Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DEAD SHADOWS (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Tentacle Horror Will Seem Strangely Sexy

David Cholewa is a relatively new filmmaker. The production company that put out Dead Shadows has dabbled in distribution, but ultimately, this is also their first real breakthrough. With a release from Scream Factory hitting Blu-ray later this month, it's important to realize what Scream Factory is; we need to define it sometimes and, when appropriate, redefine it. These are guys who love the horror of yesteryear which is obvious by their slate of upcoming releases as well as the releases over the short span of the S.F. subdivision. Sometimes a movie comes along that doesn't quite fit within the Factory's scope. Think Ninja III as a prime example of a movie that doesn't quite fit the Scream Factory, old horror, fan favorite mold. As recently as early mid-last year, Scream Factory started to release movies off that had been made for Chiller TV (a television station that shows all horror content). Some of the quality of the productions were questionable though the releases have always been solidly packaged and appear nice in presentation. I like to think of these releases as acquired tastes and they actually have been growing on me. In that vain, Scream Factory has also started giving some low budget films or films with newbie IMDB resumes a chance to shine. Cockneys Vs. Zombies is an excellent example of how this works to everyone's benefit, a quality production with strong content. Dead Shadows... is another success story.

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

Dead Shadows tells the terrifying story of Chris (Fabian Wolfrom), whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that the Halley’s comet could be seen from earth.

Tonight, a new comet is appearing and everyone in Chris’s building is getting ready for a party to celebrate the event.

As the night falls, Chris discovers that people are starting to act strangely. They are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they begin to mutate into something far beyond recognition!

In a fight for survival, Chris tries to escape from his building with the help of a gun-toting tenant (John Fallon – Death Race, Saw Ii) – but will they make it out alive?


Dead Shadows is a strong story filled with a moderate amount of tension and mystery though you have to look past some exceptionally poor computer generated material which I found surprisingly easy. Maybe it's because I found the scenes that featured this CG content so entertaining that I could forgive the less than perfect tentacle "in out, in out". Everyone wants to see a hottie femme impaled by a mutant tentacle cock that goes straight through her mouth right? Or maybe that's just for use tentacle porn fans (if you don't know what that is, don't good it at work). Our leading man Gilles Barret is a convincing paranoid, hysterical nobody who quickly learns he's in the middle of a very unique battle. Just when the whole thing seems obvious, just when you have it figured out... you don't.

Extras include Making-Of Special Effects Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Interview With Director David Cholewa (the new director who definitely needs to continue his splatter love with physical effects on the next go around) and Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer. It's a modern film that looks good in HD and has the potential to become a widely accepted piece of modern foreign horror cultism. 

Remember that this a French horror movie. We've seen quite a few great movies come through France in the last decade and this should be counted among the likes of  High Tension, Livid, Frontier(s) and Inside in watchable, enjoyable, somewhat shocking horror pictures. To say that Dead Shadows is as shocking as some of the aforementioned film would be incorrect, however it certainly has it's moments. Dead Shadows is a playful horror feature that isn't afraid to let the audience know it's okay to laugh as it's preparing to impale someone in a moment of hot passion. It feels like a monster movie with figurative teeth, not your daddy's comet-brings-the-space-invaders picture. It's an early outing for a talented director who I'm personally excited to follow into the next endeavor. Keep digging up these new filmmakers Scream Factory, and while you're at it, take a look into getting a U.S. release of Livid on Blu-ray. What a fantastic horror picture.

Remember to enjoy the hip soundtrack.
Dead Shadows will be available on Blu-ray April 29th. You can order it now.

-Doc Terror

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