Monday, March 30, 2015

GONE WITH THE POPE (Blu-ray Review) - Grindhouse Releasing


USA/1976
Directed By: Duke Mitchell
Written By: Duke Mitchell
Starring: Duke Mitchell, Jim LoBianco, John Murgia
Color/82 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: 3/24/2015

The Film
Duke Mitchell stars in his own film as Paul, a criminal who has recently been paroled who gets a nice payday to put a hit on 7 men in California and Las Vegas. He splits the bounty with a friend of his to take care of the Vegas hits. Aferwards a few of Paul's friends get paroled and he drops his master plan on them- Kidnap the Pope and make every Catholic in the world pay $1 ransom!

GONE WITH THE POPE was lost and unfinished for over 30 years. Duke Mitchell left the film unfinished and passed away before ever touching it again. Thankfully Bob Murawski of Grindhouse Releasing was able to get in touch with Duke's son and was given the opportunity to try and edit what was shot and turn it into something. Murawski's efforts yielded an entertaining, morally questionable (that's being quite forgiving) and violent film.


GONE WITH THE POPE would be Mitchell's second and final film and is a nice companion piece to the earlier Massacre Mafia Style. The acting is a bit stiff as much of the cast were friends of Duke and not professional actors. There's a great soundtrack and some really creative film making techniques. GONE WITH THE POPE features a plot that I find to be complete genius. I immediately knew that this was a movie I needed to see when I read the plot and it doesn't disappoint. Even if the film didn't take the directions I expected or even hoped it would it plays out in a manner that really works and the ending is a bit bonkers.

When all is said and done GONE WITH THE POPE is far from perfect but the fact that film exists in a completed form is a minor miracle and all fans of genre cinema should definitely check it out.

The Audio & Video
All hail Grindhouse Releasing! Not only did they rescue this film, finish it and premiere it in 2010 after decades of sitting in a garage, they've given it an absolutely stunning Blu-ray release! I don't want to sell this release short and I don't think I can overstate just how beautiful the picture on this release is. The anamorphic widescreen transfer comes from the original 35mm camera negative and is  incredibly sharp. The picture is clean and crisp and features a warm natural grain structure. Colors, especially the Las Vegas neon, pop with brilliance. Skin tones are natural and black levels are deep. There are three audio options available, mono, stereo, and a new 5.1 mix by Marti Humphrey. All of the tracks are in English and HD. The crispness and crystal clarity to the audio is top notch. There's no damage to speak of and no background noise.


Please note: Images taken from DVD version of the film

The Extras
-"The Players Of GONE WITH THE POPE" - A 60+ minute featurette with extensive interviews from stars Jim LoBianco and John Murgia, cinematographer Peter Santoro, editors Bob Leighton and Robert Floria and Matt Cimber
-Shooting GWTP featurette
-Restoring GWTP featurette
-Footage from the 2010 World Premiere in Los Angeles
-Deleted scenes
-Outtakes
-Frankie Carr and the Nov-Elites performance live in Vegas
-Theatrical trailer
-Grindhouse Releasing trailers
-Liner notes
-Extensive still galleries
-Filmography
-DVD-Rom screenplay
-DVD copy of the movie


The Bottom Line
Grindhouse Releasing kills it with this release of a long lost and unfinished film that will turn in to a classic piece of exploitation. A beautiful restoration job and lovingly packed with special features, this is a must own for any exploitation film fan!

GONE WITH THE POPE is avaIlable HERE

Friday, March 27, 2015

MUTANTIS (DVD Review) - Dire Wit Films


USA/2014
Directed By: Kelly Fitzgerald
Written By: Mark Leake
Starring: Darren Bolk, Gary Brown, Mark Colegrove
Color/73 Minutes/Unrated
Region 1
Release Date: September 23, 2014

The Film
How cheesy do you like it? Extra cheesy? How about 4 cheese? Fuck it, pour on all of the cheese! MUTANTIS takes all of the cheese and wants more as a scientist brings his stepchildren into the woods to find Bigfoot but instead finds the horrible creature Mutantis, known to the hillbilly locals as a hideous creature that will chop your head off as fast as he fucks you! Yeah, bloodshed isn't enough for Mutantis, he wants to procreate!

Dire Wit Films is a Baltimore based group known for making some remarkably cheesy, offensive and gory films such as Pleasures Of The Damned, Isle Of The Damned and The 7th Day.  MUTANTIS may take the cake on all of them as far as being offensive goes. On top of being very bloody and filled with gore it is also filled with immense amounts of sexual deviancy, much of which comes from the monster itself.


The tongue is planted firmly in cheek with humor being a major part of the film. Many voices are re-recorded with purposely cheesy dubs and there are some over the top characters like the blowjob lady who lives in the woods. The crew of MUTANTIS wears its influences on its sleeve, from old creature features to humor that Troma found Lloyd Kaufman would approve of and gore filled horror films, and is proud of the trash they created. They should be because MUTANTIS is ridiculously entertaining, genuinely funny and features excellent special effects (along with one of the greatest and cheapest monster suits ever!)

