Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Scares and The Scores - Celebrating the Release of Deathgasm!

You’re about to witness something truly great with the new Heavy Metal Horror movie from New Zealand called Deathgasm. You can ready my full review HERE, and make sure to support the release on VOD and physical media when it finally arrives. Dark Sky Films is lucky to have this one. In honor of the release of Deathgasm, we are putting out a few favorites from Heavy Metal Horror movies in a playlist. This will be music from movies with major Heavy Metal themes where the music or band is integrated into the plot as opposed to Heavy Metal music from great Horror movies (we’ll do that too).  Think Trick or Treat, Rocktober Blood, Rock N’ Roll Nightmare. Slaughter House Rock.

Spray the Aquanet proudly and check out this tribute to Deathgasm. The history of Heavy Metal Horror is great before you. You have done the subgenre proud.

Details on this column:

For those of you who listen to the HorrorSexy podcast or read this site, you know that I’m a bit of a soundtrack junkie. I collect soundtracks whether they are on vinyl, CD, even tape as well as digital files. I even love to create playlists on YouTube and Soundcloud and nothing excites me more than a mixtape from a talented MC. I wanted to start a regular column that picks a year or topic and then offers a look at my favorite scores from that year. These may not be the most popular soundtracks from that year or topic, but they could be. It’s a matter of taste.

I’ll be posting either the score/soundtrack or the trailer of a movie featuring the score or soundtrack in a playlist with a few notes about the year in general. Feel free to let me know which movies are your favorite from a given year or topic. I’ll be including about ten in the playlist, but I may on occasion do a runner up playlist. Some lists will be longer based on the topic especially if it is a comprehensive list of a particular topic.

I AM THOR (Dark Sky Films Blu-ray) -Let The Horror, Muscle and Metal of THOR Inspire You!

I’m a Horror guy. I’m a Metal guy. That means Jon Mikl Thor means something to me, and if you are unfamiliar with his name or his music or his supreme being-ness than do we have a documentary to prime your pump. I Am Thor coming to you from Dark Sky Films follows both the history of Jon Mikl Thor as well as an attempt by Thor to rise from the ashes and regain his former greatness.

I first found out about Thor from watching Rock N’ Roll Nightmare. He’s featured prominently on the cover and plays a major role in the film. I knew he was in Recruits and Zombie Nightmare, but what I never realized was the extent of his career in Metal outside of the cinema. I suspected he was a successful bodybuilder from his physique. Perhaps the greatest part of watching I Am Thor is learning to what extent a man will go to secure his legacy and to do what he loves. I Am Thor is a story of heart.

The movie is a mixed bag of Thor’s accomplishments as well as his attempt to rise to stardom once again. You follow him through archival footage as he blows up hot water bottles with his mouth to the point of exploding, bending steel bars and generally rocking. Then you watch as band mates come and go and follow the struggles of reforming a once great Metal act with the burden of age bearing down. It’s not heartbreaking mind you. This isn’t a sad bastard movie that follows the decline of a “has been”. This is a triumph of a man over circumstance; the attempt to be great and to lead the life Thor was meant to live. How many of us can say we follow our dreams? Thor did and does even if the result isn’t always perfect and the outcome wasn’t necessarily the overwhelming success story we hope for.

The movie looks great and is a well shot documentary. Dark Sky knows how to pick movies that challenge, innovate and enlighten. There’s a little bit of each of those in I Am Thor. You get the trailer which is the only extra.

If you’re a fan of Heavy Metal Horror, get ready to learn about the other side of Thor. If you loved the Heavy Metal of the man, then you can get a more complete picture of his work, life and struggle. I’d liken it to the movie The Wrestler in the sense that you get to watch a once great man try to get a leg up on the time. There’s deep passion. There’s pain. It’s exciting, and you’ll feel it in your heart.

You can order I Am Thor now:

From Dark Sky Films:

He has been named one of the greatest front men of all time by Classic Rock magazine, yet true and enduring fame has eluded him. Now, at long last, metal legend Jon Mikl Thor gets the cinematic tribute he so fully deserves in the triumphant, full-throttle I AM THOR, which comes to Digital Download and Dark Sky Films Blu-ray and DVD on January 19, 2016.

Jon Mikl Thor was a blond, bodybuilding, steel-bending, brick-smashing rock star in the 1970s and '80s whose theatrical band THOR hit the scene alongside Metallica and Kiss. He also shared the stage with such top acts as Motorhead, Anvil, Thin Lizzy, W.A.S.P. and Manowar, but he and his band never achieved gold record status.

After a brief but memorable film career saw him starring in the cult classics Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, Recruits and Zombie Nightmare, Thor all but disappeared from the entertainment map. But 10 years into retirement, and incapable of living like a normal mortal human being, Thor attempts a comeback to achieve the level of success that has eluded him his entire career - a comeback that nearly kills him.

Tracing the rise, fall and rebirth of a determined performer over the course of a career that has seen more than its fair share of highs and lows, I AM THOR paints a fascinating and sometimes unbelievable portrait of this larger-than-life icon.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Kansas Bowling's B.C. Butcher (Troma) - 16mm Cave-sploitation

The reason we love Troma is because they challenge the status quote, never giving into Hollywood wasteful methods and giving filmmakers a chance to be filmmakers instead of money counters and receipt watchers. Independent Horror has grown from the seed of Troma, has flourished under their watchful eye and in recent years been helped along with distribution deals and production provided to films that may never have received the chance to be made without their help. It isn't always pretty. You may not always agree with the content they provide, and you may miss the golden age when Toxie was king, but there's something important about having a guardian angel trying to get films in the market place and to inspire new filmmakers.

That brings us to an interesting case called B.C. Butcher from 17 year old Kansas Bowling who has taken her love for the Ramones' "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" about Sheen Queen of the Jungle and turned it into a short film filled with some classic slasher elements based around cave-sploitation elements you might have found in the 50's and Hammer films of the 60's. Fans of Prehistoric Women, Teenage Caveman, One Million BC and even the Flintstones have something to appreciate here. The first inductee into the Troma Institute for Gifted Youth, Bowling has made a movie on 16mm that conveys classic camp and 60's elements while working within a tight budget, a novice crew and shooting in her backyard. The outcome may not be for everyone, but it accomplishes Bowling's goal of creating a funny picture with Horror elements that doesn't take itself seriously and understands that entertainment is paramount to production.

B.C. Butcher is filled with some pretty amateurish effects, Bowling having to pick up gore-duty herself and not having any experience in this field. That means you get some classic red stuff on screen with sausage intestines and Crayola red everywhere. That can actually lighten the mood. Once you realize that you won't be completely disgusted by a picture, you're free to laugh at   kill sequences. The costuming is perfect Wilma Flintstone. This stuff is straight outta the modern stoneage family wardrobe which helps to solidify the comedic element. B.C. Butcher has been described as a longer episode of the Monkees classic TV show which was definitely in the back of my mind while watching the movie save for the fact that we are missing strong comedic presence in our leads. There's no equivalent of Nesmith, Dolenz, Tork or Jones to bring the laughs but some of this dialogue will bring a chuckle.

