Tuesday, June 28, 2016

COMING IN SEPTEMBER 2016 ON DVD & BLU-RAY FROM OLIVE FILMS!

THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS (1959) 

JEANNE CARMEN
(The Devil’s Hand, The Naked Monster, The Three Outlaws)
LES TREMAYNE
(North by Northwest, The War of the Worlds, Say One for Me)
JOHN HARMON
(Funny Girl, Monsieur Verdoux, Hitch Hike to Hell)
DON SULLIVAN
(The Giant Gila Monster, Teenage Zombies, Paradise Alley)
FORREST LEWIS
(The Absent-Minded Professor, All That Heaven Allows)

Directed by
IRVIN BERWICK
(Hitch Hike to Hell, Malibu High, The 7th Commandment)

YEAR: 1958
GENRE: HORROR
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 71 min
RATING: N/R
ASPECT RATIO:  1.78:1 Aspect Ratio; B&W
AUDIO: MONO

The sleepy little lighthouse community of Piedras Blancas has a big problem when bodies begin piling up (thankfully there’s the ice room at Kochek’s Store for meats and groceries) and a scale from a thought-to-be-extinct prehistoric amphibian is found nearby. Could this be the work of … The Monster of Piedras Blancas?

For a town photographed in black & white, Piedras Blancas is teeming with colorful characters. There’s Sturges (John Harmon, Monsieur Verdoux), the lighthouse keeper who makes it a ritual to leave food out near a secluded beach cave for, well, something; Lucy (Jeanne Carmen, Born Reckless), Sturges' zaftig daughter, a free thinker who clearly doesn’t pay attention to daddy's warnings about skinny dipping near the cave; Lucy’s boyfriend Fred (Don Sullivan, The Giant Gila Monster), a young man more than willing to keep an eye on Lucy; and the dedicated man of science Dr. Sam Jorgensen (Les Tremayne, The Fortune Cookie) who’s out to solve the mysterious murders. It will become painfully obvious to Sturges (and the unfortunate inhabitants of Piedras Blancas): never miss a feeding! The Monster of Piedras Blancas, directed by Irvin Berwick (Malibu High), co-stars Forrest Lewis (All That Heaven Allows), Frank Arvidson (The 7th Commandment) and Wayne Berwick (The Naked Monster) and is photographed by Philip Lathrop, two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Cinematography (The Americanization of Emily, Earthquake).
THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1964) 

BARBARA STEELE
(Black Sunday, Pit and the Pendulum, Piranha)
ROBERT FLEMYNG
(The Quiller Memorandum, Funny Face, Shadowlands)
MONTGOMERY GLENN
(Castle of Blood, The Puma-Man, Star Odyssey)
TERESA FITZGERALD
(Class of Iron, The Giants of Thessaly)

Directed by
ROBERT HAMPTON
(Lust of the Vampire, The Ghost, The Witch’s Curse)

YEAR: 1964
GENRE: HORROR
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME:  77 mins
RATING: N/R
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio; COLOR
AUDIO:  MONO

From director Robert Hampton, (Lust Of The Vampire) comes The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (L’orrible segreto del Dr. Hichcock), the twisted and terrifying tale of Dr. Bernard Hichcock (Robert Flemyng, The Quiller Memorandum) whose secret desires and perverse passions lead to the death of his wife, Margaret (Teresa Fitzgerald, Class of Iron).

Remarrying years later, the doctor’s new bride Cynthia (Barbara Steele, Pit and the Pendulum) is unaware that her husband intends to use her blood to reanimate the corpse of his dearly departed Margaret.
MANKILLERS (1987) 

EDD BYRNES
(TV’s 77 Sunset Strip, Grease, Troop Beverly Hills)
GAIL FISHER
(TV’s Mannix, TV’s General Hospital)
EDY WILLIAMS
(The Naked Kiss, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls)
LYNDA ALDON
(Doctor Detroit, The Wizard of Speed and Time)
WILLIAM ZIPP
(Deadly Prey, Future Force, Order of the Eagle)
SUZANNE TEGMANN
(Death Chase, Illusions, Night Ripper!)
CHRISTINE LUNDE
(Young Rebels, The Masque of the Red Death)

Directed by
DAVID A. PRIOR
(Deadly Prey, Deadliest Prey, Relentless Justice)

YEAR: 1987
GENRE: ACTION
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME:  84 mins
RATING: N/R
ASPECT RATIO: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; COLOR
AUDIO: MONO


A female homage to The Dirty Dozen, Mankillers features a rag tag group of bottom feeders —murderers, thieves and other assorted miscreants  — who, unless they coalesce into a lean, mean fighting machine to stop a rogue agent and the drug cartel that employs him, have the option of a prison cell or the electric chair. It’s wall-to-wall action and adventure in Mankillers.

