Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TURKEY SHOOT (Blu-ray Review) - Severin Films

Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written By: Jon George, Neill D. Hicks
Starring: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig
Color/93 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 22, 2015

The Film
Freedom is obedience. Obedience is work. Work is life. That quote sums up the totalitarian mindset of the politics that drive TURKEY SHOOT. Citizens who don't comply with the corrupt and oppressive law of the land are detained into behavior rehabilitation camps where they're forced into labor, abused mentally, physically and sexually and tortured before they're able to be released back into society. A group of inmates are chosen to be prey for a group of rich people to hunt on the grounds of the camp which leads to one of the most insane thrill rides ever put to celluloid.

When a film production has to literally toss the first 15 pages of its script due to losing a chunk of its funding it usually spells doom for that movie. TURKEY SHOOT overcame that obstacle. While it may not have had the grand scale director Brian Trenchard-Smith originally envisioned, he rolled with the punches and decided to shift the tone to what he described as a "Lucio Fulci splatter film". I wouldn't argue that with him. The film definitely makes its feelings and points known with social commentary but the reason this movie was a financial success is because it is violent, gory, action packed and just a bit sleazy.

Combining genres such as horror, action and the women in prison genre, TURKEY SHOOT is classic exploitation that all fans need to see. The acting is competent from a script that is a bit campy but not without its message. The direction and photography also get the job done. There's nothing super flashy in the directing or camera work but it's never distractingly bad either.

It's no surprise that TURKEY SHOOT, released as Escape 2000 in the USA, was heavily cut by the Australian censors - Exploding bodies, machetes to skulls, toes being eaten, circus freaks, explosions, male and female nudity, blood and guts rule the film. Audiences may not have gotten all the goods in theaters back in 1981, but Severin Films makes sure we get it all in the glory of HD.

The Audio & Video
Severin Films delivers TURKEY SHOOT on Blu-ray with a beautiful anamorphic widescreen transfer that has a light but natural grain structure giving the disc a very film like feel. Detail is strong in textures and surfaces, from the metal of a crossbow to concrete block torture devices. Colors are warm and natural and skin tones are fleshy without being waxy. There's no signs of excessive digital noise reduction or edge enhancement. The 2.0 English soundtrack isn't flashy or boisterous but it gets the job done nicely with a properly mixed HD presentation that is free of any damage such as popping or crackling and has no issues with background noise.

The Extras
-"The Ozploitation Renaissance" - 26 minute featurette with interviews on the Australian film market during the 70s and 80s
-"Turkey Shoot: Blood & Thunder Memories" 23 minute featurette with interviews of several cast members
-Audio commentary with director Brian Trenchard-Smith
-Interview with director Brian Trenchard-Smith
-"Not Quite Hollywood" extended interviews with: Brian Trenchard-Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, Steve Railsback, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Gus Mercurio, and Bob McCarron - 77 minutes worth of interview footage filmed for the 2008 documentary from Mark Hartley
-Alternate "Escape 2000" title sequence

The Bottom Line
Severin Films is Blu-ray. Blu-ray is TURKEY SHOOT. TURKEY SHOOT is awesome.

TURKEY SHOOT is available HERE

Monday, September 28, 2015


Directed By: Adam Egypt Mortimer
Written By: Brian DeLeeuw, Adam Egypt Mortimer
Starring: Ronen Rubinstein, Grace Phipps, Sierra McCormick
VOD Release Date: September 18, 2015

Lincoln is sent to a camp after he retaliates against his bullies. The camp is for troubled teens with various issues to work out in a friendly and healthy environment. Shortly after arriving Lincoln's problems find him again as a group of more popular kids heard about his fight and decide they want to test him and see if they can push him to his limit. As stuff gets worse for Lincoln he makes a wish that they were dead and a vengeful spirit with ties to the camp will help his wish come true whether he likes it or not.

I'll start off with this - I think the basic idea of SOME KIND OF HATE could have worked had the writing been better. Bullies and their victims are a hot topic these days and it is no surprise that they've become a popular plot device in movies as well. While a paranormal horror thriller isn't exactly the first place my mind goes when I think of a bully/victim plot device I can see where it would work. Or at least be interesting.

