dead will be disappointed. This is meant for the youngens and the easily-frighteneds.

I still haven't gotten to see the short film entitled Burying the Ex that served as inspiration for the full length. Starring Danielle Harris! I have to check it out.



From Image:

It seemed like a great idea when all-around nice guy Max (YELCHIN) and his beautiful girlfriend, Evelyn (GREENE) moved in together. But when Evelyn turns out to be a controlling, manipulative nightmare, Max knows it’s time to call it quits. There’s just one problem: he’s terrified of breaking up with her. Fate steps in when Evelyn is the victim of a fatal, freak accident, leaving Max single and ready to mingle. Just as Max is thinking about moving on with what could be his dream girl, Olivia (DADDARIO) – Evelyn has returned from the grave and is determined to get her boyfriend back...even if that means transforming him into one of the undead.

i-Lived (Xlrator DVD)

Did you know that I have the supernatural power of being able to tell you how a movie is going to end just by staring at the cover? I don't. Sometimes I do. I did in the case of i-Lived the new techno-demonic Horror picture released by Xlrator. First off, great cover. I may be getting a wee bit spent on the tech Horror angle, but this one pleased my aesthetic snob senses. The title on the other hand did not and when you put the two together you pretty much figured out the movie.

Let's do this. Imagine the movie Brainscan. The awesome flick from the 90's featuring Edward Furlong playing a "game" that may have been released by Hell itself and then update it and instead of game, go for the next big fad... something computerized. An app. Of course then you'll have to forget the comparison because the charismatic bad guy doesn't exactly show himself. What you get are some competent performances that lead you to a predictable end the whole time being forced to sit through what feels like someone's YouTube channel diary. You get the right baddie in the end, you may have a chance at saving i-Lived. You run up the kill list with awesome kills that play on the heart strings and practical effects pressure points of today's retro obsessed horror fanbase and you might get away with going ultra-modern on the tech front.

My only personal failing is that I didn't get the chance to check out Unfriended so I could see how the mainstream tech Horror craze is playing out to compare this new, direct to DVD version to. Of course there is a cautionary tale about technology to be observed and the real mystery here is... does the new generation of 18-24 year olds dig this? Maybe I'm not the audience for something this modern. Maybe this really creeps out the kids who don't bother to read disclaimers and haven't had the chance to revisit Brainscan because it hasn't been released on Blu in the states.

We've seen similar kill by number Horror in recent days that focus on reward for doing absurd things. This just isn't the best of them.

You can pick up i-Lived now on DVD.



From Xlrator:

Josh Fosse is a 20-something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He's signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can't refuse. Convinced it's him and not the app, he signs out... and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone... but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dead Air: Episode 93 - Sinister 2 (2015)


This week on the show, Jeff (@DeadAirJeff), and Jesse (@DestroySupermantalk about GAME OF THRONES, AMERICAN ULTRA, 90s comedy, and they review SINISTER 2.

Take a drink every time one of them says SINISTERER or makes a bad Baghuul joke. 

Q&A will be open, so come and hang out. Ask them whatever you want. Really... Anything. They'll answer it.

If you can't make it to the live show, use the hashtag #DeadAirPodcast on Twitter and tweet your questions before the show.

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The Dead Air Horror & Genre Podcast is brought to you by GenreWatch,The Liberal Dead, and Horror Movie BBQ. Be sure to visit the sites for more great content!

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And, as always, if you want to drop us a line to let us know what you think of any of the movies discussed tonight, or you just want to give us feedback on the podcast in general, please send an email to DeadAirHorrorPodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Friday, August 21, 2015

The Thing With Two Heads (Olive Blu-ray)

Ray Milland was a childhood hero of mine. While many of you may remember him form Dial M for Murder, my experience with him started during Fox 5’s Creature Feature Week in the mid-80’s when he played the victim of a science experiment gone horribly wrong in X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes. Boy have we come a long way from the days of Roger Corman in 1963 to find Milland still the victim of scientific hi jinks only this time it is to great comedic effect with plenty of socio political subtext.  Olive Films has given us a chance to enjoy a strange scientific experiment in The Thing with Two Heads on Blu-ray.

Ten years after X, Ray would star as a surgeon in search of a way to test his experiment of humans in The Thing with Two Heads. His experiment, of course, was to transplant the head of one being on to another, an experiment with which he had great success on animals. When he falls ill, Milland is forced to undergo the test experiment himself only to find himself grafted on to a former death row prisoner who happens to be black. Did we mention that Dr. Kirshner (MIlland) is a staunch racist? You can see where this goes quickly. While the effect of having the two headed being is obvious and rather unsophisticated, it’s the combative force between the two mortal enemies on one body that stirs both discussion and the chuckles. It’s got the proper level of camp to compete with movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but maybe falls short of the superb humor you may have found in The Man with Two Brains. I’ve never felt Milland was right for humor or if so, he makes a better straight man than a racist surgeon. Still he and Jack Moss play off each other effectively to create the proper tension and keep the movie feeling lively.

This is a good looking Blu-ray that helps to preserve some of the traditional artwork associated with the release. The transfer quality is good and befitting of a B list title. It suffers from some slight dust and marks, but overall the release respects the picture. Unfortunately there are no extras associated with this release.

Having enjoyed Lee Frost’s work on The Defilers which was made earlier in his career and after enjoying Love Camp 7 and The Black Gestapo, it’s not wholly surprising that Frost could direct an effective comedy playing off exploitation elements during the 70’s. His work is filled with lighthearted and rather serious exploitation flicks, some with more skin than others. His documentary work on Mondo Bizarro and Mondo Freudo hit the Something Weird Video label for those of you looking to catch some truly out their mondo material.  Frost could seemingly do anything.

At that outset of this review I discussed how I came to know and love Ray Milland. Coincidentally, Kino released X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes this year on Blu-ray as well. Ten years apart. Two completely different Milland pictures.  I can’t help but remember how Elvira gave me first inkling of the existence of The Thing with Two Heads when she “Freudianly joked” that she was going to be airing the “Head with Two Things… err… The Thing with Two Heads” in her movie Elivra Mistress of the Dark.  This slapstick piece of social commentary could only be better if someone had put Carroll O’Connor in the lead juxtaposed against Richard Roundtree (that’s Archie Bunker and Shaft respectively).  Do yourself a favor and enjoy the camp, science fiction, comedy with a message. 



From Olive:


The Thing With Two Heads is a film that answers the age-old question: Are two heads better than one? Despite his deteriorating health, incredibly rich and deeply racist brain surgeon Maxwell Kirshner (Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, Dial M For Murder) plans to be around for a very long time. What better way to achieve his goal than to transplant his still cognitive noggin onto the body of a healthy human being? Having performed similar experimental surgeries on animals, Maxwell convinces his colleagues to perform the groundbreaking and unsanctioned medical procedure on him – the first successful head-graft. With his body in rapid decline, Maxwell’s head is transplanted onto the first available body. And that would be death row inmate Jack Moss (Rosey Grier,Skyjacked, Timber Tramps). Did we forget to mention that Jack Moss is black? The Thing With Two Heads, directed by Lee Frost (The Black Gestapo, Private Obsession), from a screenplay by Lee Frost, Wes Bishop and James Gordon White, co-stars Don Marshall (Uptown Saturday Night, Terminal Island), Roger Perry (Count Yorga, Vampire), William Smith (Conan the Barbarian, The Outsiders) and Jerry Butler (A Bronx Tale, La Bamba).