Bowling stays true to her roots with a soundtrack packed with 60's garage style rock and punk songs that underlay the action. B.C. Butcher even goes as far as to have a 60's homage to the beach band with a bunch of cavemen playing watermelon instruments (totally edible, man). As a fan of movies like Horror at Party Beach, this kind of thing really sets a mood for me and helps me to understand that we are dealing with a light-hearted picture. If you're looking for serious scares, the killer with a caveman mask, killing folks with rubber snakes or steak knives is probably going to detract from that.

The picture looks very good and overall film quality looks like a real movie as opposed to a student film with no production value that you might expect out of a young artist. While there are some slight sound issues, the film is watchable even if the run time is only a little over 50 minutes. 

Please understand this is not a Troma T and A flick where everyone runs around without clothes on. Faux animal skins stay on the whole time. 

Beware the Sabre tooth!

Check out the short film that inspired the Troma production here:

From Kansas Bowling regarding the short:

"The B.C. Butcher" starring Leilani Fideler, Alexis Codding, Annie Milligan, Colette Stone, Lauren Crowell, and featuring narration by Kadeem Hardison. Directed by Kansas Bowling. Written by Kansas Bowling and Kenzie Givens. Soundtrack by the Ugly Kids. Edited by John Irwin. Cinematography by Tomoaki Iwakura.

This short was made to raise funds for the feature length film "B.C. Butcher". The film is now coming out with Troma Entertainment 2016 starring Kato Kaelin, Leilani Fideler, Natasha Halevi, Devyn Leah, Molly Elizabeth Ring, Miranda Robin, Parker Love Bowling, Kadeem Hardison, and Rodney Bingenheime

From Troma: 

At just 17 years-old, Kansas Bowling directed her debut film, “B.C. Butcher”, which was shot entirely on 16 mm film. Billed as "the first prehistoric gyno-slasher movie", “B.C. Butcher” is a campy cave-sploitation horror-comedy. The story begins with an act of dissension by a member of an all female cave-tribe that leads to her sacrifice and mutilation by her fellow tribeswomen. When a beast of mythical lore uncovers the body he falls in love at first sight and what follows is his homicidal rampage to avenge the death of his corpse-bride.Starring, O.J. trial superstar Kato Kaelin as an ambiguously gay philandering cave-fop, featuring, Rodeny Bigenheimer, “The Mayor of Sunset Strip” and a performance by Los Angeles rock-n-roll group, "The Ugly Kids", " B.C. Butcher" is a superlative example of a well-crafted story set within the cinematic spirit of Troma tradition. The hit song “Alley-Oop”, adds to the unique retro feelings of the film. Kansas Bowling is the first inductee into, “The Troma Institute for Gifted Youth” “B.C. Butcher” 


B.C. Butcher was just released to the Troma subscription video on-demand service which is how you'll be able to check it out for now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Scares and The Scores - Exhumed Films Horrorthon Endless Playlist

Note: This was written for publishing in October. Unfortunately, due to health issues, I was unable to publish at that time. I still wanted to publish the column because I adore Exhumed Films, I love soundtracks and I wrote it... why waste it? The other benefit of posting now is that we've updated it with the 2015 selections!

It’s Exhumed Horrorthon season. If you do not know what this could possibly be, you’re most likely in good company due to the somewhat localized nature of their screenings. Exhumed Films is my favorite group of 35mm gurus. They are the fellas that got me going to shows from Hudson Horror Show in Poughkeepsie New York to Crystal Plumage Films in New Jersey to First Friday Fright Night in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Exhumed Films were the guys who got me good with my first 24 hour Horrothon about six years ago for their third annual screening at the International House in Philadelphia. The aforementioned season… the one you may know nothing about… is simply the time before the Horrorthon at the end of October where my imagination goes googly eyed and my brain drips hints of what films they could possibly be showing (their lineup goes unannounced).

Today we are going to celebrate the past features screening by Exhumed Films during all eight of their previous Horrorthons. We’ll start at the very beginning and when we get to the end, we’ll keep updating this playlist with each passing year. Hopefully the maintenance on such a playlist won’t be too hefty (Youtube often removes unlicensed or copyright violator content).  The inspiration for this particular playlist came from Exhumed friend and cohort in artistic crime, Haunt Love. Haunt Love created a mixtape to celebrate the screenings of Exhumed Films which included everything from Dream Warriors to Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince with plenty of clever soundbytes worked into the mix. It remains one of my favorite mixtapes. I still listen to it when I work out, and I am perpetually trying to convince Haunt Love to create another one. and then... Haunt Love created a second one! Here it is folks!

You can pick up the digital mixtape here and take a listen:

Also support Haunt Love in his chosen profession of kick ass art print creator. His focus on exploitation, Horror and even some music events are perfect for your walls. Prices are reasonable. Quality is impeccable. Check out the selection at an Exhumed screening or here on the web:

Now enjoy the playlist of all the Exhumed Horrorthon features (trailers inserted when know music offering was available).

Also check out our recap of the previous Exhumed Films Horrorthons now and support Exhumed Films by attending their regular double features, drive-in offerings and all day marathon events:

Details on this column:

For those of you who listen to the HorrorSexy podcast or read this site, you know that I’m a bit of a soundtrack junkie. I collect soundtracks whether they are on vinyl, CD, even tape as well as digital files. I even love to create playlists on YouTube and Soundcloud and nothing excites me more than a mixtape from a talented MC. I wanted to start a regular column that picks a year or topic and then offers a look at my favorite scores from that year. These may not be the most popular soundtracks from that year or topic, but they could be. It’s a matter of taste.

I’ll be posting either the score/soundtrack or the trailer of a movie featuring the score or soundtrack in a playlist with a few notes about the year in general. Feel free to let me know which movies are your favorite from a given year or topic. I’ll be including about ten in the playlist, but I may on occasion do a runner up playlist. Some lists will be longer based on the topic especially if it is a comprehensive list of a particular topic.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Howl (Alchemy Blu-ray) - Unique Werewolves, Body Shredding Good.

While I had heard some good stuff about the werewolf flick, Howl, I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Here’s a move that takes the werewolf myth and does NOT mess with as is the popular way to "update" genres and monsters. Howl just enjoys playing with the myth and using it to scary, often gory advantage. That means you don’t have to sit there and say, “yeah but that’s not a werewolf trait”. You can sit back and enjoy the concept of a werewolf on a train in the middle of nowhere. Alchemy has a winner here that looks great on Blu-ray and has plenty of drippy, gooey guts to make the ghouls happy.

Howl may be a fairly straightforward werewolf/siege flick that happens to take place on a train; that doesn’t make it ordinary. It makes a novel change to the wolf appearance. Howl doesn’t go for the typical wolfman look a la Universal nor does it go for a realistic wolf looking attacker. These guys went for a crossover between Howling werewolves crossed with almost human looking monsters that were not quite as hairy, but terrifying in the face. They aren’t humans. They aren’t wolves. They are an original take on the 80’s werewolf that really works.

