Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In The House Of Flies, a new thriller coming January 20th, features Henry Rollins as the voice of the killer

"...Succeeds in delivering an atmosphere of sustained tension."
- Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

In the House of Flies tells the story of young lovers whose lives are inadvertently changed forever. An innocent couple suddenly find themselves abducted. By whom? For what purpose? Alone, isolated and locked in an undisclosed suburban basement, Heather and Steve find themselves pawns in a mad man's mind game. Starring Henry Rollins as the voice of the killer.

In the House of Flies was an official selection of the British Horror Film Festival and spent 3 weeks on the iTunes Top 50 when it was first released via digital formats. It also received tremendous praise from the press.

"Flicks this intense are few and far between these days."
Dread Central
"I cannot praise this film enough."
Ain't It Cool News




Bonus Materials:
- 45 minute Behind The Scenes Documentary
- Spanish Premiere Archival Footage
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailers
- Director & Writers Commentary

MUCK arrives from Anchor Bay Entertainment 3/17 on DVD/BD

 
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT
       WADES INTO THE...
MUCK


The Race for Survival Begins March 17, 2015 on Blu-ray™ and DVD;
Limited Theatrical Engagement starts Friday, March 13th!


This St. Patrick’s Day, Anchor Bay Entertainment invites fans for a little bit’o the green and a LOT of the red with MUCK, a chiller seething with the greatest fear of all: that nowhere is safe! The directorial debut of Steve Wolsh, who also wrote and produced, MUCK reads like a bloody love letter filled with just the sort of jolts horror fans have been waiting to hear – and see! 

Shot in state-of-the-art 4K Ultra HD resolution, MUCK is packed with old-school effects, shocks – and yes, breasts – that stick with you, creating terror with effects and stunts without the use of CGI. MUCK arrives Tuesday, March 17th – uncut, uncensored, and unrated – available on  Blu-ray™ for $26.99 and $22.98 for the DVD. Pre-book on February 11th.

For fans who like their 4K horror on the big screen, MUCK will also have a limited theatrical engagement starting Friday, March 13th.

After narrowly escaping an ancient burial ground, long forgotten and buried underneath the marshes of Cape Cod, a group of friends emerge from the thick, marshy darkness, tattered and bloody, lucky to be alive. They have already lost two of their friends in the marsh, presumably dead. They stumble upon an empty Cape Cod vacation house alongside the foggy marsh and break in to take shelter. Whatever was in the marsh is still after them and soon after one of them goes for help, the rest of the group learns that the evil in the marsh is not the only thing that wants them dead. Something worse, something more savage, was lying in wait just outside the marsh, in the house. What happens next is unspeakable horror that cannot be unseen. These unlucky travelers spend their St. Patrick's Day trapped between two evils forcing them to fight, die, or go back the way they came.

Featuring Kane Hodder (Hatchet, Jason Voorhees in four of the Friday the 13th films), Lachlan Buchanan (“Pretty Little Liars”), Puja Mohindra (Foreign), Bryce Draper (Bound) and YouTube Sensation Lauren Francesca (iwantmylauren), MUCK is throwback horror at its best.




SCREAM FACTORY™ PRESENTS 'THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA' ON BLU-RAY FEBRUARY 17, 2015


SCREAM FACTORY™ PRESENTS
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
ON BLU-RAY FEBRUARY 17, 2015

Get ready, Freddy. Scream Factory is going to the opera! A Blu-ray release of The Phantom of the Opera,including several bonus features, has been announced for release on February 17, 2015.

Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm StreetGalaxy of Terror, Freddy vs. Jason) assumes the classic role of The Phantom in this shocking, nerve-jangling retelling of Gaston Leroux's timeless tale of music, madness and murder.

An aspiring opera singer finds herself transported back to Victorian-era London – and into the arms of a reclusive, disfigured maestro determined to make her a star. The silver-throated Christine (Jill Schoelen, The Stepfather) enjoys success through the arrangements of her new lover (Englund)... until she realizes that he has been committing unspeakably grisly murders in her honor and won't stop until he's completed his masterpiece... in blood!

