Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BLACK ROSE (2017)



USA/2017
Directed By: Alexander Nevsky
Written By: Brent Huff, George Saunders
Starring: Alexander Nevsky, Kristanna Loken, Adrian Paul
In Theaters April 28, 2017
VOD and DVD Release Date: May 2, 2017

A serial killer is terrorizing the Russian community of Los Angeles, killing young women and leaving a black rose in their mouth. A Russian police Major is enlisted on loan from Moscow by the LAPD to connect with the locals and solve the murders with his young female partner.


BLACK ROSE was filmed in 2014 and you could say there's a reason that it is just now seeing distribution. It's not that BLACK ROSE is a bad movie but it is painfully familiar. You've seen this movie before under a myriad of titles done better and done worse. Director Alexander Nevsky also stars as the Russian policeman Vladimir Kazatov and after his introductory scene which shows him single handedly stopping a violent bank robbery and hostage situation in Moscow by ramming a truck through the wall and firing off a handful of perfectly placed rounds after his good looks and charm didn't sway the armed robbers into giving themselves up you could call BLACK ROSE a bit of a vanity piece for Nevsky. Nevsky is fine in his role as the no nonsense, hardass Russian stereotype who offers a bit of comic relief when he doesn't understand his partner, competently played by Kristanna Loken, and her typical English phrases. These moments where two cultures clashed for comedic relief were easily the most head-bashingly bad moments in the film. I wanted to yell "Look at these two! He doesn't understand her and she thinks his food is gross! Oh my God it's so fucking funny!".


Now, it really isn't Nevsky or Loken that are the problem with the movie, they both play their characters just fine. They have a good chemistry on screen and cringe worthy moments in the writing aside they are an asset to the movie. The writing and overall angle the film takes are its biggest weaknesses. Focusing more on the serial killer would have added an air of darkness and coldness that BLACK ROSE desperately needed. The most interesting thing about serial killer movies is the serial killer and we simply don't spend enough time with him or get in his head at all. The twist is lazy and thrown together and is used in place of better writing with the serial killer character. BLACK ROSE has good performances and that is easily the best part of it, sadly they're within the confines of a movie that doesn't push the boundaries of the hundreds of similarly mediocre straight to video movies it will inevitably be lumped in with.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

PSYCHO COP RETURNS - Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray Review


USA/1992
Directed By: Adam Rifkin
Written By: Dan Povenmire
Starring: Robert R. Shafer, Barbara Niven, Miles Dougal
Color/85 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Blu-ray/DVD
Limited Slipcover Edition: 1,666 Pieces

The Film
When the original Psycho Cop movie was released in 1989 the slasher film was on life support and Psycho Cop's underwhelming reception did little to help it but in 1992 the genre had one last gasp of air with Psycho Cop's lone sequel, PSYCHO COP RETURNS where Robert R. Shafer reprises his role as Officer Vickers the killer ex-cop who stalks a group of a office workers who have planned an after hours party in their office complex complete with all the booze your liver can't handle and strippers. Why a bunch of grown men need to party in their place of employment instead of at one of their homes or a hotel room or anywhere that would be more comfortable is beyond me but it makes for an interesting slasher film setting.

It doesn't take long for Officer Vickers to make his presence felt at the party, with a gruesome pencil to the eye murder almost as soon as the booze starts flowing. It immediately lets us know that writer Dan Povenmire has written a screenplay that isn't fucking around and that director Adam Rifkin under his Rif Coogan moniker, is going to let loose and show us the goods in this picture. PSYCHO COP RETURNS is a gleefully violent and gory film letting Robert R. Shafer really sink his teeth into the Officer Vickers role and run with it. Shafer comes up with some great one liners and memorable quotes and his charisma sets him apart from the traditional mute stalk and slash villain. Shafer is perfectly campy which fits the tone of the film to a T. The filmmakers understood the movie they were making and in the special features even admitted they weren't expecting it to be nearly as good as it turned out to be but the outcome was a success when you have a cast that is putting their all in to it, a solid script that flows well and a director who understands that he needs to create a fun film. In 1992 there was really no room for dreadfully serious and dead pan slasher movies, but this one proves that the formula could still work if you create something fun and light.


