Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blu-ray Review: FRANKENHOOKER (1990)

FRANKENHOOKER (1990)

Label: Arrow Video
Region Code: Region FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 84 mins
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1) 1080p
Audio: DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Cast: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Louise Lasser, Joseph Gonzalez, Joanne Ritchie, J.J. Clark
Tagline: Some Assembly Required

Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz, THE SWEET LIFE) is a medical school drop-out and aspiring mad scientist who at the start of the film gives life to an aquatic brain with a cyclopian eyeball that he keeps in a fish tank. When his fiance Elizabeth (Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen) is massacred by a remote-controlled lawnmower of his own design he sets out resurrect her using only the most quality body parts sourced from NYC's finest prostitutes. He comes to the conclusion that the cities crack epidemic is already killing the prostitutes so he creates an even deadlier form of "super-crack" that will get the job done just a little bit quicker.

When he encounters the musclebound pimp Zorro (Joseph Gonzalez) Jeffrey reserves his finest selection of whores and sets about choosing the perfect woman with the perfect parts in a fun montage of measuring breasts, arms and legs to decide which street walker has the finest ass-sets. However, when the whores prematurely discover his stash of super-crack it has the unfortunate side effect of causing the ecstatic ladies to literally explode, not in a guts flying everywhere sorta way but in a hilarious mannequins filled with firecrackers kinda way, awesome. Making the most of the unfortunate event Jeffery picks the best parts off the floor (each conveniently marked with an "X") and takes them back to his converted car garage slash laboratory where he puts his dubious medical knowledge to the test, resurrecting his beloved Elizabeth in true Mary Shelly's Frankenstein style during an especially intense lightning storm, more awesomeness.


Once resurrected however things don't quite go as planned and it becomes clear that Elizabeth has picked-up many of the lusty personality traits of the whores that comprise her voluptuous franken-body, including the stock phrases "wanna date.. got any money?". When Jeffrey tells her he has no money she knocks him out cold and makes her way to, where else, 42nd Street to turn tricks. Her first john is a horny pear-shaped sleaze (David Lipman, THE EXTERMINATOR) who gets a deadly dose of the Frankenhooker's high-voltage discharge.

What's so great about Henenlotter's campy retelling of Frankenstein is how wonderfully absurd it is, never taking itself seriously it revels in the ridiculous but Henenlotter somehow stops the film fropm careening outta control. James Lorinz is fantastic as the amateur mad scientist who occasionally performs trephination upon himself with a power drill. He looks quite a bit like Andrew McCarthy (PRETTY IN PINK) and his line deliveries are spot-on with witty dialogue and a great monologue acting opposite the always great Louise Lasser (HAPPINESS) as his well-meaning but clueless mother. Next to him it's Patty Mullen's (DOOM ASYLUM) adorable performance as the tit-ular character that drives this one home for me, so cute, even when decked out as the purple nippled trick turner.


The film's special effects are pretty great but may not be what you're expecting from the man behind BASKET CASE and BRAIN DEAD, they're totally campy, nearly bloodless and not played for realism. In the aforementioned exploding whores on super crack scene the bodies are obviously dressed-up mannequins as per Henenlotter's vision and it totally works. Patty Mullens's make-up effects are fantastic, she absolutely looks like the hottest whore comprised of body parts you'll ever see, great work from effects man Bartalos. The film's finale features the unused remnants of Zorro's whores recombining in odd configurations with effects that would not look out of place in Henenlotter's BASKET CASE sequels fun stuff.

Blu-ray: For the second time this year Frank Henenlotter's cult classic gets a sweet region-FREE Blu-ray release, the first came from US distributor Synapse Films and now a new edition from the UK's Arrow Video. The film is presented in 16:9 widescreen (1.78:1) in 1080p HD. The transfer looks mighty sharp, too and on par with Synapse's presentation. There's a fair amount of fine detail, the natural grain is intact, the black levels are decent and the neon colors are vivid, the neon nearly pops of the screen at times. There are the occasional small scratches and specks here and there but nothing to freak out about, it's sourced from a very fine print. The lone audio option is English language DTS-HD MA mono which sounds pretty good with crisp dialogue, score and effects. The Synapse disc offered up a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix which was nice but honestly FREANKENHOOKERS not a film that necessarily cries out for 5.1 honestly.