Directed and written by David A. Prior (Deadly Prey, Killer Workout), Mankillers stars Edd Byrnes (TV’s 77 Sunset Strip), Gail Fisher (TV’s Mannix), Edy Williams (The Naked Kiss), Lynda Aldon (Doctor Detroit), William Zipp (Deadly Prey), Christine Lunde (The Masque of the Red Death) and Suzanne Tegmann (Death Chase).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BAD MOON (1996) (Blu-ray Review)

BAD MOON (1996) 
Label: Scream Factory 
release Date: July 19th 2016
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration" 79 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Cast: Hrothgar Mathews, Johanna Marlowe, Ken Pogue, Mariel Hemingway, Mason Gamble, Michael Paré
Director: Eric Red

Synopsis: Full, crescent, quarter... each is a Bad Moon for Ted Harrison. By day, he's a photojournalist visiting family in the Pacific Northwest. By night, he transfigures into a horrific half-human – a werewolf. Dead men tell no tales, so Ted's sure he alone knows about his vile double life. The secret, however, may be out. The family dog Thor, devoted to defending the household, has his suspicions.


Writer/director Eric Red (Cohen and Tate, Body Parts) delivers a new infusion of thrills with this red-blooded shocker. Michael Paré (Streets of Fire) portrays Ted, hiding his accursed condition from his sister (Mariel Hemmingway, Lipstick, Star 80) and nephew (Mason Gamble). What better way to hide it than to create suspicion that the local killings are the work of another – especially if that other is the family's all-too-wise German shepherd!


The nineties are not a decade fondly remembered by horror fans, after they heyday of '80s horror the '90s seemed pretty dame tame and lacklustre, even a bright spot like Wes Craven's Scream spawned a generation of watered down horror cinema, but if you dig down a bit beneath the surface of slick mediocrity there are a few gems to be found. The decade was not as awful as you may have been lead to believe, and if you are willing to expand your definition of horror you will find great movies like Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, Event Horizon, Jacob's Ladder and Richard Stanley's Hardware and Dust Devil tucked away among the folds of the decade. 


Which brings up to Bad Moon, a movie I didn't catch at the cinema but I did watch on the numerous cable airings it was afforded in the '90s. It made for decent background fodder, it wasn't something I was overly fond of as I remembered but not having watched it for a decade or so I was sort of keen to check out this new Blu-ray from Scream Factory. 


The movie is very straightforward, we open with American photo-journalists  named Ted Harrison (Michael Paré) in the rain forest of Nepal on some sort of ambiguous assignment with his girlfriend Marjorie (Johanna Lebovitz). Apparently the assignment has gone well and the two go back to their tent for some vigorous celebration sex, that is until they're rudely  interrupted by a werewolf which tears open the tent and rips Marjorie to shreds, wounding Ted in the process, who manages to grab a shotgun and blow the werewolf's head off. It is a fantastic opening scene, full of gore, sex and loads of energy, way better than I remembered from my last viewing years ago. 


In the aftermath Ted moves back to the Northwest US to be near his sister Janet Harrison (Mariel Hemingway) and her young son Brett (Mason Gamble), who may remember as the kid from the Dennis the Menace movie. It seems that Ted has been looking for a cure to the lycanthropy which he is now afflicted with after the attack, moving from spot to spot in his airstream camper leaving a trail of mutilated corpses in his wake. Having no luck with a cure he decides that pulling his camper up in his sister's back yard might be a good idea, that perhaps re establishing a bond with family will somehow prove curative ...bad idea. 


Janet and Brett live with their loyal and protective German Shepherd named Thor, who immediately takes a disliking to Uncle Ted, he can sense that something is wrong with Uncle Ted and that he will prove to be a threat to the family. After the rather good first few scenes of the movie which offered some sweet gore and hot sex the movie cools down for a long period of time, and this is where the movie lags for me. Unfortunately Pare and Hemmingway are not so good, Hemmingway is flat and has no depth. Pare comes off like a budget version of Michael Biehn without the depth or charisma, his character is conflicted, a seemingly nice guy who turns more menacing as the lycanthropy consumes him, but the material seems beyond Pare's range, the portrayal is inconsistent and unconvincing. Mason Gamble is okay as the kid, but comes off annoying and doesn't have a whole lot to do except play with his dog. Suffice it to say that the best actor in the movie is Primo, one of the dogs that played Thor, he has more depth in his eyes than anyone esle in the cast, everyone else just seems to be sleepwalking through this one. 


