Friday, April 25, 2014

THE QUIET ONES (2014) - Bumps and Thuds and Scary Shit on the Screen

I finally have had the good fortune to see a Hammer movie in the theater. This in and of itself is cause for celebration as it should be for any of you who venture out to see The Quiet Ones. It's getting some fairly good press, seeing some TV advert time and actually get a wider theatrical run than I ever thought possible. That's not to say that I would expect it to be bad or that I couldn't see the appeal in a Hammer film being released on a wide scale, but I think the timing is perfect. Hammer's revival has been one that I have followed as a fan of old Hammer and a champion of new horror: Wake Wood, Let Me In and most recently The Woman in Black (though not my favorite of their releases). Supernatural horror films are in. I am not tired of them, and I'm excited to report that The Quiet Ones has only furthered my enjoyment of this particular subgenre of horror. Before we go on, I'd like you to go see The Quiet Ones. Give it a good box office showing.

Synopsis from Hammer/Lionsgate:

Tucked away in an estate outside of London, Professor Coupland along with a team of university students conduct an “experiment” on Jane Harper, a young girl who harbors unspeakable secrets. What dark forces they uncover are more terrifying than any of them expected.


There's nothing better than a genre picture that lives up to its predecessors or the mommy and daddy features of yesteryear. I look at The Quiet Ones as a more modern take on movies like The Haunting and Legend of Hell House with elements of The Changling or Audrey Rose. The Haunting is one of the scariest damn movies you'll ever see. We're talking about the 1964 Robert Wise classic of course that continues to scare me every October when I get up the balls to watch it again. I try to get all my friends to enjoy it. I know they will.  The Legend of Hell House is a horse of a different color though equally enjoyable for it's madness, it exploits, it's spook show. It's instantly quotable and contains some performances and audio work that I hope everyone appreciates when Scream Factory puts it out this Summer of Fear. The Quiet Ones has little pieces of each of these films. This isn't another offshoot of The Haunting in Connecticut or The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Some great performances by actors who may seem somewhat unknown but who have resumes that suggest otherwise and have some serious potential in the horror genre and beyond.

Olivia Cookie will be in Bates Motel and the upcoming release The Signal (you'll see the trailer if you see The Quiet Ones). Her performance was very strong as the lead spooky lady. You'll see how that plays out, but she casts a wide net of emotions over you.

Jared Harris is going to be in the new Poltergeist but has already been in some genre a stellar volume of work, typically not in the spotlight but supporting superbly. He's a goddamn bastard in this movie. You're going to love to hate him, but I assure you'll still be skeptical and wondering if you should follow his lead.

Sam Claflin is a Hunger Games man or Catching Fire and Mocking Jay. I truly enjoy those movies, so I'm happy to see him again. His performance in The Quiet Ones is heartfelt, endearing... it's easy to feel both sympathy for him and identify with him as an outsider.

Erin Richards... my heart beats for you which is to say I am smitten. I believe I have a star crush on her... in my pants. More tub scenes please. Beyond that she plays this role very well. A good balance of hysteria matched with perfect logic and reason and just a hint of cult follower.

Rory Fleck-Byrne puts up a solid performance and plays the straight man, also with cult follower tendencies.

What do I love about this movie? It uses a found footage style of photography that also encompasses the POV shooting style but balances it with wide, more traditional shots and narrative. This isn't Paranormal Activity X. Do not be frightened when you see a camera on the screen knowing full well that you may be looking through it's sinister eye. Care was taken to preserve film grain at times which helps to set the mood though I think this period piece could be set now and work out just fine. Remember that it is based on true events... I hate seeing that at the beginning of a film or at least I've been trained to hate seeing it by lesser genre pictures.

The use of sound especially surround sound in the theater was terrifying and helped to pull off some well played misdirective based scares. I have to admit that overall this feature seemed to rely on jump scares often. Some appropriate. Some were perhaps gratuitous but seeing as I'm a sucker for these scares I have to say that they were all effective. The use of well focused lighting and darkly lit rooms combined with some chaotic swaying cameras helps to create disorientation though not in the "vomit bag" sense of the word. In short, The Quiet Ones is using some common shooting styles and story telling methods of the age along with cinematography that has become popular to abuse only using it to its advantage.

It's PG-13. Don't expect a whole lot of blood or gore, but there's enough to keep you from tearing apart the audience member next to you. There were one or two quick nudie shots (obviously this is a highbrow review). This will not keep you satisfied boobie horror fans. I assure you that you'll want to go home and turn on Lifeforce to get your libidos in check. Unlike many PG-13 features of our age, this one doesn't suffer for its rating. That's not to say I wouldn't like to see a more full bodied horror film, but you won't notice the rating unless you stare at your ticket once the movie starts... or maybe when you see a bathtub. There are a few computer generated effect scenes that detract from the movie. We have got to figure out how to create better CG fire effects or stop using them. For some reason no one's getting this right and it hurts good movies.

Director John Pogue is no stranger to horror. He wrote Ghost Ship. He directed Quarantine 2 which was a revelation after the original Quarantine REC remake cluster fuck. I hope we see him do more genre work. He pulls great performances from actors, creates an atmosphere in which you can actually be a little frightened and knows damn well how to use music and sound. They put together one sick soundtrack for this movie featuring T. Rex, Slade (and I thought Cum on Feel the Noize was a Quiet Riot song that one blew me away) and the Acorns. From a music perspective, The Quiet Ones should be considered this year's You're Next from a musical perspective

I was scared at times. At others I was moderately sleepy, but in that I became comfortable which allowed for some really great startle scares. It was also a long day so I had a moment or two where the scares caught me resting my eyes. I have redefined the image of bolt upright in my theater seat tonight.  I recommend The Quiet Ones to fans of supernatural horror, fans of the The Conjuring who want to continue to enjoy ghostie movies in the theater (though I want to stress that I use the word ghostie as an adjective and do not suggest what the antagonist truly is). While I fully admit that the story itself does not reinvent the genre, it plays in some well tread paths and spins its own world from the seeds of supernatural horror past. It's in theaters, so you have a great chance to take a date to see something that might get under your skin. I hope it does.

-Doc Terror

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


It’s really about growing up, being different (or unique really) and it’s a movie about defending yourself in the face of the various villains that play a part in your high school life, real, imagined or self-created. That’s All Cheerleaders Die in a nut shell. Think of it as a coming of age movie that mimics some of the worst teen horror films…at first and intentionally only to become a strange science fiction, supernatural adventure into youth, sex and the continuing fight for individuality. Man that’s just a lot to wrap your head around. What did I expect from Lucky McKee (partnered here with Chris Sivertson). McKee has not as of yet disappointed and this is a fine example of how a typical, formulaic horror tale can be turned on it’s head and spin out a whole new world of its own.

Synopsis from Image:

Teenage outsider Maddy is keeping some dark secrets and holding a serious grudge against the captain of the Blackfoot High football team. When Maddy joins the school's elite and powerful cheerleading squad, she convinces her new friends to help inflict her revenge. After a late-night party goes awry, their plans take an unexpected turn for the worst and all of the girls die. A sinister, supernatural power intervenes and the girls mysteriously appear at school the next day with a killer new look… and some unusual new appetites.