All performances are solid. The effects are quite lovely especially the more practical effects. There are some CG effects used due to budgetary restraint, but those should not overshadow the mastery of the monster makeup that seems to hearken back to the great days of effects masters Bottin and Baker.

The disc looks great in HD and includes some nice extras including interviews. Best extra: the creature creation extra. This is a must watch when you finish the movie.

I feel it’s worth noting that the music feels often too ethereal for the whole production. I felt like I was listening to a Gothic Rock album in high school which could have been supplanted for a more straight forward score that could have shocked me more. It doesn’t drag through the whole movie, so it isn’t damning.

You can order Howl now:

From Alchemy:

Alchemy is thrilled to announce the home entertainment release of the haunting thriller, HOWL starring Ed Speelers (TV’s “Downton Abbey”, upcoming Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) Shauna Macdonald, Sean Pertwee (TV’s “Gotham”), Holly Weston and Elliot Cowan. HOWL is directed by master SFX artist and make up designer, Paul Hyett (The Descent, The Woman in Black) and written by Mark Huckberby and Nick Ostler. The film has a running time of 93 minutes, is not rated and will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Early EST on January 12, 2016.


On a stormy night, passengers on the last train out of London begin to panic after coming to a sudden halt. They soon realize there’s something dangerous lurking in the forest, and its stalking the besieged train picking them off one-by-

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Last Horror Film (Troma Blu-ray) - Spinell Spoofs with Munro to the Depeche Mode Waltz

I suppose the best way to take Troma’s The Last Horror Film is with the comedic Horror intent that represents a good 75% of their library. It’s campy, low budget, filled with continuity issues and questionable filmmaking decisions, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. While the ultimate goal in The Last Horror Film is to spoof slashers and to basically take Hollywood filmmaking and the festival circuit to task for their methods, the whole thing feels like one big slapdash sequence of watching Joe Spinell sweat while Caroline Munro looks hot. Of course in between the sweating and the hotness we get a full on dose of clever kills with low budget gore that make the whole ride worthwhile.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Last Horror Film was the decision to cast Frank Zito opposite Anna D'Antoni. You know what I’m talking about, right? Spinell and Munro costarred in Maniac just two years before, something that The Last Horror Film clearly tries to capitalize on and actually provides for some moderately funny moments. That’s not to compare Maniac to The Last Horror Film. These are two different movies, one that satirizes the cult classic for which I always associate Spinell.

Interesting enough I think David Winters put together something that hints at most of more modern Horror comedies and would play out perhaps to better comedic effect in movies like Student Bodies and the like. Important to note that David Winters also created Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare special and would late go on to direct the influential Thrashin’.

Troma has had a rough patch when it comes to their Blu-ray releases, and while this isn’t the worst of them all, it certainly isn’t up to the quality of some finer boutique labels like Vinegar Syndrome or 88 Films who have done well by Troma’s releases so far. The print is dusty and damaged and while it looks good and the generally crisp there has been minimal to no effort to actually preserve the film or provide restoration. Is it the best its looked since tape or inferior DVD? Yeah, it is and I would go for this release over a previous release, but make sure to set your expectation level appropriately.

As with most Troma releases you get some completely unrelated extras alongside a new Llloyd Kaufman intro. There’s an audio commentary and a short film featuring Spinell. It’s something even if it is for the most part unrelated.

Did we mention the Depeche Mode? I mean hey, it's no Maximum Overdrive with a soundtrack by AC/DC, but there's cult appeal hear. I'm sure it won't make the VH1 movies that rock.

You can order The Last Horror Film now:

From Troma:

Joe Spinnell (THE GODFATHER, MANIAC) plays Vinny, a cabbie with Hollywood aspirations. Determined to have Jenna Bates (Bond-girl Caroline Munro) star in his first film, Vinny follows Jenna to the Cannes Film Festival, where her entourage slowly and mysteriously begins to disappear. It's time for this Hollywood scream queen to learn what true fear and paranoia feels like.

Newly restored and featuring the music of Depeche Mode, The Last Horror Film pushes the boundaries of violence, suspense, and eroticism to new extremes. Who else will stand between Vinny and his star?

Special Features:
The return of one of Troma's most beloved characters, Dolphin-Man
New intro by Lloyd Kaufman (President of Troma Entertainment and creator of The Toxic Avenger
Audio commentary
Highlights from the 2015 Tromadance Film Festival.
Mr. Robbie (A shortfilm by Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock) starring Joe Spinell)
A full episode of Troma's latest web-series Kabukiman's Cocktail Corner starring Paul Booth

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Jack’s Back (Scream Factory Blu-ray) -Sexy, Scarred Spader Does the Ripper Story

Hey there Mr. Suave James Spader! Man, it’s nice to see a down and dirty slasher esque story with a novel twist that focuses on the root of serial killers. Jack’s Back is a both good fun, a little creepy, sorta sexy and a great watch. Scream Factory releases this one under the radar in late January, but I assure you it’s a good watch. Everything from a solid Spader performance to a strong supporting cast and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Having not having seen this before, I was immediately subject to all it’s trick, fell for all of them and came out the other end quite satisfied.

Jack’s Back could be just another hack and slasher picture focusing on the kills over the mystery, but this film goes for style over the red stuff. While you may get some kills, you really are invited to solve a mystery that seems obvious at every turn even though the obvious answer is seldom the true answer. Of course mid 80’s Spader brings the seductive sexy and yet somehow we really don’t get him without this damn clothes on. That’s just the kind of movie that Jack’s Back is. Less gratuitous and more focused on story. With a foundation as spent as Jack the Ripper, this is a fresh take on an old legend.

The transfer is really great and looks clean for the most part. The disc includes one cover option with a still on the reverse. There’s a commentary track and a making of featurette that focuses on interviews (Spader not included).

You can order Jack’s Back from Scream Factory now:

From Scream Factory:

One hundred years ago, Jack the Ripper slashed his way through London's red light district. Now, a modern-day maniac is honoring the event by mutilating L.A.'s ladies of the evening. Has Jack the Ripper been reborn? The police are stumped and the prostitutes of L.A. are scared. The only person with a chance of solving the murders has a problem of his own – he's the LAPD's number one suspect.

James Spader (The Blacklist, Avengers: Age Of Ultron) and Cynthia Gibb (Death Warrant, Youngblood) star in this taut mystery-thriller written and directed by Rowdy Herrington (Road House).

Bonus Features
NEW High-Definition Transfer From The Original Negative
NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Rowdy Herrington
NEW The Making Of JACK'S BACK - Interviews With Writer/Director Rowdy Herrington, Producer Tim Moore, Actress Cynthia Gibb And Director Of Photography Shelly Johnson
Theatrical Trailer

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sonny Boy (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Get Ready for Weird

There are times when Scream Factory makes me question the movies they release under the “Horror” label Scream Factory. Then there are times when I simply have to question my sanity because of the things they choose to release on the “Horror” label because Sonny Boy did just that. Knowing little to nothing about Sonny Boy, I didn’t fully get the gist of the movie or what I was to expect save that it was a cult classic and worthy of a view. Hell, David Carradine is in it; must be worth a watch. Then you start to dig a little deeper and realize that Paul L. Smith and Brad Dourif are in it and the whole thing starts to flesh out. You realize that it’s gonna be great, but WHAT is it going to be? As it turns out Sonny Boy is a movie that feels a lot more like Spider Baby with the complete filth and ferocity of a house of maniacs raising a stolen child to their own “loving” end. You have to prepare yourself to be emotional drawn by Sonny Boy. You cannot expect a whimsical fun time into the horror-verse.

