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Friday, April 29, 2016

Long Live the Newest Flesh - HARVEST LAKE (2016) - On Blu-ray and VIMEO

When Harvest Lake was first announced I had planned on participating in the funding campaign, but somehow I seemed to have simply missed out on contributing. I want that to be a disclaimer because I would have contributed if I had not procrastinated and missed out, so I guess you can say I'm biased in that regard. Instead I simply purchased a signed Blu-ray when they became available. That's what you're supposed to do especially when you want to make sure that a dedicated indie Horror and genre director like Scott Schirmer, his cast and crew gets something in return other than praise from a Horror blog. 

Harvest Lake follows a group of twenty somethings headed into the woods to do some celebrating only to find an erotic oasis of persistent, strange, creature-liscious experiences behind every tree, and of course, in the titular lake. What begins with party games and good fun, ends in something that my daunted libido will not soon forget. I believe we have stains, ladies and gentlemen; stains from an erotic Horror movie that hit all the right spots. Long Live the Newest Flesh! This time not from your television, but from a celestial lake in the middle of nowhere.

This requires some brief introductions (and I'm just going by my limited personal experience here).

Harvest Lake was created by a seasoned cast and crew of independent Horror folks who are stretched out in various roles over some of the more successful low budget genre pictures to have come out in the last several years. It's quite an astonishing site to witness what can come of such collaborations. Scott Schrimer directed Harvest Lake, but his work on Found wowed indie Horror fans driving it to a cult frenzy that demanded its release after a successful funding campaign. The follow up to Found was Headless, a "lost" movie from the 70's that featured the influential gore dunked maniac from Found, directed by Arthur Cullipher who would act as producer on Harvest Lake.  We have Brian Williams as a producer, cinematographer, camera operator and gaffer who is the sensational director of grindy, naughty Time To Kill from 2014. Time to Kill was a HOT experience and one not so easily forgotten. His work on Harvest Lake created such legendary scenes in the middle of this nightmarish wooded pleasure center are key to Harvest Lake's success. I am unfamiliar with L.K. Gonzo, but the last name Gonzo has me curious; L.K also acted as a producer on Harvest Lake.

In front of the camera we have a few new faces who played some hot bodies in Lucretia Lynn and Derek Sturgeon. It's great to see young, new actors unafraid to take it all off in the opening minutes of a Horror picture. The skin is alive and well on these two. Jason Crowe is known for his work on Horror and Dark Fantasy short films as well as such titles as Easter Casket,The Zombie and Volumes of Blood in his resume. Dan Nye has also done some short film work and was recently in The Legend of Wasco in 2015. He will appear in Bong of the Living Dead which looks to have some excellent poster artwork and... well... it has "living dead" and "bong" in the title, I'm in. My first experience with Ellie Church was in Time to Kill. Her seductive performance left a mark with a style that was clearly older than she was. She followed it up with a strong performance in Headless and has a role in a movie I'm excited to check out by James Bickert, Frankenstein Created Bikers. The last piece of the main crew is Tristan Risk who offers a near perfect performance in Harvest Lake but whose work in The Editor and American Mary wowed me. She's also in Frankenstein Created Bikers.

So what comes out of this troop of actors thrown together in the middle of the woods, hormones all a-glow and with some kind of force willing them to go that extra 5 seconds in heaven? It's a strange orgy of discovery. Each scene guides our lead five actors into a world of sexual discovery of a monsterific kind. Sexually suggestive plants, milky white fluid dripping off every frame. The wavering notes of synthetic lust flowing through scenes in an early 90's electronic love blanket pouring through my ears like my first MDMA ride. This is the Horror Viagra for which your ED creature wang has been longing. You need this like you need a boob in your hand and a finger in each hole.

From creature creation that is original and imaginative, working with limited budget to environments that are filled with extras that make you believe each scene, you are dealing with a very well constructed movie. It's visually pleasing and sensual without being pornographic or even exploitative. There's a fine line there, and mind you there's nothing wrong with it being pornographic or exploitative, but this is pretty-Horror-erotic. This isn't a Jess Franco nudie fest or a splash of tit popping out on a stripper pole. Think of Videodrome in the woods with Invasion of the Body Snatchers and just hint of Society thrown in to let you know who controls the shunt. The time you spend with Harvest Lake is the time you spend with your hand in your pants before you get out of bed, dreaming the still lingering wet moments of the night before, if that dream was a Horror picture and if you didn't mind losing your everything to a force beyond your control in the name of pure Hedonism.

What really creates the warm bed for this movie to work is exquisite chemistry between our actors. The relationships these folks seem to have makes you love them and know them. These could easily have been slightly more excitable friends of mine from years gone by. They connect with each other which made them connect with me. Once I was in their clutches I could follow them around easily enjoing a campfire, a sugar cube of acid or maybe something, slimier. 

There are scenes that evolve for extended periods of time with slow motion stings that create an almost loving vibe when combined with the music of Adam Robi and Shawn Sutta. There are moments that pull so narrowly out of focus that gradually reveal themselves to be discoveries of this great new world in the middle of the woods. This is how children feel discovering a playground for the first time. The cuts and focus in some of these scenes are like watching a young child be curious. You want to know what's on the screen, and you don't entirely know what it is that will be there when the shot resolves. When it does in fact resolve, you will be excited. 

Scott Schirmer has brought together something special here. It's not entirely comfortable for all Horror fans mind you. I can imagine that there's a slower than modern pace that might throw some folks off. Gore hounds do not expect to be splashed with the red stuff, but there's plenty of makeup, goo and creature creations to keep you occupied with some very cool artistic choices. Enjoy the lake. Take a dip. Make sure to put your red shorts on.

Check out the trailer:


You can pick up the Blu-ray now or simply rent it:

Buy the limited edition Blu-ray now:

Watch on Vimeo now:

From Bandit Motion:

From Scott Schirmer (Found) and Brian K. Williams (Time to Kill) comes the erotic mystery-fantasy Harvest Lake. Five friends stumble under the spell of a libidinous, otherworldly presence while vacationing in the woods. Inhibitions drop and behavior becomes erratic as one of the friends tries to escape the carnal free-fall, ultimately bringing him face to face with the source of a mystery that will change his life forever. Harvest Lake stars Tristan Risk (American Mary), Ellie Church (Headless), Jason Crowe(Dead Moon Rising), Dan Nye (The Legend of Wasco), and Kevin Roach (The Confession of Fred Krueger), with special effects fromThe Clockwerk Creature Company (Headless).

pic stack

Limited Edition of 750 Copies!
• Glass-mastered, replicated disc (not a BDr)!
• Hand-Numbered on the Back Cover
• Available Unsigned or Signed by Ellie Church, Scott Schirmer, and Brian K. Williams (in silver marker on the front cover)

Special Features!
• The Making of Harvest Lake (45 Minute Documentary)
• Commentary with Producers Brian K. Williams & Scott Schirmer
• Commentary with Actors Ellie Church & Jason Crowe
• Isolated Music Score Track
• Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Gag Reel and more!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CHRISTINA Comes to Blu-ray From Intervision May 31st - Are You Ready for the Playgirl of the Western World?

When I haven't seen a movie that is coming out from a reputable label like Intervision, I look for keywords in the synopsis, and I check out the trailer. I like that we have Jewel Shepard starring who is an "heiress known as 'The Playgirl of the Western World'. I also think "shocking ordeal of carnal degradation" is probably up most of your respective allies. This type of release is perfect for the Intervision label that specializes in more obscure films and some sexploitation and erotica as well as low brow works from our favorite genres. It's hitting Blu-ray May 31st. Check out the full announcement below from Intervision.

The writer and producer of this has gone more than a few great erotic trash-a-thons (Harry Alan Towers) and co-stars an actress from PIECES (No, not that one)!

Note: We should have the trailer up soon. Having trouble accessing it through my hospitals Wi-Fi.