But it doesn't work, and it really isn't interesting. At least not here, as the twist is painfully obvious. Every character in this movie is a horrible cliche. That even includes the kid that sort of looks like a skinhead complete with an iron cross tattoo on his neck but he's friends with a couple of stereotypical black kids. That's one that didn't make sense to me. Moving on, there's the popular girl who can't deal with it and cuts, the death metal fan who is bullied and is basically plucked straight out of the Columbine massacre, a nerdy hacker, and so on. Every character is one note and the adults in charge who are total worthless shitbags of human beings might not even be a full note. They're so sparsely seen that they may as well not even be around. Except for the Yoga instructor to have a lingerie scene with one of the teens because that is totally believable.

At 82 minutes long (and really only about 75 when you take out the end credits) SOME KIND OF HATE should have at least been a quick and easy one despite my feelings towards it but it wasn't. As soon as the ghost enters the scene the movie comes to a screeching halt and takes a small step forward to the finish every few minutes but every step is exactly the same as the one before- Angry ghost picks out a camper, hurts itself to kill the camper, Lincoln finds them and freaks out, repeat.

I'm glad I wasn't a victim of bullying and decided to watch this movie because the caricature that it paints teens with problems as is shitty and would probably make me feel worse about myself. Everybody in this movie gets lumped into some sort of broad stereotype and has to live it out to the fullest. Not only is it shameful, it's also poorly executed plain and simple.

Friday, September 25, 2015

TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015) - Epic Pictures

Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
In Theaters and on VOD October 16, 2015

Halloween and horror movies go together hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, tricks and treats, lamb and tuna fish. There are endless amounts of horror films that take place during the Halloween season and a few of them really manage to capture the spirit of the holiday from the childlike wonder and imagination the holiday invokes to the Mardi Gras-esque party vibe that adults love. Then there's the scary side to the holiday which TALES OF HALLOWEEN blends together perfectly with the adult and kiddie side of things.

Through its 10 part anthology TALES OF HALLOWEEN is perfect viewing for the season. Whether it's tricks or treats that you're looking for they're both here. Starting with the radio broadcast voice over from Adrienne Barbeau who has an absolutely perfect voice for such a part, to the pop-up storybook styled opening credits which are more stylish and well thought out than any opening credit sequence I've seen in recent memory, the spirit of Halloween is embodied in every second of this movie.

Of course in a movie consisting of so many different stories, which loosely intertwine here, there's going to be some winners and some losers so here's a look at each of the stories.

Sweet Tooth (Dir: Dave Parker) - This short creates a unique original urban legend and makes it fun and gory. Don't forget to leave a little something out for ol' Sweet Tooth after you're done trick or treating! This is one of my top three chapters

The Night Billy Raised Hell (Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman) - Features a lot of full on violence and a great twist. Certainly adheres to the darker side of Halloween.

Trick (Dir: Adam Gierasch) - A gory piece filled with violence as a group of teens take out some adults. The story is weak though and offers little besides the ahem... eye candy.

The Weak And The Wicked (Dir: Paul Solet) - A decent morality tale with a mean spirit. A jarring shift to Go Pro footage and an out of place metal soundtrack hold this one back though.

Grim Grinning Ghost (Dir: Axelle Carolyn) - Perhaps the thickest atmosphere of any chapter as a woman walks home alone late at night and fears a pissed off spirit is following her. Simple and effective.

Ding Dong (Dir: Lucky McKee) - My fears came true that my least favorite chapter would be from Lucky McKee. This was by far the weak point of the film for me as the story of a witch who desperately wants to take a trick-or-treater to be her own child is thin and boring along with below par effects.

This Means War (Dir: John Skipp & Andrew Kasch) - A couple of polar opposite characters carry this one as the new metalhead neighbor's loud and graphic Halloween display is at odds with the traditional decade's old display and things end in a bloody battle for neighborhood supremacy. This one is exciting from the start but is an obvious one note composition. Fun nevertheless.

