Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ouija (Blu-ray Review) - Universal Pictures

Directed By: Stiles White
Written By: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff
Color/90 Minutes/PG-13
Region A
Release Date: February 3, 2015

The Film
 Best friends Laine and Debbie have played with Ouija boards since they were little girls. Now as they're getting ready to graduate high school, Debbie uses one alone and is disturbed by what she experiences and attempts to burn the board and planchette. After talking to Laine but not letting her inside Debbie's eyes turn white and she hangs herself.

With the tragic death of their friend lingering over them Laine and four other friends gather at the funeral and later decide to have a seance to attempt to talk to their friend, and make contact with a spirit that calls itself "D". The group stops playing after being spooked but each get a message of "Hi friend" and decide to return to the board as they think it is Debbie communicating with them. Quickly they find that it is not Debbie speaking to them but a malicious spirit with their mouth stitched shut and another named "Mother". One by one the friends begin to suffer similar fates to Debbie as their eyes turn white and are killed in mysterious ways. That is when Laine finds out the truth behind the board they're using, the spirits they've encountered and the living relative to the spirits and that intentions aren't always good. Laine and her sister attempt to end the evil by burning the board with the body of the evil spirits that haunt it.

About an hour in to OUIJA I thought to myself "Why is this rated R?". I quickly realized it wasn't. I have nothing against PG-13 horror films as I feel film makers can achieve a proper level of dread, suspense and horror in that rating if they're creative and skilled enough. Unfortunately OUJIA barely deserves the PG-13 rating. A few spooky looking ghosts or bodies is really all I can see separating it from a lesser rating. The film is bland as can be and plays out like a late 90s Scream clone but instead of being a slasher film it is a supernatural horror film. Exchange a fish hook wielding killer for this nasty spirit and I don't think the comparison is to see.

The characters are boring and paper thin, sure they seem like nice kids but none of them are the least bit interesting. Lin Shaye appears in yet another supernatural horror film and she's becoming more common in these types of films than Troma's Lloyd Kaufman is in Z-grade no budget schlock. I like the woman and think she's a fine actress but it's getting old seeing her in these films. The scare and shock moments of the film are laughable. Check out the dental floss scene and try not to laugh. The others are generic paint-by-numbers junk that was all the rage a decade ago. Are we back to it? I sure hope not.

The Audio & Video
Universal Pictures' Blu-ray of OUIJA is downright beautiful. The anamorphic widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio has great clarity and strikingly vivid colors. Detail level is very high in textures and surfaces while skin tones look natural and healthy. Black levels are deep and inky with no blocking or pixelation.  The English audio track is a DTS-HDMA 5.1 mix that sounds excellent. The mix is full and boisterous when it needs to be. Dialogue and score are complimentary of each other and there's no background noise or imperfections to speak of.

The Extras
-"The Spirit Board: An Evolution" (Blu-ray Exclusive) - A brief 4 minute look at the history of spirit boards and their place in our culture.
-"Icon Of The Unkown" (Blu-ray Exclusive) - Another four minutes spent looking at the experiences Ouija board users have had that influenced the film.
-"Adapting The Fear" - How about another four minutes? This time with a look at the cast and crew's opinion on Ouija boards.

The Bottom Line
To put it simply, OUIJA is not a good film. It is boring and mundane in every way and would be hard pressed to get a scare out of even the most novice horror viewer. 

OUIJA is available HERE

Friday, January 30, 2015

RPG: Real Playing Game (DVD Review) - Arc Entertainment

Directed By: Tino Navarro, David Rebordao
Written By: Tino Navarro
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Cian Barry, Alix Wilton
Color/102 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: February 10, 2015

The Film
Ten very well off people who are old and dying are given the opportunity to pay a large sum of money and pick a new body to play a game in which a player must die every hour and the last person standing wins another chance and being young and healthy. The catch within the game is that when you kill an opponent you must properly identify the hologram of their true, old person self or you too will perish. With everyone from famous actors to computer wizards and special security there is a wide array of personalities playing made even more difficult to ID since each player could select a body of any gender or race.

As the game starts, the players wake up unaware of their surroundings and of the puropse of the game initially. Quickly they're refreshed as to what they're doing and what is at stake. Alliances are formed and broken, rules and boundaries are challenged and eventually 9 players perish. When the winner wakes up and empties his bank account for a chance at being young again he doesn't realize that reality and perception are not always the same.

RPG: REAL PLAYING GAME has an awful title. Let's not mince words there, it fucking sucks. Luckily the movie itself is a bit better. It plays out like a round of the classic board game Guess Who? mixed with the plot of Battle Royale. There's been a number of movies over the last decade, even some huge blockbuster series, with similar plots and RPG manages to be entertaining enough that the audience isn't groaning and asking themselves "this again?". Rutger Hauer co-stars and lends the film a big name as he plays Steve Battier, one of the aging players. Hauer doesn't have much screen time unfortunately as the vast majority of the film is spent with the younger bodies playing the game. Those ten players are all capable of their various roles and accents so the film avoids being hammy thankfully.

