Friday, March 27, 2015
When two sisters find a harmless looking object in the woods, they cannot know to what extent it will change their world – and ours – forever. The small, sphere – mysterious, seductive, enticing – conveys a message, a deep, profound biological message, that will reshape our world, recasting relationships with the universe beyond our wildest dreams and worst nightmares.
Extremely mild spoilers ahead. Nothing that you don't find out in the first couple minutes, but let's be overly cautious for folks who like movies and don't want to form an opinion based upon this review or the "internet's opinion" of the movie. Hint: see the movie.
It Follows is not a gratuitous movie. While a great deal of the film is based around the premise of the sexually transmitting of a supernatural death sentence, you don't have to watch any one take the old one eye down to tuna town. It's loving. It's emotional, and with that you get characters with which you can related who feel fictional but approachable. These are friends, and they feel the people you've known without feeling so real that you might find their flaws a reason to turn on them. Our main crew are frightened, react appropriately, and I'm glad we got a cast that works so well together even if their are some strange moments that feel disjointed due to a lack of explanation or evolution of character. This is a spooky flick that comes in at under 2 hours. We'll cut them some slack.
The underlying feeling as a I watched this eerie flick was that I had seen some of these scenes before in other movies. There are moments that truly felt as though I was watching slight improvs of scenes from the original Nightmare on Elm Street or perhaps Halloween; perhaps they were almost homages to some of my favorite horror pictures . Two moments in particular. One involving our leading lady watching her friend's house waiting to see if anything would happen to him (akin to Nancy watching Glen's house through barred window. Another involved a school sequence where Jay is in class, staring out a window and begins to see strange things all the while a piece of literature is read in the background. Are you thinking Laurie Strode... fate? Are you thinking Nancy... dreeeeeeams? Either works and intentional or not it's something I picked up on. Rest assured I have not spoiled anything for you. Just something to keep under your hat while you watch It Follows this weekend as it opens to a wider audience.
This movie has some moments of retro cool that shows itself in some of the props used in various scenes that sort of try to age the film that don't always work with the automobiles I'm seeing in the background. The old station wagon is great, but the newer model cars thrust me out of that dreamy nostalgia state. It definitely feels old and at times, dirty. 1980's chic with a touch of the now (a makeup mirror that double as an e-reader?). The movie was filmed in Detroit which explains the bombed out look of plenty of the scenes that give the picture an appropriate feeling of dread. David Robert Mitchell has used Detroit as his backdrop before in The Myth of the American Sleepover. For a new guy on the block he makes a damn good movie.
There's the slightest... ever so slight... bit of gore. Nothing a Walking Dead fan can't handle. Do not expect a "full loaded" burrito here. This is more of "mind plays tricks on you"/suspense/tension film. Yes there are jump scares, and they work perfectly. There are moments where "IT" will just show up... out of nowhere...and not as you might expect which had this viewer jumping backward. I was riveted, waiting for the scares and pissed off that my eyes felt so dry from keeping them so wide. That's probably the best recommendation for a horror picture with plenty of atmosphere and organic scares that you could hope for.
Enjoy some of the Horror and Science Fiction features that pop up from time to time. Invaders from Mars was the one that is most prominent in my memory. Who can forget those eyes. I'm not entirely certain that the choice of these background flicks plays into the underlying meaning of the film, but they're good fun. After reviewing the new Scream Factory Blu for Invaders from Mars recently and now seeing a reference to the original in It Follows, I'm due for a rewatch of the original. Speaking of underlying messages or watching It Follows as a moral tale or a tale that tries to demonize sexual promiscuity or that the central theme of the movie should have a metaphor that suggests a passing of sexually transmitted disease or AIDS, I'm going to leave that for the people who want to discuss the implicit race discussion in Night of the Living Dead. I just wanna be scared, and I was. Happily so. I was scared and I didn't feel shitty afterward because of the movie having to be so overly downtrodden or "real", and I was scarred while being thoroughly entertained. Too many movies go for the mean spirited "fuck you". Too many want you to feel like your watching your waking life. Thanks to It Follows for being a horror movie and not a portrait of doom and gloom.