Friday The 31st (Dir: Mike Mendez) - Another one in my personal top 3. Starting out with a traditional slasher film love letter to Friday the 13th, this one takes a quick turn as our slasher's victim gets some intergalactic powers and battles her attacker. The turn this one takes was unexpected, welcomed and even a bit cute. The classic body count style quickly gets an Evil Dead 2 style energy that can't be faked. Either the filmmakers believe in it or it doesn't work. It works here and I loved it.

Bad Seed (Dir: Neil Marshall) - This short is from the most experienced name in the bunch and features the most recognizable names in the cast. The story of a killer pumpkin could have easily turned into something shitty and awful but instead it is cheesy and wonderful. There's even a bit of a Halloween 3 moment at the end. I want a feature length version of this one! This is the final entry in my top 3 (don't make me choose!)

10 parts and only one real stinker? I'll take a 90% success rate with so many different voices to be heard and stories to be told. I'm writing this with a full week left in September and I have that giddy feeling in my stomach that Halloween lovers get as the leaves turn orange and fall from the trees. The season is upon us and there's one way to get in the mood this year and that is TALES OF HALLOWEEN.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

NIGHTMARE WEEKEND (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Henri Sala
Written By: George Faget-Benard, Robert Seidman
Starring: Debbie Laster, Dale Midkiff, Debra Hunter
Color/86 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 22, 2015

The Film
Bonkers. That's the only way to describe this film about a scientist who shares his great invention that  can transform bad personalities with a fellow scientist who is secretly using the invention to turn people into raving bloody thirsty mutant maniacs. It's bonkers.

NIGHTMARE WEEKEND is several types of film depending on what part of the film you're watching. It's a science fiction film, an erotic thriller with plenty of softcore porn stylings, there's a crime film in there as well but at its heart it is indeed a horror film. A really bizarre, stupid and frankly pretty shitty horror film. I mean that in the best way.

Filled with goopy and slimy gore and make up effects along with plenty of nudity there's nothing going on here but a big pile campy fun. The acting is quite hammy but particularly bad. All of the actors are dubbed and the dubbing isn't that bad either. The direction and photography are both competent which hold the film together enough to allow for the other qualities to be total cheesefests and still work out.

Oh, and did I mention there's a talking hand puppet. And that his name is George? Yeah, there's a talking hand puppet named George. And a metal ball that flies around and kills people. Are you following? No? Just see the movie. It's so weird and just plain out there that I can't help but love it. I didn't even mention the roller skating, bikers, public sex scenes, theme song... I can keep going on but I don't think I need to. Just enjoy it.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome gives NIGHTMARE WEEKEND a beautiful HD transfer for its Blu-ray debut. The transfer has strong detail and nice colors. Dark scenes are a bit heavier on noise than lighter scenes but black levels are inky and deep with no traces of compression or blocking. The English DTSHD Master Audio sounds crisp and clear with no background noise or damage noticable. The mix job is quite well done as well as the soundtrack and dialogue compliment each other nicely.

The Extras
-"Thank God It's Monday" - An interview with special effects creator Dean Gates (23 minutes)
-"Killer Weekend" - Interview with Marc Gottlieb (13 Minutes)
-Alternate R-Rated edits
-Theatrical trailers
-DVD copy of the film

The Bottom Line
Vinegar Syndrome has plucked NIGHTMARE WEEKEND from obscurity, restoring all of the cut footage and release it on an attractive Blu-ray release for us to enjoy. Now all you have to do is enjoy it. Go get it!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

JURASSIC PREY (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing

Directed By: Mark Polonia
Written By: John Oak Dalton
Starring:  Houston Baker, James Carolus, Danielle Donahue
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Region FREE

The Film
"You played a tattered ass Bigfoot and you think you know about bears!"

If the rest of the film was as great as that line is this would be a cult classic. Even though it will never reach the status of cult classic, JURASSIC PREY does play itself into the hands of drunken entertainment. The story of a prehistoric dinosaur being freed after an explosion in some mines and terrorizing a forest where some bank robbers are hiding out is both stupid and ridiculous in a mildly entertaining way.