The Audio & Video
Dire Wit Films releases their own production on DVD with a nice looking anamorphic widescreen transfer. The low budget film still manages to have a quality presentation with nice sharpness and very vivid colors. The audio which is dubbed for stylistic purposes has a good mix between the soundtrack and dialogue and is very clear.


The Extras
-"Heavy Metal Weekend" parts 1 and 2 - Short films featuring Mutantis. Funny stuff!
-"The Mime" short film by Kelly Fitzgerald
-Deleted Scenes
-Bloopers
-Indiegogo campaign videos
-Trailers
-Photo gallery


The Bottom Line
MUTANTIS is hilarious, gross and offensive in the best way. Support independent horror and home grown cinema and check out MUTANTIS!

MUTANTIS is available HERE


Thursday, March 26, 2015

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOL. 8


USA/1970s-80s
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Starring: Varioius
Color/111 Minutes/X
Region FREE 
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Film
In the latest volume in the PEEPSHOW COLLECTION of 8mm stag loops we get all the sexiness the 70s and 80s could offer up (again!). A woman pays her cab fare with her body, bringing up the cabby to suck and fuck while in another short a woman wakes up her man, who seems to be recovering from some sort of broken arm, with some oral before he gets going and doesn't let his arm stop him from doing anything and everything to his woman. There's a photographer that uses his camera to land two women at the same time, a down and dirty job interview and more!

Taking you back to the sleazy days of the 70s and 80s where you'd find people milling around porn theaters and porn stores in any downtown buying their magazines or pumping quarters into the booths to view reels such as these, this collection gives great insight into the early days of porno video distribution and how even in the early movie making days it was all about who could be the hottest
and the nastiest!


The Audio & Video
Another nice presentation from Impulse Pictures as they've saved these shorts from obscurity and preserved them on DVD. The full frame transfers preserve their original aspect ratio and for the most part look good. There's scratches and speckling of dirt and dust but colors are largely strong and the image is pretty sharp for 8mm film. There's a few moments of harsher wear but I'm very pleased with how these loops look. As always, these loops are silent aside from the projector noise.


The Extras
Liner notes from Robin Bougie of Cinema Sewer magazine are included


The Bottom Line
This DVD collection of 15 loops gives you a much cleaner and safer way of viewing the classic XXX footage without needing a pocket full of quarters (or something to sanitize with after!). You know you want it.

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOLUME 8 is available HERE

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DIGGING UP THE MARROW (Blu-ray Review) - Image/RLJ


USA/2014
Directed By: Adam Green
Written By: Adam Green
Starring: Ray Wise, Adam Green, Will Barratt
Color/88 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: March 24, 2015

The Film
DIGGIN UP THE MARROW is presented as a documentary in the making, following real life film makers Adam Green and Will Barratt as they follow a man named William Dekker (Ray Wise) who believes he has found entrances to "The Marrow" an underground system of cities where real life monsters live.

Just last month I reviewed the film itself, which I loved and there's nothing I can say here that I didn't already say at length previously. So check out THIS review to find out more about the film itself. I will add that DIGGING UP THE MARROW movie absolutely holds up to a second viewing.

The Audio & Video
Image/RLJ have done a stellar job releasing DIGGING UP THE MARROW on Blu-ray. The image on the anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 is sharp and clear. Detail level is high with flesh tones looking healthy and natural. The numerous dark scenes handle the black levels beautifully with no blocking or compression issues. The DTS-HD audio track is crystal clear though there's not a ton in the way of sound design that just shows how nicely recorded and mixed the audio is.

The Extras
-Audio commentary with Adam Green, Ray Wise, Will Barratt and Alex Pardee
-Deleted and extended scenes with introduction from Adam Green
-Monsters Of The Marrow - a half hour featurette about bringing the art of Alex Pardee to life for the movie
-Trailer

The Bottom Line
DIGGING UP THE MARROW is one of my favorite genre movies of the last few years and I can already tell you that I fully expect it to be a strong contender for my "best of 2015" list at the end of the year.

DIGGING UP THE MARROW is available HERE

Monday, March 23, 2015

THE MUTHERS (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


Philippines/1976
Directed By: Cirio H. Santiago
Written By: Cirio H. Santiago, Cyril St. James
Starring: Jeannie Bell, Rosanne Katon, Trina Parks
Color/83 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: March 10, 2015

The Film
Kelly and Anggie head up a band of pirates known as The Muthers where they live in seclusion with their gang and rob rich cruise liners for their goods and money while battling the rival pirate gang lead by Turko. Kelly and Anggie throw themselves into the clutches of a slave farmer when they find out Kelly's sixteen year old sister has been kidnapped by the group and fight to find their sister along with their own escape and survival.

