Friday, April 29, 2011

Actor Bill Oberst Jr. Prepares To Get HAUNTED And Shoot NAKED

Actor Bill Oberst Jr. is not only a  friend of the blog but one hell of a busy scary guy these days. He currently  has no less than four film projects in the works including the lead The Asylum's   spooky 3-D feature A HAUNTING IN SALEM. This guy is definitely making his presence known in the horror community in a big way. Oberst also appears in director Joseph Guzman's exploitation film NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS (2010) which is a film I hope will get a  release sometime this year here in the states.

Source: Press release from Bill Oberst Jr.




(Los Angeles) Actor Bill Oberst Jr. is preparing for back-to-back lead roles in major horror projects: The Asylum's 3-D feature A HAUNTING IN SALEM and Drew Daywalt's ambitious 18th century horror short NAKED.

A HAUNTING IN SALEM begins principal photography tomorrow (April 30) in Los Angeles. Oberst is cast in the lead role of a newly-arrived Sheriff in the community of Salem, Massachusetts. The film co-stars Courtney Abbiati, Jenna Stone and Nicholas Harsin. Asylum favorite Shane Van Dyke directs from a script by H. Perry Horton which spans in time from 1692 to the present.

Oberst jumps directly from wrap on A HAUNTING IN SALEM into the lead in Drew Daywalt's ensemble cast for NAKED, also starring Edin Gali of AMC's series MAD MEN, Maria Olsen of PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF and Gilbert Chavarria. The NAKED script by Daywalt, who recently wrapped production as director on season one episodes of MTV's upcoming horror series DEATH VALLEY, combines elements of Native American spiritual beliefs and Old World European superstitions to create a new mythology set in the New World of the early 1700's. A German settler (Oberst) enlists the help of his brother (Gali) and a Native American (Chavarria) to track down an Orc (Olsen) whom he blames for the death of his son.

Daywalt has enlisted big-name friends to help make the world of NAKED come to life. The film's Orc creature effects will be personally created by frequent Daywalt collaborator Jeff Farley (TROPIC THUNDER, BUFFY, BABYLON FIVE, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, etc) and digital effects will be by Peter Giliberti (SPIDERMAN films, WATCHMEN, PRIEST, etc.)


Set pic from The Bloodlet
Oberst is in the middle of a four-film horror streak; earlier this week he wrapped a cameo in J.R. McGarrity's feature film THE BLOODLET and a lead in Thomas Mentel's dark short OVERTIME. THE BLOODLET shoot, for which Oberst was a living, though decomposing, suicide victim, reconnected him with Dean Jones of American Make-Up and Effects. Jones was Oberst's make-up artist for director Michael Landon Jr.'s TV-movie THE SHUNNING, which recently aired on The Hallmark Channel with Oberst as the male lead, and Jone's protege Heather Galipo did the makeup honors for Oberst's spilled intestines on BLOODLET.


Set pic from Overtime

In writer/director Thomas Mentel's festival-bound short OVERTIME, Oberst plays a factory worker on a midnight shift who begins to see terrifying apparitions in the shadows around the machinery, including the ghost of his long-dead fiancee who wants an embrace; and an animalistic alter-ego of himself in a gas mask.




You're invited to Troma's KILLER YACHT PARTY

Source: Troma Press Release

KILLER YACHT PARTY (2006)
Release Date: May 10th 2011

Label: Troma
Region: All
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 85 mins
Director: Piotr Uzarowicz
Cast: Kate Luyben, Renee Darmento, Tony Besson, David Lago
Tagline: This is one VIP list you don't want to be on!

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Audio Commentary
- Trailer

Just as "Jaws" and shark terror nearly drove sharks to extinction, the latest release from Troma Entertainment, "Killer Yacht Party," is so terrifying it could mean the end of the entire yacht industry! This film is so frightening that it will make you think twice about ever setting foot on a boat again! In fact, you will be so frightened that you may never even swim again. You will be so disturbed after watching "Killer Yacht Party" you will never drink water again! If you thought "Insidious" was frightening, if you thought "Paranormal Activity" was disturbing, then prepare to drown in your own terror with "Killer Yacht Party," the party where your organs are the party favors!

The feature debut of director Piotr Uzarowicz and writer Alex Silver, and starring True Blood's Kate Luyben, "Killer Yacht Party" tells the gory story of two LA club promoters, Brock and Monica who decide to host a party on their new yacht. However, they get more than they bargained for when guests at their killer party begin meeting brutal and bloody ends! Hitting the streets on May 10th, 2011, the DVD comes fully loaded with special features, including the trailer and director's commentary track.










Thursday, April 28, 2011

Arrow Video unleash deluxe editions of The Funhouse, Slaughter High and Kentucky Fried Movie in July

Arrow Video have announced the titles for release in July and it more of the same - pure awesomeness. It's been a banner year for the UK label with the launch of their classic cinema imprint Arrow Video releasing seminal cinema titles. May will see the release of Dario Argento's debut film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) while Argento's early 80's shocker Tenebrae (1982) get a June release as does the Linda Blair revenge vehicle Savage Streets (1984) and Brian De Palma's dizzying thriller Obsession (1976). Mind you these are all deluxe editions with all-new special features, remastered and with newly commissioned artwork from the likes of Rick Melton and Tom Hodge.

Well, this magnificent streak of titles continues in July when we'll see deluxe editions of John Landis' madcap comedy Kentucky Fried Move scripted by The Zucker Brothers (Airplane, Top Secret), the stalk n' slash video classic Slaughter High (1986) and Tobe Hooper's criminally underrated slasher The Funhouse (1981). Again, these are all new deluxe edition with exclusive content, remastered picture and sound and some sweet artwork from Graham Humphreys . Being a slasher fan it is The Funhouse and Slaughter High that have me pumped but I do love me some Kentucky Fried Movie and it's a two-disc edition jammed with content.
 


THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977) Blu-ray
Release Date: July 4th 2011

Audio: English subtitles for the hard of hearing
Region Code: Region 0 PAL
Rating: 15 Certificate
Duration: 85 mins
Director: John Landis
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Bill Bixby, Bong Soo Han
Tagline: A bargain bucket of classic comedy!


SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Kentucky Fried Movie, the Citizen Kane of bad taste, gross out, screwball movies. This is the film that birthed a thousand low rent comedies, a million playground quotes and brought the ancient mysteries of Kung Fu to the West in the awe inspiring mini-movie, A Fistful of Yen.


Hollywood legends The Zucker Brothers (Airplane, Top Secret) team up with John Landis (Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers) for an adults-only comedy trip through the worlds of advertising, TV, movies and, of course... SEX!


THIS EDITION CONTAINS
- 4 panel reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring a new interview with director John Landis and new writing on the film by critic and author Calum Waddell


DISC 1 CONTAINS:
- Feature presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 and Full Frame 1.33:1
- Original mono audio
- Original Trailer
- The audio recollections of director John Landis, writers Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and producer Robert K. Weiss


DISC 2 CONTAINS:
- A conversation with David and Jerry Zucker: A feature length interview with the co-creators of The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane and The Naked Gun about their lives and career, from growing up and starting out in show business to their comedy influences and spoofing Midnight Cowboy!
- Jerry Zucker’s on-set Home Video shot during the making of the movie
- Behind-the-scenes photo gallery
- Original art by Graham Humphreys – http://www.grahamhumphreys.com/
- Subtitles: English, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish




SLAUGHTER HIGH (1986) DVD
Release Date: July 11th 2011


Audio: English subtitles for the hard of hearing
Region Code: Region 0 PAL
Rating: TBA
Duration: 87 mins
Director: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Litten
Starring: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone
Tagline: For Marty, School Days were the worst days of his life...




SYNOPSIS: When the alumni of an all-American high school make a trip to attend a class reunion, they reconnect with their pasts in ways more bloody and fatal than they could possibly imagine in the 80s slasher classic Slaughter High.


On arrival, they discover the school shuttered and in disrepair, as if the reunion were just a ruse to drag them back. Still, the old pupils decide to break in and celebrate anyway. A deadly error considering that Marty, the nerd whose teenage life they made a living hell, is lurking in the dank, dark corridors, waiting to bring fear, torment and slicing, dicing murder to each and every one of them.


A Stalk ‘n’ Slash video store classic from the golden era of bottom shelf horror starring scream queen Caroline Munro (Maniac, The Last Horror Film).


THIS EDITION CONTAINS
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Troy Howarth


SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Available on DVD for the first time in the UK!
- Introduction by co-writer/ co-director Mark Ezra
- Jesters and Jolts: Interview with co-writer/co-director Mark Ezra
- Lamb to the Slaughter: The Scream Queen Career of Caroline Munro
- Audio Commentary with star Caroline Munro, DVD World editor Allan Bryce and author and critic Calum Waddell
- Audio Commentary with co-writer/ co-director Mark Ezra moderated by Teenage Wasteland author J. A. Kerswell
- Original art by Graham Humphreys http://www.grahamhumphreys.com/






THE FUNHOUSE (1981) Blu-ray
Release Date: July 18th 2011


Audio: English subtitles for the hard of hearing
Region Code: ABC
Rating: 15 Certificate
Duration: 95 mins
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson, Miles Chapin, Jeanne Austin, Jack McDermott
Tagline: Something is alive in The Funhouse!


SYNOPSIS: The carnival is a place for fun and laughter, but not for Amy and her friends. When their childish dare to stay all night in the spooky funhouse backfires, it leaves a trail of dismembered teenagers a mile long in Tobe Hooper’s classic video nasty era slasher.


Will anyone escape the clutches of the stumbling madman that stalks to sideshow? Is there no end to the carnival barkers chilling sadism? The only way to find out is ascend into the funhouse, where the games have no rules and the only prize on offer is a grisly demise.


Join us in The Funhouse. So much fun that you’ll never leave...Alive!


THIS BLU-RAY EDITION CONTAINS:
- Brand new transfer of the film in glorious High Definition (1080p)
- 4 panel reversible sleeve options with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by critic and author Kim Newman.


SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Audio commentary with The Funhouse S/FX wizard Craig Reardon and Jeffrey Reddick (creator of The Final Destination series)
- Audio commentary with producer Derek Power and genre scholar Howard S. Berger
- Audio commentary with Justin Kerswell, author of ‘Teenage Wasteland’ and host of the slasher cinema website Hysteria Lives, and author Calum Waddell
- Stuck in the Funhouse with director Tobe Hooper
- Carnage at the Carnival: Tobe Hooper Remembers ‘The Funhouse’
- Miles of Mayhem: Acting in Tobe’s Funhouse with star Miles Chapin
- A Trilogy of Terror: The Make-up Madness of Craig Reardon, the S/FX wizard recollects his collaborations with Tobe Hooper; ‘Eaten Alive’, ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘The Funhouse’
- Master Class of Horror: Mick Garris, the director of Sleepwalkers and The Shining reflects on the crimson-covered career of his longtime colleague
- Live Q&A with Tobe Hooper from San Francisco
- Never before seen behind the scenes photographs from the collection of Craig Reardon

Cult Epics release extended edition of Radley Metzger's CAMILLE 2000 on Blu-ray

Cult Epics have announced the release of Radley Metzger's Camille 2000 (1969) in a never-before-seen extended edition that includes 30 minutes of additional scenes and an array of bonus content. This comes right after their release of Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet (1970) and  Score (1974). It's been a fantastic year for the erotic master's films with a trio of Cult Epics releases as well as Synapse Films edition of The Image (1975) which arrives also arrives on June 14th 2011.

