Thursday, September 29, 2016

BEWARE! THE BLOB (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Lorber


USA/1972
Directed By: Larry Hagman
Written By: Jack Woods, Anthony Harris
Starring: Robert Walker, Gwynne Gilford, Richard Stahl
Color/91 Minutes/PG
Region A
Release Date: September 20, 2016

The Film
A geologist brings home a canister of an unknown substance that he uncovered from the Permafrost of the North Pole but doesn't realize that what he's brought home is a deadly alien substance that will devour any living thing in its path if it isn't kept frozen. The terror of the blob returns and quickly takes over a small town leading to the ultimate showdown inside a bowling alley and ice skating rink.

The original Blob film from 1958 is a classic example of cheesy B-movie goodness starring a young Steve McQueen who had not yet become the megastar and heartthrob he was destined to become in the following decades. The film was remade thirty years later and is one of the better late 80s horror movies and a genuinely good ramped up remake. It remains a fan favorite to this day. But in between those two films there was the second Blob movie, BEWARE! THE BLOB, shot in 1972 and directed by Larry Hagman in the only feature film he would direct. It speaks volumes that it was re-released in the 80s with the tagline "The Film J.R. shot!" in reference to Hagman's character on the TV show Dallas. BEWARE! THE BLOB was no hit and barely registered on horror fan's radar. When the film is mentioned it is common to hear people say they weren't even aware this movie existed, thinking the 1958 and 1988 films were the only Blob films.

There's something here though, at least on a minor scale, that deserves to be seen. It feels very much like a small time regional production which gives the film a raw, almost cinema verite like feel. I felt like I was watching some sort of news broadcast of what was happening on screen. It was, at the very least, different and interesting. There's a good bit of hippie culture on display which ends up adding a comedic element as the Blob monster doesn't slow down for their laid back attitudes. The rest of the cast who aren't playing hippie characters are all passable but I wouldn't go as far as to call them good. The acting is rough around the edges, but holds together enough so that it doesn't let the film down. The fact that we are dealing with an obvious slice of B-movie cheese certainly gives the actors a fair bit of leeway. In an interesting bit of crew member trivia, Dean Cundey, who would go on to be the cinematographer on films such as Halloween and The Thing, served as a special effects artist and camera operator on the second unit shots which include numerous close up effects shots of the blob itself.

The film's biggest issue is pacing as there were stretches that were just plain dry which makes getting to the good stuff a bit difficult. The Blob moments are just as fun and silly as you'd expect them to be and an early on shot of our Geologist being devoured by the Blob is a great sight gag with just a bit of creepiness to it. Overall the film is uneven, lacks polish and is definitely the lowest rung on the Blob franchise ladder but it certainly deserves to be seen and enjoyed because, hey, it's a Blob movies and fits in nicely as a sequel to the original film.

The Audio & Video
Kino Lorber does this B-movie justice with a nice filmic looking transfer. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that keeps a natural looking grain structure and has solid detail level. Colors are vivid, particularly the red of the blob monster which pops just enough. The DTS-HD audio mix isn't overly dynamic but is a crisp and clear way to faithfully reproduce the film's audio mix. The audio is free of any distortions or background noise.

The Extras
-Audio commentary with film historian Richard Harland Smith
-Alternate title sequence
-Trailers

The Bottom Line
BEWARE THE BLOB isn't the Steve McQueen classic or the seriously good 80s remake that would come later but it is an enjoyable slice of cheese that is a nice fit in The Blob universe that is finally saved from obscurity by Kino. An easy recommendation.

BEWARE THE BLOB is available HERE

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

XLRATOR MEDIA & BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT JOIN FORCES

XLRATOR MEDIA & BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT PACT ON DIVERSE FILM SLATE FOR NORTH AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION


LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2016) – XLrator Media and Blue Fox Entertainment announced a distribution agreement to jointly distribute 15 films a year across all North American platforms, including a number of co-acquisitions. In addition, Blue Fox Entertainment (BFE) will sell the international rights to these and other select XLrator Media films, starting at AFM this year. The deal was announced today by XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon and Blue Fox Entertainment co-founders James Huntsman and Todd Slater.

The two companies began their relationship earlier this year when XLrator Media acquired the North American distribution rights from BFE to the international horror festival hit THE WINDMILL, which opens in theaters October 28th and debuts on VOD and iTunes October 25th.

The first film under the new XLrator Media-BFE distribution agreement will be the holiday-themed thriller GOOD TIDINGS, to be released on December 6th, followed in 2017 by the supernatural thrillers DARK SIGNAL and A DEMON WITHIN. All of the films will be released on XLrator Media’s acclaimed “MACABRE” genre label. 

BFE plans to bring films of all different genres to the partnership, including several high-profile documentaries, which will be distributed on XLrator Media’s “LIFEFRAME” documentary label and other releasing labels.  

 “Our partnership with Blue Fox will allow us to expand our release schedule with highly curated films that will enhance our genre, action, multi-cultural and documentary content labels in both traditional and emerging distribution platforms. James, Todd and I all share the same enthusiasm for disrupting outdated business models that have crippled the independent film eco-system for both content creators and distributors,” said XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon.

“We are excited to partner with the innovative and forward-thinking team at XLrator Media.  Together, we plan to utilize new platforms of distribution with talented filmmakers while bringing fresh creative visions to the film and television market,” said James Huntsman and Todd Slater of Blue Fox Entertainment.