From Intervision:

Intervision Picture Corp. May 2016 New Release

Christina
Blu-ray
Label: Intervision Picture Corp.
Pre-book: 5/10/2016 Streets: 5/31/2016
SRP: $24.95 UPC: 663390001011 Cat: SEV91011 91 minutes In English
Color Not Rated Full screen 1.33:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Region: All
Production year: 1984 Genre: Erotica
Director: Paco Lara
Cast: Jewel Shepard, Ian Sera, Enrique Johnson

Famed B-movie vixen Jewel Shepard (HOLLYWOOD HOT TUBS, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) stars as Christina Von Belle, the insatiable young heiress known as 'The Playgirl Of The Western World'. But when Christina is kidnapped by a ruthless squad of lesbian commandos (led by Euro-starlet-turned-porn-queen Karin Schubert of BLUEBEARD and BLACK EMANUELLE), she is forced to submit to a shocking ordeal of carnal degradation. For a frightened girl bound by more than desire, is there any limit to the ecstasy of the depraved? IanSera (PIECES) and former Miss Bahamas Josephine Jacqueline Jones (BLACK VENUS) co-star in this sumptuous sex saga from writer/producer Harry Alan Towers (LOVE CIRCLES, VENUS IN FURS, 99 WOMEN), now re-mastered in luscious high-definition for the first time ever!

SLASHER SEASON 1 - Coming from Chiller TV to Scream Factory July 12th

New release coming this July from Scream Factory and Chiller will be Slasher, Season 1. This is an original series out of Canada of which I am not yet all too familiar, but will have a review up in late June/early July. The cast has some Horror roots with Katie McGrath appearing in Jurassic World and Dracula. This one has all the hallmarks of some of the more popular shows we've been seeing out of the US lately although I must admit that TV shows outside of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul and Billions may be out of my viewing knowledge. Reviewing has a price, and that price is watching every new TV show the networks put out.

From Scream Factory

SLASHER: SEASON ONE
Starring Katie McGrath, Brandon Jay McLaren, Steve Byers,
Dean McDermott and Wendy Crewson

ARRIVES ON BLU-RAY™ AND DVD JULY 12, 2016
FROM SCREAM FACTORY™

Bring Home Chiller’s Acclaimed Original Series
Pre-Order Today!

This summer, venture into the town of Waterbury with Sarah, a young woman who returns to where she was born, only to find herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying copycat murders based on the grisly killings of her parents. As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around her a suspect…or a victim. The thrilling first season of Chiller’s original hit series SLASHER – which recently concluded its run on-air this Spring - stars Katie McGrath (Jurassic World, Dracula, Merlin), Brandon Jay McLaren (Chicago Fire, Graceland, The Killing), Steve Byers (The Man in the High Castle, Alphas, Smallville), Dean McDermott (Ecstasy, CSI) and Wendy Crewson (Saving Hope, Revenge).

On July 12, 2016, SCREAM FACTORY™ will release SLASHER: SEASON ONE on Blu-ray and DVD.  A must-have for horror enthusiasts, this eerily terrifying series features a generous dose of suspense and blood-curdling violence. Both the Blu-ray and DVD will include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Pre-order now at:
https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/horror/slasher-season-one
http://www.amazon.com/Slasher-Season-Blu-ray-Katie-McGrath/dp/B01EJ4MM2Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1461689429&sr=8-2&keywords=SLASHER+SEASON+ONE


Synopsis: Thirty years ago, in the sleepy community of Waterbury, a killer known as "The Executioner" murdered Sarah Bennett's parents. Now Sarah (Katie McGrath) and her husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) have returned to town, only to find herself the centerpiece in a series of horrifying murders centered around the seven deadly sins. It seems "The Executioner" is back. But if Tom Winston - the original Executioner - is behind bars, who is the new person behind the mask? As the murders escalate, long-buried secrets are revealed, making everyone around Sarah a suspect…or a victim.

Developed and produced by Shaftesbury in association with Super Channel and Chiller, Slasher is written and created by Aaron Martin (Killjoys, Being Erica) and directed by Craig David Wallace (Todd and the Book of Pure Evil). Aaron Martin, Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie are executive producers. Content Media Corporation is the distributor. Slasher is funded with the participation of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the COGECO Program Development Fund, the Bell Fund, Music and Film in Motion/Federal Government of Canada, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit.

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan Coming to DVD and Blu-ray June 28th


RAY. HARRYHAUSEN. His name feels like a special effect. The legacy that he leaves behind created some of my favorite movies. His own effects work is inspiring to this day and he stands on the shoulders of champions of Horror and Fantasy films alike. Arrow Video is giving us a new documentary via MVD Entertainment to enjoy the history of a legend who created the dark fantasy that kept us nightmaring and dreaming and creating for decades to come.

This is an exciting release for fans of great special effects wizardry, to show how the craft can be created without computers. Take note future filmmakers and effects geniuses.

From MVD/Arrrow:

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan


Coming to DVD and Blu-ray June 28th via MVD Entertainment Group

The remarkable career of the movie industry's most admired and influential special-effects auteur, the legendary Ray Harryhausen, is the subject of Gilles Penso's definitive documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.

Leaving no doubt as to Harryhausen's seminal influence on modern-day special effects, the documentary features enlightening and entertaining interviews with the man himself, Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and many more.

These filmmakers, who today push the boundaries of special effects movie-making, pay tribute to the father of Stop Motion animation and films such as 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms', 'It Came from Beneath the Sea', 'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad', 'Mysterious Island', 'Jason and the Argonauts' and 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' - the films that enthralled them as children and inspired them to become filmmakers in their own right.

Bonus Materials
Interviews with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Peter Lord, Rick Baker
12 Interview outtakes with Joe Dante, John Lasseter, Nick Park and more!
A message to Ray
Deleted Scenes
On the set of Sinbad
Paris Cinematheque Q&A
London Gate Theater Q&A
Audio commentary with the filmmakers
Original Trailer
Ray Harryhausen Trailer Reel


Pre-order at the MVD SHOPDIABOLIKDVD or on Amazon

Gods of Egypt - 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack Hitting May 31st

Gods of Egypt is one that I missed in theaters this winter. I can't say that I know many folks who made it out, but I'll let you know that Geoffrey Rus is one of my favorite modern actors, I liked I, Robot from director Alex Proyas and I dug The Last Witch Hunter written by Matt Sazama. I'm gonna give this one a shot. We should have a review up for you in the coming weeks, but until then check out the trailer and the info below concerning the upcoming release. I like to give all movies a chance, so let's see if this one can transcend its rather Transformers esque cover. Something about the battle of Gods no matter who forced into a modern Hollywood formula works for me. Look at all that CG though. It's like a digital painting of a movie.

Also, we may have a pending giveaway for the Blu-ray. More details once confirmed.

From Lionsgate:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler Fight for Power in a Battle for the Ages on Digital HD on May 17 and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack,
3D Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on May 31

SANTA MONICA, CA (April 5, 2016) – The ultimate struggle to rule the world begins when Gods of Egypt arrives on Digital HD on May 17 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD), 3D Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD), Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and On Demand May 31 from Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE Company. Directed by Alex Proyas (I, Robot), written by Matt Sazama (The Last Witch Hunter) & Burk Sharpless (The Last Witch Hunter), and featuring stunning visual effects and production design, Gods of Egypt stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) with Gerard Butler (London Has Fallen) and Academy Award® winner Geoffrey Rush (Best Actor, Shine, 1996).

The ultimate battle between good and evil threatens to destroy all creation in this epic fantasy-adventure bursting with spectacular action and amazing special effects. Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau star as rival gods Set and Horus, who are locked in a war to rule the universe. To defeat the merciless Set, Horus joins forces with a brave mortal for a journey that will take them across Egypt, through the heavens, and into the afterlife in an unforgettable quest to save mankind.

The Blu-ray and Digital HD releases feature an in-depth look behind-the-scenes with six featurettes, plus storyboards of deleted scenes. The Blu-ray release also includes next-generation DTS:X immersive audio, which replicates and conveys the fluid movement of sound to create a richer soundscape by moving sound to precisely where the audio mixer placed it.