What does all this mean? It means you should support It Follows on its expanded opening weekend starting Friday March 27th. Great Friday night movie. May not get you laid in the theater or afterward. Don't let that stop you.
Here's a sampling of the music so you can get excited for the soundtrack and try to grab the vinyl as well:
Here's the trailer although I recommend just jumping in without listening to anymore hype or setting an expectation. I didn't really know what I was going to watch and that helped to avoid the over-hyping that turns great horror into the internet's opinion pinata. Check your local listings. It's playing two miles away from me. I may go check er out again.
IT FOLLOWS was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell and features an up and coming ensemble cast that includes Maika Monroe (THE GUEST, THE 5th WAVE) in the lead role.
Monroe plays 19-year-old Jay, who, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions. She can't shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her.
As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
BUY TICKETS MARCH 28TH, 12PM
and like the Hudson Horror Show Facebook page for updates on the event:
The story so far (announced titles)...
In addition, a Special Guest Q & A will include Gary Sales (Producer of Madman) and Madman Marz himself, Paul Ehlers. Vinegar Syndrome will be on sight selling their new Blu-ray of Madman (sure to be a slasher resto favorite). The event will include numerous other vendors as well as all the microwave hotdogs you can buy from the concession stand.
The recent triple feature at the Alamo Drafthouse was only an appetizer for the 11th HHS event (that featured Sleepaway Camp, Blood Beach and Giant Spider Invasion) and that sold out!
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
To be honest I almost prefer to the pornography of the later Nikkatsu to the more structured, narrative fiction of Japan during the 60's and 70's. It's not that I cannot appreciate a ghost story or Japanese horror cinema in general, but it is not my preference. I've often struggled with influential films of the 60's and 70's coming out of Japan that focus on the supernatural as opposed to the less invasive, less though provoking fiction (think Kaiju). I give movies of this type a chance, appreciate strong visual presence but frown at the narrative that walks and meanders from slightly obscure reference to cultural novelty with which I am unfamiliar. Perhaps my lack of an open mind or research on this type of film, this genre, the supernal films of Asia during the 60's and 70's is at fault alone. I cannot connect save for a few action sequences and absolutely enticing end sequence in this case. It's almost easier to enjoy the later, adult offerings from this studio even with the lack of artistic merit found there in. Still I understand why it is great, though not my preference. You can hold Blind Woman's Curse right up there with a movie like Kwaidan, a movie that is six years Curse's senior. Kwaidan of course is considered the masterpiece of Japanese supernatural cinema and this is not its equal, but it is in the same class.
This release boasts colors that are robust, gorgeous. The palette is exotic and the transfer is shocking clear. The Arrow touch is not lost on this curse filled picture. The cover art is exquisite and lively. Highlights include:
- New high definition digital transfer of the film prepared by Nikkatsu Studios
- Presented in High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
- Uncompressed mono PCM audio
- Newly translated English subtitles
- Audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp
- Original Trailer
- Trailers for four of the films in the Meiko Kaji-starring Stray Cat Rock series, made at the same studio as Blind Woman's Curse
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
- Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes, illustrated with original archive stills.