The acting is okay, the writing is a ham and cheese sandwich with some laughs scattered throughout and the dinosaur looks to be somewhat poorly rendered stop motion animation with shitty CGI blood effects that are good enough for a chuckle each time it's on screen. Even though the movie is short enough to not overstay its welcome you'll be thankful to see the credits when they start to roll.

I wouldn't put JURASSIC PREY on as the night's only entertainment. I'd save it for the tail end of a night of drinking when you need something that doesn't require your undivided attention or your most stable and sober mindset.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing's DVD release of JURASSIC PREY is pretty standard and passing grade material. The 16x9 transfer is relatively sharp and the digital photography is obviously free of any dirt or debris. Meanwhile colors are decent. The English 2.0 audio fares about the same. It gets the job done without being anything to write home about. There's no damage and the levels are mixed adequately.

The Extras
-"Making Of" featurette (7 minutes)
-Audio commentary with the director

The Bottom Line
What can I say, it's worth a drunken watch to laugh at.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

MADCOW (DVD Review) - Troma

South Africa/2010
Directed By: Michael Wright, Michael J. Rix
Written By: Michael Wright
Starring: Tanya Van Graan, Greg Viljoen, Andile Mngadi
Color/85 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 8, 2015

The Film
What do you get when you mix a chainsaw wielding mancow or cowman, copious amounts of superimposed fart and poop sounds, raunchy humor, blood squirting everywhere, tainted meat, zombies and a South African setting? The film that could only be MADCOW.

MADCOW was written and produced with a very obvious Troma state of mind. It's only appropriate that they have picked it up for distribution. Had I not known otherwise I would have thought this was an actual Troma production. It's silly, a bit gross, cheaply made and poorly written. It's also mildly entertaining, but only at times. The film is intentionally stupid to play up that side of the comedy which is what the film really relies on. Make no mistake, MADCOW is a comedy first.

From a quality standpoint there isn't much. The acting is hammy and the effects are shitty. The cow monster design looks like a high school mascot, which I actually thought worked for his look but he by no means looks like an organic creature. MADCOW has some sporadic entertaining moments but for the most part didn't leave me feeling much of a reaction either way and that might be even worse than making me hate your movie.

The Audio & Video
Troma's DVD of MADCOW is a bit wishy-washy with the color palette as it looks decent at times and totally washed out at others. I feel this can more likely be attributed to how the movie was photographed though. The DVD suffers from slight compression issues which doesn't make sense as it isn't a long film and there's not enough special features to really need to squeeze it down. Nevertheless there's slight blocking that is evident throughout. The picture is clean otherwise on the anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer. The English audio is weak. The mix is poorly done as audio is often muddy and low in the mix and almost totally lost at times with louder effects or soundtrack moments. The track is clean and free of damage of background noise but it's a shitty mix nonetheless.

The Extras
-"Making Of" featurette (11 minutes)
-"Sunny Acres Farms" - Short film by Troma and Peta (2 minutes)
-American Cinematheque Honors 40 Years Of Troma
-Radiation March
-Tromatic trailers

The Bottom Line
Troma by way of South Africa and it turns out to be very similar in both tone and results to many of Troma's actual productions. It has its moments but overall I'm as wishy-washy on this one as the transfer is.

MADCOW is available HERE

Monday, September 14, 2015

PULSATING FLESH/SUPER SEX (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Carlos Tobalina
Written By: Ray Hardin, Carlos Tobalina, Edgar G. Warren
Starring: Ray Hardin, Tamara Longley, Vanessa D'Oro
Color/159 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: August 15, 2015

The Films
SUPER SEX follows the dirty goings on at a Psychiatrist office when a younger doctor fills in for the older experienced head of the practice and has some new methods to try out on the ladies who come to him with sexual hangups. He even lets his (obviously quite attractive) secretary help out! Everything could fall apart when he's interrupted by the old doctor until he joins in as well and is a full on supporter of the method!

