Monday, September 26, 2016

DISCO GODFATHER (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


USA/1979
Directed by: J. Robert Wagoner
Written By: Cliff Roquemore, J. Robert Wagoner
Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, Jimmy Lynch, Carol Speed
Color/98 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Blu-ray/DVD

The Film
Rudy Ray Moore stars as the Disco Godfather, a retired cop who is the owner and MC of the hottest club in town. Unfortunately a new enemy has moved into town and is taking over the streets - angel dust. DG is dead set on finding the source of drug and eliminating it from his community.

DISCO GODFATHER is the fourth and final blaxploitation film starring Rudy Ray Moore and may be the most important in the series. The series takes a very real turn in this entry and is very much a commentary on the massive drug problems that big cities were facing in the late 70s. The film keeps the rhyming, trash talking martial arts action that Rudy Ray Moore made famous in Dolemite but it adds in elements of social commentary and surrealism.


Instead of letting Cliff Roquemore continue on directing the series after making The Human Tornado and Petey Wheatstraw, first time director J. Robert Wagoner was given the reigns of the series. This would turn out to be Wagoner's lone feature film directorial credit but he was really solid overall. He even managed to create some truly terrifying sequences when the angel dust leads to a bad trip. The images he created leave a lasting impression despite their relative simplicity. Cliff Roquemore wasn't left out, he co-wrote the script with Wagoner and produced the film. The script is good, keeping Rudy Ray Moore's personality on full display without having to fully depend on it to make a successful film. Unfortunately, the audience wasn't going to a Rudy Ray Moore film to get some social commentary and real talk. They wanted more of the rapping, ass kicking and laughs that he so effortlessly created. That, paired with the disco theme that was unfortunately timed right along with the death of disco. Audiences were smaller and reception was poorer for DISCO GODFATHER than the previous Rudy Ray Moore films.

I consider the entirety of Rudy Ray Moore's filmography to be classic blaxploitation but DISCO GODFATHER, despite it's shortcomings with a smaller budget that lead to some underdressed locations and perhaps a bit less action, and it's unlucky timing in trying to cash in on a music genre that the public had moved on from, it remains an important look into how drug culture can affect a community in the blink of an eye. But for anyone to care about that they first have to be entertained and you will be entertained with DISCO GODFATHER. Rudy Ray Moore is still funny, still badass and rocking some incredible outfits. You're also going to get the trippy sequences which aren't your rainbow walk through flowery fields that you might hope, but a drug fueled descent into hell.


It's upsetting that DISCO GODFATHER wasn't a big success because it certainly deserved to be and it should have been a steeping stone for Wagoner and Roquemore to continue on with their careers and a progression for Rudy Ray Moore's star to grow. Sadly the 80s hit and Moore became a bit of a forgotten commodity and we would only see bit parts for Rudy Ray Moore for years to come and never got the final send off he deserved.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome once again gives us a beautiful 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors and textures flourish in the brand new 2K scan taken from the original 35mm negative. One look at the baby blue jumpsuit or the gold sequins in Rudy's various outfits shows just how much this BD shines.  Black levels are successful and don't suffer from any macro blocking or compression issues. The DTS-HD Mono audio mix is crisp, clear and clean. The dialogue and soundtrack are mixed well with steady levels. There's no background noise, hiss or any other audible distortions to mention.


The Extras
-"I, Dolemite" Part 4 - The last entry into the documentary that spans all four Rudy Ray Moore releases from VinSyn. Again packed full of interesting stories, lots of laughs and is a great companion piece.
-Audio Commentary with Mark Jason Murray, J. Robert Wagoner, Cliff Roquemore and rare on-set audio
-Promotional still gallery
-Soundtrack
-Trailer selection
-Alternate French and German language tracks
-Reversible artwork


The Bottom Line
Bitch are you for real? A Blu-ray of this quality can only be considered a steal! You can kick and punch but if you don't add this to your collection I'll steal yo momma's lunch! You're better than trash but only if you add this Blu-ray to yo' motherfuckin' stash!

