Friday, April 27, 2018

MOHAWK (2017) (Dak Sky Films Blu-ray Review)

MOHAWK (2017) 
Label: Dark Sky Films
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 92 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround, 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Kaniehtiio Horn, Ezra Buzzington, Eamon Farren, Justin Rain, Ian Colletti, Noah Segan, Jonathan Huber, Robert Longstreet, Sheri Foster 

Director Ted Geoghegan's follow-up to his potently eerie and visceral debut film We Are Still Here (2015) finds the director in a familiar place, Upstate New York, but in a different era, this time going back to the late stages of the War of 1812, giving us a period revenge movie that, if not completely original, is at least offering us something we don't see everyday. It's in this setting we find a young Mohawk woman named Oak (Kaniehtiio Hora, TV's Hemlock Grove) who along with her companions, the Mohawk Calvin (Justin Rain) and British arms dealer Joshua (Eamon Farren, Twin Peaks: The Return), are engaged in a discussion with her tribal-elder mother Wetahawi (Sherri Foster, U-Turn) around a fire, with Joshua trying to persuade the elder to take up arms against the Americans, who while not at war with the Mohawk nation are killing them at an alarming rate.

The elder woman doesn't agree with this way of thinking, refusing to go to war, but that same night the young-blood warrior Calvin takes things into his own hands and slips into a nearby American camp, setting it on fire and killing many American soldiers. In the aftermath Joshua, Oak and Calvin find themselves hunted by a small band of vengeful American soldiers lead by the bloodthirsty Hezekiah Holt (Erza Buzzington, The Hills Have Eyes), his cadre of men include his own son Miles (Ian Colletti, TV's Preacher), the steampunk goggled Sherwood (Robert Longstreet), the lumbering Lachlan (WWE wrestler Jon Huber) and a translator named Yancy (Noah Segan, Dead Girl). 

I like that the characters here aren't completely black and white, the bloodlust of the American soldiers is not unwarranted, Calvin's actions were not exactly a honorable attack against an enemy, likewise the white men aren't wholly despicable people from the get-go, but they become implicit in their actions under the leadership of madman Holt, a man driven by revenge from the beginning, and whose craving for the blood of the Mohawk only grows when his own son falls victim during a skirmish in the woods.

All of the characters are short changed as far as development goes, both the good guys and the villains, as the film takes place over the course of what seems to be a night and day, we are thrown into the fray and it goes from zero to plenty of action and violence in no time at all. The lack of development didn't make it hard to root for the protagonists but it would have made it more deeply affecting if we had a bit more of it. Kaniehtiio Horn is a strong female lead in a stoic sort of way, her character's not one to offer a lot of dialogue but her actions are plentiful and powerful, but the love-triangle between her and her male companions could have stood a bit more fleshing out. The movie sacrifices fleshed-out characters in favor of streamlined storytelling, and maybe it's a credit to the film that I craved more, it doesn't spill all it's secrets, including a shaman/spiritual revenge from beyond the grave finale that caught me by surprise. 

The movie has some period faults to niggle at, some of the costuming looks a bit too new and contemporary, and the dialogue seems a bit too modern for the period to my ears, but the wooded area offers plenty of production value and the cast turn in decent performances across the board, plus the violence and mayhem hits hard, well-done. 

Audio/Video: Mohawk (2017) arrives on Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films framed in 2.40:1 widescreen, the digital-shot film look fantastic, the scope lensing capturing lots of the scenic Upstate New York woodlands with some nice depth and clarity, sometimes a bit too much clarity, some of the more modern fabrics look a bit too new at times. Audio comes by way of English DTS-HD MA stereo and 5.1 surround with optional English subtitles, the anachronistic synth score from Wojciech Golczewski (We Are Still Here) which despite at first taking me away from the film a bit I rather enjoyed once I went along with it.  

