Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MONSTER PARTY - Blu-ray Review (RLJE Films)


USA/2018
Directed By: Chris Von Hoffman
Written By: Chris Von Hoffman
Starring: Sam Strike, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Michael Hall
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: December 18, 2018

The Film
Three troubled teen thieves pose as the wait staff at an upscale dinner party for a certain group of addicts in order to break in to a hidden safe and take advantage of the very well-off guests. The party takes a very wild turn when it's revealed that each of the party guests is a serial killer trying to maintain their sobriety.

MONSTER PARTY caught me off guard in almost every aspect of the film. The trio of teens are excellent and have a natural chemistry together that makes you believe they could be a fairly well oiled burglary machine and they're actually quite likable together despite being involved in an unsavory profession. Add in a supporting cast that includes Lance Reddick and Robin Tunney and you have a really well acted film. Chris Von Hoffman doesn't waste the talent he has on screen with boring, stagnant direction, as he adds bits of flair and little flourishes that elevate the movie above similar movies that are helmed by less capable directors.

MONSTER PARTY is fast paced and becomes increasingly bloody and gory as the movie progresses. The idea of recovering serial killers is not only an interesting one but is well thought out and is more than just an excuse for the killing in this horror movie. It sets up another level and a dynamic between the relationship of certain secondary characters that elevates the third act beyond being all about the splatter and scares.

The Audio & Video
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a great look with strong detail and a natural and healthy presentation to skin tones. During the more colorful moments of the film the palette is vibrant and strong without looking too hot or colors bleeding into one another. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is strong and powerful while still maintaining a well done mix between the soundtrack and dialogue.

The Extras
Sadly the disc is bare bones.

The Bottom Line
I would have loved to have seen some special features on this especially given some of the big names included in the cast but the movie alone is enough to recommend this release.


MONSTER PARTY is available HERE

Saturday, January 5, 2019

MOLLY - Blu-ray Review (Artsploitation Films)


Netherlands/2017
Directed By: Colinda Bongers, Thijs Meuwese
Written By: Thijs Meuwese
Starring: Julia Batelaan, Emma de Paauw, Joost Bolt
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: October 2, 2018

The Film
When a maniacal gang leader catches wind that a girl with supernatural powers is roaming the barren wastelands near his camp he sets his henchman on a mission to capture her to be the new showpiece in circus where he forces competitors to fight to the death.

MOLLY stars Julia Batelaan as the titular character who travels a post-apocalyptic landscape by herself, staying alive and avoiding trouble when possible but when word gets out that you have supernatural abilities there's always going to be someone that wants to harness your powers for their own gain. Molly finds herself in constant trouble as she is chased for the duration of the film's 91 minute runtime by Deacon's (Joost Bolt).

Only when Molly discovers a young girl living alone among the dangerous landscape does the story take any sort of turn and it's more of a slight merge than a turn as it only adds a person for Molly to care for than actually changing the story. MOLLY'S weak story is its biggest downfall. There's just not enough story to make this movie a complete success but it still manages to be a successfully entertaining film. The directors were obviously influenced by films like Mad Max and maybe even some of the more low budget and exploitative rip-offs and they wanted to put their own spin on this style of film and where story isn't their strong suit the action scenes, of which there are plenty, and turning an obviously tight budget into a visually appealing production with set designs and characters that made the absolute most of the money spent on it.

MOLLY is also a well made movie with good fight choreography, good looking photography and a bit of stylish direction for good measure. I think it would have had a better flow at 75 minutes given the basic story and that some of the lesser fight scenes get a bit repetitive and at that point I'd be a bit more forgiving on the story but no matter how I slice it MOLLY was what I hoped it would be - a high energy post-apocalyptic romp that will hopefully help reignite the fire for these types of films.

The Audio & Video
Artsploitation Films gives MOLLY a properly beautiful presentation featuring a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that has a strong color palette and vibrant photography. Skin tones are natural and detail is good. The audio is presented in an English 5.1 surround sound mix that is free of any distortions. The mix blends music and dialogue with a proper balance so that neither gets overpowered or lost.

The Extras
Special features include a commentary track with directors Colinda Bongers and Thijs Meuwese along with a 30 minute making-of featurette.

The Bottom Line
MOLLY is far from perfect but I'm a nut for post-apocalyptic movies and MOLLY was so genuine and earnest in its delivery that I couldn't help but have a smile on my face for the duration.

MOLLY is available HERE

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Comet TV and Charge! December Viewing Guide and Giveaway!