CAMILLE 2000 (1969)
Extended Version DVD/Blu-ray

Label: Cult EpicsRelease Date: June 14th 2011
Duration: 129 Minutes
Region Code: ALL
Rating: Unrated
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Director: Radley Metzger
Starring: Daniele Gaubert, Nino Castelnuovo, Eleonora Rossi Drago


SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Never Released Before Extended Version - 30 minutes of additional scenes.
- New Restored High-definition Transfer
- On the Set of Camille 2000, Restoration of Camille 2000 - a 30 minute featurette with actors Daniele Gaubert, Nino Castelnuovo and director Radley Metzger.
- Restoration of Camille 2000 - before and after comparison.
- Syviane's Bare Striptease
- Cube Love Scene
- Audio Commentary Track
- Trailers


SYNOPSIS: A child of the sixties sexual revolution, beautiful, sensuous Marguerite (Daniel Gaubert) is addicted to sex and money. She is kept by a wealthy man, has a string of young lovers and hosts wild orgies in her luxurious villa. When she falls in love with the handsome bachelor Armand (Nino Castelnuova), he insists on absolute fidelity. Known by her reputation, Armand's controlling father soon intervenes, triggering a tragic turn of events. From Radley Metzger, the essential director of elegant erotic arthouse, comes the dazzling new 2000 version of Alexandre Dumas "The Lady of the Camellias."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DVD REVIEW: Coffin Joe Collection




















COFFIN JOE COLLECTION  - 4 DISC SET
Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region: Region 0 PAL, NTSC
Video: 1.33:1 / 1.66:1
Audio: Portuguese 2.0 Mono with English subtitles
Rating: R
Duration: 349 mins

Prepare to descend into a world of depravity and horror with the ultimate tour guide of terror Coffin Joe. With his trademark top hat, black cape and talon-like fingernails he is a horror icon amongst gore fans. A recognised inspiration to the likes of horror maestros Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and George A. Romero (Dawn Of The Dead) Jose Mojica Marins' creation remains a frightening icon in a most sepulchral and terrifying world.


AT MIDNIGHT I WILL TAKE YOUR SOUL (1964)
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1 
Audio: Portuguese 2.0 Mono with English subtitles
Duration: 81 mins
Director: Jose Mojica Marins
Starring: Jose Mojica Marins, Magda Mei, Nivaldo de Lima, Valeria Vasquez


SYNOPSIS: At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul s the first true horror film ever made in Brazil. In search of the perfect woman to bear him a child Coffin Joe, unholy undertaker and evil philosopher, terrorizes a small religious community and will go to great and gory lengths to ensure that his bloodline is carried on for all eternity.

FILM: This is it, the film that introduced the world to the very first Brazilian horror icon - Ze do Caixao aka Coffin Joe, a fiendish undertaker in a small Brazilian village. He is single mindedly obsessed with the continuation of his bloodline through procreation and stands alone as an outspoken atheist in his village. Marins cuts an imposing bearded figure in a black cape, top hat, eerily long fingernails and a diabolical laugh and he is feared by the villagers.  The film begins with a spook-a-delic montage of macabre imagery and a  gypsy who warns theatre goers to leave before it's too late, it's creepy stuff that actually raised a few hairs on my neck. Ze is married to Lenita, a kind woman but she is infertile and unable to bare children which means she is less than nothing to Ze who murders her with the assistance of a poisonous tarantula, making it look like an accident. He then turns his attentions towards his best friend's wife Terezinha. Antonio (Terezinha's fiance)  invites Ze to visit a gypsy fortune teller who predicts that Antonio is doomed and will never marry Terezinha. Furthermore she tells Ze that he'll suffer the torments of Hell. Outraged by their so-called fortunes they call the gypsy a fraud but that same night Antonio is murdered by none other than Ze who wants Terezinha for himself.  With no evidence against him Coffin Joe is free to pursue to  Terezinha whom he beats into submission before raping her, whatta guy, right? The violence must have been shocking to theatre goers at the time no doubt. The woman curses Ze for ruining her and swears the she'll will kill herself and return to take Ze's soul to Hell. The next day she is found hanging in her home. It's about this time that the local coroner Dr. Rudolpho begins to suspect Joe is the perpetrator in the recent spate of violent deaths and he is dispatched by Joe who gouges out the physicians eyes with his extra long fingernails, it's pretty gruesome stuff and again must have been outrageous at the time, this was several years before George A. Romero shocked audiences with Night of the Living Dead (1968). Not long after Joe meets a young woman named Marta and while escorting her home runs into the gypsy who foretold of Antonio's demise. She warns hims that at midnight the souls of those he murdered will come for him. Shaken by the gypsy Ze encounters an apparition and a trippy funeral procession of souls who are carrying his body to Hell. While trying to escape the ghastly spirits Ze winds up at the mausoleum where both Terezinha and Antonio are buried. Out of his mind and on the edge of insanity Ze opens the coffin lids and see's that the eyes of his victims staring at him,  their faces riddled with maggots and decomposition. Moments later the villagers discover Ze's corpse in the mausoleum after hearing his chilling scream. The film ends as the local church bells announce the stroke of midnight while Ze's corpse lies on the ground staring upwards, his eyes hideously bulging in a macabre death stare. Wow, this is a very creepy and dark story filled with brutal violence that might seem a bit tame by today's standards but is effective nonetheless. Mojica as Ze is over-the-top and quite theatrical, almost Shakespearean in his intensity and it totally works. Verdict: 3.5 outta 5

DVD: At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is presented in it's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio with Portuguese 2.0 mono audio with optional English subtitles. The print not what I would call pristine with scratches and dirt but it is quite watchable. 