Thrashin' (Olive Blu-ray)

David Winters was known for making plenty of made-for-TV movies in the 70’s and even crafting the Alice Cooper documentary Welcome to My Nightmare, but he made a cult name for himself when he created the skateboard equivalent of Endless Summer with Thrashin’. Having lived a third of my life in the 80’s and remembering the second half better than the first, I can recall the high school kids pounding the pavement with skateboards. They had the best artwork. None of them wore helmets or pads, and most importantly none of them had ever seen a real half pipe in person, but they loved the image of cool that seemed to ooze from their decks. Gleaming the Cube. Back to the Future. Thrashin. These are the movies that created skate-cool, and, in the case of Thrashin’ we got a second look at a very young Josh Brolin, fresh off his work on Goonies. Olive Films has given us the chance to view this piece of nostalgic iconography in HD via their new Blu-ray available now.

Olive does one thing categorically well; this company finds movies that are in dire need of release in HD and then do so. Thrashin’ looks pretty damn good with good grain structure and preserving the look and feel of a 1980’s action comedy film (really a novelty of film of sorts). The artwork is pure 80’s with the classic logo and of course, Brolin’s name on the front. Unfortunately we do not get any extras with this release, but for a fairly obscure release with a strong cult following this I’m simply glad to have the chance to enjoy in with as many bits on screen as possible.

If you happen to be familiar with the movie, you know it’s plug and play 80’s story line with skateboard inserted. You could take the Karate Kid or similar, against-all-odds themed movies and input a few characters and change cultural reference from karate to skateboarding and you might have the same movie. There are bullies. There’s a love story, but what this movie has that the other do not… a half pipe. This is the thing of cool that gave rise to dreams and launched powerful brands like Skate or Die that gave way to Tony Hawk’s successful video game franchise later.  Once we all saw that you could build a half pipe with a little know how, the kids in my neighborhood would try their hands at ramps and other dangerous obstacles.

Brolin is quite a bit like you might remember him in Goonies only a hair older. His performance does not betray  the talent that lies underneath his new face on the block exterior. In years to come as he joins the rank of horror folk in Planet Terror directed by Robert Rodriguez or his powerhouse performance in No Country for Old Men he will become respected and admired.  He had to cut his chops in TV through the early 90’s and eventually hit in a few action pictures and horror jobs in the late 90’s before he would be recognized as a true Hollywood talent like his father before him.

In the all fairness and in the interest of full disclosure I cannot skateboard. I tried. I nearly broke my neck trying and a buddy of mine broke his wrist in the effort. That doesn’t mean that movies like Thrashin’ became any less the image of cool that we grew up appreciating or that we could look back on as the foundation of a sport that took some time to catch on but nearly defined a generation with it’s imagery and sense of style.

You can pick up Thrashin’ from Olive on Blu-ray now. It will most certainly take you back and is the perfect movie to inspire some late night board riding, if you can manage to wrestle the deck away from your kids and not end up in traction. Of course there’s a new generation of boarders out there who grew up on Ellis and Hawk. They could certainly use a history lesson too.




From Olive:


L.A.’s rival skateboarders, the laid back Ramp Locals and the punk rock Daggers go to war for skateboard supremacy in the action packed drama Thrashin’. No sooner has he arrived in Los Angeles to compete in a downhill skating competition, Corey Webster (Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men, The Goonies) finds himself falling for Chrissy (Pamela Gidley,Liebestraum), a beautiful blonde with close connections to the skating scene. It turns out Chrissy’s brother is Tommy Hook (Robert Rusler,Weird Science), the tough-as-nails leader of The Daggers, who has his sites set on the skateboard competition prize. Chrissy’s love for Corey will be tested when her overprotective brother and Corey face off in a deadly skate race in Thrashin,’ directed by David Winters (Code Name Vegeance, Mission Kill), written by Paul Brown and Alan Sacks, and co-starring Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Of Mice and Men), Brooke McCarter (The Lost Boys) and Chuck McCann (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter).

Roller Boogie (Olive Blu-ray)

I must admit that when I heard that Olive Films was putting out Roller Boogie on Blu-ray I couldn’t stop myself from getting excited. Yeah sure, I like roller skating as much as the next guy, but that wasn’t why I was down with the boogie. Sure I met my first girlfriend at a roller rink, but nostalgia didn’t drive my interest. I hadn’t seen the movie until only recently. My interest in Roller Boogie was focused on the strange and shocking combination of one Mark Lester and Linda Blair. The man who gave us Class of 1984 and the woman who made the green vomit gag a household name were working together in a completely zany plot that almost sounded heartwarming if it didn’t feel completely ridiculous. How does it all come together? Olive Films gives us a chance in their new Blu-ray release of this classic roller disco dreamer flick.

First off I truly wish that Roller Boogie could have used the original poster. It has all the hallmarks of Xanadu or some other great fantastical journey into the world of teenage dancing dreams. The collage work will have to suffice. This release comes with no extras. Sorry to the diehard fans who would have liked to have seen a choreography featurette, but this one is barebones. It has a solid menu that feels well produced and the transfer is quite nice. There’s some slight black crushing and dust, but overall the quality of this release befits the title.

Six years after The Exorcist turned Linda Blair into a star (at least in terms of the character she created) we would finally get a chance to see her skate. While the movie clearly focuses on sexualizing an older Blair now it’s also brings attention to the fact that Blair is an actress. She isn’t Regan anymore. This is lighthearted late 70’s fodder with a disco score that pulls songs straight out of the top ten to sell a fad. We recently reviewed Thrashin’ which tried to do just the same thing for the skateboard trend. The fashion for the roller queens is the statement and the movie is fun fun fun until daddy takes your skate key away (so you can practice the flute and get into Julliard).  There’s plenty of hot bodies and skin in between the roller dancing though keep in mind this is a PG movie.

You can see Mark Lester’s influence clearly in the conflict between our protagonists and the bully, gangsters looking to take control of the roller disco. He loves to paint you bad guys that are truly evil and lovable, unexpected heroes. Of course this isn’t the brutal picture that Class of 1984 was (reviewed just this past year for Scream Factory). Lester made 1984 three years after Roller Boogie, right before he went into making some truly remarkable action and horror pictures that helped to define the 80’s. I suppose you could say that Roller Boogie is his segue between the TV movie Gold of the Amazon Women and 1984.

You may think of Roller Boogie as just a cheese ball pre-80’s formula flick but it truly is a fun picture. It has a good heart with heroes and villains and some damn good music (for those of you who truly believe that disco never died). You like Cheeks, Bob Esty, Cher or even Earth Wind and Fire (the same song used in Caddyshack)? Get your skates on now! The finish feels like Joysticks or Pinball Summer, so if you enjoyed wither one of those pictures (with less nudity) than Roller Boogie is for you.

