Sunday, October 23, 2016

PSYCHO IV THE BEGINNING (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - The Great Segue to Bates Motel

Psycho IV The Beginning serves a tremendous purpose. It is not one that the filmmakers could be aware of when it was originally created, but it offers something powerful now. It connects the dots quite well between the movies and the TV show, Bates Motel. Of course it was not intentional, and really I'm grasping at academic straws here, but there's something fun about imaging that the movies and the TV show tie ever so well with connective tissue in the final film installment in the original series as directed by Anthony Perkins. We have a handsome Blu-ray from Scream Factory that is sure to interest new fans of the story of the Bates family.

The first time I watched Psycho IV I laughed. It was on HBO and it had been released on a few years earlier. I was not taken with it, but my sisters both seemed interest in the psychological profile of Norman Bates. I think they love Olivia Hussey. I wouldn't fall her for her until watching the adaptation of Stephen King's It which started a love affair with her that would lead me to Black Christmas among other movies. I laughed off the fourth installment as a cheap attempt to cash in on the original. There was something about the radio broadcast vehicle for telling the story that didn't seem serious to me.

This time around, the first time I had given the film a chance since that viewing on HBO, was a much better experience. I still think there's a bit of cheese in the radio DJ format that allows us access to Norman Bates, but the flashback scenes detailing the evolution of Norman and the reveal of his troubled relationship with his mother is horrifying. All performances are solid but especially Henry Thomas' portrayal of young Norman Bates he gives Freddie Highmore a run for his money. Interesting enough I also didn't realize that Thomas played Elliot in E.T. Olivia Hussey does crazy as only crazy can. Her beauty has always stunned me but especially when balanced with true madness that is balanced with a mother's love that has hints of homicidal tendencies and incest on top.

The commentary track has Hussey, Thomas and Horror director extraordinaire Mick Garris and Garris also gives a behind the scenes interview. The disc isn't overly filled with extra content, but it has a few choice gems to provide back story and perspective on the release. It has a good looking transfer.

Order your copy now:

From Scream Factory:

Before The Terror Can End, See How It All Began

Anthony Perkins, Henry Thomas and Olivia Hussey star in this chilling prequel to the classic Hitchcock thriller.

A seemingly rehabilitated Norman Bates (Perkins) is drawn to a late night radio show where the host (CCH Pounder, Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight) encourages him to share his views on the topic of matricide. Reliving his childhood, Norman recounts his trials of a young boy (Thomas, Ouija 2) living with his widowed schizophrenic mother (Hussey, the original Black Christmas). These haunting memories are more than just disturbing visions of the past; they threaten to rekindle his killing urge in this spine-tingling thriller directed by Mick Garris (The Stand, Masters of Horror).

Bonus Features

NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mick Garris, Actors Henry Thomas And Olivia Hussey
NEW The Making Of Mother – An Interview With Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner
Rare Behind-The-Scenes Footage From Director Mick Garris
Photo Gallery Of Rare Photos From Mick Garris

THE DEAD ROOM (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory Blu-ray)

The Dead Room is the latest collaboration between Scream Factory and IFC Midnight. IFC Midnight historically either puts out exceptionally strong, scary releases or finds really inaccessible titles that are definitely indie but may lack proper Horror sensibilities.

The Dead Room is more straight forward, less adventurous and certainly not as challenging as some of the previous releases by IFC Midnight. This works in its favor, providing easy to enjoy scares that follow a recycled story that works. It has a few strong scenes though nothing shocking. The effects are actually okay. Your dealing with a supernatural tale with demonic origins, ever the popular villain these days. What works about this one? No friggin possessed babies in this one! That thread is as used up as the zombie genre (only the genre zombie actually had original stories that comes out of the undead baddies searching for brains).

The Dead Room isn't my favorite of the IFC releases, but it's certainly watchable.

Order your copy now:

From Scream Factory/IFC:

Step inside the Dead Room, where something sinister guards a home's horrifying secrets. Inspired by a 1970s urban legend, this atmospheric nerve-shredder follows two scientists (Jed Brophy and Jeffrey Thomas) and a young psychic (Laura Petersen) as they travel to the countryside to investigate mysterious occurrences at a remote farmhouse. Skepticism quickly turns to terror as the researchers' presence unsettles a seriously angry demonic presence possessing the home. Upping the white-knuckle suspense with visceral camerawork and unsettling sound design, The Dead Room creates a sense of palpable danger lurking in every corner and hallway.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dead Air: Episode 133 - Ouija: Origin Of Evil (2016)

This week on the show , Jeff (@DeadAirJeff) and Jesse (@DestroySuperman) do a very special live show from Jeff's house. Topics include ghost homework, Nic Cage impressions, guess that porn movie, and an in-depth discussion of Mike Flanagan's latest joint, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. 

If you can't make it to the next 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 GenreWatchDoc Terror, and Horror Movie BBQ. Be sure to visit the sites for more great content!

Check out this episode!

Friday, October 21, 2016

TWILIGHT ZONE (CBS DVD) - The Whole Damn Sci-Fi Anthology Thing

We've done this before, and we are glad to do it again. The Twilight Zone is on DVD again with some satisfying new box art. CBS has released the series on DVD before, but I have always found the previous DVD artwork to be completely lackluster. This set is sleaker. Sexier if you will. This set feels like the Twilight Zone in aesthetic. I'll offer you some brief thoughts on this as reposted from my previous observations regarding this set as not much has changed, but as always will encourage you to pick up the series if you haven't yet. Do not rely on marathons alone or streaming services. Hard copies of the Twilight Zone are important to keep around. Consider them an encyclopedia to a life in thought or perhaps a better use, chicken soup for the irony-lovers soul. 

The first thing I want you to do when you open up the new Twilight Zone box set on DVD is to look at the episode listing. It is this list that will spark your fondest memories and take you to areas that are truly of sight, sound and mind... perhaps a place of your childhood (as was the case when I cracked the behemoth open). It's a lot to watch. It's a lot to savor. Just when you think you've seen every Zone during every marathon on whichever holiday you had the chance to enjoy them as a kid, well, you ain't seen them all. Oh well, some of you have of course, but now you can see them all when you want to. On your terms. You can build your own marathon, and it could be for Thanksgiving if you want because it's coming out November 19th. That's all 156 episodes in one box that you can hold in your hand.

Now I've reviewed each one of these sets individually (most of them) and will tell you that this is an excellent quality set. It is complete. It does not include extras, but it is priced as such so that you won't feel cheated. There is also a Blu-ray edition of this same box set that is complete with additional material, but that's not what we're here to discuss today. The set is comprised of 25 discs in five color coded boxes with a nice box set package (though a little sparse for my own flamboyant taste). 

What I find most striking about taking in a series like this is to start from the beginning and see which episodes fall where in the timeline. How does Time Enough at Last fit in? Where does A Stop at Willoughby appear and how long did it take to develop stories so emotional charged that they could bring a slightly drunken DoC Terror to tears in years past? Each season contains classic episodes and it didn't seem to take a long time for the writers to churn out some of their best work, the actors to become legends and for Serling's baby to become a giant moral Kaiju in black and white, complete with monologue.

Consider this an invitation to create your own Twilight Zone marathon. For fun, what would be your ideal marathon? Would you have a common thread throughout? Maybe follow an actor throughout his or her career? Comment below and give the holiday you would choose for your event.

Available now for your 5th Dimensional viewing:

From CBS:

Twilight Zone: The Complete Series includes 156 episodes of Rod Serling's classic television series in one special box set. This episodes-only collection includes all 5 seasons of the groundbreaking TV series. Guest stars include Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Hopper, Bill Bixby, Leonard Nimoy, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Telly Savalas, William Shatner and many more.