This release is surprisingly light on extras, the only disc extra is a, widescreen HD trailer for the film which is too bad, this film is ambitious, I would have enjoyed some insight into the writing and influences that went into this one from the director at the very least, a lack of a commentary is a missed opportunity. The single-disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork.  

Special Features: 
- Trailer (2 min) HD

What we have here is a revenge film set during 1812 in a wooded area, it's a familiar story but the setting and era give a familiar story some new life, adding to that the element of colonialism and native American characters, but we still everything you'd expect from a bloody revenger, including moments of cringe-worthy gore and painful tortures being inflicted on characters, it doesn't make for a perfect film but it does enough different and enough of it is done right to make for an entertaining and briskly paced slice of hybrid movie making to keep me firmly on team Geoghegan as I anxiously await what he does next.   

Olive Films presents Roger Corman's A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959) on DVD May 29th


Label: Olive Films 
Release Date: May 29th 2018 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 66 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Roger Corman 
Cast: Dick Miller, Bert Convy, Barboura Morris, Ed Nelson, Antony Carbone 

A career highlight, director Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood has much in common with his black-humor horror flick The Little Shop of Horrors and the post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi gem Gas-s-s-s.

In the immortal words of Hippocrates, “Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting ...” Hippocrates was onto something.

A Bucket of Blood, directed by Roger Corman (The Trip), is the best of the genre hyphenates, a black-comedy-beatnik-culture-horror film. The masterful Corman (recipient of an honorary Academy Award® in 2010 for “his rich engendering of films and filmmakers”), often referred to as the Pope of Pop Culture, delivers on every level in a film packed with notable character actors including cult-favorite Dick Miller (The Trip, The Wild Angels) in the lead role of Walter, a busboy who dreams of creating the perfect work of art. Also featured are Barboura Morris (The Trip, The Haunted Palace) as Carla, the woman of Walter’s dreams, and Bert Convy (Semi-Tough) as undercover cop Lou Raby.

Influenced by the artists that circle his orbit at The Yellow Door CafĂ©, busboy Walter ventures into the world of sculpting where he can nurture the Rodin that lives inside of him. The downside is that his subjects are dead – by his hand. His beginnings, both humble and accidental, start with a small statue called “Dead Cat.” Unfortunately, “Dead Cat” is followed by “Murdered Man.” By the time we reach Walter’s interest in the female form …. well, you get the picture.

A Bucket of Blood is written by Charles B. Griffith (Death Race 2000), photographed by Jacques R. Marquette (Burnt Offerings), edited by Anthony Carras (The Comedy of Terrors), with music by Fred Katz (The Little Shop of Horrors) and art direction by Dan Haller (Pit and the Pendulum).

Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set lands in the UK for the first time on Blu-ray June 18th from Second Sight Films

XTRO (1982)

Arrives for the first time on Blu-ray June 18th 2018

Label: Second Sight Films
Region Code: B
Rating: Cert: 15
Duration: 987 Minutes 
Director: Harry Bromley Davenport
Cast: Philip Sayer, Bernice Stegers, Danny Brainin, Marayam D’Abo, Anan Wing 

Not all aliens are friendly Part E.T., part Alien, British horror classic Xtro is one of the strangest, most shocking exploitation flicks to land on earth during the video nasty heyday. A film that narrowly avoided inclusion and prosecution on the original nasties list, threw in buckets of blood and gore and some of the most outlandish plot twists of the VHS era to create a truly memorable horror classic. Now it makes its arrival for the first time on Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight Films as Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set.

Loved by horror fans, reviled by highbrow critics on its original release and one of the most notorious
homegrown films of its time, Xtro lands on 18 June 2018 in a newly restored version complete with a raft of new extras, including an hour-long documentary charting the film’s history and its impact, alongside its original alternate ending too.