And remember… socks are required at all times.



From Olive:

Roller Boogie is the film that asks: can a classical flautist and a roller skating dude find true love and happiness in the California sun while boogying on skates to 70’s disco tunes? Roller Boogie stars Linda Blair (The Exorcist) as Terry Barkley, a genius flautist (and Juilliard hopeful) and Jim Bray (real life roller skating phenomenon) as Bobby James, a maniac on skates with all the right moves and his sights set on becoming an Olympic Roller Skater. Starting with a traditional cinematic “meet cute” scene (Bobby saves Terry from a skating accident at the local roller rink) Roller Boogie is kicked into high gear when a ruthless mobster plans to buy Jammers, the local roller rink, for nefarious reasons. Will Terry give up on her dreams of playing classical flute at Juilliard to team up with Bobby and enter the Jammer’s roller disco contest? Will Bobby see his Olympic skating dreams come true? Will the mobster really buy Jammers? Where’s the parental supervision? For the answers to these and other burning questions watch Roller Boogie. Roller Boogie, with its amazing choreography and on-the-skate-floor acrobatics, is directed by Mark L. Lester (Class of 1984), from a screenplay by Barry Schneider, features a soundtrack stuffed with disco tunes including Hell On Wheels performed by Cher, The Roller Boogie written by Mavis & Bob Esty, Boogie Wonderland written by Jon Lind and Allee Willis and the Bob Esty & Michael Brooks song Summer Love.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

Director Thomas Casey, the man behind Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things only was responsible for one movie. He wrote a documentary and he even wrote a picture about a group of Nazis who were trying to resurrect Hitler… in Florida. So you can imagine how good Flesh Feast turned out.  Still, out of his own time and out of his location in Florida, Casey actually directed a fairly racy film with raising questions about everything from homophobia to the nature of criminality. Though I will admit that some of the talk about Casey making Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things as a critique of criminality and sexual orientation seems to be a lot of revisionist hog wash. Casey made a movie that has moments of extreme violence and moments of endearing romantic attachment with shades of slapstick humor and overtones of the exploitation era that was about to take 42nd Street by storm. Transplant Casey to New York City, introduce him to Miligan or a sleazy renaissance man and you may have seen a slew of pictures come forth from his loins.

Instead we have a great title. We have an excellent choice of artwork from Vinegar Syndrome that is eye catching and quite frightening (though the movie is not the least bit scary) and an attempt to give a quiet voice in the regional film history of Florida and audience.

Overall I enjoyed Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things. It has some interesting costume choices, and I’m particularly sensitive to its brand of hijinks, but the picture drags on as we try to establish an ending. Of course our partners in crime will be discovered. That’s the formula for this type of movie (for some reason I keep thinking of this as the precursor to Bosom Buddies). A few hits of ultra-violence with and a feeling that the true nature of the criminal is to be a criminal and not to feel sympathy is a stereotype driven home in this picture. I think that my preconceived notion about how the title might play into the story may have been a letdown. I imagined an evil aunt, homicidal and quirky with a high pitched voice and a penchant for killing people in clever ways. You really just get a crime thriller with some dark moments and some misplaced emotions that seem to side and the sexually frustrated and confused.

You can order Sometimes Aunt Martha Does DreadfulThings from Vinegar Syndrome. Be sure to set your expectation for thriller in lieu of traditional Psycho-esque horror picture. This is not the precursor to Mother’s Day and just because it has an elongated 

From Vinegar Syndrome:

While on the run from the law, two criminals decide to hide out in a small Florida town. The ringleader, Paul, concocts a plan to pretend to be his child-like accomplice Stanley’s estranged Aunt Martha. Taking over a large old house, Paul and Stanley attempt to lay low, but trouble soon arises when a local girl takes a liking to Stanley and invites him out with her friends. Paul, becoming increasingly paranoid, decides that the only way they can maintain their cover is by murdering everyone who has even the slightest suspicion of what’s really going on, but Stanley isn’t so sure he wants to keep on hiding…

This bizarre, Florida shot regional film made by one-time director Thomas Casey is less a horror movie than a hybrid of crime thriller and vaguely homoerotic relationship drama, with some bloody death scenes and moments of T&A thrown in for good measure. Nearly impossible to see for years, Vinegar Syndrome and AGFA bring this totally unique piece of low-rent trash to DVD, in its proper aspect ratio for the very first time. Also featuring a new commentary track with cult filmmaker David DeCoteau (rapidheart.com) and film historian Nathaniel Thompson (mondo-digital.com).

Flesh and Bullets (Vinegar Syndrome DVD)

We have a miracle of modern filmmaking here though not in a way in which you would wholly expect. Ladies and gentleman I give you a Carlos Tobalina movie that is NOT a triple X rated movie. This is not a hardcore picture. The orgy stops here. I know that it is impossible to conceive, but Carlos tried to make a movie that was legit (or at least gauged to a wider audience).  Of course he is billed as Efrain Tobalina… probably to maintain his street cred as a heavy hitter from San Fran with the biggest orgies in town, but that’s speculation given his affinity for pseudonyms on all his work.

The opening is as soulful as ever featuring some lyrics that inspire emotion. “Someone gonna get hurt every time”.  Sure will. The credits swirl toward the sky which is actually moderately disorienting. What you notice right off that bat is a lack of adult film stars. Adlo Ray, Cornel Wilde and Cesar Romero (yes, the Joker from the 60’s camp classic TV show Batman) all show up to provide a true B list cast of somebodies.

Despite that fact that we are not watching a porno, you can tell that Tobalina had trouble leaving out the good stuff. There scenes framed to avoid certain gratuities though I would imagine there is a cut of the film somewhere (perhaps lost) that included these scenes. We often see adult features stripped of their genitals to gain a wider audience. One might imagine that Tobalina received funding from backers who wanted to make a movie that could screen in a wider venue which is why the movie has all the trappings of a porn but without the spankable bits of a porn.

There are some pretty laughable disguises in this one with Aldo Ray making up with his good looks what the makeup man could not take away. In fact there’s at least one lengthy dialogue of exposition that seems to trail on forever leaving on a conversation with Ray’s bedroom eyes to keep us interested. By the end of the picture you wouldn’t quite expect the twist and the old switcheroo may fool a few of you, but one thing is for certain, there’s a shaky dead guy on the screen and someone better tell him he’s overacting.

Note: there’s a terribly echo-filled baby cry in this picture that sounds like something off the Black Sabbath Sabotage album. It’s completely out of place and is probably closest related to the use of kaleidoscope in terms of inappropriateness for Tobalina’s work.  Keep and eye out for the fella who looks like Maniac Cop because it's actually him.  Enjoy the line “You Frigid Bitch”! on repeat. It’s right up there with “Bastard”! from Pieces.


You can order your copy of Flesh and Bullets now fromVinegar Syndrome. Remember… no orgies. No San Fran… just strange disguises, Aldo Ray and a alternative “Wife Contract” version taken from a VHS track. The difference in the aspect ratio may make you try to adjust the tracking on your DVD player. 


