Saturday, February 17, 2018

VISITORS (2003) (Umbrella DVD Review)

VISITORS (2003) 

Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: 4 PAL
Rating: MA 15+

Duration: 86 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Richard Franklin
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Ray Barret, Susannah York

Director Richard Franklin (Psycho II) directed this ocean bound psychological thriller about a headstrong yet troubled young woman named Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell, Rogue) whom is set solo circumnavigating the world in a thirty-eight foot sailboat. Her fiance Luke (Dominic Purcell, the CW's Legends of Tomorrow) secures a corporate sponsorship from Monée Cosmetics to fund the venture, but executive Casey (Tottie Goldsmith) has a condition that stipulates she change the name of the sailboat to Monée, which irks Georgia, beleieving that changing the name of a vessel is bad luck, but the name change turns out to be the least of her concerns on this possibly doomed sea voyage. 

It turns out that Georgia is a deeply conflicted person, having committed her mentally-ill mother to a home where she killed herself by slitting her wrists, and now her father has fallen ill, and she blames herself for a crippling accident that took the use of his legs years earlier.  While at sea she's caught up in a dead calm with no wind to propel her vessel, stranding her amidst a deep fog bank, where she is visited by her numerous inner demons in the forms of phantoms or psychological manifestations, these range from her loving father to her suicidal mother, menacing sea pirates, oceanic arachnids, and phantoms of annoying relatives, some of whom seem to be pushing for her to kill herself. Her wicked mother is played by a terrific Susan York (Superman), she proves to be her apex inner-demon, the one that seems to rule them all, with her maniacal grin and manic performance York was my favorite facet of this thriller.

The movie never really makes a case for whether the visitors are psychological or supernatural in nature, I think that ambiguity would have heightened the suspense, as it is it's just watching how Georgia resolves the inner-demons, and while I did enjoy the way a few of the phantom mysteriously come and go and how they taunt our protagonist the ending was quite underwhelming and wholly unsatisfying. 

Special Features: 
- Photo galleries (20 images) 
- Theatrical trailer (2 min) 
- Cast and crew biographies

I'm a bit saddened that the film didn't appeal to me more, director Richard Franklin made two ozploitation classic, the psycho-coma-thriller Patrick (1978) and Road Games (1981), going onto direct the surprisingly terrific Psycho II (1983) and then onto one of my personal favorite kiddie-films, Cloak and Dagger (1984), before sort of drifting away into TV directing, but he made some great movies along the way. Franklin's a director I feel should have went onto a more storied career, but as it is he had about a six year window of interesting stuff that I personally treasure, which is more than some. However, this lukewarm psychodrama doesn't do much for me, Radha Mitchell does what she can with the material, struggling with her inner demons and talking to her house cat who speaks back to her makes for a somewhat interesting watch, but the story just isn't there, at least not onscreen. Notably, the script was written by someone with his own impressive Ozploitation pedigree, Everette De Roche also wrote scripts for Long Weekend (1978), Harlequin (1980) and Razorback (1984), in addition to Road Games and Patrick, which were directed by Franklin, though unfortunately this re-teaming did not add up to success, proving to be Franklin's final project before his death.  

Black Eagle (2-Disc Special Edition) from MVD Rewind on February 27th

BLACK EAGLE (1988)
2-Disc Special Edition

Label: MVD Rewind Collection
Duration: 94 Minutes
Audio: English Stereo 2.0
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: 2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Director: Eric Karson
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sho Kosugi, Ken Tani, Doran Clark, Bruce French, William Bassett 

MVD Entertainment Group is proud to announce MVD Rewind Collection #3 BLACK EAGLE in a two- disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Edition combo pack coming February 27th, 2018.

A video store staple back in the 1980's features action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport, Kickboxer) going head to head with martial arts legend Sho Kosugi (Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death)!