The king of Philippino exploitation, Cirio Santiago, delivers another piece of greatness. Part pirate movie, part jungle action/adventure movie but mostly a women in prison film, THE MUTHERS does a great job of taking a group that commit unsavory acts as their means of existence but making them extremely likable and having the audience root for them, even if it is simply by pairing them up against foes that are less likable. The performances in exploitation fare such as this can be all over the place but the cast lead by Jeannie Bell (TNT Jackson herself!) and with veterans of exploitation classics such as Ms. 45, Ebony Ivory & Jade and Stryker, the acting definitely doesn't disappoint.


The screenplay is action packed with plenty of shootouts, fist fights, explosions and torture scenes. THE MUTHERS is a blast, pun absolutely intended. No, THE MUTHERS might not be for everyone, and it really isn't the best at any of the areas it explores but for fans of women in prison or blaxploitation films you'll hardly find yourself scoffing at THE MUTHERS. As for the rest of you -Get lost!

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome gives THE MUTHERS a DVD release that maintains the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with a quality anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are vibrant and lively while skin tones are healthy and natural. The film has been restored from the original negative and shows just a bit of speckling and scratching from age related damage, otherwise it is a great looking disc. The English audio track is clear and free of annoying background noise or damage. The mix in levels between dialogue and score is well done and nothing more can be asked of this A/V presentation!


The Extras
The lone extra is a theatrical trailer


The Bottom Line
Give me all your women in prison and blaxploitation films and I'll eat them up, especially when they're as fun as THE MUTHERS! Highly recommended!

THE MUTHERS is available HERE

Sunday, March 22, 2015

MY NAME IS A BY ANONYMOUS (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


USA/2012
Directed By: Shane Ryan
Written By: Shane Ryan
Starring: Katie Marsh, Demi Baumann,
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 23, 2014

The Film
Based on the true crime case of the murder of nine year old Elizabeth Olten by her fifteen year old neighbor Alyssa Bustamante, MY NAME IS A takes a raw and graphic look at growing up alienated and left to your own devices while not knowing how to deal with your own emotions.

Small on straight forward narrative, MY NAME IS A is more of a test of patience while dealing with angsty teens who are a near perfect personification of the "emo" label and stereotype. How long can you stick with this movie watching the girls binge and purge, cut their wrists or cry so that mascara is running down their face? I finished it, but just barely.


What could have been a powerful film touching on the struggles of growing into your own shell and dealing with the hand you've been dealt and showing the consequences of thinking there are none or that there's nobody outside of your own little world ends up looking like a music video from a band like The Used or My Chemical Romance.

The Audio & Video
MY NAME IS A was made with little in the way of professional equipment it seems and the DVD from Wild Eye Releasing looks as such. The picture quality looks like it was shot with low end consumer grade cameras and gives a soft and grainy look. This style does work for the film itself in ways that HD might not. The audio is similar in that it works but it is no frills and is adequate.


The Extras
Wild Eye has assembled a nice collection of extras for their release of the film...

-"The Columbine Effect" - an alternate edit of MY NAME IS A
-"I Hate Me, Myself and Us" - An hour long cut of MY NAME IS A
-Deleted and alternate scenes
-Music video
-Teona Dolnikova music video spotlight
-"Isolation" - a short film
-"Oni-Gokko" - a short film
-Trailers


The Bottom Line
Big fans of films based on true crimes may want to take a look but otherwise know what you're in for.

MY NAME IS A BY ANONYMOUS is available HERE

Friday, March 20, 2015

HOUSE OF LAST THINGS (DVD Review) - Revolver Entertainment


USA/2013
Directed By: Michael Bartlett
Written By: Michael Bartlett
Starring: Lindsey Haun, Blake Berris, RJ Mitte
Color/110 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: February 10, 2015

The Film
HOUSE OF LAST THINGS centers around a couple who leave their home in the hands of a young girl as the caretaker while they visit Italy in an effort to save their marriage. The girl allows her boyfriend and her brother to stay at the house with her when all sorts of weird things start happening such as pictures changing their image, ghostly apparitions, and perhaps most of all, her boyfriend kidnapping a boy in a harebrained ransom plot. The house is pushing them towards the brink of insanity while exposing a nasty truth.

From the start, HOUSE OF LAST THINGS throws so many different tones at the viewer that I have no clue if they knew what kind of movie they wanted to make. There's moments of comedy that are along the lines of Three Stooges slapstick style thrown in on psychological horror and supernatural horror along with moments that make your daily soaps look good. There's plenty of loose ends that are so messily tied up its like they didn't bother tying their shoe, they just stuffed the laces in the sides.


With moments that harken back to The Shining, Asian horror films of the early 2000s, and maybe even some David Lynch films HOUSE OF LAST THINGS really doesn't manage to hit any of the right notes. There's some interesting visuals and some scenes are directed pretty decently but the movie runs too long, is way too worried about being weird instead of crafting a tighter film and simply does not manage to pull itself together.

The Audio & Video
Revolver Entertainment's DVD release of HOUSE OF LAST THINGS features a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks quite good. The picture is sharp and features vibrant colors with strong detail levels. The Dolby Digital audio is equally as nice with great clarity and an excellent mix job between dialogue and soundtrack. There's no background noise or damage.


The Extras
None.


