Thursday, February 25, 2016

FLESH FOR THE INFERNO (2015) (DVD Review)

FLESH FOR THE INFERNO (2015) 

Label:Scoprio Film Releasing 

Release Date: March 8th 2016 
Region Code: 0 NTSC
Duration: 78 Minutes
Rating: Unrated 
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Richard Griffin
Cast:  Anna Rizzo, Jamie Dufault, Michael Thurber, Sarah Nicklin, Monica Saviolakis, Sean Leser, Kevin Michael Strauss, Samantha Acampora


Director Richard Griffin always brings a ton of fun to his low budget horror movies, blending wit and camp with gruesome and bloody frights. From sci-fi and Lovecraftian horror on through to a straight-up slashers the man has toured through many of the beloved sub genres of terror with aplomb, and few have failed to make me giddy with delight. His latest movie available on home video to the masses is the supernatural nunspoitation entry Flesh for the Inferno (2015).

The movie opens in 1999 when a group of nuns confront a naughty priest about his penchant for molesting the young boys at the Catholic school. In response to the accusations Father Renault (The Sins of Dracula) pulls out a gun and shoots one of the nuns in the head and forcing the remaining three into basement below, where he bricks them up inside a wall, adding a touch of Edgar Allen Poe's Black Cat, or maybe Luci Fulci's The Psychic (1977) to the movie. While bricking them up behind the wall the nuns renounce a God who would allow such awfulness, they make a pact with the Devil, swearing their souls to the dark Lord. 


Sixteen years later the Catholic school has been abandoned and a neighborhood youth group arrive on scene under the direction of Mr. Maupin (Michael Thurber, The Sins of Dracula). The group have volunteered to do some clean-up work at the school before re-construction begins on the dilapidated building. They are greeted by the "caretaker", a sloppy young man named Halsey (Sean Lesser, Future Justice), who warns them that they should leave. The group are a fun and dynamic bunch, an array of teen stereotypes ripe for the picking-off, we have the Churchy Meredith (Jamue Lyn Bagely, Frankenstein's Hungry Dead), the straight-A student Gwen (Laura Minadeo), the honry douche Chester (Andrew Morais), young couple Becka and Patton (Ryan Nunes), the guy who is not gay Ian (Kevin Michael Strauss), redhead Kat (Anna Rizzo, Future Justice)  and the new guy Noah (Jamie Dufault, Murder University), who is the visiting nephew of Mr. Maupin. 

The group arrives and begin cleaning-up around the old school with varying degrees of commitment, some are there to do good in the neighborhood while others are clearly there to get laid. Of course the goody-goody Meredith begins judging the other teens right from the start, but she doesn't have too much time for judgement, for when two horny teens accidentally unleash the trio demonic nuns they all find themselves on the run for their lives. 


From here on in the teens are picked off  one by one in a myriad of gruesome ways. The first victim is peeping through a hole in the basement wall when she has her eye plucked out from her skull, another has his tongue ripped out, and a third bashes her face into a bloody pulp. The nuns themselves are fun, they interact with the teens and play around with them a bit before they kill them, poor horny Chester is seduced by all three before he is forced to leap to his death. The gore is cheap, plentiful and fun, not all of it worked for me, but it was still plenty fun. The garish green, red and blue lighting of the film gives the movie the look of Lamberto Bava's Demons (1985), as does the way that the nuns stalk the kids throughout the sprawling school. 

Like most of Richard Griffin's best movies this one features some great teen characters who throw off witty and fun dialogue, both of the straight and campy variety, blended to perfection with just the right amount of wit and snappy line delivery. t makes me think that part of his process must be rehearsal time, honing each line to perfection before committing it to film. I love that the annoying Meredith is set-up as a character that is a bit too easy to hate, but she does not necessarily hold that distinction for the duration of the movie. Early on I was hoping she would die off quick and painfully, but Griffin gives her some heroic moments and a very slight character arc, which is played for laughs, of course. 