What separate Sonny Boy from some of the other movies that may play on alternate lifestyles is that it is a truly brutal movie. Raising a stolen child with beatings by pipe and by fire and intimidation… the first half of the movie feels like a pile of family video clips that show just how messed up you can make a kid if you had your sadistic pants on and had no scruples. The movie does stop short of showing every ounce of abuse and at least allows you to enjoy some extremely dark moments of comedy with Brad Dourif acting like a fiery madman as well as a personal favorite Sydney Lassick playing the role of a demented by almost loving grandfather. Get through the first half of the movie and you can enjoy the second half with moments of redemption, gonzo action violence and strange mob mentality. Thank the world that David Carradine is in drag the whole time. It makes for some comic moments and actually some strangely heartwarming moments. As I type that word, “heartwarming”, I feel almost ashamed that I could find something touching in Sonny Boy.

I got through the first half of the movie, enjoyed the picture and was happy with having seen a cult movie that truly put me on the edge of my seat with both anticipation and real terror. That isn’t always comforting to come home to.

The release looks pretty damn good with a nice transfer, minimal dust and is very clear. The disc comes with BD-ROM access to the script and two separate commentary tracks that will hopefully put the whole movie in context, especially for long time fans of this dark film. Scream Factory really dug deep to find something special for fans of more obscure titles. This may not be the golden gem you were looking for, but it is certainly eye opening and powerful.

You can order Sonny Boy from Scream Factory now:

From Scream Factory:

A shattering, unforgettable performance from David Carradine (Kill Bill) powers this wickedly off-beat tale of family love gone berserk. Paul L. Smith (Midnight Express, Crimewave) and Brad Dourif (Child's Play, The Exorcist III) are also featured in powerfully moving supporting roles.

In a remote desert town, a psychopathic petty crook (Smith) and his transvestite girlfriend (Carradine) kidnap an orphaned infant, cage it like an animal, and train it to steal and kill on their command. Years later, when the half-wild Sonny Boy escapes and embarks on a bloody rampage, the couple's monstrous attempt at "child development" provokes the local populace into vengeful retaliation.

Unlike any film you've ever seen, Sonny Boy is an unsettling, wildly bizarre allegory on the devastating effects of child abuse and the violent consequences that follow.

Bonus Features
NEW Audio Commentary With Director Robert Martin Carroll
NEW Audio Commentary With Writer Graeme Whifler
Script – 1st Draft (Accessible Via BD-ROM)

Theatrical Trailer

Green Inferno (Universal Blu-ray)

I have watched all the major Italian Cannibal movies. I state this because as a person who is a fan of that particular genre, I would want someone who has seen a majority of the Italian Cannibal movies to tell me if The Green Inferno is any good. Full disclaimer: I am a fan of the films of Eli Roth whether he has directed, written, produced or acted in them. I do not hate modern Horror. I do not think Horror is dead, and in general I try to keep a positive mind set about new releases. These are the things you know about me. You know that I’m fairly open minded, that I enjoy practical effects over computer generated effects. You also know that I like to be challenged by movies but that I am a strong believer in being entertained by Horror movies. That means I want to laugh a little. I want to get my mind dirty. I want to feel a thrill or two. I like balance. That’s enough about me. Let’s talk about The Green Inferno, Eli Roth’s new cannibal picture.

Green Inferno is not Italian. It is an homage and a tribute in part to the older films, but it is also a Roth picture. It opens in New York City as most great Italian Cannibal pictures do. It features folks going into the jungle to do something and ultimately they meet up with the legendary cannibals that always seem to be the thing of pure myth. It is brutal. It is violent. It features some nudity though perhaps not as sensual as some of the Italian pictures of the 70’s and 80’s. In the Italian pictures there’s always a guide who seems like he knows what the fuck is going on even when he doesn’t or when life takes the guide out of the equation. There are good guys and bad guys. Cannibals, good and bad and maybe even the question of morality or good and evil when it comes to cannibals in this particular cannibal film is so subjective that an American audience would root against the cannibals on a purely ethno-centric basis. There are little bits and pieces of Italian Cannibal films in Roth’s vision, but really, this is an Eli Roth movie and it is a cannibal movie and it is not a rip off of the greats. It’s not a rip off of Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox. It doesn’t pretend to reinvent the genre. It simply plays in the same space as the Italian Cannibal flicks. Sure we have what might be construed as a Giovani Lombardo Radice doppelganger, but I that may be purely coincidental.

Where does it truly shine? Roth’s movies love to develop characters both good and evil and then provide twists and arcs that bend and sometimes break the audience. Never is that more present in Green Inferno where nearly a third of the movie is spent developing characters and conceptions of the Western world. That’s a pretty uncommon trait for movies from the Italian cycle. It’s important. Roth did it in the original Hostel to great effect, taking a full half of the movie to show us who WE are before sending us to slaughter. The same goes for Green Inferno. The mirror is pointed at us. We are those characters you dislike in the movie in part or as a whole. The evolution of characters throughout Green Inferno creates a story that guides you through some messy bits and inspire that brilliant sense of cheering that is ever so important in a Horror picture. I always tell you that you have to have a distinct good guy and a distinct bad guy. Someone to root for; someone to root against; someone to want to see get their just deserts. You have that with Green Inferno. You know who your chief good people are, and your bad Westerners. Then X factor is the cannibals and their ever evolving roles. That’s part of the mind bender and why Green Inferno works in a different way than the Italian Cannibal films that were exploitation films first and foremost. Green Inferno is not an exploitation picture.

Now that we’ve got all the heady shit out of the way, let’s talk about the juicy bits. The special effects team with Greg Nicotero in tow create magical gore. The insides of bodies are impeccable and tactile. It’s just gross, and most likely this will be the kind of thing that keeps away the normal folks while enticing the gorehounds to challenge themselves. The only issue I see with that is that quite a few gorehounds hold strict adherence to the older Italian cycle. They can’t let go of Cannibal Holocaust or Ferox or they find Green Inferno to be a threat. To those folks I tell you the exciting use of splatter and gore and specialized jungle torture is a great reason to see it even if you want to trash the rest of the movie for not being a cookie cutter homage to Deodato or Lenzi or Martino. As a gore fiend myself, I found this quite delightful, feeling enjoyably queasy while wishing I had a nice piece of rare meat for the viewing.

Green Inferno has a strong cast. Everyone acts well and Roth gets the maximum effort out of everyone on the screen. It was striking to be so unfamiliar with the cast in a modern Horror movie. My hope is to see them all again soon. I’d like to enjoy them more. When we finally see a making of featurette on a Blu-ray release, we will understand just what this extraordinary cast went through to create this picture in Peru. Until then we just know that they must truly love being covered in gallons of the red stuff. I kept thinking that I knew all of these people at some point in my life. I’ve known the types, the things they say. The first half of the movie was identifying who they were in my life as I went through my own “save the world” phase. They are as scary as you see them on screen. They are us.