The Bottom Line
HOUSE OF LAST THINGS is an effort that shows potential in multiple areas but ends up being a muddy mess of ideas that never come to fruition.

HOUSE OF LAST THINGS is available HERE

Thursday, March 19, 2015

RABID GRANNIES (Blu-ray Review) - Troma


Belgium/1988
Directed By: Emmanuel Kervyn
Written By: Emmanuel Kervyn
Starring: Catherine Aymerie, Caroline Braeckman, Richard Cotica
Color/89 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: March 10, 2015

Forgive me in advance, this review will be a little different than most disc reviews due to the truly bizarre nature of this release.

Let me begin with the film itself as I know it to be. RABID GRANNIES centers around a dinner party held by two elderly aunts for their relatives. When the aunts open gift from the black sheep of the family which happens to be some sort of demonic box they're transformed into mutating monstrous demons and begin killing off the rest of the family in disgustingly gory and bloody fashion. In the vein of cheesy horror classics such as Lamberto Bava's Demons or the great Night Of The Demons starring Linnea Quigley, RABID GRANNIES definitely holds it own among similar and more well known titles of the decade. There's some fantastic creature and gore effects along with some incredibly silly and hilarious dialogue. It deserves a bigger following and reputation than it has as it is really never talked about when campy classics of the 80s are being discussed.

I first saw RABID GRANNIES years ago via Youtube. It wasn't the prettiest presentation but it was mostly complete, at least as far available releases in the states were concerned. I understand that there's no true uncut release of this movie available and that the most complete version is a German DVD release. Troma has previously released a DVD back in 1999. This release ran about 89 minutes and I believe to be the source of the video I watched when I was first exposed to the movie. There are other cuts floating around with heavier cuts to the blood and guts but the Troma DVD didn't seem too badly butchered. The movie had a nice flow and was still pretty gory.

Now Troma has released RABID GRANNIES on Blu-ray (the package also includes the 1999 DVD) and I was pretty excited when I heard the news. Then I read an early report that brought my excitement level down a bit but I thought maybe that report was being overly harsh. And then I received the disc in the mail to cover here so when I got the chance to pop it in and view an underrated gem that I was long overdue to watch again you'll only imagine the devastation and anger that came over me when I first laid eyes upon the utter shit I was looking at. The Blu-ray of RABID GRANNIES featured 2 cuts, one being labeled as a "producer's cut". I decided to watch the regular version first. This cut clocked in at about 69 minutes, a severely edited cut of the film compared to Troma's own DVD release of the movie that is a full 20 minutes longer. I've never heard of a version of the film this short. The only thing I can guess is that the Blu-ray was sourced from a PAL version of one of the edited versions of the movie that run in the 75 minute range and suffered from the 4% speed up due to converting from PAL to NTSC? This is a personal theory and one I admittedly have no evidence to back up but maybe? Either way, it really doesn't make sense to use that cut of the movie when you've previously released the movie in a far more complete version!

So we're dealing with a heavily cut version of the movie, at least it'll look great in HD, right? Right? Well, no. It doesn't look great. It doesn't even look good or okay. In fact it looks like this transfer was sourced from an old shitty VHS that has been duped a few times. The color palette for a big percentage of the film is just way off compared to the DVD. There are scenes that have a sepia tone look to them that look nothing like that on previous releases. There's scenes with a blue hue to them that shouldn't. There's no fucking sharpness to the picture at all and there's issues with artifacts and blocking in the image's background. The movie is cut to shit as well. Where the movie starts on Blu-ray is a good 10 minutes into the movie on DVD and explicit effects scenes are noticeably shortened. This is the daytime TV version of RABID GRANNIES if there was one and if the TV station spilled coffee all over the print and then ran it over with a truck a few times.

Maybe the Producer's Cut will be better... after all it is the PRODUCERS CUT! I'd love to know the history behind this cut and if anyone involved with the movie in any way, let alone a producer, actually had something to do with it because it's the exact same version of the movie but with 90 seconds of black screen before the movie starts. Yes, that's it. You get to sit through a minute and a half of fucking nothing before the same shitty version, with the same shitty quality starts. Maybe that's the producer giving you time to rethink your decision to watch this version and pop in the DVD instead!

There's a bit of irony in the whole thing as the only improvement the Blu-ray has over the DVD is that it finally gives us the movie in a widescreen format. The old Troma DVD looks decent enough for an early DVD but it is cropped to a full screen presentation. So now we at least get the movie in its proper aspect ratio! Well not so fast. The Blu-ray is framed to a Scope 2.35:1 aspect ratio that simply looks too wide at times. Framing just looks a little off and head's are chopped off at times. I think, and if the information provided at IMDB is correct, the aspect ratio should be 1.85:1. What a fuck job of a release this is.

Troma has been pretty fucking good with their Blu-ray game so far. They've taken a while to get stuff out but everything they've put out has been quality. I don't know what the fuck happened with RABID GRANNIES but whoever is responsible for this thing should never be allowed near a BD release again. This is quite possibly the worst Blu-ray transfer I've ever seen. There's some special features including deleted scenes, and trailers and things like that but it doesn't really matter when the movie itself looks like total fucking shit.