Note from the Doc:

Here's a moment from my favorite episode (or one of them). It's a push push business. Push and drive all the time. We all need a little Willoughby sometimes.

(Some parts of this review have been reposted from a previous Doc Terror review of the series).

THE RETURN OF DRACULA (#Olive Blu-ray) - How Dracula Got His Cape Back... NOT

When I think of 50's vamp flicks I most certainly do not put first in my mind visions of suburban America with a fella with slick hair playing fanger to a bunch of Californians. Strangely enough that's what The Return of Dracula is. It's about as far removed from the Gothic gorgeous of Hammer's The Horror of Dracula released the same year. The Return does not feature Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing. It is in black and white. It is bloodless. The cape? Well... despite my clever title for this review, there really isn't a cape to be found. Instead we get a beady-eyed vamp with a black coat attacking folks in much the same way that an ordinary murderer might.

For purists this is no vampire movie. This certainly does not feel like a Dracula picture. Even movies that attempt to modernize the Dracula tale include elements of the Dracula lore and mythology. Sure you can thwart him with a cross or a stake through the heart, but think of Dracula 72AD or even Blacula or Dracula 2000. These movies feel like Drac movies with a vampire that looks like Dracula played by a prominent actor who gives the character respect even if the story line decimates the story. Let's call The Return of Dracula what it is. It's a modern day vampire movie at best. Look Who's Coming to Dinner... Vampire Edition. That's your warning. This vamp has a bad accent. He dresses badly in street clothes alone rather than traditional cape and necklace.

The Blu-ray from Olive is actually quite nice. The image on screen is sharp and the transfer looks good. I admit that this is my first time experiencing The Return of Dracula, but I'm glad to know what it isn't just as much as I'm glad to know someone has preserved a piece of 50's fang film. As with most Olive releases you don't get any extras, but you do get a nice looking release. You get traditional cover art that is enticing (I adore the eyes on this cover art).

I'll offer you redeeming qualites. Keep an eye out for the kid in the Halloween mask. It's a truly great mask from the period. Also, listen carefully to what I imagine is library music of the period that bares resemblance to one of the themes from The Shining.

Order your copy of Return of Dracula now:

From Olive:

For those who like their vampires with that certain European panache, The Return of Dracula is sure to thrill. Francis Lederer (Terror is a Man) stars as the titular Count – this time using the pseudonym Bellac Gordal – as he travels from his Transylvania home to the United States. In the guise of being a distant relative on vacation, The Count takes up residence at the home of the Mayberry family in sunny California. Quicker than you can say “I like my stake rare,” The Count … er … Gordal is up to his old nocturnal tricks and comes under the scrutiny of young Rachel Mayberry (Norma Eberhardt, Problem Girls) whom Gordal has set his sights on, which may be her undoing. The Return of Dracula, directed by Paul Landres (The Vampire) from Pat Fiedler’s script, co-stars Ray Stricklyn (The Lost World), Virginia Vincent (The Hills Have Eyes), John Wengraf (The Pride and the Passion), Gage Clarke (The Bad Seed), Jimmy Baird (The Black Orchid) and Greta Granstedt (They Never Come Back).

THE CONJURING 2 (Warner Blu-ray) - The Nun or The Poltergeist?

The Conjuring. A movie that unexpectedly scared many people and made a significant profit off a fairly low budget production. It was directed by James Wan who has a history of creating good Horror. He creates characters that you can trust or that will scare you or with which you can identify on some level making them instantly perfect for your sympathy allowing access to your cynical heart strings. Now we have a sequel that follows the Ed and Lorraine Warren on another adventure into paranormal investigation balancing faith with science in an effort to save families from the forces that would hurt them from beyond the grave or beyond this world. The Conjuring 2 is now available on Blu-ray and the power of this feature on the small and large screen most likely will not be matched this year. This is your October movie right here. 

On this Scooby Doo esque outing we follow the Warrens to England to examine the Enfield Poltergeist. This is a well documented, true occurrence in which a family who is down on their luck experiences an extreme supernatural attack, prolonged with seemingly no known cause. The Warrens are flown in from America as agents of the Catholic church to examine the situation to make a determination as to whether the church should send in its strike team to intervene. Is it a hoax? What is causing the incidents that are tearing a family to ribbons? Can the Warrens save the day and solve the mystery? I assure you there is not old man Withers behind the mask in The Conjuring 2.


I enjoyed both the original Conjuring and the sequel equally, not one more than the other. That means that I am giving the sequel exceptionally high marks given my love for the first film.James Wan has his detractors in much the same way that Eli Roth has his detractors. These are folks that will hate everything he does, even if they haven't yet seen the movie. Beware of these people. Beware still these folks telling YOU not to see The Conjuring 2.  If you did not enjoy the first movie, you probably won't enjoy the sequel. I have met folks who did not enjoy the original movie, and while I find that surprising, I suppose some people can't get into it. Both Conjurings have a similar way of telling their story, effects are executed in the same style, look and feel  of both pictures are the same and even some of the plot points and the character development show commonality between movies. This is not a problem at all. This is a good sequel that follows a team we love on an adventure that thrills and chills and screams to high heaven of all the spookiness we fear (or maybe hope) really exists in the world. I almost think of these pictures as modern day, elongated serials that continue tales of the superheroes of the psychic world. Despite having common elements they are separately exceptional modern Horror films.

Housecleaning i.e. the shit that is obvious but bares mentioning or notes:

  • The cast is strong. All performances are exceptional and believable while maintaining heart and a sense of fun (That's right... FUN). This movie has jokes. Enjoy them. You're allowed to laugh ya know.
  • The effects are a balance of practical and CG. It's a healthy balance, and the effects work quite well. The CG is necessary. This is not a gory movie. It's not a bloodbath, but there is still ingenuity in the way that violent imagery is displayed on screen, creatively and not altogether obvious giving the film the same sense of style that made the original picture so successful. 
  • If you feared that James Wan's foray into the auto action genre was going to leave him worse for wear, forgetting how to create a Horror picture, consider your fears unnecessary.
  • This is not a sequel to Annabelle. This story does not involve that movie or a continuation of that story line from the original Conjuring. No need to draw comparison to the movie Annabelle. I'm not sure if folks were even doing that, but hey, I'm always surprised.
  • I'm always taken with how they make these movies look perfectly period. The set design, clothing and set dressing is really quite special allowing you to be completely immersed in a work of fiction that has a brilliant history behind it. This is the kind of thing that Ti West did so well in House of the Devil that made me love that movie. Wan just ups the game in that regard.
  • There is what appears to be a nod toward the slender man's look in one of the manifestations of the supernatural force. It's absolutely perfect and got me each time. Whether it was influenced by the slender man or not, it looked friggin great.
  • This ain't your typical possession movie. Don't expect that. Do not expect to have to deal with the same near parody "power of Christ compels you" storytelling you've come to see in wide release Horror as of late. 
  • The music is effective. Enjoy it especially toward the end of the picture. I think I've been spoiled on soundtracks for movies like It Follows and Starry Eyes lately. This one didn't quite have the impact I wanted.
  • Yes, we get a glimpse of Amityville in this one. Yes it is fucking awesome. Remember, the house is back on the market kiddies. 
  • One the main manifestations of the supernatural force is a creepy nun. This reminded me of some Italian Horror from the late 70's, early 80's. It absolutely got me. Over and over again. while it initially seemed like a common modern Horror image it quickly evolved into something that almost resembled Mr. Barlow from Hooper Salem's Lot.. but in a habit.
  • Wilson goofs on Elvis as if he was Andy Kaufman. It is special and adds that comic relief that is a must in Horror while providing a heartwarming moment. There are quite a few tender moments. They all made me mooshy.
  • We had a good sized crowd for a 10 o'clock showing. Everyone jumped and laughed at themselves. No applause at the end. I kind of wanted applause. 