DISCO GODFATHER is available HERE

Sunday, September 25, 2016

She Who Must Burn Press Release

She Who Must Burn Debuts on Cable VOD
Digital HD & DVD October 11
Cult Provocateur Larry Kent Turns Up the Heat 
On the Red-Hot Debate over Women's Choice
                                                        
"She Who Must Burn is strong meat." --Variety

"Emotional and intentionally baiting...a horror-siege-witchhunt with no punches withheld" --Coming Soon

"An extraordinary piece of filmmaking that digs past the headlines which make us shake our heads over coffee in the morning."--Film Thrills



Los Angeles, CA - Midnight Releasing has announced the October 11th Cable VOD, Digital HD and DVD release of She Who Must Burn, Canadian cinema provocateur Larry Kent's latest feature. Kent and co-writer Shane Twerdun have crafted a thought-provoking and violent horror story centered around the all-too-real battle between personal choice, state-sanctioned law and religious dogma.  She Who Must Burn will be available to rent or own starting October 11th on Dish Network, Cox, Charter, Verizon Fios, DirecTV, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, XBox and more.

Sarah Smyth ("Cedar Cove", 50/50, "Supernatural") headlines as a healthcare provider at odds with the evangelical family in her small town.  When she refuses to stop seeing women in need and even helps a desperate member of their own family (sci-fi icon Jewel Staite, "Firefly", "Stargate: Atlantis", "The LA Complex"), they decide she is to blame for the mysterious deaths in the community and must pay.


She Who Must Burn has been acclaimed by mainstream and horror media since its world premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival, where the film took home the award for Best Feature Film.  It went on to screen around the world, winning Best Feature Film at Blood in the Snow and sweeping the awards at the Fright Night Festival, taking home Scariest Film, Best Villain and Best Supporting Actress.  Modern Horrors raved that "the horror is all in the reality"and FilmFestivals.com declared She Who Must Burn is "a profound, thought-provoking movie that brilliantly speaks about our flawed human nature".


A deadly storm heads towards a small mining village as the local preacher feeds the dark resentments seething in the souls of its citizens.  Angela is the only medical resource for women in this unfortunate town where stillbirths and cancer have become disturbingly common. The local preacher and his followers blame Angela for the miscarriages and deaths, and even her Deputy Sheriff boyfriend can't protect her from their wrath. Dark clouds gather as the preacher's followers, infected with religious fervor and inflamed with passionate righteousness, seek to cleanse their community. Those who sin against the Lord must pay.




The DVD release of She Who Must Burn (SRP $17.98) will be available exclusively from Amazon.com.

Friday, September 23, 2016

THE NEON DEAD (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


USA/2015
Directed By: Torey Haas
Written By: Torey Haas
Starring: Marie Barker, Greg Garrison, Dylan Schettina
Color/80 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 13, 2016

The Film
A young woman hires two local "paranormal exterminators" after finding a zombie in her bathroom. These exterminators are little more than a pair of local grocery store employees with a bit of experience dealing with these ancient demon monsters that have recently been plaguing the area with the intention to take over mankind. Can this trio banish the demons back to where they came from before it's too late or will these brightly colored monsters do the bidding of their master and wreak havoc on Earth?


The strongest point of THE NEON DEAD is it's visuals. I don't know the reason why these monsters are glowing but fuck it, they're cool as shit to look at it. Their day glow flesh and bright neon eyes are an original look for these undead baddies and the sets are flooded with heavily colored lighting. The movie is bloody and funny. The three leads have good chemistry together and there's a lot of fun winks and nods to classic fan favorite horror movies. It's easy to pick apart the shortcomings of low budget indie horror but when a movie takes as much pride in not only its aesthetics but also having extremely likable characters and a decent storyline I don't even want to spend my time nitpicking.

I think it's best to keep this review as brisk as the film itself. The 80 minute runtime flies by with laughs and splatter so grab some popcorn and check out THE NEON DEAD.



The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing really knocks the look of this movie out of the park with a really strong DVD presentation. The anamorphic widescreen transfer has great colors and clarity. The 2.0 audio mix is also quite crisp and clear with no background noise or hiccups.


The Extras
-Director's Audio Commentary
-Allison Profile
-Creature Profile
-Jake Profile
-Happy Birthday Greg
-"First Date" - Short Film
-"Troll Picnic" - Short Film


The Bottom Line
THE NEON DEAD is one of the more entertaining indie horror flicks I've seen lately and if that's you're thing you should definitely check out this DVD!

