Thursday, February 23, 2017

DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER (Blu-ray Review) - Kino/Redemption


1964/Spain, France
Directed By: Jess Franco
Written By: Jess Franco, Nicole Guettard
Starring: Agnes Spaak, Marcelo Arroita-Jauregui, Hugo Blanco
Color/84 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: February 7, 2017

The Film
DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER aka The Secret Of Dr. Orloff or the more racy and perhaps confusing The Mistresses Of Dr. Jekyll, showcases the things I love about Jess Franco films and the shortcomings he has been known to have all in one 84 minute film. Though it is a sequel to 1961's The Awful Dr. Orlof it is only loosely connected. The plot concerns Melissa, a young college student visiting her aunt and uncle to settle the inheritance of her recently deceased father. Unbeknownst to her, her uncle has been working on an experiment to create a zombie like killer. Local police investigate the deaths while Melissa searches for answers into her father's death.

Jess Franco had a shoestring budget to work with during the production of DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER, small enough that various cast and crew received no pay for their work and Hugo Blanco was tasked with creating his own monster makeup. The look, that of a scaly, and possibly burned and blistered man, is simple yet effective and surprisingly well done by Blanco. Blanco's character sort of wraps up the production into one single character - effective despite it's faults. Franco makes the most out of some really nice looking locations, including the castle which he makes sure to show off as much as possible with his framing choices. I don't blame him one bit for getting every ounce of value out of it. A lot of time is also spent inside a jazz club, something these early Franco films are known for and frankly I feel many of these scenes are there to pad the film's runtime.

I think some of Jess Franco's best work are the early black and white horror films he crafted during the early to mid 1960s and though DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER isn't the cream of that crop it does have a good gothic atmosphere, an interesting if familiar mad scientists plot and a creepy monster and ends up being an enjoyable creepy little mystery.

The Audio & Video
Kino has released the latest entry into the Redemption Films with a new HD presentation giving the film previously unseen levels of detail and clarity on home video. While this is not a full restoration and there are still some rough spots in the source material with plenty of dirt and debris speckling the picture the high definition quality is never in question. Detail levels are strong especially in close ups. The monster's burned and blistered face makeup shows this more than anything else perhaps. The black and white photography has a great stark look with beautiful greys and deep blacks.

There are two audio choices, with French and English options both in DTS-HD 2.0 formats. Having listened to both tracks I found the English to be the track to listen to. Not only is it a crisper and clearer listening experience, as the French track has more issues with imperfections and background noise, the English dialogue simply presents the story and dialogue better and clearer. There are optional English subtitles available.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with Film Historian Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog Magazine
-Eleven minutes of additional more sexually explicit footage
-French Theatrical Trailer
-Italian Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line
DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER is an imperfect beast but it has many of the touches and flourishes that make these early Jess Franco horror films desirable and among his best work. Gothic horror fans should take note of this release. Recommended.

DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER is available HERE

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SLASHER.com Hits DVD On March 7th

Chip Gubera's Slasher.com Hits DVD March 7th
Film Festival Hit Puts Sadistic Spin on Online Dating 
Available Nationwide from All Major Retailers





Los Angeles, CA -  MuchoMuchoMucho Productions and Firefly Films, in association with ITN Distribution, has announced the March 7th DVD release of Slasher.com.  The latest feature from horror director Chip Gubera (Song of the Dead, Academy of Doom, Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy), Slasher.com puts a gruesome twist on the perils of modern dating.  


Co-written by Gubera and Chelsea Andes, Slasher.com combines the time-honored tradition of young people facing unfathomable horrors in the wilderness with the everyday horror of meeting people online.  Ben Kaplan (ADDicted, Wingman Inc) and Morgan Carter star as the hapless would-be couple, anchoring a cast supported by R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Hatchet II), Jewel Shepard (Return of the Living Dead) and Grammy winner Delious Kennedy.


Slasher.com took home awards for Best Feature Film at the Bloody Horror International Film Festival in Ottawa, Best Horror Feature at the Hollywood Boulevard International Film Festival, the Golden Award at the Spotlight Horror Film Awards and Best Screenplay at the Optical Theatre Film Festival in Rome.  Jewel Shepard and R.A. Mihailoff were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively at the Optical Theatre Film Festival.