A friend mentioned that one criticism was that this movie is all jump scares and no substance. THIS needs to be addressed. There is nothing wrong with the use of a jump scare or multiple jump scares in a Horror movie. We all know what a jump scare is. It's the scare where something is suddenly on screen or moves in forward direction toward the audience often accompanied by a loud noise that causes the audience to jump. Horror is built on this. Not all Horror movies have these types of scares, but there's an effective way to use this tactic, and then there's the shitty use of it that involves the dreaded cat behind the curtain. If the jump scare is used properly it will come out of a plot contextualized moment using the villain to scare the audience providing the cardio stimulating POP. Using constant faux jump scares or the repeated use of cats or other non-plot/villain based jump scares is taxing and ruins movies. It's not wrong to have one or two fake moments of dread. These can allow the audience to be put off guard to allow them to be "had" at the appropriate moment. A movie that repeatedly uses scares that come from a scary villain or ghost is appropriate especially when the villain is hidden in plain view or when the lighting is low.

That being said, The Conjuring 2 has a healthy number of appropriate jump scares, but it also contains a general sense of dread and a well developed eerie mood that that perpetuates a feeling of unease and terror in the audience throughout the picture. The jump scares used in the movie are pure James Wan. He's shown us time and time again that he knows how to make an auditorium leave their seats and float, gasping and squealing like a tea kettle. He uses the same tactics he used in Insidious and the original Conjuring. He uses them in unique ways, and also a few new tricks up his sleeve. To say that this picture is all jump scares and no substance suggests the viewer didn't pay attention to the movie which is filled with some beautiful effects and claustrophobic moments, should remove their head from their cellphone to see what is actually on the screen or stop going to see James Wan movies because most likely, the viewer simply does not like Wan's brand of Horror. There's more here. Am I getting a little snooty? Yep. You don't have to like the movie. I really don't care if you do, but you can't accuse this movie of following a low budget porno format in which the movie shows some dialogue and then a jump scare, dialogue, jump scare... repeat (as bad porn might follow the dialogue/fuck fest/dialogue/fuck fest pattern). That is an inaccurate representation of what is on screen.

I can't wait for you to see this movie and enjoy it. It will do well at the box office, and I hope it outdoes the original Conjuring because a third movie in the cycle (as long as it involves Wan) will be a truly special story. The Warrens have got plenty mileage in them for a series of pictures; here's to a long line of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson creating special Horror moments while showing us all how to love each other a bit more.

Support some excellent Horror, keep America strong, watch Horror movies especially this one this week and for the weekends to come. I think I'd like to watch this one a second time on the big screen, and I hope to podcast this one soon. When Jeff Konopka and I podcasted the original on Dead Air, we both had crazy shit happen that scared the piss out of us.

The Blu-ray release features nice featurettes on the making of the movie, the haunting on the actual set as well as a focus on the score and deleted scenes. The deleted scenes added very little value to the movie as a whole. Nothing lost here. It's a good modern Blu-ray with great blacks and beautiful picture. The audio has loud bursts that startle so be cautious with that expensive home entertainment system.

Order your copy now:

From Warner:

The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

- The Enfield Poltergeist: Living The Horror
- The Conjuring 2: Hollywood#s Haunted Stage
- Crafting the Conjuring
- Creating Crooked
- Sounds of Scary
- Deleted Scenes
Includes UltraViolet so you can enjoy the film on many different compatible devices. MUST ENTER REDEMPTION CODE BY 2019-12-31 TO REDEEM ULTRAVIOLET OFFER. DOES NOT INCLUDE iTUNES FILE.
(Note: Some review notes used from previous Doc Terror review of The Conjuring 2).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ASH VS. EVIL DEAD SEASON 1 (Anchor Bay/Starz Blu-ray)

The second season of Ash vs. Evil Dead is underway, and I am watching and enjoying it. That should tell you that I watched and enjoyed the first season. I caught it on TV and now enjoyed a handsome Blu-ray of the same. For those of you who know what Evil Dead is, Army of Darkness and, most importantly, the legendary Horror icon, Ash but do not understand how it connects to the films, let's discuss briefly. Hopefully that will make the show accessible to you. The show does NOT pick up after Army of Darkness due to rights issues. It would be better to say it follows many years later the story of told in Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. It's so far in the future that you do not need to watch the original films to appreciate it, though I don't think I need to twist most of your arms to enjoy some E.D.

Ash is witty, the show is gory and filled with practical effects as well as some well used computer generated jobbers. Bruce Campbell is back in the saddle which is the only damn character that needed to be be in the show to make it work. It does work as a show featuring a new quest by the fantastically powerful force that pumps demons into the land of the living while Ash attempts to save humanity with some trusted friends and various adversaries of a supernatural and natural type. Ash is reluctant to accept his role as savior and much of his own battle is rejecting that calling. It makes for some great humor, a main focus of the program (not unlike Evil Dead 2).

The series opens strong with a solid three episode run that gives way into some enjoyable but repetitive stories that don't quite do the trick like the first couple. The series ends strong, the story evolving and taking reasonable but surprising twists that are a pleasure to enjoy save for the final episode that didn't quite get my ghost, going a bit more over the top than I was comfortable with. I assure you that season 2 actually addresses that in the very first episode, resetting my expectations and correcting what I would deem to be shortcomings that played out in the final moments of season one.

The Blu comes with some fun extras involving Campbell and co.

Audio Commentaries include (Thanks to for saving me the typing because I couldn't seem to get a full list off the marketing materials I had):

"El Jefe": Creator/Executive Producer/Director Sam Raimi, Co-Executive Producer Ivan Raimi, Executive Producer Bob Tapert, and Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell.
"Bait": Executive Producer Bob Tapert, Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell, and Actors Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago.
"Books from Beyond": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago.
"Brujo": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago.
"The Host": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo and Ray Santiago.
"The Killer of Killers": Actors Dana Delorenzo, Jill Marie Jones and Ray Santiago.
"Fire in the Hole": Actors Dana Delorenzo, Jill Marie Jones and Ray Santiago.
"Ashes to Ashes": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo, Jill Marie Jones and Ray Santiago.
"Bound in Flesh": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo, Lucy Lawless and Ray Santiago.
"The Dark One": Executive Producer/Actor Bruce Campbell and Actors Dana Delorenzo, Lucy Lawless and Ray Santiago.

Ash Inside the World - a hodge podge of different aspects of the TV show development and character exposition.

How to Kill a Deadite - Bruce Campbell goes through the finer points of Deadite removal.

Best of Ash - the "good" scenes from the season.

Order your copy now:

From Starz/Anchor Bay:

“Ash vs Evil Dead,” a 10-episode, half-hour series, is the long-awaited follow-up to the classic horror film franchise The Evil Dead. The series follows Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip. The cast is led by Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, Lucy Lawless as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks, Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick, Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past and Jill Marie Jones as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner. The series is executive produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, the original filmmakers of the franchise, and Craig DiGregorio (“Chuck”), who serves as executive producer and showrunner.

THE CAT PEOPLE (Criterion Blu-ray)

It took me doing some research to learn why I was supposed to enjoy Jacques Tourneur's Cat People. To be quite honest this movie has never pushed my buttons properly. Repeated viewings have left me feeling unfilled and a little bored. There's no pop. It's subtle. It's atmospherically eerie with a seductive quality that is supposed to be feel mildly sensual. Cat People's moments of suspense are well constructed and the methods by which the film arrives at moments of tension come with innovative techniques that would become Dark Fantasy staples in shooting style and method. That's all well and good. It is an exceptionally influential movie... that I do not love; that I find difficult to recommend to anyone other than students of film or style junkies. I can't help but feel just a little bad for not appreciating it as much as should; beyond the educational and pure aesthetic value of the film. When a movie is this revered, and you dislike it, you end up questioning your own value as one who recommends movies. If you don't "get" Cat People, what DO you get?