# # #



ABOUT XLRATOR MEDIA, LLC

One of the fastest-growing independent film distribution companies in North America since its creation in 2010, XLrator Media, LLC (XLratorMedia.com) will release 25 films in 2016. Its recent releases include Academy Award-winner John Ridley’s Jimi: All is by My Side starring Andre Benjamin as rock legend Jimmi Hendrix and SXSW hits Housebound, The Mule and The Diabolical. XLrator Media is also the home of the acclaimed MACABRE and TURBO genre film labels, the LIFEFRAME documentary label and the PACE multicultural film label. The company launched its first OTT channel with the MACABRE Collection on Hulu and co-produced 400 Days released by Syfy Films. The company previously released such diverse films as The Machine, CBGB, American Mary, Storm Surfers 3D, Banshee Chapter, Ironclad: Battle for Blood, Five Star, Queen Mimi and It’s So Easy and Other Lies.


ABOUT BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT


As a worldwide motion picture sales representative and completion financing company, Blue Fox Entertainment (BlueFoxEntertainment.com) specializes in connecting filmmakers to leading distribution companies across the globe. Blue Fox Entertainment is a uniquely designed content company, armed with expertise in film marketing, delivery, finance, sales and distribution. Engaging their extensive connections with key buyers and distributors, Blue Fox Entertainment works to strategically place represented films within the optimal platform to achieve the best return for the filmmakers and investors. Blue Fox Entertainment is highly adept at delivering movies to the domestic and international markets, both theatrically and digitally, utilizing the evolving platforms of digital media streaming providers and Video On Demand. Blue Fox Entertainment strives to place each film with the right buyer, and when appropriate, can provide gap and completion funds to get films across the goal line.

Monday, September 26, 2016

DISCO GODFATHER (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


USA/1979
Directed by: J. Robert Wagoner
Written By: Cliff Roquemore, J. Robert Wagoner
Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, Jimmy Lynch, Carol Speed
Color/98 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Blu-ray/DVD

The Film
Rudy Ray Moore stars as the Disco Godfather, a retired cop who is the owner and MC of the hottest club in town. Unfortunately a new enemy has moved into town and is taking over the streets - angel dust. DG is dead set on finding the source of drug and eliminating it from his community.

DISCO GODFATHER is the fourth and final blaxploitation film starring Rudy Ray Moore and may be the most important in the series. The series takes a very real turn in this entry and is very much a commentary on the massive drug problems that big cities were facing in the late 70s. The film keeps the rhyming, trash talking martial arts action that Rudy Ray Moore made famous in Dolemite but it adds in elements of social commentary and surrealism.


Instead of letting Cliff Roquemore continue on directing the series after making The Human Tornado and Petey Wheatstraw, first time director J. Robert Wagoner was given the reigns of the series. This would turn out to be Wagoner's lone feature film directorial credit but he was really solid overall. He even managed to create some truly terrifying sequences when the angel dust leads to a bad trip. The images he created leave a lasting impression despite their relative simplicity. Cliff Roquemore wasn't left out, he co-wrote the script with Wagoner and produced the film. The script is good, keeping Rudy Ray Moore's personality on full display without having to fully depend on it to make a successful film. Unfortunately, the audience wasn't going to a Rudy Ray Moore film to get some social commentary and real talk. They wanted more of the rapping, ass kicking and laughs that he so effortlessly created. That, paired with the disco theme that was unfortunately timed right along with the death of disco. Audiences were smaller and reception was poorer for DISCO GODFATHER than the previous Rudy Ray Moore films.

I consider the entirety of Rudy Ray Moore's filmography to be classic blaxploitation but DISCO GODFATHER, despite it's shortcomings with a smaller budget that lead to some underdressed locations and perhaps a bit less action, and it's unlucky timing in trying to cash in on a music genre that the public had moved on from, it remains an important look into how drug culture can affect a community in the blink of an eye. But for anyone to care about that they first have to be entertained and you will be entertained with DISCO GODFATHER. Rudy Ray Moore is still funny, still badass and rocking some incredible outfits. You're also going to get the trippy sequences which aren't your rainbow walk through flowery fields that you might hope, but a drug fueled descent into hell.


It's upsetting that DISCO GODFATHER wasn't a big success because it certainly deserved to be and it should have been a steeping stone for Wagoner and Roquemore to continue on with their careers and a progression for Rudy Ray Moore's star to grow. Sadly the 80s hit and Moore became a bit of a forgotten commodity and we would only see bit parts for Rudy Ray Moore for years to come and never got the final send off he deserved.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome once again gives us a beautiful 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors and textures flourish in the brand new 2K scan taken from the original 35mm negative. One look at the baby blue jumpsuit or the gold sequins in Rudy's various outfits shows just how much this BD shines.  Black levels are successful and don't suffer from any macro blocking or compression issues. The DTS-HD Mono audio mix is crisp, clear and clean. The dialogue and soundtrack are mixed well with steady levels. There's no background noise, hiss or any other audible distortions to mention.


The Extras
-"I, Dolemite" Part 4 - The last entry into the documentary that spans all four Rudy Ray Moore releases from VinSyn. Again packed full of interesting stories, lots of laughs and is a great companion piece.
-Audio Commentary with Mark Jason Murray, J. Robert Wagoner, Cliff Roquemore and rare on-set audio
-Promotional still gallery
-Soundtrack
-Trailer selection
-Alternate French and German language tracks
-Reversible artwork


The Bottom Line
Bitch are you for real? A Blu-ray of this quality can only be considered a steal! You can kick and punch but if you don't add this to your collection I'll steal yo momma's lunch! You're better than trash but only if you add this Blu-ray to yo' motherfuckin' stash!