Gods of Egypt will be available in the following physical formats on May 31:
·       4K Ultra HD Combo Pack - $42.99 SRP
·       3D Combo Pack - $39.99 SRP
·       Blu-ray - $35.99 SRP
·       DVD - $29.95 SRP

BLU-RAY/ DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES*
·     Deleted Storyboards

·     “A Divine Vision: Creating a Cinematic Action Fantasy” Featurette

·     “Of Gods and Mortals: The Cast” Featurette

·     “Transformation: Costume, Make-up & Hair” Featurette

·     “On Location: Shooting in Australia” Featurette

·     “The Battle for Eternity: Stunts” Featurette

·     “A Window into Another World: Visual Effects” Featurette

*Subject to change

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*
·     “The Battle for Eternity: Stunts” Featurette

·     “A Window into Another World: Visual Effects” Featurette

*Subject to change

Monday, April 25, 2016

MANSON'S LOST GIRLS available on DVD May 10th

I hear the word Lifetime, and I know what to expect or at least I thought I did. Lifetime is a channel synonymous with original movies that tell riveting completely overdramatized tales that focus on some kind of sympathetic angle toward victims. The term chick flick is also synonymous with "Lifetime movie". That has apparently completely changed as they have created Manson's Lost Girls, a doc about the teenage girls who took part in several murder under the tutelage of Charles Manson. This is pretty dark stuff compared to what I had always expected from Lifetime. Lionsgate is releasing it on DVD May 10th. Check out the trailer below. See what I mean?

We'll get a review up as soon as possible to let you know if Lifetime has truly changed for the creepier. Sex. Drugs. Murder. Manson.

My only qualm so far is that none of these actors look like the person they are supposed to be playing.

From Lionsgate:

Based on the chilling crimes of Charles Manson, one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century, the Lifetime® original movie Manson’s Lost Girls will arrive on DVD (plus Digital) May 10 from Lionsgate. Jeff Ward stars as Charles Manson, with mesmerizing performances by MacKenzie Mauzy, Eden Brolin, and Greer Grammer as the circle of teenage girls who fell under his demonic spell and helped carry out his brutal killings. Manson’s Lost Girls will be available on DVD for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Told through the eyes of real Manson girl Linda Kasabian, Manson’s Lost Girls takes you on a month-long journey with the women who were drawn to the sisterhood and communal lifestyle founded by the charismatic Charlie Manson. As Manson’s dark and twisted preoccupations are revealed, you witness how free love turned into burglary and, ultimately, mass murder.

CAST
Jeff Ward                                                   TV’s “The Mentalist,” Holly’s Holiday
MacKenzie Mauzy                                     Into the Woods, TV’s “Forever”
Eden Brolin                                                I Dream Too Much, Ruby Sparks
Greer Grammer                                          Awkward, Life Partners

KRAMPUS BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO GIVEAWAY!

One lucky Christmas Holiday Horror Hooligan will win a Blu-ray/DVD combo of the the rather humorous but still creepy flick Krampus. Haven't seen Krampus yet? This is a great way to do it. Saw it and loved it? This Blu-ray has some great extras and the Blu-ray picture quality is impressive.

So how do you enter? Available to US Residents. Shoot Doc Terror an email with the subject line KRAMPUS DRANK MY EGG NOG to jimmy@docterror.com and let me know your favorite Holiday Horror feature or short. Shoot me a clip or YouTube link or poster of the movie. I love to see what you guys are into and it always nice to get into new things. Share this post on Twitter or Facebook for an additional entry (just let me know you did so, honor system). You can tag me @DOCTERROR_COM  We will announce a winner on Friday.





Full details and trailer below. Merry Christmas... in April.


From Universal:

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVELY ON BLU-RAY:
  • Krampus and His Minions – In this exclusive feature see how Krampus and his twisted underlings gave the visual-effects superstars at Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based Weta Workshop some creative and technical challenges. Viewers will have an insider look at how Krampus and his evil minions were created and executed.
  • Practical Danger – Stunt Coordinator Rodney Cook walks viewers through how the film’s thrilling stunts were done live on set while facing challenges with the creatures, children and set design.
  • Inside the Snowglobe: Production Design – Filming almost entirely on sound stages in the middle of summer in New Zealand, the art department and special effects team had to pull out all of their tricks to create sets that were realistic, ready for stunts and practical effects, all while creating the look of a winter wonderland.
  • Behind the Scenes at Weta Workshop: Krampus – Go behind-the-scenes at the world famous Weta Workshop to see how they brought the amazing Krampuscreatures to life.
  • Dougherty’s Vision – In this featurette Director Michael Dougherty, along with the film’s cast and crew, reveal how his approach informed the tone, pacing, humor and performances of Krampus.

The film will be available on Blu-ray™ with DIGITAL HD and UltraViolet™ and DVD
Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home; featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet™ lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.

"UNEARTHED & UNTOLD: THE PATH TO PET SEMATARY" LIMITED EDITION BUNDLE PACKAGE Pre-Order Up NOW!

They've done it! They made a documentary about Stephen King adaptation favorite, Pet Sematary. This is the ONLY way you're getting a physical copy of this release which means if you don't pick it up now, it ain't happening later. This is a bundle of goodies that costs $39.99 which sounds kinda steep, right? BUT... you'll be getting the following:

- A Limited Edition Region Free DVD / Blu-ray Documentary Combo with Bonus Features

- A 27" x 39" print of the Official Documentary Poster

- A Custom Unearthed & Untold 100% Cotton T-Shirt 

-Complimentary Terror Films Stickers

You're not just paying for a Blu/DVD. Think of it like this. If you don't grab it now, you'll be paying twice as much on Ebay later. Best to grab it now and avoid the flip and get the t-shirt and poster. Don't like it? You can be the guy that flips it in a few months when everyone wants it and can't find it and make back your money and then some (but I think it's gonna be rad). 

This is where you put up some cash to get an extremely sexy package of goodies delivered to you assuming that the company can sell 1000 units. We can make that happen. We are collectors, we love Pet Sematary and we love STUFF.  I love this cover art with it's VHS/old school video store trappings. 


From our friends at Terror Films:

After five years of hard work, our documentary, Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, is now available for pre-order in a Limited Edition blu-ray/DVD combo deluxe pack! If you are able to help us spread the word to horror film & Stephen King fans we'd be very grateful! The distributor has to sell 1,000 to make this special promo happen, so we're trying to really spread the news. Thank you!

Details from the Terror Films site:

In celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the original film's release we are selling a LIMITED EDITION Combo package of the documentary UNEARTHED & UNTOLD: THE PATH TO PET SEMATARY ! **

This offer is only available during this special promotion and only for the next 27 Days! 

Order now and see the Documentary before its official release - not available until October!

The Combo Includes:

- A Limited Edition Region Free DVD / Blu-ray Documentary Combo with Bonus Features

- A 27" x 39" print of the Official Documentary Poster

- A Custom Unearthed & Untold 100% Cotton T-Shirt (PLEASE BE SURE TO SELECT YOUR CORRECT SIZE)

-Complimentary Terror Films Stickers

**IN ORDER FOR US TO BRING YOU THIS VERY SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION COMBO, A MINIMUM OF 1000 UNITS MUST BE PURCHASED BY MAY 18, 2016, THE END OF THE 27-DAY PROMOTION. IF THE MINIMUM IS NOT MET, ALL CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE PURCHASED THE COMBO WILL RECEIVE A 100% REFUND. IF THE MINIMUM IS MET, PLEASE ALLOW UP TO 60 DAYS FROM THE END OF THE 27-DAY ORDER WINDOW FOR YOUR PRODUCT TO SHIP. (ANTICIPATED TO BE NO LATER THAN JULY 17, 2016)

The Documentary is unrated and some of its contents may not be suitable for viewers under the age of 18.  This promotion DOES NOT include a copy of the Pet Sematary Feature Film.

VAMPIRES (1986) Coming to DVD May 10th. It'll Suck the Schlock Out of You!

In a strange turn of events I was about to watch the Vinegar Syndrome release of Fright House on DVD this evening. It was a perk for the fundraiser for their Exploitation TV streaming service.  What does that have to do with Len Anthony's Vampires released in 1986 and now hitting DVD from Chest Media Group?

They are sister movies. Essentially two separate releases come from the same "trunk" of a movie whose filming ended prematurely do to financial reasons. Fright House was one, an anthology Horror picture whose cover looks like Grandpa Munster discovered reflective contact lenses and the release du jour. Do not confuse this one with the John Carpenter's Vampires or Vampyres or the recent remake of Vampyres (that's a whole lotta vamps).

We will have a report after reviewing this one shortly and will include notes on Fright House as well. That release is not for sale outside of the fundraiser so it may be hard to come by. It fetches $60 on eBay.

From Chest Media Group:

Cult, ’80s, B-Movie Rarity on DVD May 10th

At a prestigious, all-girls, prep school, things go terribly awry in the underground, horror flick Vampires, resurrecting on DVD May 10 from Film Chest Media Group.