Other characters of note are a local hooker with a heart of gold named Claudette (Sarah Nicklin, Nun of That) and two donut loving local cops, played by Rich Tretheway and Andrew Andrade from Future Justice. I would be remiss not to mention Aaron Andrade (the upcoming Seven Dorms of Death) ion a scene stealing performance as the big cheese of evil, The Devil, played with a menacingly smooth charm that is truly befitting of the unholy one. 

Special Features: 

- Commentary Track with director, writer, producer and assistant director.
- Commentary Track with Cast .
- Trailer (1 Min) 


Flesh for the Inferno (2015) is a hugely entertaining horror movie that manages to be funny, eerie and gruesome in equal measure. Griffin always does a lot with a little, the production is helped by a good script from writer Michael Varrati (The Sins of Dracula) and strong performances from a cast Griffin has worked with for the past few years. If you love indie horror comedies and are not familiar with director Richard Griffin do yourself a favor and marathon a handful of his movies, this guy is a low budget wonder of fun horror movies, you won't regret it. 3/5

NARCOPOLIS (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

NARCOPOLIS (2015) 
Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Duration: 96 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Justin Trefgarne
Cast: Elodie Yung, Harry Lloyd, James Callis, Jonathan Pryce, Louis Trefgarne, Molly Gaisford, Adam Sims, Cosima Shaw, Elliot Cowan, Nicky Henson, Robert Bathurst, Rufus Wright
Synopsis: In 2024, the manufacture and consumption of drugs has been legalized. Drecks are an elite unit created by an over-stretched police force to keep the black market dealers off the streets and the licensed drug companies rich. When dreck and former addict Frank Grieves is called to investigate an unidentifiable corpse, he makes a connection to the biggest and most powerful drug producer of them all: The Ambro Company. But Ambro has friends in high places and as his corrupt superiors turn on him, Grieves finds himself cut loose by the law and separated from the people he loves. The only way to clear his name is to find the identity of the dead body and its connection to Ambro. But not even Grieves is ready for what the future has in store.

In this dystopian sci-fi thriller we have a future-cop, which are known as Drecks, tehy work in the service of the all-powerful Ambro company, one of a handful of billion-dollar companies  The Drecks keep the illegal street drugs out of the hands of consumers, and keep them buying the legal stuff. When called to the scene of a possible suicide Dreck Frank Grieves uncovers some oddities about the fresh corpse, for one it is not identifiable, nor are the drugs in the body, which is strange. Not only are all drugs legal in this version of the future but every human has been tagged and easily identifiable by a simple scan using some future-tech gizmo. 


Grieves is told the case is closed and does not warrant any further investigation by his superiors, which raises his hackles. Unable to just cannot let go of it he re visits the site of the crime where he comes across a young woman named Eve (Elodie Yung) who says she has come from the future. Not sure he believes her Grieves none the less smells something rotten and hides her away from his superiors, who more and more seem to be working for the Ambro company, which is headed by the sinister Todd Ambro (James Callis), whose legal-drugs are mass marketed  ad nauseum throughout the film. 

Grieves enlists the help of an underground tech-guru named Yuri (Jonathan Pryce) who examines Eva's wrist-watch, what he finds further complicates Grieves investigation into the suicide, causing the other Dreck's to turn against him. at the same time his already unstable home-life begins to further crumble around him, with his wife and young son losing faith in him as he continues to spiral down the rabbit hole of conspiracy and time travel.


The movie reaches far and does a lot on a small budget, the world building is more hinted at than seen onscreen, they're reaching for Blade Runner but we're only getting Looper or 12 Monkeys, which is fine, I love both those movies, and I think they both handled time-travel exceptionally well, and I think Narcopolis does well for itself within the constraints of what they could fund. The keep the sci-fi rooted in the realm of the near-future, there's not an overwhelming amount of advanced tech, which is advanced but not too advanced for its own good. 

What drives the film is the performance of Elliot Cowan in the role of Grieves, a former junkie with some issues, and that of his young son (Louis Trefgarne) and his suffering estranged wife (Molly Gaisford). After that the hard-boiled police procedural element is strong, I think the weakest part of the film is that the Ambro conspiracy part of it begins to fizzle and the time-travel elements are under sorely developed. The movie has style to spare though, a very attractively shot movie that both delivers some sci-fi gloss and dystopian grit, it makes for a nice combination. 