Unfortunately RPG doesn't do much to really set itself apart from similar movies. Yes, it is entertaining, mildly, but there's just nothing really original about it. The time spent on the game has long periods of down time. The kill scenes are mostly unexceptional and the writing has a few moments that are obviously meant to be big moments or twists in the game that really have no affect on anything. The moments set in the high-tech future, or present as it is, are meant to be socially profound but lacks the depth to make any real significant impact on the viewer. 

The Audio & Video
RPG looks wonderful on this DVD from Arc Entertainment. The transfer features 2.35:1 aspect ratio and a crystal clean look. Sharpness is quite good for standard definition and colors are very vibrant, especially in the futuristic scenes. The English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is mixed very well with levels complimenting each other. The track is steady and stable with no fluctuations that will have you reaching for the remote. Audio is crystal clear with no damage or background noise.

The Extras
A trailer is the lone extra

The Bottom Line
The movie is best viewied as entertainment for a night's viewing but probably won't have you standing up to applaud. A solid movie worth a rental but nothing more.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Ribald Tales Of Canterbury / Tasty (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Bud Lee
Starring: Hyapatia Lee
Color/89 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Films
A group of knights, maidens and a priest travel across the countryside in the 15th century and to pass the time they share their raunchy sex stories with a prize of gold coins on the line! Knights falling for a princess, a mother and daughter teaming up on a grain buyer and more await in THE RIBALD TALES OF CANTERBURY.

CANTERBURY is a period piece of sexual deviancy that reaches all the way to the morals of the church. Filled with beautiful women and some kinky situations, RIBALD TALES keeps things light and breezy and even features a really well done theme song that loops on the disc's menu.

Then in TASTY, a radio station's employees are on the verge of losing their job if they can't turn their station around in one week, so they all say fuck it... literally! Instead of trying for another format of music or talk radio they turn the entire station in to a giant orgy. Sex themed music, sexual talk, live on air sex and everything else you can think of as head DJ Tasty Tastums leads the way and drives the boss nuts!

TASTY is a lot of fun and you can tell the whole cast had a great time making it. Hyapatia Lee stars as Tasty Tastum and gives a great performance, along with everyone else really, but her dream sequence music video of "Hit Me With Your Wet Shot" is legendary. If you've ever wondered what a DJ and a big fan of the station look like when they fuck like animals all over a soundboard then TASTY is there for you.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome gives this pair of Hyapatia Lee vehicles large amounts of respect in terms of DVD quality. Both films are presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers maintaining their original aspect ratios. The prints used are in great condition with just the odd scratch or piece of dust. Colors are lush and vibrant while overall sharpness is very good. Detail level is good for standard definition DVD and skin tones are fleshy and natural. The mono English tracks sound good as well. Both films have great songs in them and they come through with excellent clarity while dialogue never gets lost in the mix and there's no background noise or damage to speak of.

The Extras
-Interview with director Bud Lee
-Audio commentary with Bud Lee on RIBALD TALES OF CANTERBURY
-Original theatrical trailers for each film

The Bottom Line
This is one of the more original pair of sexploitation films from Vinegar Syndrome given their settings and plot. Even so, they didn't reinvent the wheel so you know what you're getting yourself into and you'll get immense amounts of enjoyment out of them.


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Mule (Blu-ray Review) - XLRator Media

Directed By: Tony Mahony, Angus Sampson
Written By: Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Jaime Browne
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell
Color/102 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: January 20, 2015

The Film
A man agrees to transport packets of heroin in his stomach but is caught and detained by Australian police while going through airport security. Scared and not knowing what to do the man makes a choice to not defecate which would expose his guilt. The police take him into custody at a hotel and monitor him at all times. The man continues to refuse to defecate and tries to outlast the one week limit the police have to hold him putting his own life and his family's well being in harm's way.

And that's about it. THE MULE is apparently based on true events from 1983 in Australia and maybe the true events were more exciting than the movie about them because THE MULE is about as uneventful as it gets. About thirty minutes into the film we start our escapade at the hotel and very little happens then. We watch our man constantly keel over in stomach pain from holding in his dumps and we watch the cops beat him. The film and it's artwork seem to want to have a comedic tone, which would be extremely welcomed and would work very well but the attempts at comedy are abandoned too quickly and simply aren't funny.

The cast has talent but a weak script and a screenplay, ironically written by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, who star in the film, makes the movie more of a chore than an entertaining experience for the viewer failed any talent the cast has. Not only did this movie let me down, it let itself down.

The Audio &amp Video
XLRator Media releases THE MULE on Blu-ray under their Macabre line with an attractive looking disc. The anamorphic widescreen transfer has nice sharpness while colors are vivid. Detail level is good along and there's no edge enhancement or DNR. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is crisp and the mix is on point. Clarity is good as there's no background noise or damage to the track.

The Extras
-Deleted scenes
-4 Featurettes including "Who. What. Where. When.", "Ego", "Ticking Time Bomb", and "1983 America's Cup"

The Bottom Line
THE MULE had potential to be an entertaining dark comedy but the few attempts at comedy fall flat and the rest is just a bore. The best part about this disc are the special features.