There's not much sleazier in the medical field than taking advantage of your patients in a sexual manner and that is what this film is all about! The film never leaves the not-so-safe confines of the doctor's office but where else would we rather be with such hot action going on? It may be too much for the old uptight secretary but for everyone else it's time to play! And who are we to judge a doctor's methods if they work, right?

Then it's time for Superman... I mean Supersperm... well, it's time for PULSATING FLESH which chronicles the character Peter Longfellow, a man hired to impregnate women who may otherwise be barren. You see, Peter's seed is so strong that he can impregnate ladies who are even on the pill. He can do two at once too. And for a small fee you can sample his work!

This movie is a blast (pun fully intended)! It's a silly adult romp filled with attractive women, a variety of situations and scenarios, including one where a live interview with Mr. Longfellow leads to him fucking and impregnating the host in front of a live audience! A live audience with children present, mind you. What kind of parents bring their kids to a raunchy sex seminar? I guess everyone, regardless of age, needs to know of the great and powerful Peter Longfellow! Who am I to judge? There's some funny moments in here, including the host's reaction after Peter was finished with her which gave me a good belly laugh.

SUPER SEX will get you warmed up and then PULSATING FLESH will come in as the main event and proves to be quite the enjoyable film.

The Audio & Video
Both films have been restored with 2K scans from the original 35mm camera negative by Vinegar Syndrome and it is obvious the negatives have been kept in good condition as each film looks fabulous. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers are squeaky clean and quite sharp for a DVD presentation. Colors are strong and skin tones fleshy and healthy. The 2.0 audio tracks are nothing special but have well done mixing and handle the job with ease and without any complaints.

The Extras
A theatrical trailer is included for each film

The Bottom Line
A lighthearted duo of adult films from Carlos Tobalina that still ramp up the kink factor just enough to keep it extra juice. Recommended.

PULSATING FLESH/SUPER SEX Peekarama double feature is available HERE

Thursday, September 10, 2015

ALL AMERICAN BULLY (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing

Directed By: Jason Hawkins
Written By: Jason Hawkins
Starring: Daren Ackerman, Alexander Fraser, Alicia Rose
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: June 23, 2015

The Film
A small group of friends who like to spend their time playing role playing games every weekend are the target of a local group of bullies led by an old friend turned enemy who is terrorizing the group by destroying valuable books, and beating them up. When the group tries to fight back in their own way the bullying quickly escalates into a place you can't return from.

ALL AMERICAN BULLY is a raw film, not only in its production values as an independent film that is far from polished but in its delivery and execution which gives a grave realism to the film. The characters are written with actual everyday people in mind. Our group of nerds (and I use the word lovingly) could be found at any high school across the country and our bullies are more of the popular group who like to continually prop themselves up by putting everyone else down. I'm sure many of us have experienced these types of people during our days in grade school and it's that easy type of connection that makes ALL AMERICAN BULLY a successful film.

The movie could have easily ended up as nothing more than a respectable attempt at making a powerful drama pulled down by weak writing, inexperienced acting and amateur directing. Instead the acting is quite competent with one of the worst performances surprisingly coming from one of the more experienced actors in Adrienne King of Friday The 13th fame.

ALL AMERICAN BULLY plays on its aforementioned rawness to make the audience feel like they're more a part of situation as opposed to just watching it. And that's the power of a movie such as this, there's nothing fictional about ALL AMERICAN BULLY. Things like this can happen every day in any school in any town to anyone and lives are lost because of it. I think ALL AMERICAN BULLY is a very good film and turns disadvantages to advantages but I can't say I had a lot of fun watching it. It punches you in the gut and causes visceral reactions.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing delivers a ALL AMERICAN BULLY on DVD with an anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks good. The digital photography is clean and in very good condition and there's little to no compression or artifacting which was a pleasant surprise. The 2.0 audio is perfectly clear with good mixing and steady levels. There's no damage or background noise to speak of.