For the first 40 minutes or so I was left wanting and waiting and feeling like the great movie gods gyped me into a watching yet another high school horror movie with plenty of strange kills, relationships gone sour and uncreative kills… preferably skin if I’m lucky. Around the midpoint of this feature the actresses who are the highlight of the film with some genuine performances taking on some traditional stereotypes, really shined. The plot twisted, turned and created a new movie altogether that sort of reminded me of Chronicle at least in plot device, moderate use of the POV perspective and the camaraderie among friends.  The end of the features turns the world you’ve been introduced to on its end and creates the opportunity for a lengthy series that could provide us with a sequel (not giving away anything here mind you).

All Cheerleaders Die is hitting VOD on May the 8th. While it’s a modern horror/thriller it definitely has a few original concepts up its sleeve. While it does not break any real ground, it does come up with a few unique concepts that should keep the less cynical, non-gore-obsessed horror fiends entertained. It’s lighthearted until it’s not. It’s ordinary until it wants to show you what it really is. It's billing as a horror comedy, but it's kinda of lacking in the funny, so don't go expecting This is the End.

-Doc Terror

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

STAGE FRIGHT (2014): Save the Kabuki Horror for Troma

I was excited to enjoy the new Stage Fright just released this year. Maybe it’s because I associated however irrationally with the Italian film directed by Michele Soavi. I assure you that there is no connection save that both take place in a theater… and involve a deranged, masked killer… Okay actually these two movies have a very similar theme, but that’s where the connection stops. Aquarius, the Italian Stage Fright, it is a suspenseful, atmospheric slash and kill feature that has garnered quite the cult following and continues to inspire audiences. 2014’s Stage Fright ends up feeling like a long winded high school musical rehash, just as concerned with strange and unnecessary social commentary as it is with occasionally killing a teenager. I didn’t come here to have my mind opened. I wanted to watch bodies hit the stage with fervor and gore and with as much gratuity as possible. While Stage Fright is wholly disappointing, it isn’t the movie that I had in my mind nor does it feel like the same movie that came out of the trailers that I found amusing.

Synopsis from Magnolia/Magnet:

Starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson wants to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a Broadway diva, but she's stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role in the play, but just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla soon finds herself terrified by the horror of musical theatre.


Let’s discuss what works in Stage Fright before going into a mini-tirade. There are some interesting kills. It isn’t afraid to be violent and to use creative physical effects to get the job done. When someone does end upon the butcher block, the movie turns from drab to interesting at least until the killer speaks. More on that later. The movie looks great and certainly is a competent film. We’re not talking about a low budget indie production that LOOKS like it has a low budget. The audio and video are up to par, and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it maintains the status quo. That’s just about where I stop saying nice things.

On the downside, the movie is one long drawn out mismatch of shitty musical numbers; the stuff of Broadway and Glee rather than creative, imagination required song and dance numbers. The whole thing is a platform for an all too familiar, progressive social agenda which is great in theory and practice but comes off as forced in the movie.

While the murders look really great, the killer looks anything but. First off, we have a guy in a Kabuki mask killing people. The Kabuki look went out with Sgt. Kabuiman of Troma infamy and does not need to be repeated here. The vocal performance of our killer comes off like a poor imitation of a King Diamond impersonator who has smoked too many cancer sticks and is in dire need of a muzzle. The killer might actually work if it wasn’t for the poor dialogue and lack of creepy that occurs whenever the damn guy opens his mouth. This character, no matter how kitch, is certainly a let down. When I think of Soavi’s Stage Fright (a wholly unrelated movie of course), the owl headed killer is a much more frightening foe. He’s quiet. He’s intimidating. The Kabuki killer isn’t funny, lovable. He’s just annoying. Save the Kabuki for Troma fellas.

This new Stage Fright oft feels like a horror comedy that couldn’t figure out how to be funny or scary. I can’t say that I recommend it save that I’ve heard a number of folks really praising it. Hey, I love musicals. Just not this one. Maybe this resonates with a younger, Glee watching crowd. Maybe its obvious humor gives bellyaches to your average tween. I’m disappointed, but if there’s one thing to enjoy about the whole mess, it might be that at least the kills are violent and enjoyable.

You can check out Stage Fright on VOD now.

Official Site:

Official Facebook:

-Doc Terror

NOTE: I still love the poster, and I'll probably have to give it a shot with a group of well-oiled dance partners. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Black Torment (Redemption DVD)

Let's take a step back from The Black Torment and Redemption for a second. I need to put this release into a great, personal context and one with which a number of our readers might be familiar. Corruption was released in 1968, directed by Robert Hartford-Davis and starred Peter Cushing. In Corruption we follow a slow journey into eccentricity, madness and the reversal of fortune that even the best of intentions can visit on a warped mind. The film is filled with rebellious nuances, swingin' sounds of the 60's and a great big pile of hotties getting cut to ribbons. It's gratuitous and gorgeous.  Grindhouse Releasing dug up this gem and dished it out to us on Blu-ray providing an amazing package and a cavalcade of extras to enrich the feature. That makes The Black Torment sweeter to me. It is a new release and perhaps an even rarer find, not having the star power of Cushing or the sinister reputation that Corruption engenders. The Black Torment relies solely on it's eerie atmosphere to get it from start to finish. It's a movie to be savored. Four years after Torment's release Davis would show us the ungothic side of Peter Cushing. In 1964, Hartford-Davis delivers a tale of  mystery and madness but just on the cusp of true terror.

Synopsis from Redemption/Kino:

Returning to his country estate with his new bride, English nobleman Sir Richard Fordyce finds himself under suspicion from angry locals for the rape and brutal murder of a young girl. Despite Sir Richard's professed innocence, a growing hysteria unfolds, as strange and even supernatural events begin to occur around him.

With no one to turn to and his new wife threatening to shoot him, Sir Richard begins to question his own guilt... and sanity!


To be perfectly clear, The Black Torment is a slower film. It relies on heavy doses of darkness and true storytelling rather than flamboyant performances or exploitation devices. You have to pay attention and wait for the music to crescendo to figure out when you're going to a minor scare. It isn't in your face. It's isn't a tension, Hitchcockian masterpiece. It simply is a tale of confusion and detective work. Like one long, subtle haunted house ride. For the better part of the movie, you'll spend with hand on chin waiting for the madness to begin and in it's culmination find a great deal of satisfaction. They pay off is delicate. This is not Seven or a slam drunk or a pool clearing belly flop. The art of the haunt... thought  not a haunted house tale as such.

This Redemption disc comes out on DVD this time around, but looks very good. It's an HD Master from 35mm archival elements. The cover is exciting and warmly gothic. The disc itself contains one extra, but it's a good one, an interview with Robert Hartford-Davis from 1968 (the year Corruption was released if you're keeping track). AR: 1.66:1.

The Black Torment isn't as gratuitous as Hammer or as "to the point" as Amicus. It is distinctly British and might be in better company surround by Dead of Night though on the lighter side of terrifying, perhaps spook-worthy is a better term. Good for dark and stormy evenings. Perhaps a good fit with The Univited (one of my favorite spooky stories). It's a completely different movie from Corruption's gonzo mess-fest, but both features having something distinct to offer. If you prefer the haunts and the spookies, go for The Black Torment.

The Black Torment will be released April 29th. Order a copy now.