From Vinegar Syndrome:



In director Carlos Tobalina’s sex-filled re-imagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, a duo of unhappily married men, both of whom have bloody pasts, meet in Las Vegas and hatch a scheme to murder each other’s ex wives. However, in the process of preparing for their deadly plot, they begin to become romantically attached to each of their targets. Will they be able to pull off the perfect murders or will love get in the way?

One of the few non-X rated films Tobalina directed, FLESH AND BULLETS is a sleazy mash up of grindhouse trash and melodrama, featuring X rated stars Mai Lin, Sharon Kelly, and Bill Margold. Also B-movie greats, Cornel Wilde, Yvonne De Carlo, and even Robert Z’Dar in one of his first roles!

Super Sex and Pulsating Flesh (Peekarama Vinegar Syndrome DVD) - Even More Tobalina

Peekarama has become a bit of a Tobalina fest in the last year. For those of you familiar with Carlos’ work you’ll be happy to see more of it complete with shots of San Fran and orgies abounding. The two feature included in the new Vinegar Syndrome double feature aren’t quite Tobalina’s best. Super Sex feels like it was shot quickly and without much thought while Pulsating Flesh is a return to form with comedic overtones that keep the movie flowing nicely.



D: Carlos Tobalina / 1987 / 159 min (combined) / Color / 1.85:1

Features Include:

+ DVD | Region Free | 1.85:1 OAR
+ Restored in 2k from 35mm camera negatives
+ Original theatricals for both films

Super Sex

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Two sleazy psychiatrists, one young and one old, hypnotize their innocent female patients into becoming insatiable harlots and have their sleazy way with them. With some patients needing no coaxing at all we learn what it takes to cure sexual problems.

From the opening shot of San Francicso you can be assured that you are watching a Carlos Tobalina movie no matter who the movie states is the director. What you may not expect is the name BEVERLY DOOM in the credits! If that doesn’t excite you maybe an obviously fake name like Julia St. Cloud does the trick.

Super sex is filled with candy ass, canned easy listening piano, shitty sets and empty sets to boot. There’s plenty of bad acting and quite honestly, some damn boring sexy as well as some infamously strange boobs. It doesn’t get much more formulaic than this with a Freudian psychotherapy providing the vehicle for the naughty business throughout the movie.

Not quite the typical Tobalina action packed orgy sessions here but a few threesomes, a vibrator and some of the strangest looking male and female actors I’ve seen in an adult feature (outside of the Avon Triple feature released last month from Vinegar Syndrome). Carlos… the dream is over.

Pulsating Flesh

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Peter Longfellow has a unique gift: he can impregnate any woman, no matter who they are, even if they’re on the pill. Peter is invited to a talk show to share stories of his strange abilities as two young bi-sexuals watch the interview from their bedroom wishing they could join in.

We must be entering a very difficult period for Tobalina. There’s more shitty music in this feature, but at least the title pulsates. The story line is quite funny with a talk show theme focused around a male guest who can’t seem to NOT get women pregnant. In fact it’s become his job…  knock women up for loads of cash.

This picture has some of the worst dialogue I’ve heard in an adult movie. There’s so much eye makeup, big hair, so many dildos. Hey, at least the audience gets to watch the whole thing in the studio audience via a monitor.

Still there are some great close ups and a fine return to form as Tobalina resurrects his passion for the orgy. The cast is better than that of Super Sex, the production value has greatly improved over Super Sex and even with the bad music, the humor of this picture carries it through. Best line from Peter Longfellow: “My Sperms are so strong I’ve even gotten women pregnant who are on the pill and the IUD”. Ends with an orgy. End picture. Tobalina lives.


The Young LIke It Hot and Sweet Young Foxes (Peekarama Vinegar Syndrome LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY)

The first Peekarama Big 2 Unit Show on Blu-ray! That’s a big milestone. Vinegar Syndrome is bringing you a limited edition run of a Bob Chinn double feature in HD. You have 2000 chances to get in on this funny and innovative set of movies (the release is limited to 2000). Both movies are directed by Bob Chinn, but they also star Kay Parker and Hyapatia Lee, staples of the Chinn adult film world. Before we talk about each movie from a content perspective I want to assure you that each movie is in gorgeous HD. If you’ve become familiar with Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray releases then you know that they take special care to make them look amazing. The color saturation is vibrant, film grain structure excellent and blacks are true. While the typical Peekarama release will look excellent and the transfer, superb they clearly took more care of this Blu-ray release in terms of clean up. If you are unfamiliar with the Peekarama series, this would be a great way to rediscover adult cinema in HD.

You can order the Big 2 Unit Show on Blu-ray now whilesupplies last! Now on to the individual titles and what you can expect.


The Young Like It Hot

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Trouble is brewing at a small town phone help line. The girls have just found out that they are slated to be replaced by computers. Determined to show their bosses that technology is no match for their skills, they begin offering their callers erotic conversations the likes of which have never been heard before!

Director: Bob Chinn
Starring: Hyapatia Lee, Kay Parker, Joey Silvera, Eric Edwards
1983 / 90 minutes / 1.85:1 OAR / Color

The Young Like It Hot has a fantastic theme song featuring the title of the movie that must be heard to be believed. It’s this era in adult entertainment that truly shines in terms of production quality, creativity and novelty. This is something you can expect from Bob Chinn; he knows how to entertain and elate.

The story itself is classic porn trope with a telephone switching office that may be undergoing an upgrade to computerized switches that will put a lot of hot bodies out of work. As you may imagine the workers won’t let their jobs go without a fight, taking proactive steps to combat the forces of technology in the workplace. So what’s their method? Keep the customer happy. Keep them on the line and make sure they keep using the switch service. Obscene phone calls with inter office hijincks and few lessons in proper sexual etiquette and you’ve got an office built for a modern day HR nightmare!

The methods by which these telephone workers save their jobs are varied and entertaining. When was the last time your operator was able to offer deep throat lessons to you on your marital bed? Have you ever consoled a  co-worker with a  lesbian love session? Have you ever felt suicidal? Did you call a suicide hotline that ended up being a suicide “hot line”?

What astonishes me is that the movie seems to balance anti-trust conversation and Ma Bell dialogue, a sign of the time with some classic one liners that really drive home the theme. How often do you find deep conversation about trust breaking in a porno? When is the last time you heard Alexander Graham Bell’s name evoked in an adult film?

Chinn’s movie have the best close up shots and the ending will satisfy. Keep an eye out for the guy who looks like Will Forte. If the lovely ladies don’t entice you, wait till you hear Big Dick’s dirty talk. William Margold is a funny fella and the disc includes an interview with him.

Sweet Young Foxes

From Vinegar Syndrome:

It’s summer and beautiful young college freshman, Laura (Hyapatia Lee), is home from school and bored out of her mind. With her boyfriend out of town, Laura decides to spend the summer finding herself. In the process she uncovers a world of sexual delights she never knew existed.
Director: Bob Chinn

Starring: Hyapatia Lee, Kay Parker, Ron Jeremy, Eric Edwards
1983 / 86 minutes / 1.85:1 OAR / Color

This feature includes the a bonus interview with the man himself, Bob Chinn. What astounds me is how soft spoken this guy is. I always took him for a monster party animal. Granted he’s a bit older now, but it’s obvious that his professionalism over the years is what kept him in business and creating quality entertainment.