Synopsis: : After an F-11 gets shot down over the Mediterranean Sea, The U.S. government cannot afford to lose the top-secret laser tracking device that was on board. But unfortunately, the KGB team lead by the infamous Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme, The Expendables 2, Universal Soldier) are beating the CIA in the race to find it. The CIA has no choice but to call in their best man, master martial-artist Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi, Ninja Assassin, Revenge of the Ninja), code name... BLACK EAGLE. In response, the KGB resorts to an all-out war, with powerful Andrei matching Ken blow for blow. From legendary action director Eric Karson (The Octagon), Black Eagle also stars Doran Clark (The Warriors), Bruce French (Jurassic Park III) and William Bassett (House of 1000 Corpses).

MVD Rewind Collection's release of BLACK EAGLE is the definitive edition of this 80's action classic that includes two versions of the film and over two hours of additional material including deleted scenes and all-new interviews produced exclusively for this release.

Pre-order now at MVDshop.com

Special Features: 
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature.
- Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray) and Dolby Digital 5.1.
- Includes 93 minute theatrical version + 104 minute uncut extended version of the film.
- Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend (HD, 21:26) (featuring new interviews with Sho Kosugi and Shane Kosugi and more) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
- The Making of BLACK EAGLE (HD, 35:50)(featuring new interviews with Director / Producer Eric Karson, Screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi and Dorota Puzio) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
-mTales of Jean-Claude Van Damme (HD, 19:20) (Brand new interviews with cast and crew tell stories about working with the legendary action star) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
- The Script and the Screenwriters (HD, 27:14) (featuring Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson and more) MVD Rewind EXCLUSIVE!
- Deleted Scenes 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
- Collectible Poster

As with all MVD Rewind Collection releases, this Blu-ray + DVD Special Edition combo pack is housed in a limited edition "retro style" slipcover with the film's original 80's artwork. The slip will only be available on the first pressing and once MVD runs out... it's gone (the slipcover... not the release).

Impulse Pictures' April 2018 Release of 'A Touch of Sex' and' Helena' - 1975 was a very good year for sexy '70s erotic cinema!

A TOUCH OF SEX (1975) 
Label: Impulse Pictures
Release Date: March 10th 2018 
Region Code: All
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 73 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono 
Director: George O'Conner
Cast: Harry Wilcox, Seymore Canyon, Skip Chester, Sunny Boyd, Rene Bond

Hired to help launch a new hot rock group called "Tommy and the Penetrations," Mark (Michael Pataki) finds himself dropped into the opulent drug-filled and orgiastic lifestyle of Hollywood. Settling into the historic Villa Elaine Apartment building (previous residents include Orson Welles and Frank Sinatra), Mark is suddenly haunted by visions of a horny group of people everywhere he goes. Are they some sort of mind-bending fantasy or reality?

This music-filled '70s erotic oddity features genre film actor Michael Pataki (HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, DEAD AND BURIED, GRADUATION DAY) under the alias "Harry Wilcox," and classic adult film starlet, Rene Bond. Presented from an authentic 35mm grindhouse release print for maximum sleaze. Ya dig?


HELENA (1975) 
Label: Impulse Pictures
Release Date: March 10th 2018 
Region Code: All
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 73 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.66:1) 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono 
Director: Alain Nauroy
Cast: Valerie Boisgel, Yan Brian, Richard Darbois, Monique Vita

Synopsis: The lovely Helena heads to the French coastline to meet up with Roy, a man she's had affairs with in the past. She arrives at her destination and is told by the man at the door (Frank) that Roy is preoccupied with another woman upstairs and will be down to meet her soon. As Helena waits for Roy, Frank courts her... flirting, making conversation, and finally seducing her in his outdoor pool.

As the truth about Frank is revealed, Helena's life is turned upside down (and the film's plot takes a crazy, unexpected turn) when a gang of thugs breaks into the home. With no way to escape, Helena must give in to dominant sexual games and desires.

Alain Nauroy's HELENA is a classic mix of eroticism and sexploitation from the '70s that will titillate your senses until the film's jaw-dropping and disturbing final act.


Impulse Pictures' April 2018 Release of 'Women In Heat Behind Bars' One of the best Nikkatsu "Women In Prison" films!