-Doc Terror

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jess Franco's DEMONS (Redemption/Kino Blu-ray) - Sexy Nuns in Satan's Service

If the 1970's taught us anything, it is that sleaze, when filmed well, can actually tell a story and still manage to excite you. While we've been featuring some out and out adult films as of late with the Vinegar Syndrome, it's nice to get back to Jesus...just in time for Easter too! Of course we are talking about Mr. Franco. Jess Franco. With Franco's passing this past year, his catalog is exploding onto disc. The best of these are being preserved lovingly by Redemption and Kino Lorber through a continuing series that features some challenging cinema. Franco's Demons, not to be confused with Lamberto Bava's cult 80's classic, is erotic and symbolic with hints of true satire and stands as a fine critique and condemnation of Catholicism. The hypocrisy and the smarmy lies that envelope the dogma that breaches love one minute followed by medieval tests of torture. It is not the first nunsploitation film. It is not the first movie to feature witchhunters tracking their prey through religious halls, but it is an exceptional example of both.

Synopsis from Redemption Films:

In the wake of the massive controversy surrounding Ken Russell's The Devils, several filmmakers rushed to create their own Inquisition horror films, inspired by the true story of satanic possession at the convent of Loudun. THE DEMONS(Les démons) is Jess Franco's stellar entry in the nunsploitation canon, with a degree of sadism and sexual explicitness that overshadows its competitors.

While being burned at the stake, an accused witch curses the principal witchfinder and his minions. As a result, members of royalty and the religious establishment are caused to suffer (or, some might say, enjoy) a series of human depravities. Franco photographs the scenes of torture, sex, and demon possession with a sense of tenderness that is both aesthetically pleasing and deeply unsettling.


After enjoying Demons, the first thing I thought of was how varied the music is. It jumps from short but sweet string session to bouncy prog jazz and then back to a dark, melodic suspense driven dirge. I cannot tell you enough how much I enjoyed Jean-Bernard Raiteux score, but I hope that you pay attention to it while enjoying the picture. As the movie progresses the music shifts and worms around frames creating moods and invoking emotion out of a variety of similarly framed shots and somewhat redundant, though not unpleasant content. You will see the "naked butt to head" shot over and over again. You probably won't complain.

Like any good Franco picture, this one is filled with voluptuous women, lesbians, nuns, complete with pure go go bodies and primo pubic hair crested genitalia. It is intentional. You are supposed to go through cycles of supreme erotic elation that, when cast against the violent torture during the witch tests, seems to unsettle you just a bit more. One minute your ready to forget the movie for some heavy petting with your significant other, the next you'll be waiting for the screams of pain and fear to stop. It's not precisely scary save for the historic concept that this kind of thing may not have been completely without place. In that sense it is a more cerebral picture. We discuss Franco as though he is a merchant of filth, but that's not entirely true. Yes, he knows what his audience wants and has made his share of overly erotic softcore pornography, but a movie like Demons balances that with strong performances no matter how overacted or melodramatic. In this instance we see that his use of balance, of bouncing between extreme pleasure and pain is more like a game of sexual domination the cinema.

Franco's Demons is newly mastered in HD from 35mm elements. It contains optional German and English subtitles, an interview with Franco, six minutes of deleted material and two trailers for Demons as well as a host of others.2.35:1 1920x1080p The picture is good overall with clarity, unsmeared by an overzealous DNR finger and perfectly grained. It's a great looking cover and the disc itself features a simple, easy to use menu with few options.

Those familiar with Franco's films especially those who enjoy his pictures will find this to be on par with some of his greatest films, and is this happens to be one of my favorites along with Virgin Among the Living Dead (also available through Redemption). It happens to also be one of my favorite if not my most beloved of nunsploitation films. The Devils is fantastic, but I find this to be more my speed. It beats up Killer Nun. It's an enjoyable witchhunter picture as well though I'm not entirely certain if I think it stands up against Mark of the Devil or Witchfinder General. It's simply not gory and it does lack familiar faces (not like Mark with Udo Kier and Witchfinder with Price).

I may not be a Franco expert, but I like what I like, and Demons is a true standout from movies I've seen in his expansive catalog.

Demons will be available April 29th. Order your copy now and enjoy the hot steamy debauch.

-Doc Terror

Friday, April 18, 2014

Death Do Us Part (Anchor Bay DVD) - You May Want to Elope

Death Do Us Part is a fairly straightforward slasher flick. The theme surrounds a group of friends celebrating a couple's upcoming wedding in a cabin in a secluded region, engulfed in booze and surrounded by secrets and infidelity. While the story is a standard march to the end with bodies lining up to be slaughtered, the killer's identity actually remains hidden for quite awhile. It's nice to be surprised at the end of a formula slasher flick, but unfortunately, you have to get to the end of the movie first. That means treading through bad dialogue, less than adequate performances (not campy, just uninspired) and some rather bland kills. At least the filmmakers throw us a red herring now and again to keep the whole mess interesting.

Synopsis from Anchor Bay:

Kennedy Jamieson (Julia Benson, Stargate Universe, That Burning Feeling) has waited her whole life for her perfect wedding. Engaged to the charming Ryan Harris (Peter Benson, The Killing, Arrow), it looks like her dream is about to come true. Except for one thing - the young couple hasn’t had a chance to celebrate their respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. Ryan’s best man Chet (Kyle Cassie, True Justice, Lost Boys 2: The Tribe) books a remote cabin in the woods to throw them a “Jack and Jill” party that they’ll never forget. It doesn’t take long before things take a horrifying turn as members of the group are brutally picked off one by one. Kennedy and Ryan had planned for the celebration of a lifetime – but how long will that lifetime last?

Best part of the movie? The shower scene, and the only injustice there is that you really don't see anything, but there's hint of boob that demands attention (not to be twelve years old or anything). There's also a male strip tease that features some rather amusing underwear. I'm not sure that that's a reason to watch the movie, but maybe a warning to our squeamish gents.

Death Do Us Part is average. It has a rather shiny cover that actually had me curious. Well, the curiosity didn't killer this viewer, but it surely made me more skeptical about judging movies by their covers even if it is with a positive twinge. Maybe the 80's truly have returned. The disc does include a Behind the Scenes feature if you find yourself interested enough to check er out.

Death Do Us Part hits April 15th. Order your copy now.

-Doc Terror

Dead Air: Episode 46 - Oculus (2014)

Dead Air: Episode 46 - Oculus (2014)
"You See What It Wants You To See"
Welcome back to the Dead Air Horror & Genre Podcast; brought to you by GenreWatch,The Liberal Dead, and Doc Terror!
This week on the show, Jeff (@Jeff_FOTD) and James (@DrJimmyTerror) get down and dirty with the latest film from Director Mike Flanagen, Oculus.
First, the guys talk a bit about some of the other, more recent films that they've been watching, giving you mini-reviews of the following:

Next, it's on to the featured review of Oculus...

Is this another win for Blumhouse? Is the movie scary at all? Why are the reviews so split? Most of all, is it worth your time?

All of these burning questions will be answered... Oh, and don't worry, there are no spoilers here, so you can listen without fear if you haven't seen the film yet.

If streaming isn't your thing, you may Download the MP3 Directly here or Subscribe Via iTunes.

iTunes listeners: Please take a moment to leave us a rating/review, and we will share it on an upcoming podcast!