THE MULE is available HERE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three Ripening Cherries / Sensual Fire - Peekarama Double Featuer (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Carlos Tobalina
Starring: Jamie Gillis, Dorothy LeMay, Misty Regan
Color/171 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Films
In THREE RIPENING CHERRIES a trio of best friends listen to one of their mom's tell her stories of sex, both bad and good before finding the man she loves. She tells the girls that it's best to wait for the man that wants nothing more than to please them but the horny and curious girls head up to the bedroom and begin exploring each other while sharing fantasies about different guys around the town and their school. A couple of awkward experiences later involving a guy who can't get it up and a teacher who was more into bondage and masturbation than pleasing his young student the girls start to agree with the motherly advice they were given.

THREE RIPENING CHERRIES doesn't cheat the viewer of exactly what the title implies, the three young girls are attractive and naked and engaged through most of the movie but a bit more time spent on their failed encounters at the end of the movie would have made this one a bit more entertaining.

Jamie Gillis stars in SENSUAL FIRE, the story of a man who recently welcomed his stepdaughter into his home and immediately begins lusting after her. He can't keep his mind on anything else and even spies on her and fantasizes about her while having sex with his wife. The advice from his friends, one a psychologist and one a priest, to release his pent up frustrations at a local whorehouse don't work so he concocts a Halloween plan to get his stepdaughter to sleep with him. Will his plan work better than he could have ever hoped or will his taboo lust tear down his world?

It's pretty funny to see a priest suggest this man cheat on his wife by visiting a whorehouse in this one, and the plot is a kinky one with an entertaining Halloween party climax. SENSUAL FIRE is pretty standard fare otherwise.

The Audio & Video
This double feature in the Peekarama Collection from Vinegar Syndrome is pretty solid overall. Both films feature new 2K scans from the original 35mm camera negatives and maintain their original 1.85:1 aspect ratios. Both films feature some scratching and speckling, a bit more so in SENSUAL FIRE. Colors are strong and not at all washed out. Detail is good and skin tones are naturual. The mono audio tracks are a bit on the quiet side but are mixed well with the soundtracks. There's no overly intrusive background noise or damage to the tracks.

The Extras
A trailer for each film is included.

The Bottom Line
Both films are entertaining and feature just enough taboo to make it feel wrong, but you know this set is so right.

The Peekarama double feature of THREE RIPENING CHERRIES and SENSUAL FIRE is available HERE

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Atticus Institute (Blu-ray Review) - Anchor Bay

Directed By: Chris Sparling
Written By: Chris Sparling
Starring: Rya Kihlstedt, William Mapother, Harry Groener
Color/83 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: January 20, 2015

The Film
Dr. Henry West opened The Atticus Institute to test and discover people who may have psychic abilities such as E.S.P. and Telekinesis. While some subjects displayed traits that showed they may possibly have the abilities nothing would prepare Dr. West or his team for Judith Winstead. Ms. Winstead showed exceptional abilities in all of the categories tested that blew any previous subject's results out of the water. Eventually her abilities became too much to handle and the United States government stepped in. When their tests showed signs of demonic possession that they could not deny, the Department of Defense took control of the facility in an attempt to weaponize Judith Winstead. The events that followed are now being documented in this documentary.

THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE uses a faux documentary style of film making to add to the realism factor that drives the film. Director Chris Sparling relies on that realism to unsettle the viewer instead of going for wild makeup or special effects and never comes close to anything like what you saw young Regan do with a crucifix on her bed. The cast is great from top to bottom which is critical to keeping the film realistic and unsettling. 

Split between sit down interviews with those involved in the case and archival footage from the institute, THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE is mostly a success in what it attempts to do and create which is a documentary that a viewer may mistake for a true documentary that would be just as unsettling as the movie created. The only downfall is a few hamfisted moments of poorly done CGI towards the end of the movie.

The Audio & Video
Anchor Bay delivers a very attractive looking disc with an anamorphic widescreen (16x9) transfer that is very sharp with strong detail in textures, surfaces and close-ups. Colors are vivid and there's no sign of DNR or edge enhancement. The English audio is handled by a Dolby TrueHD 5.1  track that sounds pretty perfect. It's crisp and clean without and distortions. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are available.

The Extras
-"Making Of" Featurette
-Deleted Scenes

The Bottom Line
An interesting take on demonic possession based horror films, THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE probably won't become a classic but it is worth a viewing for fans of the genre.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Walk Among The Tombstones (Blu-ray Review) - Universal Pictures

Directed By: Scott Frank
Written By: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour
Color/114 Minutes/R
Region A
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Film
Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) is a retired detective from the NYPD and a recovering alcoholic. He now works as an unlicensed private investigator doing "favors" in exchange for "gifts".  Scudder helps one of the city's biggest heroin traffickers (Dan Stevens) when his wife is abducted for ransom and murdered despite the ransom being paid. Scudder's investigation leads him to other similar cases where the wives of big time drug dealers have been taken and brutally murdered and dismembered with their remains being strewn about the city. Now that the killers have a young girl in their hands Scudder uses all of his resources, including a teen he's taken under his wing, a junkie he knows from AA who happens to be the brother of the big time trafficker, and the distraught father of the girl to catch them before they kill the child. What ensues is a brutal showdown where the lines of right and wrong will certainly be crossed.