The cast is the main problem with the movie no one seems to be into the material or have any interest in creating depth for their characters which made it hard to care about te fate of anyone. All is not lost though, this movie offfers up one of the more awesome onscreen werewolves in my opinion, the design and look of this fearsome beast is a top five werewolf for me. The werwold was created with a man in a suit with an animatronic head which was created by special effects creator Steve Johnson and his crew, the man in the suit is stuntman Ken Kersinger (Freddy vs Jason), the design and hair work is pretty awesome, the snarling visage is one for the ages, this is really good stuff. 


As for the gore we have a few good scenes, beginning with the initial attack in Nepal as a mostly nude woman is eviscerated, it makes for a great opening scene that ends with a nice head explosion. There's a con man who shows up to harass Janet and the kid who becomes fodder for the werewolf, he's come to the home to kill the family dog with a machete but ends up in pieces, clawed savagely by the beast, torn up from the gut and his hand mangled, more good stuff. Overall I would say that this movie is over lit, these are some of the brightest Northwest woods at night I have ever seen, which takes away a lot of the potential atmosphere and suspense, but thankfully the design of the creature is so goodf that it holds up even when overlit during the finale. There is an infamous transformation scenes which is awful in an early 90s sort of way, they took some great practical effects by Steve Johnson and ruined it with digital morphing, which is probably what a lot of folks remember about this movie, the bad stuff. 


Bad Moon is not some lost classic of 90s horror but it is a fun watch with a fantastic werewolf, one that is so cool that you can sort of forgive the shortcoming that surround it. Director Eric Red also directed Body Parts (1991), another 90s entry I need to revisit, he also wrote The Hitcher (1986) and Near Dark (1987), the guy has talent and a keen grip on horror, but this one falls short in ways that have kept it any sort of cult-staus, but that werewolf is awesome. 


Audio/Video: Bad Moon debuts on Blu-ray from Scream Factory in the original 2.40:1 widescreen scope aspect ratio with a new HD transfer of two versions of the movie, the original theatrical cut and a shorter by seconds director's version of the movie which was supervised by Eric Red. The movie looks great, colors are vibrant and robust with some nice shadow detail and a crisp image that will surely please fans of the movie, a solid upgrade iover revious DVD version I own. Audio is capably handled by an english DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround option with optional English subtitles, the dialogue, effects and score from composer Daniel Licht have a nice presence. . 


Scream Factory have included a nice array of new bonus content, beginning with the director's version of the movie which adds back in some of the softcore sex from the opening and trims away a few seconds of the awful digital-morphing they did during the transformation scene, which if you watch the theatrical version should give you a laugh, that they somewhat ruined the good work done by Steve Johnson is sacrilegious. 


There's also a new audio commentary by Eric Red recorded for this release for the director's cut of the movie and a commentary with writer/director Eric Red and actor Michael Pare for the theatrical cut. Theres also a thirty-five minute making of doc with new interviews with Eric Red, Steve Johnson, Michael Pare, Mason Gamble and Ken Kerzinger who offer some nice honest opinions of the movie in retrospect, what t was like working with Primo the dog, creating the creature effects and Reed even makes a few disparaging remarks about Hemmingways range as an actress and what he had to resort to to get a decent performance out of her during the more harries scenes. 


Additionally there's a selection of storyboards sequences for a few scenes, the theatrical trailer for the movie, plus the longer unrated opening scene from the Director’s first cut of the movie which has been sourced from VHS source which goes on for about six minutes, showcasing the more erotic nature of the opening scene, which I think was trimmed down for good reason, but as a red-blooded male I did appreciate it that it was included, haha. 


Special Features:

- High-definition theatrical cut of the film plus a NEW Director’s version supervised and approved by Eric Red.
- NEW Nature of the Beast: Making Bad Moon featuring interviews with writer/director Eric Red, actors Michael Pare and Mason Gamble, Special Effects Make-up artist Steve Johnson and stunt coordinator Ken Kirzinger (35 Mins) HD 
- NEW Audio Commentary with writer/director Eric Red (Director’s version only)
- Audio Commentary with writer/director Eric Red and actor Michael Pare (Theatrical Cut)
- Unrated opening scene from the Director’s first cut (Sourced from VHS) (6 Mins) 
- Transformation Sequence Storyboards (7 Mins) HD
- Thor/Werewolf Fight Stoyboards (10 Mins) HD
- Thor Stares Down Uncle Ted Storyboards (4Mins) HD 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (1 Mins) HD 

Bad Moon is an over-looked 90s werwolf horror entry that I won't say is a lost classic but I will say that it is overly neglected and has a killer werewold creature. I just wish the movie lived up to the promise of the werewolf design in the movie, it deserved way better than the vehicle it was delivered in. Scream Factory's Blu-ray is top-notch, it looks and sounds great and has some great bonus content, and if you're a fan this is an easy recommend, if you're not familiar with it give it a chance, it deserves a watch. 