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- The Making of At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul: Interview with Director (10:00) - a  great 10mins interview with Jose Mojica Marins intercut with scenes from the film covering the origins of the films, filming the scenes in his own studio, the extreme low budget nature of the film and it's divisive reception. Brief but very interesting. Conducted in Portuguese with English subtitles.
- Theatrical Trailer (1:49)


THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSES YOUR CORPSE (1967)
Video: Widescreen 1.66:1 (non-anamorphic)
Audio: Portugese 2.0 Mono with English subtitles
Duration: 109 mins
Director: Jose Mojica Marins
Starring: José Mojica Marins, Nadia Freitas, Tina Wohlers

SYNOPSIS: This Night I Will Posses Your Corpse (1967) is the no holds barred sequel to At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul. Once again Coffin Joe wreaks havoc on the living and continues his agonising odyssey for the perfect bride. Aided by a hideous assistant, he embarks on a spine tingling campaign of terror that will lead him straight to hell.

FILM: The direct sequel to At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul takes place a short  time after those events. Somehow Ze has improbably not only survived the events of that film but has escaped imprisonment for those crime due to a lack of evidence. Note to self; commit crime in 1960's Brazil or 1970's Italy. Returning to the village he immediately continues his quest for the "continuity of the blood" on a larger scale with the assistance of a newly introduced "igor" type character named Bruno.  They kidnap six sexy ladies from the village and proceed to test their worth as a suitable mate by submitting them to a horde of tarantulas in their sleep. Of the six a woman named Marcia is the only one to display courage during the initiation and is chosen to give birth to Ze's supreme son. However, when Marcia witnesses the remaining five women being subjected to a deadly snake pit she is unwilling to submit to Ze's sexual advances which occur in full sight of the others deaths, not the most romantic setting Ze. In a scene that recalls of the death of Terezinha and the fateful gypsy from At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul the last surviving victim of the snake pit curses Ze with words that will continue to haunt him. Strangely Ze chooses to let Marcia leave and does not seem to fear her going to the authorities. Ze and Bruno dispose of the women's bodies in a nearby swamp. It's not long before another young beauty catches his attention, this time it's Laura, the daughter of a Colonel who also falls for Ze and a romantic relationship ensues which puts him at odds with the Colonel's muscle-bound thug named Truncador. Later when Ze discovers that one of his victim's had been pregnant with child he is shattered. While he's alright with rape, torture, murder and kidnapping he has a real soft spot for the kids. That night still broken-up over the death the unborn child Ze envisions a strange black figure who bleats like a wounded goat. The gaunt figure drags Ze kicking and screaming from his bed to the cemetery where hands erupt from the graves and pull Ze underground to Hell. This is the only color sequence in the film and Marins vision of Hell is a technicolor nightmare bathed in green, blue and red lighting. It's a cavernous place where souls are embedded in stone and tormented by Satan's minions and the air is filled with hysterical screaming and what sounds like a shrieking monkey. Ze is shocked when Satan appears in his own image and awakens seemingly even more sure of his convictions despite his nightmarish vision. He is ecstatic to discover than Laura is pregnant with his child but the excitement is short lived for Truncador and a trio of henchmen attack and beat the snot out of Ze who then escapes into the swamps and takes revenge upon the men that includes a sweet axe to the skull. While Ze escapes more or less unscathed Laura and the baby die from birthing complications shortly after. Ze is devastated and takes her body to a mausoleum where he angrily taunts the Lord and the Devil to show themselves, to prove that they do exist. Almost on on cue a bolt of lightning strikes a tree which falls onto Ze. After pulling himself free of the tree he decries the incident an act of nature not of divine intervention. At this time in the village Marcia still grieving the deaths of the other five women, drinks an arsenic cocktail and confesses the Ze's crimes to a physician while on her death bed. A lynch mob is formed whom persue Ze. A priest discovers the injured Ze in the swamp and offers salvation but Ze refuses and flees only to be shot in the back by the husband of one of his victims. Wounded he tumbles down an embankment into the pond where he again screams to the Lord to prove his existence when suddenly the skeletons of the victims previously dumped in the lake rise to the surface. Relenting Ze begs the Priest for salvation and sinks below the surface while accepting the Lord into his heart in an unforgettable finale. Wow, this is just a great watch. Perhaps a bit longer than it needed to be but a powerful film that firmly cements Marins as a true film auteur. Verdict: 4 outta 5

DVD: This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse is presented in it's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio (non-anamorphic). The print is far from pristine with scratches and grit but looks slightly better than At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964). The black levels are quite good and the technicolor nightmare vision of Hell looks pretty great. The only audio option is Portuguese 2.0 Mono with optional English subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- The Making of This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse - Interview with Director (8:11) 
Another brief but informative interview with Marins intercut with footage from the film. He discusses the trilogy of films which at that point had yet to be fully realized, this was prior to the filming of Embodiment of Evil (2008). He also discussed converting an old synagogue into his studio for the film, working with amateurs, spiders and snakes and his concept of Hell as seen in the film.
- Theatrical Trailer  (2:12)


AWAKENING OF THE BEAST (1969)
Video: Widescreen 1.66:1 (non-anamorphic)
Audio: Portuguese 2.0 Mono with English subtitles
Duration: 93 mins
Director: Jose Mojica Marins
Starring: Jose Mojica Marins, Mario Lima, Lurdes Vanucchi Ribas




SYNOPSIS: Awakening of the Beast is an abject journey into fear and paranoia. Told in a series of mind-bending tales of abuse and depravity it is the closest thing to a real acid trip ever put on film - featuring four drug addicts in the throes of a sinister LSD experiment. Are they simply under the influence of drugs or is it more likely they are under Coffin Joe's malevolent spell?