A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is a crime thriller based on a series of novels by bestselling author Lawrence Block. Having never read the novels I wasn't sure what to expect but if they're as entertaining as the film that director Scott Frank (who also wrote the screenplay) delivered. Set in 1999 New York the film has a cold and uninviting look to it and it is a perfect backdrop for a film packed with characters that are rarely purely good or evil. The pacing of the film is good, giving the audience something exciting often enough to compliment the investigation aspects of the film. There's one or two plot holes dealing with things that are introduced and then drop out of the film for the remainder but it doesn't hurt the film too much.

The cast is very good, starting with Liam Neeson who has become a beloved badass over the last decade. He certainly is a badass in A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES but he does have his unsavory side which gives his character more depth than many of his other popular and successful films of recent memory. Dan Stevens plays Kenny Kristo, the big time trafficker who needs the help of Scudder. Stevens has stormed his way in to my life since he was excellent in The Guest and now here. He will certainly be on my radar for future projects. And the great performances continue with the rest of the cast too.

A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES may have been released in to theaters and exited without making too much noise but I think this overlooked thriller deserves a look as it can stand up with just about any other crime thriller released last year. It doesn't reinvent the genre but it does the genre justice.

The Audio & Video
Universal delivers a fantastic looking and sounding product on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer shows off the film's beautiful photography with a clean, sharp looking picture. Colors are vivid without being overly pumped up while black levels are deep and inky and have no problem with blocking up or compression. Detail level is high and there's no issues with edge enhancement or DNR. The English audio is handled with a 5.1 DTS-HD track that has an outstanding mix. Levels are consistent and crisp while dialogue never gets lost in the mix. There's no distortions or annoying background noise to take away from the excellent audio quality.

The Extras
-"A Look Behind The Tombstones" - 12 minute behind the scenes/making-of featurette
-"Matt Scudder: Private Eye" (Blu-ray Exclusive) - 6 minute look at the character Matt Scudder
-DVD copy of the film
-Digital copy of the film

The Bottom Line
This movie is entertaining from start to finish and Neeson is as badass as ever. I definitely recommend checking out A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sexual Heights / Undulations - Peekarama Double Feature (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Carlos Tobalina
Starring: John Holmes, Tawny Pearl, Jamie Gillis
Color/170 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Films
What happens when four divorced men get together and watch porno tapes together? Well a ridiculous plan to have sex with one of their old babysitters of course! The plan involves the men dressing up as a married couple with a made and chauffeur, drugging her and getting her horny before they bust in on her. Their plans works better than they could have planned when the girl calls over three friends and a giant orgy ensues, ending with the man finally getting to sleep with the babysitter that cost him his marriage.

Some notable adult film stars come together in SEXUAL HEIGHTS which has plenty of silly moments to keep things light and fun. A couple of unrelated scenes featuring John Holmes break up the action for no real reason but to add a good 15 minutes on to the film's run time. All things considered it would have been better if SEXUAL HEIGHTS was a breezier 75 minutes and focused on the actual story at hand. I'm sure fans of Holmes will argue that with me and that's okay.

UNDULATIONS features another who's who of the adult film world circa 1981 when John Holmes, Jamie Gillis, Serena, Mai Lin and others join together for a talk show about their careers and end up having an orgy. What else would you expect from five porn stars talking about their time spent sucking and fucking? There's some funny cuts to viewers of the talk show and their reactions to what is happening on screen and there's plenty of the raunchy stuff. Pacing is no problem as it moves at a brisk pace and never overstays its welcome.   

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome's DVD is great again, showing love to these films when few others would even consider it. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen 2K transfers maintain the films' original aspect ratios. Picture quality is nice with strong colors and a crisp image. There are some scratches on the prints used but it is hardly a big issue. The mono audio tracks also sound good despite some minor intermittent crackling. Dialogue is complimented by the music and even though there is a bit of crackling it still sounds good.

The Extras
A trailer is included for each film

The Bottom Line
This double feature of Carlos Tobalina films is entertaining and features some classic group scenes with some of the biggest names ever to appear in adult films. Recommended.

The Peekarama double feature of SEXUAL HEIGHTS and UNDULATIONS is available HERE

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sex World (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Anthony Spinelli
Written By: Dean Rogers, Anthony Spinelli
Starring: Lesllie Bovee, Kent Hall, Kay Parker
Color/91 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Limited Edition: 1,500 Copies

The Film
SEX WORLD is a luxury resort for anyone looking for a weekend getaway to fulfill any and all of their wildest desires. Singles, couples, young and old take the trip to explore their fantasies, save their marriage or just learn to open up. Anything and everything is possible with the robot lovers of SEX WORLD!

When I first heard of this film I was hoping for a science fiction driven adult picture. The makings of that film are there, you can see how it would take shape but SEX WORLD doesn't go that direction. Instead, SEX WORLD is a straight forward adult film with the slightest Sci-fi flavor. The film certainly works at what it does and what it does is sex. There's plenty of it, and with some seriously fucked up people. From the bigot who claims to a black lover "I'm not a racist, I just don't like you people" (until he's balls deep in her of course) to the man that only wants to experience love like when his sister blew him at Christmas time along with the broken marriages and those simply terrified to experience sex. This is a motley crew if I've ever seen one.