Special Features: 

- Audio Commentary by writer/Director Justin Trefgarne
- Behind-the-Scenes (17 Mins) HD 
- Deleted scene (4 Mins) HD 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins) 

I didn't love this one, I enjoyed it though, a dystopian science-fiction thriller with some true grit and strong performances, and coming from a first-time director, this is pretty grand.  Not exactly sure what more I wanted from it, but there was something missing. I think needed it to explore the legalization of drugs more within the context of the movie, and for the time-travel part of it to mean more to story. Not to put anyone off the movie, this is worth a watch and then some, I just feel it could have been something more special, as it is it's a good watch. 3/5

.

Bloody 70s Biker Horror Homage 'ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE' will be unleashed from Wild Eye on DVD and Digital HD March 22nd

ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE (2014) 

Wild Eye Releasing is revving up for the March 22nd DVD and Digital HD release of Jeremy Garner's All Hell Breaks Loose.  Featuring Ehren McGhehey (Jackass, Portlandia) and Casey Vann (Grimm), All Hell Breaks Loosecombines classic elements of exploitation cinema:  bikers, Satanism and gritty action. A murdered groom tries to save his wife's soul with the help of the local sheriff, a priest, and a cowboy who just might be God.

A story of love, leather ... and brutal violence! When the Satan's Sinners, a vicious biker gang, attack a bride and groom on their wedding day, they get a fight they never imagined. Now, armed with some divine intervention and firepower, the murdered groom is out to save his wife any way he can before she is sacrificed to Satan... even if it means dying over and over again until the job is done.

All Hell Breaks Loose (Official Trailer)

The DVD release of All Hell Breaks Loose (SRP $19.95) will exclusively include a feature-length commentary with director Jeremy Garner and deleted scenes. 

 

Wild Eye Puts Delicious Death on the Menu with 'CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA' in May

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA (2014) 

WildEye Releasing imports a new flavor of horror this May with the domestic release of the acclaimed Aussie cult thriller Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla. The latest film from director Stuart Simpson follows an abused and obsessive ice cream truck driver as his life causes him to snap, with terrifying consequences for all.

Awkward, lonely ice cream truck driver Warren Thompson has two major problems: an unhealthy obsession with a soap opera actress, and a gang of bullies who like to savagely beat him on a regular basis. As Warren slowly slips out of reality and into a psychotic fantasy world to escape his miserable life, a darker, deadlier Warren emerges to deal with his problems and put an end to his tormentors.




Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla (Official Trailer)

Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla will deliver its treats to American audiences on DVD and VOD in May.


WILLIAM PETER BLATTY’S 'THE NINTH CONFIGURATION' On BD/DVD April 25th from SECOND SIGHT FILMS


THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980) 

Label: Second Sight Films 
Release Date: April 25th 2016
Rating: Cert: 15 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen ( 2.35:1)
Audio: LPCM Dual Mono
DUration: 118 Minutes
Director: William Peter Blatty 
Cast: Tom Atkins, Jason Miller, Richard Lynch, William Peter Blatty, Stephen Powers, Stacy Keach


From William Peter Blatty, renowned author of The Exorcist, comes one the most unique and extraordinary films on screen, The Ninth Configuration, a taut theological thriller from 1980, which makes its UK Blu-ray debut courtesy of Second Sight.

This mind-blowing cult classic arrives on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as download and on-demand on 25 April 2016, complete with a whole host of newly produced bonus features, including brand new interviews with William Peter Blatty, Stacy Keach and many more.

Deep in a forest of pine trees near the coast of Washington State stands a secluded gothic castle, commandeered by the Pentagon for use as a military asylum. Determined to establish the true nature and origin of the men's mental illness, the Pentagon enlists the services of Colonel Kane (Stacy Keach – American History X), a brilliant, yet strangely unorthodox psychiatrist.

With a reserved calm he indulges the inmates’ delusions, allowing them free rein to express their fantasies. But some are wary of the newcomer and his methods. There may be more to Kane than meets the eye and the insanity escalates towards an explosive revelation.