Father Sam Phillips is playing with his family in the back garden of his idyllic English home when a bright light appears and seemingly abducts him. Three years later, the light returns and dumps a half human half alien creature. After slaughtering a couple who inadvertently stumble on it in a country road, the creature impregnates a woman who gives birth – in one of cinemas most outrageous scenes – to a fully formed Sam. He heads to London, seeking out his family and developing a strange bond with his son. And then things start to get really weird…

The film stars Philip Sayer (Shanghai Surprise), Bernice Stegers (Four Weddings And A Funeral), Danny Brainin (Yentl), Marayam D’Abo (The Living Daylights) and Eastenders favourite Anan Wing. 

Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set features a preview of the new rebooted Xtro currently being worked on by original creators Harry Bromley-Davenport and Mark Forstater and will feature the notorious alien induced birth sequence looking clearer, sharper and more shocking than ever.

Can you stomach Xtro?

- Limited Edition box set featuring both original UK theatrical and video artwork flipped on either
side so you choose the front
- New Second Sight restoration with option of original and alternate endings plus the original UK video version
- New 2018 Director’s Version
- ‘Xploring Xtro’ - a new 57 minute documentary featuring interviews with Harry Bromley Davenport Mark Forstater, Bernice Stegers, Susie Silvey, ‘Tik’ – Tim Dry, ‘Tok’ – Sean Crawford, Robert Pereno, Alan Jones and Craig Lapper
- ‘The World of Xtro’ - a new featurette with Dennis Atherton, Harry Bromley-Davenport and Mark Forstater
- ‘Beyond Xtro’ – a new featurette with Harry Bromley-Davenport and Mark Forstater looking ahead to new reboot ‘Xtro – The Big One’, including exclusive test footage
- ‘Xtro Xposed’
- ‘Loving The Alien: A Tribute to Philip Sayer’ featuring exclusive Brian May music tribute
- Soft cover book with new writing by Kevin Lyons plus publicity and production stills
- Original soundtrack CD
- English subtitles for the hearing impaired

Thursday, April 26, 2018

KALEIDOSCOPE (2017) (IFC Midnight Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory/IFC Midnight

Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 99 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Rupert Jones
Cast: Toby Jones, Anne Reid, Sinead Matthews, Cecilia Noble, Karl Johnson

This British psychological thriller from brothers Toby (Berberian Sound Studio) and director Rupert Jones really pulled me, we have an awkward middle-aged man named Carl who has recently been released from prison and living in a depressively generic block apartment building. We don't know why he was formerly incarcerated but here he is trying to make a go at life on the outside, he trying to get a gardening business underway, and also making the  rounds on an online dating site, where he meets a woman named Abby (Sinead Matthews). The two meet-up and return to his apartment, they share conversation and it becomes very evident that Carl is an awkward guy, and Abby is there for more than just pleasant conversation, she flirts with him a bit, but every time he leaves the room she goes through his drawers and cabinets looking for some thing valuable to steal.

He offers her an alcoholic beverage but does not serve himself, when she questions why he says alcohol changes him, and when she finally coerces him into plying himself with a proper adult beverage he comes to the next day and there's a dead body in his bathroom! On top of that his estranged mother arrives for a visit, so while he navigates the complexities of covering up a murder he must also contend with his overbearing mother with whom he has a deeply fraught relationship with, though exactly why is never really revealed.

The way the story s told is abstract, there are shifts in time and perspective that make a clear delineation of the events near impossible to fully comprehend, leaving us viewers to untangle the labyrinthine web of fractured storytelling. I could see how this would prove frustrating to some who require a more neatly tidies up finale, but I found it compelling and visually interesting from start to finish. If you're  fan of well-crafted psychological thrillers with some fractured narrative ranging from Polanski's Repulsion (1965) to Adam Green's Spiral (2007) and all Hitchcockian points in-between I think you'll have a good timer with Kaleidoscope, well-worth checking out.