FILM: Awakening of the Beast is a film by Jose Mojica Marins that was banned for over 20 years by the Brazilian Censorship Board for it's outlandish sex and drug use. Despite efforts to trim the contentious materials Marins refused to acquiesce to the censors demands that so much be cut from the film that according to Marins it would be little more than a title sequence. So the film was banned and sat on a shelf until 2001. While the film does feature Jose Mojica Marins and his alter-ego Coffin Joe it is not considered to be party of Marins Coffin Joe trilogy and is more a tripped out anthology of fucked-up vignettes intercut with scientist discussing the woes of society and the effects of drug use on young people of the time. The film begins as a young woman is sgooting heroin into her foot in a sleazy looking room. She is encircled by 5 men who star at her hungrily as she undresses and proceeds revlieve herself into a chamber pot, huh? Then a young woman is invited back to an apartment full of counter culture hippe types. She's smokes some grass jumps up onto a desk and lets  the group of men perform oral sex on her, it's all very odd but it gets weirder still when  she allows all the men to give her the stink-finger while they comically whistle the theme from Bridger on the River Kwai until none other than Moses arrives and fucks the poor girl to death with his mighty staff. What the fuck, right? Wanna know more? Alright then. How about a woman who observes her daughter making out with a servant while she sexually strokes a pony or how about a weird People's Court type TV program wherein Jose Mojica Marins as himself must defend his films against a jury of critics. That may have been the strongest sequence in the film as story goes. The film is also self-referential as one of the scientist takes a study-group of drugged-up volunteers to see a screening of This Night I Will Posses Your Corpse and we see the scene of Ze being dragged to Hell which leads to a trippy colorized sequence that recalls This Night... but is more confusing and less interesting in my opinion, though it does feature some butt-ugly martians, so there's that going for it. Awakening of the Beast contains some fleeting social commentary on violence and the ills of drug use but it's unfocused and little more than a  series of disturbing encounters designed to shock which is occasionally intriguing but not nearly as entertaining as At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul and This Night I Will Posses Your Corpse. Verdict:  2.5 outta 5

DVD: The film is presented in it's original non-anamorphic 1.66:1 aspect ratio with Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and optional English subtitles. Having been shelved for some over 20 years and never shown theatrically it's no surprise that there's so little print wear here but the image does appear soft at times but not to the point of distraction.


SPECIAL FEATURES:
- The Making of Awakening Of The Beast - Interview with Director  (8:23)
Marins claims this is his personal favorite of all his films which surprises me quite a bit, of the handful I've seen this is easily my least favorite. He speaks about the censorship of the films and that the inspiration for the film came from him observing the Brazilian police beating-up a pregnant drug addict who the "disappeared".
- Theatrical Trailer (3:15)


THE STRANGE WORLD OF MOJICA MARINS (2001)
Video: Widescreen 1.66:1 (non-anamorphic)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Portuguese
Duration: 65mins
Director: André Barcinski, Ivan Finotti

Starring: Jose Mojica Marins



SYNOPSIS: The Strange World Of Mojica Marins reveals the man behind the macabre, who is often referred to as a cross between Russ Meyer and Luis Bunuel and raises complex questions about his bizarre yet captivating approach to filmmaking. Incorporating footage from his films, in-depth interviews with the director, key collaborators and close associates the film explores Marin's often surreal yet always frightening world of darkness and decay.

Film: The Strange World of Mojica Marins is a documentary about the life and times of Jose Mojica Marins whom we know as Coffin Joe. The film opens in a great way as Marins in full Coffin Joe regalia speaking to a large crowd at a public appearance, it's great stuff as the crowd is worked into a frenzy at hearing his words and is a testament to Marins popularity. The film is intercut with footage from many of Marins films (most I have not seen ...yet) and interviews with Marins and his many collaborators, actors and family members. It's good stuff as he recalls the inspiration for the film (a dream), his falling out with the Church as his loss of faith, the difficulty shooting a shoe-string production and the divisive reception his film received in his native Brazil and abroad. He walks the streets of his youth and reflects upon actually living in a cinema for the better part of his young life, you really get a feel for Marins complete love of film here. At the time of this documentary Marins had yet to to direct
Embodiment of Evil (2008) and there are several references to his then incomplete trilogy. The film's brief run time left me wanting more though it was a complimentary viewing after taking in the three previous films in this collection and completely whetted my appetite to seek out more Joe Marins films. Verdict: 3 outta 5


DVD: The films is presented in it's original 1.33:1 aspect ratio in Portuguese 2.0 mono audio with optional English subtitles. It's a recent production with a  good looking transfer and sound. Unfortunately no special features accompany this disc.

OVERALL VERDICT: I had just recently watched Synapse's Blu-ray of the 3rd Coffin Joe film  Embodiment of Evil (2008) when this showed up in the mailbox. Great timing, no? That film was my introduction to Marins and it was a true pleasure to go back and watch the the first and second installments of the trilogy here. Umbrella Entertainment have put together a nice collection of  Coffin Joe films here. I'll be nit picky and say a booklet would have been nice and a 16x9 enhancement for both This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse and Awakening of the Beast would have been appreciated but this is a great introduction to the films of Marins nonetheless. Jose Mojica Marins is a true auteur who doesn't often get his due and I highly recommend this set to any fan of fright flicks. 4 outta 5

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SEVERIN TO HANDLE PRODUCTION FOR DVD LABEL INTERVISION

Very exciting news coming from both the Intervision Picture Corporation and Severin Films today pertaining to Severin handling the production and marketing of all future Intervision titles beginning with the May 5th release of David A. Prior's debut feature film, the shot-on-video slasher SLEDGEHAMMER(1983). Not familiar with it? You may be familiar with Prior's other more  infamous film, the bizarre 80's slasher KILLER WORKOUT (1987) aka AEROBICIDE.