Looking to order Oculus (or any other titles we discussed on this show)? Head on over to Amazon for the best prices and help support our show.

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

Check out this episode!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hallucination Strip (RaroVideo Blu-ray) - Nostalgia Trip a la Bud Cort

I watched Harold and Maude quite a lot in my teens and early twenties. It was the perfect counterculture flick for a young, goth-punk who didn't give a fuck, and understood how Ruth Gordon could be attractive even in her later years. The damn movie even made me a great big Cat Stevens fan for about three years. Let me repeat that... for three years I thought I LOVED Cat Stevens. That's quite a movie, but it wasn't Cat and it wasn't Ruth, it was Bud Cort with which I admittedly identified. I spent hours with friends watching it, getting loaded, playing strange party games and really got to know it. Funny enough this is about the same time I became enamored with Rosemary's Baby also starring Gordon. Back to the H and the M. Who wouldn't want to create their own Jaguar Hearse? Or play a joke on a Hawkish uncle in a need of a lesson in reality. Who wouldn't want to fall in love, blind love or fake his own death at the site of so many unloves.  There's comic genius in his eyes and his dead pan delivery. Cort has worked continuously for years, though nothing ever seemed to have hit me like Harold and Maude, and that's just one reason why I'm glad to recommend Hallucination Strip to Bud Cort fans, fans of RaroVideo and fans of strange, psychedelic Italian cinema.

Synopsis from RaroVideo:

Lucio Marcaccini’s only film, Hallucination Strip is a psychedelic trip with a social commentary. Bud Cort, in his debut performance, plays Massimo Monaldi, a student involved in political protests and juvenile delinquency. When Massimo steals a valuable tobacco box, he quickly becomes tangled in a dangerous web between the police and the mafia. Culminating in an extended and elaborately choreographed party sequence, underscored with an excellent soundtrack by Albert Verrecchia, Hallucination Strip excels with it’s not-so-subtle mix of sex, drugs, religion, politics and corruption.

With a name and description like that you might be apt to think that you need to dowse yourself in a few hits of blotter paper or perhaps a button or two. Not so. This is a well thought out movie complete with a balance between three distinct groups: the young rabble, out for fun and excitement, the police who wish to preserve some semblance of order while the counterculture runs amuck in mid 70's Italy and the mafiosa who don't like to be stolen from, are unsympathetic to ruckus rabble and have the means and desire to hunt like dogs. The is novel, pitting a three way orgy of strange conflict. There is minimal tension or mystery in the story and yet, knowing the title, knowing what you know about the film upfront, you await certain debauchery no matter what form it will take. The suspense is waiting for the turn on, the juice, the hallucinogenics. Late in the movie, in the third act the whole thing comes to a head. The drugs are dispensed and a strange experimental glut of colorful images pour onto the screen. It's indicative of 60's art films, and feels more like an estranged, ahead of its time Sonic Youth music video than an Italian crime story.

With a radiant score that tickles the brain with novelty, Hallucination Strip exciting and refreshing and parts way with formula to provide a story that feels fresh. Bud Cort, the aforementioned legendary hero of my youth, isn't quite the funny guy he was in Harold and Maude, but it's a pleasure to watch him create a completely different character. A cool hipster, rebel with eyes on hedonism and a distaste for control. In some ways he really is the hero I grew up with, loving unconditionally though not full of heart and with a pouting disrespect for authority that leads to trouble, drama and drives the story home.

Raro's release is a special one featuring their characteristic packaging of which I am a tremendous fan. Slip sleeve and insert with more traditional and psychedelic artwork. The booklet inside that accompanies the release includes a brief history of director Lucio Marcaccini whose filmmaking experience was rather short lived and limited to Hallucination Strip. The contents quickly shifts to the perspective of some of the actors including Bud Cort who gets star treatment. From there we encounter a short history of LSD complete with a factual lesson, anecdotal evidence from Hollywood and an eye into some of the visuals provided in H.S. It is an HD transfer from a 35mm negative digitally remastered. 1920 x 1080 at 23.976. 1.85:1 in Italian with English subtitles. Stereo audio. The extras include both the English and Italian trailers and an interview with the film editor.

You can order a copy of Hallucination Strip now, but make sure to watch it unfettered (not ripped out of your skull) once before indulging your drug tooth. The last 20 minutes are worth the wait especially with your super sonic lysergic glasses on (or at least if memory serves).

Visit RaroVideo for all their new releases and keep an eye out for their tremendous flash sales on Facebook.

-Doc Terror

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Death Occurred Last Night (RaroVideo Blu-ray) - There's Always Room for Giallo (on Blu-ray)

Not too long ago I set out to watch every giallo picture ever created or at least every Italian film that might represent the subgenre that I could find. I went off a great big list and ravaged the internet, dumped loads of cash at the project and created my own beautifully color-coded, well organized spreadsheet. I got through a little over a third of the 280 plus moves on the list before I realized that I needed a break. In those days I reviewed less, slept less or at least had more consistent sleep throughout the night for short spurts and only had one kid to worry about with a bedtime of 8. That was just over two years ago, and despite my best efforts I haven't gotten back on the challenge. I simply cannot find the time, resources or reliable sleep to viewing ratio that makes this possible. Even when Ava was a newborn, midnight feedings were the perfect opportunity to check another movie off the list. Now that she's older... Bubble Guppies if I'm lucky when she wakes and won't sleep. Still I've noticed some great changes happening across the great wide horror-verse in the last couple of years. neo-giallo is becoming thing though not entirely Italian focused. There's plenty of new genre movies to enjoy and more to come. Then there's the absolutely essential cataloging of some of the greats by companies like RaroVideo. RaroVideo is giving Italian cinema a new life with some really spectacular Blu-ray releases. These are primo packaged (though jokingly we can never get the slip sleeves off) with fan friendly extras, brilliant transfers and booklets. Today we discuss Death Occurred Last Night. While this wasn't my first time around with Death Occurred Last Night, I promise you that the hacked up copy I saw last time was a joke compared to this release. This is the release you need to pick up if you like Italian crime or giallo.

Synopsis from RaroVideo

An astute mix of classic Italian crime and giallo, Duccio Tessari’s Death Occurred Last Night is a dark slow burning murder mystery. A mentally handicapped woman is kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery, sending her distressed father and a jaded police detective on the hunt for clues in Milan’s underworld. Tessari (THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY) keeps a tight rein on the action, focusing on the characters and their collective desire for justice and revenge. An unforgettable, disturbing and fascinating thriller.

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First off, in the time that I had spent enjoying gialli, the common tropes that we all joke about seem to wash away. Sure everyone's drinking J&B, but not every movie features a shadowy figure in a black fedora. Not all of them are intensely violent, and they aren't all sex filled Italian hottie fests though admittedly I prefer them as gratuitous as possible. Death Occurred Last Night might be described as a kinder gentler giallo feature. It isn't as off the wall as some of the other movies in the genre, but in 1970 things were just starting to pick up. The scores were becoming a little bit edgier walking slowly toward progressive jazz or rock, and audiences wanted to see EVERYTHING on screen. Death Occurred Last Night is a mystery that has some erotic moments, but isn't an Edwige Fenech nudie fest. It's cooks you on simmer, providing ample time to decipher the mystery. Think of this as the Columbo of gialli. This is not uncommon mind you. This is actually probably closer to the norm from the third of of the great 280 on my list.