THE NEON DEAD is available HERE

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE (Blu-ray Review) - Redemption Films


Japan/2014
Directed By: Sato Sade
Written By: Sato Sade
Starring: Kashi Ann, Akane Miyako, Maruyama Shogo
Color/63 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: September 20, 2016

The Film
Miyako is a pretty woman looking for a new job when she comes across a listing for a live-in maid position that pays well. She's hired after inquiring for the job and is quickly fitted for her skimpy, sexy outfit and quickly meets Mai-Chan, another maid working for their "master". Soon after Miyako finds that Mai-Chan is being used as a human play thing for all of their masters twisted fantasies because she regenerates fully from any injuries she sustains. When Miyako is given the opportunity to act out some of her own desires she quickly finds out how sick and twisted she really is.

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE is based on a Japanese manga that I'm totally unfamiliar with but if the film adaptation is faithful to the manga than it's quite the explicit book. This film is for fans of excess who like their sex and gore. While the film takes place in limited locations that look like sets designed for a stage play, there is definitely a "more is more" attitude when it comes to graphic violence and nudity, particularly the gore. Eyeballs, guts, full dismemberment, it's all here on full bloody display. It's the sexual tension drives the film from point A to point B which leads to the violent acts. The tension between Miyako and Mai-Chan is also purposely inflicted on the viewer as the camera constantly gives up-skirt views of the girls' panties and follows them in an almost seductive manner. I almost felt voyeuristic watching this film, which I feel was intended by director Sato Sade. Sade revels in sexualizing everything from scrubbing the floors and dusting to the use of a chainsaw and actual sex itself.

There are moments in MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE that even air on the surreal side. The film has a stylish look despite some sets looking a bit chintzy. The sets are interestingly even if sparsely dressed, the costumes are nicely designed and the effects are very well done. There are some scenes that you can tell were shot with different cameras as the quality shifts but overall I think MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE does quite a good job at bringing a highly sexualized, gore fest manga to life in the form of an exploitation film while keeping it in a world that straddles the line of fantasy and reality.

The Audio & Video
Redemption Films has brought MAI-CHAN to Blu-ray with a very nice HD presentation. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer largely looks very crisp and sharp. There are moments where it's apparent that somewhat lower quality equipment was used in the production of the film and the image quality in those moments drops just a bit but never to the point of looking bad. Colors are vibrant and detail is strong in the lacy maid uniforms to the wood floors and metal furniture. Black levels are deep and inky and really round out a quality transfer. The audio is in the film's native Japanese with optional English subtitles. The HD audio is clear and free of distractions like popping, crackling or buzzing. There's no background noise either and the subtitles are translated well and timed perfectly with a white colored font.

The Extras
-"Waita's Daily Life" - A behind the scenes documentary clocking in at over half an hour
-Trailer

The Bottom Line
This is 63 minutes of insanity that gore hounds need to take note of.

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE is available HERE

Monday, September 19, 2016

HAUNTED HONEYMOON (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Lorber


USA/1986
Directed By: Gene Wilder
Written By: Gene Wilder, Terence Marsh
Starring: Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Dom DeLuise
Color/82 Minutes/PG
Region A
Release Date: September 20, 2016

The Film
Gene Wilder stars as Larry, a beloved radio show actor who is quite preoccupied with irrational fears. He is to be married to his co-star Vickie (Gilda Radner) on a vacation trip to his aunt Kate's (Dom DeLuise) old mansion where his family has plans to cure him of his fears by scaring him... death! That promise may be taken a bit too seriously by jealous family members when Aunt Kate names Larry the sole heir to her estate. Oh and did I mention that one of the family members might be a werewolf?

HAUNTED HONEYMOON is a horror themed comedy romp with an amazing cast. Gene Wilder is one of a kind and I'm glad to have been able to enjoy this film that he not only stars in but also co-wrote and directed so soon after his passing, for the first time. Wilder is endlessly likable and genuinely funny without needing a schtick to fall back on. His real life marriage with Gilda Radner translates seamlessly to the screen and they're absolutely adorable together. They have perfect chemistry and are a perfect duo to lead the film.

The film's mix of spoofing gothic horror tropes and murder mystery ala Clue lends itself to be silly and goofy fun. It only takes one look at Dom DeLuise in drag as Aunt Kate to start the chuckling, before heartier belly laughs come about. DeLuise is excellent, as he always was, giving a warm performance as the matriarch of the family who is trying to help her beloved nephew and the love of his life have a perfect wedding all in the midst of a police investigation into a murder and a werewolf running around creating all sorts of havoc. Paul L. Smith gives a booming performance as Larry's doctor and uncle and is one of several others in the supporting cast that hold their own with the stars of the picture. There really isn't a bad performance in the bunch.