I'm going to recommend this release with great hesitation and only with the giant asterisk of buy it for the DVD and get some special features alongside it on the Blu-ray. If you already have the DVD stick with that.

 I love Troma and I hope this is just a single misstep along the way to more great releases on Blu-ray.

RABID GRANNIES is available HERE

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE WALKING DECEASED (2015)


USA/2015
Directed By: Scott Down
Written By: Tim Ogeltree
Starring: Tim Ogeltree, Dave Sheridan, Troy Ogeltree
In Theaters and On Demand: March 20, 2015

Zombies are the hot thing right now for better or worse. The only thing that has infiltrated all corners of pop culture like zombies have in recent years is bacon. I'm a fan of both of those things but it has gotten out of hand and is really annoying at times. Bacon this, zombie that. Part of the mainstream popularity of zombies, a large part, is thanks to The Walking Dead television show based on the comic books. The Walking Dead has found its way from prime time television, to merchandise all over mega chain store shelves and moms bringing their little children to horror conventions to spend tons of dough meeting the cast of the television series while putting their noses up at real horror fans. It was only a matter of time before it was spoofed.

THE WALKING DECEASED follows a rough track and timeline of The Walking Dead from Sheriff Rick waking up from a coma in the hospital to find the world in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. He finds his son and bans together with a group of other survivors and make their way to a farm for refuge hoping to survive long enough for a cure to be found.

THE WALKING DECEASED plays out as a giant pop culture reference filled with internet meme humor. Besides the AMC series other zombie references include Zombieland, Shaun Of The Dead and George Romero's classics. The pacing is fine with some genuinely funny moments but too often there's lulls in the action and moments where the humor falls flat. Some jokes are repeated too many times but overall the cast is capable of carrying the movie to be more entertaining than not and there is a pretty good chemistry between them to keep an organic feeling when it is necessary.

THE WALKING DECEASED likely won't become a cult classic of zombie comedy but it isn't all bad. It's a breezy watch clocking in at under 90 minutes and there's enough to like about the whole thing to get you passed the less funny moments.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HALO: NIGHTFALL (Blu-ray Review) - Microsoft Studios


USA/2014
Starring: Mike Colter, Steven Waddington, Christina Chong
Color/98 Minutes/TV-14
Region A
Release Date: March 17, 2015

The Film
Agent Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) of the Office Of Naval Intelligence is investigating terroist activity on the planet of Sedra when his team of ONI agents and the innocent occupants of the colony fall under a biological attack that only affects humans. Locke must team up with Randall Aiken, a military commander and their squads must try to cooperate enough to stop a growing alien threat in a supposed time of peace on a highly dangerous alien planet.

I'm not a Halo fanboy by any means. I guess you could call me a very casual fan of the franchise. I've played some of the games and enjoyed them but never got caught up with the stories, expanded content or various series that spun off from the games. I actually didn't even realize HALO: NIGHTFALL was a series until after I watched it. This is a collection of five episodes that has been edited into a feature length film. With only a passing knowledge of Halo I can say I mostly enjoyed the movie for that military driven science fiction film it is. The acting is solid and the locations are quite attractive and interesting to look at.

The writing is a bit cookie cutter with generic characters and plot devices that aren't uncommon in the genre but they are executed well enough that the movie doesn't suffer too much. NIGHTFALL will fill in the gap of events between the Halo 4 and Halo 5 video games and for that fact alone is worth checking out for more serious fans.

The Audio & Video
Microsoft Studios gives HALO: NIGHTFALL a gorgeous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Detail level is quite high and everything has a natural look to it without excessive DNR. Colors pop with a wonderful vividness and skin tones look fleshy and healthy. The 7.1 DTS-HD English audio track sounds brilliant with a perfect mix of tracks. It's boisterous when it needs to be and crystal clear when things are a bit more subtle. There's no background noise or annoyances.

The Extras
This disc has a nice selection of extras.

The Bottom Line
Halo fans will definitely want to check out HALO: NIGHTFALL and it will also appeal to a broader audience of Sci-fi fans.

HALO: NIGHTFALL is available HERE

Monday, March 16, 2015

SOMETHING WICKED (DVD Review) - Arc Entertainment


USA/2014
Directed By: Darin Scott
Written By: Joe Colleran, Joe Mungra
Starring: Shantel VanSanten, John Robinson, Brittany Murphy
Color/91 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: March 17, 2015

The Film
A year after the death of her parents in a vicious car wreck Christine and her boyfriend James are moving on with their lives, getting their education and preparing for their wedding day. However a relentless stalker has turned their attention to Christine and she tries to prove that her terror is true while secrets in the family begin to make themselves known.

SOMETHING WICKED is Brittany Murphy's last film and is surprisingly just being released more than five years after her death. She co-stars in this thriller that is as good as any other run-of-the-mill thriller getting a theatrical run these days with some fading star heading the cast. It's unfortunate to see her in this as she looks very thin and sick. In spite of that she turns in a good performance along with the rest of the cast who are all really rock solid. Shantel VanSanten and John Robinson have good chemistry together lending a great deal of credibility to their relationship.