I urge you not to sit down to DOLN and expect an Argento or Martino picture. Duccio Tessari did Puzzle and The Bloodstained Butterfly, but he was more over noted for his involvement in the founding of the spaghetti western genre. He co-wrote a Fistful of Dollars, and this type of feature wasn't exactly a regular occurrence in his forty plus movie filmography. He was make movies well in advance of this, and Death Occurred Last Night is a competently shot feature with real intrigue, balance and although not riveting, it will certainly keep your attention over its 98 minute run time.

RaroVideo's transfer looks great from a 35mm negative. 1920 x 1080 @ 23.976 1.75:1. It's in Italian with English subtitles and has linear stereo audio. Plenty of grain and the preservation didn't go over the top with the DNR. It isn't a smeared painting of a mess. It's crisp and tight. The extras include both the Italian and English theatrical trailers. The interview with Chris Alexander is a treat. Alexander does quite a few of these introductions and brief summations on other titles. He'll help to put the picture in perspective. While he's the editor of Fangoria, Gorezone and Delirium magazines, it is in this capacity that I find his work most valuable. If you're new to Italian cinema or giallo, make sure to pay attention to this special feature. The booklet, also written by Alexander, reinforces his points and fleshes out the cinematic landscape during the early 70's as well as provides a nice well-rounded background on DOLN. It's handsome. The cover art for both the slip and the insert are perfect and traditional.

Death Occurred Last Night isn't necessarily the best starter movie when it comes to delving into the world of giallo, but once you've seen a few it will fill in the spaces between early Bava and movies like Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Deep Red. RaroVideo fanatics, another good one. Nothing wasted and everything you've come to expect from this boutique distro company. It's great to see such care taken with a film that is considered a cult fan favorite. It's a great age when movies like this are being taken care of quite well and even given the royal treatmet.

You can order Death Occurred Last Night now! Pre-order it. Also available on DVD.

Enjoy RaroVideo's titles HERE.

-Doc Terror

Friday, April 11, 2014

OCULUS... Must Have Used Windex For that Scare-Free Shine

I enjoyed about 65% of Oculus. I suppose the hype machine worked its mighty magic and led me to believe that I might actually see another Conjuring. Another Insidious. Another ghostie story that might creep me out or make me unable to stare into over-sized, antique mirrors. We're not quite there unfortunately. As I speak there's a French door to my left, and I'm not even phased by the reflective nature of it at night. I am not scared right now nor was on my drive home. I do not expect to see silvery eyed contact wearing dead folk meandering around my house. It's a Blumhouse movie, and as Shawn Savage and Jeff Konopka from Dead Air will tell you, that company generally gets the job done. No wasted money at the ticket booth when you go to see a Blumhouse movie. Until of course I feel slightly bamboozled with Oculus. The adverts on TV, the PR machines and the special web promotions intrigued me in a way that I despise. I try to avoid most of that shit any more. It only seems to raise expectations rather than get my ass in a theater seat. I was going anyway!

The only fear I have now... is of strange weighted devices and kitchen timers. The only suspense throughout the whole thing was based around this very combination of objects. I'm not entirely sure that it's something I'm afraid of or something I now have a strange correlation between. Some nice effects. An cast that gets the job done, but didn't emotionally attach me save for the child actors. A good looking film with a few Poltergeist moments and perhaps a hint of The Gate here or there (just flash pan moments and not little demonic creatures coming out of a hole in the backyard mind you). Yeah, the folks with the silvery/reflective contacts can be a bit creepy in any movie especially when Blumhouse backs it. That's definitely part of the 65% I dug. Not hating the characters goes a long way too. Why bring apples and water bottles to a war with a haunted mirror? Fuck if I know, but it makes for some gruesomeness.

I would like to mentions something... pay attention to the audio in this. While the score isn't always solid, there's some great use of booming sound to create a feeling of near nausea midway through the flick.

I dislike writing up movies that I'm not completely stoked for so this is going to be a short one. Do not watch this on acid or other hallucinogens. In fact you may not even want to see this one drunk or stoned because it's all over the place. Yes, there's a workable plot but an unsatisfying finish. For everything you sit through, for all the chaos, you demand order when you leave the theater. If you don't get the order you either feel cheated or thirsty. I'm thirsty for a cohesive entertaining ghost story right now after just going to see a supernatural flick in the theater. That probably means Oculus didn't do its job. Slowly build me into a strange, sensory disturbed way and then fail to "reset" me? That's just mean. Seems like the reviews have been overly positive thus far, and I'll probably give it another watch on home video. I did really enjoy Mike Flanagan's Absentia.

Oculus is out now. I'd love to know what ya'll think, and I'm positive there are those among you who will truly enjoy Oculus. You'll even call it one of the best movies of the year. It's far from that for me, but it's also not the worst thing I've seen this year.  It's a great date movie. You're significant other will cuddle you. Plenty of lighthearted scares with a few choice jumps scares to tie the whole thing together. One of 'em got me good. I had to do the whole "adjust the leg so I don't look like I actually jumped for the folks behind me". I crack myself up at times. The rest of the audience said, "It was better than Devil's Due" and they didn't like the ending, and these were a bunch of guys talking about the movie Funny Games (probably the remake).

If there's one thing I came away from Oculus with it was the concept that we should watch movies now, occasionally, with the perspective that the movie we are watching is a remake of another movie from long ago whether it actually is a remake or not. I imagined what Oculus would have been in it's original 1970's look starring Oliver Reed with a great big ol' mirror in an English mansion in the countryside with his overdressed kids and a house with way too much dark wood inside. Lots of violin and cello music in the themes. Plenty of upward looking camera angles to convey Reed as some sort of monster and his children, grown up played by David Warner and maybe Karen Black or Shelly Duval in the female lead. I imagine that "original" movie. In that version I get a bleak finish but I get a FINISH. A big ol' THE END.

-Doc Terror

Thursday, April 10, 2014

POSEIDON REX: Your Tyrannosaurus Can Swim, But Still Can’t Change a Light Bulb

 Poseidon Rex. I tried an experiment on our Facebook page recently where I asked ya’ll to review this movie WITHOUT having seen it based solely on the title, perhaps reading the synopsis. If you watched the trailer, that’s akin to cheating. Why you might ask would I do something so absolutely bonkers. How can you possibly review a movie you haven’t seen? Well, with a movie like Poseidon Rex I had a feeling everyone would know exactly what kind of movie it was based on the synopsis and title alone. The few of you that responded were nearly 100% correct proving my point. Poseidon Rex really should have the same tag line as the infamous early 80’s slasher, splat fest Pieces… "It’s Exactly What You Think It Is." 
You read the title of this review right? You saw the name in the title?

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

Let’s take a giant reptile movie and combine it with a fish movie. That’s it. Jurassic Park meets Godzilla meets Jaws or other reasonable giant monster/freak of nature facsimile. We’re talking about the perfect rendition or carbon copy of a SyFy original feature in name, plot, acting and perhaps even in computer generated monster though I must admit that the great P Rex did look slightly above the pixelated skyscraper featured on SyFy. I was entertained. I was not shocked or awed or surprised. No plot twist could amend my feelings toward P. Rex and I probably could have garnered all the love I would have from the trailer. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun with Rex, but I had a small hope that it would live up to surprise Science Fiction, Giant Monster hit, Big Ass Spider! Now that was a truly unique vision of the monster movie built for a wider audience than the SyFy original crowd.