The Synapse BD offered an pretty great audio commentary with director Frank Henelotter and make-up effects creator Gabe Bartalos and Arrow Video have matched that and some with a commentary from Henenlotter and star James Lorinz, it's a great listen from two guys with a great chemistry, it's good stuff. If you already own the Synapse BD you should know that Arrow, with the exception of the Henelotter/Bartalos commentary, have ported over all the special features from that release plus thrown in a few exclusives of their own courtesy of High Rising Productions. We'll begin with the carry overs which includes three very cool interview featurettes; A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth (8:43) with actress and former Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen who's still a knockout, what a sweetheart too, reflecting on her favorite and least favorite scenes, driving home in the full Frankenhooker make-up, working with Lorinz and her crush on special effects advisor Gabe Bartalos. A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects Of Frankenhooker (21:00) has SF/X man Gabe Bartalos introducing some cool behind-the-scenes footage of not just FRANKENHOOKER but also BRAIN DAMAGE and he really heaps the praise on Patty Mullen. Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker (19:32) features the ginger-haired wild woman Delora, she oozes insanity and it makes for a fun interview as she speaks of going from an '87 beauty queen to working on BAD GIRLS DORMITORY and then dishing some dirt from the set of FRANKENHOOKER, disparaging James Lorinz and telling of strong arming difficult strippers on the set of the film. Definitely a fun woman but not one you wanna piss off, know what I mean? Delora's Frankenhooker Scrapbook featuring behind-the-scenes pics round out the carry-over features found on the Synapse disc.

Now onto the UK-exclusive features from Arrow co-conspirators High Rising Productions who've created several tasty treats for this release, we start of with an introduction by star James Lorinz and director Frank Henenlotter, it's typically short and sweet. Next up is a Tour of the Gabe Bartalos effects lab in Los Angeles, California (19:26) hosted by Bartalos who takes on a fun trip through his effects lab, it's wall to wall movie history as he takes us through several projects he's worked on including the "Surgeon General" from his own film SKINNED DEEP, the zombie horse from CREMASTER 3, "Belial" from BASKET CASE 2, the mask he created for FRIDAY THE 13th PT. 6, some effects work from Kevin Tenney's BRAIN DEAD and an actual mummified cat which was just creepy, and I almost forgot the best part, a decapitated mold of Robert Loggia's head! Your Date’s on a Plate: The Making of Frankenhooker (39:22) is an exclusive 'making of' documentary featuring director Frank Henenlotter, star James Lorinz and special effects artist Gabe Bartalos whom talk about pretty much everything you will ever wanna know about this film. Henelotter talks about his terrible experience making the film which was not helped by hostility with the director of photography, pitching the film to producer James Glickenhaus while Lorinz spins a tale of porn stars vs. centerfolds on set and Bartalos talks creating the Patty Mullen effects and the exploding hookers, it's a great watch with video clips, behind-the-scenes pics and interviews.

Unfortunately my screener didn't come with a sleeve or booklet so I cant comment but the menus did feature Graham Humphries awesome artwork, very sweet and appropriately neon. It's a fantastic set of features that compliment an already stellar audio-video presentation that surpasses even the very fine Synapse Blu-ray, not just mirroring the features but bringing with it an hour more of newly created content.

Special Features:
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Calum Waddell
- UK exclusive audio commentary with director Frank Henenlotter and star James Lorinz
- UK exclusive introduction to the film by actor James Lorinz and Frank Henloter (1080p)
- Your Date’s on a Plate: The Making of Frankenhooker: UK exclusive 'making of' documentary featuring director Frank Henenlotter, star James Lorinz and special effects artist Gabe Bartalos (39:22) 16:9 (1080p)
- A personal UK exclusive tour of the Gabe Bartalos effects lab in Los Angeles, California (19:12) 16:9
- A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth: Patty Mullen Remembers
Frankenhooker  (8:43) 4:3
- A Stitch In Time: The Make-Up Effects Of Frankenhooker (21:00) 4:3
- Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker (19:32) 4:3
- Original theatrical trailer (1:26) 4:3

Verdict: FRANKENHOOKER is a wonderfully absurd cult-comedy and one of the funniest takes on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein since Mel Brooks YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, it reeks of the 80's with an irreverent sense of humor and neon-glow. It's just a blast, if you love camp, sleaze and naked ladies you must own FRANKENHOOKER! 4 outta 5


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blu-ray Review: NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1975)

NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1975)


Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: ALL (ABC)Rating: Unrated
Duration: 94 Mins
Audio: DTS-HD Mono 1.0 with
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Video: 16:9 Widescreen 1.85:1 (16x9)
Director: Aldo Lado
Cast: Flavio Bucci, Macha Meril, Marina Berti, Irene Miracle

Tagline: You Can Tell Yourself It's Only A Movie... BUT IT WON'T HELP!

Whew, now this is what I call a revolting film! If you're in short supply of sick kicks and find yourself in need of an Italian rape-revenge exploitation fix I think I have what you're looking for right here. I've known of this film for some time and usually hear of it in the same breath as Wes Craven's seminal '72 shocker THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and not without good reason either. The Blu-ray cover sports the quote "More reprehensible than LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT" and while that's a serious accusation to drop on a film it's no mere hyperbole and I am inclined to agree, it's worth mentioning that it riffs heavily on Craven's film like few before or since but the Italians have never been known for subtlety when cashing-in on American properties now have they?