Written, directed and produced by William Peter Blatty this tense and gripping tale mixes theology and psychology and hosts a stellar cast including Scott Wilson (The Last Samurai), Jason Miller (The Exorcist), Ed Flanders (The Exorcist III) and Tom Atkins (Lethal Weapon). Who is Kane? And what has is he hiding?

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Audio Commentary by Writer / Director William Peter Blatty
- The Writer/Producer/Director - Interview With William Peter Blatty
- Confessions of Kane - Interview With Actor Stacy Keach
- The Debrief Of Sgt. Christian - Interview With Actor Stephen Powers
- Designing The Configuration - Interviews With Production Designer William Malley
and Art Director J. Dennis Washington
- Killer On My Mind - Interview With Soundtrack Composer Barry De Vorzon
- The Party Behind The Curtain - Interviews With Actors Tom Atkins, Jason Miller,
Richard Lynch and William Peter Blatty
- Mark Kermode Introduction
- Deleted Scenes and Outtakes


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

'The Wasteland' and 'Escape From The Insane Asylum' On DVD In March from MASSACRE VIDEO

Massacre Video March 2016 New Releases


THE WASTELAND (2012) 
Label: Massacre Video
Release Date: March 8th 2016 
Region Code: 0 
Duration: 80 Minutes 
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1 
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Director: Tsurisaki Kiyotaka
Cast: Music by Corrupted

Synopsis: Japanese documentarian / death photographer Tsurisaki Kiyotaka is back, with his own unique vision of our planet. The Wasteland is a look into the world around us. It is a look into the aftermath of war, religion, and other evil facets that aid in the destruction of Earth. Kiyotaka teams up with the legendary doom metal band Corrupted to set the mood for this epic. Don't look away. The Wasteland is real.






Special Features:
- Reversible Cover
- Stills Gallery
- Original Trailer
- Trailers for Other Massacre Video Releases


 ESCAPE FROM THE INSANE ASYLUM (1986) 

Label: Massacre Video
Release Date: March 8th 2016 
Region Code: 0 
Duration: 90 Minutes 
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo 
Director: Nick Palumbo
Cast: Mack Hail, Renee Baio, Alan Margolies

Synopsis: After being committed to a sanatorium by her wealthy husband, a rich heiress is on a race against the clock to prove her sanity and to expose the savage medical experiments that are being performed in the asylum.


Massacre Video, in collaboration with Vinegar Syndrome, presents the obscure Escape from the Insane Asylum on DVD for the first time ever, staring legendary cult writer / producer / actress Renee Harmon (Frozen Screams, Cinderella 2000, The Executioner 2, and many other classics).


Special Features:

- STRICTLY LIMITED TO 1000 HAND NUMBERED COPIES!
- Reversible Cover
- Original NIGHT OF TERROR cut (95 minutes)
- Stills Gallery
- Trailers for Other Massacre Video Releases

Cult masterpiece DANGEROUS MEN (2005) hits home video for the first time with deluxe treatment on April 5th 2016



DANGEROUS MEN (2005) 

Label: Drafthouse Films
Release Date: April 5th 2015
Duration: 80 Minutes
Audio: STEREO
Director: John S. Rad
Actors: Melody Wiggins, Kelay Miller, Bryan Jenkins, Coti Cook, John Clure, Carlos Rivas, Lawrence McNeal III

Drafthouse Films, the curatorial force behind exceptional repertory releases such as the ninja-blasting synthrock monolith Miami Connection, the psychedelic sci-fi brain-melterThe Visitor, and the most dangerous movie ever made, Roar, have announced the their latest cult sensation, Dangerous Men arriving on Blu-ray/DVD for the first time ever this April 5th.

The fanatical brainchild of Iranian polymath John S. Rad,Dangerous Men is a passion project that remained in obsessive production for nearly two decades before finally debuting in Californian theaters in 2005. An unflappably prodigious creative force, Rad handled much of the technical duties of the film, appearing multiple times in the film's credits as the director, writer, location scout, producer, executive producer, and more.