If you enjoy Poseidon Rex from the perspective of a monster movie-aholic… one who does not care about development of character, plot, can live without gore, can enjoy a glancing gaze at a scantily clad hottie femme actress then no harm will come to you and your dollars can be considered well spent. Horror fans looking for something unique… this ain’t it. Science Fiction fans who think… a lot… this may not be your cup of Oolong. I mean or maybe it’s a nice way to escape from thinking about wormholes and warp drives. 

April 18th this one will make it to ITunes and into theaters, so you have some time to prepare for the next composite monster amalgam.
-Doc Terror

BASTARDS (IFC DVD) - Warning: This Movie May Make You Sad.

Wanna watch a movie that is will absolutely not make you feel good? It’s filled with strange sexual brutality, depression, hopeless attempts to fix people who do not want to be fixed and the seediest of wealthy underbellies of society this side of Eyes Wide Shut. I gotta tell you that watching Bastards from MPI as directed by acclaimed filmmaker Claire Denis was a rough go. It was not enjoyable. I hope to not watch it again, but it was an experience worth having with some truly excellent performances that conveyed quite clearly the feelings of despair and hopelessness that actually exist when we try to mend the wounded.

Synopsis from IFC:

Following his brother-in-law's suicide, sea captain Marco (Vincent Lindon,Friday Night, upcoming in Diary of a Chambermaid) goes AWOL to rescue his estranged sister and teenaged niece (Lola Creton, Goodbye First Love, Something in the Air) from the captive power of a wealthy businessman, who is also his lover's (Chiara Mastroianni, A Christmas Tale, Beloved) husband. But Marco's attempt at heroism is soon thwarted on all sides, as he delves further into the hellish world his sister has involved herself in, and deception from those he trusted most threatens to upend his very belief in the concept of honor.


The whole thing is dark as in shot dark. I found some of the scenes exceptionally difficult to actually tell what was going on. That is had a twofold effect, one I was trying to figure out if I was missing something in translation (Bastards is in French). The other effect was that the very real feeling of despair was imparted on my eyes like a man searching for a light switch in a twilit room. There’s a chance you’ll pull the chain on the lamp, and it will go on, but with my luck it won’t go on and the search for the doorknob can begin. Thus is born the metaphor for my feelings toward Bastards. As a reached for a hopeful conclusion, a positive outcome, I began to realize through some telltale signs and hints that nothing good could come from the sexual misadventures of youth when fed and nurtured. I waited for the end of the film, patiently, but still with fingers crossed. We won’t spoil it, but there are no happy endings, ever, in pictures like this one. Maybe if it had truly been a horror movie you’d at least get the Ms. 45/I Spit on Your Grave rape/revenge angle to save you. Do not expect salvation. No door knobs in this dark room.

It’s not the most shocking picture I’ve seen, but it did manage to get under my skin.
The performances from all involved were riveting, easily with which to identify and sympathize. There faces are memorable. Each performer showing their age and pain and chaos right on their faces.  Once you’ve made the connection with the players, you’ll be forced to save them if that’s even remotely an option.

This release only features a trailer, but looks good if you can get past the darkness. In a word… Bastards is bleak. It is misanthropic. It does not care about you.

Bastards is available to order now.

-Doc Terror

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OUTPOST: Rise of the Spetsnaz (Macabre by Xlrator DVD)

I have a preference. When faced with Outpost, Outpost: Black Sun and Dead Snow I'm going to choose Dead Snow. It has a special place in my heart, the effects and comedy are perfectly designed to gross out and impress. The sequel to Dead Snow will be out soon, and while I wait for that I'll be happy to enjoy the Outpost series including the new installment, Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz the new release from the Macabre subdivision of Xlrator Media. Nazis. Zombies. War. It's a fun time. It's exactly what you would expect, and while it doesn't disappoint I also think that it follows a workable formula that fans of the first two installments will get behind.

Synopsis from Xlrator:

In the third installment of the hit Nazi Zombie action-horror franchise, OUTPOST: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ, we discover the horrifying origins of these supernatural soldiers as they battle the most ruthless and notorious of all military special forces: the Russian Spetsnaz


You want to know about two things when we discuss an Outpost movie. The gore and the story. The gore is beautiful and gooshy and gooey. It's probably enough for fans of the previous two installments to enjoy without understanding the story. The story may not be groundbreaking, award winning literature, but it's a solid continuation of the Nazi era zombie concept. Where do the zombies come from? They'll show you. Sure the whole thing feels a bit video game esque. The production isn't Romero. It isn't even great zombie makeup or creation, however it is an entertaining picture, a popcorn flick for fans of continuing saga zombie fare.

The whole thing is a cross between Men Behind the Sun, a less funny Dead Snow and maybe Frankenstein's Army (though in all fairness the original Outpost predates F.A.). If those movies interest you then you'll you standing a fighting chance to enjoy this release. Do not expect the absolute mind-fuck of Men Behind the Sun, the ingenuity of Dead Snow or perhaps the solid creature creation of Frankenstein's Army, but even if Rise attains part of the power of any one of those three movies, you'll be entertained.

You can order Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz now. Available on Blu-ray and DVD.

-Doc Terror

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


There’s an important new release we have to discuss from the Vinegar Syndrome. It’s a limited release of only a thousand, and if you’re lucky you may just be able to get your hands on one at your local smut distributor. I’m talking about the double feature Blu-ray of Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio and A Clockwork Blue. This is a numbered set, and if you weren’t lucky enough to pick up one of the sacred thousand there’s a good chance you’ll be able to grab the DVD release as part of the Drive-In Collection series (one of my favorite on-going product lines from Vinegar Syndrome). The quality suffers somewhat, but it’s not like we’re asking you to break out a 35mm projector and watch an unrestored copy on a sheet on the backside of your house. It’s still very good.

Let’s talk about Eric Jeffrey Haims a little before we get into each feature. Haims only directed five features including our two movies of discussion. His first was Jekyll and Hyde followed by The Flanders and Alcott Report on Sexual Response also in 1971. 101 Acts of Love followed in 1971 and then Clockwork. He finished up his directorial efforts with The Mislayed Genie in 73 which features the tagline “See David’s magic… lamp? If you rub it LONG enough … If you rub it HARD enough… You’ll COME out smiling.”  If that doesn’t tell you what you’re in for, I don’t know what can.

Make sure to hunt down the precious limited release Blu-ray (sold out at Vinegar Syndrome’s website). For those of you who need a less special edition, the DVD is available here. You’ll control 2/5th of Haim’s filmography with one reasonable purchase.

The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio

Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome -  In this notorious mix of sexploitation and slasher, a mysterious murderer is terrorizing the patients and staff at a rural sanitarium. Who will be the killer’s next prey in the blood and sex soaked classic?