For those of you who are fans of Cat People, it is now available on Blu-ray from Criterion. That's a juicy piece of news. Criterion has done good by this classic Horror work. In a sense, I owe it to Criterion for providing this release of a movie I rather dislike because the emphasis on much of the extra material and essay is the educational and stylistic innovation that surrounds the film. It allows Cat People to be important to me in the absence of enjoying its story or visual presence. For those of you who long for this period of filmmaking and adore the producer Val Lewton, there is a full length documentary dedicated to him. It's a real treat in a addition to an archival interview with Tourneur and a interview with the cinematographer. The package is traditional Criterion.

The black levels are crisp and gorgeous. There's nothing finer than a 2k transfer of a Black and White Horror picture as done by Criterion. You live in the contrast. The supple blacks wrap the bursting whites and swaddle them in the spooky things that live in the shadows. I may not love Cat People, but I adore this transfer and the look of the movie. I can only imagine fans of the movie will be very satisfied.

Order your copy now:[sl]-Thriller/Cat-People-(Criterion-Collection)-(Blu~Ray).html

From Criterion:

The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery.

Disc Features

New, restored 2K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon
Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer
Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1977
New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

New cover by Bill Sienkiewicz


I was hoping for something funnier that had more Horror elements included. Young Frankenstein comes to mind, but I should have realized from the cover art and cast that that was not going to be the case. Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again simply didn't do it for me. It was bland with some funny moments that borrowed heavily from successful sex comedies. Without powerful actors to develop the concept or deliver perfect comedy, well... I'm afraid I didn't laugh. I also didn't find much in the way of Horror elements to appreciate. You might as well be looking at a mad scientist picture rather than specifically limiting the story to Jekyll/Hyde.

I think fans of the movie will be happy with Olive's transfer which looks nice. The cover art is traditional (no reverse). No extras.

Order your copy now:

From Olive:

The Robert Louis Stevenson classic is turned on its ear, or in this case its funny bone, in the Jerry Belson (TV’s The Odd Couple) directed Jekyll and Hyde … Together Again.  While researching a drug that would make surgeries obsolete, Dr. Daniel Jekyll (Mark Blankfield, Robin Hood: Men in Tights) inadvertently discovers a substance that unleashes the animal that lives inside every man. Using himself as a guinea pig, Jekyll reverts from his shy, self-effacing, serious self to the hyper-sexual, party-‘till-you-drop alter ego, Mr. Hyde. Jekyll and Hyde … Together Again, written for the screen by Monica Johnson, Harvey Miller, Jerry Belson and Michael Leeson, co-stars Bess Armstrong (High Road to China) as Mary, Jekyll’s loving fiancée; Krista Errickson (Little Darlings) as Ivy, Hyde’s lusty paramour; and Tim Thomerson (Near Dark) as Jekyll’s smarmy colleague Dr. Knute Lanyon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MANKILLERS (Slasher//Video Blu-ray) - Beta Tape on Rampage

Mankillers is one funny flick. We're talking about a war movie featuring an all female fighting squad on a rampage a la Dirty Dozen that takes on the drug cartels (who are all men of course). It has all of the 80's action accouterments including a scantily clad guerilla fighting force, plenty of large guns, explosions, comedic performances due to exceptionally poorly written dialogue and a plot that solely exists to allow the demolitions team the opportunity to show off though in this instance, using as low a budget as possible. Obviously, Mankillers is built for fun and to inspire the pants of your inner teenage boy.

As with many of the Slasher//Video releases distributed by Olive it's important to remember that their releases are taken from the best possible sources available. While many distro companies set a standard that would prevent this from happenin, you'll actually be getting an HD transfer from beta tape, upconverted. I realize that sounds like a complete laugh, but there are reasons for which this type of release is important. Digitizing a release of this type is necessary to make sure the movie is archived and available. The overall product does look good... for tape. Do not expect a superior, uncompressed black, gently grainy release. Expect... exactly what you would think a tape transfer would look like... but better.

Still this is a David A. Prior movie. Make sure to enjoy it to its fullest and let it take you back.

Order your copy now:

From Olive:

Disclaimer: Mankillers is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD Master; remastered from PAL Beta SP and upconverted to BluRay and DVD specifications. A female homage to The Dirty Dozen, Mankillers features a rag tag group of bottom feeders —murderers, thieves and other assorted miscreants — who, unless they coalesce into a lean, mean fighting machine to stop a rogue agent and the drug cartel that employs him, have the option of a prison cell or the electric chair. It’s wall-to-wall action and adventure in Mankillers. Directed and written by David A. Prior (Deadly Prey, Killer Workout), Mankillers stars Edd Byrnes (TV’s 77 Sunset Strip), Gail Fisher (TV’s Mannix), Edy Williams (The Naked Kiss), Lynda Aldon (Doctor Detroit), William Zipp (Deadly Prey), Christine Lunde (The Masque of the Red Death) and Suzanne Tegmann (Death Chase).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

TENEBRAE (Synapse Films Blu-ray) - Giallo Me This

Did you miss the steelbook release earlier this year of Tenebrae from Synapse? Maybe the price point is a bit above your paygrade. Maybe you don't do steelbooks. Well, Syanpse has given you the chance to get in on a the new transfer of the release, looking beyond Italian Blu-ray gorgeous.

This release features the traditional cover art and a slightly less intense extra package than the steelbook. It's a single disc, no DVD, no soundtrack. It's not bare bones mind you with a still impressive extra package. You get the an alternate opening, alt credit sequence (from its release as Unsane) and... and this one is fucking cool as Hell... the full length documentary Yellow Fever that chronicles Gialli through the genre's hey day. It's an education for the novice and a reminder and well done archive for the expert.

Tenebrae's transfer is one of the best of the year, the steelbook being in my top 5 releases of 2016 when taken together with its multi disc, superior extra package. One of the driving forces behind it making my best of list without 2016 even closing out is due to the transfer that truly wowed me, as it will impress fans of this movie. You can safely use this as a standard by which Italian Horror is treated in an HD presentation alongside Grindhouse Releasing's recent Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox presentations.

Let's just say for a second that you've avoided Tenebrae over the years. Should you use this opportunity to check it out? Absolutely. This is the best it will look, and while I realize there is a Euro release of this title out there with some impressive artwork from our buddy Quiltface, that disc is OOP, limited and had a high price point even before it became a collector's item. If you can't make the leap to the Synapse steelbook to have a truly special release in your hands, then this is your best option. The price point is reasonable especially given the quality of the release. It's a solid Italian Horror murder mystery with the classic giallo elements in tow. From hotties on the march to a fantastic score performed by Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Massimo Morante. There's a generous amount of red stuff on the screen and is one of the best Argento films released in the 80's if not one of the finest gialli released in the genre.

You will not be disappointed.

Order your copy now:
or you can order from DiabolikDVD:[sl]-Thriller/Tenebrae-(Synapse-Single-Disc-Blu~Ray).html

From Synapse:


American mystery author Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) comes to Italy to promote his newest novel, TENEBRAE. Unfortunately, a razor-wielding serial killer is on the loose, taunting Neal and murdering those around him in gruesome fashion just like the character in his novel. As the mystery surrounding the killings spirals out of control, Neal investigates the crimes on his own, leading to a mind-bending, genre-twisting conclusion that will leave you breathless! Featuring an amazing synth-music score from Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Massimo Morante (formerly of Italian progressive-rock band, Goblin), this all-new 1080p high-definition TENEBRAE release was created from the original uncut camera negative. Also stars John Saxon (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), Daria Nicolodi (Dario Argento’s PHENOMENA) and John Steiner (CALIGULA).