Something mentioned in the press release I was previously unaware of  was the passing of Intervision's Larry Gold, Sr. whom passed away in March, very sad news indeed. The man was a pioneer of 70's film distribution and the then emerging 1980's VHS market but his legacy will live thanks in part to this awesome partnership with Severin Films whom are known for their  generous handling of obscure genre titles to the delight of cult cinema fans everywhere.

Here's the pree release from Severin Films....

April 26th 2011


Severin Films today announced an agreement with the estate of Larry Gold, Sr. to handle all future production and marketing for Intervision Picture Corporation. The arrangement commences with the 5/10 release of 1983’s Sledgehammer, notorious as the first shot-on-tape ‘slasher’ thriller for the then-exploding home video market. Gold, a pioneer of ‘70s film distribution and ‘80s genre VHS, died in March following a massive coronary at his home in Thailand. Severin’s Evan Husney will supervise all production and marketing for the label. Intervision product will continue to be distributed in the United States by CAV Distributing Corporation.


Intervision was reactivated in January 2011 with the DVD releases of recent Goya Award Winner Jess Franco’s 1973 rarity Sinister Eyes Of Dr. Orloff and his acclaimed 2010 ‘audio-visual experience’ Paula-Paula. The 5/10 release of Sledgehammer marks the return of director David A. Prior’s bizarre video shocker, which was celebrated as part of Los Angeles’ Cinefamily ‘Homemade Horror’ series and will be screened on street-date at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. Future Intervision releases include the 1989 ‘Canuxploitaion’ oddity Things and 1993’s disturbing The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer.

More after the jump:

“Either by way of budget constraints or warped vision,” says Intervision marketing director Evan Husney, “each release will represent a piece of a cinematic underbelly from a universe all its own. Buried in obscurity and ripe for reintroduction, the films in Intervision’s new cult canon assure top-shelf bizarro derangement, gonzo action, transcendental fever dreams and beyond.”

“From the days of plastic clamshell VHS through the rise of Blu-ray, Intervision has been dedicated to everything fascinating and extraordinary about obscure genre works,” says Carl Daft, co-founder and CEO of Severin Films. “We are proud to carry on this commitment to rare and unique genre films under the Intervision banner, as well as its new website launching soon at http://www.intervisionpicturecorp.com/.”



Intervision is proud to present the return of the first shot-on-tape slasher movie for the home video market as well as one of the rarest genre films of all! The plot is familiar: A group of friends comes to party at a backwoods house where a legacy of brutality awaits. But within this minimalist ’80s mélange of food fights, feathered hair and abusive slow-motion lurks a relentless synth score, bizarre sexual subtexts and a disturbing shape-shifting behemoth killer. The result is 85 minutes of fever-dream depravity, now loaded with brand-new Bonus Features that put it all in skull-shattering perspective. Former Playgirl centerfold Ted Prior (Raw Nerve, Deadly Prey) stars in this nightmare-logic shocker from writer/ director David A. Prior (Killer Workout) where the lines between twisted horror and historic gore are pounded to a pulp…by Sledgehammer.

Extras:
•Audio Commentary With Director David A. Prior
•Audio Commentary With Bleeding Skull Creators Joseph A. Ziemba And Dan Budnik
•Hammertime: Featurette With Destroy All Movies!!! Author Zack Carlson
•SledgehammerLand: Featurette With Cinefamily Programmers Hadrian Belove And Tom Fitzgerald
•Interview With Director David A. Prior

Source: http://www.severinfilms.com/

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blu-ray Review: The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981)


THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1981)
Uncensored Director's Cut  / Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack
Release Date: April 26th 2011


Label: Synapse Films
Rating: Unrated
Region Code: All
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 16:9 Enhanced
Audio: DTS-HD English 2.0 Mono, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Duration: 88 mins
Director: Jeffrey Obrow, Stephen Carpenter
Cast: Daphne Zuniga, Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs, David Snow, Pamela Holland
Tagline: A Crash Course In Terror


SYNOPSIS: On the eve of Christmas vacation, a college dormitory stands condemned… the dark halls now vacant, and unsafe. Student Joanne Murray and her close friends volunteer to help close down the building, unaware a psychopathic lunatic is hiding in the shadows. As the students disappear one by one, Joanne discovers the horrifying reality that if she is to survive, she alone will have to find a way to slay the brutal murderer.


This print of the film carries the original title DEATH DORM.
FILM: After seeing HALLOWEEN (1978) and FRIDAY THE 13th (1980) film school graduate students Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter figured they could probably do something similar and crafted a low-budget dorm slasher called THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1981)  (aka PRANKS aka DEATH DORM). The setting is a college campus during Christmas break and after 75 years the Morgan Meadows Hall is being decommissioned for remodeling. Senior Joanne Murray (Laurie Lipinski) and four others have volunteered to inventory and remove furniture and equipment from the dorm in preparation of it's renovation. What the Hell is wrong with these kids, it's Christmas Break for Christ's sake! They have nothing better to do? Whatever, the four other victims, err.... volunteers are Brian (David Snow), Patti (Pamela Holland), Craig (Stephen Sachs) and Debbie played by the very cute Daphne Zuniga whom you will likely recognize from THE SURE THING (1985), SPACEBALLS (1987) and THE FLY II (1989) and the shitty prime-time soap opera MELROSE PLACE. Early on Debbie informs Joanne that she won't  be  staying cuz her grandmother has fallen ill but volunteers to assist until her parents arrive. No sooner have her parents pulled-up to the dorm when Dad takes a spiked-bat to the head in the stairway. Next, the stealthy killer sneaks in through the backseat of the family car and strangles mom with wire. Moments later Debbie stumbles upon her parents bodies and faints. The killer then positions her underneath the car's tires, throws it in reverse and crushes her. That's three kills in just a few minutes and it's all pretty good if a bit typical for the genre.