This is a grizzly grimy number that follows more like an adult slasher film than a true X rated feature. It’s actually quite entertaining with a story line worth following, a number of tremendous leading women and that feeling that Herschell Gordon Lewis himself must’ve been right around the corner instructing Holmes on the finer point of red Crayola gore. If you are a fan of the great H.G.L. than you will certainly love this. It’s really like an amalgam of his sexploitation efforts with a hint of Blood Feast of 2000 Maniacs to give it some color (that color being red of course). This is really a zodiac killer flick which, for 1971, should be considered fairly revolutionary.

Even some of the costuming feels H.G. Lewis and though I couldn’t find nearly enough info on Haims to remotely associate the two, I can’t help but feel like he’s taking notes on some of the early drive-in classics from Lewis’s 60’s smash hits.  There’s moments that even feel a bit Pete Walker, but I’d most closely associate it with The Flesh and Blood Show or Frightmare, both released after The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio.

AR: 1.85:1 from a 35mm negative.

A Clockwork Blue

Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome – Hapless researcher Homer travels through history, discovering erotic secrets of the past in this lost screwball sexploitation gem.

This entry into the strange world of adult science fiction fantasy comes to you a year after The Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio. Now you’re talking screwball comedy predecessor. While this little number sounds like it’s going to be one great big play for A Clockwork Orange gone puerno chic, it’s actually just a tale of time travel with healthy doses of humor built in. Of the two features I find this one to be a bit more gonzo, a little less watchable as a straight forward narrative, but with a healthy dose of birthday suits. Perhaps the biggest problem is that it doesn’t go for the full on XXX when it probably could do that very successfully. The gel that keeps the whole thing together does provide a nice segue in between ugly bumping, but the sex scenes are less mysterious erotic and more flaccid attempts at putting genitals on screen. That’s not to say that this release is without merit. It’s clearly funny and ahead of it’s time. Within the next ten years both the adult film industry and main stream Hollywood will figure out how to tell this story with ample boobage or penetration to get the appropriate audience in the seats. Definitely the godfather of Canadian sex comedy.

Perhaps this is the Odyssey we are supposed to attribute to the great Homer. The whole thing is a bit frustrating. The minute he tries to get his willy wet it seems his off, traveling through time. This is hardly the scientific method!

AR 1.85:1 from 35mm camera negative

-Doc Terror


True confessions of a horror junkie time… I didn’t like the first season of Holliston. It was not that I HATED it. I just found that the episodes felt a bit long winded, some of the comedy felt obvious or forced, perhaps overdone and the damn laugh track was clever… until it was annoying. I like Joe Lynch. I like Adam Green. I love their movies and acting style. I’m a huge fan of both Gwar and Twisted Sister (Oderus and Dee Snider are regulars). I even love Corri English and Laura Ortiz with which I was unfamiliar prior to the first season. So there were a couple small items that made a big difference in my enjoyment of the program and ultimately led to my lack of appreciation for it. Let me tell you that I’ve actually felt a little bad for not liking it more. On paper this should be my favorite TV show. I should have a goddamn T-shirt of the thing and maybe even a signed copy of the Blu-ray. Not liking season one was not easy. I’ve even felt guilty giving my opinion of the show because in all honesty, I think Lynch and Green have made some great contributions to the horror-verse INCLUDING Holliston despite my personal preference against it.

When the Christmas Special was released through Fearnet I was skeptical at best, but I knew that I had to give the guys as many chances as they would afford me to like the program. Christmas Horror is only second to Italian Horror in my subset of favorite horror subgenres. I’m glad to say that with this single episode I “got it”. I finally figured out how to love Holliston and, in turn, truly enjoyed Holliston The Complete Second Season.

From Fearnet:

The most original, groundbreaking sitcom to ever hit television is back with a whole new level of hilarity and outrageousness! Join Adam (Adam Green), Joe (Joe Lynch), Laura (Laura Ortiz), Corri (Corri English), Oderus Urungus (GWAR's Dave Brockie), and Lance Rockett (Twisted Sister's Dee Snider) as they deal with zombies, werewolves, a suicidal horror icon, a cursed videotape, a psychotic 11-year-old girl and so much more!


What made the change in my Grinchy/Scroogey heart? Not a whole lot, but I can safely say that I get it now. In all fairness the attributes that I disliked in the first season are probably the same things I dislike about most season one’s regardless of genre. I found that that characters that I loved had strayed from some of the more obvious physical comedy and recycled one liners and had created original horror humor with which I could identify. That’s a powerful feeling. The relationships having been established between characters, I could finally enjoy the interactions and strange sexual over, under and mid tones. Of course Dave Brockie and Dee Snider hadn’t really changed much from season one, but I wasn’t busy shrugging off some of the questionable laughs and was able to appreciate their banter with Green and Lynch. I also figured out that if I watched the disc on my computer, the laugh track seemed distant due to the speaker quality/size. I still don’t like the overuse of a laugh track in any form. This is my own pet peeve, and it’s a complaint that I have heard before in discussions about the show. I’m glad I found a way around it. I understand why it is used, but it’s not for me.

Season two features Sid Haig, Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, David Naughton and even Seth Green. My favorite episode by far even above and beyond my adoration for the Christmas feature is an episode that finds Kane Hodder recruiting Danielle Harris for Adam and Joe’s independent slasher feature, SHINPADS. We come to find out that not only is Danielle Harris an adorable, seductive pill addict, but that has a fetish that features in her the garb of one of her previous roles (bet you can’t guess which one). Hodder is distraught after realizing that he was passed over for the role of Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason (which had already lensed many years earlier). The surprise twist at the end of this episode actually had me spit my Apple Jacks on my laptop screen over breakfast. I’m pretty sure my two year old thinks she has better table manners than I do (ultimately true). I can assure you that there is nothing sexier than Danielle Harris in horror gear, popping Vicodin, having strange relations with Adam Green. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Just call her Jamie Lloyd.  David Naugton’s cameo is exceptional, creative and very funny. They even take a stab or two at John Landis (hysterical).

The Blu-ray itself provides some nice bonus material including cast commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel and behind the scenes goodies. Of course the Chrstimas episode is included, is hilarious and would be worth it for you to buy this set even if that’s the only thing you enjoy about it.  The cover art is perfect, fun and fitting with the style of the show. It’s tee worthy. Maybe now I can make good on that wearable promise.

So I apologize now wholeheartedly for my lack of love for the first season. I’ll even give it another go now that I have a better understanding and interaction with the cast. I feel like a weight has been lifted, and the only thing I can say for season 3 is we need some Pamela Springsteen to reprise her role from Sleepaway Camp 2 and 3. The guys go to camp or something or become camp counselors as a way to fund their next movie project. Maybe a few other faces from that series combined with some Friday the 13th cameos? Please? I’ll write the episode (I work cheap).

Holliston The Complete Second Season is out now. Available on Blu-ray and DVD and absolutely perfect for the horror comedy lover.

If you didn’t like season one… give this a chance. I’m glad I did. Adam and Joe… you guys have a new fan for the show.

-Doc Terror

Monday, April 7, 2014

Holy Ghost People (Macabre by Xlrator DVD) - Zealots Be Creepy, Yo.