Special Features:
- The Making of Kaleidoscope featurette
- Working in the Studio featurette
- Keeping Up With The Joneses featurette
- Theatrical Trailer

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 2018 Releases from Arrow Video US and Arrow Academy US

New from Arrow Video US and Arrow Academy US
Two Thousand Maniacs! [Blu-ray] (5/15)

Black Venus [Blu-ray] (5/22)

Death Smiles On A Murderer [Blu-ray] (5/22)

The Bloodthirsty Trilogy [Blu-ray] (5/22)

Smash Palace [Blu-ray] (5/29)
via MVD Entertainment Group
Mayday! Mayday! Arrow's May release have arrived!

Arrow Video and Arrow Academy are proud and excited to bring five new releases into the homes of cinephiles everywhere this May. The month begins with a three-course dish of genre delights from Arrow Video sure to satisfy the appetite of horror fans the world over and comes to a close with two must-own titles from Arrow Academy.

The starter dish for this darkly delectable feast is Two Thousand Maniacs! from the Godfather of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis. During a Centennial celebration six Yankees are tortured and killed by residents of a small town in the Deep South as revenge for the town's demise during the Civil War. Featuring the signature gore and dark humor Lewis was known for, Two Thousand Maniacs! is an entertaining piece of 60's horror that is shockingly relevant in today's tumultuous political climate.

The main course for May is some hearty Italian served up by master chef Joe D'Amato with Death Smiles on a Murderer. Ewa Aulin, Luciano Rossi and Klaus Kinski star in this tale of an ancient medallion used to raise the dead that mixes equal parts of gothic horror and giallo. Death Smiles on a Murderer is notable for being the first and one of the only times D'Amato was credited under his real name, Aristide Massaccesi. The Arrow release will feature brand-new 2K restoration from the original camera negative.

Rounding out this macabre meal is a dessert shooter in the form of Toho's The Bloodthirsty Trilogy. Toho, the famous Japanese studio known for Godzilla and other kaiju films, decided to take a page from the British and American studios and bring the story of Dracula to Japan starting with The Vampire Doll. That first film was followed by Lake of Dracula and Evil of Dracula, with all three titles coming from director Michio Yamamoto. The three films all put a Japanese twist on the vampire mythos and collectively are known as The Bloodthirsty Trilogy. All three films will be presented in one box set loaded with special features.

Arrow Academy's two releases for May include Abdellatif Kechiche's Black Venus and Roger Donaldson's Smash Palace.

Black Venus is based on the life of Saartjes Baartman, a woman taken from South African to Europe in the early 1800's under the guise that she would receive fame and fortune. The sad reality is that Baartman was subjected to humiliation and exploitation as she was caged and toured around as part of a freak show where people would poke fun at her body. Arrow Academy is proud to present this important film in high definition.

In Smash Palace, director Roger Donaldson tells the story of a former race car driver that ruins his marriage because his love of cars is stronger than the love he has for his wife. After his wife leaves him for his best friend, the once great racer decides to kidnap his daughter in an effort to hold on to whatever sense of family that he can. The Arrow Academy release comes with a number of special features including a 51-minute documentary on the making of the film.


GIFTED (2014) 

Label: 88 Films
Rating: Cert. 18 
Region Code: B
Duration: 103 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: Korean DTS-HD MA 5.1, 2.0 with Optional with English Subtitles
Director: Juhn Jai-hong

In the tradition of OLDBOY, I SAW THE DEVIL and CHASER comes one of South Korea's most mesmerising stories of madness and mania that is not for a squeamish - do not say you were not warned...!

Things may well be cooling down in the Korean peninsula of late - what with the once-isolated Pyongyang making overtures to Seoul in the name of peace, partnership and k-pop - but there is little doubting that the tension between North and South has led to some of greatest cinematic achievements of recent years. Indeed, the South Korean wave, with its stories of battle-scarred testosterone, living-for-the-moment madness, all-too-fragile psyches and behind-the-doors delirium, has long pointed to an image of shattered innocence and a nation concerned with the future. 

Never is this clearer than with 2014's acclaimed and intense shocker GIFTED...