The Extras
-Extensive cast interviews

The Bottom Line
I think ALL AMERICAN BULLY is a truly great independent film that deals with a major issue plaguing America's youth.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Directed By: Daniel Farrands
Written By: Daniel Farrands, Peter Bracke
Color/400 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 8, 2015

The Film
Friday The 13th has become one of the most successful horror franchises in history and has spawned arguably one of the most beloved and recognizable movie monsters in history in Jason Voorhees. The hockey mask clad, machete wielding killer has dispatched of more horny teens than you can shake a stick at and 35 years after the first film there is no sign of a popularity drop in sight.

Inspired and based upon the fantastic book of the same name, CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH is one of the finest film documentaries ever made. Documenting the 12 films and TV series under the FRIDAY THE 13TH banner that span three plus decades, this doc features sit down interviews with over 150 different cast, crew and executives from the series talking about the films, their experiences, the reception and legacy of the films they worked on.

Filled with great stories, outtake footage and more information then you can possibly soak up in a single viewing CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES has significant rewatch value and may only be trumped by the Nightmare On Elm Street series documentary "Never Sleep Again". CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES would be just a bit better if less time was spent discussing the plot of each film and more time was invested in behind the scenes stories and rare information nobody else besides cast and crew would know. This is a minor gripe and doesn't detract from my opinion on this documentary much at all. Oh and then there's Cory Feldman's narration that goes full blown Frog Brothers at points and it gets a little annoying... blah blah, just watch it and love it!

The Audio & Video
RLJ/Image Entertainment deliver a beautiful Blu-ray and it should be no different. Sit down interview segments should look sharp and pristine and they do here. There are some rougher areas throughout the film such as rare cut footage from the films that are in beaten and battered shape but the newly produced footage looks as it should. And it sounds as it should, with a simple but very well done mix job.

The Extras
An audio commentary track is included with the filmmakers of the documentary

The Bottom Line
This is an essential companion piece to your Friday The 13th collection and is heads and shoulders above the other Friday The 13th documentary called His Name Was Jason.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

DARK WAS THE NIGHT (DVD Review) - RLJ Entertainment

Directed By: Jack Heller
Written By: Tyler Hisel
Starring: Kevin Durand, Lukas Haas, Bianca Kajlich
Color/98 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 1, 2015

The Film
After a logging company clears out a section of woods in the town of Maiden Woods a strange and violent series of events start to occur from an unseen force. The two sheriffs must protect the town from this monstrous attack while dealing with their own personal demons.

DARK WAS THE NIGHT is a really well made film full of great performances from the lead Kevin Durand (The Strain) to supporting actors like Nick Damici (Stake Land, Late Phases). Director Jack Heller handles the personal drama that each character faces without turning it into eye-rolling soap opera fare. He blends that in to add into the horrors the town is facing as animals disappear, bloody corpses are found strewn around the woods and strange footprints are seen throughout the town to make a film in which we care about everybody we come across. We want the town of Maiden Woods to survive and that's incredibly important.

To say DARK WAS THE NIGHT is a slow burn would be correct, we don't see much of the monsters at all until the film's finale and before that there's only a handful of gruesome moments but this is a character driven film that works so damn well we know the payoff is coming and that we'll get our horror fix before the end. Until then we have a group of characters we instantly cared about facing some sort of unknown foe. And then shit starts getting really bad for the town, they decide to hole up in the town's church together to wait out a snowstorm as the attacks are getting worse. Here comes the payoff!

And then we get the money shot, we see the monster in all of its... erm... glory. Its Syfy channel CGI dreck glory. I can't overstate my disappointment in what I saw, this poorly rendered, green, scaly, rocky, lump of shit. The film that I was so fully on board with as a horror film driven by characters and sight unseen scares that upped the tension for this showdown took a jump off the high dive into a pool of bullshit. After the reveal I was so let down that I was taken completely out of the movie for the remainder.

Until the final groan inducing little twist at the end. DARK WAS THE NIGHT was right there, potential to be a really really good horror film that didn't rely on blood and guts or tits and ass to grab the audience's attention. Common real life drama pushed the film forward and then when the film needs the horror movie payoff to pull it all together and make it a successful horror film it fails us.