The film has excellent set design with a mansion you'd find straight out of a Hammer production from two decades earlier, and a really well done wolf man creature design that would rival any straight forward horror production of the era. HAUNTED HONEYMOON succeeds by keeping things lighthearted and cute with enough kooky comedy thrown in to keep things feeling like they're moving even more briskly than they are. If there's such a thing as a gothic murder mystery romantic comedy than HAUNTED HONEYMOON is probably the tops of the genre which makes it quite surprising to me that the film was panned by critics and was a poor performer at the box office. Hell, even Dom DeLuise earned a Razzie award for his portrayal of Aunt Kate. I'd think that HAUNTED HONEYMOON would have been at least a moderate success on name power alone. Hopefully the film has found it's audience or this Blu-ray will help spread the gospel of HAUNTED HONEYMOON because while this film isn't perfect it really is a delight to watch.

The Audio & Video
Kino Lorber gives HAUNTED HONEYMOON its high definition debut with an attractive 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is very clean and clear allowing for finer details to come through. Colors are strong and natural, despite a very dreary color palette through most of the film's production in the old gothic style mansion. Appropriately, the black levels fare well with no compression or blocking issues. The DTS-HD English audio is free of distortions, dropouts or other imperfections. The mix is well done, and steady throughout.

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
HAUNTED HONEYMOON is a perfect choice for lighter and more family friendly viewing for the Halloween season and would make for a wonderful viewing for the memories of the stars of this film that have since passed away.

HAUNTED HONEYMOON is available HERE

Saturday, September 17, 2016

TABOO (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


USA/1980
Directed By: Kirdy Stevens
Written By: Helene Terrie
Starring: Kay Parker, Mike Ranger, Juliet Anderson
Color/86 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Blu-ray/DVD

The Film
Barbara's husband has left her, blaming her frigidity and lack of passion for destroying their love life and marriage. Now without an income Barbara has to find a job while taking care of their son who is getting ready for college which is another added expense. Stressed to the max, Barbara turns to her free swinging friend Gina who sets her up with the local swinger scene but Barbara's sexual tension is growing hot and heavy with her own son instead.

TABOO is one of the most notable adult films of the era as it is very well made featuring great performances for a porno flick and really solid writing. The screenplay from Helene Terrie is great, with a few truly memorable and wonderfully staged scenes including one of the most wonderfully photographed orgy scene of all time and a dreamlike incestuous encounter that feels quite surreal. Kay Parker handles her range of encounters and emotions with grace, showing true acting ability. It's no wonder that she would rocket to stardom in the adult world soon after TABOO was released. Her incredible body certainly didn't hurt either.


This film's main draw is how shamelessly it deals with kink and, as the title so plainly suggests, taboo subjects. And there ain't nothing wrong with that. Everybody has their own fetishes and incest is certainly one of the biggies. TABOO tackles that fetish and is so sexy that the viewer won't be feeling any guilt while enjoying this film. TABOO can still be called shocking to this day but you can't call it shocking for the sake of shock value. TABOO is a stylish movie, with heaping helpings of sex that will continue to be considered a classic piece of adult cinema for years to come as not only a piece of kinky smut but a look at the harsh reality of being a single mother... who happens to fuck her son.

The Audio & Video
As much as I love Vinegar Syndrome's horror and exploitation output, their real bread and butter is their vintage X-rated and nobody does it better so it's no surprise that their brand new 2K scan of TABOO looks incredible. The amount of detail is exceptional from clothing and surface texture to strands of hair. Colors are strong and vibrant but in no way come across as artificial. The entire anamorphic widescreen transfer has a warm, film look with a nice grain structure that will leave you wondering if you're watching this in an old porno house. The audio is no different as it is handled with a DTS-HD mono track that gets the dialogue and funky bass driven soundtrack across with crispness and crystal clarity.


The Extras
Vinegar Syndrome has this release absolutely stacked with commentaries! There's two new commentary tracks, one with Kay Parker and one with writer/producer Helene Terrie. There's also two archival commentary tracks which feature Kay Parker on her own and director Kirdy Stevens and Helene Terrie together. There's also an archival video interview with Kay Parker, a promotional image gallery and reversible artwork.


The Bottom Line
The film's tagline is "The ultimate sin!", the real ultimate sin would be considering yourself a fan of porno flicks and skipping this Blu-ray.

TABOO is available HERE