Margaret (Irene Miracle, INFERNO) and her cousin Lisa (Laura D’Angelo) board a train from enroute to Munich, Germany to stay with Lisa's parents in Italy for Christmas break. On board they meet two street punks, the not-without-charm Blackie (Flavio Bucci, SUSPIRIA) and the just plain creepy Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi) who themselves board the train illicitly after beating the snot out of a man dressed as Santa. The girls unaware of this are charmed by the duo and hide the scoundrels in the restroom to avoid the train's ticket taker but are quickly turned off when Blackie follows an upper-class blonde woman into the ladies room where he attempts to rape her but  she being not-quite what she seems turns the tables on the libidinous punk, seducing him instead.

Later when the train makes a stop at a depot in Austria and searched by authorities investigating a bomb threat the girls switch trains in an attempt to distance themselves from the punks. The two settle into a compartment on an empty car and are soon unnerved by the sounds of Curly's familiar and eerie harmonica playing. Attempting to flee to a more occupied train car they are coerced to stay when Blackie, Curly and the blonde woman, now calling the shots, enter the compartment. The film thus far started off slow but by this point had already been permeated with an twisted uneasiness, here it quickly becomes much darker as the young women are humiliated, raped and worse not just at the hands of the desperate street punks but under the direction of the blonde woman who takes a perverse delight in orchestrating the fiendish acts. In yet another layer of sleaziness a middle-aged man wanders onto the train car and observes a rape in progress but does nothing to stop it, in fact taking delight in the events until he is coerced into participating in the vile crimes, and even when he slips away unnoticed he does little to report the incident to the authorities.

While the film is seriously riffing on Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFTI must say I enjoyed this quite a bit more, it transcends it's origins by quite a margin. Craven's film is a shocking in-your-face experience, artless in it's rough cinema verite style but here we have some great atmospheric shot composition and cinematography from Gabor Pogany, it's an attractive film which is not something I think anyone would level at Craven's film. There's a sense of dread about this film that really settles over you, you know from the start that these girls are doomed, true to it's American inspiration, leading up to the perpetrators chance encounter with Lisa's mother and father, a doctor natch, whom takes uncharacteristically violent revenge upon his daughters murderers with one perverse twist. Throughout the film there's numerous mentions of the Dr.'s benevolent, non-violent tendencies and the ills of society, that stuff was laid on a bit thick for my tastes. I've never enjoyed the bizarre keystone cops kookiness of Craven's film, and director Lado maintains a somber mood throughout making the film resonate more soundly in my opinion.


Flavio Bucci despite a valiant attempt can't quite muster the demented menace of David Hess's "Krug" but few can. Gianfranco De Grassi as the black tar junkie Curly is more the imminent threat, a vile and sadistic presence for sure. As the unnamed blonde woman Mecha Meril is delightfully twisted,a would-be victim turned perverse ring leader, a lot of the truly disturbing acts in the final third are at her direction, grotesque stuff. Laura D’Angelo and Irene Miracle as our doomed victims are breathtaking women but the sexualized violence perpetrated against them is too ghastly to allow us to enjoy it, they offer solid performances and our sympathies for them never waiver.

Blu-ray: Blue Underground offer a brand-new high definition transfer of the film from the original negative in it's original 16:9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen and it's a thing of beauty. The image is phenomenal for a forty-year old film with vibrant colors and decent black levels with a fine layer of film grain quite intact, a wonderful image from a pristine print, very impressive and nicely detailed. The English-dubbed DTS-HD Master Audio Mono 1.0 comes off clean and strong if not overly dynamic, dialogue, effects and Ennio Morricone's haunting harmonica score sounds great, there's a reason he's the master of the filmscore.

Special features are sorta slim when compared to the recent Blue Underground ZOMBIE Blu-ray but we do get 2 trailers, 2 radio spots, a poster and stills gallery with the main attraction being a 15 minute on-camera interview with director Aldo Lado who openly discusses the film's origins, the genesis of the production, casting, Ennio Morricone's score, early screenings of the film and it's censorship as a Video Nasty in the UK. It's only 15 minutes but there's some tasty tidbits for fans of the film to chew on.

Special Features:- Riding the Night Train: Interview with Director Aldo Lado (15:57 ) 16:9
- U.S. Trailer (2:33) 16:9
- International Trailer (3:49) 16:9
- Radio Spot #1 (0:28)
- Radio Spot #2 (0:28)
- Poster and Still Gallery


Verdict: A dark, disturbing and effecting film, as Italian rape-revenge films go this is a top drawer title and I would put it right up there with Ruggero Deodato's HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK and throw in that it transcends it's American inspiration in dread, style and composition. It's an uneasy watch and not one soon forgotten, a squirm inducing slice of Italian exploitation presented in eye-popping 1080p, another fine presentation from Blue Underground and a high recommend. 4 outta 5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TROMA ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES WORLD-WIDE RIGHTS FOR THE TAINT


"...a film experience I will never forget...one of the most inanely funny films I've seen this year." - Aint It Cool News

"...horror flicks are a dime a dozen, but The Taint seems to examine the genre with a postmodern wink." - The Onion A.V Club

"...approaches a kind of brilliance in suggesting that a society which glorifies violence against women is doomed to one big bummer of a sausage party." - Fangoria

Greetings from Tromaville! Troma Entertainment is proud to announce the recent acquisition of the world wide rights for Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson's The Taint.