DISCO GODFATHER is available HERE

Sunday, September 25, 2016

She Who Must Burn Press Release

She Who Must Burn Debuts on Cable VOD
Digital HD & DVD October 11
Cult Provocateur Larry Kent Turns Up the Heat 
On the Red-Hot Debate over Women's Choice
                                                        
"She Who Must Burn is strong meat." --Variety

"Emotional and intentionally baiting...a horror-siege-witchhunt with no punches withheld" --Coming Soon

"An extraordinary piece of filmmaking that digs past the headlines which make us shake our heads over coffee in the morning."--Film Thrills



Los Angeles, CA - Midnight Releasing has announced the October 11th Cable VOD, Digital HD and DVD release of She Who Must Burn, Canadian cinema provocateur Larry Kent's latest feature. Kent and co-writer Shane Twerdun have crafted a thought-provoking and violent horror story centered around the all-too-real battle between personal choice, state-sanctioned law and religious dogma.  She Who Must Burn will be available to rent or own starting October 11th on Dish Network, Cox, Charter, Verizon Fios, DirecTV, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu, XBox and more.

Sarah Smyth ("Cedar Cove", 50/50, "Supernatural") headlines as a healthcare provider at odds with the evangelical family in her small town.  When she refuses to stop seeing women in need and even helps a desperate member of their own family (sci-fi icon Jewel Staite, "Firefly", "Stargate: Atlantis", "The LA Complex"), they decide she is to blame for the mysterious deaths in the community and must pay.


She Who Must Burn has been acclaimed by mainstream and horror media since its world premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival, where the film took home the award for Best Feature Film.  It went on to screen around the world, winning Best Feature Film at Blood in the Snow and sweeping the awards at the Fright Night Festival, taking home Scariest Film, Best Villain and Best Supporting Actress.  Modern Horrors raved that "the horror is all in the reality"and FilmFestivals.com declared She Who Must Burn is "a profound, thought-provoking movie that brilliantly speaks about our flawed human nature".


A deadly storm heads towards a small mining village as the local preacher feeds the dark resentments seething in the souls of its citizens.  Angela is the only medical resource for women in this unfortunate town where stillbirths and cancer have become disturbingly common. The local preacher and his followers blame Angela for the miscarriages and deaths, and even her Deputy Sheriff boyfriend can't protect her from their wrath. Dark clouds gather as the preacher's followers, infected with religious fervor and inflamed with passionate righteousness, seek to cleanse their community. Those who sin against the Lord must pay.




The DVD release of She Who Must Burn (SRP $17.98) will be available exclusively from Amazon.com.

Friday, September 23, 2016

THE NEON DEAD (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


USA/2015
Directed By: Torey Haas
Written By: Torey Haas
Starring: Marie Barker, Greg Garrison, Dylan Schettina
Color/80 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 13, 2016

The Film
A young woman hires two local "paranormal exterminators" after finding a zombie in her bathroom. These exterminators are little more than a pair of local grocery store employees with a bit of experience dealing with these ancient demon monsters that have recently been plaguing the area with the intention to take over mankind. Can this trio banish the demons back to where they came from before it's too late or will these brightly colored monsters do the bidding of their master and wreak havoc on Earth?


The strongest point of THE NEON DEAD is it's visuals. I don't know the reason why these monsters are glowing but fuck it, they're cool as shit to look at it. Their day glow flesh and bright neon eyes are an original look for these undead baddies and the sets are flooded with heavily colored lighting. The movie is bloody and funny. The three leads have good chemistry together and there's a lot of fun winks and nods to classic fan favorite horror movies. It's easy to pick apart the shortcomings of low budget indie horror but when a movie takes as much pride in not only its aesthetics but also having extremely likable characters and a decent storyline I don't even want to spend my time nitpicking.

I think it's best to keep this review as brisk as the film itself. The 80 minute runtime flies by with laughs and splatter so grab some popcorn and check out THE NEON DEAD.



The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing really knocks the look of this movie out of the park with a really strong DVD presentation. The anamorphic widescreen transfer has great colors and clarity. The 2.0 audio mix is also quite crisp and clear with no background noise or hiccups.


The Extras
-Director's Audio Commentary
-Allison Profile
-Creature Profile
-Jake Profile
-Happy Birthday Greg
-"First Date" - Short Film
-"Troll Picnic" - Short Film


The Bottom Line
THE NEON DEAD is one of the more entertaining indie horror flicks I've seen lately and if that's you're thing you should definitely check out this DVD!

THE NEON DEAD is available HERE

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE (Blu-ray Review) - Redemption Films


Japan/2014
Directed By: Sato Sade
Written By: Sato Sade
Starring: Kashi Ann, Akane Miyako, Maruyama Shogo
Color/63 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date: September 20, 2016

The Film
Miyako is a pretty woman looking for a new job when she comes across a listing for a live-in maid position that pays well. She's hired after inquiring for the job and is quickly fitted for her skimpy, sexy outfit and quickly meets Mai-Chan, another maid working for their "master". Soon after Miyako finds that Mai-Chan is being used as a human play thing for all of their masters twisted fantasies because she regenerates fully from any injuries she sustains. When Miyako is given the opportunity to act out some of her own desires she quickly finds out how sick and twisted she really is.