 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

JUST DESSERTS: THE MAKING OF CREEPSHOW (2007) SPECIAL EDITION (Blu-ray Review)

JUST DESSERTS: THE MAKING OF CREEPSHOW  (2007) 

Label: Synapse Films
Region Code: Region-FREE
Release Date: July 12th 2016 
Duration: 90 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English  DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo 
Director: Michael Felsher
Cast: George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Ed Harris



Synopsis: In 1982, Author Stephen King, and Director George A. Romero collaborated on a feature-film tribute to the controversial EC comics of the 1950s. Told through five jolting tales of terror, CREEPSHOW has become a celebrated horror classic over the past three decades. With an all-star cast and featuring groundbreaking special effects by genre legend Tom Savini, CREEPSHOW stands as a horrific and hilarious tribute to the stories that helped influence (and corrupt) a generation of writers and filmmakers. Now the tales behind the creation of this chilling masterpiece can finally be told!


Creepshow is one of my favorite horror anthologies, a horror project that brought together director George A. Romero with horror scribe Stephen King, these guys were the undisputed kings of horror in the 80s and it was a pairing that hadn't been rivaled since someone stuck a Hershey's bar in a jar of peanut butter. The resulting anthology was a wonderful blend EC Comics morality and pitch perfect campiness that has yet to be matched in my opinion, this is about as near perfect an anthology as I have ever seen. Sadly, on home video, at least here in the US the movie has been somewhat neglected, dumped onto a bare bones Blu-ray release while horror fans in the UKhave been treated to a deluxe release courtesy of Second Sight Films, which is stuffed with audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and a wonderful retrospective making of documentary titled Just Desserts; The Making of Creepshow from Michael Felsher and Red Shirt Pictures,  a definitive feature length making of doc containing in-depth interviews with director George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Adrienne Barbeau and many others.  

Now Synapse Films have brought the doc to Blu-ray as a stand alone release, and added a ton of new stuff, beginning with two audio commentaries, one with  with Director and Editor Michael Felsher and a second with Actor John Amplas, Property Master Bruce Alan Miller, and Make-Up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci. I have only listened to the Felsher commentary thus far, but its a good listen as he speaks about how Creepshow was his entry into horror films, how he came to form Red Shirt Pictures after a stint at Anchor Bay before heading out on his own, right up to pitching the idea for a Creepshow doc to the studio, which was initially turned down, before being picked-up by Universal in the UK.


There's a new Red Shirt Pictures interviews with Director of Photography Director Michael Gornick who does not appear in the documentary proper, Gornick looks back on his time making the movie, the shooting days and night, his opinion of Stephen Kins performance and the safety concerns on certain shoots. There are also 24-minutes worth of extended interviews with George A. Romero, Tom Savini, and Bernie Wrightson, all containing some great stuff, including Savini speaking about some footage cut from the movie of Adrienne Barbeau's characters shredded remains floating to the surface of the lake. 

There is a new Horror's Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark who revisits some of the set locations from the movie with a special appearance from actor Tom Atkins who appears in the wrap-a-round segment in the movie. A nice addition is the inclusion of the Fangoria produced doc Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects with Optional Audio Commentary with Tom Savini. A nice walk down the morbid memory lane of his body of work, a greatest hits compilation of sorts with Savini's back story, how he became obsessed with make-up effects after seeing a Lon Chaney movie. There's also a commentary for it with Tom Savini moderated by Michael Felsher. 


Behind The Screams is a 27-minute compilation of on-set video footage from Tom Savini's personal archives offering a  look at the making of the special effects work in the movie, shots of Ted Danson and Stephen King being made up for their roles, more awesome stuff for fans to drool over. Another nice addition is the vintage 1982 Evening Magazine Segment shot on the set of the film, featuring rare cast and crew interviews, which seems to be some sort of local entertainment show recorded back in the eighties round the time of the films release. We get interviews with Romero, King, Holbrook, Barbeau, Savini and others, along with some cool behind-the-scenes footage. Lastly we have a nine-minute photo gallery of behind-the-scenes images of the cast and crew, plus some great shots of various creatures and make-up being sculpted fr the film. 