PSYCHO COP RETURNS is precisely that. We may be dealing with grown adults in their late 30s and 40s but this is every bit the exact same movie as the teen summer camp slasher film just replacing the jerky frat boy for a jerky middle aged man and the sexy co-ed who gets hacked up after having sex with someone for a slightly older but no less sexy stripper, including former Penthouse Magazine Pet Of The Month Julie Strain. The tropes and formula are exactly the same but we've traded in our tents for cubicles and dark wooded trails for elevator shafts and it works. Adam Rifkin even gets a bit of social commentary in at the end with a reverse take on the Rodney King beating which is a great scene for the final act of the film.

Perfect it is not but PSYCHO COP RETURNS is a damn entertaining slasher film that makes me upset they didn't role with more sequels for Officer Vickers to appear in. Robert Shafer did sign a contract for five pictures after all...



The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome delivers PSYCHO COP RETURNS on Blu-ray with a rock solid anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 transfer. Clarity is great with a light and natural grain structure and no DNR or digital noise. Colors are a bit subdued with the intentional look of the film taking place in a dimly lit office building at night so they look as they should. Black levels are deep and show no signs of macroblocking or compression issues. Detail levels are high, even in finer details which makes the gory scenes especially nasty. The English audio is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo mix that sounds crystal clear and has a nice crisp quality. Levels are mixed perfectly so there's no problems with dialogue or music becoming overpowering. English SDH subtitles are included.


The Extras
-Audio Commentary with Director Adam Rifkin
-"Habeas Corpus" - A 43 minute documentary featuring interviews from the majority of the main cast and crew. This was extremely well done and worth the price of the disc by itself.
-"The Victims Of Vickers" - A 9 minutes featurette with special effects artist Mike Tristano. It's always entertaining to hear how some of the more gruesome moments of these movies are done and this interview is no different.


The Bottom Line
It doesn't matter that the first Psycho Cop film hasn't been released on DVD or Blu-ray because PSYCHO COP RETURNS is a fucking blast. Vinegar Syndrome gives this unsung hero of early 90s horror a home in HD and I'm calling a must own for slasher fans.

PSYCHO COP RETURNS is available HERE

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

COMET TV - APRIL MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 GIVEAWAY

COMET TV IS CELEBRATING MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 THIS MONTH WITH SOME CLASSIC EPISODES AND A GIVEAWAY FILLED WITH AWESOME MST3K THEMED PRIZES! CHECK OUT THE LINEUP AND ENTRY RULES BELOW!

NEW Classic MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000!
13 classic MST3K episodes airing Sundays, starting at 8/7C.
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On Earth Day, COMET is airing a movie marathon that’s perfectly suited for a planet in peril. But this time, it’s not Earth that’s in trouble — it’s us. Saturday April 22 at 12/11c, we’re bringing you four films where the Earth strikes back. 
PLANET IN PERIL EARTH DAY MARATHON 
SATURDAY APRIL 22 STARTING AT NOON/11AM C
Frogs (1972) 
Saturday April 22 at NOON/11AM C
Die, Monster, Die (1965) 
Saturday April 22 at 2/1C
Empire of the Ants (1977) 
Saturday April 22 at 4/3C
Contamination .7 (1993) 
Saturday April 22 at 6/5C
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Stargate SG-1 is back on COMET!Your favorite gate-hopping action series returns with back-to-back episodes Monday through Thursday at 8/7C, with encores of both episodes airing at 10/9C. That’s two chances, four times a week, to catch Jack O’Neill and his squad on their adventures across the galaxy. Indeed.
STARGATE SG-1 
MONDAY – THURSDAY 8/7C
-------------------------------------
The Crow (1994) 
Friday April 14 at 6/5C 
Sunday April 23 at 4/3C
The Crow II: City of Angels (1996) 
Friday April 14 at 8/7C 
Saturday April 15 at 8/7C 
Sunday April 23 at 6/5C
Gattaca (1997) 
Friday April 21 at 8/7C 
Saturday April 22 at 8/7C 
Wednesday April 26 at 6/5C 
Sunday April 30 at 4/3C
Cherry 2000 (1988) 
Friday April 28 at 8/7C 
Saturday April 29 at 8/7C