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE is based on a Japanese manga that I'm totally unfamiliar with but if the film adaptation is faithful to the manga than it's quite the explicit book. This film is for fans of excess who like their sex and gore. While the film takes place in limited locations that look like sets designed for a stage play, there is definitely a "more is more" attitude when it comes to graphic violence and nudity, particularly the gore. Eyeballs, guts, full dismemberment, it's all here on full bloody display. It's the sexual tension drives the film from point A to point B which leads to the violent acts. The tension between Miyako and Mai-Chan is also purposely inflicted on the viewer as the camera constantly gives up-skirt views of the girls' panties and follows them in an almost seductive manner. I almost felt voyeuristic watching this film, which I feel was intended by director Sato Sade. Sade revels in sexualizing everything from scrubbing the floors and dusting to the use of a chainsaw and actual sex itself.

There are moments in MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE that even air on the surreal side. The film has a stylish look despite some sets looking a bit chintzy. The sets are interestingly even if sparsely dressed, the costumes are nicely designed and the effects are very well done. There are some scenes that you can tell were shot with different cameras as the quality shifts but overall I think MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE does quite a good job at bringing a highly sexualized, gore fest manga to life in the form of an exploitation film while keeping it in a world that straddles the line of fantasy and reality.

The Audio & Video
Redemption Films has brought MAI-CHAN to Blu-ray with a very nice HD presentation. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer largely looks very crisp and sharp. There are moments where it's apparent that somewhat lower quality equipment was used in the production of the film and the image quality in those moments drops just a bit but never to the point of looking bad. Colors are vibrant and detail is strong in the lacy maid uniforms to the wood floors and metal furniture. Black levels are deep and inky and really round out a quality transfer. The audio is in the film's native Japanese with optional English subtitles. The HD audio is clear and free of distractions like popping, crackling or buzzing. There's no background noise either and the subtitles are translated well and timed perfectly with a white colored font.

The Extras
-"Waita's Daily Life" - A behind the scenes documentary clocking in at over half an hour
-Trailer

The Bottom Line
This is 63 minutes of insanity that gore hounds need to take note of.

MAI-CHAN'S DAILY LIFE is available HERE

Monday, September 19, 2016

HAUNTED HONEYMOON (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Lorber


USA/1986
Directed By: Gene Wilder
Written By: Gene Wilder, Terence Marsh
Starring: Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Dom DeLuise
Color/82 Minutes/PG
Region A
Release Date: September 20, 2016

The Film
Gene Wilder stars as Larry, a beloved radio show actor who is quite preoccupied with irrational fears. He is to be married to his co-star Vickie (Gilda Radner) on a vacation trip to his aunt Kate's (Dom DeLuise) old mansion where his family has plans to cure him of his fears by scaring him... death! That promise may be taken a bit too seriously by jealous family members when Aunt Kate names Larry the sole heir to her estate. Oh and did I mention that one of the family members might be a werewolf?

HAUNTED HONEYMOON is a horror themed comedy romp with an amazing cast. Gene Wilder is one of a kind and I'm glad to have been able to enjoy this film that he not only stars in but also co-wrote and directed so soon after his passing, for the first time. Wilder is endlessly likable and genuinely funny without needing a schtick to fall back on. His real life marriage with Gilda Radner translates seamlessly to the screen and they're absolutely adorable together. They have perfect chemistry and are a perfect duo to lead the film.

The film's mix of spoofing gothic horror tropes and murder mystery ala Clue lends itself to be silly and goofy fun. It only takes one look at Dom DeLuise in drag as Aunt Kate to start the chuckling, before heartier belly laughs come about. DeLuise is excellent, as he always was, giving a warm performance as the matriarch of the family who is trying to help her beloved nephew and the love of his life have a perfect wedding all in the midst of a police investigation into a murder and a werewolf running around creating all sorts of havoc. Paul L. Smith gives a booming performance as Larry's doctor and uncle and is one of several others in the supporting cast that hold their own with the stars of the picture. There really isn't a bad performance in the bunch.

The film has excellent set design with a mansion you'd find straight out of a Hammer production from two decades earlier, and a really well done wolf man creature design that would rival any straight forward horror production of the era. HAUNTED HONEYMOON succeeds by keeping things lighthearted and cute with enough kooky comedy thrown in to keep things feeling like they're moving even more briskly than they are. If there's such a thing as a gothic murder mystery romantic comedy than HAUNTED HONEYMOON is probably the tops of the genre which makes it quite surprising to me that the film was panned by critics and was a poor performer at the box office. Hell, even Dom DeLuise earned a Razzie award for his portrayal of Aunt Kate. I'd think that HAUNTED HONEYMOON would have been at least a moderate success on name power alone. Hopefully the film has found it's audience or this Blu-ray will help spread the gospel of HAUNTED HONEYMOON because while this film isn't perfect it really is a delight to watch.

The Audio & Video
Kino Lorber gives HAUNTED HONEYMOON its high definition debut with an attractive 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is very clean and clear allowing for finer details to come through. Colors are strong and natural, despite a very dreary color palette through most of the film's production in the old gothic style mansion. Appropriately, the black levels fare well with no compression or blocking issues. The DTS-HD English audio is free of distortions, dropouts or other imperfections. The mix is well done, and steady throughout.