Sweet Young Foxes has a fairly straight forward plot without much of the gimmickry used in the first feature. Still the theme song features the line “Sweet young foxes know what they want, know how to get it”. Thus extends the Chinn tradition of excellent production value derived from the opening credits. This particular feature also star Pat Manning, Hustler centerfold from October 1982 as well as the illustrious Ron Jeremy!

The whole thing plays off like a teen Harlequin romance novel complete with our lead reciting her diary in the opening. This isn’t exactly funny, but it does provide a nice framework to build a series of fuck scenes. Plenty of soft focus, star filter and smooth jazz make this one feel less raunchy, more seductive. Of course the lovemaking lesson (a staple of the Chinn movie?) is offered by master cocksman Ron Jeremy in a real muff diver of a scene.


Of course it goes downhill from there with a shower scene, some woman to woman advice followed by yet another shower scene. The whole thing comes together in a montage of different sex scenes between lesbians, some straight sex and finally, an almost essay esque closing paragraph from our female protagonist. 

Sweet Trash and The Hang Up (Drive-In Collection Vinegar Syndome DVD)

As many of you know, The Drive-In series is one of my favorite offerings made by any distro company out there. It’s a chance to become educated in offbeat titles that have varying genre, style and origin while somehow finding connective tissue between unrelated releases. This month Sweet Trash and The Hang Up are on display. While I truly find the Peekarama series to be necessary, the preservation of adult entertainment isn’t being tackled wholesale, I am glad VS was able to release this one to break up Tobalina fest 2015 (and 2014 for that matter… Hell we need to refrain from calling it Tobalina Syndrome at times).



D: John Hayes / 1970 / 164 min (combined) / Color / 1.85:1

Features Include:

+ DVD | Region Free | 1.85:1 OAR
+ Restored in 2k from 35mm negatives
+ Original theatricals for both films
Sweet Trash

From Vinegar Syndrome:

In Sweet Trash, an alcoholic longshoreman, deep in debt to the mob, is forced into an increasingly debauched nightmare as he tries to avoid the thugs out to get him. Along the way, he meets local oddballs, violent criminals, and lusty women. With a mysterious computer controlling everyone’s actions this grimy artistic film with almost science fiction-esque fear of future mind control was made well before it’s time.

If True Crime and Pulp stories tickle your pickle you might enjoy Sweet Trash. This is a rather out-there movie with hints of Sci-Fi, some sludgy blasts of fun gore and a computer that seems to control the fate everyone.  While it’s a down and dirty tale that is very characteristic of the work of John Hayes, I can’t help but feel like we are simply be introduced to a cast of characters we’ve seen in countless True Crime pictures.

Sweet Trash is gritty and the picture quality is perfectly unkempt with the all the grindhouse goodness that the brand survives on. The music is all over the place bordering on inappropriately happy at times. There are some strong faces among the actors if you take out the heinously hairy fellow in the opening who ends up with the nice looking redhead. Overall the movie comes to a screeching halt, simply ending, dumping you off into the Hudson River.

This is most likely a matter of taste, but Sweet Trash is not my favorite sleaze fest.

The Hang Up

From Vinegar Syndrome:

The Hang Up follows the forbidden affair between a tempted LAPD vice cop and a beautiful, but mysterious, young prostitute. Set against a world of pimps, pushers and sexual deviates, The Hang Up is a powerful indictment of law-enforcement hypocrisy. With a wonderful mix of love ins and sleazy betrayal The Hang Up is a creative commentary on the sexual revolution and human nature.

Now The Hang Up continues to maintain that True Crime/Pulp style, but definitely wins my heart for this double feature. Perhaps it’s the Gentleman’s club turned tranny bar with guys in drag everywhere all the time vice squad looking on. This is the kind of shock that 70’s pictures loved to create. Yes, this is the American you live in and this is its underbelly! Take that establishment.

Of course the actual story shows one of the cops falling for a prostitute at the club that leads to some very strange settings not limited to but including an orgry at a monastery. This isn’t a hardcore picture, but the subject matter is very sexual. The balance between love story and sexual escapades is touching at times and needing to be touched between the legs at others. It’s a cautionary tale in part with exploitation elements straight out of the late 60’s.

The feature looks good albeit with some dust. It’s all grind and at least with this Hayes entry the music matches the mood with appropriate drama.


AVON TRIPLE FEATURE: SAVAGE SADISTS / DEN OF DOMINANCE / DAUGHTERS OF DISCIPLINE [Vinegar Syndrome DVD]

Let’s get one thing straight. If you’re watching the Avon Triple Feature disc, you are not watching it to get off. These are not hot young bodies performing sexual fantasies right before your very eyes. These are amateurs reacting to bad or no scripts on camera performing badly to amazing comedic effect. Each movie is as bad as the last and by bad I mean absolutely perfect. Each has a similar cast (if not the same cast) and each one runs 40 minutes long or so. I find it hard to recommend the Avon Triple Feature; not because I can’t appreciate it or the filth and fury of 42nd street side shows coming to light on DVD. I simply don’t know who the audience is. I suppose the grinders will like it; those folks who nostalgize 42nd street and Manhattan in the early 80’s having never been there to take in the smell of urine. It’s good for a laugh. It’s good for a cry. It is NOT good for a tissue party with your pants around your ankles. That being said… let’s sniff these out so you can better understand what I’m trying to articulate using graphic language.


OR 


From Vinegar Syndrome:

In SAVAGE SADISTS, a duo of hoodlums hold a pornographer and his wife hostage, forcing them into acts of debauchery. Then, in DEN OF DOMINANCE, an unsuspecting man visits a sleazy Times Square watering hole only to discover to his horror (and delight) that the bar is actually a front for a grungy S&M club! Finally, in DAUGHTERS OF DISCIPLINE, two lusty young women discover a hidden collection of bondage magazines in their parents bedroom. However, their illicit pleasures are quickly interrupted when the parents return home early and decide to punish their daughters for their transgressions.

D: Phil Prince / 1980-1983 / 120 min (combined) / Color / 1.33:1

Features Include:

+ DVD | Region Free | 1.33:1 OAR
+ Scanned and restored in 2k from ultra-rare 16mm archival elements


Savage Sadists

The most important thing to do while watching Savage Sadists is to stare at the Natassja Kinski poster with the snake on the wall beyond the protagonists. You’ll want to savor that image and try to find it later.

Between the truly great punk music and some of the grindy grimy scenes that are ultra mean-spirited and totally raunched out are some truly unintentional moments of comedy. Be prepared for lines like, “Bitch tastes pretty good”.  That doesn’t do it for you? How about “I bet your tits are getting hard now”… I can assure you fellas, they are not. Perhaps the most repeated and out of place phrase is “where’d they find you? In the gutter?” while our mucho strange-o “star” slaps her in the face with his dick with ADR’d hand slap sound. I’m all for degradation, but you’re supposed to do it with some style.  You could learn a thing or two from the “writers” in this picture. I mean the dialogue absolutely rules but do not expect it to convey anything that remotely resembles reality. Perhaps these are the lines that the twelve year old boy comes up with while masturbating to Hustler after reading some of Flynt and Co’s trash cartoons.  I suppose she DOES taste good though because there’s plenty of up close vagina slurpage. At least their fucking with tube socks on.

