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Thursday, November 21, 2013

ALL NIGHT HORROR MARATHON VOL.1 (SCREAM FACTORY): Djinn's Kill Crazy Kids in Sparkling New Homes


Today I’d like to take some time to talk with you about Scream Factory’s All Night Horror Marathon series. We’ll do volume 1 today, and volume 2 when it arrives in the near future. For those of you who have focused on the Collector’s editions Scream Factory has released or other B list movies that you’ve wanted to see on shining beautiful Blu-ray, it may come as a shock that Scream Factory still releases a few items solely on DVD. These very nearly mimic Shout Factory alter egos in the Action or Cult arena and contain four movies a piece on two discs. These are stripped down releases. No extras. Nice title screen with digital aging and scratching simply showing a colorful/theatrical poster or VHS cover modification for the select movie option and don’t even include a Chapter select. 

Don’t let these streamlined (aka stripped out) products fool you. There are deeply amazing films in these here cases though they probably contain a movie or two or three or all four that you haven’t seen. I can consider these types of offerings a “catch up” release as in Catch the fuck up and watch all the goddamn movies you should have been watching on VHS when you’re parents gave you their rental card and were too busy looking at anal porn to know what you, the apple of their eye, were doing. I cannot say that we’re talking about releases of exceptional quality of film, production value, aesthetic or acting, but that each movie has been hand selected by the great S.F. for a very good reason. Let’s run down Volume One! I’m offering brief opinions and observations so don’t look for detailed reviews. The quality is good, but these aren’t Blu-rays so stop nosing around looking for 1080p up my skirt. If you wanted to pay loads of money for these releases I’m sure Scream Factory could have interviewed everyone, but let’s face it… you just want to see these damn things cheap.

What’s the Matter with Helen?

From Scream Factory: Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters star in this stylish shocker set in 1930s Hollywood about two women who come to Tinseltown to start an idyllic new life and end up in a terrifying nightmare. Directed by Curtis Harrington (Queen Of Blood, Games), this relentlessly frightening film also stars Dennis Weaver (McCloud).

My least favorite offering of the collection. Released in 1971, we’re talking about a slow moving, modestly atmospheric psycho drama with Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters. I love the poster art, bored by the movie, but it was a last minute entry replacing Schizoid from Lucio Fulci aka A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin which I thoroughly enjoy. That may have tainted my opinion. There’s something so gruesome about Schizoid that I just love and Helen is rather tame by comparison. It doesn’t fit in with the other, over the top entries. Let’s hope Scream Factory gets Schizoid out for a future release under whichever title the chose. 

The Vagrant
From Scream Factory: Bill Paxton (Aliens) and Michael Ironside (Scanners) star in this humorous psychological thriller as an ambitious young executive whose life is turned upside-down when a vagrant (Marshall Bell, Starship Troopers) moves into his neighborhood.

This movie is hilarious and intentionally funny with grueling bits of gory,grimy goodness. Bill Paxton’s wardrobe is early 90’s, late 80’s perfect and the premise isn’t half bad. Add Marc McClure of Back to the Future and Superman fame combined with the balls out, bad ass performance of Michael Ironside and you can’t help but have a good time. This is what horror marathoning is all about. The movie in between the other, more serious movies that gets you and your buddies laughing. Ever quotable, and happy to finally catch up with this classic schlock piece.  Side note... is that the hosue from Madhouse with John Larroquette and Kirsty Alley? What damn movie is that house from!?

Godsend 

From Scream Factory: When a strange woman has her baby at the Marlowe's house, then disappears, Kate Marlowe is forced to keep the baby, Bonnie. She loves the child, but when her own children are systematically killed, suspicion turns to Bonnie.

Disturbed the shit out of me. You magically find a woman and adopt her child who then proceeds to kill your other kids one at a time. It’s like the Omen with siblings. There can be only one! Having kids and somehow taking the camped up acting seriously didn’t help me, but I loved it. I actually was tense. Brilliant suspense, excellent ending score by Roger Webb and solid performances by all including the baddest of the bad seeds. If this isn’t on your kid horror list, you haven’t seen it.

The Outing

From Scream Factory: An ancient genie is released from a lamp when thieves ransack an old woman's house. They are killed and the lamp is sent to a museum to be studied. The curator's daughter is soon possessed by the genie and invites her friends to spend the night at the museum, along with some uninvited guests.
 
True fun, camp 80’s classic. Let’s lock everyone in an X and then set something loose to kill them ALL. Make sure they get naked and die horrific strange deaths. Split them in half in a swimming pool using crazy green electric spooky light, attack them with a giant Djinn, have snakes tear at their flesh or have them dropped on an axe blade. This is what a horror movie in the 80’s was. It’s iconic; the perfect example of an 80’s splatter film that hoped to be bigger than it’s budget might ever allow. The opening sequence is 15 minutes of some of the best horror I’ve seen in ages (camp classic horror mind you). Worth the price of the whole disc which wasn’t that much to begin with.

This disc is cheap. You can grab it typically for under $10… for FOUR movies! Grab it here. Enjoy them all. Marathon until you’re too drunk or until the sun comes up or until you’ve decided that you want to make out with your date for the remainder of the foursome.

-Doc Terror

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