Like all Troma films, The Taint touches on searing sociopolitical themes, in this case misogyny, which is ingrained in American society. The evils of our Viagra and pharmaceutical fueled male population are lambasted and satirized in The Taint.

The water is tainted. THE TAINT poisons the minds of men. It turns them into raging misogynists. When society is transformed into a land of sadistic violence and horrible brutality, it is up to Phil OʼGinny and his female friend, Misandra, to combat the horrible evil that is THE TAINT.

President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger, Lloyd Kaufman, when asked to describe The Taint, replied: "I cannot exactly describe what happened in The Taint because it would not be appropriate for a normal publication or television review. However, I can tell you that it will be a long time before I even consider placing a penis in my mouth again."

Troma has birthed many mainstream talents, such as James Gunn, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and Eli Roth. There is no question Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson will follow in the footsteps of these visionary entertainers.

The Taint is a brilliant film that, 20 years from now, will be imitated in the same way The Toxic Avenger is imitated, but only Troma has the courage to embrace it now.

The Taint will begin screening in select theatres this spring.










THEATER OF DERANGE PRESS RELEASE

From Executive Producers James Cullen Bressack and Jarret Cohen at Psykik Junky Pictures comes the newest horror anthology starring horror film icon Shawn C. Phillips and adult-film sensations Sophie Dee and Veronica Ricci: THEATRE OF THE DERANGED! (Theater of Derange)

Join Andy the Arsonist as he shares five of his favorite short horror films in all their demented glory. The collection features never-before seen films by popular indie horror writer/directors James Cullen Bressack, Shawn C. Phillips, Liz Gilbert, Brian Dorton, and Creep Creepersin.

The Film was Just Picked up for WORLD WIDE distribution by the company WORLD WIDE MULTI MEDIA and comes out on DVD in 2012.


Here is a little teaser trailer to keep you tided over until the release:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7sQMEuOBp0

Here is the IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2064980/

TREASURE CHEST OF HORRORS DVD Art Unearthed!

Another gold nugget of info about the no-budget horror anthology TREASURE CHEST OF HORRORS from directors Shawn C. Phillips and Doug Waugh has emerged by way of the DVD art, check it out...



DVD Cover art has been released for the upcoming TREASURE CHEST OF HORRORS anthology!

This NO BUDGET ANTHOLOGY, from Executive Producers James Cullen Bressack and Jarret Cohen at Psykik Junky Pictures and directors Doug Waugh and Shawn C. Phillips, will soon be available for pre-orders on Amazon and other leading retailers nationwide.

Join us on this wild horror anthology filled with zombies, vampires, serial killers, killer mannequins and pirates - starring cult film legend Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger) and Shawn C. Phillips (Don and Murph)!

Here is a little teaser trailer to keep you tided over until the release:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRcnlWgKwC0


Here is the IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084984/

Sought-After ’70s Classic ZAAT (1974) Never Before Available on Video is Newly Restored and Remastered in HD

Film Chest who've previously brought us restored HD versions of THE TERROR, CARNIVAL MAGIC and the delightfully demented and sleazy POOR PRETTY EDDIE are unearthing another grindhouse cult classic from the dustbin of obscurity and presenting it on a DVD/Blu-ray combo on February 21st. All the schlocky details can be found below...

ZAAT (1971)

Taking Cult to a Whole New Level … You Can’t Keep a Bad Monster Down!

Sought-After ’70s Classic Never Before Available on Video is Newly Restored and Remastered in HD


DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack Out Feb. 21st

Is the monster man, fish or devil? Everyone’s dying to know (literally) in ZAAT – restored and in HD for the first time ever – available in a special DVD/Blu-ray combo pack Feb. 21 from Film Chest on the CULTRA and HD Cinema Classics labels.

Find out why ZAAT is an underground cult favorite, amassing an ever-growing legion of loyal followers over the past 40 years. See why scores of fans have refused to let this funky classic from the ’70s die in obscurity!

In ZAAT (also known as The Blood Waters of Dr. Z), an obsessed scientist, Dr. Kurt Leopold (Marshall Grauer) – who has been scorned by his peers – is convinced he can transform humans into fish. In his isolated backwoods laboratory, he proves his hypothesis by turning himself into a horrible, vengeful creature (played by Wade Popwell) that is part man, part walking catfish!

Armed with his mutagenic chemical compound, ZAAT, the monster is bent on revenge, determined to turn the tables on humanity by making his fishy friends the dominant species on Earth. All that stands in his way are a small town sheriff (Paul Galloway), a dedicated young biologist (Gerald Cruse) and a couple of swinging agents (Sanna Ringhaver, Dave Dickerson) from the Inter-Nations Phenomenon Investigations Team (INPIT). Also starring Archie Valliere and Nancy Lien.