Directed by  Jai-hong Juhn (ONE STEP), this indie gut-churner tells of a man with serious psycho-sexual repression who, after being laid off from his job, lets his innermost feelings explode and goes on a rampage of bloodlust and body parts! Featuring the tense and carefully presented psychological horror that made such classics as HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986) and SEVEN (1995) so timeless, but offering a unique South Korean spin on a well-worn formula, GIFTED is not easily forgotten after the end credits roll. Following in the footsteps of the 88 Films release of SEA FOG, this is the label's second effort in bringing UK audiences the bloodiest and best of genre-nightmares from the land of Cass beer and Kimchi. 

Sure to startle and disturb the average viewer's sleep, GIFTED is a tale of terror that will prove unmissable to any self-respected follower of scary movies...

Unleashed on May 28th, in an international HD premiere, GIFTED is shipping NOW for anyone who dares to pre-order this magnificent screen massacre from our online shop. Consider this our Spring gift to our ever enthusiastic fans - who always know a great international genre outing when they see it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ADULT FAIRY TALES (1978) (88 Films Blu-ray Review)


Label: 88 Films 
Rating: Cert. 18 
Region Code:
Duration: 82 Minutes 
Audio: English LPCM 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Harry Hurwitz
Cast: Quigley, Don Sparks, Sy Richardson, Brenda Fogarty, and Martha Reeve

Synopsis: Little Bo Peep, Old King Cole, Little Tommy Tucker, Snow White, and many others, have all grown up and are ready for action! These enchanting characters from beloved nursery rhymes sing, dance, lust, and romance their way through this hilarious, naughty, and twisted tale where music, mirth, and merriment are the rule of the day. In a clothing optional land of make believe where everything is possible. See “Scream Queen” Linnea Quigley star in her first feature role in this erotic musical funfest!!

This 70's soft-core fairy tale open with the Prince (Don Sparks, TV's L.A. Law) who awakens on his 21st birthday and is told he must prove to his father the King that he can sire an heir to the throne or risk losing his future Kingdom. To that end the King sends a trio of docs; Dr. Eyes (Irwin Corey, Car Wash), Dr. Ears (Robert Harris) and Dr. Moustache (Simmy Bow, Alligator) to the Prince's bedroom first thing in the morning, they've brought along a gorgeous blond (Idy Tripodi) who mounts the young Prince in his bed but the Prince's limp-dick cannot rise to the occasion. Now, to my eyes this Prince seems not to favor women if you know what I mean, but after not performing to expectations he tells the docs that the reason is that his true love is blond woman as seen in portrait hanging on his bedroom wall, sure, but it is said that the Princess in the portrait disappeared years ago and has not been seen since.

The Prince is sent off to the Land Of The Fairies to find a cure for his limp prick, his first sexy encounter is with the buxom Little Bo Peep (Angela Aames, Chopping Mall), a cutie in a yellow and white bonnet and a dress that leaves little to the imagination, and even that bit of fabric melts off her pretty damn quickly, but still the Prince's prick once again fails to rise to the occasion. Peep advises the Prince to seek The Little Old Lady Who Lives in a Shoe, Madame Gussy (Brenda Fogarty, Trip with the Teacher), and of course the shoe turns out to be a whore house run by Gussy, with a wise-cracking doorman played by Roberts Staats, and let me tell you this fast talking and wise-cracking guy steals the whole show. The Shoe is also visited by the smooth pimp Sirius (Sy Richardson, Repo Man), who also steals every scene, these two guys are 70's comedy gold.

While traveling through the kingdom on his way to the Shoe the Prince encounters Jack (Jeff Doucette, TV's Alien Nation) and Jill (Lindsay Freeman, Boardinghouse), the latter of whom of course tries to get in his pants without success, c'mon ladies this guy just ain't into women! Arriving at the Shoe the Prince discovers that each themed room in the shoe is home to a different fairy tale story, we have a kinky Snowhite (Anne Gaybis, Bachelor Party), and her horny seven dwarfs, with my favorite musical number of the show, fun and raunchy stuff! Of course there's also an Evil Queen and her sexy mirror image, a trio of dominatrix's including Evelyn Guerrero, Toolbox Murders) who perform a song along the lines of the WWII era swing jazz classic boogie woogie bugle boy, which was all sorts of awesome, but it also fails to get the Prince's royal dick hard. 