TO ENTER:
US RESIDENTS ONLY (NO PO BOXES)
SEND AN EMAIL WITH YOUR FULL NAME AND ADDRESS TO: CELLULOIDTERROR@YAHOO.COM
PLEASE TITLE YOUR EMAIL "COMET TV MST3K GIVEAWAY"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

CHUPACABRA TERRITORY - Maltauro Entertainment Blu-ray Review


US/2016
Directed By: Matthew McWilliams
Written By: Matthew McWilliams
Starring: Sarah Nicklin, Michael Reed, Alex Hayek
Color/94 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: April 11, 2017

The Film
Urban legends and mythological creatures such as Bigfoot, The Abominable Snowman, Mothman, and Chupacabra are something I've always had fun thinking about, especially Chupacabra. From the first time I heard about the beast in the mid to late 90s on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries I was hooked. I was young, loved horror and this weird beast that had a spiny back, glowing red eyes and drained the blood of livestock through two tiny puncture wounds totally piqued my curiosity. The Goat Sucker quickly became my favorite mythological beast and for several years there was no shortage of stories and sightings around Puerto Rico and the American south kept the beast in the forefront of my imagination.

Heading in to the 21st century it is no surprise that movies involving the creature began to get produced but sadly these films generally lacked any sort of quality and were the worst type of straight to video junk filled with bad acting, weak production values and crappy effects. Worst of all they didn't remind of anything I knew about the creature I had grown to love. Every so often another Chupacabra movie gets made and turns out to be much of the same so I was approached CHUPACABRA TERRITORY with a healthy amount of hesitation knowing that Chupacabra films have generally been shit and it is a found footage film which is incredibly easy to fall in to all sorts of cliches and genre trappings.

CHUPACABRA TERRITORY pleasantly surprised me. Yeah it is a found footage horror film and it definitely feels like it. It has many of the found footage tropes and many horror cliches throughout. There's the typical scene of a girl laying on the ground getting dragged away from the camera (multiple times), there's the scene of something nasty or violent happening in the background of a shot that none of the characters notice, the turn around and BANG! jump scare type moments. They're all present and accounted for. But there's also some really solid performances lead by Sarah Nicklin as Amber, who could be considered the leader of this group hiking in to an off limits area of forest on a hunt for the mythological creature. She's immensely likable and has an infectious energy about her that makes it easy to believe her friends would follow her in to just about any weird situation she'd get them in to. She's the lover and believer of the myth and is willing to go to any length to summon it including getting down and dirty fucking in a tent to get her energy up and performing supernatural rituals.

The film does bring in details in to the mythos of the creature that I have never heard of that I assume were simply to spice up the story and I'm okay with that as I don't think it hurt the story but a more straight forward approach to the creature would have been my preferred avenue. Still, Matthew McWilliams penned a solid script about a creature that has had an absolutely terrible history in the movies and directed a pretty decent Chupacabra horror movie. My biggest gripe is that CHUPACABRA TERRITORY is more supernatural found footage horror film that could have replaced the Chupacabra with almost anything else and been the same movie. That doesn't mean I don't think it's a decent movie and worth checking out for any found footage or Chupacabra fan.

The Audio & Video
Maltauro Entertainment delivers CHUPACABRA TERRITORY on Blu-ray with an attractive anamorphic widescreen transfer. The picture quality is quite good with natural colors and flesh tones and deep, inky black levels that don't show any signs of blocking. The image is clean and crisp throughout. The 2.0 stereo audio track is mixed well and sounds good. It's not a very dynamic mix but for a found footage film it works perfectly. There's no damage or distortions that shouldn't be there. Closed Caption options are available.

The Extras
Bonus features on the disc include an interview segment with cast members that is just over ten minutes long and a separate interview segment with the director, editor and producer that clocks in at just over 6 minutes. A trailer and photo gallery round out the extras.

The Bottom Line
Though the competition isn't stiff it doesn't change the fact that CHUPACABRA TERRITORY is the best Chupacabra movie to date and is a solid found footage horror film.