Originally filmed as the second part of the 1989 cult anthology classic Fright House, this would be the last film of Len Anthony (Murderous Intent, Document of the Dead). Principal cinematographer Ernest Dickerson went on to shoot Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and direct several episodes of AMC’s iconic horror series The Walking Dead. With a unique spin on the vampire genre, full of camp, heavy synth music and thought-provoking horror, Vampires is the perfect timestamp of ’80s, schlock cinema.

An eager, young student, Ione (Orly Benyar, Fright House, Ninja Academy) is excited to begin the next chapter of her life when she is awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious art school at the Abadon estate in New England … Which happens to have a distant history of working with the criminally insane. Soon after arriving on campus, she begins to realize something is amiss with the
student body. When some classmates go missing – and no one can seem to account for their
whereabouts – Ione decides to investigate.

While searching for clues, Ione encounters Dr. Charles Harmon (Duane Jones, the doomed hero from the horror classic Night of the Living Dead, Ganja & Hess, To Die For), who tells her about Madeline Abadon (Jackie James, Over the Brooklyn Bridge, Fright House) and her quest to suck the youthful energy from students in order to gain immortality.

Charles is then encumbered with the harrowing task of disarming Madeline and her “mad scientist”
machine … But will he be able to end the demonic foray on campus before it’s too late?
Vampires is presented in full screen with an aspect ratio of 4 x 3 and original sound.

Crypt of the Living Dead/House of the Living Dead (Vinegar Syndrome Drive-In Collection DVD)

1970’s monster horror is a strange batch. Where it tries to be traditional focusing on some of the better creature features of yesteryear almost riding Hammer’s coattails to try to get some of that Universal gold from the 40’s, often times the budgets didn’t meet the expectation of the viewer. That beings said some of these meager productions create haunting images due to their budgetary restraint. Production value you can yield the creeps. Just ask fans of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. No budget. Great looking zombies (and by great I mean creep). For a Spanish production filmed in Turkey this release has some strong locations and distinctive style. These two camp features are now available on DVD as a part of the Drive-In collection from Vinegar Syndrome. It was previously released as a limited edition Blu-ray double feature. (You can still pick the Blu up at DiabolikDVD while supplies last).

Crypt of the Living Dead has some of the best classic piano horror music you’ll hear with perfect stings. It really sets the proper tone for this no budget vamp production. While the movie opens incredible strong with a solid decapitation that shows ingenuity and the fun spirit of the grue lover, the middle ground leaves something to be desired as the film tries to find what drove Hammer and Universal to success.

I was unfamiliar with Directors Julio Salvador and Ray Danton. While both had modest careers, Danton’s TV work seemed to have accelerated after this production, having worked on everything from TJ Hooker to the Incredible Hulk. Immediately following this release Danton would Direction The Psychic Killer. For Salvador this was the end game. He had previously done a number of Spanish production but would only go on to write two more films after Crypt of the Living Dead, Love Brides of the Bloody Mummy (which has a simply fantastic title) and Touch Me Not. Perhaps the most notable attachment to this project was Andrew Prine in the lead. His connection to Horror and Exploitation cinema is nearly legendary especially with roles in Simon, King of the Witches, Nightmare Circus and Grizzly (though he’s probably known better for his non-genre work).

The effects are pure cheese and aside from the slow moments, but this is all Vinegar Syndrome DVD is quite nice with a good transfer consisting of a fabulous grain structure preserved in digital form though I’d advise in seeking out the Blu-ray to max out on the picture quality.

While I have definitely enjoyed the over-the-top poster art over the years, it’s not a movie that stuck out to me as especially strong. You can also look it up under its alternative title, Hannah, Queen of the Vampires.

On the other hand there’s House of the Living Dead, the second feature on this DVD. Where Crypt of the Living Dead may be a strong suit for low budget creep-outs, House of the Living Dead is pure grilled cheese. What would you expect from a movie that feature primate kidnapping, mad scientists, an old witch and music so dramatic it could only have been composed for a made for TV movie. Director Ray Austin did quite a bit of TV after working on House of the Living Dead aka Curse of the Dead, but before this release he worked on Virgin Witch, a widely praise cult favorite (available through Redemption Films). This is most likely my first South African Horror film and I feel like I’d be hard pressed to find another that I enjoyed as much for all its faults.

This a perfect Hammer copycat that also seems to have hints of The Asphyx only not sophisticated enough to handle either duty. House is a period piece drama that gives way to some old fashioned practical effects, perfect red blood, organs that play themselves mysteriously in true haunted house fashion and a final act that’s pure madness. Once House of the Living Dead gets out of its own way it actually becomes somewhat effective with creepy organ music that haunts.

While I can’t help but think that the title for this release should have been Beethoven Does Color Light Chemistry, it has a distinctive look, enough gonzo to keep you laughing and visually entertained while having some of the most memorable facial expressions and forced exclamation point dialogue I’ve seen in a movie from the early 70’s. The final word… if you complained about the horse in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II I beg you to figure this one out!

You can order your copy of Crypt of the Living Dead/House of the Living Dead from Vinegar Syndrome now: https://vinegarsyndrome.com/shop/crypt-of-the-living-dead-dvd/

You can also order the April package including the other releases for the month at a cost savings while offer is available: https://vinegarsyndrome.com/shop/april-2016-package-b/

This release is also available at DiabolikDVD:
http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Horror-[sl]-Thriller/Crypt-of-the-Living-Dead-[sl]-House-of-the-Living-Dead-DVD-Edition-(Vinegar-Syndrome)-(DVD-All-Region).html


From Vinegar Syndrome:

CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1973):

After arriving on a remote island to bury his father, a young American engineer (Andrew Prine) opens the crypt of a vampire queen. He inadvertently unleashes a terrible and violent force of evil on the unsuspecting townspeople, making them fight for their lives, while a few townsfolk aren’t who they appear to be. Vinegar Syndrome brings the U.S. theatrical version to blu-ray, scanned and restored in 2k from a newly exhumed 35mm negative. Open the tomb and re-discover CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD!

D: Julio Salvador & Ray Danton / 1973 / 85 min / Color / 1.85:1

HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD (1974):

In the seemingly peaceful and rural colonial vineyards of South Africa, a mad scientist plots to steal people’s souls and place them into jars for eternity. To complete his twisted experiments, he begins to undertake a bloody rampage in the nearby countryside. Who can stop this madman, and what other terrible secrets does he hide? Who knows what other horrors you will discover in HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD!

D: Ray Austin / 1974 / 88 min / Color / 1.85:1

Features Include:

• DVD | Region Free | 1.85:1 OAR

• Scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original negatives

• Original theatrical trailer for CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD


Sunday, April 24, 2016

THAT'S SEXPLOITATION! (Severin Films Blu-ray) - Go DEEPER Into Sexploitation Cinema

Here’s a secret. I like adult films. The old stuff. The cool stuff. Typically from the mid 80’s and before when the industry had style. I watch a lot of porn (to review of course) and I usually can find something to enjoy about each movie beyond the sex because to be quite honest, there’s way more to porn than sex. There’s the set up, the punchline, the style and what’s going on in the background of any scene. You can tell a whole lot about an era from the adult entertainment produced during that time. This is the paragraph equivalent of telling everyone that I buy Playboy for the articles which of course these days is an absolute. Severin Films has released a documentary filled to the brim with every kind of smut you can imagine, hours of the stuff and wrapped it all up in a beautiful Blu-ray that provides history and substance to the schtup-mania that took place before the adult film industry was an industry. That’s Sexploitation! is a celebration of sex…. That’s obvious… but it’s actually a time capsule, a permission slip to have fun and a great big tattle tale on your parents and grandparents. They loved to fuck too; they loved to watch folks fuck.

The men behind the current for That’s Sexploitation are legends. Frank Henenlotter made us want to have a little blue brain monster shoot drugs directly into our brain and make our own personal fuck monster. Mike Vraney created Something Weird Video (SWV to the hip kids) and showed a generation how to make babies, kill strangers and smoke the good drugs. These two men should be applauded for the noble effort that is That’s Sexploitation, and we should remember the late Vraney with glass held high and tissue in hand.