Strangely Martha Reeve's of Martha And The Vandellas fame shows up for a fine disco-soul number as a voodoo priestess in a bubbling cauldron, and according to Band's commentary the soul singer didn't even realize she was performing in a softcore sex-comedy until she brought her Church group to see the movie - if that's true that is amazing! Also notable is the appearance of a sex-loving Old King Cole (Bob Leslie, The Florida Connection) who receives a rather pleasant and oiled up erotic belly-dance from the exotic dancer Nai Bonet (Nocturna). The Prince has no luck fixing his wang-thang until he becomes privy to a secret room on the upper floor of the shoe which may or may not contain Sleeping Beauty (Linnea Quigley, Return of the Living Dead), the future scream queen's first movie role and looking so fresh-faced and cute.

The movie is so silly and fun, loaded with hairy-bushed nudity, and eyefuls of softcore orgies, and raunchy musical numbers that are surprisingly catchy, this thing never wears out its welcome, not even for a minute. Sparks is decent in the role of the naive Prince but the movie is stolen in my opinion by motor-mouthed doorman played Roberts Staats, he seemed so familiar to be, a wonderful combination of used car salesman and 42nd street carnival barker, telling Bo Peep he cannot see the future but can tell by her bruises what she did last night, I just loved this guy, though I couldn't remember what I know him from.

Adult Fairy Tales (1978) was low-budget and strapped for cash (it was a Charles Band production after all!) which probably necessitated the cheesy sets and tacky costuming, but that's all part of the charm of it. I like the shoe house/brothel they constructed, it sort of looked like it belonged at a miniature golf place, you know, cheap.  While it was low-rent the cast are a fun bunch and the musical numbers are rather excellent, there's a lot to love about this raunchy sex-comedy cum musical, if you get-off on cheesy 70's sex comedies cum musicals look no further, Adult Fairy Tales (1978) is the stuff you're looking for.

Audio/Video: Adult Fairy Tales (1978) arrives on Blu-ray in the UK from 88 Films on region B locked Blu-ray, the 2.35:1 widescreen image is restored from its original 35mm negative. The film was also released in the U.S. via Full Moon on Blu-ray last year and the presentation looks to be sourced from the same restoration, but the encode shows some minor but notable differences. The Full Moon Blu-ray looks more vibrant to my eyes, bit the 88 Films image has better managed grain and less video noise throughout. There's a fair amount of grain present and some minor print damage is visible from time to time but overall this is a good looking release. 

While Full moon still go with lossy audio on their Blu-Ray 88 Films step-up to the plate with an English LPCM 2.0 stereo track, and they've also included newly created subtitles, which the FM disc did not. The track is solid and well-balanced, with the ribald musical numbers coming through with some nice nuance but it is a basic stereo track, nothing too special here. 

Onto the extras we get an audio commentary by writer Frank Perilli and Charles Band who do a seemingly by-the-seat of their pants, which is still informative and entertaining but not the most scholarly of listens, this is the same commentary as the Full Moon release. The only other disc extras is a two-minute widescreen trailer for the film, which was not on the Full Moon release. 

The single-disc release comes in a 16mm Blu-ray case with a limited edition first-pressing slipcover featuring the same key artwork as the Full Moon release with the "Adult Fairy Tales" alternate title, the same artwork is featured on the a-side of the reversible sleeve, the b-side featuring yet another variant movie poster with a equally fun though more cartoon-ish illustration. The disc itself features an excerpt from the b-side artwork. 