WOMEN IN HEAT BEHIND BARS (1987) 

Label: Impulse Pictures
Release Date: April 10th 2018 
Rating: Unrated 
Region: 1
Duration: 69 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Audio: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono  with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Junichi Suzuki
Cast: Shinobu Wakana, Reina Hatta, Tomomi Segawa, Saeko Kizuki, Mako Takigawa

Synopsis: The lovely Shinobu Himeno is arrested and thrown into Asahi Female Prison for being an unwilling accomplice in a jewelry store robbery. She's to serve her sentence in the infamous Cell Block 21, a dismal area full of tough, sex-starved women. Himeno is bullied and abused by inmates and guards and, after being framed for starting a fight, is taken away and tied up by the prison's infamous Mr. Kiya. Through flashbacks, we discover why many of the women have been locked up here and soon, in one great act of defiance, they rise up to overtake the prison in a bloody, violent riot! Can the shy Himeno ever escape this living hell?

Loaded with gratuitous nudity, sex, and violence, WOMEN IN HEAT BEHIND BARS is one of the best of the "Women in Prison" genre of Nikkatsu's vast exploitation catalog.

Special Features:
- Brand-New 2017 Remaster from Nikkatsu Corporation
- Newly Translated Removable English Subtitles
- Theatrical Trailer


BLACKENSTEIN (1973) (Severin Film Blu-ray Review)


BLACKENSTEIN (1973)

Label: Severin Films
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 78 Minutes/87 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: William A. Levey
Cast: John Hart, Ivory Stone, Andrea King, Roosevelt Jackson, Joe De Sue, Nick Bolin, Liz Renay

In this 70's both hideous and awesomely titled  blaxploitation/horror hybrid we have an African-American Viet Nam vet named  Eddie Turner (Joe De Sue) who has lost his limbs after stepping on a landmine, his foxy physicist fiancée Doctor Winifred Walker (Ivory Stone) seeks the help of her former mentor Doctor Stein (John Hart), a Nobel Prize winning genetic scientist who has had success with reattaching limbs using a proprietary "DNA solution", though even a cursory tour of his clinic reveals some minor setbacks in the process, such as tiger-striping on a patients lower leg, which has been reattached using some bizarre laser sorcery in conjunction with the DNA solution. 

Winifred checks her man out of the Veteran's hospital where he's been secretly abused by a clearly racist orderly, and places him in Dr. Stein's care at his clinic, but the doc's own conniving orderly Malcomb (Roosevelt Jackson) sabotages Eddie's experimental surgery after having his affections for Winifred denied, with bad man Malcomb tampering with Eddie's personalized DNA solution, causing him to regress into a speechless, hulking square-afro'd monster who stalks the streets at night looking for flesh to consume, more a brutish flesh-eating zombie than the black-Frankenstein monster the movie advertised. One of his first victims is that racist orderly at the veteran's hospital, then onto other patients at the clinic, including an age-defying woman played by Liz Renay (John Water's Desperate Living), and of course he has to get his hairy caveman hands on the rape-y Malcomb! The film culminates with Wini and the doc facing off against Eddie's monster with poor expressionless Eddie being torn apart by a pack of police Dobermans. 

One of my favorite tidbits about this movie is how by day Eddie is bedridden and listless at the clinic, but by night he magically transforms from his hospital gown into a black turtleneck and blazer combo wearing monster, sort of the same way that Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk, somehow always wearing the same torn, purple pants. 


The 70's Blaxploitation cycle offered a few fun horror hybrids, from AIP's truly great Blacula (1972)to the not-so-good but totally-fun Exorcist knock-off Abby (1973) and the Bernie Casey (Gargoyles) vehicle Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976), but Blackenstein (1973) is a much trashier and poorer made film than any of those, but it does have some bloody gore and cool vintage laboratory sets that were originally used in Universal's Frankenstein! The ramshackle affair is very poorly acted, Joe De Sue is lifeless in the role, long before he becomes the lumbering monster, he's certainly no William Marshall (Blacula) and does nothing to bring the creature to life, appearing emotionless and blank for the duration of the film, he doesn't bring any pathos to the character. The cast surrounding him are not much better, but I did find Ivory Stone to be a decent female lead, not great but a foxy lady with a good set of lungs when called upon. 