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
HAUNTED HONEYMOON is a perfect choice for lighter and more family friendly viewing for the Halloween season and would make for a wonderful viewing for the memories of the stars of this film that have since passed away.

HAUNTED HONEYMOON is available HERE

Saturday, September 17, 2016

TABOO (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome


USA/1980
Directed By: Kirdy Stevens
Written By: Helene Terrie
Starring: Kay Parker, Mike Ranger, Juliet Anderson
Color/86 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Blu-ray/DVD

The Film
Barbara's husband has left her, blaming her frigidity and lack of passion for destroying their love life and marriage. Now without an income Barbara has to find a job while taking care of their son who is getting ready for college which is another added expense. Stressed to the max, Barbara turns to her free swinging friend Gina who sets her up with the local swinger scene but Barbara's sexual tension is growing hot and heavy with her own son instead.

TABOO is one of the most notable adult films of the era as it is very well made featuring great performances for a porno flick and really solid writing. The screenplay from Helene Terrie is great, with a few truly memorable and wonderfully staged scenes including one of the most wonderfully photographed orgy scene of all time and a dreamlike incestuous encounter that feels quite surreal. Kay Parker handles her range of encounters and emotions with grace, showing true acting ability. It's no wonder that she would rocket to stardom in the adult world soon after TABOO was released. Her incredible body certainly didn't hurt either.


This film's main draw is how shamelessly it deals with kink and, as the title so plainly suggests, taboo subjects. And there ain't nothing wrong with that. Everybody has their own fetishes and incest is certainly one of the biggies. TABOO tackles that fetish and is so sexy that the viewer won't be feeling any guilt while enjoying this film. TABOO can still be called shocking to this day but you can't call it shocking for the sake of shock value. TABOO is a stylish movie, with heaping helpings of sex that will continue to be considered a classic piece of adult cinema for years to come as not only a piece of kinky smut but a look at the harsh reality of being a single mother... who happens to fuck her son.

The Audio & Video
As much as I love Vinegar Syndrome's horror and exploitation output, their real bread and butter is their vintage X-rated and nobody does it better so it's no surprise that their brand new 2K scan of TABOO looks incredible. The amount of detail is exceptional from clothing and surface texture to strands of hair. Colors are strong and vibrant but in no way come across as artificial. The entire anamorphic widescreen transfer has a warm, film look with a nice grain structure that will leave you wondering if you're watching this in an old porno house. The audio is no different as it is handled with a DTS-HD mono track that gets the dialogue and funky bass driven soundtrack across with crispness and crystal clarity.


The Extras
Vinegar Syndrome has this release absolutely stacked with commentaries! There's two new commentary tracks, one with Kay Parker and one with writer/producer Helene Terrie. There's also two archival commentary tracks which feature Kay Parker on her own and director Kirdy Stevens and Helene Terrie together. There's also an archival video interview with Kay Parker, a promotional image gallery and reversible artwork.


The Bottom Line
The film's tagline is "The ultimate sin!", the real ultimate sin would be considering yourself a fan of porno flicks and skipping this Blu-ray.

TABOO is available HERE

Thursday, September 15, 2016

SODOMANIAC (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing


USA/2015
Directed By: Anthony Catanese
Written By: Anthony Catanese, Steve Revesz
Starring: Craig Kelly, Allan Sconza, Dale Gordon
Color/85 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: July 12, 2016

The Film
"Booty vision motherfucker, booty vision!"

A masked killer is stalking a group of guys who have a bad habit of date raping girls during a party they're hosting at their house. If that wasn't bad enough this killer has a bad habit of killing their victims with the most violent anal sex you'll ever come across. I guess the tag line is right - Everyone gets it in the end.

SODOMANIAC, like many slasher films is a simple premise - a masked killer stalks and kills their victims for whatever reason this particular film has come up with. The twist here is that the killer is most definitely the protagonist as they are killing off a group of obnoxious guys who are only concerned with getting high and drugging girls at the bar or their house parties to rape them while they're passed out. And what better way to kill a rapist than to rape them anally with a Dildo Of Doom. I didn't make that up folks, the movie really refers to this device as the Dildo Of Doom. It's an appropriate name for the weapon when you see it. Imagine a dildo, power drill and sphere from Phantasm rolled into one sex toy. It's absolutely hilarious but you'll be clenching your cheeks when you see it.


Anthony Catanese co-wrote along with Steve Revesz and directed SODOMANIAC and the duo scripted a genuinely funny, stoner type dark comedy housing a brutal slasher film. The cast, lead by Craig Kelly as the biggest douche bag of the bunch, Hamilton, is great. There are some fantastic exchanges throughout including one with a friend fresh out of prison who is getting some booty and the local nerd who's playing Edward Fortyhands and curses Tim Burton when he pisses himself. For a film condemning such a serious topic SODOMANIAC is as lighthearted as it comes. It blends both ends perfectly.

Anthony Cantanese made sure this film had a style to it as well, with heavy doses of colored lighting, which you don't have to assume is influenced by Dario Argento's Suspiria, there's a line in the movie that confirms it. It makes the generic house party setting looking a lot more extravagant without doing a lot of extra set dressing or needing a lot of extra money. It's not only a choice that makes the movie prettier to look at but it also helps the production value of this independent production. And speaking of production value we can't forget that the killer wears a giant butt on it's head, complete with anus, which I assume is where the killer gets their limited vision. If you think that seeing an oversized butthead mask for 85 minutes would eventually stop being funny you are wrong. I may be 12 years old at heart but the butthead mask is absolutely hilarious. Do you remember the episode of South Park where two parents who have butts for heads try to find their lost butt headed son? Yeah, it's something along those lines and I love it.