Snow is falling, the scent of pine needles is in the air, so it must be… Time to watch some awesome movies and TV shows on COMET TV and CHARGE!
Yep, this December the sci-fi and horror classic The Terminator is blasting its way through Comet TV! Check out the classic and the birth of Cyberdyne Systems!
If that wasn’t enough to celebrate the holiday season Babylon 5 has a Christmas marathon! After you sip your egg nog and trim the tree, turn on COMET TV for a spacey Christmas Marathon! Starting at 10a/9 C!
And don’t forget to check out Area 10! The best in cult classic films are airing all month long on Comet TV! 
We have an awesome giveaway opportunity with exclusive swag for one awesome COMET TV viewer!
The Comet TV and CHARGE! December Prize Pack has:


1 – Limited Edition Terminator Muscle Shirt – Show off those guns! Figuratively and literally in this awesome Terminator Tee! Do some flexing and share your pics on the gram! #CometTV
1 – Exclusive Blair Witch Holiday Ornament – Deck the halls and ring in the new year with the Blair Witch! This hand-crafted ornament will bring holiday scares to you and those you love!
1 – Terminator Dog Tag – John Connor is the leader of the resistance and this promo dog tag set will get you ready to battle the cyborgs of the future!
1 – Babylon 5 and Space:1999 Custom Snack Box – This is the perfect treat to celebrate any trip to space. It might require some popping, but this custom box will satisfy any spacey craving!
To Enter email Celluloidterror@yahoo.com andTell Me Your Favorite Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Winter Holiday Decoration and include your full address (US only!)
Winner will be selected on December 31
Giveaway open to the US


About Comet - Dec 2018

Airing on COMET in December
YOU DON’T NEED A SUBSCRIPTION TO WATCH THESE GREAT MOVIES… 
THEY’RE AIRING FOR FREE ON COMET!


Babylon 5 (Christmas Marathon) 
This Christmas, after you sip your egg nog and trim the tree, turn on COMET TV for a spacey Christmas Marathon! Starting at 10a/9 C you can catch up on this classic sci-fi series!
Christmas Day Tuesday, December 25 starting at 10a/9 C
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The Blair Witch Project (1999) 
There’s something sinister lurking in Black Hills Forest and missing girl’s disappearance is linked to the legend of The Blair Witch! A group heads into the woods to find out what happened and the footage found after will send a chill down your spine. Don’t turn your back because you don’t know what’s lurking behind you….
Saturday, December 15 at 5/4 C 
Monday, December 17 1/Noon C 
Thursday, December 20 at MIDNIGHT/11 C 
Monday, December 24 at 2a/1 C 
Saturday, December 29 at 12:30a/11:30 C
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The Terminator (1984)
The original classic that started the franchise is airing on Comet TV! Catch Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton in their classic roles trying to defeat Skynet from launching total human extinction. Relive the first time you heard, “Come with me if you want to live.” 
Friday, December 14 at 3/2 C 
Wednesday, December 19 at 10/9 C 
Wednesday, December 26 at 1/Noon C
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Area 10 
The best in cult classic films are airing all month long on Comet TV! If you’re in the mood for laughs check out Haunted Honeymoon, if you fancy a trip book your ticket to Futureworld, join Ah-Nuld for The Terminator and who doesn’t have those Jeepers Creepers!
Weeknights at 10/9 C
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai 
The Shout 
The Cat Creature 
The Blair Witch Project 
Disturbing Behavior 
Runaway 
The Terminator 
Futureworld 
To All a Good Night 
Haunted Honeymoon 
Old Dracula 
Jeepers Creepers 
The Curse 
The Curse II 
Panga
AND MORE...

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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984) 
It’s a battle to the death! Buckaroo Banzai gets caught in the middle of two alien forces from Planet 10. But Buckaroo Banzai has the Overthruster which will bring the bad aliens back to their home planet, which the good aliens can’t allow to happen. Earth’s survival hangs in the balance!
Wednesday, December 12 at 3/2 C 
Thursday, December 20 at 5/4 C 
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Airing on CHARGE! in December 
WATCH ACTION STARS, EVERY-DAY HEROES AND INSANE ATHLETES ENGAGED IN BATTLES, CHASES, SHOWDOWN AND SO MUCH MORE. CHARGE! READY FOR ACTION
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Hurtin’ For A Burtin’ 
From Dusk Till Dawn TRILOGY
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) 
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999) 
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: Hangman’s Daughter (2000)
Friday, December 14 starting at 10/9 C 
Saturday, December 22 starting at 2/1 C
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Chantastic Movie Marathon
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) 
Supercop (1996) 
Accidental Spy (Te Wu Mi Cheng) (2001)
Saturday, December 15 starting at 2/1 C 
Wednesday, December 19 starting at 10/9 C 
Xmas Day Tuesday, December 25 starting at 8/7 C

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

SLAY BELLES Blu-ray Review (Epic Pictures)


USA/2018
Directed By: Spooky Dan Walker
Written By: Jessica Luhrssen, Spooky Dan Walker
Starring: Barry Bostwick, Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter
Color/77 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: December 4, 2018

The Film
On Christmas Eve a trio of girls who dress in sexy getups and do a bit of urban exploration for their Youtube channel decide it's the perfect time to visit Santa Land, an abandoned Christmas theme park in the California desert. Upon arriving they find they're not alone and are being hunted by some sort of beast that just so happens to the the Christmas Devil Krampus.