Audio/Video: Blackenstein arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films who teamed-up with Vinegar Syndrome and Xenon Pictures to bring you this greasy 70's slice of horror-themed blaxploitation, framed in 1.78:1 widescreen. We get two versions of the movie, the shorter 78-min theatrical cut (sourced from film elements) and the longer 87-min video version. The video version is also sourced from film elements, in addition to some inferior 1" master tape inserts that are of much lesser quality than the theatrical version. The theatrical version itself has some serious issues by way of fading, print damage, softness and poor black levels that are inherent to the source, and while it ain't a pretty sight I can safely say that it's the best this Afrocentric horror hybrid has ever looked on home video. 

Audio comes by way of an English mono DTS-HD MA track with optional English subtitles (on the theatrical version only), and as with the image the audio has inherent issues, we get some minor distortion and hissing, the dialogue and library music cues sound pretty canned at times, but it's serviceable. The highlight would be a few soulful songs from actress Cardella Di Milo (Dolemite) that appear on the soundtrack. 

Onto the extras, we get the aforementioned two versions of the film, plus an interview with the late produce Frank R. Saletri's sister June Kirk who discusses her brother's life and death, he was a criminal lawyer and b-movie movie producer, his love of classic horror and what a character he was, she gets a bit misty eyed when recalling his still unsolved murder in '82, found shot to death execution style in his Hollywood home. One of the extras is a bit of true-crime, a 6-min vintage news broadcast on the murder of Saletri featuring images from his movies and his home. 


Creature Designer Bill Munns appears in an audio interview and discusses crafting the square-afro'd monster for the film, using the make-up on Universal's original done my Jack Pierce as his inspiration. Severin also offer up some outtakes from their forthcoming Al Adamson doc with actor-producer-director's Ken Osborne and Robert Dix, recalling the producer's love of film making and even offering some theories on why he was murdered. The extras are all Saletri-centric, the man's life and mysterious death are infinitely more interesting than the movie he produced, one would hope we get an Ed Wood style film about him at some point.  The single-disc Blu-ray release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of one-sided artwork featuring the original poster artwork, the disc itself featuring the same image reversed. 

Special Features:
- Theatrical Release Version (78 Mins.) and Video Release Version (87 Mins.)
- Monster Kid: Interview with Writer / Producer Frank R. Saletri’s Sister, June Kirk (19 min)
- Archive News Broadcast On The Murder Of Writer / Producer Frank R. Saletri (6 min)
- Producers / Directors / Actors Ken Osborne And Robert Dix Remember Writer / Producer Frank R. Saletri (7 min) 
- Bill Created Blackenstein: Interview With Creature Designer Bill Munns (9 min)
- Theatrical Trailer (3 min) 
Blackenstein (1973) is a dopey re-imagining of the classic Frankenstein story, it's poorly written, acted even worse, and ineptly executed on all artistic/technical levels, and that's where there's a certain bad movie charm, it's absolutely the worst of the blaxploitation/ horror hybrids I've seen so far. However, for bad movie fans it's great to see two cuts of the film, though the longer version in no way makes it a better film, I prefer the theatrical cut. This is definitely a case of a movie that is so bad that the making of and anecdotal stories surrounding are vastly more enjoyable then what ended up onscreen, so I give Severin a lot of respect for giving Bkackenstein as impressive a Blu-ray debut as I could have hoped for, if you're fan this title this release is trash-cinema nirvana. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) (Severin Blu-ray Review)


DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) 

Label: Severin Films 

Region Code: Region-Free
Duration: 74 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MD with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Stu Segall
Cast: John F. Goff, Steve Vincent, Douglas Gudbye, George Flower, Robert E. Pearson, Norman Sheridan, Bruce Kimball