At a time where online dating could prove fatal, Jack and Kristy decide they're ready meet in person. Aiming for an adventurous first date, they plan a weekend getaway to a cozy cabin deep in the woodlands of rural Missouri. While discovering each other, they soon learn of the terrorizing horrors that the forest, and the family lurking there, has in store for outsiders.


The DVD release (SRP $14.93) of Slasher.com will be available at all major retailers, courtesy of ITN Distribution.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

COMET TV Beasts Of February Giveaway


Grab your silver bullets and wooden stakes because it’s the Beasts of February on COMET!

Full moons can be frightening and this month on COMET TV there are enough beasties to send a shiver down your spine and make you smile at the same time!

Whether you love the 1980’s classics Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf Too or prefer your beasts a little more out of this world with Species and Strange Invaders, COMET TV has you covered!

COMET, the newest & obviously coolest Sci-Fi Network has been showing the best in fun cult classic films and television shows! If you haven’t checked it out, you’re missing all the fun!










We also have an awesome prize pack giveaway for your readers that will get you in the Beast-like spirit!










The pack includes:

Two Limited Edition COMET TV Pint Glasses - Two glasses will be chosen out of four Limited Edition designs. If you can’t beat your inner beast, having a drink will soothe even the darkest soul!

One Heart Splatter Toy - There’s nothing a beast wants more than the heart of their victims, now you can beat them to the punch, just don’t squeeze too hard!

Fire Ants Hard Candy - The beasts have invaded! But now you can fight back and have fresh breathe at the same time!

Oozing Candy Eye Balls - Perfect for the beast in your house, these candy eye balls with an oozing gushing center will have your pack fighting for more!

Gummie Tarantulas - EEEK! Don’t be scared these Tarantulas aren’t coming to get YOU… You’re coming to get THEM! Unleash your inner beast and take a bite out of these former frightening foes. In delicious cherry and lime!


To Enter:
1. Send an email to celluloidterror@yahoo.com with subject "COMET FEBRUARY" 
2. Include your full shipping address (US addresses only)
3. Tell me which upcoming Comet movie is your favorite



Winner Selected March 3rd

Winners addresses must be submitted by March 10th.

Giveaway open to the U.S.



About Comet TV Feb Giveaway

COMET TV has all the spine tingling beasts you can sink your teeth into this February!

From the classic adolescent werewolf trials and tribulations of Teen Wolf to the outer world invasion of Species, catch any and all beasts airing this month on CometTV.com

Species (1995) 

Monday February 27 at 6/5C 

Tuesday February 28 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Species II (1998) 

Friday February 17 at 6/5C 

Thursday February 23 at 4/3C 

Tuesday February 28 at 6/5C

Species III (2004) 

Saturday February 18 at 6/5C 

Thursday February 23 at 6/5C

The Faculty (1998) 

Sunday February 26 at 10am/9C

Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985) 

Friday February 24 at 4/3C 

Tuesday February 28 at 10am/9C

Empire of the Ants (1977) 

Saturday February 18 at 10/9C

Teen Wolf (1985) 

Wednesday February 22 at 4/3C 

Monday February 27 at 4/3C

Teen Wolf Too (1987) 

Friday February 17 at 8/7C 

Saturday February 18 at 8/7C 

Wednesday February 22 at 6/5C 

Tuesday February 28 at 4/3C

Strange Invaders (1983) 

Friday February 24 at 8/7C 

Saturday February 25 at 8/7C 

Monday February 27 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) 

Sunday February 26 at 4/3C




Available on television digi-networks and online at CometTV.com, COMET offers something for everyone and has an incredible array of movies that you simply can’t get with a subscription to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu.




VIDEO KILLER (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


UK/2016
Directed By: Richard Mansfield
Written By: Richard Mansfield
Starring: Michael Lieber, Darren Munn, Henry Regan
Color/80 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 13, 2016

The Film
After a series of strange knocks at her front door at the same time each day Amy receives a strange video tape featuring strange violent animations and a figure that is stalking her. Soon she realizes that she isn't the only person dealing with this and sets out to find the other victims in an effort to find out who is stalking and killing them.

Haunted video tapes have been a plot device in horror films for years, from The Ring series that was probably the peak of the subgenre to the more recent films that sometimes combine the idea with the found footage style to set up a plot that is rather inexpensive to produce. VIDEO KILLER falls into that category despite not being a full on found footage movie it does use the style along with traditional film making styles. The idea is to keep production costs down while creating a viable horror film setup. In that way VIDEO KILLER is most definitely successful because most of the scares involve doors opening on their own, flashes of creepy figures and other terrors that we only see the victims running away from.