Henenlotter and David’ F. Friedman narrate their way through years of adult entertainment. It’s a lofty job and with the amount of content included in this doc, you’d expect a bit more of an explanation as to the history behind the sexploitation biz. What I have found is that this doc plays out more like an all night adult feature reel at a grinder on 42nd street. Little interruption. Maxed out visual film experience. That’s great for putting on a movie like this as background at a party but not so great as informative doc that tries to give place and plot the narrative behind the crazy world of sex on film. Simply put, they don’t say enough about the content. It’s a bummer because both men have powerful voices and historical knowledge. They have the bedtime stories adults want to hear. The ratio of clip to commentary is pour. That’s the only place I’m critical.

Beyond that, the clips themselves are truly special. Sure, you’ll have seen some of these before as fans of the sexploitation. You’ll laugh. You’ll look away bashfully. You’ll learn a little something along the way. You get about two hours of documentary and three and half hours of extras. There’s a commentary track and trailer. The overall quality is good. These short film fragments have been transferred nicely and put together lovingly. Of course the source material varies from fair to damaged to surprisingly well preserved at times.

That’s Sexploitation provides wholesome, un-family entertainment that is as varied as the sex act itself. You get the good, the bad and the ugly (and as we know, the ugly in sex has nothing to do with beauty). Keep in mind that this is a documentary. It’s not really a spank film. I do recommend watching it without pants on, you’ve gotta let your genitals breath. I’d say that this is a great way to introduce a newbie to the world of sexploitation or to catch some obscure footage that you’d have missed in the 42nd Street Forever releases from Synapse or Peekarama releases from Vinegar Syndrome. It’s great to see all my favorite distro companies putting out smut from the golden age of porn.

Available now from DiabolikDVD:
http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/That's-Sexploitation-(Severin)-(Blu~Ray).html

Synopsis:

From director Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, BRAIN DAMAGE) and co-producer Mike Vraney (the late founder of Something Weird Video) comes the epic documentary critics call fascinating (Video Watchdog), titillating (Time Out Los Angeles) and jaw-dropping (Seattle Weekly): Henenlotter and legendary exploitation monarch David F. Friedman -- in his final film appearance -- are your hosts for this eye-popping expedition through the world of pre-code peekaboos, stags, sex-hygiene films, goona-goonas, nudie-cuties, roughies, druggies, white-coaters and more, featuring thousands of spicy, steamy and downright sleazy clips from the SWV archives. And if that's not enough to tickle your pickle, Bonus Features include an additional 2+ hours of rare loops and shorts from five decades of Sexploitation history!

Bonus Features:
Over 3 1/2 Hours of Sexploitation Shorts From The Something Weird Archives
Audio Commentary With Director Frank Henenlotter and Something Weird's Lisa Petrucci
Trailer


Saturday, April 23, 2016

THE HATEFUL EIGHT Available on Blu-ray - Domergue Yourself

Let’s keep this short and sweet. If you like Tarantino movies than you’ll love this one. It’s in this style, his voice and though it set in post-Civil War America, you might find that it has a modern feel.

You have to be aware that some people have had trouble with the language in this picture, but that’s true of nearly every Tarantino release. Tarantino uses language in a truly unique way to the point of overkill to both desensitize a viewer and to incite the viewer. It’s on purpose. You’re meant to get pissed off, and as long as you finish the movie, you’ll be be quick to dismiss critics you call QT inflammatory. To watch and enjoy this movie you’ll also have to be aware of how Daisy Domergue is used in the movie, and that the violent treatment that she receives is central to story and to establishing the impetus for her potential “gang”. The number of social justice warriors who come out against Tarantino movies doesn’t surprise me, but it’s that fans of his his work listen to them and forget how QT makes movies and from what place he draws his stories and passion.

The costuming is brilliant and setting breathtaking. The wide angle shots of the exterior are huge. Huge on the big screen and huge on your small screen given the aspect ratio that truly spreads your TV’s legs. While I realize that folks at home won’t get the “Roadshow” experience with this picture, the intermission footage is not included, those black bars on the top and bottom of your screen are there with a purpose and that purpose is … Panavision. That purpose is the use of film as a medium for deliciously violent and challenging artwork. Remember that this movie helped to have many theaters across the country fit with film 70mm projectors. Makes you almost feel dirty watching it on Blu-ray or other digital medium. You want to appreciate it on film and live up to the scope of this release.

I can round robin with all of the actors in this picture and never come up with the same response twice as to who gives the best performance, but I’m particularly fond of Kurt Russell and his stache as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh and her bloody face. Everyone stuns and succeeds, no weak link here and staples like Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins keep up the foundation while new players get a chance to stretch out the QT dialogue and pacing for the first time.

I love the color blood chosen for them movie. Those of you who come here regularly know I am a sucker for off color blood (my favorite is the H.G. Lewis Crayola red of course). Greg Nictoero and company create realistic effects that drip all over your carpet and require a steam cleaning after you watch the movie. Speaking of dripping, I hope none of ya’ll pissed your pants while Ennio Morricone frightened the urine from your body with his dominating, drudge of a score that landed him a deserved Oscar. I love the score and soundtrack and I’m glad to have picked up a truly a special release on vinyl. It’s one thick LP set.

With minimal extras available, it’s nice to at least get a making of featurette. The slipcover also opens up into a wide landscape, further accentuating the necessity and importance of using Panavision and with great old lenses to boot. Support this release because it means something and because it looks incredible. Perhaps not film incredible, but not everyone is so lucky to have experienced such a treat.

Available for purchase now:
http://gowatchit.com/microsite/2564

This the kind of movie that will turn you into a film junkie, 35mm, 70mm, 16mm, 8mm... it's not the size that counts. It's the film grain between your legs in the middle of a violent winter tundra storm with the devil hiding in one of the stranger visitors at a haberdashery of fate.Thisis the kind of movie that will make you hate digital even if you are watching it in HD on Blu-ray. You'll want the big screen. You'll want the experience.

From the TWC:

Synopsis:

Set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth and his fugitive Daisy Domergue, race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as "The Hangman," will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren, a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix, a southern renegade who claims to be the town's new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie's, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob, who's taking care of Minnie's while she's visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray, the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers. As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…

ZERO BOYS (Arrow US Blu-ray) - Maroney, Zimmer and the Mastorakis Brutalizing You on Blu

I feel like I missed something with Zero Boys. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Arrow release. It’s great. Extras are voluptuous. Transfer looks really great. Packaging is fun and optional reverse. I want there to be no mistake about this; I think Zero Boys is an excellent representation of the original film and this is a great edition to pick up from Arrow US. The problem I have is with the movie itself. Aside from the occasional feisty Kelli Maroney scene and Hans Zimmer score highlights, I wasn’t all that interested in the movie.

I suppose I feel that there are movie that do what Zero Boys does better. I’m looking at Class of 1984 and Clockwork Orange. Movies that try to test the boundaries of youth culture combined with general violent irreverence. I am a huge fan of Island of Death from Nico Mastorakis. I do not think this one goes quite as far nor do I think that it should get the great for “anticipating the torture porn horrors of Hostel and Saw”. I think there are plenty of movies from the 70’s that adequately do that, but I wouldn’t quality Zero Boys as one of them. Zero Boys feels more closely akin to films like The Warriors or Bronx Warriors in style and story, basically using the gang and turf wars of the 70’s and early 80’s as a jumping off point for a kill by number spectacle. In Arrow’s marketing material the draw the connection to Friday the 13th, this I agree with wholeheartedly.

Perhaps I just don’t get the movie. It’s possible I need to go back at it in another year or so. What I will tell you is that there are plenty of ways in which to appreciate this release and get a better understanding for the creation and scope of the story. It has a Chris Alexander moderated commentary featuring Maroney which is perfect. Alexander is always good at the commentaries and introductions. This is no exception and it’s great that Maroney is the focus of the commentary. She’s a genre icon. There are several interviews; one with the director, one with Maroney and one with star Nicole Rio. The making of interview with Mastorakis in tandem with the booklet that comes with the release should provide more depth to the release. New artwork from Graham Humphreys is always appreciated and had me psyched for a movie with which I was not familiar.

I’ll give this one another watch in a few months to give it time to digest. I hate to provide criticism solely based on comparison to other films with which I identify better. That seems hardly fair to a movie with which I have nostalgic connection and does not contain much of what I enjoy in my decadent youth pictures.