This low-budget proto-slasher is set at a small town drive-in cinema in Southern California, a seedy joint run by an even seedier proprietor, the wonderfully bad-dressed former carnie sword-swallower (no that's not a euphemism) named Austin Johnson (Robert E. Pearson), a bad-tempered baldie who bares more a bit of a resemblance to Church of Satan founder Anton Lavey. Austin runs the movie joint with the help of a slow-witted laborer (and former carnie geek) named Germy (Douglas Gudbye). The local drive-in joints a popular place for teens and horny lovers to congregate, but a sword-wielding maniac is on the loose at the drive-in and lops the head off of a guy before stabbing his lady friend right through the neck, the decapitation is a nice bit of Herschel Gordon Lewis-esque cheapie gore to kick things off proper and then were off and running with a damn decent body count throughout. 

Local detectives Mike Leary (John Goff, The Fog) and John Koch (Bruce Kimball, Love Camp 7) arrive to investigate the initial double-homicide, they interrogate Austin and Germy looking for possible suspects, with Germy offering fingering a local pervert named Orville (Norman Sheridan) who is known to frequent the drive-in and whack-it while peeping on young couples through their car windows. The inept cops launch a befuddling sting operation posing as a couple parking at the drive-in, with one of the cops in the most unattractive drag I think I've ever seen, a ploy also used in The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) the very same year. However, even with the cops in attendance the sword wielding maniac manages to rack up a few more victims... and even after several murders happen over the course of as many nights no one thinks to closes the damn drive-in down, and now wonder, patrons don't seem to care about the maniac on the lose, business is booming, and goers are willing to risk their heads for some necking time!

While this inept drive-in cheapie will never be highly regarded as a proto-slasher or anything else it's got a decent body count and some cheap gore that will pass the time just fine, but if I'm being completely honest it's about a half-hour's worth of a movie with 43-minutes of patience-testing padding, but something keeps me coming back to it. The kills and set-ups are fun but this thing is padded with tons of z-grade filler including voice over narration, and an over abundance of red-herrings, including a from-out-of-nowhere subplot featuring co-writer George "Buck" Flower (They Live) as a deranged man stalking a young girl through a warehouse, it's strange stuff, the first watched the movie it sent my head spinning, wondering if I'd missed something earlier, but no, it's just a bizarre detour to pad the run time. 


The true joy Drive-In Massacre is not that it's some forgotten slasher  classic but that it's a bad slasher movie with a fun drive-in premise, with loads of bad police procedural bullshit, cheap action and gore and awful-ly entertaining dialogue. Some of the lines uttered here are deliciously eye-rolling, such as drive-in proprietor yelling "You really want to talk to this piece of puke?" and "You better watch it, you might be eating your father" when he catches one of the cops eating a ham sandwich, which did kind of make me laugh for real. 

Audio/Video: Drive-In Massacre (1973) arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films in association of Dristribpix whose logo also appears on the spine of the Blu-ray. Not sure what their involvement is, but this is advertised as being restored from the original camera negative which was supposedly "found in the ruins of the Sky View Drive-In Movie Theater near Oxnard", and whether that's true or not is less important as how fucking cool it sounds! Framed in 1.78:1 widescreen the image is very pleasing, this is a movie I've seen several times on various public domain collections - all culled from fullframe VHS sources -  and all were uniformly bad. Severin's Blu-ray is the first time I've seen it in proper widescreen, and the image looks pretty great. Grain can be a bit chunky at times, and then there's some minor print damage and speckling to contend with, but this is still a pleaser with surprising amounts of 70's ugly fine detail, but it still has plenty of that grindhouse patina. 

Audio on the disc comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono with optional English subtitles, the source is a bit limited and doesn't have the spiffiest fidelity but it is clean and sounds true to the source. 



Reversible Artwork 
Onto the extras we get a brand-new audio commentary from director Stu Segall, plus new interviews with Star/Co-Writer John F. Goff (who plays one of the cops), actor Nick Sheridan (the peeping-tom), and a video interview with the director as well, plus a theatrical trailer. They really give this one more than it might deserve, and that's why I love Severin Films, they're always giving these under-seen, under-loved movies spiffy new releases, such as they did with Blackenstein (1973) and Axe (1975), both of which got the deluxe Severin treatment on Blu-ray. 

