Monday, May 27, 2019

MA Party Pack Contest Giveaway

Everybody’s welcome at Ma’s. But good luck getting home safe. 
Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, a loner who keeps to herself in her quiet Ohio town. One day, she is asked by Maggie, a new teenager in town (Diana Silvers, Glass), to buy some booze for her and her friends, and Sue Ann sees the chance to make some unsuspecting, if younger, friends of her own. 
She offers the kids the chance to avoid drinking and driving by hanging out in the basement of her home. But there are some house rules: One of the kids has to stay sober. Don’t curse. Never go upstairs. And call her “Ma.” 
But as Ma’s hospitality starts to curdle into obsession, what began as a teenage dream turns into a terrorizing nightmare, and Ma’s place goes from the best place in town to the worst place on earth. 
Ma also stars Juliette Lewis (August: Osage County) as Maggie’s mom, Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast) as a local dad, Missi Pyle (Gone Girl) as his girlfriend, and McKaley Miller (TV’s Hart of Dixie), Corey Fogelmanis (TV’s Girl Meets World), Gianni Paolo (TV’s Power) and Dante Brown (Lethal Weapon TV series) as Maggie’s friends. 
From Tate Taylor, the acclaimed director of The Help and Get On Up, and blockbuster producer Jason Blum (Get Out, Halloween, The Purge series) comes a thriller anchored by a daring and unexpected performance from Spencer, one of the most powerful actors of her generation. 

Ma is written by Scotty Landes (Comedy Central’s Workaholics), is produced by Blum for his Blumhouse Productions, by Taylor, and by John Norris (executive producer, Get On Up), and is executive produced by Spencer, Couper Samuelson, Jeanette Volturno, and Robin Fisichella. 
Find MA on Twitter @MAmovie

To Enter: Follow Celluloid Terror on Instagram (@celluloidterror) and find the MA party pack picture (same as the first image of this post) and comment with what drink you'd share with Ma or what party game you'd play with her. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

DARKROOM (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray Review)

Directed By: Terence O'Hara
Written By: Robert W. Fisher, Brian Herskowitz, Rick Pamplin
Starring: Aarin Teich, Jill Pierce, Jeff Arbaugh
Color/85 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: April 30, 2019

The Film
It's no secret that by 1989 the slasher genre was dying and the well of ideas was dried up. It seemed that anything coming out at this point was a tired and uninspired retread of movies from years prior so whenever I watch one of these end-of-the-line slashers I always hope there's something that will set it apart. When I saw that DARKROOM was produced by Nico Mastorakis I became a bit more intrigued. I haven't always loved Mastorakis' work but I tend to at least find it interesting. Then the opening credits hit and I saw the creativity and care they put in to the credits that maybe I was stumbling on to something different.

Nope. What a fake out those opening credits were. As soon as the stylish credits designed to look like photos being developed in a darkroom (see what they did there?) end we're introduced to Janet who is returning home to her family's farmhouse from college but the reunion is interrupted by a mystery killer who takes pictures of his victims before killing them. Family secrets are revealed as the bodies pile up and the reveal of the killer's identity takes some twists and turns before all is said and done.

DARKROOM's biggest asset is that it is a sharp looking film that looks like a class above most slasher films of this period and has some decent special effect and kill moments. Unfortunately the story is all too familiar territory. The attempts at red herrings to throw the audience off the trail of the killer are uninspired and comes off as convoluted. Performances are passable and the movie is entertaining enough to fill up its 85 runtime but there's simply nothing to set it apart from dozens of other body count films from the same year and I bet that in a couple of weeks everything about this movie will be a blur of slasher tropes that I won't be able to separate from the other movies it failed to set itself apart from. This is lazy rainy afternoon entertainment and nothing more unfortunately.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome has brilliantly restored DARKROOM with a new 4K scan from the original 35mm camera negative and this disc really looks exceptional. Colors are bright and vivid and skin tones are healthy with a natural fleshy look. Finer detail including surface textures and fabrics shine while black levels are deep and free of any issues with blocking or compression. A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix gives the audio a strong and well balanced mix across all channels. The sound is crisp and clear and free of any distortions or background noise.

The Extras
-"Developing Fear" - Interview with actor Aaron Teich
-"Exposing The Truth" - Interview with actor Jeff Arbaugh
-Original Trailer
-Still Gallery

The Bottom Line
DARKROOM is a mixed bag that is a product of the end of the slasher genre that had mostly dried up by the time it was made. Slasher maniacs take note but don't expect a long lost classic of the genre.

DARKROOM is available HERE

Saturday, May 4, 2019

FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET (Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray Review)

Directed By: Andy Milligan
Written By: Andy Milligan
Starring: Laura Cannon, Harry Reems, Neil Flanagan
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: March 26, 2019

The Film 
Andy Milligan is a polarizing director in cult film history. Some viewers really eat up his stuff but I've found the majority find most of his films to be exhausting exercises in futility. I've seen enough to know that I pretty actively stay away from anything with his name on it but sometimes a movie comes around and totally surprises you. FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET is one of those movies.

Andy Milligan wrote, directed and photographed this film that follows a smart young prostitute named Dusty who turns tricks to make ends meet but longs for more out of her life and ends up meeting a young lawyer named Bob who she falls in love with and may be her escape from a gritty life in downtown New York City if she can manage to rewrite her own existence.

FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET is a sexploitation film that borders on being a masterpiece of life and destiny. Laura Cannon is flawless as Dusty, playing a character much wiser and more experienced than her 20 years on Earth would suggest. She's been through a marriage and now struggles to find a constant place to stay and spends time with her best friend, a local drag queen. The film excels because it feels effortless in all aspects. Scenes never feel set up, the performances never feel stilted and Andy Milligan's direction and cinematography feel more like a documentary than a narrative film.

A common complaint of Andy Milligan's films is that they drag on and on and he spends entirely too much time in exposition to the point that you may as well be getting hit over the head with a hammer as he screams at you about the movie. It's downright exhausting and tedious. FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET couldn't be further from that as these characters just suck you in and the 87 minutes absolutely flies by. Milligan could have wrote a more convoluted script but he keeps it simple but effective and personal and that's why this film works. Of course the plentiful sex and skin are nice and will be the thing that draw most of the audience in, it will be the characters and the simplistic perfection of the storytelling that they'll remember.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome have given FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET a brand new 4K scan and restoration from the 16mm camera reversal for this Blu-ray release with a pair of viewing options; the original 1.33:1 full frame presentation and the 1.85:1 theatrical framing. I chose to go with the director's intended look and went with the full frame presentation and couldn't ask for anything better with how this one turned out. This is an obviously low budget piece of exploitation from the early 70s that didn't have ideal filming conditions as it was largely shot on the streets of New York City so at times the film is dark or lighting isn't the best. These scenes still look quite nice on this disc with a natural and healthy grain appearance, deep black levels, and natural skin tones. The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and sounds crisp, and balanced with no hissing, buzzing, or other background noise issues.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with film historians Samm Deighan, Heather Drain, and Kat Ellinger
-Locations "Then and Now" Comparison

The Bottom Line
FLESHPOT ON 42ND STREET is without a doubt my favorite Andy Milligan film and is something I can see myself revisiting frequently and it has been preserved for generations to come with this essential Vinegar Syndrome release.