We all know how these things go. The religious zealot horror pictures are painfully terrifying because they're ever so real. Every moment that you witness is fitted perfectly with elements of pure reality. Whether you believe in something that might be celebrated by religion or not, there's nothing more terrifying than the control one charismatic individual can have over a group. Nothing. Take for instance, The Mist. What's the scariest thing about The Mist? Is it the giant, inter-dimensional insect/mutant hybrids? Nope. Not the spiders. Not the mantis. It's the religious zealot in the store taking control of the minds of frightened individuals who are looking for guidance during a time of crisis. That's the same story behind Holy Ghost People when you strip it down. Sure the characters are different. No one's trapped in a super market. The inter-dimensional portal hasn't been opened. All we've got here is a guy, his church and some rather intimidating snakes.

Synopsis from Xlrator:

HOLY GHOST PEOPLE is a Southern Gothic thriller about a teenager searching for her lost sister in the Appalachian Mountains, where she encounters a snake-handling religious cult and eventually learns the truth about her sister's fate.


While I can definitely say that I enjoyed Holy Ghost People, it wasn't quite the standout movie I had hoped it would be. Sure the initial premise and first half hour were actually quite scary though admittedly this isn't entirely a horror picture. I attribute the feelings of fear  to my own apprehension about religious groups and cults of this type, however once the initial portrait has been painted the whole thing starts to feel very familiar. With a few choice shock scenes thrown in here and there the end of the movie becomes predictable and nearly formula. That is not to say that Holy Ghost People is without merit. The first third of the movie will force a few judgement calls and moral questions into being. Once Brother Billy starts to confirm his congregations devotion, I begin to see a different movie emerge. Not one based around the horror tenets of religion, but typical madman antics... torture and unsubstantiated violence. Holy Ghost People becomes ordinary, but before that it... for awhile... you'll be one scared sheep in a pretty big flock.

There are some very realistic settings and some very impressive performances that help create an image of what it might be like in certain sanctuaries. It's beautifully shot, well acted, it suffers only from a slight misdirection that sends down an ordinary path when Holy Ghost People doesn't want to be ordinary.

I recommend Holy Ghost People to fans of religious based horror. If you're a fan of Serpent and the Rainbow or The First Power, The Believers or The Mist, Holy Ghost People will have something scary to offer you if only for a short bit. Whether you've been enjoying the strange cult like feel of True Detective or read the morning news where the misguided find their salvation in their own demise, Holy Ghost People will seem familiar and feel will make you question that which is all around you.

You can order Holy Ghost People now. 

-Doc Terror

Lust for Freedom (Vinegar Syndrome DVD) - Troma Lives in Vinegar

I'm a Troma fan. Saying this can often seem like one is confessing to be an alcoholic or a chronic masturbator, but I take pride in supporting and enjoying independent cinema that comes straight out of New York City as created by folks who like to challenge the status quo and who can't stand the MPAA as much as I can't. Their releases give me a cause to celebrate freedom. You might even say it gives me an erotic feeling of freedom or perhaps even a "lust for freedom".  They understand what we want to see in movies. Sex. Blood. Gore. Latex. Comedy. Sex. Boobs. Their on-a-tight-budget film style and production often leads to some unintentional comedy that helps to bolster their well thought out visual laughs. With the release of Lust for Freedom from 1987, we are treated to a somewhat lighter side of Troma's history; it's not a gory or visually effected as some of their more popular releases. It is however a laugh machine with moments of pure sexy. These things do not surprise me. What did surprise me and should you as well is that Vinegar Syndrome is the one distributing this classic and not Troma. It's like watching and outsider looking in with a different releases style and fresh, albeit familiar perspective.

Synopsis from Vinegar Syndrome:

After her boyfriend is brutally murdered in a sting operation, special agent Gillian Kaites is implicated in the slaying and is sentenced to prison. While behind bars, she discovers a shocking web of corruption and begins to plot a bloody revenge in this action and T & A filled Troma classic from director by Eric Louzil (CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH Pts. 2 & 3) and producer by Lloyd Kaufman (THE TOXIC AVENGER)! Trailer:

Director Eric Louzil was the force behind Class of Nuke 'Em High 2 and 3 though these two features would come later in his career. For those of you familiar with those two releases you know that yes, they are sexy, but they have a creative gore/mutant aspect that ultimately appeals to most Troma fans. Lust for Freedom is less visually explosive and relies more on an entirely American feeling women in prison movie. This isn't the Big Bird Cage. No one is stuck in a jungle hell hole. What is most strange is that it almost feels cleaner than most movies in the subgenre. The prison itself isn't a filth ridden pit of despair but a cleaner, white-washed cage. The naughty bits come at the hands of some charismatic figures driving the torture and desecration  of an innocent's body. Ah, the joys of independent cinema.

The whole thing is riddled with humor from some atrocious but appropriate performances by the police and prisoners alike. There's plenty of skin, perfectly 80's softcore sexy. This is a solid first effort from Louzil that displayed that he had all the hallmarks of the quintessential Troma director. His brief directorial career, making 13 films is stocked with the same type of sexploits and over the top gonzo effects fests mentioned here though his later works focus on what's beneath the clothes. And um... plot... who needs plot! You'll be familiar with the formula if you enjoy WIP movies, and you won't care. What makes it stand out is its intentional laughs as opposed to the unintentional ones of older releases in the subgenre.

This release is loaded with extras. There's a newly recorded commentary track with Louzil, video interview with Llloyd Kaufman and a theaterical trailer. Perhaps the only strike against one of my favorite Vinegar Syndrome releases of the year is the picture quality. I imagine that the original print wasn't a beautiful one seeing as it is a Troma release, but despite it's 2k scan, you feel like your watching a DVD that might be only somewhat better than a VHS release. It comes from a blow-up negative (I'm not entirely certain if that would play into the quality).  It is the original negative, and as such this keeps in line with the overall production line from Vinegar Syndrome. This is the first time I've mentioned the quality of a V.S. release in the negative. I'm glad that the content of the disc and film itself more than makes up for it. I suppose you cannot correct flawed source material. The film is definitely worth preserving, and for that we are grateful.

You can order your copy from DiabolikDVD now. 

-Doc Terror

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dead Air: Episode 45 - Contracted (2013)

The Dead Air Podcast
Dead Air: Episode 45 - Contracted (2013)
"Not Your Average One Night Stand."
Welcome back to the Dead Air Horror & Genre Podcast; brought to you by GenreWatch,The Liberal Dead, and Doc Terror!
This week on the show, Jeff (@Jeff_FOTD) and James (@DrJimmyTerror) are joined by special guest Chris Williams (@Exorcast) of the Exorcast Podcast  for an in-depth review of Eric England's latest body-horror opus, Contracted.
First, the guys talk a bit about some of the other, more recent films that they've been watching, giving you mini-reviews of the following:

Next, it's on to the featured review of Contracted...

Does it deliver on the gross-out moments? Why does Chris think that Eric England is one of the best upcoming horror directors? More importantly, do the guys recommend the movie?

All of these burning questions will be answered... Oh, and don't worry if you haven't watched it yet... Spoilers are saved for last, in a separate section, so you can listen without fear.

If streaming isn't your thing, you may Download the MP3 Directly here or Subscribe Via iTunes.

iTunes listeners: Please take a moment to leave us a rating/review, and we will share it on an upcoming podcast!

Looking to order Contracted (or any other titles we discussed on this show)? Head on over to Amazon for the best prices and help support our show.

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

Check out this episode!