The direction is competent and skilled but there's a lot of subplots going on that really murk up the flow of the movie. There's supernatural elements that come and go as they please without so much as a mention along with partners cheating on each other that really never resolves itself properly and so on. The movie does wrap up the main plot in an interesting fashion that really is the tipping point that makes SOMETHING WICKED at least a decent movie and worth a watch. There's just too much going on without any real resolution to it all or more importantly, any need for it.

When it's all said and done SOMETHING WICKED ends up being something decent but it will likely be something that's quickly forgotten.

The Audio & Video
Arc Entertainment delivers SOMETHING WICKED on DVD with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks quite good. The image is quite sharp with strong colors and handles black levels without any crush or compression. There's very little on the negative side of the picture quality on this disc. The English audio is handled with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track that sounds equally strong. The mix in dialogue and music is well done as each part compliments the other. There's no background noise or annoying popping or crackling. A rock solid A/V presentation.


The Extras
A trailer is included.


The Bottom Line
SOMETHING WICKED probably should have had a bigger release than a straight to DVD release several years after production. It isn't a great movie but it's solid in its execution and is worth a look if you're into the type of often watered down thrillers that frequent theaters these days.

SOMETHING WICKED is available HERE

Friday, March 13, 2015

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOLUME 7 (DVD Review) - Impulse Pictures


USA/1970s-80s
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Starring: Various
Color/114 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Film
Ah yes another volume of hardcore 8mm loops featuring some of the raunchiest and most unforgiving sex scenes yet! How about the girl that gets raped and pissed on by two black men (including one with one of the longest coke fingernails I've ever seen). This happens on what looks like the Brady Bunch's backyard. Groovy! Then there's the young piano student who is spanked and fucked by her instructor for not playing her scales right. There's more than one type of ivory being pounded in that one! There's plenty more ridiculous, sexy, gross and everything in between loops involving pizza men (I still laugh about this one thanks to the liner notes), weird cults with wine douches, and more!


According to the liner notes by Robin Bougie of Cinema Sewer magazine this volume focuses on loops that featured actors and actresses who quickly left the adult film biz and never made much of a name for themselves. Hopefully their relatives never stumbled upon these because some of the dirtiest dirt in the series happens here in this volume.

The Audio & Video
Impulse Pictures has done a nice job here delivering what may be the best looking series of loops in their collection to date. There's scratches and speckling but for the most part the picture is sharp and clean without any really bad deterioration or damage. The shorts are presented in their original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and are silent besides the background noise of the projector.


The Extras
Robin Bougie's liner notes are the lone extra


The Bottom Line
Even the most jaded fan of this stuff might be a little embarrassed or shy with this collection of 15 different loops. It's down and dirty with no shower in sight. All the juices are flowing like wild and you don't even get a towel. Enjoy!

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOLUME 7 is available HERE

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

DON'T GO IN THE WOODS (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


USA/1981
Directed By: James Bryan
Written By: Garth Eliassen
Starring: Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, James P. Hayden
Color/82 Minutes/R
Region FREE
Release Date: March 10, 2015

The Film
A group of four campers take a trip into the woods for a weekend of camping and fun. Little do they know a madman hunts the very woods that they've decided to take a trip to and dispatches anyone he comes across in extremely brutal fashion. A fun filled weekend turns into a fight for survival deep within the wilderness.

DON'T GO IN THE WOODS has a reputation as a particularly low budget independently produced splatter fest. It's inclusion on the Video Nasties list adds to the reputation surrounding the movie and that reputation pretty much sums up the film. DON'T GO IN THE WOODS is an incredibly fun 82 minutes of carnage and black humor. There's nothing else going on other than body parts and blood being tossed around and shit to laugh at. The acting is awful and didn't have anything to really work with as far as the writing goes and the direction is equally as bad. Somehow it all comes together for a fun romp in the woods.


Come for the bloodshed and stay for the bloodshed is all I can really say. If you're not a slasher fan you'll probably want to skip DON'T GO IN THE WOODS but if you enjoy slasher films even a little bit I think you'll find a lot to like (for one reason or another) in DON'T GO IN THE WOODS. The killer looks like a cross between old WWF wrestlers The Berzerker and The Barbarian and carries around this giant furry stick thing and totally mauls everybody. It's pretty fucking great to be honest. The ending is satisfying and the credits feature this completely amazing little folky children's rhyme song. "Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be thriller. Don't go out in the woods tonight, you probably will be killed..." Yup, it's bad, but in the most perfect way. I'd never seen DON'T GO IN THE WOODS prior this this disc entering my hands. Sure, I've been well aware of it but never tracked it down. This movie will probably be in high rotation in my life from now on.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome has done a rather nice job restoring DON'T GO IN THE WOODS for this Blu-ray presentation. A 2K scan was done on the 35mm interpositive with nice results in the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colors of the forest are lush and lively while the blood reds are warm without being pumped up artificially to pop off the screen. The transfer has some speckling and scratches but has no serious damage. Skin tones are fleshy and natural with no signs of waxiness from too much digital scrubbing. A DTS-HD mono track handles the English audio. The track is clean and crisp and I didn't notice any excessive background noise or damage such as crackling, popping or
other annoyances.