Also starring Bill Nighy (I  Frankenstein, Shaun of the Dead, Underworld), Alex Hyde-White (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Terence Harvey (From Hell) and Molly Shannon (SNL, Superstar), directed by Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Marked for Death, Rapid Fire) and featuring make-up effects by Kevin Yagher (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Face/Off), this “darker spin on…The Phantom of the Opera is the one to watch” (HorrorCultFilms.co.uk)!

Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform media company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-Ray™ offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras.  Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY®-nominated box sets, Broadway cast albums, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations.  In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America.  Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention.  Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Director Dwight H. Little and actor Robert Englund
- Behind The Mask: The Making of “The Phantom Of The Opera,” featuring new interviews with Director Dwight H. Little, Actors Robert EnglundJill Schoelen, and Alex Hyde-White, Screenwriter Duke Sandefur, Special Make-Up Designer Kevin Yagher, Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl BuechlerEverett Burrell and John Vulich, and Composer Misha Segal
- Theatrical Trailer

Sunday, December 14, 2014

GRADUATION DAY (1981)

GRADUATION DAY (1981) 

Label: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 96 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio Mono 
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Herb Freed
Cast: Christopher George, Ruth Ann Llorens, Michael Pataki, Vanna White, Patch McKenzie, Linnea Quigley 


Ann Ramstead (Patch McKenzie) is a young woman in the armed forced who returns to the small California town where she was raised to bury her younger sister Laura (Ruth Ann Llorens), who promptly dropped dead after winning a high school track meet. George Michaels (Christopher George) is the over-driven track and field coach an he draws some criticism for pushing Laura, and the other student athletes, a bit too hard to win. With senior graduation fast approaching the student and staff try to carry on but when someone donning a fencing sword and mask arrives on the scene and starts bumping off the track team the week leading up to graduation is marked with the bodies of dead teens.  

The film doesn't stray far from the tried and true slasher formula of the era, we have a group of teens and a demented masked killer murdering them for reasons unknown, with no shortage of suspects to choose from. Could it be the hard-driving coach, Principal Guglioni (Michael Pataki), the creepy truancy officer or maybe even the older sibling of the fallen track star... or maybe someone far more obvious!

The high school setting is pretty great and feels plenty authentic with rowdy track meets, a rollicking roller skate party, plus horny teens and a rocking soundtrack with plenty of hard driving eighties cheesiness from the band Felony, you just gotta love that twin-neck guitar! 

Sure, the story is a bit hackneyed but we do have a great cast, which includes the venerable Christopher George (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD) as the track coach and he chews up the scenery quite nicely. Patch McKenzie as the older sibling is quite capable too but disappears for a large stretch before returning for the final moments for a damn decent final stretch. Her scenes at home with her grieving mom and asshole stepfather are fun to watch, the dad is a complete and total jackass - the whole thing reminded me of the Strode family dynamic from HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. 

Being a slasher film the kills are pretty important, and they are fun but the execution is not the greatest, though I do give the crew high marks for creativity, a few of the deaths involve a fencing sword and my favorite would be the football tipped with the fencing sword and thrown for a touch down in the death zone, that was awesome, but just know going in that the deaths are a bit tame. 

B-movie queen Linnea Quigley (THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) shows up in a small role as a teen who lusts for a goofy lounge-lizard music teacher, her inclusion provides some fun nudity during a pretty great stalk and slash scenario. She's not the only one, there's also some fun nudity in the locker room. The film definitely musters up a a few tense moments and some decent atmosphere which make this cheesy slasher quite a bit of fun. 

The identity of the killer is not the best kept secret despite the plethora of red herrings thrown upon us, it's pretty much given away during the opening scene, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. Generic though it may be it won me over with the creative kills and general eighties goofiness. One thing that went a long way towards saving it for me was the unique style of editor Martin Sadoff who punched up a few of the sequences with some disorienting editing tricks. 
  
BLU-RAY
GRADUATION DAY (1981) has been afforded a new 4K restoration from 35mm elements from the cult-cinema archivist at Vinegar Syndrome and the end result is quite satisfying. Presented in the correct aspect ratio - for the first time - we can now enjoy this 80s slasher the way it was meant to be seen. The grain structure is nicely managed with accurate skin tones and vibrant color reproduction with a pleasing amount of depth clarity. There's some white speckling throughout but overall the 35mm answer print used for the restoration is in fantastic shape. 