It’s a southern fried fight to the finish (Florida style!) with the ecological state of the entire planet at stake!

Available on video for the first time in its original glory, digitally restored in HD and transferred from original 35mm elements, this DVD/Blu-ray combo pack contains a whole tackle box full of extras, including: feature-length audio commentary by cast and crew; original 35mm trailer; television spots; outtakes; radio interview; before-and-after restoration demo; and an original movie art postcard.

Produced and directed by Don Barton and written by Ron Kivett and Lee Larew. Zaat is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16x9 and Standard Dolby Audio. Includes Spanish subtitles.

About Film Chest:
Founded in 2001, Film Chest offers high-quality content for a wide variety of production and distribution needs, boasting one of the world’s largest libraries (10,000+ hours) of classic feature films, television, foreign imports, documentaries, special interest and audio—much of it restored and digitized in HD. Headquartered in Bridgeport, Conn., with offices in New York City, the company also produces collector’s DVD sets, released on three labels. HD Cinema Classics are films painstakingly restored in HD – utilizing state-of-the art digital technology – from original film assets. American Pop Classics features classic American film and TV shows from the ’30-70s. CULTRA showcases the best (and worst) of cult cinema, a cinematic cesspool of films that are surreal, eccentric, controversial, comical and scary but ultimately engaging and entertaining. With directors who were both visionaries and crackpots, these films were originally misunderstood and rarely a box office success, achieving status by word-of-mouth and underground distribution. Film Chest releases theatrically, on DVD and digitally on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Verizon FIOS and more. Visit us online at www.FilmChest.com


ZAAT (2 Discs)
Film Chest
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Original Release: 1971 (Color)
Rating: Not Rated
Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack
Duration: 100 Minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Pre-Order Date: January 13, 2012
Street Date: February 21, 2012

STAR KNIGHT and THE TEACHER on the way from CHEEZY FLICKS!

This month CHEEZY FLICKS are bringing their out of print title THE TEACHER (1974) starring the hotness that is Angel Tompkins back into circulation with new cover art as well as the sci-fi fantasty film STAR KNIGHT (1985) starring Harvey Keitel and the madman that is Klaus Kinski on DVDR with updated cover art as well. Here's the details....

STAR KNIGHT (1985)
Duration: 90 mins
Format: DVDR
Video: Fullscreen 1.33:1
Rating: PG
Director: Fernando Colomo
Cast: Fernando Rey, Klaus Kinski, Harvey Keitel

In a time of wizards and dragons, a mystic quest brings a distant traveler to a place called Earth!


It is the dark ages. Knights patrol the countryside, Kings make the rules, and princesses go silently about their royal duties. Princesses, that is, who aren't Princess Alba (Maria Lamor). When Princess Alba is apparently abducted by a dragon, it's up to Klever (Harvey Keitel) to save her. What Klever finds, however, is not a dragon at all - but a strange beast-like craft from the stars - a craft with an occupant, a humanoid alien from another planet. Things heat up when, during Princess Alba's rescue, Klever gets closer to the alien than he ever expected - and learns that Alba isn't being held against her will after all - she is in love with the strange, futuristic traveler.

Cheezy Flicks Entertainment Presents Star Knight Starring: KLAUS KINSKI, HARVEY KEITEL, FERNANDO REY and MARIA LAMOR. Original Music by JOSE NIETO. Production Manager CARLOS ORENGO. Cinematography by JOSE LUIS ALCAINE. Edited by MIGUEL ¡NGEL SANTAMARIA. Production Manager CARLOS ORENGO. Screenplay by FERNANDO COLOMO & ANDREU MARTIN. Produced and Directed by FERNANDO COLOMO



THE TEACHER (1974)
Format: DVD
Duration: 97 min
Rating: R
Video: 4:3 Fullscreen
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Cast: Angel Tompkins, Jay North, Anthony James, Marlene Schmidt
Director: Hikmet Avedis

After school... her lessons began with sex and ended in violence.
 
A beautiful and seductive small-town high school teacher (Angel Tompkins) seduces her star pupil (Jay North). Deranged desire leads to murder and mayhem when their careless, uncontrolled passion provokes the raging jealousy of a town misfit who has just been released from the mental hospital.

In a review for the film quite awhile back I said "The entire films kinda feels like a fleshed out softcore porn, I ain't complaining, just saying. Who hasn't fantasized about a teacher, and rarely are they as hot as Angel Tompkins, yowza. A crazy, fun exploitation flick that hits a few dark notes along the way." - it's a bunch of fun for sure so check it out.

B-Movie Master Roger Corman Brings the Horror of CAMEL SPIDERS to DVD/Blu-ray March 27th

"In the annals of giant face-eating insectoid carnage, no one has ever done it better." -Joe Bob Briggs
 
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS CAMEL SPIDERS FROM ROGER CORMAN

Crawling Near You March 27th

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – To science, they are known as “solifugae.” They can grow up to one foot in length. Stories about these seemingly mythic creatures started surfacing when U.S. soldiers encountered them in the first Gulf War. Google™ “camel spiders” and for anyone with even a hint of arachnophobia, you’ll find videos and pictures of an eight-legged, true life nightmare. Thank goodness they’re thousands of miles away...or are they?