The Extras
Don't go into the extras... alone! (Because there's a lot of them!)

-Audio commentary with the director
-Audio commentary with star Mary Gail Artz
-Audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues!
-Cast and crew featurette - a somewhat recent look at the people responsible for the film which is nearly an hour long
-Autograph signing party featurette - comedic interviews from the original DVD release party
-TV promo compilation
-Theatrical trailer
-Multiple still galleries


The Bottom Line
Another Video Nasty makes its way to Blu-ray and Vinegar Syndrome has knocked it out of the park as they tend to do. The movie is a blast and this release is as good as it gets.

DON'T GO IN THE WOODS is available HERE

Monday, March 9, 2015

WOLFCOP (Blu-ray Review) - RLJ/Image


Canada/2014
Directed By: Lowell Dean
Written By: Lowell Dean
Starring: Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio, Sarah Lind
Color/79 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: March 10, 2015 (Best Buy exclusive period) / May 12, 2015 (Wide Release)

The Film
Lou Garou is a small town cop who puts far more effort into swilling booze than anything resembling solving a crime gets dispatched to investigate a reported disturbance in the woods at the edge of town when he's attacked. Garou wakes up in his bed with little memory of what happened but has a pentagram carved in his chest and finds that his sense of smell and hearing have been increased. At the turn of the full moon it becomes perfectly clear that Garou has been transformed into a werewolf and now with supernatural power fueled by his love for drinking, he will uncover the centuries old dirty secrets hidden beneath the surface of the town.

Think about a werewolf cop taking down meth labs, battling supernatural forces, drinking booze and blowing shit up. Yes, WOLFCOP is as awesome as it sounds. Everything about this movie is fucking great. The direction from Lowell Dean who also wrote the film, is great. It is skilled and packed full of energy. Dean's script is genuinely funny and exciting without having to force its hand at anything. The cast is great and have a natural chemistry that adds a level of believability and credibility to the movie.

Let's get down to it though... In a movie called WOLFCOP what the viewers care about is the action, the creature makeup and the horror. There's plenty of it. The wolf design is a blend of classic horror ala Lon Chaney Jr. and what Wolverine might look like if he was a wolf. I love it. This movie could have cheaped out and went with CGI effects, luckily for us they didn't. The practical effects including plenty of blood squirting, limbs being ripped off, a werewolf transformation scene and explosions are all brilliantly executed. The barn explosion is done with a miniature but I couldn't tell that until watching the special feature. That is the sign of a skillfully done effects.

WOLFCOP moves at a blistering pace from start to finish, cramming in 2 hours worth of action into about 80 minutes and you'll barely have a chance to catch your breath. This has instantly become one of my favorite movies of the last five years and is fully deserving of all the praise it has received.

The Audio & Video
Image/RLJ Entertainment give WOLFCOP a beautiful full HD 1080p transfer with an anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and clean, free of any damage. Colors are vivid while black levels are deep and inky without any pixelation or blocking up. The English audio is handled with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and sounds beautiful. The sound is crisp and clear with no distractions or damage.

The Extras
A bountiful selection of extras have been included....

-Audio commentary with writer/director Lowell Dean and Special FX artist Emersen Ziffle
-Behind the scenes featurette
-"The Birth Of WOLFCOP" featurette
Outtakes
-Music video
-Multiple trailers and promos
-Trailer Park Boys shout out

The Bottom Line
Run, don't walk, to the store to pick up your copy of WOLFCOP and pick up some booze while you're out. And while you're at it get some donuts too. Then you'll be ready.

WOLFCOP is available HERE

Friday, March 6, 2015

Massacre Mafia Style (Blu-ray Review) - Grindhouse Releasing


USA/1978
Directed By: Duke Mitchell
Written By: Duke Mitchell
Starring: Duke Mitchell, Vic Caesar, Louis Zito
Color/82 Minutes/R
Region FREE
Release Date: March 10, 2014

The Film
Duke Mitchells stars as Mimi Micelli, the son of a mafia kingpin who decides to return to America leaving his baby son to be raised by his father. Mimi head's to Hollywood and quickly finds his niche in the organized crime family there, leaving a bloody mess nearly everywhere he goes. Eventually Mimi decides he wants to take down a major pimp they call "Super Spook" which gives Mimi and the gang all they can handle until Mimi decides to leave the crime in Hollywood behind and return home to his father and see his son who is now grown.

MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE, also known as Like Father, Like Son, is the directorial debut from famed nightclub performer Duke Mitchell. Mitchell made this movie as an answer to The Godfather, promising more action and violence than the classic gangster film. Mitchell certainly delivered on that promise. If the opening and closing scenes of MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE don't leave a lasting impression on you I don't know what will. They are truly two of the most memorable scenes I've ever had the fortune to watch play out onscreen.