Synopsis from Arrow:
Sunday, March 15, 2015
The disc looks great. Nice transfer. Not too much DNR (if any really). Arrow does this aspect quite well. The colors are rich with deep reds and browns that really are the signature look of the genre. The extra package is extensive. Here's the list from Arrow including a detailed walk through two different versions as well as the audio options included. Plenty of interviews, deleted scenes, trailers and the typical arrow treatment of a reversible cover and booklet.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- Brand new restoration from the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of both versions of the film: the original Italian theatrical release, and the shortened version that was screened internationally
- Original uncompressed mono audio, with English or Italian soundtracks on the longer cut and an English soundtrack on the shorter one
- Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio
- Brand new interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
- Brand new interview with Tonino Valerii’s biographer Roberto Curti
- Previously unreleased 2008 interview with Tonino Valerii
- Deleted scene
- Theatrical trailers
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
- Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Howard Hughes (author of Spaghetti Westerns), illustrated with original poster designs
Giuliano Gemma plays street cleaner Scott Mary, relentlessly bullied by the people of the small town of Clifton. When legendarily ruthless master gunfighter Frank Talby (Van Cleef) rides into town, Scott seizes the opportunity to lift himself out of the gutter, and possibly even surpass Talby’s own skills. But what is Talby doing in Clifton in the first place?
Friday, March 13, 2015
This week on the show, Jeff (@Jeff_FOTD), and Jesse (@DestroySuperman) explain what's been going on with the show, catch up on what they've been watching, and talk about all sorts of random things... There is no featured review this week, due to scheduling. However, you can bet that there's lots of inappropriate banter and genre film talk.
iTunes listeners: Please take a moment to leave us a rating/review
Looking to order any of the 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 any of the movies discussed tonight, or you just want to give us feedback on the podcast in general, please send an email to DeadAirHorrorPodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Also check out Green's new interview effort, Adam Green's Scary Sleepover. It's great fun.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Private investigator Nick Popodopolis (John Leslie) has a problem: there’s a corpse of a beautiful woman (Juliet Anderson) on the floor of his office. As he explains his case to an alcoholic lieutenant (Cameron Mitchell), a strange story of blackmail, mystery and murder unfolds, all centered on an enigmatic movie star, Dixie Ray (Lisa Deleeuw).
Anthony Spinelli’s big budget WWII era set noir ranks as one of the last truly ambitious X rated movies ever made. With an all star cast that also features Kelly Nichols, Veronica Hart and Samantha Fox, the film was released in both X and R rated versions, both of which are presented here fully restored from their original 35mm negatives.
First off, you can order this double feature release now from Vinegar Syndrome. Remember that this is an adult feature. Porn. The sticky stuff.
From Vinegar Syndrome:
Meet the girls at Hot Legs: beautiful models who will do anything to please their photographers. As an important publication deadline approaches, everyone tries to focus on work but will their lustful desires get in the way
Hot Legs has one badass, 70's style, cock rock intro that almost has the feeling of a T-Rex song and still better... it features the title of the goddamn movie!
Chinn's style is to emphasize penetration with close ups. Fuzzy actors and actresses with carefully placed lights that provide a look of fantastic dream-like quality without soft-focusing the Hell ouf ot you. We're talking thick manes of jungley bush that are separated by the machete of an erect cock. He holds his shots while initial penetration occurs to the point of tension, building sexual suspense. Consider this first contact. His scenes feature great backdrops. This picture has great lighting.
This particular story has moments of great humor. The good boss/bad boss routine is a common trope of the 80's sex comedy and Hot Legs wears it well. Pay attention for a marvelous porn stache toward the end of the film where a dancing queen photo shoot gives way to fucking. You even get one of the actresses on roller skates. Yum.
From Vinegar Syndrome:
John Holmes is the biggest stud in Hollywood. All the girls love him and can never get enough. Follow John through the most star studded and erotic adventure of his life.
Of the two movies on this release, I'm definitely partial to Hot Legs due to story, actresses and lighting (some of those closeups are extremely memorable). Again we get some fantasic credit music courtesy of Jay Philips who also did the music for Hot Legs. This one is more like 70's low key guitar pop, but it features the movie title again!
Chinn has a thing with women getting off and ignoring a ringing phone. This happened in Hot Legs and watching California Gigolo, it can't be a coincidence. While in Hot Legs, the fuck buddies ignore the call and try to put the call to their ancient answering machine, California Gigolo takes a more direct approach. The hottie in this one masturbates... with the goddamn batphone! Let's get one thing straight. If you have a big red phone, it's a batphone. This is a batphone. What's more... the phone call continues through the entire masturbation sequence. I remember an ex girlfriend from my youth doing something similar at my request. It sounds just like you think it does... not sexy, but you just can't believe someone's doing THAT on the other end! Pure unleaded testosterone right there.