Also typical of the genre is the introduction of plausible red herrings. There's Bill (Jake Jones) the maintenance man who works strangely late hours, local businessman Bobby Lee (Dennis Ely) who comes to pick-up furniture and comes off rather sleazy and then there's John Hemmit (Woody Roll) a creepy vagrant who lurks around campus giving the group the willies. There are also the obligatory ineffective campus police. So, yeah, this is a pretty standard stalk n' slash formula as students are picked-off one. The kills are gruesome, we've got someone being boiled alive (my favorite), a grisly drill to the back of the skull with fragments of skull and brain splattered all about and a truly twisted ending that involves an unconscious body being thrown in a fiery incinerator. Don't be put off by the fact that this is a by the numbers slasher or that the acting is undeniably amateur hour. Our final girl and the lunatic antagonist both offer up some acting chops, everyone else is slasher fodder - who cares. Sure, there are some sequences that drag and I don't think the film is particularly well-shot but as a low rent slasher I think the film is mostly effective and decently entertaining with some great gore, a smidgen of nudity and a good and twisty ending that will reward a drunken viewing with friends.


BLU-RAY: The story goes that Synapse received a 35mm print of the film in preparation of this release when they realized that what they had in their possession was a cut of the film previously unseen for thirty years. Definitely read the Synapse Films blog post detailing the discovery, restoration and manufacturing difficulties of the release HERE. That's pretty neat but do the cuts scenes amp up the gore to a degree that transforms the film from a second tier stalk n' slash to seminal 80's slasher? Nah. Remember a few years back when the special edition of MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) was released and we were treated to previously unseen gore delights? Here we get a few bits and pieces but not enough to transform it to such a a degree. I don't think every 80's slasher screams out for a deluxe Blu-ray release and that's why I love Synapse Films. They're giving these obscure gems super-sweet definitive editions with ideal presentation and newly created bonus content. THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD comes to blu-ray in a 1080p 1.66:1 aspect ratio transfer with a MPEG-4 AVC video encode and  DTS-HD Master 2.0 mono audio. The print is grainy and a bit grimy and definitely looks every bit like the 16mm blown-up to 35mm that it is but the colors are vibrant and the black levels are strong.

Supplemental features include a commentary with directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter who are in fine form and obviously enjoy talking about the film in-depth. MY FIRST SCORE (8:11) is an interview with composer Christopher Young who would go onto compose scores for INVADERS FROM MARS (1986) to DRAG ME TO HELL (2009). He went onto enjoy a prolific career though he seems a bit embarrassed by this score, perhaps because it sounds like he nicked a few bits of Harry Manfredini's iconic FRIDAY THE 13th (1980) score as well as the shrieking string stingers from Bernard Hermann's PSYCHO (1960). If you gotta steal, steal from the best, right? Be sure to check the isolated music track in DTS-HD Master, it's a strong score and enhances the film. MY FIRST SLASHER (9:28)  is an interview with the make-up FX creator Mathew Mungle who would also enjoy a  prolific career creating make-up FX for the backwoods slasher JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987) and Christopher Nolan's INCEPTION (2010). He makes a reference to a never-seen dismemberment scene that does not appear in the film ...and the legend grows. Rounding out the special features are two trailers for the film; the original theatrical trailer and another under the alternate title PRANKS plus a reversible cover with the alternate PRANKS artwork. Not a film that screams for the deluxe Blu-ray treatment but damn I love Synapse Films for giving it to us.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Reversible cover with alternate PRANKS artwork.
- Audio commentary featuring directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter
- MY FIRST SCORE (8:11) - interview with composer Christopher Young
- MY FIRST SLASHER (9:28) - interview with Make-Up FX Creator Mathew Mungle 
- THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD Trailer (1:26)
- PRANKS Alternate Title Trailer (1:53)
- Isolated Music Track
- DVD of the film that carries over the special features

Reversible cover  featuring alternate PRANKS artwork.
VERDICT: By all accounts 1981 was a pretty fantastic year for slashers and the popularity of these bloody-soaked splatterfests was at an all time high. That year alone theatre goers were treated to some true classics of the genre: THE BURNING, FRIDAY THE 13th Pt. 2, HALLOWEEN II, THE PROWLER and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. While THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is definitely not in the same league as those titles it runs circles around either FINAL EXAM or GRADUATION DAY and will sit proudly on my DVD shelf alongside BLOODY BIRTHDAY, JUST BEFORE DAWN and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME as an obscure slice of slasher cinema that's well worth a watch. A recommend to fans of obscure slasher cinema.  2.75 outta 5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blu-ray Review: Galaxina / The Crater Lake Monster Science Fiction Double Feature

                         
GALAXINA (1980) / THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER (1977)
Science Fiction Double Feature Blu-ray
Mill Creek Entertainment

GALAXINA (1980)
MPAA Rating: R
Region Code: A,B
Aspect Ratio: 1080p 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, LPCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 2.0
Duration: 95 mins
Director: William Sachs
Cast: Dorothy Stratten, Stephen Macht, Avery Schreiber
Tagline: She's too good to be true... and too real to be otherwise.


SYNOPSIS: This beloved sci-fi parody chronicles the adventures of the starship Infinity where Captain Cornelius Butt finds himself playing "mommy" to a baby alien while handsome crewman Thor falls in love with the beautiful robot pilot Galaxina and tries to turn her into a real woman.