The Audio & Video
The DVD from Image/RLJ Entertainment looks solid top to bottom. The film's color palette is heavy on grey and blue hues to add to the cold and distant feeling of the upstate New York town. The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is clean and sharp for a standard definition release. There is a Best Buy exclusive Blu-ray that I'm sure looks even better. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio track has a well done mix job and there's no background noise or distractions such as popping or crackling.

The Extras
-Behind the scenes: A Trip To Maiden Woods
-Q & A with the cast

The Bottom Line
DARK WAS THE NIGHT is like that deep fly ball in the bottom of the ninth with a full count and the bases loaded when your team is down by 3 that gets caught on the warning track. The whole thing builds this fantastic drama and story and you're waiting for that huge dramatic payoff and when it comes up just short it's incredibly deflating.


Friday, September 4, 2015

THE YOUNG LIKE IT HOT/SWEET YOUNG FOXES (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Bob Chinn
Written By: Gail Palmer, Deborah Sullivan
Starring: Hyapatia Lee, Kay Parker, Eric Edwards
Color/176 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Limited Edition: 2,000 copies

The Films
The employees of a small town phone help line are at risk of losing their job to a new computer system if they can't persuade the bigwigs that they can provide services that no computer can. This instantly leads to phone sex with obscene callers who jack off over the line, getting fucked right in the office even while on the phone, and house call services that their callers have never experienced before!

THE YOUNG LIKE IT HOT is a rather funny comedy filled to the brim with sex. There's no shortage of incredibly attractive women including Hyapatia Lee and there's also some genuinely funny moments including a lewd caller yelling about "fucking your armpits!" This is an easily enjoyable good time from start to finish.

In SWEET YOUNG FOXES Laura (Hyapatia Lee) is home from college and bored out of her mind as her boyfriend is out of town. With little to do besides bicker with her stepmother Laura takes on the quest of finding herself and opens up a world of sexual experiences.

Far more a drama than the first film on this double bill, I found SWEET YOUNG FOXES a bit less fun. The stepmother drama bored me a bit but the scenes with Laura and her friends were energetic, youthful and exciting. Had this film taken a slightly less serious tone I think it could have been a home run like THE YOUNG LIKE IT HOT was.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome please never stop what you're doing because these films are yet another example on a growing list of absolutely beautiful transfers. Sure, there's a bit of white and black speckling scattered throughout the film but that never becomes an issue or distracting and the transfers are otherwise spectacular. The rich grain structure keeps the original film look and feel while skin tones are healthy and natural. Colors are vibrant and look no further than Hyapatia Lee's red dress in SYF to see what the definition of "colors that pop" means. Good lord! The original aspect ratios are maintained in the 16x9 anamorphic widescreen presentations that have been restored with 2K scans from their original negatives and have likely never looked this good, maybe not even during their theatrical exhibitions.

As for the audio, it sounds crystal clear with a nice crispness and excellent mix job. There's no background noise or damage to speak of.

The Extras
-Interview with Bob Chinn
-Interview with William Margold
-Theatrical trailer for both films
-DVD combo pack release

The Bottom Line
In the world of adult films you likely have a winner with a pair of Bob Chinn films starring Hyapatia Lee. This release takes that winning combination and gives it the high quality release it has deserved for 30 years.

THE YOUNG LIKE IT HOT/SWEET YOUNG FOXES Peekarama Double Feature is available HERE

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

THE PIGMAN MURDERS (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing

Directed By: Stephen Patrick Kenny
Written By: Stephen Patrick Kenny
Starring: Gerard Fallon, Eugene Horan, Mark Hutchinson
Color/70 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: April 21, 2015

The Film
Seven friends head in to the woods for a camping trip in remembrance of their friend's death one year ago. They have hired a professional cameraman to document their trip to turn in to a gift to their friend's family as a tribute to him. The trip is plagued with personal drama from the start and bad turns to worse when the group finds a badly beaten man covered in blood who warns them of a killer in the woods.