CHUPACABRA TERRITORY is available HERE

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

THE BYE BYE MAN (Universal) - Blu-ray Review


USA/2017
Directed By: Stacy Title
Written By: Jonathan Penner
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas
Color/100 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD

The Film
THE BYE BYE MAN was released theatrically on January 13, 2017 to largely negative reviews. Despite the reviews it was still a box office success pulling in over 24 million dollars domestically against a budget of just over 7 million dollars. Undoubtedly a strong push with social media campaigns got the film into the mind's of movie goers prior to the release and the PG-13 rating certainly didn't hurt. I was able to attend an advance screening of the film and found that THE BYE BYE MAN was one of the most inept and cliche horror films I had seen in a long long time. I could go over each and every thing I disliked about it but I already did that HERE.


Now the film is released with an unrated cut easily make it a more violent and graphic film but would it make it a better film? The answer to that is simply, no. No it does not. While the unrated version of the film adds three minutes to the runtime and is certainly more graphic with its violence which can be seen immediately from the opening scene it is still the same movie. No amount of CGI blood can take away from the predictability, piss poor acting, shoddy writing and overall feeling that this movie somehow escaped its bargain bin destiny and got major studio backing.


The Audio & Video
Unsurprisingly Universal's Blu-ray of THE BYE BYE MAN looks stellar. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer has strong detail which makes spotting threads on clothing and imperfections in wood and vinyl surfaces easy for example. Colors are vivid but natural while black levels are deep and inky. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix is fantastic as well with a wonderful mix job between levels and a crisp, crystal clear presentation. The mix is powerful and bassy when needed and overall a very strong sounding mix. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included. From a technical standpoint THE BYE BYE MAN Blu-ray is superb.


The Extras
The Blu-ray features both the unrated and theatrical cuts of the film along with a DVD of the theatrical cut but there are no supplemental special features, not even a trailer.


The Bottom Line
If you found yourself to be a fan of THE BYE BYE MAN then the Blu-ray won't disappoint but the unrated version of the film isn't going to change any negative opinions on the film. Rent it if you're super curious because you'll only be wasting a dollar. Save your dollar if you're only mildly curious.

THE BYE BYE MAN is available HERE

Chiller Films To Release CAMERA OBSCURA

CHILLER FILMS RELEASES ‘CAMERA OBSCURA’

In Theaters June 9 and on VOD and Digital HD June 13


NEW YORK, NY – April 11, 2017 – Chiller Films is pleased to announce the release of the anticipated horror thriller CAMERA OBSCURA, in theaters on June 9 and on VOD and Digital HD on June 13.  The film is written by Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns and marks the theatrical directing debut of Koontz. The cast includes Christopher Denham (“Billions,” “Argo”), Nadja Bobyleva (“Bridge of Spies”), Catherine Curtin (“Stranger Things,” “Orange is the New Black”), Chase Williamson (SIREN, “Beyond the Gates”) and Noah Segan (“The Mind’s Eye,” “Tales of Halloween”).

In CAMERA OBSCURA, a veteran war photographer with PTSD sees imminent deaths in his developed photos, questioning his already fragile sanity and putting the lives of those he loves in danger.

CAMERA OBSCURA is produced by Aaron B. Koontz, Andrew van den Houten (“All Cheerleaders Die,” “The Woman,”) and Amir Zbeda (“Area 51,” “Paranormal Activity”) and is executive produced by Justin Smith (SIREN, “The Boy”).

For more information on the film, please visit https://www.facebook.com/cameraobscuramovie/.


About Chiller


Chiller is an entertainment brand delivering round-the-clock scares with its commitment to producing diverse and high-quality horror content.  Chiller's eclectic slate of entertainment includes a broad offering of original movies, series and specials, genre films, documentary and reality shows, along with suspenseful series (The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits). With its Chiller Films initiative, Chiller also produces feature films for select theaters and On-Demand.  Chiller network is currently available in 40 million homes. To learn more, visit: www.chillertv.com. Chiller. Scary Good.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

(CLOSED) M. Night Shyamalan's SPLIT Giveaway

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has been kind enough to allow us to host a contest for a brand new Blu-ray copy of the latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, SPLIT, available in stores April 18th! See the rules below for entry details!


How To Enter
CLOSED

That's it, it's that easy! A winner will be selected and notified on April 18th, the film's release date!