FILM: Here's a science fiction send-up that would be all but forgotten if not for it starring Dorothy Stratten in the titular role. Stratten was a 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year whom met an unfortunate demise that same year at the wrong end of a  shotgun when her hustler husband Paul Snider caught wind of her affair with director Peter Bogdonavich. The seedy details of the story can be seen in the film Star 80 (1983). Galaxina (1980) is a schlocky Star Wars (1977) drive-in cash-in that follows the crew of the galactic police cruiser Infinity as they attempt to recover an item called the Blue Star. We've got Capt. Cornelius Butt (Avery Schreiber), his second in command Sgt. Thor (Stephen Macht), Buzz (J.D. Hinton) the ships voluptuous android Galaxina (Stratten). The plot is nonsense and the subplot involving Sgt. Thor and Galxina's attraction for each other is even more so. This aims to be a sci-fi lampoon of Star Wars (1977), Star Trek and Alien (1979) but it's just not funny, it's as simple as that. The gags are truly terrible, the pace is painful and the production looks budget starved. Highlights include a sad attempt to emulate the chest-burster scene from Alien and the cantina scene from Star Wars in the guise of a intergalactic whorehouse, a Vulcan-esque character named Mr. Spot, a Darth Vader-ish villian Ordic and a clan of Earth descendants whom worship a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as God. This is pure drive-in schlock that fails on nearly every level. Seeing this with a group of like minded friends with some beers could have gone a ways towards improving my viewing experience but going at it solo and sober was fairly mind-numbing. 1.5 outta 5


BLU: While the source material is not overly wrought with print damage it is mighty dirty and the image is soft, the colors are muted and the black levels are lacklustre. Compression issues mar the image throughout and the 1080p high definition bump does little to improve the presentation with very little fine detail to note other than some of the miniature ships effects shots. Audio options include mono DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, LPCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitle options. 

SPECIAL FEATURES: Mill Creek Entertainment offer nothing in the way of supplemental materials which is a bummer as the BCI/Eclipse HD-DVD edition of Galaxina featured a commentary, an interview and trailers but these features are not carried over. While I feel that the films is definitely a dud it does fall into that so bad it's kinda fun territory and a commentary may have provided some additional fodder for viewer's entertainment. 

THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER (1977)
MPAA Rating: PG 
Region Code: A,B
Aspect Ratio: 1080i 1.85:1 Anamorphic 
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, LPCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 2.0
Duration: 85 mins
Director: William R. Stromberg
Cast: Richard Cardella, Glenn Roberts, Mark Siegel
Tagline: A best more frightening than your most terrifying nightmare!


SYNOPSIS: Crater Lake, Oregon is the site of a meteor landing that causes a long-buried dinosaur egg to hatch. The creature quietly stalks the countryside and finds the locals as a good food source. The mysterious deaths confound the authorities until the dinosaur finally reveals his presence to the townspeople.


FILM: A group of archaeologists that includes a pipe smoking professor (of course) discover cave paintings that prominently feature a plesiosaurus-type creature that would seem to proves that dinosaurs existed in the time of primitive man. It's a bombshell discovery that will rock the scientific world but before it can be documented a meteor slams into Crater Lake (ironic, no?) destroying  the discovery. Shortly thereafter the backwoods community of Crater Lake, Oregon experiences as rash of mysterious deaths that starts with cattle and soon moves onto tourists. Turns out a long buried plesiosaurus egg buried in the mud of the lake has been incubated by the searing heat of the submerged meteor and what should emerge? A full grown dinosaur – pure genius! Not surprisingly the creature bares more than a passing resemblance to the Loch Ness creature that had captured the imagination of millions in the 60's and 70's, it s pure schlocky awesomeness done in Ray Harryhausen style stop-motion animation by then newcomer David Allen whom would go onto to do visual effects for The Howling (1981), Q - the Winged Serpent (1982), The Hunger (1983) and Dolls (1987). He worked on a ton of great stuff and here we have an example of his early work which also included the cult classic Equinox (1970). For a schlocky 70’s B-movie the setting is great and makes full use of the area's natural beauty. There's a fun cast of characters that include the skeptical Sheriff Hanson (Robert Cardella) and two hicks that run the local boat rental  shop Arnie (Glen Robert) and Mitch (Mark Siegel). These two not only provide some fun slapstick laughs but are in fact the heroes of the film. Odd moments abound throughout and the most peculiar may be a random liquor store robbery that leaves two store employees dead. The Sheriff gives chase and shoots and wounds the suspect who flees on foot through the forest but quickly becomes creature bait. It's odd and came out of left field but it's best just to roll with punches and enjoy this schlocky creature feature, fun stuff. 
3.5 outta 5

BLU: The Crater Lake Monster looks surprisingly remarkable on Blu-ray given the age of the film and it's drive-in origins. There are a few bits of print damage but overall the transfer is clean and offers a surprising amount of detail and depth the image.  The colors are vibrant and the black levels are solid throughout. I think fans of the film will be quite pleased with what they find here. As audio goes we get the option of mono DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, LPCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles. An interesting audio quirk is that the Dolby Digital 2.0 track on The Crater Lake Monster is actually the audio for Galaxina. Weird.

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

VERDICT: Something these two films have in common are fantastically painted theatrical posters that are gloriously epic, the films themselves not so much. Galaxina is definitely a slab of non-essential cinema even in the context of a Star Wars knock-off but might appeal to schlock cinema buffs. If you love campy 70’s schlock and creature features The Crater Lake Monster is a true b-movie treat and a sight to behold on Blu-ray. I've been enjoying this latest wave of Mill Creek Entertainment Blu-ray double features and would love to see some 70's/80's horror gems from the vault get a decent blu-ray double feature. At $8 on Amazon.com I give this a recommend if only for The Crater Lake Monster, that's some good stuff right there.