(PLEASE NOTE: This is a single disc BLU-RAY release and does not contain the same materials as the Limited Edition Collectible Steelbook(R) Edition of TENEBRAE from Synapse Films. This version does not come in the collectible Steelbook(R) packaging, does not contain the additional DVD format version, the CD soundtrack, or the collectible booklet. If you would like to get the Limited Steelbook(R) version of TENEBRAE that contains these additional materials, you will need to call our office at 734-494-3502 to place your order. Because quantities are now so low on the Steelbook(R) release, we have removed it from our website. At last inventory, we only had around 100 units left of this edition. Call now, if you really want the Limited Steelbook(R) version.)

All-new Synapse Films supervised color correction and restoration of a 1080p scan from the original camera negative, presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1
Dual English and Italian language options with newly-translated English subtitle tracks for both
Audio commentary track featuring film critic and Argento scholar, Maitland McDonagh
Rare high-definition 1080p English sequence insert shots, playable within the film via Seamless Branching
Feature-length documentary, YELLOW FEVER: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GIALLO by High Rising Productions, chronicling the Giallo film genre from its beginnings as early 20th century crime fiction, to its later influences on the modern slasher film genre
Original UNSANE (U.S. version of TENEBRAE) end credits sequence
Alternate opening credits sequence
International theatrical trailer
Japanese SHADOW theatrical trailer

Runtime: 101 minutes

Release Date: September 13, 2016

Language: English and Italian Language Options (Original Mono 2.0 Release Mixes)

Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1080p (1.85:1) Presentation

Format: Blu-ray

Region: Region A

THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (Olive Blu-ray) - Italian Gothic Spooky Steele

The Olive release of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock looks pretty damn good. The cover art is the traditional poster, non reversible. The disc does not contain extras, but the price point reflects this. Collectors would want something more pn their Barbara Steele exposed HD release of a Italian Gothic Horror, but I'm afraid you'll have to settle for having the movie look good and in your collection.

Like many of the Gothic Horror pictures coming out of Europe during the 60's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is a slow burn, atmospheric mystery with some spooky sets. I put it on par with Nightmare Castle especially for fans of Steele, but perhaps it is more forced and melodramatic. The story is more straightforward than Nightmare Castle which came out three years later. You can tell that Steele had become very comfortable in roles of this type. It is her role in The Horrible Dr. Hichcock that seemingly prepared her for Mario Caiano and Nightmare Castle.

This is not for Italian splatter heads or for folks who love 70's giallo. This is for the ones who dig on Bava and mood and know how to read a ghost story ever now and again.

Order your copy now:

From Olive:

From director Robert Hampton, (Lust Of The Vampire) comes The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (L’orrible segreto del Dr. Hichcock), the twisted and terrifying tale of Dr. Bernard Hichcock (Robert Flemyng, The Quiller Memorandum) whose secret desires and perverse passions lead to the death of his wife, Margaret (Teresa Fitzgerald, Class of Iron). Remarrying years later, the doctor’s new bride Cynthia (Barbara Steele, Pit and the Pendulum) is unaware that her husband intends to use her blood to reanimate the corpse of his dearly departed Margaret.

EAT AT THE BLUE FOX and TITILLATION (#VinegarSyndrome DVD) - I Got a BJ at the BF

The Peekarama double feature DVD series continues with two movies from director Damon Christian. Christian started off making adult features in 1981 with Rhinestone Cowgirls (which will definitely make you have the ol' ear worm "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glenn Campbell stuck in your brain for days). He went on to make the movies featured on this set, Eat at the Blue Fox and Titillation back to back. He would continue working throughout the 80's, making Debbie Duz Dishes III and Yuppies in Heat before his filmmaking career would end. The two movies featured in this set are thoughtful comedies that pair well.

The Peekarama discs don't often get extra features, but this one has a trailer for Eat at the Blue Fox. It isn't much, but it's something. Both movies look good having been transferred from 35mm. Titillation looks better, and Eat at the Blue Fox actually suffers from some scenes wit low light looking a less than crisp. I noticed some pixalation. These are not Blu-rays mind you, and I think the overall product is good but not perfect.

Let's get on to a discussion about each of the movies.


If one thing has ever been certain it is that we all need a shirt that says “I Got a BJ at the BF”. You'll have to see the original shirt in the movie. It's also worth noting that Coors beer and pickled eggs were the preferred dining experience at the Blue Fox. There's a sheriff who's always putting one over on the club, but they performers get the last laugh. I kept waiting for the Bandit to show up to ride old Smokey out of town. I suppose that the combination of cops plus beer.

Ron Jeremy puts on a "great show" as he would put it including live sex acts and stripping. The whole thing generally has some straight forward sex and a threesome. Not much in the way of experimental or over the top porn. The women are gaudy with too much makeup and very busty. It has a cheap feel. In general we have a comedy with generic fucking and getting one up on "the man".


Titillation is a private detective story which is actually a fairly common vehicle for adult features in the late 70's and early 80's. This one differs in that it seems to almost have James Bond sensibilities especially when taking into account the great big, bronzed bra that seems to drive the story in a very Cinderella/glass slipper direction. What does it mean!? You'll find out and in doing so you'll understand how Russ Meyer influenced adult features with a oversized, large breasted character at the forefront of the mystery. The only thing larger are the porn mustaches.

Overall you have some interesting characters and a classic Hill Street Blues esque sexy opening song that sets the stage for some fairly normal fuck scenes. My favorite is the guy in a safari outfit reading Cheri magazine. You have to see this fella to believe it. The private dic porn story has been done and done better, but this one does have some funny moments to keep you entertained. There's plenty to look at tin the scenery and background. The movie has a tidy, Scooby Doo wrap up in the end. Keep an eye out for the fella who sorta looks like Jack Black.

Shooting critters under blankets? Rosanne's Revenge? Keep an ear out for some great one liners.

Order your copy of this Peekarama Double Feature from Vinegar Syndrome:

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Eat At The Blue Fox: Rick (Ron Jeremy) runs the hottest club south of the border, where anything goes, and everything does. Unfortunately, the sleazy sheriff doesn’t see things the same way and tries everything in his power to get a piece of the action at The Blue Fox! Starring Pamela Mann, Desiree Lane, Kitten Natividad and Jerry Abrams, EAT AT THE BLUE FOX is a zany and lust filled romp from beginning to end.

Titillation: A hard boiled private dick, Spaddo Zappo (Eric Edwards), has just been hired to solve the strangest case of his career: to help a wealthy old man reunite with the woman of his dreams…a woman with a bust line so large, he’s created a special golden bra that will only fit her. Probing the protuberances of Hollywood, Spaddo soon discovers that finding ‘the perfect two’ will be harder than it seems! Featuring the mammoth mammaries of Kitten Natividad (Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens) and Angelique Pettyjohn (Star Trek), TITILLATION is a riotous satire of film noir, in the same vein as Russ Meyer.

-combined info-
Directed by: Damon Christian
1983 & 1982 / 165 minutes / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: Pamela Mann, Kitten Natividad, Desiree Lane, Ron Jeremy, Jerry Abrams, Herschel Savage, Eric Edwards, Mike Horner

Features Include:
• Region free DVD
• Both films scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm interpositives
• Original theatrical trailer for EAT AT THE BLUE FOX

CHINA & SILK (#VinegarSyndrome Blu-ray) - The Case of the Unfortunate Fortune Cookies

Steve Scott has directed a number of strong adult features, and China & Silk truly stands out due to its production value, star power and action sequences that draw from the time in which it was made. You've got Harry Reems, Kristara Barrington and Ginger Lynn taking center stage in this picture made in 1984. It actually looks slightly older than that having been shot on 16mm film and with it's attention on storytelling and actual cinematic elements as opposed to shooting sex scene in a room. Even movies of the golden age of porn short change sets, focusing on beds no matter how luxurious. The sets seem to go a bit farther in this one.