Despite initially languishing at the box office during its limited theatrical release, and never finding a likeminded audience before Rad's untimely death in 2007, Dangerous Men developed a devoted following before vanishing as mysteriously as it appeared. Working with the late artist's family, the Drafthouse Films team worked tirelessly alongside the American Genre Film Institute to locate and restore the original film. Dangerous Men was re-released back into theaters in October 2015, garnering enthusiastically baffled acclaim from critics including Rolling Stone, who called it "incomprehensibly riveting", Cut Print Film labels as "Flabbergasting...a gonzo work of art" and The Village Voice, who found the film "astonishing...a truly outsider movie made my a lone auteur."

The Blu-ray/DVD release features hours of extra content, including a feature-length commentary from authors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connelly, an original short documentary about the film's original 2005 theatrical release, a video interview with cinematographer Peter Palian, and the only appearance of John S. Rad on television as well as an unexpunged print interview!



SYNOPSIS:
After Mina witnesses her fiancé's brutal murder by beach thugs, she sets out on a venomous spree to eradicate all human trash from Los Angeles. Armed with a knife, a gun, and an undying rage, she murders her way through the masculine half of the city's populace. A renegade cop is hot on her heels, a trail that also leads him to the subhuman criminal overlord known as Black Pepper. It's a pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, brain-devouring onslaught of '80s thunder, '90s lightning, and pure filmmaking daredevilry from another time and/or dimension. Blades flash, blood flows, bullets fly and synthesizers blare as the morgue overflows with the corpses of Dangerous Men.

BONUS FEATURES:
- 16-page booklet featuring only documented full-length interview with John S. Rad
- Audio commentary featuring Destroy All Movies authors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connelly
- That's So John Rad - An original documentary about the film and its original 2005 theatrical release
- Rare footage of John S. Rad appearing on local access television
- Interview with director of photography Peter Palian
- Original theatrical trailer
- Trailers

AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT VOL.1 (Blu-ray Review)

AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT VOL.1

Label: Arrow Video
Region Code: Region-Free
Duration: 251 Minutes 
Audio: English PCM Original Mono 1.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1), (2.35:1) 
Directors: Christopher Speeth, Robert Allen Schnitzer, Matt Cimber
Cast: Millie Perkins, Lonny Chapman, Janine Carazo, Herve Villechaize, Sharon Farrell, Edward Bell

Synopsis: Everyone knows the classic American horror titles: Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street, to name but a few. But we want to tell you a different story: a story of the unsung heroes of stars-and-stripes terror, films that have remained on the fringes of the genre either through lack of availability or else sheer obscurity. This is where American Horror Project comes in.


Volume One of this series presents three tales of violence and madness from the 1970s. Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (Christopher Speeth, 1973) sees a family arrive at a creepy, dilapidated fairground in search of their missing son, only to find themselves at the mercy of the cannibalistic ghouls lurking beneath the park. Meanwhile, The Witch Who Came from the Sea (Matt Cimber, 1976), stars Millie Perkins (The Diary of Anne Frank) as a young woman whose bizarre and violent fantasies start to bleed into reality - literally. Lastly, every parent's worst nightmare comes true in The Premonition (Robert Allen Schnitzer, 1976), a tale of psychic terror in which five-year-old Janie is snatched away by a strange woman claiming to be her long-lost mother.



MALATESTA'S CARNIVAL OF BLOOD (1973) 

The first in this trio of obscure American horror is the nightmarish carnival terror Malatesta's Carnival of Blood from 1973, the year I was born. Am odd entry that is largely absent of a compelling narrative thread, but more relies on the unsettling imagery and situations to bring the fright. We have a family arriving at the titular circus as financial investors who hope to profit from the carnival attractions, but instead find themselves on the run from the strange cannibal carnies who favor the taste of human flesh. The carnival of ghouls is owned by Malatesta (Daniel Dietrich) and run by his right-hand man Mr. Blood (Jerome Dempsey), a fiendishly awesome presence in the movie. The loose narrative doesn't leave a lot to grasp onto though, so you had best resigns yourself to this fever-dream of a carnie movie, one with blue-skinned ghouls and some inspired set-design, be sure to keep an eye out for a Volkswagen Bug made to look like a gaping, toothed-mouth, if you love it weird and surreal you are gonna have fun with this one. If you're rooted in story and plot you might find yourself lost at the carnival with no way out. 