Order now from DiabolikDVD: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/Zero-Boys-(Arrow-US)-(DVD-[sl]-Blu~ray-Combo-All-Region).html

DAWN OF A NEW BREED OF HEROES From cult director Nico Mastorakis, the man behind such eclectic offerings as the controversial Island of Death and the Oliver Reed-starring actioner Hired to Kill, comes The Zero Boys - the genre-bending '80s classic with gruesome sequences that anticipate the torture porn horrors of Hostel and Saw. For a group of young friends, a weekend of survival games in the wilderness turns into a genuine battle of life and death when one of their number turns up dead. Finding themselves hunted by a bloodthirsty band of maniacs intent on slaughtering them one-by-one, the self-styled "Zero Boys" must now play their war games for real. Starring Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) and featuring an early score from the legendary Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), The Zero Boys mixes action, survival and all-out slasher movie elements in a thrilling horror yarn that falls somewhere between Friday the 13th and Deliverance.

BONUS MATERIALS
Brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio Commentary with star Kelli Maroney, moderated by Shock Till You Drop's Chris Alexander
Nico Mastorakis on... Nico Mastorakis - brand new interview with Mastorakis on the making of The Zero Boys
Brand new interview with star Kelli Maroney
Brand new interview with star Nicole Rio
Original Theatrical Trailer
Stills Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver


Friday, April 22, 2016

DANGEROUS MEN (Drafthouse Films Blu-ray) - Beach Thugs, Synthesizers and Overflowing Morgues

Dangerous Men is the next Miami Connection, Ninja Busters or Samurai Cop for you. I hesitate to say it’s the next Raw Force because that movie is absolutely filled to the brim with gonzo 80’s action that crosses genres while Dangerous Men is really a true Action Thriller. What took 26 years to create will become an instant favorite because it combines superb action sequences that are all 80’s with quotable dialogue, that music that all the hip kids are trying to emulate these days and a baddie named Black Pepper. Drafthouse Films has been digging these things out of the ground lately to provide maximum entertainment for folks who thought they had seen everything from the Canon Films school of filmmaking.

After watching the picture I was re-reading what Drafthouse films had to say about the story and the action sequences. It isn’t often that you get “beach thugs”, overflowing morgues and blairing synthesizers in one release from a director who started in Iran and came to the US of A during the time of Regan to create badassery on an escalating scale. It’s not that this is a retro movie that was shot today and perfectly emulates the time in which the story takes place. This movie simply took a long time to come into fruition and is finally making its way to HD Blu-ray for you. This movie looks great on Blu, but it also still has the 1980’s feel and look, uncompromised by restoration and release.

Remember that if you like Dangerous Men you absolutely must pick up Miami Connection, Ninja Busters and Samurai Cop. These are recent Blu-ray releases with similar feel and look to DM. In the same way if you enjoyed Miami Connection and movies that feature 80’s action, 80’s awesome and could have been shot by the Golan-Globus production team you owe it to yourself to get this in front of your eyeballs. John S. Rad, the working name of Jahangir Salehi, passed in 2007 and will not get to see the reception this film will receive from a generation that appreciates his over the top vision. The film did see it’s release initially in 2005.  If you’re interested in digging deeper into his work, he made two films prior to leaving Iran, If a Leaf Never Falls and Under the Skin of the Night in the mid 70’s.

(make note about extras)

By the by, I saw that one reviewer said that this movie was “worse than Tommy Wiseau’s The Room”. They are completely different animals and the basis comparison is only that they are “so bad they are good movies”. Don’t go in expect anything like the Wiseau classic nor any comparison to Ed Wood Jr. pictures. You might find suitable comparison in The Exterminator 2 with some of its poor production value with maxed out violence and in your face tactics.

Available from DiabolikDVD: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/Dangerous-Men-(Drafthouse-Films)-(DVD-[sl]-Blu~Ray-Combo).html

From Drafthouse Films:

Killers. Perverts. Bikers. DANGEROUS MEN.
In 1979, Iranian filmmaker John S. Rad moved to the U.S. to shoot his dream project, a rampaging gutter epic of crime, revenge, cop sex and raw power. Just 26 years later, he completed an American action film masterpiece that the world is still barely ready for today: DANGEROUS MEN.

After Mina witnesses her fiancé's brutal murder by beach thugs, she sets out on a venomous spree to eradicate all human trash from Los Angeles. Armed with a knife, a gun, and an undying rage, she murders her way through the masculine half of the city's populace. A renegade cop is hot on her heels, a trail that also leads him to the subhuman criminal overlord known as Black Pepper.

It's a pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, brain-devouring onslaught of '80s thunder, '90s lightning, and pure filmmaking daredevilry from another time and/or dimension. Blades flash, blood flows, bullets fly and synthesizers blare as the morgue overflows with the corpses of DANGEROUS MEN.


THE STUFF (Arrow US Blu-ray) - Sometimes You Eat the Blu-ray, Sometimes the Blu-ray Eats You

I’m not sure that this is the snack that smiles back (that would be Gold Fish), but it certainly does give me a laugh. Larry Cohen’s commentary on marketing and consumerism in general came straight out of the 80’s and is the perfect addendum to futuristic tales of consumable like Soylent Green. What you put in your mouth isn’t as it seems. It’s people or it’s aliens or it’s comes from a gypsum mine (that’s Twinkies right there). The Stuff to the Region A crowd courtesy of Arrow US. The Region B crowd has known this for some time, but Arrow did a bang up job on a cult fan favorite.

The movie itself features some strong B listers including Michael Moriarty who does very well when paired with Larry Cohen in the director seat. Remember how great Q The Winged Serpent is? That’s because Cohen let Moriarty get behind a piano and sing. This fella can go from criminal to investigator to super dad (in Troll) in only a short number of years. He is a gem of 80’s filmmaking.

Of course then there’s Cohen himself. Cohen understands how to put enough humor into a Horror picture to balance out some very well executed practical effects (often campy but well executed none the less). He typically offers a formula that touches on all the highlights of adult desire. Blood. Gore. Goo. Tits (usually though not in this one). In The Stuff he tells a story that comes across organic to the lifestyle of so many living during the era of the Pepsi Challenge and Coca Cola marketing. It’s only in hindsight that it can be fully appreciated as a commentary on life during the 1980’s.

The cover art from the VHS stood out in my mind for years. Granted I had not had the chance to see the movie until much later. My parents probably didn’t know what to make of it and thus didn’t pick it up. The new release doesn’t actually feature my favorite artwork for the release, but it does have a strong interpretation from Doc Terror favorite Gary Pullin. There is more traditional reverse artwork, just not my favorite rendition.

While I think the transfer was quite good, I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking through quite a bit of film grain to appreciate the release through some of the darker scenes. Best guess is that this is simply as a result of how the film was shot, but I think it’s important to mention for fans of the movie who may take issue with some of it. It’s clearly an upgrade from any previously release of the movie and worth your dollars for the transfer from the original camera negative and for the extra package which may feel slightly lean for an Arrow release. The making of featurette is a must watch, informative and fun. There’s an introduction and commentary track for the trailer for filmmaker and Stuff fan Darren Bousman. Bousman is the fella behind quite a few of your favorite Horror flicks including a couple of the Saw movies. I’m not sure it’s as good a compilation of faux Stuff commercials (or even better… commercials for The Taste) but it’s something to appreciate. The booklet has plenty of stills and commentary provided by Joel Harley.

As for the movie itself, do you like when your food tries to murder you? Do you expect it to turn you into some kind of human skin puppet for the marshmallow fluff like substance? These are the kinds of imagery you can expect in a stop animation style and practically effected mid-80’s goo film. Do not watch if you’re hungry because you’re likely to pick the wrong container out of the pantry and end up a sloppy creature feature all your own. Prepare yourself for some ham fisted acting that is sure to inspire laughs balanced with one liners that are perfectly quotable while providing enough intrigue and revenge to satisfy through the viewing time.

I can’t tell you how many folks have been following anything I post about The Stuff on social media. Ordinary folks, civilians if I may, seem to know this one, love this one and come out of the “stuff mine” for this one. I hope they consider picking up the physical media awesome that is this Blu-ray.

Order now from DiabolikDVD:
http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Horror-[sl]-Thriller/The-Stuff-(Arrow-US)-(Blu~ray).html

From Arrow Video:

Synopsis: Are you eating it …or is it eating you?