If I have one complaint with SODOMANIAC it's that we are cheated out of the gory goods for each murder. I don't need gore to enjoy a horror movie, I think poor films rely on gore and shock far too much but this movie had me crying out to see some special effect scenes of buttholes being destroyed by the Dildo Of Doom, even if only once of twice. So there you have my complaint. Otherwise you can feel the energy of this movie resonating off the screeen. It's obvious that the cast and crew had a great time making it and I appreciate that energy and reciprocate it while watching. I laughed and laughed and cheered on the killer while knowing that my butthole was safe.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing gives SODOMANIAC a home on DVD and it looks great. This film is a very colorful production and the colors really shine through on this disc. Darker scenes are no problem and there's no blocking or compression issues. It's a very clean and strong picture overall in the anamorphic widescreen transfer. The audio is a strong and steady mix with great clarity. Dialogue and music are complimentary and never overpower the other. Job well done on the technical side of this release.


The Extras
-Audio Commentary With Cast Members
-Audio Commentary With Crew Members
-Original Opening
-Original Ending
-Outtakes
-Trailers
-Music Video
-Short Film


The Bottom Line
It's lewd, crude and filled with... I got nothing. It's entertaining, full of laughs and features the most ridiculous mask in slasher movie history along with a killer we can all cheer for. I had a great time with SODOMANIAC.

SODOMANIAC is available HERE

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

THE BLAIR WITCH (2016)



USA/2016
Directed By: Adam Wingard
Written By: Simon Barrett
Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid
In Theaters: September 16, 2016

In 1999 The Blair Witch Project took the film world by storm and became the most successful independent film to date. The marketing campaign had audiences convinced what they were about to see was real and that the three stars had actually gone missing in the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary about a local legend known as The Blair Witch. To this day that film is a textbook example of successful minimalist horror. It also helped spawn the found footage film craze that is still popular to this day. A sequel was released a year later using the original film as a plot device but it was received poorly. A decade and a half later there had been no talk of reviving the series. The original was still praised and talked about while the sequel had largely been swept under the rug. Then in July of 2016 at the San Diego Comic Con the film, which had been produced and was being marketed under the title "The Woods" to keep the true identity a secret, screened and the world found out that BLAIR WITCH would be released in just two short months and the anticipation built around the trailers that looked to be a much more direct sequel that falls right in line in terms of style with the original. Will a direct sequel to a very low budget minimalist horror film shot entirely through a point of view style with a found footage angle work with studio backing? I suppose that depends entirely on what you want THE BLAIR WITCH to be...

James' sister Heather was one of the three people to disappear in the original Blair Witch Project and recently a tape has surfaced online after being found by local Burkittsville residents Lane and Talia which contains a brief image of a girl that James believes could be Heather. James' journey is being filmed for a documentary project by Lisa and they're joined by their friends Ashley and Peter. They're quickly joined by Lane and Talia after a quick meeting to discuss the tape they found and the locals bring them to the woods where they found the tape. The group continues into the woods until they set up camp for the night. Loud strange noises fill the night and the group awakens to find the infamous stickman figures from the first film surrounding their tents. It's soon revealed that Lane planted these fakes around to create a viral video causing a rift in the two groups and they go their own way. It's at this point that BLAIR WITCH full descends into familiar horror film territory.

Much of the first two acts of THE BLAIR WITCH is similar to the 1999 film using an isolated location and strange occurrences as the tension building and fear inducing tactics. Seemingly walking in circles, time passing at alarming rates that don't make sense, coming back in contact with Lane and Talia after one day though having them claim several days have passed, the return of the stickman figures. These are scare tactics on the minimalist side of the horror spectrum that worked before and were fairly successful again this time.

THE BLAIR WITCH goes for a bigger and more in your face style however, adding on to those subtle elements with much more graphic supernatural and psychological scares including an almost voodoo doll-like effect with the stickman figures, fleshing out the Blair Witch with pretty clear albeit fleeting glimpses of this monstrous, flesh colored, almost spider-like creature with harsh angles in its joints. There's enough horror cliches to go around including a plethora of jump scares, characters being dragged away from the camera by an unseen force, and simply awful decision making just to name a few. There's also a couple gross out moments and moments of comedy which unfortunately broke the tension.

Adam Wingard is not a bad director, with entries into the anthology films V/H/S, V/H/S 2, and  The ABCs Of Death along with features "You're Next" and one of my personal favorites The Guest under his belt, Wingard has become a household name to horror fans. He's made some very good stuff, and his frequent collaboration with writer Simon Barrett has served them both well. I won't say I love everything they've done but when I see their names attached to a project I at least pay attention. I was pleased to see the duo attached to THE BLAIR WITCH and I can't say they made a bad film. I just don't think they made the film I wanted or expected. But this is probably the movie I should have expected.