The movie has quite a cast of carnie weirdoes, we have pint-sized HervĂ© Villechaize from TVs Fantasy Island as a heavily French-accented killer dwarf, a tranny tarot card reader, and a creepy groundskeeper played by William Preston, who you might remember from those odd segments on Late Night with Conan O'Brien as Carl 'Oldy' Olson - the guy was always creepy, even back in the '70s apparently. The gore is not great, but fun enough, in a way that brought to mind the gore movies of Herschel Gordon Lewis. There's a scene of a carnival goer losing his head on the roller coaster, and some cheap gut-munching, the real horror show are the labyrinth of underground caverns where the blue-skinned ghouls hang out, nightmare stuff that brought to mind Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls (1962) by way of the surreal Spanish asylum-nightmare House of Madness (1973), which is a pretty decent analog as to what you can expect from this movie.

This was absolutely my least favorite of movies on this cool underground cinema set, which isn't to say I hated it, but like House of Madness (1973) which I referenced, I probably won't revisit this one anytime soon. I'd sooner re watch the interviews before I sat through it again, though I did get enjoy seeing the now crumbling William Grove Amusement Park during slightly better days. The landmark carnival had been running since 1928 when it closed in 2005, do yourself a favor and check out pics of the abandoned park now, having been slowly reclaimed by the surrounding forest, creepy stuff. 


Special features for Malatesta's Carnival of Blood include a brand new interview with director Christopher Speeth, who speaks about the origins of the story, working with the producer, the various sets and locations used, the unique sound design of the movie and the troubled distribution history, right up to author Stephen Thrower reaching out to Speeth for inclusion in his book Nightmare USA, which spurred renewed interest in the obscure movie. Theres also an interview with writer Werner Liepolt who speaks about his initial script, how it differed from the movie, and his interest in the grotesqueries of the carnival circuit. Art directors Richard Stange and Alan Johnson speak about coming into the project, how they created the nightmare underworld of the carnival. Additionally the disc is rounded off with about three-minutes of outtakes, a gallery of images, and a DVD-ROM of the original script for the movie. Almost forgot the Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, who goes deep into the history of the movie, a nice blend of humor with more academic approach, of the three commentaries on this set, this is the one I can see myself revisiting at some point. 

Special Features: 

- Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower (4 Mins) HD 
- Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
- The Secrets of Malatesta - an interview with director Christopher Speeth (14 Mins) HD 
- Crimson Speak - an interview with writer Werner Liepolt (12 Mins) HD 
- Malatesta's Underground - art directors Richard Stange and Alan Johnson discuss the weird, mysterious world of Malatesta's underground (10 Mins) HD 
· Outtakes (3 Mins) HD 
- Draft script (BD/DVD-ROM content)
- Stills Gallery (39 Images) HD
- Reversible sleeve of artwork featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil


THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA (1976)

Director Matt Cimber's The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976)) is the story of a deeply troubled young woman named Molly, played by actress Millie Perkins. Molly lives along the ocean with her sister and two young nephews, whom she spends her days with wandering the beach and telling them tales of her sea-faring father whom she says was lost at sea years earlier. 



An early scene of her walking the beach watching muscle-bound young men workout evolves into a sick fantasy of the mind, wherein she imagines each one horribly killed. Molly seems to be on the verge of a mental breakdown, and these murder fantasies begin to bleed into reality, literally. When two footballers are found castrated, Molly becomes the main suspect of local detectives. Perkins gives a wonderfully unstable performance as the woman unravelling, damaged by the worst kind of childhood trauma, raped by her own father. The scenes of violence are slightly muffled by the fact that they happen just off screen but they are still shocking just by the nature of the violence, and as a guy I always find castration scenes make my skin crawl. 