The typical Chinn closeups continue to the audiences benefit. He's not afraid to get face to face with John Holmes' cock. He's quickly becoming a favorite of mine daring to look into the sacred whispering eye of the vagina. Some of his camera work in this picture reminds me of Neon Nights directed by Cecil Howard.
Holmes is wearing his perfect fro and modest porn stache. He's not the sole focus of the movie which is great for me. I'm not a huge fan of the huge one. There are some particulary impressive deep throat shots, plenty of hair bush, puffy nipples and even a bear skin rug! California Gigolo features some of the longest lhabia I've seen... and a thumb that doesn't miss its mark. Add some wine... (wait for it)... bottle sex and you've got a moderate gonzo film with variety and some very hot moments.
Unlike books, judging movies by their covers is perfectly acceptable, and by that token The Muthers must be one of the greats. Everything from the artwork preservation to transfer of the DVD is solid. The disc doesn't contain much in the way of extras; only a trailer. You'll appreciate the classic DPI bumper at the outset and the opening scene with the classic, funked-up dramatic music.
The Muthers is not the best of its genre; it isn't my favorite Women in Prison movie (which may be reserved for The Big Bird Cage or Black Mama, White Mama. For an amalgam of two separate exploitation subgenres it's a fine effort though it's not quite filthy enough or mean enough, but it certainly has enough exploitable elements to entertain. It's quotable, and if you stick around for 30 minutes or so the thing really comes to life (once everyone enters prison). You've got all key tropes from the obligatory shower scene to a bunch of prisoners gang beating another prisoner to get their privileges back.
You can order The Muthers now and see just how far Santiago pushes exploitation:
Details from Vinegar Syndrome:
Climb aboard THE MUTHERS, the meanest, toughest and most action packed pirate ship in the pacific. Join Jayne Kennedy, Rosanne Katon, Jeannie Bell and their all female crew on a daring rescue mission to save one of their own from the clutches of vicious white slavers. Directed by the master of Filipino sleaze, Cirio Santiago, THE MUTHERS blasts onto DVD newly restored from its 35mm negative.
Arrow Video has given me a chance to reconnect with Mark of the Devil, older and fully aware of the subtext of the film. Now I own a DVD of this release, and it isn't half bad,but this Blu-ray is something to be cherished in terms of color palette and beautiful contrast. Perfect film grain. This torture movie s a pleasure on the eyes. It outshines the previous DVD release and is light years beyond the wellworn VHS tape I watched at 16. I'm a proud fan of this movie today. Hell, I even have one of those barf bags they gave out to patrons (imitation or recreation to be sure).
Mark of the Devil has a solid extra package with a commentary track by director Michael Armstrong, outtakes, trailers and plenty of interviews with cast members including cult fan favorite Udo Kier. The real meat and potatoes of the extras are the look back at Hallmark releasing with Michael Gingold of Fangoria and the history of British horror in the 70's. I read Fango regularly to this day. I think that Gingold cares about horror and truly loves it. On several occasions I had the chance to enjoy his company at 35mm screening, and I'm glad to hear him speak about the history of Hallmark Releasing on this disc. Listen to the man; you'll learn something. As for the British horror history lesson, it's a limited doc at 40 mins but offers a nice summary of Brit horror from the 60's and 70's. It's nice to see so many of these titles being treated so well. Peter Walker immediately comes to mind.