The best moment of VIDEO KILLER is a nightmare moment when one of the victims hallucinates that he is being attacked by the ribbon from a VHS in the woods. I don't think I've seen something so unintentionally funny as a pile of film slithering along the ground while a man writhes in terror until it wraps around him, consuming him in fear until he awakens. I'd almost go as far to say VIDEO KILLER is worth watching for this sequence alone. Alas, it is not. VIDEO KILLER isn't a terrible production, the few cast members are actually fairly decent and there's moments where the direction is solid but there's just nothing to keep your attention. The same fleeting moments of suspense and horror are repeated and there's too many moments that come off as comedic. I liked the animation sequences featured on the haunted VHS tapes more than almost anything else and that should say something.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing's DVD of VIDEO KILLER features an anamorphic widescreen transfer that is very attractive. Colors are warm and the picture has good clarity. Black levels are deep with no blocking issues while the English 2.0 audio mix is clear and has stable levels that don't fluctuate. There's no damage imperfections in how the audio is portrayed.


The Extras
- Deleted Scenes
- Making Of VIDEO KILLER
- Killer Cartoons
- Short Films
-Trailers


The Bottom Line
VIDEO KILLER is another in a line of films centered around haunted video tapes. The sooner this trend in the genre fades away the better.

VIDEO KILLER is available HERE

Friday, February 17, 2017

HEAD OF THE FAMILY (Blu-ray Review) - Full Moon



USA/1996
Directed By: Charles Band
Written By: Charles Band, Neal Marshall Stevens
Starring: Blake Adams, Jacqueline Lovell, J.W. Perra
Color/82 Minutes/R
Region FREE
Release Date: December 20, 2016

The Film
Loretta is having an affair with Lance and they're looking for a way to knock off Loretta's husband Howard who is the toughest guy in town. When they spot the local family of weirdos disposing of a body from their truck they get an idea to enter into business with the Stackpools but then Lance finds out their secret that they're quadruplets with one specific human trait each including super strength, incredible beauty, highly sensitive senses and massive intelligence. The smart one is the leader of the group, a massive cranium with a tiny body rolling around in a wheel chair... this is only the beginning of the weirdness.

HEAD OF THE FAMILY is a total oddball science fiction horror film steeped in dark comedy. It is easily one of Full Moon's best productions. The script is strong and well written with genuinely funny moments along with a likable pair of protagonists in Lance and Loretta. Jacqueline Lovell is gorgeous and adds the sex appeal by frequently shedding her clothes. She's also quite good as the damsel in distress type character during a forced performance as Joan of Arc by Myron, the head of the Stackpool family.

Myron is such a well designed villain, as is the rest of the family, but Myron is easily the star of the show here. His giant bulbous cranium is an excellent makeup job and the performance from J.W. Perra is quite aristocratic and domineering with his massive brain power. His control over the rest of the family is an interesting dynamic and the way it all plays out isn't overly original but it is a wildly entertaining love letter to oddball sci-fi horror flicks of the 50s. It's an absolute shame that the long rumored sequel Bride Of The Head Of The Family never came to fruition.

The Audio & Video
Full Moon's foray into Blu-ray continues to be mostly a success as HEAD OF THE FAMILY looks and sounds quite good. The anamorphic widescreen transfer has a nice sharpness and natural color scheme. There's a thin but healthy grain structure and very little dirt or debris. Black levels are deep and there's no signs of edge enhancement or DNR. English audio options include 5.1 and 2.0 HD options that are mixed skillfully and sound crisp and clear. There's no distortions or background noise. The film doesn't have a lot going on to really give either mix a work out but it is very pleasing to the ear and that's all I need for this movie.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with actor J.W. Perra
-Bride Of The Head Of The Family Promo
-Original Trailer

The Bottom Line
HEAD OF THE FAMILY is an absolute B-movie blast and one of Full Moon's crowning achievements. Highly recommended!

HEAD OF THE FAMILY is available HERE

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SECRET SANTA (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


Canada/2015
Directed By: Mike McMurran
Written By: Mike McMurran
Starring: Annette Wozniak, Geoff Almond, Keegan Chambers
Color/78 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: December 13, 2016

The Film
A house of college students get together for a Christmas party where Olivia plans to introduce them to her new boyfriend, their Professor Ramsey. Hoping to break the awkward tension they hand out their secret Santa gifts but everyone finds their gift replaced by an object that the masked intruder stalking their party plans to kill each of them with. SECRET SANTA is giving the gift of death and the co-eds must fight for their survival.