Sit through the credits because you just might see something interesting. I won’t say what. As I sat there waiting for Easter Eggs (which is imperative these days) I was happy to see an abbreviated bibliography of Italian Cannibal movies listed out for the audiences education. This is how you know Roth is a good Horror fan and a man who wants you to understand better his movie. Seek them out. All of them are available on DVD or Blu-ray. Also, you’ll notice a few choice “thank you’s” that are moderately humorous. Perhaps the most striking thing about sitting the credits was seeing the copyright date as 2013. You remember that it hit festivals; that it had limited screening. You remember when it DIDN’T come out last year and the road to get here tonight in the theater. It’s been a long one. Over two years in the can and we are just now seeing a movie that will be as powerful with each viewing as it was with the first.

If I had to find a fault with the movie it would be that I wasn’t keen on the music. Perhaps I too am a movie snob who was looking forward to a new wave band riffing on Riz Ortolani. The score is ultra modern/tribal and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t my preference. There was however a song at the very end of the credit sequence that I simply must own, will own and can’t wait to jam to as I’m rocking a workout. It sort of reminded me of the Mad Max Fury Road score which I enjoy… for Mad Max.

My recommendation for Green Inferno is to pick up this disc, cautiously. While Roth celebrates animals rather than killing them on screen as was common in the Italian era, the gore is very graphic. I recommend it to all Horror fans who enjoy a test, fans of Eli Roth, folks who like the original cannibal cycle and remember that there was another movie called the Green Inferno before Eli Roth’s Green Inferno BUT not those ladies and gentlemen who KNOW that they don’t like it already. You can stay at home and not watch a great movie. That’s most certainly a stab. This is not a rip off of any Italian Cannibal movie, but I’m certain there is a small faction of Horror fans waiting to say it is regardless of the merits of that assertion. I don’t mean to get all negative at the end of this positive review, so I’ll stop there.

Green Inferno is available to order from Universal. While the release looks great, my only qualm is that there is not making of featurette or history of the Italian cannibal cycle. I’m glad they included a list of reference movies at the end of the credits in the movie itself, but I think Roth and Universal could have worked to get more on this disc to celebrate the genre. There’s enough history behind this release to have more interviews and a making of featurette about a movie shot in the jungle… that’s important, especially at how much it’s been talked about in early interviews leading up to the release. You get a commentary track and a photo gallery. That’s it.

Of course of I’m going to advocate for you to enjoy the movie and purchase it. I just hope we get a more definitive edition if not from a US distro company, than from a Euro company making a nice steel book.

You can order Green Inferno now:

From Universal:

An international goodwill mission goes terrifyingly wrong in The Green Inferno, the highly anticipated return to classic cult horror from iconic director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel  1&2 ), available on Digital HD December 22, 2015 and Blu-ray and DVD as well as On Demand on January 5, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The Green Inferno is a gruesomely spectacular journey into the heart of darkness that will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

New York college student Justine (Lorenza Izzo) meets student activist Alejandro (Ariel Levy) when he goes on a hunger strike on behalf of underpaid janitors. Smitten, she agrees to help Alejandro undertake his next project: rescuing an Amazon village from destruction by a greedy multinational corporation.  But Justine soon comes to regret her decision when their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and the students realize they are not alone. No good deed goes unpunished as the well-meaning students are captured by the cannibalistic tribe they came to save.

The first feature film directed by Roth since Hostel: Part II, The GreenInferno stars Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock, “Hemlock Grove”), Ariel Levy (The Stranger, Best Worst Friends), Aaron Burns (The Stranger, Best Worst Friends) and Kirby Bliss Blanton (Project X, Candy From Strangers). The screenplay is by Eli Roth and Guillermo Amoedo (Knock Knock, Aftershock).

•           Feature Commentary - With co-writer, director and producer Eli Roth, producer Nicolás López, and stars Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, and Daryl Sabara
and Photo Gallery

Reposted some thoughts from the theatrical screening.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Guardian (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

I didn’t know what to expect from The Guardian. Yes, it’s directed by William Friedkin who directed The Exorcist, but that doesn’t really give you the scope of the movie now does it. I mean The Exorcist as made in the early 70’s and this is an 80’s obscure Horror movie that I remember vividly from the video store wall. Did Friedkin forget how to do Horror? I love his work, but you really don’t know what the studios in the 80’s could do to a perfectly excellent director’s work. As it turns out The Guardian rocked me and scared me and got under my skin in the best way possible. The greatest part was he did it much in the same way that he did with The Exorcist, by finding a fear inherent in everyone, especially parents. What happens when an evil supernatural force, larger than life, attacks your kid? Scream Factory has put this in our hands as Horror fans. It’s our job to enjoy and let it scare us.

From the outset I got the basic gist. We’re dealing with a supernatural force of Pagan origin that wants to get babies for spiritual nourishment. Great story. Add in some truly creepy effects and creature creation and you can guarantee a moderate scare. The casting was great which helped to cement the story. Mind you, the whole thing does wander in and out of some unnecessary sequences to increase the body count, but those moments are at least entertaining. By the end of the picture, just when you think you know exactly what’s going to happen, the big bad reaches out and shakes you and says, “you don’t know shit”. The Guardian is a thrill to the end with plenty of juicy blood, tension au plenty and a real-feel that made me wary of any and all future babysitters.

The disc comes with traditional artwork and stills on the inside. The extras are filled to the brim with interviews including Matthew Mungle telling you all about the Tree Woman. That is a must listen to interview especially since it is an exceptionally impressive effect that stuck with me. The transfer is nice with minimal dust and debris in the early part of the movie. No qualms here.

If you have kids this one almost plays out like a supernatural home invasion movie. It can get you and make you fear for your little ones. That’s what happened to me, but I like that the clearly fantastical elements allowed me to enjoy the movie rather than feeling a complete panic for my baby girl. I can’t do much with modern home invasion movies, no matter how subtle (even Hand That Rocks the Cradle is a bit much). It’s a magical legend, and Friedkin creates a magical nearly parallel universe for the whole Druidic lore to evolve within that so closely mimics ours, you’ll question every damn tree in the woods. Great job, Scream Factory. Another gem saved from the shadows.

You can order this lesser loved William Friedkin classic from Scream Factory now:

From Scream Factory:

William Friedkin, the Academy Award®-winning* director of The Exorcist, delivers a new kind of fairy tale for adults.

A handsome young couple finds the perfect live-in babysitter to look after their newborn child. It seems like a fairy tale, until ancient, supernatural forces turn the couples dream into a nightmare.