SEX WORLD has some well done sex scenes and it's certainly a bigger and much nicer production than most other porno flicks from the era. There's some really nice photography throughout on top of its funky score including the SEX WORLD theme song. It's not everything I had hoped for which certainly would have set it apart from an entire era of a genre but it knew where its money would be made and the filmmakers knocked it out of the park in that regard. There's few porno films that can claim to be as well made or original as SEX WORLD.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome continues to impress with their output and SEX WORLD is another fantastic example of their work. This Blu-ray features a new 4K transfer taken from the original 35mm camera negatives. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the anamorphic widescreen transfer has a warm and natural film look to it. Detail is strong in both surfaces and skin which looks natural and healthy without any waxiness. Colors are nice without looking artificially pumped up. The transfer is clean and sharp with no noticeable damage. The audio is handled through a DTS-HD MA mono track that sounds crisp and clear. There's no audible damage or annoying distractions such as popping, crackling or other distortions. The score compliments the dialogue so there's never any struggle to make out what is being said. 

The Extras
-Alternate "soft" cut of the film
-Interviews with actors Kay Parker and Joey Silvera and photographer Joel Sussman
-CD Soundtrack
-DVD copy of the film

The Bottom Line
While I was hoping for something a bit different and more sci-fi based what SEX WORLD does offer up is pretty top notch in the world of 70s smut. 

SEX WORLD is available HERE

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Long Hair Of Death (Blu-ray Review) - Raro Video

Directed By: Antonio Margheriti
Written By: Ernesto Gastaldi, Tonino Valerii, Antonio Margheriti
Starring: Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska
Black & White/94 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date:

The Film
When a woman is accused of witchcraft in the 15th century, she is sentenced to burn at the stake. Her oldest daughter knows the truth behind her execution and when her sexual advances at her accuser fail and she confronts the man with the truth she too is murdered. The younger daughter, Lisabeth is kept alive and taken care of by the family that killed her mother. About a decade later Lisabeth is forced to marry the Baron until someone baring a striking resemblance to her older sister comes to the castle while a plague takes its toll on the village and the Baron falls for the visitor who reciprocates the feelings. Unbeknownst to the Baron, the woman is Lisabeth's sister returned from the dead and looking to avenge the death of her mother.

THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH was the second gothic horror film that director Antonio Margheriti made in as many years. Following up what could be considered his masterpiece from 1963, Castle Of Blood, this film has been lost in the shuffle of time, probably due to its limited availability in the days of DVD and Blu-ray. That problem is solved with this release and fans of gothic horror can now experience the slow burn nature of the film that ends up being a slowly descending curtain of dread if you will. There are flourishes of violence and visible horror throughout but there's long stretches where the true horror lies in the impending vengeance that our main antagonist is not privy to as the audience is.

The stark black and white photography gives a certain coldness to the castle interiors, and really over the entire film. It fits very well with George Ardisson's icy and heartless portrayal of the Baron. Of course the face of the film is Barbara Steele, as she is in most films she appeared in. She once again has dual roles, and her face seems tailor made for gothic horror. She's brilliant here as she was in the aforementioned Castles Of Blood and in Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960). Also brilliant is the score by Carlo Rustichelli, who scored Bava's Blood And Black Lace in the same year and would go on to score his Kill Baby Kill in 1967, along with well over 200 other composing credits. There's no need to look further than Rustichelli's score for THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH to see what he's capable of though. The classic orchestral score raises the striking visuals to another level with his pounding strings and brass.

The more I think about THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH the more I like it. I want to give it another viewing before too long. I wouldn't be comfortable putting it on the same level as Black Sunday or Castle Of Blood, not yet anyways. Perhaps with future viewings it will get there. As for now, it's close. And being close to those films means that this is a damn good film. Hopefully the new release of this film on Blu-ray will get a wider audience to discover it and its director.

The Audio & Video
Raro Video's transfer of THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH is presented with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation that largely looks brilliant. The stark black and white photography looks damn good here with deep black levels that have no compression issues and vibrant white levels without burning too hot. Detail is strong with textures and surfaces along with facial close-ups. There's no waxiness to this picture at all and aside from the occasional scene that is a bit softer or has the odd scratch, which obviously has to do with the condition of the source material and not the transfer, this Blu-ray looks as good as you could hope for. Two audio options are available, both with mono tracks. The Italian track is the more natural choice for matching up lines to mouth movements and sounds nice. Dialogue is never lost under the score but the mix is well done so that the music can still shine while complimenting the images on screen. There's no background noise or damage to speak of. Optional English subtitles are available and they're timed perfectly and read well. There's a few very minor errors in translation but nothing that will leave you scratching your head. I only skipped around on the English track seems okay, a bit thinner sounding than the Italian but free of any damage as well.

The Extras
-Video introduction by Chris Alexander (Fangoria magazine)
-Interview with Edoardo Margheriti
-Interview with Antonio Tentori
-Original Italian Trailer
-Original English Trailer
-Booklet with notes on the film by Chris Alexander

The Bottom Line
All horror fans should take note of this excellent release of a film that deserves to be re-discovered in 2015 so that it can take its rightful place among the better gothic horror films in history.