The DTS-HD MA Mono does a decent job exporting the dialogue, score and effects of the film with some minimal hiss and pop, you will no doubt be rocking out to the sweet eighties sounds of rockers Felony all night long. No subtitles are provided.

Onto the extras we have the option of two commentaries, one with Producer David Baughn and a second with The Hysteria Continues Podcast crew who know a thing or two about slasher films. At this point I have only listened to the Hysteria Continues track and can conform that is both fun and informative and I highly recommend fans of slashers subscribe to their podcast. 


There are also thirty-minutes of interviews with director Herb Freed, actress Patch McKenzie, producer David Baughn and editor Martin Sardoff, plus the original theatrical trailer. 

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- BD/DVD Combo Pack
- 4K Restoration from the Editor’s 35mm Answer Print 
- Video interview with Director Herb Freed (12 Minutes) HD
- Video interview with Star Patch Mackenzie (9 Minutes) HD
- Video interview with Producer David Baughn (12 Minutes) HD
- Video interview with Editor Martin Sadoff (7 Minutes) HD
- Commentary track with Producer David Baughn moderated by Elijah Drenner (12 Minutes) HD

- Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2 Minutes) 


VERDICT:

While there are quite a few better crafted slashers with gorier kills but this one is just so eighties and goofy I cannot help but love it, plus we have Christopher George classing it up. A fun high school slasher and recommend for fans of slasher whodunits. Vinegar Syndrome have done a great job cleaning this up and presenting it with some entertaining extras with superior audio and video - this is the definitive edition of this one. Great to see Vinegar Syndrome branching out from the vintage porn and restoring a few cult horror films. The Christmas cult-classic CHRISTMAS EVIL is available now and the b-movie masterpiece DON'T GO N THE WOOD in 2015. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

THE BELIEVERS (1987)

THE BELIEVERS (1987) 
Label: Twilight Time
Region Code: ALL
Rating: R
Duration: 114 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: John Schlesinger 
Cast: Robert Loggia, Martin Sheen, Helen Shaver, Harley Cross, Jimmy Smits, Elizabeth Wilson
SYNOPSIS: 
Director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man) ventures elegantly into supernatural territory with The Believers (1987), the tale of Cal Jamison (Martin Sheen), a recently widowed police psychologist forced to deal with a series of ritualistic child murders apparently perpetrated by a malevolent rogue branch of a Caribbean cult religion. As the cult’s connections to corporate oligarchs begin to emerge, the lives of Cal and those around him—particularly his vulnerable young son (Harley Cross)—are put at terrible risk. Also starring Helen Shaver, Robert Loggia, and Jimmy Smits, and atmospherically shot by the great Robby Müller, cinematographer/partner of Wim Wenders, Lars von Trier, and Jim Jarmusch.

THE FILM: 
I remember watching THE BELIEVERS on late night cable TV as a teen and enjoying it
quite a bit. More than anything it made me wary of my mom's coffee maker and the possibility that it might someday kill me because at the top of the film a woman named Lisa Jamison (Janet-Laine Green) is fatally electrocuted by a faulty coffee maker right in front of her husband Cal (Martin Sheen) and her young son Chris (Harley Chris). Watching it now I was less traumatized by the scene of electric death and more jadedly amused at how overwrought the sequence seemed. Not as jolting as I remember but it does move the story along, the now grieving widow moving from Minnesota to New York City to start a new life. Cal is now working as a therapist for the NYPD treating cops traumatized in the line of duty. Enter an attractive and recently divorced landlady Jessica Halliday (Helen Shaver) who takes a liking to Cal and a romance blossoms much to the chagrin of his son who still grieves for his dead mother. 

A series of ritualistic child murders plague the city, at the first crime scene we meet undercover officer Tom Lopez (Jimmy Smits) on the verge of a nervous breakdown,
screaming about a Santeria cult and their strange powers. At about the same time Cal and his son are enjoying a day at Central Park when Chris stumble upon a brutal animal sacrifice, nearby he finds decorative shell which he keeps to himself and soon strange things begin to happen around the Jamison home. 