This first movie has a clear cut plot (or as clear as the minor exposition will allow).  The guys look strange (yes, strange) and when these fellas talk about what they’re doing to women while their doing it, I nearly lost it. We’re talking uncontrollable laughter which is pretty difficult to tame as you’re lying next to your sleeping wife feeling embarrassed for what’s showing upon screen.

Four sex scenes that includes sex while holding a gun and the whole thing end with a long fart. I think you can figure this one out.

Den of Dominance

For a movie that opens with Pac-Man music they didn’t do much for the title sequence (same basic lettering… no flair… really why put a title on a movie?). It’s the same cast from Sexy Sadists only this time their in a bar. You can imagine the caliber of acting has not improved, the dialogue remains… anti-dialogue and the story… isn’t one.

Things of note in Den of Dominance: The sound of a heart beat with strange moaning that is echo-filled with dialogue that sounds spacey. Of course there’s actually some dan good electronic music which seems to be the resounding high point between the movies in the Avon Triple.

If you though The Room needed a soundboard, cell phone app wait’ll you get a load of this guy. More strange dialogue, gallons of slurping, oodles of staches all around and some fairly uninteresting amateur bondage. The only point of mystery? What the hell is the Bizarre Room? You’ll have to watch to find out.

End with a fart and a party noisemaker. I guess that’s what we in the industry would call… style.

Daughters of Discipline

A nice shot of New York City in the opening at least gives you the illusion that you might be headed for the Deuce after watching this strange fuck film.  I think my dear old dad even owned one of the suggestive magazines in the opening scene of the film which says quite a bit about how I came to enjoy adult entertainment (you’ll see). While at least there’s a thematic variation with the women doing the dominating in this release, I’m not sure the boring fifteen minute lesbian scene (with tube socks of course) counts as an improvement over the previous laugh fests. They have the best accents and at least the cast is different for the third installment in the Avon triple.


Enjoy the Scott Baio poster in the background; you even get a close up of it. Then repeated intercuts of said poster. Someone really loved this damn poster. I’m surprised Scott didn’t get starring credit. Also, the whole thing has this strange alien music in the background. Perhaps we are to understand that the strange events unfolding are from some Ed Woodian extraterrestrial plot? Plan 69 from the Bronx?

My Sinful Life and Las Vegas Girls (Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama DVD) - Tobalina Continues

Welcome to the quirky world of Carlos Tobalina. We’ve got a Peekarama double feature from Vinegar Syndrome that is as diverse as you may imagine with some real star power and the added bonus of having freaked me out. Tobalina is formulaic at times and yet at others comes up with sparks of ingenuity that have tested the adult film industry. With My Sinful Life, we are talking about a down and dirty theme that plays on social mores that have existed since the beginning of time. It’s a bold move. Daring. It’s horribly uncomfortable and strangely sexy. Las Vegas Girls couldn’t be more on the other side of the spectrum. Classic Tobalina elements with a hint of old Vegas (and nooooo San Fran to be seen!).

You can order this Peekarama from Vinegar Syndrome now.Tobalina fans must apply. The rest of you, is it the orgies or the wide shots of the bay area that get you down?

D: Carlos Tobalina / 1983 / 164 min (combined) / Color / 1.85:1

Features Include:

+ DVD | Region Free | 1.85:1 OAR
+ Restored in 2k from 35mm camera negatives
+ Original theatricals for both films

You can also get all the goods in the bundle! Available while supplies last.

My Sinful Life

From Vinegar Syndrome:

In this early eighties Tobalina sex drama the luscious Danielle plays our adopted heroine. Learning the sensual arts early from her adopted parents, she goes to live with her Aunt to start college. She quickly meets the hottest girl on campus and gains employment in a brothel where she learns things that she could never have imagined. With a guest appearance from a cowboy Jaime Gillis and Danielles’ lover brother (played by a young Tom Byron), Troy Benny (Carlos Tobalina) scores again in this sensual tale MY SINFUL LIFE.

What opens up with a novelty porn song by Shamus that repeats “I like to do with you baby” gives way to something wholly uncomfortable. I suppose we can expect that form a movie that star my personal favorite, Jamie Gillis and with the introduction of “The Fabulous BJ”. Um… excuse me… who?  What’s so uncomfortable you may ask? How about parents masturbating their daughter in the shower. I sat with jaws and pants dropped staring at the shocked woman on the screen staring back at me with a look of complete surprise. We shared a moment. It was pure shrivel up material of the first few moments. Then of course we remember that this is a movie, these are professional actors and this is a story. A completely debauched story, but I suppose every fantasy is someone’s freakout.

Of course the shower scene gives way to mommy/daddy/daughter orgy time complete with leg warmers. You simply couldn’t get away with this stuff now in main stream adult cinema. Sure there are sites dedicated to stepdaughter violation but this is a feature film. My Sinful Life makes you feel naughty.

My Sinful Life features plenty of famous faces and allows for some minor plot exposition between threesomes. That should calm you down about the initial subject matter until the wrap up near the end. The music goes from mid temp new wave to slow down prom music and vacillates between the two. Perhaps the flux in music is supposed to offset the low alligator moan of Gillis or his exquisite choice of cum face. Some really caveman beauty shots here.

Keep an eye out for the old hairy guy with the cowboy hat or the fella that looks like a Begee with the elderly woman. These may be the hairiest damn balls you ever did see.  The main question you’ll be left with is whether the bed will make it.

Las Vegas Girls

From Vinegar Syndrome:

With the bright lights and sexy Las Vegas strip ladies as our backdrop we watch the exploits of two private dicks, Karen Hall and Dan Boulder. They are searching for a runaway teen from Texas who left her oil baron father and gold digger mother to turn tricks. Watch and feel the excitement as our detectives scour every dirty dive on the strip in search of the fallen angel. We even get an inside look at a private Las Vegas party hosted by non other than the big man himself, William Margold.

I love that we are “introducing the galaxy of new super stars”! The distinct lack of San Fran a present of old Vegas makes this feel completely anti-Tobalina. Of course the montage juxtaposed shots of the strip combined with masturbation footage brings it back home.  Yet another fabulous intro featuring Ray Rando, Joe Welch and The Section with such hits as “For a Price”, “Lynn’s Theme” and “Ledger Domain”. “Love me and I’ll make you bleed”. Who comes up with this stuff anyway?

What we lack in San Francisco and the distinct absence of full on orgy in My Sinful Life is made up for wholesale in Las Vegas Girls. There’s an overabundance of needless exposition and then… you guessed it… orgy. By the way, you quickly learn that “super stars” means absolutely no one you’ve heard of or seen in an adult film. There’s a brief pause after the initial orgy only to separate out the women from the orgy into brothels. This leads to a classic music laced series of adult entertaining scenes with one of the most dramatic masturbation scenes I’ve seen. Of course it really could be the dramatic music’s influence on the scene. After a brief respite (we could call it the intermission in the chamber music self-fulfillment segment) we get a small bit of couples action before a second round of orgy a-go-go complete with some signature Tobalina kaleidoscope action.