In his first horror film since The Exorcist, Oscar®-winning* director William Friedkin spins a terrifying tale based on every parent's worst fear. Jenny Seagrove (Local Hero) portrays the enchanting guardian who enters the home of new parents Dwier Brown (Red Dragon) and Carey Lowell (Licence to Kill) possessing impeccable references and an affinity for children. But as her true intentions are revealed, the battle for the child's soul begins in this chilling film based on Dan Greenburg's popular novel, The Nanny.
*1971: Best Director, The French Connection

Bonus Features

       NEW A Happy Coincidence - An Interview With Actor Dwier Brown
       NEW From Strasberg To The Guardian - An Interview With Actor Gary Swanson
       NEW A Mother's Journey - An Interview With Actress Natalija Nogulich
       NEW Scoring The Guardian - An Interview With Composer Jack Hues
       NEW Tree Woman: The Effects Of The Guardian - An Interview With Makeup Effects Artist Matthew Mungle
       Return To The Genre - An Interview With Director/Co-writer William Friedkin
       The Nanny - An Interview With Actress Jenny Seagrove
       Don't Go Into The Woods – An Interview With Co-writer Stephen Volk

       Still Gallery Of Behind-The-Scenes Photos

Over Your Dead Body (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

Here’s the rub guys. I find it very difficult to enjoy modern Japanese or Asian Horror. It’s something I’ve been working through for years, exposing myself to the proper movies with a near 100% failure rate. Every so often I can find moments that entertain or spook me, but Over Your Dead Body coming to you from Scream Factory won’t be the movie that turns over a new leaf for me. I think there’s a market for this movie that will truly appreciate it and love it.

Fans of Japanese Horror will appreciate the subtle ghost play mixed with socially relevant undertones as well as some sharp acting from all involved. There are plenty of flashy moments where the blood is everywhere and the supernatural elements seem to take control. I suppose my chief concern was that with the underlying social message, I follow the story down a ghostly path only to hit the wall of a metaphor that seems to predict every attack from the spirit world. Sifting through a movie like this can be tricky for a meat and potatoes Horror fan like myself.

Fans of Takashi Mike will enjoy this as will fans of modern Japanese Horror. Even though I may have enjoyed Audition I think this is a very different movie and should not be compared to that release.

You can order Over Your Dead Body from Scream Factory:

From Scream Factory:

A beautiful actress (Kô Shibasaki of 47 Ronin and Battle Royale) plays the protagonist in a new play based on a legendary ghost story. She pulls some strings to get her lover cast in the play, although he's a relatively unknown actor. With the cast in place, rehearsals for the play, about an abusive relationship and a grudge, begin. But off stage, some begin to develop their own obsessions. Trapped between the play and reality, they are horrified to find that a real grudge can cross the blurred line between reality and fantasy. Will love flourish? Or has it already turned hideously dark?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Death Nurse and Death Nurse 2 (Slasher//Video DVD)

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the Death Nurse series presented by Slasher//Video. This as low budget a movie as can hope for and come to as a shot on video releases. Each movie plays off the slasher/maniac genre in a fairly generic way, the novelty gag here is that your killer is an overweight nurse, unattractive and reasonably terrifying. It can be difficult to watch, slow and filled with lackluster kills that really don’t epitomize the name Death Nurse.

Unfortunately the surrounding story line of the original picture doesn’t build either movie into much more than generic “killer cannot get caught murdering” story line #12 until the end. The sequel follows suit, recapping what we’ve already seen from Death Nurse while completely dragging out what appears to be leftover footage from the original shoot. The basic premise seems like a great way to get the body count up, but the budget of this picture clearly had other ideas.

Please understand that there is a market from SOV movies. They can be quite entertaining and watching Edith Mortley work has both humorous and moderately creepy elements that make the original movie3 worth one watch. The sequel is for diehard fans and completists only. It’s like the folks who want to own every edition of Sleepaway Camp 4 even though it’s not a real friggin’ movie.

SOV folks… Slasher//Video does it again. For serious Horror folks who like quality pictures… bet to avoid this one.

From Olive:

Disclaimer: Death Nurse, originally Shot On Video, is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video.

Patient care is priority number one at the Shady Palms Clinic, where patients check in but never check out.

Owned and operated by nurse Edith Mortley (Priscilla Alden, Death Nurse 2) and her brother Dr. Gordon Mortley (Cemetery Sisters, Death Nurse 2), Shady Palms attends to your every need. And if you should expire (or be dispatched) … free burial service!
Slasher // Video presents Death Nurse, directed by Nick Millard (Death Nurse 2, Cemetery Sisters) and starring Priscilla Alden (Death Nurse 2), Albert Eskinazi (Death Nurse 2, Cemetery Sisters) and Royal Farros (Criminally Insane 2).

Disclaimer: Death Nurse II, originally Shot On Video, is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video.

The Hippocratic Oath is clearly not required reading at the Shady Palms Clinic run by Nurse Mortley (Priscilla Alden, Death Nurse) and her brother, Dr. Gordon Mortley (Albert Eskinazy, Death Nurse, Cemetery Sisters) in this sequel to the horror film Death Nurse.

The patient survival rate is nil as the body count rises thanks to Nurse Motley, the Florence Nightingale of the cemetery set. At turns shocking and terrifying, yet filled with grim humor, Death Nurse 2 gives fans of horror films more than they could ask of the genre.

Slasher // Video presents Death Nurse 2 directed by Nick Millard (Death Nurse, Cemetery Sisters) and starring Priscilla Alden (Death Nurse 2), Albert Eskinazi (Death Nurse 2, Cemetery Sisters) and George ‘Buck’ Flower (The Fog, They Live).

Trailer for Death Nurse

Trailer for Death Nurse 2

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sinister 2 (Universal Blu-ray)

I was not a fan of Sinister. I adored the film clip within the movie and thought it was very effective. It gave me the creeps. The actual movie just couldn’t hold my attention and felt like a great long trail of bread crumbs that led nowhere. I’ve tried to rewatch it, but the only thing I’ve consistently gotten out of it was that film clip within the movie itself. Sinister 2 is coming out from Universal, and while I was initially very skeptical of this release, I was wowed. Sinister 2 got under my skin and fixed some of the narrative issue that bothered me through the first film.

What worked for me in Sinister 2? More films. They simply used more films to convey the story which meant more of what I actually enjoyed about the first movie. Super eerie, realistic images of Horror that were shot on film or made to look like they were shot on film. I enjoyed the characters and the somewhat more lighthearted tone. The original Sinister was consistently dark without an element of fun to be found. I was able to find the mystery of the actual legend and lore behind the films and murders to be compelling even though it was perhaps a bit obvious.

It’s not without its flaws but as a whole Sinister 2 works. It may not be the true creep out that fans of the original movie would have enjoyed, but as I’ve said, I was not a fan of the original movie. That meant that this release was a fresh start for me and has me prepared to enjoy a Sinister 3.

The disc looks great in HD and comes with a commentary track, making of featurette and deleted scenes.

You can order Sinister 2 now:

From Universal

Mysterious found footage reveals a series of gruesome murders in Sinister 2, the chilling sequel to the sleeper horror hit available on Digital HD on December 22, 2015, and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on January 12, 2016 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The latest heart-stopping tale from series co-creators and screenwriters C. Robert Cargill & Scott Derrickson (who directed the first installment), producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Insidious, The Purge) and director Ciarán Foy (Citadel), Sinister 2 on Blu-ray and DVD is packed with bonus features including filmmaker commentary, a peek behind the camera and deleted scenes that raise the fear factor to unprecedented heights.