The Stuff is the new dessert taking supermarket shelves by storm. It’s delicious, low in calories and – better still – doesn’t stain the family carpet… What’s not to like?! Well, for a start it has a life of its own, and we’re not talking friendly live bacteria…

Young Jason seems to be the only one who doesn’t love The Stuff – in fact he won’t go anywhere near it, after having seen the pudding crawling around the fridge one night. What’s more, everyone who eats The Stuff has started acting really weird… Now, teaming up with wise-cracking industrial saboteur “Mo”, Jason must put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind it or face a gooey, gloopy demise.

Coming courtesy of horror auteur Larry Cohen (director of the It’s Alive series and scribe behind the Maniac Cop trilogy), The Stuff is a titillating treat for the taste-buds which blends elements of films such as Street Trash with the straight-up B-movie flavour of The Blob. So grab a spoon and dig on into The Stuff – the taste that delivers… much more than you bargained for!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

New High Definition restoration of the film from a brand new 2K scan of the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film
Original 1.0 Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature – Documentary featuring Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman
Introduction and trailer commentary by director and The Stuff fan Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III)
Original Trailer
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Joel Harley, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials


THE WITCH (Lionsgate Blu-ray/DVD) - One, Two Black Phillip is Coming for You (to Home Video!)

The trailer for The Witch actually scared me when I went to see Green Inferno in the theater last year. I was ready for this movie, and then I got sick. I couldn't get to the theater to see it and now I'm the only Horror fan on the planet who has no idea who or what Black Phillip is. I know that all of the artwork and pins that have accompanied The Witch's onslaught on the Horrorverse have absolutely hyped this movie to oblivion for me. I am ready for The Witch, and you should be too.

Lionsgate has this one coming to Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD on May 17th which is less than a month away. If you didn't get to see it yet, join me in becoming a better Horror fan. If you have seen it, there's a great chance that you'll want to own it and watch it again and again. 

Your spirit animal is Black Phillip. See full release details below and the trailer if you haven no idea why you should be excited. 

From LIONSGATE:

The Witch, one of the most original horror films in a decade unleashes its unholy curse. A Puritan family banished to the edge of the known wilderness suspects an unseen, unspeakable evil is at work after the disappearance of one of their five children. Drawing from actual accounts of witchcraft and possession in New England, the critically acclaimed film features authentic settings and a creepy atmosphere. From debut writer-director Robert Eggers and theatrically released by A24 Films, The Witch stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Viking Quest), Ralph Ineson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Katie Dickie (TV’s “Game of Thrones”). Bring it home on Blu-ray™ and DVD with and Digital HD on May 17!

The Witch, the ground-breaking horror film “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes and winner of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, will be available on May 17 on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) from Lionsgate. A Puritan family banished to the edge of the known wilderness suspects an unseen, unspeakable evil is at work after the disappearance of one of their five children. Drawing from actual accounts of witchcraft and possession in New England, the critically acclaimed film features authentic settings and a creepy atmosphere. From debut writer-director Robert Eggers and theatrically released by A24 Films, The Witch stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Viking Quest), Ralph Ineson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Katie Dickie (TV’s “Game of Thrones”).

New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life with their five children, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another. The Witch is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own fears and anxieties, leaving them prey to an inescapable evil.

Featuring audio commentary with the director, a behind-the-scenes featurette and more, The Witch will be available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus digital) for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98.

BLU-RAY/ DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

· Audio Commentary with Director Robert Eggers

· “The Witch: A Primal Folklore” Featurette

· Salem Panel Q&A

· Design Gallery

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A TRICKY TREAT (Short Film Review)

I had felt like I was about to watch something that  I had clearly seen before. Michael Dougherty's Trick R Treat was a brilliant anthology picture that set the bar very high for Halloween Horror and not just as as compilation of vignettes. One of the segments features a very unusual father and son relationship that involves murder, candy and pumpkin carving. As I started to watch A Tricky Treat for it's three minute run time, I immediately connected it with this story in Dougherty's masterpiece. I thought I had figured the whole story out. I was almost put off by what I considered to be a direct connection to a favorite movie of mine... until it happened...

Patricia Chica went for the gore gross out and had a fun time doing it, combining the classic tradition of pumpkin carving with a homicidal family. It makes for an exciting visual experience that works in tandem with the the story from Trick R Treat rather than overstepping its bounds. I can't even know for certain whether Chica has seen Trick R Treat and the differences outweigh the similarities. I won't say exactly what A Tricky Treat shows, but it does shows every detail, everything left out in Trick R Treat that didn't even really focus on this particular element of that story. Furthermore the twist at the end is fun and funny and was unexpected. It sets A Tricky Treat apart as a unique vision. This could easily become a holiday tradition for me as part of a mini marathon of Halloween related short films.

As I sat eating my pizza and watching this short over lunch, I laughed out loud several times during the brief run time and was excited to write about it. It's definitely one to keep an eye out for as festival season gets underway. Unfortunately I'm only getting up my review now after the screening for the Phoenix Film Festival has already passed, but we'll try to keep you abreast of future viewing opportunities.

Maybe a connection to a well loved, fan favorite piece of Halloween Horror ain't such a bad thing. See more details on the project below and thank you to Patricia Chica and co for letting me enjoy your movie.

From the Producer:

Synopsis:
A man is kidnapped by a very strange family, and his fate is held in the hands of two kids.
'A Tricky Treat' presents a shocking tale of the unexpected with a twist.

Starring:
Leonard Waldner, Andrea Fletcher, Steve Brewster, Keira McCarthy and Marco Reilly

This shocking tale of the unexpected presents the story of a man (Leonard Waldner) who is kidnapped by a very strange family, and his fate is held in the hands of two kids. The family members are played by Steve Brewster, Andrea Fletcher, Keira McCarthy and newcomer Marco Reilly.

A TRICKY TREAT is the first collaboration of creative duo Patricia Chica (director) and Kamal John Iskander (writer) who have been called the “Twosome Gruesome”by Ray Schillaci of the Movie Guys film critics American website. The film was shot in Los Angeles, executive produced by Tara Kurtz (Los Angeles), produced byPatricia Chica (MontrĂ©al), Grace Santos (Los Angeles) and Byron A. Martin(Toronto). Co-Executive producers are Adonai Interiano of HNI Productions (Los Angeles) and Morris Umali (Australia).

Fresh off screenings at the Phoenix Film Festival


End of the Road (Short Film Review)

I’m a short film junkie. I love em. I wish there was a better way to market these things to make physical release more lucrative for distributors (and cramming them together as anthologies doesn’t count). I was glad to get the opportunity to check out a werewolf short film called End of the Road. Werewolf pictures on a limited budget are a tricky business. They typically are effects driven from the transformation to the look of the wolf itself to the gore that ensures post-transformation. To do one of these properly is a daring pursuit that requires a skilled makeup person, good choice of camera angles and lighting to protect any flaws in the wolf costume or… computer generated lupine… (fuck computer generated werewolves).

The runtime with credits is just over eleven minutes, and End of the Road fits a story into that period of time well. There’s the diner waitress with a big heart that takes in a homeless fella with an injury and then suffers the wrath of her own positivity. In the the brief time we spend with our characters we get to enjoy Tatum Langton’s good performance and watch as Daniel Van Thomas shows us his secret side. The supporting cast surrounding these two main players are quite good with some humorous moments that offer a segue between night and day.

The transformation works because it is mostly off camera. You obviously know what’s happening because you get a brief time elapse look at some hands turning into wolfier hands and the obvious nod to the full moon. From there it's all camera angles and choices of points of focus, lighting and brief glimpses at the baddie rather than full on spreads of a guy in a wolf suit. This is quite effective especially when we get more expository views of the hairy fella and can see the budget showing. It’s the proper way to do a wolf pic on a budget and the greatest lesson we can learn from 50’s monster pictures that scare even though you barely get a glimpse at the creature.

On the other side of the coin the story doesn’t move the genre forward and you don’t get much in the way of violent kills or a badass wolf in full view. There’s little to set this short aside from other wolf genre movies save for some very camera work, good performances and it’s ability to give us a werewolf without actually shoving the wolf in our face. That’s not to say it’s bad. It just doesn’t shoot you with a silver bullet. It’s entertaining and a fine way to spend 11 minutes. It also shows us just what J. Spencer can do within a limited budget. I definitely want to check out the next project.

I won’t say why, but I love the neon sign at the end of the movie. It’s a nice touch.