You know the whole thing feels resolved in the end. Just some couples sex and then fin. Tobalina usually goes out with more of a bang involving more people. You know the end result.. everyone’s on screen, fucked and cummy. Tobalina ends on a somber note (for Tobalina).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SHOCKER (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Electric Murder Land!

When Scream Factory release Horror Show a couple years back all I kept thinking was that Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven came up with the same idea at the same time and then each took it in their own separate direction. Cunningham with Horror Show. Craven with Shocker. Now that presumed of course that I remember Shocker correctly, and while I will maintain that it is curious that the former Last House on the Left cohorts came up with somewhat similar storylines involving maniacal murderers come back from death, they truly are two separate movies. After watching Horror Show I said, “man, I think I like that much more than Shocker”. After watching Shocker again, this time with the full tilt boogie Collector’s edition from Scream Factory, I can safely say I’m a Shocker man all the way.

Why love Shocker? Let’s start with the obvious. The music. That’s right. The music is so damn good that they Scream Factory disc has a full featurette that discusses its origin including interviews with various metal musicians who played on it. I’ve included some of the track from YouTube so you can get a sampling, but immediately after watching the movie I hopped on Discogs and bought the LP (from Greece so it won’t get here for some time). Everything from super groups to Megadeth covering No More Mr. Nice Guy to Alice Cooper. Plug your finger in the electric socket and spray it with Aquanet!

Horace Pinker is a tremendously fun villain. While some of the effects are questionable, the dated look of tech horror gives the feature a certain charm. It makes it creepy and when it isn’t creepy it’s funny. Isn’t that all we ask for? Entertaining horror? Now Pinker is no Kruger. This must be certain. Craven created a badass, one liner delivery machine in Pinker. Mitch Pileggi, who was at Monster-Mania in Cherry Hill NJ when I attended, is a sound actor who knows his stuff, very physical and not afraid to jump right in… to your TV screen. The interviews on this disc affirm that he is a devoted actor who had fun creating Pinker.

I think the thing that strikes me the most is that Shocker is unrelenting. I remember loving the TV spots and the poster and thinking that this was just a fun horror flick, but when it comes down to it, Shocker is mean-spirited. You can’t believe who dies, how soon they die and once you’re done processing that death, SOMEONE ELSE DIES THAT COULDN’T POSSIBLY DIE! It really throws you off. While it has a hard heart, it isn’t without it’s completely gonzo moments and continuity crazies. There are times where you’ll shake your head while watching Shocker. The end sequence is a stretch to be sure, but I personally didn’t care. I was too busy headbanging, having fun and dreaming of the day when I could buy a console TV and put a flat screen in it.

You can pick up the Collector’s Edition of Shocker fromScream Factory now. Compare it to Horror Show and most important of all, get your devil horns up in support of a ripping soundtrack. Don't believe me? Give it a listen in the playlist below. You have got to see this movie!


From Scream Factory:

About to be electrocuted for a catalog of heinous crimes, the unrepentant Horace Pinker transforms into a terrifying energy source. Only young athlete Jonathan Parker, with an uncanny connection to Pinker through bizarre dreams, can fight the powerful demon. The two dive in and out of television programs, chasing each other from channel to channel through stunning scenes of disaster, game shows and old reruns.

A blend of dazzling special effects and an electrifying soundtrack, SHOCKER stars Michael Murphy (X-Men: The Last Stand, Batman Returns), actor/director Peter Berg (actor Smokin’ Aces, director Lone Survivor), Cami Cooper (Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace) and Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy) as Horace Pinker.

Trailer not from Scream Factory

Special Features:

·        NEW! Audio Commentary with director of photography Jacques Haitkin, co-producer Robert Engelman, and composer William Goldstein
·        NEW! Cable Guy – An all-new interview with actor Mitch Pileggi
·        NEW! Alison’s Adventures – An interview with actress Cami Cooper
·        NEW! It’s Alive – An interview with executive producer Shep Gordon
·        NEW! No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Music of “Shocker”, featuring interviews with music supervisor Desmond Child and soundtrack artists Bruce Kulik (KISS), Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS), Kane Roberts (ALICE COOPER) , and Dave Ellefson (MEGADETH)

·        Audio Commentary with writer/director Wes Craven

The Harvest (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - And You Thought Your Mother Was Terrifying

Oh what a creepy little movie you turned out to be The Harvest. I’m very impressed. Here I was thinking some kind of small town rural serial killer/homicidal maniac movie and instead I get a well thought out, emotive heart stopper (literally). The Harvest is well acted, well thought out and appreciates the audience by allowing it to become emotionally invested in some very lovable, fragile characters. Some of the recent Scream Factory/IFC Midnight partnerships have not been astounding. The Harvest is a clear favorite of mine and one that I will recommend.

There are elements of Peter Walker’s Frightmare, a little of Stephen King’s Misery as well as some body horror that just touches on Cronenberg. This delightfully wicked package is wrapped up with hints of Flowers in the Attic meets The Secret Garden. I feel like all of those references must combust when put together in the proper mixture.

Samantha Morton is tremendous and vicious while Michael Shannon feels like a Darth Vader to her Emperor. Both Natasha Calis and Charlie Tahan give excellent performances that are evocative and inspire the best kind of tension and terror. We know John McNoughton can create crazy on screen. He’s the fella who gave us Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. What we may not have known was that he could make us feel equally sympathetic for a psychopath, in much the same way as he made us feel disgusted by Henry.

You can order The Harvest now from Scream Factory. This ain’t your small town rural horror picture. There’s deep seeded crazy underfoot. I strongly recommend it to fan of psychological thrillers especially those fans of Peter Walker or Brian DePalma.


From IFC Midnight and Scream Factory:

In his first film in nearly 15 years, the director of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer harks back to the twisted suspense that made his 1986 debut a horror milestone with The Harvest . Deeply unsettling, The Harvest is a taut psychological thriller that examines that horrors that can lurk in unsuspecting places.  Maryann (Natasha Calis, The Possession) moves in with her grandparents after she’s orphaned. Desperately lonely, the preteen sets out to befriend a deathly ill, bed-ridden boy (Charlie Tahan, Gotham), despite the outright disapproval of his overprotective mother (Samantha Morton, Minority Report, Sweet and Lowdown). Maryann’s persistence pays off, however, and during a series of secret visits she gradually uncovers some seriously sinister goings-on in the house. Showcasing a powerhouse performance by Morton that is both utterly monstrous and tragically desperate, The Harvest also features an impressive performance by Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Man of Steel) as the subdued suburban father.