The movie is peppered with trippy flashback scenes of the incest and her own murder fantasies, they are well done, though one goes a little too low-rent psychedelic for it's own good. It heps that this was shot in scope by cinematographer supreme Dean Cundey (John Carpenter's Halloween) who even on a shoe-string budget managed to capture some nicely composed widescreen shots, and this one has a nice low-budget artfulness to the composition. 


The original artwork for the movie is a bit misleading, featuring a robed witch with a bloodied scythe in one hand raised overhead, in her other hand is the severed head of a man. Truly a memorable image, but a bit removed from the amount of viscera you will actually find in the movie, though it does capture the essence of the woman protagonist as a man-killer. 

I am not too familiar with the body of Matt Cimber's movies, but from what I gather this is a cut above his usual trashy sexploitation movies, though I have heard his blaxploitation stuff is pretty great, so I will reserve final judgement. Watching this I was reminded of another woman-losing-her-sanity movie, the haunting Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971), a kindred movie with a slow-burn pace and flights of insanity. The Witch Who Came from the Sea was worth the wait, it lived up to the hype, and offered a surprisingly nuanced performance from Perkins, this is incredibly well acted and handsomely shot, well worth seeking out. 



Special features for The Witch Who Came from the Sea include an introduction from author Stephen Thrower, plus an audio commentary with director-producer Matt Cimber, actress Millie Perkins and director of photography Dean Cundey, which was carried over from the now OOP Subversive DVD, as was the thirty-six minute featurette 'A Maiden's Voyage' containing interviews with Matt Cimber, Millie Perkins and Dean Cundey. New to the set is the brand-new making-of doc 'Tides and Nightmares' with new interviews from Cimber, Perkins, Cundey and actor John Goff, plus an additional four-minute interview with Matt Cimber who speaks about the point of the movie, how the original negative was destroyed, and rightfully praising the new restoration from Arrow Video. 

Special Features: 

- Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower (5 Mins) HD
- Audio commentary with director-producer Matt Cimber, actress Millie Perkins and director of photography Dean Cundey 
- Tides and Nightmares - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with Cimber, Perkins, Cundey and actor John Goff (23 Mins) HD 
- A Maiden's Voyage - archive featurette comprising interviews with Cimber, Perkins and Cundey (36 Mins) 
- Lost at Sea - director Cimber reflects on his notorious cult classic (4 Mins) HD 
- Reversible sleeve of artwork featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil 


THE PREMONITION (1976)

Robert Allen Schnitzer's The Premonition (1976) is a creepy kidnapper tale about a troubled couple, a mentally-ill piano player named Andrea (Ellen Barber) and her crazed carnie boyfriend Jude, played by the always unsettling Richard Lynch (Bad Dreams). Years earlier Andrea was sent to the asylum, and her infant daughter Janie (Danielle Brisebois ) was was taken away from her and adopted by a nice couple, Prof. Miles Bennett (Edward Bell) and his wife Sheri (Sharon Farrell). Andrea has now been released from the asylum, which is where she met her boyfriend Jude naturally, together the disturbed couple set about to kidnap Janie from the Bennets. The movie is played sort of low-key, the horror is not supercharged, but there's a pervasive sense of eeriness about this one with some unnerving Lynchian moments about it. 



Richard Lynch is always a strong presence in any movie he appears in, he has a unique face and unsettling presence about him. His character is an intense white-faced pantomime who is in love over his head with Andrea, and willing to do whatever it takes to make her happy, but a love this intense is bound to burn you one way or another. Mrs. Bennet begins to have frightening visions about Andrea and her daughter, a series of paranormal visions of Andrea, which unsettle the adoptive mother, who becomes both frenzied and despondent to varying degrees. 

When her fears of losing Janie to the unhinged birth mother are finally it is the psychic visions that connect the opposed mothers, and they are key to the recovery of her young adopted daughter. Surprisingly the supernatural elements aren't overly exploited, but are present just enough to give the movie a supernatural tinge that pushed it from just a tense kidnap-thriller to something a little more creepy. The filmmakers take great pain not to paint Andrea and Jude as wholly evil people, just deranged, but Ellen Barber does manage to stir up some threat, and able to hold her own against Richard Lynch's intensity. A scene of her in Janie's bedroom is menacing stuff, as a parent my heart jumped a bit, I cannot imagine walking into my child's room and finding any one of them in the arms of a deranged stranger. The scene is further bolstered by some nice camera trickery, this is the scene that felt very Lynchian to me, definitely surreal and unnerving stuff. 