Special Features:

- Audio Commentary with Director and Editor Michael Felsher
- Audio Commentary featuring interviews with Actor John Amplas, Property Master Bruce Alan Miller, and Make-Up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci
- Creepshow Days - An interview with Director of Photography Director Michael Gornick (8 Mins) HD 
- Extended Interview Segments with George A. Romero, Tom Savini, and Bernie Wrightson (24 Mins) 
- Behind The Screams -- A compilation of on-set video footage from Tom Savini (27 Mins) 
- Horror's Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark (15 Mins) HD 
- Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects with Optional Audio Commentary with Tom Savini moderated by Michael Felsher (53 Mins) 
- Vintage 1982 Evening Magazine Segment shot on the set of the film, featuring rare cast and crew interviews (8 Mins) 
- Behind-The-Scenes of CREEPSHOW Photo Gallery (9 Mins) 



This is such a wonderful watch, obviously Felsher loves horror and has a special fondness for this anthology, a movie that brought together the horror super-powers of Stephen King and George A. Romero. The glaring omission which is the pink elephant in the room is that Felsher was unable to get Stephen King on-camera, but what we do have is pretty great and did not leave me wanting in any way, this is eighty nine minutes worth of in-depth interviews from the cast and crew who recall their time making the iconic movie with a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, there's  just a lot of eye candy that will fill your horror heart with happiness. 

Synapse Films and Michael Felsher have gone above and beyond with this release to give the doc a true special edition worth owning, glad to see it get a proper US release with so many cool extras, this is officially one of my favorite making of docs.  


 

THE PACK (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

THE PACK (2015)

Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight

Release Date: July 5th 2016 
Region Code: A
Duration: 88 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Cast: Anna Lise Phillips, Hamish Phillips, Jack Campbell, Katie Moore, Nick Robertson 
Director: Nick Robertson 

Synopsis: Man's best friend becomes his worst nightmare when a horde of bloodthirsty wild dogs descends upon a family's farmhouse. In a remote stretch of the Australian Outback, a sheep rancher (Jack Campbell), his veterinarian wife (Anna Lise Phillips), and their two teenage children live in bucolic isolation — until a horrifying night when a pack of fang-baring, four-legged, rabid beasts besiege their home. With no one around to help them, the family must band together to survive — or else become canine kibble. Generating a steadily mounting sense of dread, The Pack cleverly toys with genre conventions before it goes in for the kill.


Don't confuse this Australian import with the American "killer dog" movie The Pack (1977) but I can see why you might as both share a name and basic premise, but this Aussie movie is a tense sort of slow-burn killer canine entry that takes place on a rural sheep farm in the Aussie outback. Dad (Jack Campbell) and mum (Anna Lise Phillips) have fallen on hard financial times, the farm is bleeding money as the livestock continue to be eviscerated by a pack of wild dogs in the area. The bank is nipping at their heel with the threat of foreclosure and the pressures are mounting, especially when a banker shows up at their doorstep informing them they are out of options. The sad news brings joy to their rebellious daughter Sophie (Katie Moore) who cannot stomach living in such a rural area far away from friends and modern conveniences, but their young son Henry (Hamish Phillips) loves it there and is saddened by the prospect of losing the family home. After delivering the news the banker pulls his car off to the side of the road for a piss and is promptly eviscerated by a pack of bloodthirsty canines on the edge of the woods, it is a nice moment of someone you hate getting a proper and painful death. 


As night descends on the farm the pack of black-furred terrors depart the edges of the forest and descend upon the farmhouse under the cover of darkness, what ensues is a keenly tense and atmospheric 'when animals attack' scenario that skillfully plays as both a killer canine and an action-packed siege movie. The black furred feral dogs are at first only glimpsed in shadow and quick flashes, eventually they make their presence known and mom and dad must defend their children from this feral menace, both Campbell and Phillips bring a load of parental instinct to the roles as parents who will risk anything to protect their children. 


The animals prove to be both cunning and ferocious, when the mom calls for help from the local authorities they show up and become fast prey for the fast moving canines who pick them off like sharks who smell blood in the water. Eventually the dogs gain access to the farmhouse and stalk the family from room to room with some nice cat and mouse moments. Of course this is a farm and there is a rifle in the house but ammo proves to be in short supply, and the long range weapon doesn't make for the best close quarters defense leaving our protagonist to use themselves as live bait to lure the vicious dogs out into the open. 