Vinegar Syndrome offers both a Blu-ray and DVD on this release with TWO separate commentary tracks. No other extras, but I'm impressed that we were given options on the commentary side. It's a rarity to get a porn with one commentary track must less two. The transfer of the 16mm film looks good though you can tell it was blown up by the film grain. It's not bad mind you, but if you notice it, that's the reason why especially in low light conditions. The grain tends to really pop. The colors look vivid and black levels good. It also has reversible artwork!

The story seems to follow many 80's action/vice tropes which is just brilliant. The picture spends some time on the action sequences and not just the sex scenes. Scott does a fine job at getting the closeups, clear and from the proper angle, actually getting the proverbial money shot. Harry Reems always puts an element of comedy into his performances no matter how serious. He's a pleasure to have on screen. Ginger Lynn, as many of Doc Terror's readers will know, is a favorite of mine. She gives an excellent performance.

Keep an eye out for that pristine Dr. Pepper vending machine. It's a classic and beautiful.

You can order your copy for Vinegar Syndrome now:

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Lt. Harry Parker (Harry Reems) has just landed the role of lead investigator in a major dope smuggling case. It seems that Lily Chang (Kristara Barrington) has been importing heroine hidden inside fortune cookies, right under the nose of the law. Assigned to stake her out are two top undercover detectives (Ginger Lynn and Herschel Savage), but when fellow detective Mike Shaw (Paul Thomas) is killed by one of Chang’s hoods, Parker makes it his mission to put an end to her crime spree once and for all…

Director Steve Scott’s (TRASHY LADY) erotic action thriller features an all-star cast, top production values, and a suspense filled screenplay that will leave you guessing until the final twist. Never officially released on DVD, Vinegar Syndrome presents this forgotten classic newly restored from its original 16mm camera negative and on Blu-ray for the first time.

Directed by: Steve Scott
1984 / 88 minutes / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: Kristara Barrington, Ginger Lynn, Harry Reems, Paul Thomas, Herschel Savage, Colleen Brennan

Features Include:
• All extras on both formats
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack
• Scanned & restored in 2k from 16mm original negative
• Commentary track with cinematographer Tom Howard, moderated by filmmaker David McCabe
• Commentary track with actor Herschel Savage and XRCO co-founder, Bill Margold
• Reversible cover artwork

Monday, October 17, 2016

WAXWORK and WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME (#Vestron Blu-ray) - Take a Closer Look

Let's get something straight right off the bat. I realize that it's Lionsgate releasing these titles under the Vestron name or brand. I have chosen to refer to these releases as having come from Vestron and coming from the Vestron Collection and simply include a label about Lionsgate in my tags for the post. I do this because isn't it much more fun to think of these releases as coming from the great and sacred V? The Vestron we knew and still adore? It helps to perpetuate our nostalgia, and it brings back from the dead something we all hold dear as genre fans. Let's not get snippy, or try to bring each other down over something that is pure fun. Had to get that off my chest because I see quite a few Blu snobs trying to play social media one-ups-man-ship with fans who choose to say Vestron. Vestron lovers unite. You are clearly not alone, and know that Doc Terror is friendly to your cause and to the cause of Vestron (or Lionsgate's excellent marketing idea).

On to Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time. We have quite a bit to discuss, and it is most certainly good.

I first saw Waxwork taped off TV and then shortly thereafter mentioned in a Horror TV documentary that focused on the vampire segment. I was thrilled. This is a movie that plays on everything I hold dear in Horror, included some of my favorite actors and had a rich score with history and spook sensibilities. Of course it was cut for TV release, and so I missed out on some of the juicier bits and enjoyable language. I've seen it since, and while it was finally uncut it never looked all that great. It was in dire need of the Blu treatment. Waxwork needed a friend. It needed a distro company and a prayer that said distro company could give it a backstory. It's not every day that a movie is released that clearly is made for Monster Kids. Enter Vestron. Enter a jampacked release. Take a closer look with me.

Both Waxwork and Waxwork II look very good. This is a serious upgrade in terms of quality on both releases though I think Waxwork II actually benefits the most even if the original Waxwork is the one I was looking forward to the most. You'll be impressed with the color and black, as well as the clean, undamaged prints. While these are movies released in the late 80's and early 90's respectively, they still could have been left in a bad way prior to their HD release.

The cover art on the front is a split image double feature presentation. The slip cover has the Vestron Collection branding and the inside case does not. It contains artwork for each movie on each side of the card, so you can choose which one to display. The extra package is divided across two discs. That was a surprise for me as well. For some reason I assumed that this double feature set would be on one disc, compressed. This is another example of Vestron caring, and while one of the complaints I have seen about their new line up is the price point, this is two full disc of material, not just one. Let this add value to the release for those who may be questioning whether it is wallet worthy. Both discs feature still galleries, trailers and commentary tracks featuring Anthony Hickox & Zach Galligan. Disc 1 has the added bonus of a vintage making of featurette which is pure 80's gold. That's all well and good and fun. It's nice to see what qualified for a making of reel in 1988. Where this set shines for both feature films is the Waxwork Chronicles. This is a six part series that details every aspect of production for both releases. There are interviews and production notes. It's everything you could want to know about the releases. What's more is that this Chronicle shows how much the filmmaker and actors cared about each movie even though they seemed like small time Horror pictures. As a fan of these flicks, it's something special to see the folks behind the movie care as much as they do, and to see how that passion carries over into their film. The Chronicles is a must watch featurette nay FEATURE on the disc that spends a great deal of time with some of our favorite waxwork monster scenes. Also, the second disc features a music video for one of the songs in Waxwork II. I'm not going to say it's good, but I am going to say you MUST watch it.

Waxwork shows off the perfect collection of your favorite monsters. All the biggie monster movies are present, even some modern ones. When you cross the rope barrier that protects the wax displays from customers, the displays come to life. The displays get up and kill! Simple as that. From there you get an almost anthology style tale of Horror featuring a few of the choicest tales in the wax museum's arsenal. Some stories are more traditional like the tale involving the mummy others are more modern like the vampire tale that clearly is Dracula, but has a unique take on the whole mess. Perhaps the story that feels the most out of place is the tale of the Marqis de Sade, but I assure you that it works well and has some of the most erotic and most fun performances offered. While I won't spoil it wholesale, the ending of this picture is one giant orgy or monster scenes. Your favorites are there. They are alive. They are trying to take over the world.  

The original Waxwork is one bloody, gory picture. Nearly all effects are practical. There are missing limbs, folks split in two, whipping, steak tar tar. The works! My favorite monster makeup is featured in the werewolf tale which seems to emulate The Howling. That's my favorite type of werewolf design. Standing on hind legs, big ears, lots of hair, not traditional wolf looking at all. The performances are over the top, completely. It works brilliantly to sell the absolute gonzo horror that unfolds in almost play-like performances. You'll notice David Warner as the curator of the waxwork. He is a brilliant villain, and underutilized Horror performer. I sincerely admire him. Zach Galligan offers a strong performance as the rather privileged leading man who rises to the occasion to continue the family tradition of fighting the forces of evil. 