Friday, January 9, 2015

The Claire Sinclair Show (DVD Review) - Cult Epics

Directed By: Nico B.
Starring: Claire Sinclair, Bunny Yeager
Color/75 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Show
CLAIRE SINCLAIR started modeling as a teenager and quickly found a niche in the pin-up style that she loved. Claire was Miss October 2010 for Playboy magazine and at just 19 years old she was named Playmate of the Year for 2011. She has appeared on various Playboy inspired reality TV shows, had a successful run with the Crazy Horse Paris cabaret show and has become the face of the Bettie Page Clothing company.

The CLAIRE SINCLAIR SHOW features a pair of episodes, the first where Claire interviews herself discussing her history and life up to now and her plans for the future which are extensive. The second episode is a sit down interview and a photo shoot with famed photography Bunny Yeager who is best known for her work with Bettie Page. This would be Yeager's last on camera interview and photo shoot before her death in May of 2014. The first episode is a good way to get to know Claire who is an instantly likeable young woman on top her incredible looks. The second episode is definitely the more interesting of the two episodes as there is some historical value and a good bit of footage from the nude photo shoot. 

The Audio & Video
Cult Epics releases this collection of two episodes of the CLAIRE SINCLAIR SHOW to DVD with a nice looking 1.33:1 full frame transfer. Colors are strong and vibrant while the digital photography is crisp and clear. There's nothing really to complain about. The 2.0 Dolby Digital audio in the first segment is fine but the sitdown with Bunny Yeager is a bit on the quiet and thin side so you may need to use your remote control accordingly. Otherwise the audio is free of any distractions or damage.

The Extras
-Original Super 8mm Films of Claire and Bunny shot by Nico B.
-The Erotica Channel Introductions by Claire

The Bottom Line
Big fans of pin-up models and culture will be interested but if you don't fall in to that category you're not missing out on anything.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Zarra's Law (DVD Review) - Arc Entertainment

USA, Finland/2014
Directed By: Juha Wuolijoki
Written By: Joseph Scarpinito, Charles Kipps
Starring: Tony Sirico, Brendan Fehr, Erin Cummings
Color/79 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Film
Tony is a retired cop who is infuriated when the man that murdered his brother is getting out of prison after serving only two years. Along with his nephew Gaetano, who is a military hardened lawyer, Tony busts down the doors of the city's organized crime family while Gaetano brings his hard ass stance in the courtroom to protect a wife and son of one of the mob's top guys before joining his uncle in a literal blaze of glory shootout.

ZARRA'S LAW is a crime thriller in the vein of countless others and ends up being little more than run-of-the-mill. It is an easy watch and a fast moving film. Too fast, perhaps as the 79 minute run time doesn't allow the story to reach the depth that it really needed to fully resonate with the audience. There's too many storylines and subplots going on to be more than briefly grazed over leaving any emotional sentiment to go by the way side.

ZARRA'S LAW is not a bad film as it features decent production values from top to bottom and the cast does a good job. Unfortunately it seems satisfied with being average and a rather typical example of the genre.

The Audio & Video
Arc Entertainment delivers ZARRA'S LAW on DVD with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks good overall. Clarity and sharpness are solid for a standard definition presentation while the picture is clean and free of any damage. Black levels are handled better than I expected them to be with very little crush or compression issues. The 5.1 Dolby audio track sounds nice with a crisp mix that is stable and doesn't fluctuate. The mix between dialogue and score is complimentary and there's no background noise to speak of.

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
If you enjoy films based around organized crime or those seeking revenge ZARRA'S LAW is worth checking out via rental but don't expect to be blow

ZARRA'S LAW is available HERE

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Houses October Built (Blu-ray Review) - Image/RLJ

Directed By: Bobby Roe
Written By: Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Jason Zada
Starring: Brandy Schaeffer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: January 6, 2014

The Film
A group of friends set out in a cross country RV trip to discover the best and most extreme haunted house attractions in the country and document their trip. They interview employees and guests at each haunt as they search for the underground haunt known as The Blue Skeleton which is supposed to be as extreme as it gets. Their trip becomes increasingly disturbing and potentially dangerous as they get closer to Blue Skeleton until they finally get their chance to experience the haunt for themselves.

I've previously sung the praises of THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT in a full review of the film itself back during the October Horror Challenge and more recently on my Top Ten Films Of 2014 list so I'll let those posts do the talking for this film. I will say that I was pleased to find out that my first return viewing of the film still yielded seriously entertaining results and that it holds up well. 

The Audio & Video
Image/RLJ deliver a gorgeous looking and sounding disc for THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a very sharp picture with vibrant and vivid colors. Detail level in textures, surfaces and skin is high. Black levels are handled very nicely with no compression issues or blocking, which is very important for a film that largely takes place in dark settings. There are no signs of edge enhancement, or excessive DNR. The picture is crisp and not at all waxy. The 5.1 DTSHD-Master Audio track sounds crystal clear with a steady mix job. Levels don't fluctuate when they shouldn't and there's no distractions such as background noise or damage such as crackling or popping. English subtitles are available. 