Extras created for The Premonition by Arrow Video include a new making-of doc with Schnitzer, composer Henry Mollicone and cinematographer Victor Milt, and an introduction from Stephen Thrower. we are also treated to archival interviews with the late actor Richard Lynch and director Robert Allen Schnitzer. Three Robert Allen Schnitzer early short films are included, which are political in nature, and not my cup of tea, it's not like discovering the early shorts of David Lynch, but they're here if you're interested. The disc is finished up with a trailer and handful of TV and radio spots, plus a gallery of images. . 

Special Features:

- Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower (3 Mins) HD 
- Isolated Music Score by Henry Mollicone
- Audio commentary with director-producer Robert Allen Schnitzer
- Pictures from a Premonition - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with Schnitzer, composer Henry Mollicone and cinematographer Victor Milt (21 Mins) HD
- Archive interviews with Robert Allen Schnitzer (6 Mins) 
- Archive interviews with Richard Lynch (16 Mins) 
- Three Robert Allen Schnitzer short films: 'Vernal Equinox' (30 Mins) HD, 'Terminal Point' (41 Mins) HD and 'A Rumbling in the Land' (11 Mins) HD
- 4 Peace Spots (4 Mins) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins) HD 
- 4 TV Spots (3 Mins) HD 
- Gallery 
- Reversible sleeve of artwork featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
- American Horror Project Journal Volume One - Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new articles on the films from writers Stephen Thrower(Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents), Kim Newman (Nightmare Movies), Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) and Brian Albright (Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews)



Audio/Video: All three movies have been lovingly remastered with brand new 2K restorations from the best surviving elements for each film, both Malatesta's Carnival of Blood and The Witch Who Came from the Sea were derived from surviving 35mm prints,while The Premonition came from the color reversal intermediate, which is only one stage away from the original negative, as such it is the best looking of the three. The overall results are of the SK restorations are very pleasing. None are reference quality presentations but they are acceptably clean and finely detailed. Colors are mostly strong for all three movies, there's some minor white speckling and vertical scratching, but the natural roughness of the presentations are kept in check and appear very filmic. I don't mind a grit and grime with my cult-classic, and all three of these look great on Blu-ray. 


All three are presented in their original mono presentation by way of lossless English PCM Mono 1.0 audio tracks, like the prints used for the transfers the audio each have some minor issues, though there's nothing too distracting, and the movies sound just fine. My favorite score of the three films would be Herschel Burke Gilbert's haunting accompaniment for The Witch Who Came from the Sea, but Henry Mollicone's comes in a close second. Optional English subtitles are provided. 


Arrow Video have afforded some fantastic extras for these obscure American slices of '70s horror as detailed above, each receiving an intro from co-curator Stephen Thrower, averaging about four-minutes each. Each film presented in a dual-format release, encased in its own keep case with a reversible sleeve of artwork featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil, plus there's a massive 60-page booklet with new writing on each film from writers Stephen Thrower, Kim Newman and Brian Albright, all of it contextualizing the movies and really digging deep into each. Peppered throughout the booklet are images from each movie, plus notes about each of the restorations. 


With the American Horror Project Vol.1 Arrow Video and co-curator Stephen Thrower have set out to document a handful of unsung and throwaway slices of '70s American cult-horror, nuggets of forgotten cinema that didn't get a fair shake on home video, or during their initial drive-in run. When you think about it there are not many banner horror movies left to adorn with deluxe editions these days, the vaults have been plundered and re plundered, so it is great to see these unsung slices of cult cinema getting loving restorations and bountiful extras. What Arrow Video and the crew have put together here is nothing but love for these indie-horrors, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for future volumes. This something special and is limited to just 3,000 copies, so if you love obscure horror you had best jump on this set fast, this is worth owning, so have at it. 4/5