Waxwork II: Lost in Time is a movie with which I am less familiar. I was always so taken by the original that I never gave the sequel as much attention. The basic premise is that our surviving characters from the original film return to fight the forces of evil only this time they aren't just up against wax displays that come to life. They are fighting the forces of darkness throughout time and also battling the legal system. This story is less concrete. The original was simple and almost a throwback to mad scientist flicks of the 50's. Waxwork II makes the same variety play as the original movie only finds itself a little sloppy. Scenes seem to drift into one another where the original felt a certain separation of the tales. The compartmentalized nature of the original tales allowed for a great variety of villains without feeling rammed down our throat. The sequel does not show the same discretion. 

The violence isn't exactly as exaggerated as the original, but many of the performances work. Not as good, but absolutely watchable and enjoyable. I feel like my take on Waxwork II comes off as though I did not enjoy it. I did but clearly not as much as the original picture. Where the original had a soundtrack that was built to scare, the sequel almost has a hokey score. The use of Sing Sing Sing in the original opening sequence is unforgettable. There's nothing quite like that in the followup. 

Enjoy this set. It's the perfect way to enjoy all your monster movies at the same time especially if you're in a bit of a time crunch. Waxwork is a childhood favorite of mine, one that embodies everything I enjoy about Horror. Vestron has given me a chance to relive some of my fondest Horror memories, and hopefully a way for new Horror fans to reconnect with classic 80's Horror that pays proper respect to monsters throughout the ages. Monster Kids MUST pick this one up.

You can pick up Waxwork and Waxwork 2 from DiabolikDVD now:

From Vestron:

In WAXWORK, a private midnight showing at a local wax museum turns to mayhem when its soul-sucking wax exhibits come to life! Inside the wax museum a group of teenagers are aghast at the hauntingly lifelike wax displays of Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and other character members of the Horror Hall of Fame. Each display is perfectly grotesque, yet each is missing one thing . . . a victim! Admission to the WAXWORK was free but now they may pay with their lives! One by one, the students are drawn into the settings as objects of the blood thirsty creatures. They are now part of the permanent collection. Having escaped the fiery destruction of the original WAXWORK, Mark (Zach Galligan, GREMLINS) and Sarah (Monika Schnarre, TV’s BEVERLY HILLS 90210) face another grueling ordeal in WAXWORK II, when Sarah is accused of murdering her stepfather. Fleeing through the doors of time in a desperate search for proof of her innocence, the two lovers find themselves caught in the eternally recurring battle between good and evil. Together they must stop one of the most powerful and demonic figures of all time — Lord Scarabus. WAXWORK SPECIAL FEATURES Audio Commentary with Anthony Hickox & Zach Galligan Featurettes: “The Waxwork Chronicles” (Parts 1–6) Vintage “Making of” Featurette Theatrical Trailer Still Gallery WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME SPECIAL FEATURES Audio Commentary with Anthony Hickox & Zach Galligan Theatrical Trailer Still Gallery

VIOLENT SHIT (Reel Gore Blu-ray) - Remaking the German Splatter Epic as a Giallo

I am really very impressed by the Reel Gore release of the remake of Violent Shit. There are a ton of interviews with various folks who were either on screen, behind the scenes or who can provide historical context for the remake including a history of the Violent Shit series. It also comes with a making of featurette. The limited edition release has a soundtrack CD that includes some recycled Simonetti as well as a DVD and Blu-ray. This beats the trend of including an isolated soundtrack track, making this soundtrack junkie very happy. The actual physical copy is most impressive with a booklet (not a media book) release that features plenty of stills and artwork.

Now as a movie, I must admit to being underwhelmed. Violent Shit has been reborn as a giallo. It's not nearly as violent as the original series and not nearly as gory. It's beyond heavy on the dialogue. While the ending lays on the gratuity thick, it doesn't make up for the rest of the movie being one reat big talk box. There's simply too much down time with long scenes of conversation that truly do not take the film in any meaningful direction.

The original is still king, but I will say that I enjoyed the look of the killer in the remake. I'm glad they took a slightly different approach with the whole movie to differentiate from the original series, but it should have tried to exemplify the title as the original series certainly did. There's no challenge in the movie. Nothing nearly as shocking as the scenes of extreme violence in the original. It doesn't even compare to many modern indie, ultra realistic splatter films that focus all too much on realism over good clean gore fun.

Fans of the original, I think you'll be disappointed if you expect that same level of intensity. Fans of giallo, this is a nice modern take on the genre though it doesn't quite compare to movies like Amer and Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears. If you simply come to this movie as a Horror fan or as a fan of Italian Horror in general, you may be able to look past its heavy handed use of shots of conversation to enjoy some of the climax. One thing is for certain, Reel Gore Releasing knows how to put out a Blu-ray! What a package!

Order now from DiabolikDVD:[sl]-Thriller/Violent-Shit-The-Movie-(ReelGore-US-Release)-(CD-[sl]-DVD-[sl]-Blu~Ray-All-Region).html

From ReelGore:

Rome is shattered by a series of gruesome murders that paint the Eternal City deep red. The suspicion grows that these atrocious crimes are connected with the return of one of the most heinous serial killers of our time - Karl the Butcher.

“The relentless Karl the Butcher, beloved and best known to gorehounds and German Underground aficionados has been revamped and re-envisioned; his trademark brutality in the likes of the distinctly German independent VIOLENT SHIT now remade into an equally ghastly giallo featuring a Claudio Simonetti soundtrack. VIOLENT SHIT — THE MOVIE is an homage to both the original’s 25th anniversary and the producer’s love of Italian horror and blends German gore movies with the ”mastery of Italian horror.” The film stars Italian genre mainstay Giovanni Lombardo Radice as “the devil incarnate, who masterminds Karl the Butcher’s evil murder spree.” Italian directors Enzo G. Castellari (INGLORIOUS BASTARDS) and Luigi Cozzi (CONTAMINATION) have cameos in the movie, as well as Lucio Fulci’s screenwriter Antonio Tentori and SUSPIRIA’s Barbara Magnolfi.” -Fangoria

DVD NTSC  All Region
Blu-Ray All Region
CD plays music

Video: 1,78:1 (16:9) Full HD 1080p

Audio: German, English,

Subtitles:  English,French, Spanish subtitles

Duration: 82 min. - Uncut Version




TRIBUTE TO LILLI CARATI – The Last Interview                    




BASKET CASE 2 AND BASKET CASE 3 (Synapse Films Blu-ray) - Coming Out of the Basket Times TWO


The original Basket Case will make you jump all the way into a New York City dumpster, close the lid and making you either act like Belial or pray for morning.  You know the old story... guy's brother lives in a basket that he carries around with him after being separated from him surgically. Of course the little fella in the basket is pissed, has a bad temper and likes to splatter people across the wall (with freshly tossed Crayola red goodness of course). Belial was a creepy looking creature of a separated twin brother. The effects used to make him move, speak and kill are offputting and memorable. That's the original movie of course. The first sequel is kind of an 80's mess of a thing. Strange part is, I love the mess.

The follow up to Frank Henenlotter's classic body Horror splat picture is a study in 80's practical effects, overuse of makeup and creative creature design that may revival the original Star Wars in terms of ingenuity. I can appreciate all that. I can also forgive so many of the story flaws that force me to watch the movie as a near music video for the visual aesthetic alone rather than a cohesive work of Horror. Hey, you can't love em all, right? Fans of the original or fans of Henenlotter will love Basket Case 2, forgive all its short comings and appreciate the mad effects geniuses that made the 80's great. If you want to be scared, this ain't the movie for you. If you're out to have a bit of fun and gross out the norms... do it!

Note for the Doc: the end sex scene sold me on this movie. You can ignore the rest of the movie if you need to, if you find it boring, if you simply cannot get into... hit up the ending and turn on some Marvin Gaye. It's not quite the Shunting sequence from Society, but it's up there with one of the great Horror sex scenes of all time. Call this one  "Belial in Love" for a subtitle.