The Extras
-The Houses October Built- a 94 minute documentary from 2011 that inspired the feature film. (Best Buy Exclusive)
-"Behind The Screams" Featurette - An inside look at the haunts
-Deleted Scenes (24 minutes)
-"Portrait of a Scare Artist" photo gallery
-Cast carvings by The Pumpkin Geek

The Bottom Line
When one of your favorite films of the year gets a beautiful Blu-ray release with a healthy dose of special features how could you not recommend it? Highly recommended! 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Sweet & Perverse Milly - One 7 Movies

Directed By: Christoph Clark
Starring: Milly D'Abbraccio, Joanna Lin, Lou Louray
Color/80 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: December 9, 2014

The Film
Milly craves sex like no other. She wants the ultimate satisfaction so badly that she is heading to America to fuck her way through the states. Her sex acts happen early and often, in cars, in driveways, with two men, at live sex shows and beyond. 

SWEET & PERVERSE MILLY is 80 minutes of sex and some ridiculous dialogue. With lines such as "You're fucking me to smithereens", "this is a Guinness record blowjob!" and "I love commanding dicks with my iron pussy" you should know what you're getting in for. As far as production goes it is a decent enough production, but there are some laughs in there along with some of the raunchiest sex I've seen in any movie. It takes anything and everything to satisfy Milly!

The Audio & Video
One 7 Movies brings this piece of early 90s Italian hardcore to DVD with an average but passable presentation. The 1.33:1 full frame transfer has decent clarity and sharpness with good looking colors. The source material was in good condition as there is little damage such as scratches and little dirt or dust. The Italian mono audio track sounds fine and is also in pretty good condition with no background noise or damage to the track. English subtitles are optional and are well timed and translated.

The Extras

The Bottom Line
Recommended for fans of hardcore adult fare that like it raunchy.


Friday, January 2, 2015

The Top 10 Films Of 2014

Another year is coming to an end and that means it is time to talk about the best films of the year yet again. As with any year there are plenty of movies I didn't get around to seeing for one reason or another but that didn't make 2014 any less strong. This year was one of the strongest overall years for film in recent years. From summer blockbusters that raked in hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars to independently produced horror my list of personal favorites covers a wide array of types of movies.

2014 also had quite a few duds and big disappointments. From the massive letdown that was INTERSTELLAR and the follow up to one of 2013's best horror films that was just plain awful ANNABELLE, (not to mention the other straight to video horror films that blew chunks like WRONG TURN 6 and SEE NO EVIL 2) there was just as much to gripe about. Fortunately the good outweighed the bad and when all was said and done 2014 was a pretty damn good year. So without anymore babbling here is Celluloid Terror's Top 10 Films of 2014!


Plenty of franchises have been remade, rebooted, re-this and re-that lately. Planet Of The Apes wasn't an exception. Luckily the classic Sci-fi series overcame Tim Burton's shoddy remake in 2001 and came back with a prequel to the original in 2011 with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Rise gave the series a rock solid back story and a taste of the ape action. This summer gave us DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES which takes place ten years after Rise and gives us more of what we got at the end of Rise. DAWN closes the gap between Rise and the original film with tons of action including an awesome assault on the city by the apes, ape on ape crime, and even some more heartwarming moments between the head ape Caesar and humans as they understand each other but fail to keep their respective species from going to war. I had a bit of anticipation for this film to be released but it exceeded my expectations in just about every way. If we get one more prequel film for the POTA franchise I'll be excited to see how it turns out after a good showing from Rise and a great showing from DAWN.


It's independent, it's horror and it's Wisconsin. It's HOLE IN THE WALL at number 9. This anthology horror film, made on budgets that may have actually included shoestrings from an all Wisconsin based group of filmmakers blew me away earlier this year. It's so trashy and offensive that it tugged on my heartstrings and touched on many of the things I hold dear. Does that say a lot about me? Probably. The horror films range from brutal and gory to sickeningly sexual and depraved. John Waters would be proud. And I am too. What about? I'm not sure exactly. Maybe that I know there are still filmmakers out there who simply don't give a shit about the rules or the mainstream. There's nothing mainstream about HOLE IN THE WALL. There's nothing here for most viewers but as readers of this blog there is probably something here for you so you should absolutely seek it out. Maybe I'm proud that I can help sing the praises of such a great film made by such a great group. I'll go with that.


The X-Men series is probably the franchise that sparked the fire for big budget comic book movies. The first film came out in 2000 and it and its first sequel were excellent. Now the franchise is seven films deep and has fully recovered after a bad stumbles. The latest entry, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is based on one of the most popular story lines in the comic's history and raked in nearly $750million at the box office. A healthy chunk of the roughly $3billion the franchise has made in total. DOFP is among the best entries in the franchise, standing toe to toe with 2003's X2 and 2011's FIRST CLASS. We've come to know quite a few of the characters in the franchise and their performances are certainly up to snuff here, even surpassing previous films but if anything the films 131 minute run time feels like it isn't enough. The story feels rushed and cut short. Almost like an abbreviated version of what could (and should) have been. There's plenty to enjoy here and it is a very good movie but if this movie had been extended by another half an hour or forty five minutes it could have given us the true depth that this story line deserved. Despite it not being everything it potentially could have been DAYS OF FUTURE PAST gives us plenty of X-MEN action and emotions that we haven't seen in the franchise before.