As for the film itself, the opening features a beautiful tar and feathering complete with H.G. Lewis style gore that mounts through the entire picture. As many of you know I have an affinity for movie blood color and prefer my gore in the key of Crayola red. Mark of the Devil does not disappoint. Thing of this as a true torture by numbers film; a Grand Guignol of the witchfinder variety, not to be confused with The Conqueror Worm starring Vincent Price. The backdrop is the perfect village in the middle of nowhere Europe with a unique location that carried the audience outside of the world of Hammer and Amicus (that often used the same sets over and over per the featurette attached here to). When's the last time you saw a live bunny used as a marionette... on MARIONETTE WIRES!?This is witchhunter-sploitation at its finest and imaginative or at least thoughtful.
Herbert Lom is the creepiest villain in many movies from the 70's and this is no different. Poor Udo Kier is always the victim of the worst dubbing. I enjoy his performance here and in most movies, but you have to firmly suspend a bit of laughter with the obnoxious voice overs. You can try to avoid this using the German language track, but I've always watched it in English. Speaking of voice overs, the narration provided just after the opening sequence of the film is a well placed Mondo and exploitation trick used to given historical context for a release that may be more gravy than of grave. In this instance it almost comes off as the beginning of the TV show Dragnet. With a fiery background and scrolling text no less! Perhaps the most wonderful discovery, watching this movie with fresh eyes, was that composer Michael Holm's score bears a vague resemblance to the theme from Cannibal Holocaust. I love them both.
By the end of Mark of the Devil you truly feel like you just waited on line for the witchunter ride at Disney or Epcot. This movie may as well be the Carousel of Progress of the 70's exploitation from Britain. Mark of the Devil is available this month on Blu-ray/DVD combo, and, as part of the new Arrow initiative, you can watch it on a Region A player! While Arrow had released many of a movie without region lock in the past, in the last couple years they were forced to lock the movies Region B due to rights issues and release restrictions. The new Arrow US has started making these releases available to those of you in the states. This is a great way to start collecting if you haven't had a region free player.
Order Mark of the Devil now from DiabolikDVD. Get ready for plenty of Arrow. Get ready for the third wave British invasion (or is this the forth?)
As the good man says, "Strip him down so the women can enjoy it"! Clearly the best line in the movie.
From DiabolikDVD and Arrow:
Once proclaimed as "positively the most horrifying film ever made", Mark of the Devil arrives in a director-approved edition featuring a new restoration of the feature. A bloody and brutal critique of religious corruption, Mark of the Devil sees horror icon Udo Kier (Flesh for Frankenstein, Suspiria) play a witchfinder's apprentice whose faith in his master (Herbert Lom) becomes severely tested when they settle in an Austrian village. Presided over by the sadistic Albino (a memorably nasty turn from Reggie Nalder), the film presents its morality not so much in shades of grey as shades of black. Written and directed by Michael Armstrong, who would later pen Eskimo Nell, The Black Panther and House of the Long Shadows, this classic shocker has lost none of its power over the years.
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements
- Optional English and German audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Newly translated English subtitles for the German audio
- Audio commentary by Michael Armstrong, moderated by Calum Waddell
- Mark of the Times - exclusive feature-length documentary from High Rising Productions on the emergence of the 'new wave' of British horror directors that surfaced during the sixties and seventies
- Hallmark of the Devil - author and critic Michael Gingold looks back at Hallmark Releasing, the controversial and confrontational distributor that introduced Mark of the Devil to American cinemas
- Interviews with composer Michael Holm and actors Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schoner and Herbert Lom
- Mark of the Devil: Now and Then - a look at the film's locations and how they appear today
- Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
- Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Anthony Nield, plus an interview with Reggie Nalder by David Del Valle, all illustrated with original stills and artwork
Saturday, March 7, 2015
+ BD/DVD Combo Pack | Region Free | 1.66:1 OAR | DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
+ Commentary w/ Director
+ Commentary w/ Director, Mary Gail Arts (Lead Actress) & others
+ Commentary w/ The Hysteria Continues!
+ Cast & Crew Featurette (60m)
+ Autograph Signing Party Featurette (30m)
+ TV Promo Compilation (15m)
+ Theatrical Trailer
+ Production Still Gallery
+ Press & Art Gallery
+ Script Gallery