The thought that immediately came to mind is that this film is is The Blair Witch Project by way of Evil Dead 2. THE BLAIR WITCH hits all of the major stepping stones that the original film has from the documentary setup, to the stickmen and paranoia of the woods, and the finale in the witch's house. It also plays to the ADD of the current movie going audience. Instead of a delicious simplicity it goes for bigger louder and by default, dumber. It's not that I think Evil Dead 2 is dumber, but I think it is much bigger and louder than its predecessor and that is what this film does. It has a much (much) bigger budget to make essentially the same film so we get more visual effects, more stunts, more monster, more humor, more characters, more everything. Sadly, more effects and stunts can ruin the organic nature that made the first film great with its less is more approach. More characters naturally mean someone is going to be unlikeable and Lane fully fills that quota.The humor that is largely brought to us by Peter is unnecessary as well.

Now, all of that said, none of it really ruins the film. This is where I'm having a hard time fully describing my feelings, or hell, even figuring out my feelings, on THE BLAIR WITCH. The movie comes together just fine and Wingard's direction is pretty damn good. Barrett's screenplay is pretty good too aside from a few simply idiotic decisions made by characters. Lane is an unlikeable character by design so even that works to a point. There's some bizarre events during the film's finale that are at the very least interesting and definitely don't feel out of place. It's all a really solid production aside from it's cliches and genre trappings. The cast is quite good from top to bottom and the witch house is downright creepy. THE BLAIR WITCH is not a bad horror film, pandering a bit to much current audiences, yes, but it's an entertaining viewing experience that is far and away the best sequel to The Blair Witch Project.

But that doesn't mean I love it. Or even really like it. But I definitely don't hate it. To go back to the Evil Dead 2 analogy, where ED2 succeeded was being a bigger production that was different enough while being completely faithful to the original. Where THE BLAIR WITCH fails at being something great is that it's a much bigger production that is far too similar to the original that simply can't capture the intangible qualities that made the original film such a classic. I'm not sure how big of a role Lionsgate played in the production but this feels like a studio horror film that is set up for expanding the franchise when this film inevitably turns out to be a financial success. And that dear reader might sum up my feelings the best - THE BLAIR WITCH is a bigger studio version of the original film designed to set up the franchise that they couldn't 16 years ago. THE BLAIR WITCH has it's faults and isn't a classic by any means but it's a decent, if all too typical horror film.

TALES OF POE Coming To DVD and Digital HD From Wild Eye Releasing Oct. 11



Edgar Allan Poe Resurrected by Iconic Scream Queens
Wild Eye Releasing Brings Tales of Poe to DVD 
And Digital HD October 11th

"A loving tribute to the work of one of history's greatest horror writers." 
-- Rue Morgue Magazine

"A truly stylized take on Poe's work and just brimming with beauty, 
elegance and downright horror." -- HorrorMovies.ca

"Something very special to the horror genre... 
both beautiful and horrifying." -- Hacked in the Head


New York, NY - Wild Eye Releasing has announced the October 11th DVD and Digital HD release of the acclaimed horror anthology Tales of Poe.  Since the world premiere at the famous Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, Tales of Poe has been met with acclaim and awards on the festival circuit.  San Francisco Weekly called the anthology "a worthy successor to the Roger Corman/ Vincent Price Poe films" while Icons of Fright hailed the result as "downright stunning to witness...wickedly adventurous".  

Co-directed by Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly and co-written by Michael Varrati, Tales of Poe combines the classic horror prose with the star power of legendary scream queens Adrienne King (Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Halloween 2), Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2, April Fool's Day) Debbie Rochon (Model Hunger, Hell Town) and Lesleh Donaldson (Happy Birthday to Me, Funeral Home). 


Based on the timeless works of Edgar Allan Poe, three of the renowned author's most popular stories (The Tell Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, and Dreams) receive unique retellings by directors Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly. Offering a compelling and shocking journey into madness and the macabre, Tales of Poe features some of the most beloved final girls in horror movie history in new and exciting roles.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Reel Gore Releasing #2 - MASKS - Press Release (Review Incoming)



COMPANY SITE: www.reelgorereleasing.com


REEL GORE RELEASING presents Neo-giallo MASKS by Andreas Marschall (German Angst) on Blu-ray/DVD with bonus CD on September 13, 2016

Los Angeles, CA (September 2016) For immediate release. Synopsis: In her quest for fame, drama student Stella gets caught in the grip of a mysterious and deadly stage school. Stella longs to be an actress. When she is accepted to a private school in Berlin, her dream seems to come true. But there is something wrong with the “Matteusz Gdula-Institute”. In the seventies, the school´s founder, Matteusz Gdula, practiced a learning style that promised to let students shine by driving them to their mental limits. In the end his method was banned, as mysterious deaths occurred during his lessons and Gdula committed suicide. At night, Stella hears eerie sounds in the corridors of the school. A fellow student disappears. Stella suspects that behind the closed door to the abandoned, forbidden wing of the school lurks a bloody secret.  A secret that kills the students... 
The first 3000 numbered BD/DVD combos include bonus CD with Original Soundtrack, Collectible Blu-ray/DVD Slipcase and Sleeve, AND A 24 Page Booklet. For the Die Hards the first pressing of No. 1 -1000 includes as well a Collector’s Card.