From master creature feature maker Roger Corman comes a spine-chilling tale about the ultimate skin-crawlers: Camel Spiders! Starring Brian Krause (Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer, “Charmed,” Sleepwalkers), GiGi Ernata (Risen, Crossed) and C. Thomas Howell, (The Outsiders, The Hitcher, The Amazing Spider-Man), Camel Spiders crawls its way onto DVD andBlu-ray™ March 27, 2012. SRP is $19.98 for the DVD, and $24.99 for the Blu-ray™, with a pre-book date of February 29th.

During a routine desert patrol, an U.S. Military unit head by Captain Sturges (Krause) is ambushed by insurgents. Just when they seemed to be outgunned, the attack suddenly stops...and their would-be assassins are dragged off by what a native liaison calls “the devils of the sand.” Wounded in the battle, Sturges earns a ticket back home to the more hospitable deserts of the Southwestern United States.

Bringing back one of his fallen comrades, Sturges doesn’t realize that a couple of camel spiders stowed away and now have access to an environment where they can breed at an exponential rate, freely hunting for prey and unafraid of any predator - including man. No place is safe, no one is beyond their paralyzing sting. In the end, a small band of hearty fighters are forced to make one last stand against the creatures.

CAMEL SPIDERS Blu-ray™ DVD

Street Date: March 27, 2012
Run Time: 85 minutes
Rating: Unrated
SRP: $24.99 $19.98

Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: Dolby TrueHD (Blu-ray) 5.1Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)

Subtitles: English, SpanishEnglish, Spanish

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blu-ray Review: APOLLO 18 (2011)

APOLLO 18 (2011)
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy


Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region Code: Blu-ray A, DVD 1
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 87mins
Video: 1080p 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
Cast: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Tagline: There's a reason we've never gone back to the moon.


Synopsis: Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 7, 1972, was the last manned mission to the moon. But two years later, in December of 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

So, in this potentially intriguing spin on the found footage format we go where all half-decent ideas/franchises go to officially jump the shark - outer space! The film is said to be lost Department of Defense footage captured during the previously thought scrapped Apollo 18 mission depicting the supposedly real events during a covert mission. Set in 1974 following the cancellation of NASA's Apollo 18 mission the crew has just been informed that the mission is still a go but the parameters have changed. Now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense Commander Nathan Walker (Lloyd Owen), Lieutenant Colonel John Grey (Ryan Robbins) and Captain Benjamin Anderson (Warren Christie) are to go to the Moon and place some snazzy early warning detectors on the surface of the moon that will alert the United States of incoming missile launches should we come under attack from our then Cold War nemesis the USSR.

Once orbiting the moon Grey remains in orbit aboard the Freedom Command/Service module while Walker and Anderson land on the moon in the lunar module Liberty. They plant one of the detectors and proceed to collect samples of moon rocks and return to lunar module. That night while sleeping they begin to hear odd noise emanating from outside and their radio frequencies start picking up strange interference. The two men become increasingly paranoid by the eerie events, even more so when they discover footprints on the surface of the moon which lead them to the corpse of a dead cosmonaut in a crater, plus a Soviet lander located not too far away from their own. Very strange considering the Soviets have supposedly never step foot on the moon.

Weirdness aside the men complete their mission but as they prepare to exit from the surface of the Moon the Liberty suffers a system failure upon launch. A panicked inspection reveals exterior damage to Liberty and non-human tracks which leads the men to consider the existence of an extraterrestrial threat. Sure enough there are some sneaky aliens on the moon, rock like crustaceans that look every bit like moon rocks and whom don't seem to appreciate the astronauts presence there.

That's pretty much it, it's pretty simplistic stuff and I really enjoyed the concept and execution of the film, especially since I was a NASA nut as a kid, it really appealed to my sense childhood awe of the space program and I really appreciated how authentic the film appeared simulating retro film stock to varying degrees of success, the set design and attention to detail really quite impressive but the smash cuts and editing took me out of the film from time to time. The landscape scenes of the surface of the moon are equally impressive, capturing the isolation and coldness of space, the desolation of the surface of the moon, it's all here on screen and rather well done.

The acting is pretty decent, our three main protagonists are rock steady and while I think some of the decisions and motivations are laughable that really goes back to the script and is not a true reflection on the talent, they're really selling what they've been given and the paranoia and growing desperation really comes across in their performances.

The DVD and Blu-ray feature a selection of special features including a director/editor commentary that's a very good listen, alternate endings and deleted scenes plus a digital copy of the film.