SECRET SANTA is a throwback to holiday slashers of the 70s and 80s and it's obvious that writer/director Mike McMurran loves the genre. When he's keeping things straight forward he has an interesting group of characters from the goofy funny guy, to the sexy girl creating trouble with the guy she likes that's already taken, and everything in between, this house of students is generally pretty likable and diverse. The kills are well done and at times pretty gory creating the memorable moments that slasher fans latch on to. The thumping synth score drives the violence and tension and McMurran creates a really well done slasher film.


Unfortunately all too often SECRET SANTA is handled as a spoof on the genre and gets unnecessarily goofy and intentionally cheesy. One of the gifted weapons is a hair dryer and the murder scene with that weapon starts out with a moment looking for a big laugh and I don't think this movie really needs those moments. There's enough lighthearted comedic moments with the Dwayne character and a few moments scattered throughout that I don't think they needed to spill the comedy over into the killer and the kill sequences.

That doesn't stop SECRET SANTA from being an entertaining and well acted film. The core group are all solid in their roles from the goofy Dwayne (Geoff Almond) to Annette Wozniak who plays Nicole and is a worthy final girl type character. The cast is a strong point. The killer's motive reveal is a mixed bag however as I think the scene plays out well but the motive feels like they pulled it out of a hat filled with various motives.


SECRET SANTA is a holiday slasher that takes a step back for each step forward. I think there's a great slasher hidden in there but you have to wade through some spoofy moments that frankly aren't needed and kill the mood. I do enjoy the movie and think Mike McMurran is really capable of creating a top notch slasher film and look forward to seeing what he does next. Until then SECRET SANTA is worth adding to your Christmas horror collection.

The Audio & Video
SECRET SANTA has an intentional imitation aged style and look with fake grain and damage to give it the throwback look of drive-in horror films from decades past. WILD EYE RELEASING has given us a DVD that faithfully maintains that style but also manages to keep the film looking sharp and pleasing to the eye. Colors are natural and don't look artificially altered. Detail is decent and black levels are handled well with no artifacting. The 2.0 English audio sounds good with no background noise or distortions. The mix is good but the score could have been pumped up a tad to really let it come through and shine because it is excellent.


The Extras
-Audio Commentary with Director Mike McMurran
-Behind The Scenes Documentary
-Trailers


The Bottom Line
SECRET SANTA is flawed and would have benefited from a more straight forward approach but it remains an entertaining holiday slasher that slasher buffs will surely be adding to their Christmas horror rotation.

SECRET SANTA is available HERE

Saturday, February 11, 2017

FISTS OF FURY (DVD Review) - Full Moon


USA/2017
Directed By: Charles Band
Written By: Charles Band
Starring: Cynthia Rothrock
Color/109 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE

The Film
FISTS OF FURY is a trailer compilation of some classic and not-so-classic Kung-Fu films from the 70s and 80s hosted by martial arts expert and film star Cynthia Rothrock. Rothrock not only gives lead ins to each section of the film such as Femme Fatales and Brucesploitation but she sheds a little light on martial arts films and gives us a little bit of action from would be attackers as well. There's not much else to say, Rothrock's scenes are all filmed in a gym and they're campy as hell but they're entertaining fare to help break up the trailers a bit. The trailers are the main attraction however and act as a damn good checklist of some lesser known Kung-Fu from the golden era of the genre.


The Audio & Video
The scenes with Cynthia Rothrock that were produced for this release look great. They're sharp and clear. Full Moon didn't restore the trailers used for FISTS OF FURY so naturally this compilation of trailers runs the gamut from great condition to pretty rough and filled with scratches and other damage. I find the damage in some of the trailers to be part of the charm and they're all quite enjoyable. The 2.0 audio matches the video, with crisp audio for Rothrock's scenes and more of a mixed bag for the trailers. Overall a very pleasing release.


The Extras
A short behind the scenes making of featurette and an interview with Cynthia Rothrock are included.

The Bottom Line
Kung-Fu is cool and it's about damn time more people get on board with the genre. FISTS OF FURY is something you can sit and enjoy while taking note of the films you still need to track down and see or something to put on in the background of a party.

FISTS OF FURY is available HERE