The movie has a small cast of good actors, the premise is simple and the atmosphere and action are well-played, but there is a low bodycount which might scare away those looking for something more gory, but the movie is suspenseful and had some nice moments of visceral action, which more than makes up for any lack of bodycount.  


Special Features: 

- The Making Of The Pack Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer

This is a tense, slow-burn killer dog movie with some nice visceral action and atmospheric dread, it also packs in some attractive cinematography that takes a few moments to soak in the gorgeous Australian scenery. If you had a good time with the killer bear movie Backcountry I think you will find a lot to enjoy with The Pack. Like most good killer canine flicks this one makes you think a bit about the "what ifs" of living in close proximity to man's best friend, after all we are only an stom
achs away from being a tasty tidbit. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

CABIN FEVER (2016) (Blu-ray Review)

CABIN FEVER (2016)

Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight
Release Date: July 5th 2016 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated

Duration: 99 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Travis Z
Cast: Dustin Ingram, Gage Golightly, Matthew Daddario, Nadine Crocker, Samuel Davis

Synopsis: Executive producer Eli Roth presents this reboot of his instant-classic gorefest, which features all-new characters and all-new kills. The story is familiar: Fresh out of college, a group of five friends retreat to a remote cabin in the woods for one last week of partying – only to become snacks for a gruesome, flesh-eating virus. This fresh spin on a horror-comedy milestone stars Gage Golightly (Exeter, Teen Wolf), Nadine Crocker (Deadgirl), Samuel Davis (Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) and Dustin Ingram (Paranormal Activity 3).


In 2002 Eli Roth brought us the original Cabin Fever (2002), a lo-fi gory delight full of dark humor, a flesh-eating virus, and enough stupidity that it brought a smile to my face in the cinema. It was a refreshingly old school and stupid slice of splatter-horror that had been long missing from the cinemas, and sort of ushered in a new era of cinema-gore in the early 2000s. The movie spawned a pair of sequels by way of the goofy and gross Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break (2009) and Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (2014). The the series never picked up traction the way of say the Wrong Turn movies as a b-tier franchise but I must say I enjoyed both. Spring Fever was directed by Ti West who disowned the movie after reshoots and producer tinkering, but I still loved it for how innapprorpiate and gross it was, a gory mess of a movie. Patient Zero was not spectacular but also a good gory watch. I think what Roth has in mind with this reboot is to start a new franchise with a bit more cohesion than what came before it. I might be wrong about that but what other reason could there be for rebooting a movie just fourteen years old... besides money.


The movie uses the same script as the original Cabin Fever, featuring five 20-somethings who head out to a cabin in the woods to celebrate graduation. There they make fun of the locals, get stoned, drink some beers, have sex and fall victim to a nasty flesh-eating virus that causes them to rot from the inside and turn to on one another, being young and selfish the virus causes each of their worst qualities to emerge as they throw each other under the bus in hopes of surviving longer than the other. 


Using the same script we get a lot of familiar dialogue coming from actors who are decent but pale in comparison to the original cast in my opinion, they're not awful, not all of them anyway... but the comedy and dark humor is toned down which turns this formerly splatteriffic-comedy to a mostly humorlous action horror movie of a sort, and I think I missed the humor more than anything else. 


They do bring the gore though, there's a decent amount of skin-crawling grossness to go around, we have the familiar blood-fingering, the tragic leg shaving scene, the infected spewing a geyser of blood from their mouths, some good stuff. Another familiar scenario involves a dog tearing apart an unfortunate rotter, that happens off camera and we are only privy to the screams and the aftermath, if you're gonna remake something stupid and gross I say go all the way with it, amp it up and push the boundaries, and they just didn't do it. That being said, they do give us some great shots of the infected dogs who are starting to rot away and are acting rabid, but the when they tear apart someone off screen that bothered me. The movie is attractively shot in the scope aspect ration with very nice cinematography, there's even a nice homage to Kubrick's The Shining at the top of the film, complete with a borrowed music cue.  


As the reboot happens fourteen years after the original they do cram a bit too much of the 'what no cell reception', 'I can't play games?' and 'are you kidding me, no wi-fi' which did get annoying. As I said before the characters sort of just regurgitate familiar dialogie but the comedy is toned way way down, and that didn't work for me. The most notable change is that they made Deputy Winston who was portrayed by Giuseppe Andrews in the first movie into a woman, now played by  Louise Linton, who plays it weird but nowhere near as memorable as Giuseppe Andrews. What they did right was fill out the movie with smokin' hot chics, we have Gage Golightly of Teen Wolf and Nadine Crocker - the latter of whom drops her clothes in not one but two scenes, and she's very easy on the eyes.  