You can hop over to the UnManned Media site and support this release now:
http://www.unmannedmedia.com/#eotr

From the UnManned Media:

This character-focused flick -- a project born from grassroots effort and an intense love of the genre -- follows a small-town waitress (Tatum Langton of Grey's Anatomy and others) whose kindness toward a mysterious drifter (American Genius and Revelation Trail's Daniel Van Thomas) unleashes a vicious and calculative werewolf upon the colorful population of a backwoods diner.

Synopsis:
Betsy, a small-town waitress, offers a warm meal to an enigmatic drifter in a rundown diner. Little does she know she’s let a vicious and calculative werewolf loose on the diner’s colorful population.



HOLIDAYS (Vertical Entertainment VOD) - A Year of Holiday Horror Worth Celebrating

The Horror anthology is popular right now. It has taken many forms with a focus on any number of adjoining subject matters (or Also popular is holiday Horror, mostly Christmas and Halloween, but we’ve seen nearly all the holidays represented in some terrifying form for better or worse. The newest entry into both subsets is Holidays from Vertical Entertainment. We have a Holiday Horror anthology picture without cohesive glue ie no wraparound story to speak of. The filmmakers are a famous bunch which doesn’t actually guarantee success when it comes to the portmanteau set. In this case however I’m glad to report that we are blessed with some original stories that balk at many of the previous holiday Horror efforts and try to expand the subgenre while keeping it creepy. Let’s walk through each story briefly.

General notes: The production value is high for each story. In between each story is a card stating the holiday for the story that precedes it. It’s a nice touch. It’s no wrap story, but at least they didn’t go for a shitty wrap story that would have sucked the life out of the strong individual entries.

Valentine’s Day - This is a clever story directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, our fearless beloved creators of occult Horror masterpiece Starry Eyes. I Love the “dream sequences” and the 80’s feeling they inspire later in the movie. This is ultimately a funny one with a sort of anti-moral.

St. Patrick’s Day - This one comes to you from director Gary Shore of Dracula Untold fame. While I was not a fan of Dracula Untold, his entry in this anthology is truly a breath of fresh air. It’s a somewhat long winded but eerie tale that becomes hard to follow at times but ultimately conveys a unique story for the holiday. All of that sounds like negative feedback, but here’s the reason I love what Shore did; it wasn’t a damn Leprechaun rip off! Shore told a tale that involved the Pagan origins of an Irish day (that goes beyond the Saint in the name St. Patrick’s Day). St. Paddys Horror seems so limited. You can watch Leprechaun or you can watch Rawhead Rex. This breaks the mold.

Easter - Nicholas McCarthy directed The Pact and At The Devil’s Door; neither movie strikes me as a favorite,but McCarthy is a competent filmmaker. For how much I’ve disliked McCarthy’s previous work this entry ended up being my favorite installment of the bunch. It’s an effects driven short with a classic religion vs. Easter bunny mythology spin. You end up with the really real story of what that damn basket toting bunny is all about. SPOILER COMING (sort of ) You end up with a giant Easter bunny/jesus hybrid; one that will scare marshmallow out of your peeps. It’s creepy and well designed. I can’t get it out of my head. I think next spring I’m gonna set some bunny traps. (end sort of Spoiler section)

Mother’s Day - Sarah Adina Smith directs this different take on Mother’s Day that focuses on the of becoming mother. Ultimately it turns into another pagan ritual that is a far cry from the Troma classic backwoods slasher we have come to love by the same name. I’m still trying to figure out if I like this one. Smith doesn’t have much Horror in her filmmaking background, but her work is beautiful. The Midnight Swim is one I’ve been looking forward to checking out.

Father’s Day - Director Anthony Scott Burns has some anthology experience under his belt having directed an episode of Darknet. I’ll tell you that somehow this damn thing got me teary eyed. Such a sad, depressing little short. I was ready to write a review about a story that I loved that had an emotional effect on me that seldom happens while reviewing Horror. It happened during The Mist. Then the end happened and it pretty much fucked up all the short had built up. I suppose that’s the point, right? Still, I was ready to love it and now, not.

Halloween - They gave the short with the most to prove to Kevin Smith. It’s a tall order handling the Halloween segment of a holiday Horror anthology. Everyone expects it to be fantastic and everyone KNOWS what it’s going to be about even before they set their peepers on it. This is not a Halloween story at all which is almost refreshing given the fact that Halloween is the only obvious holiday to associate with Horror. There’s an element of torture porn and humor, but it also has a definite moral code. And you thought the only movies that could handle a car battery were Sleepaway Camp II and Silent Night Deadly Night 2.

Christmas - Scott Stewart… so this is the motherfucker who gave us Dark Skies. That was a great flick. This one involves a virtual reality gift that has a twist. The whole thing is kind of sexy and funny and violent. It feels like a Twilight Zone or a Tales from the Darkside episode. Seth Green stars and does a fantastic job selling it. The perfect gift is the gift of self exploration, even when you’re exploring your own grave.

New Year's Eve - Adam Egypt Mortimer previously directed Some Kind of Hate which was a damn difficult movie to watch especially as someone who was bullied as a kid. This one is more cut and dry with a blind date that goes… unexpectedly good before it goes horribly wrong. There’s a nice twist, some lighthearted blood and gore on the screen. Both Lorenza Izzo and Andrew Bowen give strong performances and sell it, making this a rather good way to end the anthology.

I enjoyed all segments at least in part and felt that as whole, it felt stylistically consistent. That really helps with an anthology and why the best portmanteaus are those from a time before anthologies were simply slammed together, unrelated shorts. It’s got a movie for every season and I like that the stories go in order throughout the year.

Holidays is currently available on VOD and limited theatrical. Make sure to keep your eyes open for a DVD (and hopefully Blu-ray) in the near future. This is one to see and enjoy. Let’s get a sequel on this one STAT with some of the more obscure holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day or maybe… ARBOR DAY (think Treevenge without Christmas).

***Note: I refuse to use the shitty poster that is currently being put during marketing. The poster that I used above is the only one to associate with this film. It’s perfect! Accept no substitutes***

From Vertical Entertainment

A collaboration of some of Hollywood’s most distinct voices, the directors include Kevin Smith (Tusk), Gary Shore (Dracula Unbound), Scott Stewart(Dark Skies), Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), Sarah Adina Smith (The Midnight Swim), Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate), and Anthony Scott Burns (Darknet).  The film will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 4/14, hit VOD 4/15 and U.S. theaters Aprl 22nd.

Vertical Entertainment and XYZ Films have partnered to acquire the global distribution of the horror anthology HOLIDAYS, which was produced by John Hegeman’s Distant Corners Entertainment in association with XYZ Films. The film will have its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival on April 14th. The companies will coordinate a global day-and-date release, which will begin the next day on April 15th with worldwide digital and VOD platforms followed by a targeted U.S. theatrical release on April 22nd. This will be one of the first global launches of a day-and-date independent film campaign following a festival world premiere.

HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time. The film challenges our folklore, traditions and assumptions, making HOLIDAYS a celebration of the horror on those same special days’ year after year. A collaboration of some of Hollywood’s most distinct voices, the directors include Kevin Smith (Tusk), Gary Shore (Dracula Untold), Scott Stewart (Dark Skies), Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), Sarah Adina Smith (TheMidnight Swim), Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate) and Anthony Scott Burns (Darknet).

“This has been a project that we’ve been excited about since it was announced in production. With the expansive list of amazing filmmakers, their unique take on the horror anthology genre, and in addition to the recent Tribeca premiere announcement we found ourselves with an amazing opportunity to get involved on a global basis” said Rich Goldberg, Vertical’s Co-President. “We have an extremely tight window to get the film out to audiences in April, but we have a dedicated team here at Vertical as well as with our partners XYZ and Distant Corners, what I believe will be the first film available globally immediately after its festival premiere.”

“We’re targeting our core audience directly on a worldwide basis,” said XYZ. “It’s a new distribution model that fits this film perfectly. We’re lucky to have forward-thinking filmmakers and partners that are up for breaking the mold.”

“It’s so exciting to have Vertical be proactive and jump on board.” adds HOLIDAYS producer John Hegeman, “I couldn’t think of better partners then them and XYZ to be taking advantage of this great opportunity. First the Tribeca acceptance, now this. This is fantastic.”