MASKS (Blu-ray/DVD/CD)
Price:                              $39.95 
Street Date:                              September 13, 2016
Production Year:                     2011
Film run time:                 Approx. 109 minutes
Language:                                German language with optional English, Spanish subtitles
Aspect Ratio:                           2.35:1 Anamorphic widescreen 
Audio:                                      DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround/Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Label/Distributor:                    Reel Gore Releasing/CAV
Catalog Number:                     RGR002
UPC:                                        881190600290
Rating:                                     Not Rated

BONUS FEATURES
Exclusive Original Soundtrack CD
24 Page Booklet
Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
     Music Video Clip
Trailer

Slideshow


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

THE RETURN OF GODZILLA aka Godzilla 1984 (Blu-ray Review) - Kraken Releasing


Japan/1984
Directed By: Koji Hashimoto
Written By: Hideichi Nagahara
Starring: Ken Tanaka, Keiju Kobayashi, Yasuko Sawaguchi
Color/103 Minutes/PG
Region A
Release Date: September 13, 2016

The Film
By 1984 the Godzilla franchise had mostly dried up. It had been 9 years since the last entry into the series, Terror Of Mechagodzilla, had been released to underwhelming fanfare in theaters. It would be one of only two films in the franchise to sell less than one million tickets in Japan. The franchise was put on hold. Stories and scripts came in but none were put in to production. The giant monster movie would return with THE RETURN OF GODZILLA (aka GODZILLA 1984) as the world dealt with the Cold War and the threat of nuclear warfare starting at the push of a button. Oddly enough, the theme that created Godzilla would be the one that resurrected him three decades later.

Godzilla is awakened when an Earthquake hits the Island he's been slumbering in. A local fishing ship has been wrecked and the majority of the crew has been found in a mummified state with only one crew member surviving the bloodsucking attack of a mutant sea louse. It's found that the sea louse has mutated in an exponentially larger size than the centimeter it should be because it was feeding off the radiated blood of Godzilla. Shortly after a Russian submarine carrying nuclear weapons is attacked and they blame the Americans until satellite imaging shows that it was truly Godzilla who attacked to feed off of the nuclear energy. The Russians and Americans demand Japan use nuclear bombs to destroy Godzilla before he potentially attacks their shores. Japan strongly opposes the use of such weapons knowing the effects that they've had for decades on their land and people after World War II. The leaders of Japan come up with a plan to poison Godzilla with Cadmium and lead him to his death in a volcano.

The political commentary that was such an important part of the original Godzilla film is once again on display here and is an equally important part in resurrecting the franchise. The mid 1980s were a boiling point for tensions with the Soviet Union and it provided basis for some very memorable movies of the time. THE RETURN OF GODZILLA uses the political turmoil and its own history to create a film that is not only entertaining and exciting but at times especially tense. Godzilla is a giant monster stomping around cities of Japan but the main antagonist of this film is the nuclear bombs that would cause massive casualties and loss of life along with the radioactive fallout that would cause medical issues for years to come. Godzilla is a sympathetic character and appropriately so. It's ironic that the USA and Soviet Union team up to try and bully their weapons use on to Japan in the film as the US was anything but friendly and willing to be on the same side as the Soviet Union in 1984 but as long as they can protect their own shores from the threat of Godzilla it doesn't matter if they destroy Japan with nukes again. It creates an interesting dynamic for the real world situations that were among the biggest issues facing the entire world.

THE RETURN OF GODZILLA returns to the roots of the series, leaving G-man to carry the film as the lone monster. There's no giant fights with other Kaiju, and to the people of Japan in the movie Godzilla is once again a threat and not a lovable hero, despite being sympathetic on a deeper level. The fact that there's only one monster leads to the film feeling a bit slower than you may be used to with the majority of the film's in the franchise but it works in giving plenty of time to develop a meaningful story with important character relationships and interactions.

There have been 29 Japanese Godzilla films from Toho to date, this being the 16th and it certainly falls among the top half of the franchise. Admittedly I'm a big fanboy of Godzilla so I probably enjoy the lesser entry of the series more than most people do but I think that speaks to the quality of THE RETURN OF GODZILLA. I'm not sure I'd rank it among my top 10 but it doesn't fall far outside of it.

The Audio & Video
Kraken Releasing brings THE RETURN OF GODZILLA to the states for the first time and in HD no less with a respectable looking 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer that features a clean picture free of damage and debris. The colors are faithful to all versions of the film I've seen but look sharper than ever. Black levels are deep and detail is fairly strong. Close-ups of Godzilla deliver the highest level of detail in his rough, scaly skin. Sure there's room for improvement in the picture quality, it could be sharper and feature better detail but the picture is very clean and is a rock solid HD presentation of the film. 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks in both English and the native Japanese with optional English subtitles round out the listening options. I opted for the original Japanese language track which sounds excellent. The sound quality is crisp and crystal clear with no distortions or instances of popping or background noise. The mix is very well done between levels of dialogue and score. The subtitles are translated well and easy to read with perfect timing. The subtitles are yellow, which is a minor nitpick of mine, except when dialogue from characters overlaps and the 2nd character's dialogue is subbed in white. While I understand the benefit of separating colors for different characters it was a bit distracting having different colored subtitles popping up. Another minor nitpick which I wouldn't let affect the score I give this release.

The Extras
The lone extra is an original theatrical preview promoting the upcoming release. Similar to a trailer but more of an extended commercial. It was a lot of fun to watch this throwback of movie advertising.

The Bottom Line
It's been a long time coming for fans of the big guy to get the original Japanese version of the 1984 film and now we have a rock solid Blu-ray release thanks to Kraken Releasing. It's among the better Godzilla films so I'm calling it essential viewing.

THE RETURN OF GODZILLA is available HERE