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentary by writer Frank Ray Perilli and producer Charles Band
- Fairy Tales Trailer (2 min) 
- Reversible Sleeve with alternate original poster

If you're region-free and are wondering which version of this film to buy I say go with this 88 Films version, the image is better encoded, the audio is lossless and you get a sleeve of reversible artwork, and this thing has some mighty fine shelf appeal. The movie itself is a delightfully naughty softcore sex-romp full of 70's campiness, nudity and a load of surprisingly fun musical numbers, c'mon you know you want to see it, so have it you dirty birdies. 

Bruce Willis Stars in Eli Roth's DEATH WISH Arrives on Digital MAY 22nd and on Blu-ray & DVD on JUNE 5th



Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures presents director Eli Roth’s reimagining of the 1974 revenge thriller Death Wish. Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as it’s rushed into his ER – until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Paul, burning for revenge, hunts for his family’s assailants to deliver justice. As the anonymous slayings of criminals grabs the media’s attention, the city wonders if this deadly avenger is a guardian angel…or a grim reaper. Fury and fate collide in the intense action-thriller Death Wish.  
Updated from the original novel by Brian Garfield, director Eli Roth, screenwriter Joe Carnahan’s (The Grey, Narc) and producer Roger Birnbaum’s Death Wish also stars Vincent D’Onofrio (The Magnificent Seven, TV’s Daredevil and Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas), Camila Morrone, Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Kimberly Elise (The Great Debaters). It’s a knife’s-edge portrayal that challenges our assumptions, and pushes our buttons.
DEATH WISH arrives digitally on 4K Ultra HD and on HD on May 22nd and Blu-ray™, DVD and Video on Demand 4K Ultra HD and HD services on June 5th.
- Commentary w/ Eli Roth & Roger Birnbaum
- Deleted scenes with optional commentary w/ Eli Roth & Roger Birnbaum
- Mancow Morning Show Extended Scenes
- Sway in the Morning Extended Scene
- Vengeance and Vision: Directing Death Wish
- Grindhouse Trailer 

Blu-ray™ Disc Specification
Street Date: June 5, 2018
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Total Run Time:  107 minutes
DVD Disc Specification
Street Date: June 5, 2018
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish, Surround Dolby Digital 2.0, French Surround Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Total Run Time: 107 minutes
Digital Specification
Street Date:  May 22, 2018
Screen Format: SD, HD, 4K, HDR Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Total Run Time: 107 minutes

Friday, April 20, 2018

SOCIETY (1989) (Umbrella DVD Review)

SOCIETY (1989) 

Label: Umbrella Entertainment 
Region: Region-Free 
Rating: M
Duration: 99 Minutes
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.77:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Brian Yuzna
Cast: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards

Synopsis: Legendary schlock producer Brian Yuzna (Re-animator, Return of the Living Dead), creates a tense and gory work of horrific social satire in his directorial debut. Billy Whitney (Billy Warlock - Baywatch, General Hospital), a model rich kid and prefect at the Beverley Hills Academy who enjoys rubbing oil into his girlfriend around the pool, is inexplicably embroiled in a spiraling web of fear and paranoia, a surreal, psychotic world that is fast becoming a nightmare. His worst fears are realized when he crashes a perverse socialite gathering that turns into a shocking, and sticky, shunting ritual. The sick and disturbing finale was made possible through ultra-special effects by Screaming Mad George! After 4 minutes were censored for its American release, Society is now presented totally uncut and uncensored, including full restoration of the infamous orgy scene.

High schooler Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock, Halloween II) seems to have it all on the surface, he's a good looking teen with a cute looking cheerleader girlfriend, and he comes from an affluent Beverly Hills family. He even drives around in a Jeep Wrangler, which in the 80s was what every teen wanted, at least I did, until I realized that most people in Wranglers were sort of douche nozzles, you ever notice that? Despite his good breeding, fortune and affluence something has always seemed a bit off to him. Billy doesn't seem to fit into the Beverly Hills high society crowd, he's an affluent outsider. He regularly sees a therapist, Dr. Cleveland (Ben Slack, My Chauffeur), to address the paranoia-laced nightmares he suffers from, but when Blanchard (Tim Bartell, Meatballs, Part II) approaches hims with an audio cassette with what sounds like a bizarre incestuous orgy involving his sister and their parents things begin to spiral out of control for the young man. When he approaches his therapist with the wild story the doc doesn't believe his story, only prescribing a stronger prescription for happy pills, but it will certainly take more than Prozac to set things right for the troubled teen when he discovers the grotesque truth about high society in Beverly Hills.