SLAY BELLES has a leading trio of beautiful ladies that are fun to watch romp around old decaying properties which give it a good start right out of the gate. It also features a good looking Krampus monster and a cool twist with the monster bringing in bloody body parts that eventually turn into little chomping hairball monsters that remind me of a cheap version of Critters and a much better version of The Langoliers. Unfortunately these little ankle biters come and go in the blink of an eye and I thought they could have been a very cool and integral part of the movie that up the carnage.

Barry Bostwick stars as a drunk, biker Santa who lives in Santa Land and has been in a decades long battle with Krampus and seems to have had a fun time making this movie and it shows. He's entertaining and likable in the role of jolly Saint Nick and there's a fun twist with his wife that makes for a memorable moment during the climax of the film. SLAY BELLES doesn't feature the cookie baking, hot cocoa making Mrs. Claus we all know and love but unfortunately many of these entertaining moments are cobbled together and come across like ideas that weren't fully hashed out. So we're left with fleeting moments of interesting and entertaining ideas that come and go and had me feeling robbed of what could have been.

 But for all of that there's one thing that SLAY BELLES just does wrong (besides the obnoxious dubstep soundtrack) and that is setting a Christmas movie in the California desert. The idea of setting a Christmas horror movie in Santa Land sounds better on paper than it translates to reality. Even with all of the holiday themed hats and set dressing that this derelict park offered up it simply never felt like Christmas to me. It felt like an imposter and in a movie based around the biggest good and evil that Christmas has to offer it really hurt the impact of it all. SLAY BELLES isn't the best Christmas horror movie in recent years but it is far from the worse.

The Audio & Video
SLAY BELLES hits Blu-ray from the Dread Central Presents line from Epic Pictures just in time for the holiday season and it looks very good. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a strong color palette that makes the colorful costumes worn by the girls and the tacky decorations and Christmas lights pop. Skin tones look wonderful with a healthy flesh tone and no waxiness. Detail level is high among surfaces and textures. The audio comes through crisp and clear with no background noise or distortion. The mix between dialogue and music is nicely done as well.

The Extras
Extras include:
-Audio Commentary with writer and director
-The Making Of SLAY BELLES
-"Cookies and Conversations" Featurette
-Hannah Minx Tours The Set
-Hannah Minx Makeup Tutorial
-SpookyDan short film "Bad Ass Russian In Istanbul"
-SLAY BELLES Trailer

The Bottom Line
I liked a lot of the elements in SLAY BELLES but it never elevated itself above an average affair that too easily and quickly brushed over its best scenes and ideas.

SLAY BELLES is available HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2018

MRS. CLAUS - DVD Review (Wild Eye Releasing)


USA/2017
Directed By: Troy Escamilla
Written by: Troy Escamilla
Starring: Helene Udy, Brinke Stevens, Kaylee Williams
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: November 13, 2018

The Film
A prank at a sorority Christmas party leads to murder. 10 years later the sorority is having holiday party again but as guests begin turning up dead the college students try to survive the night as history seems to be repeating itself.

MRS. CLAUS is another in a long line of Christmas themed slasher films that borrows (you could easily argue that it just plain rips off) the David Hess directed To All A Goodnight except it tones down the sex and nudity quite a bit but it does maintain a healthy kill count and some well done practical special effects. The blood and gore is the reason to check out MRS. CLAUS as it makes the rough acting and recycled story tolerable.


MRS. CLAUS is a pretty straight forward affair with a killer donning a creepy old lady mask and some North Pole garb and does provide some decent albeit cheap entertainment if you're willing to overlook things like bad dialogue, overblown lighting, and a really dime store approach to set dressing. It's far from great but wouldn't be a bad find for fans looking for deeper Christmas horror cuts.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing brings MRS. CLAUS to home video with a fairly standard and innocuous DVD release. There's not much in the way of eye catching photography or especially powerful or moving music for the DVD to work with but everything is decent as far as the audio and video are concerned.


The Extras
An audio commentary with the director is the lone extra besides a selection of trailers.


The Bottom Line
We've seen almost this exact same story in a better Christmas slasher before and it isn't an amazing production by any means but it was passably entertaining thanks to some well done practical effects. If you're a slasher die hard or someone looking for Christmas horror that's off the beaten path it may be worth taking a look.