What unfolds afterward hints at the elite and powerful aristocrats of the city may be sacrificing their own children to ensure their place in high society, much like ROSEMARY'S BABY we see that the corrupting influence of the occult permeates all facets of society, no one is safe and no one is above suspicion, which makes for an effective and creepy paranoid thriller. 

Martin Sheen as the cop psychiatrist is easy to get behind, a strong father dealing with grief while starting a new relationship. Harley Chris as the son manages to not be too annoying as kid actors are prone to be and Helen Shaver as the new love interest does a fine job.

Then we have Jimmy Smits as the undercover cop fallen prey to the cult, he's unhinged the moment he arrives onscreen and only unravels further as the film moves on. Then we have the intimidating Robert Loggia as Lieutenant Sean McTaggert, whom is feeling increasing pressure to find the culprits behind the child murders, even when Loggia is a good guy he is still a scary presence onscreen, such a menacing face. 

The occult baddies in the film are embodied by wealthy tycoon Robert Calder (Harris Yulin) and cult priest Palo (Malick Bowens), a creepy figure who uses the occult to enthrall, corrupt and curse throughout the film - a few of his scenes gave me the shivers.

After the overwrought beginning the film settles into a slow methodical build-up of occult tension and paranoia before diving off the deep-end with the revelation of just how far the influence of the cult extends and the result is a tiny bit over-the-top, not ruining it for me but it definitely detracting from it. 

Directed by John Schlesinger with a screenplay by future TWIN PEAKS co-creator Mark Frost the attractive cinematography from Robby Müller - there's a solid creative team behind the camera. While I enjoyed the heart of the story of a father pulled into the occult activities of the elite and powerful the bookend whammy of that overwrought electrocution and nutty ending do bring it down a few points. Nonetheless, I do give THE BELIEVERS a recommend, it's a tense and paranoia infused occult thriller with a great cast, definitely a film deserving of some attention. 

BLU-RAY:
The Blu-ray from Twilight Time presents the film in the original widescreen aspect ratio with a nice layer of natural film grain with some moments of fine detail and clarity. Color reproduction looks great and skin tones are mostly natural looking. Black levels are decent and the source material is near flawless with the exception of some minor white speckling throughout. The crisp master provided by 20th Century Fox should please fans through and through. 

The English DTS-HD MA 2.0 manages audio duties nicely with well balanced dialogue, effects and J. Peter Robinson's score, it's a good stereo mix with no one element overpowering the other. Optional English SDH Subtitles are provided. 

The disc includes and the original theatrical trailer, MGM 90th Anniversary trailer and the usual isolated music score highlighting the music of J.Peter Robinson. 

VERDICT:
Maybe not quite the supreme occult thriller I remembered from my youth but still a creepy occult cinema entry with some strong performances and troubling imagery. The new HD upgrade looks and sounds fantastic and fans of the film should enjoy it. This release is limited edition release of just 3000 units and is available exclusively from www.screenarchives.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber present the exploitation classic STRIPPED TO KILL (1987) on DVD in a Brand New HD Master

Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber announce the release of STRIPPED TO KILL, an '80s exploitation classic directed by Katt Shea Ruben and executive produced by Roger Corman. This sexy thriller set in the world of LA strip clubs was called "A gritty little exploitation picture in the best Roger Corman tradition" by Kevin Thomas in Los Angeles Times.

STRIPPED TO KILL comes to DVD on December 9th with a SRP of $19.95 in a brand new HD master in 16x9 (1.78:1) widescreen from the original IP, with special features including audio commentary with director Katt Shea and star Kay Lenz, on-camera interviews with Katt Shea and Roger Corman, and the original trailer.