The Harvest Special Features:

·         Audio Commentary with director John McNaughton and producer Steven A. Jones

Theatrical Trailer

Backcountry (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory Blu-ray)

Boy did Backcountry piss me off. Here I am expecting SOMETHING to happen through the whole movie, and when finally something happens… a bear attack… it barely happen (pun fully intended). Now I get that Backcountry is supposed to be this psychological thriller of a picture that plays off wilderness horror, but could something… please… happen already!?  If you want to watch a movie that has a badass bear attack, you watch The Edge with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Make sure to steer clear of Into the Grizzly Maze as well. It suffers from the same issues as Backcountry. It’s a dialogue laden cock tease that may as well have been written as a found footage picture because it tries to use the same scare tactics.

You can order Backcountry now on Blu-ray. I’m sure some wilderness horror folks will get something out of this, but the key is to drop you expectation about this being brutal and realize that all the dark moments will be in your head. There’s not battle to death with a giant bear. There’s a short tent invasion that yields some nasty scratches. If you’re going to use a bear in a horror movie… make it rip off at least one limb. Is one limb too much to ask for?

If you're going to put a giant bear head on the cover... use... more... of... THE BEAR!


From IFC Midnight and Scream Factory:

A tense thriller about a young couple camping in the Canadian wilderness, Backcountry is a heart-stopping, full-tilt run through deadly territory. Alex (Jeff Roop, Jekyll + Hyde) is a seasoned camper, but Jenn (Missy Peregrym, Rookie Blue) is not. But when they realize that they have entered bear territory, the terror gets turned up to a whole new level.

Written and directed by Adam MacDonald,  Backcountry also stars Eric Balfour (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Skyline, Haven), Melanie Mullen (Dead Before Dawn 3D) and Nicholas Campbell (The Brood, The Dead Zone).

Backcountry Special Features:

·         Audio Commentary with writer/director Adam MacDonald and actors Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop
·         Behind-the-Scenes
·         Still Gallery

·         Theatrical Trailer

Eject (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

Let me cut right to it. Ejecta didn’t quite get me the way I wanted it to. I can appreciate that it plays off of some of the same tropes that made the X-Files so successful, but the picture is a whole lot of nothing going on. Let’s tie a guy to seat and then listen to him argue and ramble. Let’s interrogate this guy and see what we can figure out about extraterrestrials. It’s a whole lot of talking, not a great deal of action, and I couldn’t help but feel that I’d seen things like this before in works of short fiction that were more concise that tackled the subject matter better.

Ejecta is a movie that I can’t say I loved, but if you can make it through the rather lengthy, uneventful interrogation process, you can see something pretty damn cool in the end. I would have preferred it as a short film. As one who has reviewed for IFC Midnight for some time, this occasionally happens. They pick up movies with strong plots that probably should have been short films that hit the festival circuit and generate enough energy to get acquired. I truly do no mean disrespect to the film. It has merit, but it’s more like digging through a box of sand for fake dino bones than presenting itself in a structurally strong way where it might capitalize on short bursts of tension rather than going for the long game.

Ejecta does have a number of strong performances and some of the effects work is good. It’s a modern movie and it looks great in HD. You canorder Ejecta now from Scream Factory courtesy of IFC Midnight.


From IFC Midnight/Scream Factory:

A horrific alien invasion forces two men to fight for their lives during one universe-altering night of terror. This nerve-shredding film stars Julian Richings (Cube, X-Men: The Last Stand) in a tour-de-force performance as William Cassidy, a man who, following decades of frightening extraterrestrial encounters, is now trapped in a living hell of fear and paranoia. On the evening of a massive solar flare, Cassidy invites paranormal researcher Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold, Exit Humanity) to his secluded home in the woods. What occurs there will change both men—and possibly the Earth—forever. Directed by Chad Archibald (The Drownsman) and Matt Wiele (Septic Man), the film also stars Lisa Houle (Pontypool) and Dee Wallace (The Howling). Ejecta was produced by Jesse Thomas Cook, John Geddes and Matt Wiele through their genre production company Foresight Features.


Metamorphosis and Beyond Darkness (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Italian Double Feature

It’s about to get Italian trash cinema up in here. Many of you will think that I mean this in a bad way, as if calling these films trash would somehow mean you shouldn’t see them. Quite the opposite. Scream Factory takes another venture into the powerful world of Italian Horror films and comes out with two pieces of chum worth every penny and guaranteed to entertain (though not to scare).

Metamorphosis

What a great big sloppy mess of a movie… and I love it. The Beast Within is probably one of the best non-werewolf transformation movies out there, but I think that the devolution of the character in Metamorphosis gives it a run for its money in terms of ickiness. That’s not to say it’s technically comparable. The creature in this feature is pretty hokey but in a charming camp classic kind of way.

It’s a cautionary tale. It’s directed by the great George Eastman, famous for portraying the gut slurping, regurgitator general in Absurd and Antrhopophagus among other porn classics. It has a fantastic ending that will give you the laugh of your life. You can’t say it’s a great horror movie, but you can certainly perform your own riff track and find it immensely entertaining.


Beyond Darkness

Remember… this is directed by the same fella who directed Troll 2. That’s all you need to know. You should consider it a must watch if Troll 2 or Best Worst Movie mean anything to you because it has similar moments of preposterous humor, lack of continuity and outright insanity. Fragasso is a man who make an entertaining picture, but for the most part, the entertainment is unintentionally driven by laughter at the absurdity of most premises in the movie.  Enjoy the questionable effects. Try to sort through the plot holes as if they were a game of Sodoku.

For Beyond Darkness, take Poltergeist, Ghost House, Amityville Horror and smash em up into little pieces. Then throw them in a drawer. Then set the drawer on fire. Put the fire out with urine. Open the drawer again and there you will have Beyond Darkness. Think of this is superb unplanned trash that you can’t ignore, must watch and may lose control of you bowels during. Not for viewers who take movies too seriously.

Note: remember when Scream Factory released Ghosthouse recently and we discussed the La Casa series? This is La Casa 5. So this is how the Italians see the Evil Dead series continuing. 


You can order this Italian double feature from Scream Factory on Blu-ray. It’s delicious. It’s terrible. It’s perfect. These movies look quite good in HD though I would say that they are not quite the crisp, well-grain structured transfers you might enjoy from non-double feature discs. This is the best they’ve looked, and that should be enough to get them in your collection.


From Scream Factory:

First up is the science-fiction/horror of Metamorphosis! When his experiments in genetics are mocked by his colleagues, maverick scientist Dr. Peter Houseman takes extreme measures to prove that his untested anti-aging serum works. Injecting himself with his miracle cure, he soon experiences a terrifying change within himself that threatens not only the lives of those around him, but also his own sanity. From cult cinema mainstay George Eastman, Metamorphosis proves that nightmares may change, but fear is forever!

Next, take a terrifying trip into a world beyond fear, beyond belief… Beyond Darkness. When a man of God and his loving family move into a new house, they think they’ve found the perfect home…until they discover that their new digs were once the location where a coven of witches were burned at the stake! It’s only a matter of time before the radio starts blaring satanic chants and the cutlery takes on a mind of its own. Will the awakened evil in this house have its final revenge, or can a plucky priest fend off what lurks Beyond Darkness? This tale of terror comes from Claudio Fragasso, the director of Troll 2 (so you KNOW it’s good!).