"Found footage" has come be a dirty word. The style of film making generally produces shitty results with a lot of shaky camera work. Like most things that suck there are exceptions and THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT is that exception. This found footage style movie follows a group of friends as they go on a cross country trip to find the most extreme haunted houses around and eventually hear of a secret haunt that could cost them their lives. The point-of-view photography adds to the tension as you can almost insert yourself in to the group's terror. This is not always the case in these types of movies, and more often than not the style of photography takes you out of the movie. The situations presented are creepy and tense and the group we follow are all likable. I can't overstate how important that is, especially in films that present themselves as fact and not mere entertainment. Nothing in this film comes off as forced or fake. It is natural in its execution and that adds to the terror. The ambiguous ending only adds to the creep factor that the film built.


JODOROWSKY'S DUNE is the lone documentary on the list and deservedly so. If Alejandro Jodorowsky has anything to do with it you can automatically consider me interested. That goes about a million times more for learning about the failed production of Jodorowsky's film adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic Sci-fi novel Dune. For decades it had been a legend of cinema, but for the first time we get an extended look at what the master of surrealism had in mind for the film, including the complete film in comic book form. Along with the extensive sit down with Jodorowsky there's interviews with talent who was attached, folks from the business side of the production and even the late artist H.R. Giger. Yes, Jodorowsky's Dune would have been a mind bending marvel if nothing else but at least JODOROWSKY'S DUNE is a glimpse into the creation of this legendary non-production and in to the mind of a brilliantly creative mind and soul.


Perhaps the purest adrenaline rush of the year came in the form of a sequel to the purest adrenaline rush of 2011. THE RAID 2 follows Rama, the protagonist from the first film as he goes undercover for the police to infiltrate the criminal underworld and bring it down from within while also exposing corrupt cops. This is a two and half hour marathon of brilliantly choreographed fight scenes on a scale that hasn't been seen since the films of the Shaw Bros. The level of violence exceeds just about anything you've anything and there are a number of times that you'll find yourself exclaiming various noises and phrases (usually expletives) as you see it all unfold. Pacing for a film of this length is very important and THE RAID 2 never drags or overstays its welcome. Scenes move briskly while carrying the story seamlessly. THE RAID 2 has some of the most memorable showdowns in recent action movie history and even a couple of the coolest characters in "hammer girl" and "baseball boy".


If there is controversy in my list I expect this is where readers will find it. Coming in at number 4 is GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. James Gunn was given the green light to take some chances with a major blockbuster production to stay true to the source material in this Marvel comic book adaptation and the high praise and steep rewards reaped at the box office are the proof that it was wise to let Gunn do his thing. GUARDIANS was a blast, from the rag tag group, to the near perfect humor in the dialogue and and even the soundtrack that was probably a bit unexpected but worked brilliantly this movie is summed up with one word- "fun". I've made no secret that I don't like Vin Diesel or Batista but I'll give credit where credit is due- they're both great (okay, Vinny D didn't have much to do, but Batista was damn near brilliant). Hell, everyone was damn near brilliant in it and we finally get closer to war with Thanos. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY comes in at number 4 because a recent viewing of the film didn't give me quite the same reaction that my initial theatrical viewing did. That's not to say that I found it to be less of a film the second time around, it wasn't, but on my first viewing I had an emotional reaction to the film that didn't carry over. GUARDIANS remains an incredibly well done large scale blockbuster that has an identity all its own.


Despite reading a lot of positive reviews for the film, THE GUEST totally blindsided me. I wouldn't count myself among the fans of the writer and director's previous work which certainly tempered my expectations a bit. My expectations remained pretty high however and this film surpassed them with ease. I recently posted a review of the film and its upcoming Blu-ray release which you can view HERE for more on the film.


2014's summer movie season started pretty early and the bar was set exceptionally high with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. The second Cap film takes place in Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is damn close to being the perfect comic book movie. The acting is above average, the effects are perfect and beautiful and the action is exciting, and over the top. In an expansive series of films filled with great comic book movies THE WINTER SOLDIER rises above just about all of the rest which speaks to its not only its overall quality of production but its entertainment value. This pretty much brings us up to The Avengers 2 which is set for summer of 2015 and will hopefully be up to par with the first Avengers film and THE WINTER SOLDIER, which happen to be my two favorite films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


 Surprise surprise the Godzilla fanboy puts the new GODZILLA film at number 1. Well, maybe it is a surprise since there's a ton of complaining and bitching about the movie not having enough Godzilla footage. If you've never seen a Godzilla move it isn't endless footage of a guy stomping around a miniature city set in a green suit. There's always a story involving humans and there are commonly extended periods without giant monsters destroying shit. Of course we watch these movies to see giant monsters destroying shit but there's a lot of fun to be had on the other parts of the movie as well. Hell, some of the cheesiest and most entertaining parts come away from the rubber suit fights! GODZILLA is the second American take on the classic Japanese character, and after the disaster that happened in 1998 I think we'd all be okay if America never got another chance. Luckily, we did and the product that Gareth Edwards turned out as director of the film was nothing short of epic. The showdowns between Godzilla and MUTO, the fights and destruction of the cities, the wink to Mothra (see you in the sequel!), and the well done human interactions all added up to everything I hoped a modern day American take on Godzilla would be.