The single-disc Blu-ray release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork, the a-side featuring the the traditional artwork of the slashed victim spilling upside down from her car, the b-side featuring an illustration of a sword-wielding man in a shroud (pictured above) - the disc itself features a version of the a-side artwork.  


Special Features:
- Audio Commentary With Director Stu Segall
- Drive-In Days: Interview With Star / Co-Writer John F. Goff (16 min) HD
- Norm Sheridan Recalls Drive-In Massacre (12 min) HD 
- Making the Massacre: Interview With Director Stu Segall (7 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (3 min) HD 


Drive-In Massacre (1976) might be for the die-hard schlock junkies only, but I think it has loads of 70's z-grade cinema charms that might lure in the more casual trash horror fan, wonderfully inept though it may be. For starters it's a fun premise, who doesn't want to see a movie about a madman slicing the heads off of lovers at the drive-in? Add to that some ripe dialogue and a parade of bad cops, perverts, horny lovers, and former carnival freaks and you've got all the fixings for a fine Friday night solo-adventure on the couch. Severin Films once again dive deep to scrape the bottom of the cinema barrel, rewarding us with a tasty slice of z-grade 70's drive-in schlock, thanks guys! 


Thursday, February 15, 2018

VCI Entertainment - Early 2018 Release Schedule


THE AFTERMATH (1982) 

Label: VCI Entertainment
Release Date: February 13th 2018
Audio: Stereo
Director: Steve Barkett
Cast: Steve Barkett, Lynne Margulies, Sid Haig, Christopher Barkett, Alfie Martin, Forrest J Ackerman, Jim Danforth

Synopsis: A spaceship returns from deep space to find the Earth in "The Aftermath" of a nuclear and biological war. The streets are filled with mutated survivors feeding off the weak and a Manson-like figure called Cutter, Sid Haig, "The Devil's Rejects" (2005), "House of 1000 Corpses" (2003), "Jackie Brown" (1997) is reigning terror down on all others. Cutter and his gang of mercenary thugs are systematically murdering all the male survivors and enslaving women and children. Most of his targets are easy, but all that changes when Cutter confronts astronaut Newman (Steve Barkett, "Empire of the Dark," "Dinosaur Island," "Dark Universe"), and the woman Sarah (Lynn Margulies) he finds and falls in love with, and the young child Chris (Christopher Barkett, "Empire of the Dark"). What follows is a cat and mouse game of violent and spectacular proportions with no less than Earth's survival in the balance.



THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE (1972) 
Label: VCI Entertainment 
Release Date: March 13th 2018
Audio: Stereo
Director: Eddie Romero
Cast: John Ashley, Pat Woodell, Jan Merlin, Charles Macaulay and Pam Grier as The Panther Woman

ANIMAL DESIRES...HUMAN LUST!

Matt Farrell (John Ashley) is plucked from the sea while skin-diving and taken to the foreboding fortress of Dr. Gordon. He is to become part of the doctor's diabolical experiment to create a race of super people. This twisted and maniacal doctor's experiments have so far only created terrifying and hideous creatures. His human guinea pigs, freed by the doctor's own daughter, turn the island hideaway into a bloodbath of revenge and terror! Cult Film Queen Pam Grier is featured as "Panther Woman".
Media

Bonus Materials
- Full commentary by film historian, Toby Roan
- Video Interview with the director, Eddie Romero
- Original Theatrical Trailer


CITY OF THE DEAD (1960)
REMASTERED LIMITED EDITION 

Label: VCI Entertainment 
Release Date: March 13th 2018
Duration: 78 Minutes
Audio: Stereo
Director: John Moxley
Cast: Christopher Lee, Dennis Lotis, Betta St John, Patricia Jessel, Venetia Stevenson