The local rednecks are not as fun this time around, the strange kid Dennis doesn't yell "pancakes" either, but we do get a pancake reference which might explain why the kid in the original film kept yelling it. Also missed is the crazy king-fu action Dennis throws out in the original movie, this time he just sort of seems like a boring extras from the movie Gummo. 


Special Features
- The Making Of Cabin Fever Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer

I don't hate this movie, taken on its own merits it has a lot to offer, damn decent production value and cinematography, the cast is decent, the script is now worse than the original with a few modern updates and the gore is nothing to sneeze at, Now as a reboot it doesn't offer anything new, so I have to ask why even make it, why not pump some of that cash into an original idea? As with any business it comes down to money and marketing and what horror fans are willing to spend some hard-earned dough on, and guess what, you cannot blame them for it. Maybe horror fans over the age of thirty might be put off by a Cabin Fever remake, but there are loads of millennials out there who didn't catch the original movie. These teen brats cannot be bothered to seek it out on their own, a movie from 2002 might as well be a black and might TV show from a bygone era to them, not all of them, but a lot. Maybe this new one will lure them in, and that's alright by me, you don't have to love the reboot, but if it turns a few new teens into horror fans that's good for everyone. Cabin Fever '16 is not a bad movie, it's not a great reboot, but taken on its own it offers some good gore and cheap frights that go down easy with a few beers and doesn't require a lot of thought, just like the first one. 


 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drafthouse Films: Karyn Kusama's THE INVITATION Comes to DVD on 7/26

 
THE INVITATION

Critically Acclaimed PsychologicalThriller From Karyn Kusama
Available on Blu-ray and DVD on July 26th


Dubbed "the best horror film of the year" by Maxim, the stylish chiller The Invitation will arrive in a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack on July 26, 2016, from Drafthouse Films. In this taut psychological thriller from award-winning director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Jennifer's Body), the tension is palpable when Will (Logan Marshall-Green, Prometheus) shows up to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard, Into the Woods) and new husband David (Michiel Huisman, "Game of Thrones"). The estranged divorcees' tragic past haunts an equally eerie present; amid Eden's suspicious behavior and her mysterious house guests, Will becomes convinced that his invitation was extended with a hidden agenda. Unfolding over one dark evening in the Hollywood Hills, The Invitation blurs layers of mounting paranoia, mystery, and horror until both Will-and the audience-are unsure what threats are real or imagined.

"Masterfully tense" - Sight & Sound

Kusama's thriller opened the Midnight section of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival before receiving wide acclaim during the nationwide theatrical release. For Kusama, who first made her mark with the breakout 2000 hit Girlfight, The Invitation boasts a triumphant return to her independent roots, as well as an impressively-crafted script written and produced by screenwriting duo Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (Crazy/Beautiful, Ride Along). Also starring isEmayatzy Corinealdi (Miles Ahead, "Roots") and John Carroll Lynch ("American Horror Story," Zodiac).

"Nerve jangling...doesn't miss a step" The Playlist

Special features on the Blu-ray and DVD of The Invitation include audio commentary with Kusama, Hay and Manfredi, "The Making of The Invitation," music videos for original songs by Craig Wedren and Benjamin Newgard, the theatrical trailer, a HD digital copy of the film and booklet featuring an original essay by critic Britt Hayes.

About Drafthouse Films
Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is a curated brand of provocative, visionary and artfully unusual films new and old from around the world. Following the earnestly simple motto of "sharing the films we love with widest audience possible," Drafthouse Films debuted in 2010 with the theatrical release of Four Lions, which was named of Time Magazine's "Top 10 Films Of The Year." Their diverse and unique slate includes Joshua Oppenheimer's highly-acclaimed, Oscar® nominated documentaries The Act Of Killing and The Look of Silence, produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, Michel Gondry's surrealist romanceMood Indigo starring Audrey Tautou, Midnight Movie sensations Miami Connection and The Visitorand rediscovered classics Wake In Fright, Ms. 45 and Roar (in conjunction with Olive Films).

Recent and upcoming releases include Anders Thomas Jensen's dark comedy Men & Chicken, starring Mads Mikkselsen; and the documentary Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, the true story of three eleven-year-old boys who filmed a shot-for-shot adaptation of Spielberg's classic during the 1980s..

Drafthouse Films distributes films theatrically, through home video, VOD and their direct-to-consumer platforms integrating into the ever-growing Alamo Drafthouse entertainment lifestyle brand, which along with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas includes: Mondo, the collectible art boutique; Fantastic Fest, the largest international genre film festival in the US; and the pop culture website Birth.Movies.Death.