In the aftermath of the shocking events of Sinister, a protective mother (Shannyn Sossamon of Wayward Pines) and her nine-year-old twin sons (real-life brothers Robert and Dartanian Sloan) find themselves marked for death in a rural house as the evil spirit of Bughuul continues to spread with frightening intensity.

•           Extended Kill Films

•           Deleted Scenes
•           Time to Watch Another: Making of Sinister 2 – In this behind-the-scenes featurette, filmmakers discuss how they built the new story upon the first film and brought back “Deputy So & So” to continue the hunt for Bughuul.

•           Feature Commentary with Director Ciarán Foy 

Killer Workout (Slasher//Video Blu-ray)

First we discuss the disclaimer. I think it’s important that everyone understands what they’re buying (and you should be buying this if you’re a Horror fan). This release wasn’t taken from traditional film elements. Killer Workout is remastered from and HD Master from PAL Beta SP and upconverted to Blu-ray. You’re going to notice that quality isn’t quite up to your normal Blu-ray due to the source material. With a release like Killer Workout its important to work with the best elements available especially since film elements may have been destroyed or nonexistent. We always hope for better elements in the future, but for right now we can enjoy a movie, looking the best it’s look in a home video release. That’s why you buy Slasher//Video. They preserve movies for movie lovers and don’t necessarily pay lip service to the snobs out there.

Killer Workout was part of the workout Horror craze in the mid 80’s You had Death Spa which was fantastic and even Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout among others. How does Killer Workout aka Aerobicide compare to a movie like Death Spa? Both movies are pure camp though Death Spa may have a leg up on the production value. The stories fair the same and the kills are always perfectly novel. Let’s face it; we are watching workout Horror to see scantily clad folks get butchered in funny ways. That’s exactly what you get in Killer Workout. The budget is low and effects cheap, but the entertainment value is high with plenty of unintentional laughs to guide you through the murder mystery story line.

Yes the transfer is from tape, and that’s just fine by me. I’m glad to have gotten the chance to see a very nice looking version of Killer Workout even if it doesn’t quite live up to my Blu-ray standards. It’s has damage and dirt, but at least a digital representation exists to give it a new audience.

You can order Killer Workout now:
From Olive

Disclaimer: Killer Workout is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD Master; remastered from from PAL Beta SP and upconverted to BluRay and DVD specifications.

Going to the gym may be hazardous to your health. In fact, it could kill you.
Valerie, a model with a promising career, Valerie heads out to the local fitness club to use their sun-tanning bed. She needs to look her best for her Cosmopolitan magazine cover shoot. Alas, Valerie’s visit will end in tragedy when the machine malfunctions, burning her to death. Despite Valerie’s death being a public relations nightmare, things are back up and running at the club with the iron-fisted Rhonda (Marci Karr, Maniac Cop) in charge. But tragedy is lurking just around the corner when another club member is soon found stabbed to death. Enter Lieutenant Morgan (David James Campbell, Scarecrows), the cop on the case. Tasked with solving the crimes, he’s in for more than he expected as the body count rises. Who’s behind the grizzly slayings? What’s their motive? And, who will be the next victim?

Slasher // Video presents Killer Workout, directed by David A. Prior (Deadly Prey, The Deadliest Prey) and starring Ted Prior (Deadly Prey), Marcia Karr (Maniac Cop), David James Campbell (Scarecrows) and Fritz Matthews (The Deadliest Prey).

Burroughs (Criterion Collection Blu-ray)

As a teenager I read quite a bit of Burroughs. Sometimes completely coherent and conscious and other times, in a state of mind that may have assisted in me better understanding his cut and paste style. William Burroughs taught me how to write in a non sequitur fashion but with purpose and narrative. For the short time that I kept up with example I’d find great fun in learning how to write the literary sanity of a truly crazy world uninhibited or at least with a new set of rules. Criterion Collection has released the 1983 Howard Brookner documentary about his life. It pieces together interviews from everyone from Patti Smith to Allen Ginsburg and whoa is it a nice way to get involved with the godfather again.

I had a great time reliving my youth via some truly remarkable interviews with classic writers from the beat generation and beyond. Now those of you who have listened to Burroughs read know that he has this scraggly beautiful monotone that leads you through his ideas into full-fledged scenes of terror. Unfortunately when it comes to discussing his life an interview format that same speaking style holds up and can yield a somewhat different result. I found myself getting snoozey/sleepy and almost in a trance at time. Is that just the power of Burroughs or is that the effect of the documentary with somewhat lower than desirable audio levels.

That’s not to say the Criterion disc and transfer are flawed. I believe the source material is to blame and provide a somewhat washed out audio that made hearing a rather soft spoken Burroughs difficult at times. Visually it looks beautiful and the audio track is a good representation of the original work.

The extras are dedicated to this release as opposed to a focus on Burroughs himself which I suppose I found surprising. You have an interview with Brookner (who had passed away in the 80’s), commentary track with the sound recordist on the film, a beautiful poster and essay. There’s an experimental film from Robert E Fulton III as well (something to check out).

The end result of Brookner’s work is providing clarifying moments about Burroughs early life, the death of Joan and Burroughs history of addiction all with appropriate context provided by the interviewees and with a nod to Burroughs shedding his wise perspective on many unique situations of legend and lore. It’s a well put together documentary that looks inside an aging writer whose legacy is unbounded while taking the larger than life man and creating bounds for him as a human.

You can order this classic documentary on the Godfather of Punk from Criterion now:

From Criterion:

Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner’s 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend; that changed when Aaron Brookner, the late director’s nephew, discovered a print of it in 2011 and spearheaded a restoration. Now viewers can enjoy the invigorating candidness of Burroughs: The Movie, a one-of-a-kind nonfiction portrait that was brought to life with the help of a remarkable crew of friends, including Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo, and that features on-screen appearances by fellow artists of Burroughs’s including Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, Patti Smith, and Terry Southern.

Disc Features

● New, high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray

● New audio commentary by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who was a sound recordist on the film

● Audio interview with director Howard Brookner from 1985, conducted by William S. Burroughs biographer Ted Morgan

● New interview with Brookner’s nephew, filmmaker Aaron Brookner, who oversaw the film’s restoration

● Rare outtakes

● Footage from the 2014 New York Film Festival premiere of the film’s restoration, featuring a Q&A with Jarmusch, Aaron Brookner, filmmaker Tom DiCillo, and Burroughs’s friend and fellow writer James Grauerholz

● Thirty-minute experimental edit of the film from 1981 by inventor and photographer Robert E. FultonIII

● PLUS: An essay by critic Luc Sante and collage artwork by artist Alison Mosshart

Dead Air: Episode 106 - The Forest (2016)

This week on the #podcast , Jeff (@DeadAirJeff), Jesse (@DestroySuperman), and Chad (@HorrorMovieBBQ) sit down to talk about the first genre release of 2016, THE FOREST.