MRS. CLAUS is available HERE

Sunday, November 25, 2018

ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING (DVD Review) - RLJE Films


US/2018
Directed By: Rebekah McKendry, David Ian McKendry
Written By: Rebekah McKendry, David Ian McKendry
Starring: Constance Wu, Jocelin Donahue, Jonathan Kite
Color/80 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: December 4, 2018

The Film
A couple who would otherwise be spending Christmas Eve alone get together to see an offbeat holiday stage play. Each different act of the play turns into a chapter of this anthology for us to watch. Everything from the holiday office party from hell, a demon that you literally can't get away from, and some stalker action too You would think that getting to see actual short films would be more interesting than seeing what our main couple would be seeing on that tiny theater stage but after viewing ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING I'm just not so sure of that. Maybe the absolutely minimalist version of these stories would have been better. Ok, probably not, but what we're given isn't anything special either.


The best part of ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING is easily the ensemble cast who almost all turn in solid to great performances. The directorial team of Rebekah and David Ian McKendry show some skill behind the camera but even with solid performances and well made shorts nothing saves this movie from being a dreadfully boring 80 minutes that is void of any real Christmas spirit or feeling. Nothing about ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING feels like a Christmas movie, horror or not. The stories are barely linked to the holiday and even the set dressings that may have at least put lipstick on the pig were barely Christmasy.

Sadly that's all there is to say. A good cast and competent direction didn't have a chance at saving this lifeless horror anthology.


The Audio & Video
RLJE Films delivers ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING on DVD with a sharp looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Black levels are deep and the colors are vibrant and true to life. For a standard definition release this is a nice looking DVD. The audio is clear and mixed nicely so that the dialogue and music compliment each other. There's no distortions to the audio.


The Extras
A feature length commentary track from the filmmakers is included.


The Bottom Line
There's so many Christmas horror movies that are worth watching that you really don't need to bother with this one at all. Skip it.

ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING is available HERE

Thursday, November 15, 2018

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS - Severin Films Blu-ray Review


Italy/1980
Directed By: Joe D'Amato
Written By: George Eastman, Joe D'Amato
Starring: Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: September 25, 2018


The Film
ANTHROPOPHAGUS is an infamous horror film from Italian director Joe D'Amato who is responsible for some of the sleaziest and most shocking horror films to come out of Italy. The story centers around a group of vacationers who find themselves trapped on a small Italian island that has been seemingly abandoned and all of the buildings left empty. They qiuckly discover that a disfigured monster of a man has been terrorizing the island and surrounding waters and eating his victims to stay alive.

Joe D'Amato and George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori) co-wrote this pretty straight forward horror film that works because the gore sequences are linked together by an atmosphere of uneasy dread and seclusion for the group trying to find a way off the island without becoming the grim reaper's lunch. Pacing was a bit of an issue for me on my first viewing of the movie but as the years have gone by and I've subsequently seen the film several times that issue has really gone by the wayside for me. I have no issue with the pacing and think there's plenty of action throughout the movie, giving us enough to wrap around the two huge hitting gore scenes that will always pop up in discussion of the film. The acting is on par for Italian horror of this era but the inclusion of a young Serena Grandi playing a blind girl, surviving in the shadows of this island until she's found by the main group adds an interesting dynamic to the group and she also proves a capable counterpart to Tisa Farrow and Saverio Vallone.

ANTHROPOPHAGUS is a pretty straight forward horror film that relies on its signature kills and gore for a reaction and it works as nearly forty years after its release the gore moments are still shocking and very well done and George Eastman is still a horrifying sight. It may not be a work of art but it is one of the most notable Video Nasties and for good reason.

The Audio & Video
Severin Films delivers ANTHROPOPHAGUS on to Blu-ray for its US high definition debut with a new 2K scan from the original 16mm negative. Previously available on DVD in the US and on Blu-ray from 88 Films in the UK, Severin's new release outshines them all. The picture is sharper than any previous release with a rich and natural color palette. Detail is strong and beautifully displays the gruesome special effects, monster makeup and finer textures around the abandoned island.

The film is presented in either English or Italian in a 2.0 DTS HD Master Audio mix, each with optional English subtitles and closed captioning. The audio quality is quite clear and free of any distortions or background noise. It may not be the most dynamic mix but it's properly mixed and sounds as it should.

The Extras
-"Don't Fear The Man-Eater" - An interview with George Eastman
-"The Man Who Killed  The Anthropophagous" - An interview with star Saverio Vallone
-"Cannibal Frenzy" - An interview with special effects artist Pietro Tenoglio
-"Brother and Sister In Editing" - Interview with Bruno Micheli
-"Inside Zora's Mouth" - Interview with actress Zora Kerova
-Trailer Selection

The Bottom Line
Thanks to Severin Films ANTHROPOPHAGUS finally has a release good enough to match its reputation of a gory classic of the Video Nasty era.

ANTHROPOPHAGUS is available HERE