Society begins like a nightmare version of Beverly Hills 90210 with some affluent high school drama, teenage angst with a few small scenes of weirdness, such as when Billy walks in on his sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings) in the bathroom, she's in the shower but appears to have breasts on her backside, which is confusing to say the least. This contorted bit of kinky weirdness is just our first glimpse at the weird body horror elements that await us in this one, but certainly not the last, there's plenty more to come as the layers begin to peel back exposing the awful truth of the matter. 

The money-shot of the movie is an extended orgy of stretched out flesh, a strange celebration of twisted bodies and kinky oddness that drives home the point that upper high society has always fed off the lower classes. The surreal special effects of Screaming Mad George (Curse II: The Bite) are in full force, creating a dizzying series of body-horror sights like you've never seen before, this is why I love the 80's -- the over-driven special effects were awesome. The strange feeding/orgy scene is bathed in red light with a the darkly comic tone about it, very weird and wonderful, while the tagline for the film Screamers (1980) promised a scene of a man being turned inside out, this film actually delivers on that promise with a very memorable "shunting", body-horror fans are gonna love this one, it's so damn creepy, gross and gooey.  

While I do love the movie I admit that it suffer a bit from stiff acting, particularly the attractive young ladies cast in the movie, they're easy on the eyes but maybe not the most gifted actresses ever put onscreen, nope, these gorgeous ladies were cast for certain other top-shelf criteria. In a weird sort of way the flat line deliveries work in the film's favor, creating a strange atmosphere and that feeling that somethings not quite right. This was Brian Yuzna's directorial debut which probably attributed to the stiffness of the film, but overall this is a solid movie, and a body-horror powerhouse of a film. It does help that Warlock as Billy is an easy guy to get behind, he does a great job tapping into that weird teen paranoia that I think we all experienced at one point at that very transitory age. I remember as a young boy I watched the original Invaders from Mars on TV, afterward I was convinced the neighbors were aliens, I can only imagine what sort of fucked-upped weirdness I would have suffered if I'd watched Society in my early teens, it's a strange one, lovers of bizarre body-horror should seek this one out.

Audio/Video: Society (1989) arrives DVD (What? No Blu-ray, c'mon Umbrella!) framed in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, it's a good looking transfer, not sure what the source is, but it's free of blemishes and colors looks solid. The film has always had a certain softness about it, but this looks accurate to the source as I've seen it represented on various other home video releases. The English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio sounds good, clean and free of distortion, there are no subtitles. 

The extras are slim, offering an audio commentary from director Brian Yuzna (I believe this is the same commentary as the Arrow release), a trailer for the film and a handful of Umbrella trailers.  The single-disc Blu-ray release comes housed in a standard DVD keepcase with a one-sided sleeve of featuring the original movie poster illustration, which is also featured on the disc. 

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary by Director Brian Yuzna
- Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins)
- Umbrella Propaganda: Spontaneous Combustion (2 min), Candyman (2 min), Bride of Re-Animator (1 min), The Stepfather (2 min)

That Society (1989) is only available from Umbrella on DVD is a bit head scratcher, it's already received the deluxe treatment from Arrow Video on Blu-ray in other territories, here's hoping that down the line this ends up as part of Umbrella's recently announced  Beyond Genres: Worlds on Film series, which has already announced three Yuzna productions slated for deluxe Blu-ray releases in 2018, those being Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003) - both directed by Yuzna - and Dagon (1001), which he produced for director Stuart Gordon, so that would make sense, but we will have to wait and see.