STRIPPED TO KILL (1987) 

Brand New HD Master
Color/1987/87 mins./Rated R/English Mono/Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)

Director: Katt Shea Ruben
Starring Kay Lenz, Greg Evigan and Norman Fell


Synopsis: When one beautiful Rock Bottom dance club performer is found dangling by piano wire from a bridge, and another dies in a fiery inferno, and yet another dancer has been dragged 100 miles from the bottom of a truck - something is dead wrong! And Detective Cody Sheehan (Kay Lenz,Breezy, White Line Fever, Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday) is determined to get to the bottom of it. To solve the case, Sheehan infiltrates the club's tight sorority of dancers and goes undercover -- uncovered -- as a performer. To her immense surprise, she learns that stripping holds a powerful allure for her, and her professional and personal lives have taken on shocking new dimensions. A relentless journey toward a murderer's soul, STRIPPED TO KILL will lead you down dark and dangerous Los Angeles streets few will ever know - and you may never forget! Also starring Greg Evigan (BJ and the Bear, My Two Dads) and Norman Fell (Three's Company), and directed by acclaimed director Katt Shea (Poison Ivy, Carrie 2,Streets), now watch this exciting thriller from a brand new HD master!

Bonus Features:
- Brand New HD Master in 16x9 (1.78:1) widescreen from the original IP
- Audio Commentary with Director Katt Shea and Star Kay Lenz
- On-Camera Interviews with Katt Shea and Roger Corman
- Original Trailer


COLLAR (2014)

COLLAR (2014)
Label: unearthed Films
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 77 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 4.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Ryan Nicholson
Cast: Nick Principe, Momona Komagata, Ronald Patrick Thompson, Aidan Dee, Wolfgang Meyer, Mackenzie Murdock

Welcome to depraved world of Vancouver-based director Ryan Nicholson and his latest effort COLLAR (2014). Set in a rather ugly place inhabited by an enormous homeless man named Massive (Nick Principe) who prowls the streets pushing along a shopping cart decorated with a duct tape pentagram - not a person to be be messed with.

As the streets go dark the neighborhood scum come out in force, those unfortunate enough to cross Massive's path don't usually live long enough to regret it - unless you happen to be a woman - in that case he chains you with a dog collar and repeatedly rapes you. A prostitute in the wrong place at the wrong time encounters Massive who does just that. All the while a pair of opportunistic dirt bags capture the assault on camera and do nothing to help. These two have graduated from funding bum fights to documenting Massive's seemingly unstoppable crimes spree with dreams of somehow making it big with their footage. 


The whore is spared death when a drunken bum stumbles upon the scene, she escapes while Massive destroys the bum before eating his heart - that's right, not just a Satanic murderer, he is also a cannibal. Swearing revenge the whore returns with her pimp with hopes of putting a hurting on the Devil worshiping bum - a big mistake. Also on the scene are a pair of cops investigating an assault who themselves fall prey to unstoppable cannibal. What we end up with is a small group of people converging onto the neighborhood and the ensuing string of ultra-violent rape and murders. Massive has quite an appetite for violence and fortunately for him - and unfortunate for everyone else - there's no shortage of fresh meat for pleasure and eating. 


Fans of story driven horror probably aren't going to get a lot from this but the gore hounds and lovers of depraved filth are in for a treat with generous amounts of uncomfortable nudity, ultra-violence and bloody practical effects. Never one to pull away from a good gore gag Nicholson offers up a series of truly gruesome carnage with jaws and heads ripped-off, a brutal broken-bottle neck stabbing and a whole lot of unsavory stuff thrown-up on the screen including a sweet back-breaker wrestling move with a intestine spewing finish.


Not a lot of character or story building here but there is a cast of colorfully disgusting characters to watch be defiled and destroyed. We do get a glimpse into the past of Massive who was sexually abused by a priest in his youth and would appear to suffer from a mental illness of some sort. While the rapist/murderer is not exactly a sympathetic character Principe does convey some true emotion through the mute character using body language and facial expression when he's not brutalizing one victim after another.  

A damn fine looking film with solid cinematography that captures the gritty aesthetic with some small amount of polish but you can almost smell the piss the air when watching it. Adding to the atmosphere is a very cool dark electronic score from PROTECTOR 101 whom offer up a fantastic main title theme with a vintage John Carpenter vibe. 

Director Ryan Nicholson has created a nasty treat for the exploitation fans with a steady stream of offensive and gruesome imagery ripe with cannibalism and rape. This mean-spirited film is probably not for the average horror fan but a definite recommend for fans of low-budget exploitation along the lines of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, STREET TRASH and RUN! BITCH RUN!

There is currently a INDIEGOGO campaign to fund the sequel to director Ryan Nicholson's slasher film GUTTERBALLS - check it out HERE