Also included: More details on the upcoming Monster Mania meetup, songs about trees, and more inappropriate jokes than you can shake a stick at.

If you can't make it to the live show, use the hashtag #DeadAirPodcast on Twitter and tweet your questions before the show.

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The Dead Air Horror & Genre Podcast is brought to you by GenreWatch,The Liberal Dead, and Horror Movie BBQ. Be sure to visit the sites for more great content!

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Shock Em Dead (Slasher//Video Blu-ray)

There’s a disclaimer on Shock Em Dead that basically states that the best available elements were used to create a Blu-ray of the movie. While normally you may be used to film negatives, interpositives etc… that’s not what you get with Shock Em Dead. That’s important to note because quality hounds are going to notice the source is 1” Tape. Often times I want a pristine version of a movie, but if that’s not available, I want to watch a movie first and foremost. Getting movies off the analog shelf is important. If that means converting for 1” tape, we do that for now and hope for the discovery of better elements later.

Movie watchers (those who enjoy watching movies) you will be happy to see Shock Em Dead on Blu-ray. Slasher//Video understands that you want to see movies that have long been relegated to the dollar bin at any cost and this one is well worth it. Complete low budget cheeseball effects, T&A and heavy metal Horror antics that epitomize the genre while being playfully aware of themselves. Do not compare this to Rock N Roll Nightmare, Rocktober Blood or Blood Roses. This isn’t on the same level of quality and the storytelling isn’t great, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. It’s supremely fun with demons taking over souls and converting new souls into Rock N Roll stud farm energy to maintain a Heavy Metal foundation of youth of sorts. This is a great party movie to laugh with your friends, drink beer and air guitar your face off. The dork to stud/Metal God trick never gets old.

Of course Traci Lords is the manager in this thing which makes it a must own for me. I’m a Lords fan since her adult film days but learned long ago that she is a funny actress who understands how to perform comedy well and can do a camp movie like this one just as well as she can step into a John Waters filth picture to handle the heavy lifting. She’s at her cheesiest here, but she adds to comedic value of the picture well, stunning as ever and always willing to get the gimmick going.

Quality Geeks: Leave this one be. If you can’t appreciate the movie for the movie, laugh at its gonzo properties and realize that a little bit of tape never hurt anybody, then then loss will be yours. It looks better than an aging VHS tape and it will be preserved in a digital format. That’s what we have for now.

If you are familiar with the Slasher//Video product than you know what to expect here. Traditional cover art with rental stickers. They like to include extras when available though not for this particular release.

From Olive:

Disclaimer: Shock ‘Em Dead is presented using the best available elements provided by Slasher // Video. Not sourced from an HD Master; remastered from 1″ Tape and upconverted to BluRay and DVD specifications.

Manager-on-the-rise Lindsay Roberts (Traci Lords,Cry-Baby) has a rock band in the spotlight with guitar god Angel Martin (Stephen Quadros, The Lost Platoon) as its newest member. Lindsay and the band are on the road to success.  But all is not as it seems. Angel, as it turns out, has made a pact with the dark forces to make him a rock star having quite literally sold his soul for his talent. But there’s a catch, fame and fortune come at a price. In order to sustain his talent Angel must feed on the souls of others.
Lindsay’s growing attraction to Angel soon turns to fear as she finds herself pulled further and further into a terrifying world of unspeakable evil.

Slasher // Video presents Shock ‘Em Dead, a film about rock & roll and soul(s) directed by Mark Freed (Lovers and Liars) and starring Traci Lords (Cry-Baby), Troy Donahue (Imitation of Life), Aldo Ray (We’re No Angels) and Stephen Quadros (The Lost Platoon).

Cooties (Lionsgate Blu-ray)

The poster for the movie Cooties has truly caught my imagination since the first time I set eyes on it. I actually will go out of my way not to watch trailers for certain movies, not to read film synopsis'; I don't want to know anything and go in with a title and maybe a poster image. The hype machine has been going on this flick since the first reviews permeated the internet. They set a high standard for a film with which my only benchmark was that the movie had better be as good as the goddamn poster. That was even a high bar to set admittedly. Then of course the print of the poster dropped on Mondo and sold out (as I had in my friggin' cart). I was mildly devastated that I wouldn't have a print of one of my favorite one sheets in some time. I kiddingly said with full on sour grapes in my mouth, a bet the movie won't even be as good as the poster anyway. Turns out... I was right.

Cooties isn't a bad movie at all and I encourage you to support it via VOD and or a limited theatrical screening. You'll like it. Some of you love it. I did not love it, but I did enjoy certain aspects of it fully. The opening credits are perfectly disturbing especially if you're a chicken nugget eater (which I am). I love the set up with Elijah Wood playing a beat down, depressed writer going back to his home town to teach to ends meet when he fails as a writer. It's probably not all that different from many of our personal stories in some fashion. It's easy to identify and love Wood; you feel moderately bad for him and up until the point where all Hell breaks loose I'm a fan of this movie. Then something happens... 

Cooties goes from what could be a masterpiece of practical effects with dumped goo and puss and slobber; primed to gut turning perfection and then dumps us with fairly ordinary zombie-esque effects, a few nice intestinal pieces that look great but could use a few companions gore shows to sweeten the ride. What starts out as a familiar character, developing and identifiable gives up and decides to play around with jokes that we've heard before in modern, relationship comedy. If not for Rainn Wilson's over the top performance I might have actually become bored.

My second viewing for this Blu-ray review was a much more positive experience than my original viewing experience. I was prepared for the jokes and I understood how the effects would be used (still to my dismay). I became lenient and was able to laugh easier at jokes that may have been harder to get under my skin the first time. Given the overwhelmingly positive experience most folks have with Cooties, this was more in line with the general hype that I'd been hearing. 

The Blu-ray has some enjoyable extra and the movie looks fantastic in HD.

Enjoy the score by Kreng. It's a powerful retro synth-er:

There are a few tense chase scenes that are quite enjoyable, but aside from a clever one liner at the end, the finish is flat. Cooties looks good. Sounds amazing with a brilliant score that may be too much for what comes off as a straight forward zombie/infection flick with kids and comedy. The cast is actually pretty strong with plenty of familiar faces both Horror and not (including Leigh Whannel). After seeing an alternate poster for Cooties, I realized that maybe the picture wasn't going to live up to my expectations. The alternative poster was ordinary, a bunch of actors in fighting stance. THAT is what Cooties truly is. It isn't some abstract idea with a rather mysterious lollipop in the center. It's a gang bang, comedy riff on zombie/infection Horror. When it says "vicious monsters" in the synopsis, I truly want to see vicious monsters.

SFrom Lionsgate:

When a cafeteria food virus turns elementary school children into little killer savages, a group of misfit teachers must band together to escape the playground carnage. The film stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, and Alison Pill as teachers who fight to survive the most unruly students ever on the worst Monday of their lives!

·       “Circle, Circle. Dot, Dot…Catching Cooties” Featurette
·       Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
·       Gag Reel
·       Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary
·       “Talking Cooties” Featurette
·       The Cootietary – Audio Commentary with the Cast & Crew