Special Features:
- Feature Commentary With Director Gonzalo López-Gallego and Editor Patrick Lussier
- Deleted And Alternate Scenes
- Alternate Endings
- DVD + Digital Copy

Verdict: Overall the film is a super-slow burn wrought with some nice paranoiac elements and while I found the retro-space, Cold War and distrust of government themes quite entertaining overall I felt pretty lukewarm about the film. It's an interesting idea, it's decently executed but it just didn't win  me over though it kept me decently entertained even if I wasn't particularly thrilled. I give APOLLO 18 a medium recommend, this is a fun renter for sure, Netflix or Redbox it. 3 outta 5

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Official one-sheet for Joshua Marston's THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD!


Joshua Marston's THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD will be released on February 24th and here's a look at the official one-sheet!



Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival, the powerful second feature from Joshua Marston (MARIA FULL OF GRACE) tells the story of an Albanian family caught up in a blood feud. Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is a carefree teenager in a small town with a crush on the school beauty and ambitions to start hisown small internet business. His world is suddenly up-ended when his father becomes entangled in a dispute that leaves a fellow villager murdered. According to a centuries-old code of law known as the Kanun, Nik’s family owes a life in return. Nik finds himself the prime target and becomes confined to home while his younger sister Rudina (Sindi Laçej) is forced to leave school and take over their father’s business. Marston transports us into a world rarely seen on screen, where tradition and modernity clash putting young lives in the balance.

Trailer for The Asylum's air-disaster flick AIR COLLISION lands on the net

AIR COLLISION Delivers Terror in the Skies in this First Trailer.


The first trailer for The Asylum’s AIR COLLISION has been released. In the clip, characters struggle to stay alive as electronics fail on both Air Force One and a civilian airliner. A solar flare has tripped up their circuit boards and now the planes will intersect on a collision course. Can the president be saved?

AIR COLLISION continues The Asylum’s long list of disaster films. From 2012: Ice Age to Meteor Apocalypse, The Asylum has been bringing terror to home video formats for twenty plus years now. Air Collision is an original production from The Global Asylum and this film continues a pattern of bringing disaster to cinema.

In the first trailer for Air Collision, Reginald VelJohnson (DIE HARD) plays an aircraft controller in a worst-case scenario. Jordan Ladd (CABIN FEVER) is an optimistic stewardess, while Dave Vescio stars as Eli a man hell bent on destroying the passenger’s confidence. Eli sees their death at 30,000 feet: “we are all going to die!” Meanwhile, the President of the United States (Andy Clemence) will have to decide if others can be sacrificed to keep Air Force One flying. Gerald Webb (ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE) and Kevin Yarbrough also star.

Have a look at the first trailer for AIR COLLISION here courtesy of distributors Video Service Corp. Then, keep your eyes to the sky as the film gets set to sweep in on DVD store shelves March 27th. Future television airing dates will be announced soon.

TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0EFVClciSw
DIRECTOR: Liz Adams
PRODUCERS: David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, and Paul Bales.
CAST: Reginald VelJohnson, Jordan Ladd, Gerald Webb, Darin Cooper, Darren Anthony Thomas, Kevin Yarbrough and Dave Vescio.

Michael Biehn's THE VICTIM gets distribution through Anchor Bay Films

There's news that actor Michael Biehn's directorial debut THE VICTIM (2011) has been picked up for distribution through Anchor Bat Films here in North America. The star of TERMINATOR and ALIENS also stars in this psychologival thriller, read all about it below and check out the trailer...

Anchor Bay Films Press Release:


ANCHOR BAY FILMS LOCKS IN NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS FOR THE VICTIM

Written and Directed by Award-Winning Actor Michael Biehn 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Films has locked in North American rights to the suspense thriller,  THE VICTIM, starring Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens), Jennifer Blanc (Badass, Dark Angel), Ryan Honey (Men of Honor, Hallowed Ground), Denny Kirkwood (Never Been Kissed), Tanya Newbould (Red Dragon, Rush Hour 2) and Danielle Harris (Halloween series).  The deal was made with Preferred Content.  The Victim was written by Michael Biehn and is his directorial debut.  Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment, made today’s announcement. 

“This is a great grindhouse film and audiences won’t be disappointed,” commented Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Anchor Bay Films.  

“From the first day of shooting, I had hoped that Anchor Bay would be interested in THE VICTIM.  I’m very happy they will be working with us to distribute it,” added Michael Biehn.  “I loved making such a down and dirty film – true grindhouse.”  

Good time girls Annie (Jennifer Blanc) and Mary (Danielle Harris) find themselves in a life and death situation. Annie’s life is put in jeopardy when she is witness to a violent act at the hands of two Sheriff’s Deputies. Fleeing from attackers (Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood), she stumbles across Kyle (Michael Biehn), a recluse living in the middle of the woods.  The ruggedly handsome loner stays far from civilization – that is – until a single knock on his door throws his solitary life into chaos. Two worlds collide in this psychological thriller that will make you question your trust in mankind.  Who is the victim?