The Invitation Blu-ray™/DVD
Genre: Psychological thriller
Rating: Not rated
Running time: 100 mins. plus extras
Languages: English
Year: 2015
SRP: $34.95
Street date: July 26, 2016

Full Moon drops 3 classic titles this July; offers fans a FREE genre gem!

This July, Full Moon Features is back with three classic, must-see titles!

On July 11, join the Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and hear from the Kings of Cult, Roger Corman and Charles Band! Then, on July 25, Full Moon will drop Hollywood Horror House, one of a 20 part series coming to FullMoonDirect.com!

What's more, Full Moon is offering a truly unique gift to all fans of the genre! Those who purchase any title from FullMoonDirect.com will get Kings of Cult 100% free!
KINGS OF CULT 

Kings of Cult presents a unique, intimate discussion with veteran genre filmmakers Roger Corman and Charles Band as they take you through their long and storied careers working on such films as Eat My Dust, Puppetmaster, Sharktopus, Re-Animator, and many more. This truly unique look at exploitation cinema from the perspective two of its top contributors is a must-see for anyone looking to go a little deeper into the movies they love.


Monsters, Maidens and Mad Puppets. Roger Corman, the King of cult cinema. Charlie Band, the Prince of the B-movie.

Two mavericks of independent genre film-making sit down for an intimate discussion about their amazing and diverse bodies of work, their fans, the hundreds of legendary performers and artists whose talents they've nurtured and the future of the industry they've both dedicated their lives to. From SHARKTOPUS, to PUPPETMASTER, to RE-ANIMATOR to DEATH RACE 2000 to GINGERDEAD MAN to HOUSE OF USHER and beyond; this is the ultimate master-class in making strange cinema that matters! Starring Roger Corman & Charles Band...of course!


SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA


Linnea Quigley, Andras Jones, Robin Rochelle, Hal Havins and Brinke Stevens star in the much anticipated Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, out on Blu-Ray July 11. Restored from the original 35mm camera negative and with some exclusive extra features, including the oldest Behind-The-Scenes feature Full Moon has ever presented, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is so funny it just might kill you!


In a bowling alley from hell...there's only one way to score!

There are no freshmen in the college of love, and they're about to graduate to madcap mayhem when a sorority prank goes crazy. Out to steal a trophy from a local bowling alley, the kids accidentally unleash the imp -- a sadistic little spirit with a diabolical sense of humor. He creates demons and loves sexy women. He's the original party animal, inviting you to come along and die laughing -- just like everybody else.

The Sorority Babes won't live through initiation, but don't blame that cute little killer. He's evil by nature and funny as hell. And even if you can take a joke, it kills you.

HOLLYWOOD HORROR HOUSE

To wrap up this huge month, Full Moon will release Hollywood Horror House, one of a 20 part series coming to FullMoonDirect.com with an amazing intro by film historian David DelValle!

By 1970, the once golden age of Hollywood glamour and stardom was a tragic last hurrah represented by the decayed and deteriorated Hollywood Sign. In HOLLYWOOD HORROR HOUSE, we'll go below the sign, to a decaying hilltop mansion of a once great star, played by a once great star, Miriam Hopkins. The fabled Ms. Hopkins, toast of the town back in the thirties iwth box office hits like Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Becky Sharpe, was an A-list actress and Oscar nominee.

Another Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress 1936) Gale Sondergaard plays Miss Hopkins' loyal friend and housekeeper, who tries to save her friend from the handsome stranger, played by son of acting legend John Garfield. He may be the culprit littering the land around the Hollywood sign with hacked up body parts.

This hellish time capsule showcasing late 60s/early 70s Hollywood, remains an early example of the slasher films which would follow in just a few years. See Miriam Hopkins trapped in a madhouse of hacked up blood-splattered bodies, tripped out drug sequences, murder by electric knives and a Hollywood Christmas Parade with a drunk out of control movie star as its Grand Marshall.

HOLLYWOOD HORROR HOUSE is the last death rattle of the Horror Hag craze that began with Better Davis feeding dead rats to Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Just as Bette sang "I've written a letter to daddy' in that film, listen to Miriam sing the hell out of "Taking a chance on love."

Witness that demented slice of cinema best described as a motel six version of PSYCHO...you have been warned!

"Here's a deliriously entertaining mixture of SUNSET BOULEVARD and Herschell Gordon Lewis Movies, not to be missed." -- The Bloody Pit of Horror