Just about every big plot device and main idea for mob movies are crammed into the 82 minute run time. Mitchell manages to get really solid performances and action sequences out of his limited budget. There's really no lull in MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE. It pushes and pushes until it all comes to a screeching halt at the end. The fact that much of this violence is set to extremely stereotypical Italian songs that you might hear at your local Olive Garden or at an old nightclub just makes it all that much better, if even a bit surreal.

If Duke Mitchell made MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE as an answer to The Godfather he certainly made a film I'd rather watch over The Godfather. While I can't say that this film is technically superior to the Francis Ford Coppola film, I can say that there's no doubt in my mind I would choose to watch this crazy violent, uber-exploitative take on the mafia movie nine times out ten. Hell, It'd probably be more like ninety nine times out of a hundred. It really is that good. Any and all fans of exploitation film need to see MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE.

The Audio & Video
Grindhouse Releasing gives the high-def treatment to MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE with a largely gorgeous anamorphic widescreen (16x9) transfer. Scanned from the original director's cut, the transfer features great detail, particularly in close-ups. Colors are vivid and natural while skin tones appear healthy without any waxiness. There's sporadic moments where the image shows a bit more wear from age, being a bit more washed out. These moments only make up a small percentage of the film and don't look bad enough to complain about. There's some scratches and speckling scattered throughout but the vast majority of the film looks fantastic. The DTS-HD Master Audio track is clean and crisp. I didn't notice any damage or background noise to the track. The mix is well done as the soundtrack and the dialogue are complimentary to one another.


Please note: Screen grabs have been taken from the DVD copy of the film and don't represent the glorious quality present on the Blu-ray.

The Extras
This 2 disc, Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is loaded with special features, including...

-"Like Father, Like Son" - a featurette on Duke Mitchell and his son featuring interviews from friends and collaborators of Duke.
-Further interviews with Matt Cimber and Kim LoBianco
-Nearly an hour of Duke Mitchell home movies
-Lost audio recording of a live Duke Mitchell concert from June 9, 1960
-Theatrical trailers
-Radio Spots
-Still galleries
-Filmographies
-Grindhouse Releasing previews
-DVD-Rom extras including original screenplay and treatments for the film
-"An Impressionistic Tribute To Jimmy Durante" - A bonus TV special

And if that wasn't enough, a Blu-ray exclusive feature of BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA. Yes, an HD presentation of the film in which Duke Mitchell makes his feature film debut.


The Bottom Line
It's been a long time coming and it was well worth the wait! This beautiful release from Grindhouse Releasing is a potential candidate for the best home video releases of the year!

MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE is available HERE

Thursday, March 5, 2015

TEETH & BLOOD (DVD Review) - Image/RLJ Entertainment



USA/2015
Directed By: Al Franklin
Written By: Al Franklin, Glenn Plummer, Pamela J. Richardson
Starring: Glenn Plummer, Michelle Van Der Water, Sean Christopher
Color/101 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: March 10, 2015

The Film
A beautiful actress is murdered on the set of a horror film and her body ends up missing. A pair of detectives go undercover as a grip and the new starlet of the film to investigate the murder and disappearance of the corpse. Meanwhile, the town's blood band supplies are rapidly depleting with no end in sight. As more bodies pile up the detectives find out that they're in the middle of a war between rival vampire clans.

Do you remember at the beginning of the 21st century, around 2001-2003, when there was a glut of poorly made direct to video horror films that were heavy with really shitty CGI effects because CG effects programs were finally widely available and affordable for independents? Yeah, that's what BLOOD & TEETH feels like. It feels extremely dated, more so than films two or three times its age, with its incredibly cheap looking CG glowing eyes and blood, rapid movement effects, and shadow/ghost effects. It was excusable for effects to look like this 12 or 13 years ago, but with effects programs getting better and better and remaining affordable there's no reason for it in 2015. It's as if they found an old PC running Windows 2000 with some old FX program installed and thought "jackpot!".


The acting in this movie isn't terrible, some camp and cheese aside the performances are tolerable. That said, even if you can beyond the awful special effects the writing totally lets down any upside the movie had in acting. The pair of detectives might be the most inept and unaware duo I've seen in any movie recently. They literally witness a murder in front of their own eyes and don't realize it. Oh boy. Had this movie been made in the years that it resembles you'd have found it for 99 cents at a Hollywood Video store closing sale and you'd feel ripped off when you got home and watched it.

The Audio & Video
Image/RLJ's transfer of TEETH & BLOOD looks okay. There's some compression issues scattered throughout the anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) presentation but overall it's decent. Colors are strong and sharpness is average. The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack sounds good with a clear and clean mix of dialogue and soundtrack. There's no damage or background noise to mention.


The Extras
As bare as bones can be.


The Bottom Line
I'm not a fan and I cannot in good conscious recommend this title at all.

TEETH & BLOOD is available HERE