Synapse has never let me down. Their Blu-rays are impeccable with a transfer that honors the release. The quality is superb, strong black levels and good color saturation for a vibrant, gory picture. It's a clean release without dirt or scratching. The new cover artwork by Joel Robinson is inspired. I love that guy. It's fitting for the movie, fun and an excellent, modern interpretation embodying what makes body Horror juicy good fun. Definitely check out the making of featurette that focuses in on the special effects creation. That's why you love Henenlotter movies beyond the bizarre anti-heroes and perverse fetishistic conveyance of sexual anything.

Order your copy now:

From Synapse:

Duane Bradley and his surgically-separated twin brother Belial return in this frightfully gory follow-up to Frank Henenlotter’s original monster movie classic, BASKET CASE. After surviving a fall from a hospital window, the two brothers become media targets. Duane’s aunt, Granny Ruth (played by world-famous Jazz singer Annie Ross), whisks the duo away to a secluded mansion, where other freaks-in-hiding live out their days away from public scrutiny. When a snooping tabloid reporter finds the location of the mutants, Duane and his new family must stand together to keep their freedom a secret. And, in all the chaos, Belial might actually find true love!

Synapse Films is proud to present BASKET CASE 2 in a beautiful high-definition transfer from the original 35mm camera negative.


THE MAN IN THE MOON MASK – Interview with “Half Moon” actor, David Emge
BEYOND THE WICKER – Behind-the-Scenes Featurette from Special Effects Makeup Artist, Gabe Bartalos
Reversible Cover art with newly commissioned front piece by Joel Robinson


And Synapse brings the Body Horror again with a Blu-ray release of the second followup to the classic Frank Henenlotter picture, Basket Case, Basket Case 3: The Progeny. I suppose this sequel was inevitable given the way the second one ended. You know what happens when the insane, monsterific, basketed twin brother doesn't put a rain jacket on the big guy! We end up with little creatures that are clearly meant to bend the line between creature feature Body Horror and comedy in true 80's fashion. Does it work?

It's not secret that the story line from Basket Case 2 didn't exactly light me up. It's was tolerable, but I find that that movie is simply wonderful for the creature and special effects creation. It's a visually pleasing movie. Basket Case 3 continues that same sentiment. The story line is far fetched in a non scary and non-threatening manner but serves nicely as a vehicle for the artists of 80's physical effect Horror to do their best work. I appreciate their efforts. I tolerate the narrative. I laugh at times and even allow myself to empathize with new monster parents.

Truth be told it's a forced story that takes what was a fun Horror picture in the original and bends it to near Troma proportions. This trilogy builds from a near traditional original movie to a gonzo sequel to an over-gonzo third installment.  If you like part 2, you'll like part 3. If you liked the original, didn't like part 2, then you'll probably want to distant yourself from this one as well (especially if you were cold hearted enough not to enjoy the sex scene at the end of part 2).

We have another solid transfer from Synapse that looks great. The extra package is a bit light when compared to the offering in the sequel, but at least we get some awesome new cover art that's reversible from Joel Robinson.

Order your copy now:

From Synapse:


He’s back. He’s bad. And, he’s a dad! Belial, everyone’s favorite beast-in-a-basket, is back in this sensational third film in the wildly macabre BASKET CASE horror series.

After being separated again from his conjoined twin brother Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck), Belial finds out he’s going to be a deformed daddy! Mrs. Belial (“Eve”, played by Denise Coop) delivers a litter of bouncing baby monsters, but the blessed event turns into a nightmarish ordeal when the police kidnap the little critters. They should know it’s not safe to anger Belial! Attacking the cops in a climactic, gory rampage, everyone’s favorite mutant mauler stops at nothing to get his newborns back!

Synapse Films is proud to present BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY in a beautiful high-definition transfer from original 35mm vault materials.


Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible Cover art with newly commissioned front piece by Joel Robinson

HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5 (#VinegarSyndrome Blu-ray) - Nightmare in a Damaged Brain meets Point Break

There's nothing quite like a mad scientist flick. They'll bring you back to the 30's and 40's just as soon as they'll cross wire you to the best schlock of the 60's. Even at their worst there's an element of perfect cheese that makes them almost cartoonish. They can take you back to your fondest childhood comic book. That's where we find Horror House on Highway 5. Vinegar Syndrome has given a spotlight to two of the films of Richard Casey (the other being Hellbent) and we are blessed with a very complete movie watching experience from good transfer to solid extra package and cover art presentation.

There's something at the root of some rather strange murders and it just might be a Nazi scientist... a MAD scientist. Oh and he's dead to boot! This isn't quite Ed Wood having Bela Lugosi build a race of atomic supermen. That's closer to a laugh track than it is to a true Horror picture. What we have here is a low budget Horror flick with some workable elements that create some moderately scary scenes and an overall aesthetic that fans of modern independent Horror can connect with. Richard Casey knows how to create visually interesting works. That's why he directs music videos more than full length features. There are tripply moments with some new wave or post-punk music (fans of Hellbent by Casey will understand how that's possible).

This movie is all over the place, and perhaps it should be. Horror House on Highway 5 is a homemade Horror movie. It has some strong scenes especially in the opening that features a killer in a Nixon mask that is somehow reminiscent of the end scenes from Nightmare in a Damaged Brain. I'd go so far as to say if you're a fan of Nightmare, you probably need to check this one out. For as much I find this movie diffuclt to follow, it’s just got enough weird shit in it to keep your eyes entertained.

The transfer is pretty damn great especially given the source material is 16mm. Often a 16mm source will leave the movie feeling blown up (specifically due to the size of the negative). While you may notice it, it does not detract from the picture. I prefer the traditional artwork on this release to the alternate art. You get a making of featurette, a commentary track with the director and even the music video inspiration for Horror House. There's also a full frame version of the movie.

Grab a blanket and some hot cocoa (pay attention and you'll understand why I recommend them).

Order this one from Vinegar Syndrome:

From Vinegar Syndrome:

Note: This release is limited to 3,000 units and is currently only available on and through select retail partners (DiabolikDVD). Heads up: we might release HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5 & HELLBENT as a barebones double feature in late 2017.

A mysterious killer, wearing a Nixon mask, terrorizes and murders a young couple. A professor assigns his students a project investigating the strange events connected to a possibly dead Nazi scientist, Dr. Fredrick Bartholomew. The doctor’s assistant kidnaps students, holding them hostage and torturing them. Meanwhile, Nixon stalks the night!

One of the most confusing and compelling homemade horror films ever made, future music video director Richard Casey’s debut feature film, shot over years on nights and weekends, is a delirious collage of oddball gore, ludicrous plot twists, and a general milieu of weirdness unlike anything else in cinema history. Newly restored from original 16mm vault elements, Vinegar Syndrome presents one of the quintessential cult movies of the 80s officially on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time anywhere in the world.

Directed by: Richard Casey
1985 / 88 minutes / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: Phil Therrien, Max Manthey, Irene F., Michael Castagnolia, Susan Leslie, Richard Meltzer, Steve DeVorkin, Ronald Reagan

Features Include:
• All extras on both formats
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack
• Scanned and restored in 2k from 16mm archival elements
• “Return to Horror House on Highway 5” – making of featurette
• Commentary track with director Richard Casey
• “Beach Party with Vom” – music video directed by Richard Casey (the impetus for Horror House on Highway 5)
• Alternate full frame presentation of Horror House on Highway 5
• Reversible cover artwork by Kevin Thomas

And just to be a completist... here's the trailer from 2014 from Brain Damaged Films for Horror House on Highway 6