THE VICTIM was executive produced by Brock Morse, Morgan Johnson and Ryan Honey of The Mud Show and produced by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Lorna Paul and Travis Romero of Blanc/Biehn Productions in association with Pegasus Productions.  Stevan Mena and Vincent Butta of Crimson Films will be handling the theatrical release.  This is the third project between Crimson Films and Anchor Bay Films.  Additionally, Hogan Entertainment and Pegasus Productions will be handling the college tour of the film.  

The deal was brokered by Kevin Kasha on behalf of Anchor Bay Films with Preferred Content working on behalf of the filmmakers. 

To discover more about THE VICTIM, visit www.grindhousethevictim.com.

Monday, January 2, 2012

DVD Review: DON'T LET HIM IN (2011)

DON'T LET HIM IN (2011)

Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: January 3rd 2012
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79mins
Video: 6:9 Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Director: Kelly Smith
Cast:  Sophie Linfield, Sam Hazeldine, Gordon Alexander

Synopsis: What if you invited a serial killer on holiday? Heading off for a weekend in the country, Paige and Calvin reluctantly allow Calvin's brash younger sister to bring along Tristan, an arrogant city trader she's picked up in a one-night stand; but when the group learn a brutal serial killer is plaguing the area, Paige must confront the disturbing truth about Tristan.

I must say that the past few years have been robust with quality indie genre films outta the United Kingdom. A few of my favorites include the Faustian fantasy film HEARTLESS (2009), the paranoid thriller SALVAGE (2009) and the quietly intense portrait of serial killer TONY (2010). The latest export from the UK to screen on my LCD is the nasty slice o' indie-horror by the title of DON'T LET HIM IN (2011) from first time feature film director Kelly Smith. The director doesn't really stray too far from established formulas we've seen so often but he manages to throws in a few tasty surprises that might just make this worth a rental, so let's have a look.

A nurse named Paige and her boyfriend Calvin are a young Brit couple on their way to a countryside retreat when they stop off to pick-up his super-slutty sister Mandy  who rather rudely schleps along a wealthy young man she's only just met the night before at the club against her brother's better judgment. He's an arrogant sort of prick with an unattractive sense of entitlement by the name of Tristan. After an uncomfortable car ride the foursome arrive at their rural destination only to be informed by a local policeman Sgt. Utley that a serial killer known as the Tree Surgeon has been stalking the area and that it would be best if they keep their doors locked and not wander about the area after dark. The killer's known as the tree surgeon for hanging the dismembered remains of his victims from trees in the area.

No sooner is it dark than does a bloodied stranger named Shawn arrive on the doorstep of the cottage, barely conscious and sporting a nasty gash to the gut, the shocking arrival scares the bejeezus outta Paige whose home alone at the time but luckily for the stranger she's able to quickly tend to his mostly superficial wound. The next day during breakfast there's some nastiness between Tristan and pretty much everyone else in the group about what a bad idea it is to let the stranger remain in the house when there's a psychotic killer in the area, but Tristan is no innocent himself and may actually pose more of a danger to the group than the killer at large.

The characters are pretty one-dimensional with both Paige and Calvin just being pretty swell people the kind you'd want for pals. The sister Mandy is just a straight-up trollop, the most annoying  insecure cum-sucker you could ever hope to meet at a bar and Tristan as mentioned previously is just an arrogant prick with potentially murderous tendencies. The stranger Shawn turns out to be a hitchhiker with a heart of gold or so it seems, a few of the characters get some decent twists thrown their way but overall it felt just a bit too contrived.

The finale is pretty twisted in it's own way I guess with some decent low-budget gore effects but like I say it just felt a bit too contrived with a double-downer ending that should've left me chilled but really just kinda left me wondering, really? Don't get me wrong, this is not a terrible film, it's a decent first film with a few nice moments of suspense and twists but it's by the numbers and I found even the twists were expected.

On the plus side the acting is pretty top notch even if most of the actors don't get much to to chew on aside from the final girl and the killer, even though I found his motivations a bit too weird and nonsensical.  There's some decent kills and a fair bodycount considering the small cast, it moves along briskly at only 79 minutes and the droning score is chillingly effective. While it lacks originality it's still an entertaining watch but on the downside I didn't particularly care for the look of the film, it's particularly cold looking and a bit ugly, workman like in it's composition. A lot of character's decisions/actions were laughably poor without any logic, for instance a scene wherein an art class sketching trees makes a gruesome discovery made me laugh out loud, it is ridiculously bad.

DVD Special Features:
- Audio Commentary featuring Co-Writer/Producer/Director Kelly Smith, Co-Writer Chris Andrews and Co=Producer Mike Mindell
- Behind the Scenes Featurette (41:22) 16:9
- The Making of the Visual Effects (1:16) 16:9
- Trailer (1:58) 16:9

Verdict: It's not too original but neither is it a piss poor film, just a middle of the road spin on the cabin in the woods genre with a few inspired moments from a first time film director. I'm definitely not writing Kelly Smith outta the game, there's definitely potential for this young talent to really shine, it's just not here. Definitely worth a rental or checking out if it's streaming on Netflix, but only a medium recommend.
2.5 outta 5