Synopsis: A college student Nan is researching the history of witchcraft. Taunted by her brother and fiancé, who have voiced their concerns, Nan arms herself with resolve and drives to the small New England village of Whitewood. She is glad she was able to count on the support of her professor. A bit anxious but consumed with curiosity, she will soon embark herself on the journey of her life! Introducing.
Media

Bonus Materials
- 45-minute interview with Christopher Lee
- Theatrical Trailer
- Feature length Commentary with actor Christopher Lee



BRUCE'S DEADLY FINGERS (1976) 

Label: VCI Entertainment 
Release Date: March 27th 2018 
Duration: 91 Minutes
Audio: Stereo
Director: Joseph Kong
Cast: Bruce Le, Chen Wai-man, Lo Lieh, Nora Miao

Synopsis: Now for the first time ever released in Widescreen High Definition and produced from a new 2K scan from the 35mm original negative. If you are a fan of the master, Bruce Lee, and other "Bruceploitation films," then this deluxe Blu-ray + DVD combo is a must for your film collection! After malicious gangsters capture Bruce Lee's ex-girlfriend, a young martial artist attempts to rescue her - and the late master's book containing lethal techniques for killing with one's fingers. Plenty of Kung-fu action and mayhem including a particularly gruesome scene involving the torture of a girl with a deadly snake!

Bonus Materials
- Commentary track by Michael Worth - author, director, actor, and expert on Bruce Lee, and 'Bruceploitation films' !
- Video interviews with some of the players.
- High-def transfers of several other 'Bruceploitation films' ]
- Theatrical Trailers
- Original Theatrical Trailer in HD!
- Photo and poster gallery of Bruce's Deadly Fingers, and other 'Bruceploitation films'.



    PREPARE FOR THE ULTIMATE PATERNITY QUEST WHEN 'FATHER FIGURES' ARRIVES ONTO BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, DVD AND DIGITAL FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

    FATHER FIGURES

    Own it Early on Digital on March 20th
    Blu-ray/DVD debuts on April 3rd
    You don’t want to miss this cast when “Father Figures” arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital. “Father Figures” marks the directorial debut of veteran cinematographer Lawrence Sher (“The Hangover” films).

    In the Alcon Entertainment comedy “Father Figures,” Owen Wilson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Wedding Crashers”) and Ed Helms (“The Hangover” films, “We’re the Millers”) star as fraternal twins Kyle and Peter who accidentally discover they’ve been living with a lie all their lives.

    It also stars Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”), comedian Katt Williams, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-actor Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames (the “Mission Impossible” films), Harry Shearer (“The Simpsons”) and Oscar nominee June Squibb (“Nebraska”), with Oscar winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) and Oscar nominee Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Kyle and Peter’s mother.

    Sher directed from a screenplay written by Justin Malen (“Office Christmas Party”).

    The film was produced by Academy Award nominee Ivan Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Ali Bell (“Draft Day”) and Alcon Entertainment’s Academy Award nominees Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove (“The Blind Side”). Serving as executive producers were Tom Pollock, Scott Parish, Chris Cowles, Chris Fenton and Timothy M. Bourne.

    An Alcon Entertainment presentation, a Montecito Picture Company Production in association with DMG Entertainment, “Father Figures” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

    “Father Figures” will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and DVD for $28.98. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a Blu-ray disc with the special features in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a Digital version of the movie.

    “Father Figures” will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

    Fans can also own “Father Figures” via purchase from digital retailers beginning March 20th.

    SYNOPSIS: Fraternal twins Kyle and Peter accidentally discover they’ve been living with a lie all their lives. The kindly man in the photo on their mantle isn’t their father after all, but an invention their mother (Glenn Close) concocted to conceal the truth: that she actually doesn’t know who their real father is. See, it was the seventies, and things were crazy, and…well, you know.

    Armed with only a handful of clues, the brothers resolve to find the mystery man in what results in a wild road trip of discovery and revelations—about their mother, themselves and each other.



    BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

    “Father Figures” Blu-ray Combo Pack contain the following special features:
    - Deleted Scenes
    - Hilarious Gag Reel

    “Father Figures” DVD containing the following special feature:
    - Deleted Scenes

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT (2016) (Blu-ray Review)


    HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT (2016) 
    Label: Lionsgate 
    Region Code: A
    Rating: Unrated
    Duration: 81 minutes
    Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™
    Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
    Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
    Cast: Randy Wayne, Heather Langenkamp, Paul T. Taylor, Rheagan Wallace, Jon Gulager

    Now if I am being honest the idea of a new Hellraiser sequel is about as appealing as the idea of chains with hooks appearing out of nowhere and tearing the skin from my body, I haven't enjoyed a Hellraiser film since the third one, and the one that came before this one was one of the worst to date, so when they announced it didn't even register on my radar, I've pretty much written of the series going forward. Many of the sequels to this beleaguered franchise never began life as scripts having nothing to do with the Hellraiser films, they were retro-fitted with an appearance from Pinhead to squeeze them into the series, and most of the times they have fallen pretty flat, after part three they all get a bit blurry to me. 

    Which brings us to Hellraiser: Judgment (2016), which was sent for review. This is the tenth entry in the series, falling into the police procedural/torture vein, we have three detectives on the trail of a sin-based serial killer named The Preceptor, his MO very much along the lines of the villain in Se7en, elaborately murdering his victims he considers sinful, they're death somehow recalling the sin, in the case of one young woman who worships a false God - her precious dog - which the serial killer sews into the abdomen of his victim while it's alive. 

    The gore and special effects are pretty decent in this entry, we have Pinhead played by Paul T. Taylor, and while he's no Doug Bradley he does bring a certain familiar cold charm to the pain-loving leader of the cenobites, and is several measures better than the last guy to fill the role. The Cenobites this time around are represented by The Auditor (played by director Tunnicliffe) whose job it is to catalog the sins of sinners, documenting them on his blood-inked steampunk typewriter, once he's done his job in comes the stomach-churning the Assessor (played by director Feast series Jon Gulager) who then eats the type-written pages, which he in turn vomits into a feed trough from which topless women... I don't know,  wash themselves in? After that another group of naked women with fucked-up faces arrive to lick and cleanse the sinners who are strapped down on a table, and then ...there are still more, this process is convoluted to say the least, enter The Butcher and his blade-wielding sidekick The Surgeon who deliver a the final reward for the sinners, usually flaying the skin from the sinners. Pinhead doesn't actually get that much screen time here, and that's not wholly unexpected given what most of the sequels have offered, but I will say again that I did like Pinhead this time around. 

    It's strange stuff, the whole affair has a S/M fetish quality to it mixed in with some Saw-inspired visuals, but it certainly feels cheap, the budget is low but it does look like they put the money into the special effects and some of the lighting, the stuff with Pinhead and cenobites faring better as far as visuals, it's more stylized but it doesn't have the grand look of the first two films. 

    The story itself is weak, a bad Se7en knock-off, basically a Hellraiser film squeezed out of a dark police procedural, there's some gore to be enjoyed but as a Hellraiser film it feels anemic and uninspired, the cenobites have definitely been added to an existing (and not particularly good) script, there's even some shenanigans about divine intervention, with an emissary from Heaven meddling in the affairs of Pinhead and the Cenobites on behalf of The Preceptor, who has come to be judged by The Assessor and the Cenobites, which angers Pinhead.  

    Special Features:

    - Deleted and Extended Scenes
    - Gag Reel 

    Hellraiser: Judgment is at least a shallow attempt at doing something different with the past-it's-prime horror series, but none of it makes me want to see any of it continued in another entry. That said, I didn't loathe it the way I had anticipated, at just eighty minutes fast, but at the end of the day it is just another cash-in on a near-expired franchise. This one even stunt casts A Nightmare on Elm Street's Heather Langenkamp in a thankless role, which is kind of shameful, but that's for the course with this direct-to-home video franchise films.  If your brave enough to go into this one go in with low expectations, you might enjoy the gore and the surprisingly strong stomach-churning grue but it's not reviving the series by any means.