I assumed THE PIGMAN MURDERS was going to be a slasher film in the traditional sense but it isn't It is a found footage film packed with a whole lot of nothing throughout most of the duration. I think the idea of making a documentary of you and your friends camping and partying as a gift to your fallen friend's family is a bit odd to begin with but you'd think the cameraman you hired would have a camera that didn't distort, break up and flicker every minute or two. There's nothing going on in this movie that should make the camera fuck up as often and as badly as it does.

Really, it makes no sense and pulled me out of the movie each and every time it happened. Walking through the woods or the wind blowing doesn't make a camera, especially that which should be a half decent camera from a "professional", distort. The movie is packed with the typical bickering between characters as it seems nobody can ever get along in a found footage film even before anything goes wrong. The only chance this movie had was making the villains interesting, something they didn't do as they're barely on screen even when they're dispatching of people left and right.

Maybe THE PIGMAN MURDERS would have been good had it went the slasher route I was expecting, maybe not. I'd be willing to wager that it would have at least been more interesting and I'd have been able to allow myself to at least TRY and get into the movie, something the constant bullshit with the camera didn't allow me to in this one. The saving grace, if you can call it that is that the movie only runs 70 minutes despite the DVD case stating a 90 minute runtime. Another 20 minutes would have been unbearable.

The Audio & Video
The film's intentional cold and overcast look is on display here with a downbeat color palette full of grey shades. Colors are muted a bit as is sharpness and detail levels. It's all in how the film was photographed. Wild Eye Releasing does a nice job keeping the film's intended look with their anamorphic widescreen transfer. The English audio is passable but far from great, again it's all in how the film was made and not a problem with the production of the DVD. It sounds as if the audio was recorded through a built in microphone on the camera rather than a legit boom mic as it is ruffled and muddy at times. Coupled with thick Irish accents dialogue can be difficult to understand at times.

The Extras
-"Curse Of The Banshee" short film
-Original trailer

The Bottom Line
The worst part about THE PIGMAN MURDERS isn't that I'm disappointed in what the movie isn't, it's that I'm totally let down by what it is.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

THE CURSE OF DOWNERS GROVE (Blu-ray Review) - Anchor Bay

Directed By: Derick Martini
Written By: Bret Easton Ellis, Michael Hornburg,  Derick Martini
Starring: Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till, Penelope Mitchell
Color/89 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: September 1, 2015

The Film
The town of Downer's Grove has had an unlucky streak of a high school senior dying the week before graduation for the passed several years. With graduation quickly approaching Chrissie (Bella Heathcote) begins to think the curse may be upon her after a series of disturbing events have rained down on her in recent days.

The synopsis of the film sounds like a horror film, potentially of the supernatural genre, but instead we get a largely real world based thriller that is driven by the terrible things that can go on in the life of a high school or college student. The problem is that the curse is mentioned throughout the film but only in passing most of the time. It is brought up enough that we are well aware that it is meant to be a plot point but it's never played up as a real big deal and ends up being totally pointless.

The acting is spotty and uneven at best and Tom Arnold at worse. Yes, that Tom Arnold, former husband to Roseanne. He's on screen for a handful of scenes and is fucking awful in each one. The word "abhorrent" immediately comes to mind. Please stop, Tom Arnold, for the love of God. The script is as uneven as the acting and the voiceover work that only occurs at the very beginning and very end serves no purpose, nor do the visions that Chrissie sees throughout the film which serve as the only real reason to believe there may be any sort of supernatural or curse element.

The editing is atrocious, at times making it seem like there are missing frames. The rest of the movie is a pedestrian affair at its best and a waste of time at its worst.

The Audio & Video
Anchor Bay gives us a rock solid Blu-ray presentation with a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is very sharp and has a high detail level. Colors are strong and skin tones are natural and healthy looking without any sign of excessive DNR. The English audio is handled with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that sounds beautiful and crisp. There's no damage or background noise and the mix job is very well done.

The Extras
The lone special feature is a four and a half minute behind the scenes featurette

The Bottom Line
Skip it.