Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bigfoot horror STOMPING GROUND (2014) to hit DVD/VOD on March 8th


STOMPING GROUND (2014) 

DVD available for pre-order with signed poster on BRINKvision.com

BRINKvision is proud to announce the March 8th DVD and Video-On-Demand release of Stomping Ground, an independent Bigfoot horror feature by writer/director Dan Riesser. Mike De Trana produced through Anvil Entertainment.

Stomping Ground is the story of Ben and Annie, a young couple on a weekend trip to Annie's small North Carolina hometown. At the local bar they run into Paul, a charming old friend of Annie's, and Ben learns something he never knew about his girlfriend: She believes in Bigfoot. In fact, she and her friends used to "hunt" for the creature when they were kids. Before Ben knows it, he's off on an impromptu Squatchin' trip deep in the Carolina backwoods. Amidst the Squatch calls, campfire stories and beers, Ben quickly realizes that Paul may have an ulterior motive in bringing Annie to the woods. And something else out here seems to be after her as well. Everyone but Ben thinks its Bigfoot. But it can't be, can it? After all, Bigfoot isn't real.

The film features a cameo performance from Theresa Tilly, best known as one of the original “Ladies of the Evil Dead” from Sam Raimi's horror classic, The Evil Dead. The film world premiered at the 2014 Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood, CA and received the “Soul of Southern Film Jury Award” at the 2014 Indie Memphis Film Festival. Filmmaker Dan Riesser, formerly an Emmy-nominated producer on E! Entertainment's The Soup with Joel McHale, wrote, directed and produced Stomping Ground as his first feature film.

Limited edition DVDs, which include an 11x17 poster signed by the cast and crew, can be pre-ordered directly from BRINKvision.com. The film is also available on Amazon. It will be available digitally from Amazon Prime and Google Play on March 8th, with additional VOD outlets to follow. The film is available for Cinema-On-Demand screenings through Tugg.com.

DVD Special Features
- 11x17 Poster Autographed by Cast & Crew (BRINKvision.com exclusive, limited to 100)
- Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Dan Riesser and Stars John Bobek & Tarah DeSpain
- Behind the Scenes Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailer






Monday, February 8, 2016

SHEBA, BABY (1975) (Blu-ray Review)

SHEBA, BABY (1975)
Label: Arrow Video
Region Code: Region FREE
Duration: 90 Minutes
Rating: PG
Audio: English LPCM Mono 1.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: William Girdler
Cast: Pam Grier, D’Urville Martin, Austin Stoker



No woman was more badass in the '70s than Pam Grier, a fierce black woman who dripped sensuality and kicked some major baddie-ass. She started off in a string of AIP women-in-prison flicks with director Jack Hill before becoming the AIP action-queen in a series of sweet blaxploitation movies which are still adored by cult-cinema lovers. Unfortunately Pam never did attain the leading lady status she deserved outside of the American International Pictures b-movie grinder, it wouldn't be until her turn in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown that she received the proper leading role deserved by someone of her caliber, but her seventies movies with AIP as an ass-kicking woman of the '70s were pretty badass and are a blast to re-visit. Even some of the lesser entries manage to entertain despite weak material - the lady had class, charisma and was drop-dead gorgeous.

Sheba, Baby is one of the lesser entries, it stars Grier as a Chicago private eye returning home to Louisville, KY to help defend her father's loan business against a group of low down racketeers who are trying to force him to sell. The story is hackneyed, and it does not help that the movie lacks style and substance. However, Pam Grier is always magnetic and she does her best to carry it through to the end, and for me that's enough to keep me plugged, though the prohibitive PG-rating means it lacks a visceral edge to the violence and no there's an absence nudity.


Like the story the cast of characters are cookie cutter and somewhat stereotypical, we get a selection of roughies and hustlers, including the main villain, a comical D'Urville Martin who is working for a white-devil in the neighborhood. All the baddies just seem silly, each having their asses handed to them by our woman Sheba. Classing up the movie to a degree is the appearance of Austin Stoker from John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 as Brick, the good-guy business partner of Sheba's father. Stoker has some real presence and provides a love interest for Sheba, both he and Grier deserved a better movie. 


There are some decent action sequences, including a car-bombing at the start of the movie and a speed boat chase finale that has an alright harpooning, but the staging of the action is pedestrian and poorly assembled, making this a decent watch for fans of '70s black action cinema, but on the lower-end of the spectrum.


Audio/Video: Sheba, Baby arrives on region-free Blu-ray from Arrow Video in 1080p HD looking very nice, framed in 1.85:1 widescreen. The source was in good shape, a few white specks here and there but otherwise no print damage. There's a nicely managed layer of fine film grain, some modest depth and decent clarity to the image. The Mono LPCM audio is clean and crisp, the funky score sounds nice, and there are optional English subtitles included. 


Onto the extras we start with two audio commentaries, the first from producer-screenwriter David Sheldon, moderated by critic Nathaniel Thompson from Mondo Digital, plus a second one from Patty Breen, the webmaster of WilliamGirdler.com. 



Arrow Video have also included a pair featurettes, beginning with "Sheldon: Baby" a new interview with David Sheldon, who is always a great interview, and he's no different here. The producer speaks about the genesis of the project, the original working titles, his split from AIP and the dissolution of his partnership with director William Girdler following the release of Sheba, Baby. The second is "Pam Grier: The AIP Years" with film historian Chris Poggiali who walks us through the AIP years of Grier. Additionally we have a image gallery, theatrical trailer for the movie, and a booklet  new writing on the film by Patty Breen, illustrated with archive stills and posters. While I don't think that Sheba Baby is a top tier Pam Grier movie I do love all the work that Arrow Video have put into each of the Grier movies they've brought to Blu-ray these past few years, collectors and fans need this one in their collection.

 Special Features:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with producer-screenwriter David Sheldon, moderated by critic Nathaniel Thompson 

- Audio commentary with Patty Breen, webmaster of WilliamGirdler.com
 - Sheldon: Baby – a brand new interview with David Sheldon (15 Mins) HD
- Pam Grier: The AIP Years – a look over the wonder years of the Blaxploitation queen with film historian Chris Poggiali (12 Mins) HD
- Trailer (2 Mins) HD
- Gallery featuring rare publicity images and Lobby Cards (18 Images) HD
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
- Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Patty Breen, webmaster of WilliamGirdler.com, illustrated with archive stills and posters 


A hackneyed story and lack of style do hurt Sheba, Baby (1975), and while it might be on the lower end of Pam Grier's filmography for me this Blu-ray release from Arrow Video is top-notch with a great selection of bonus content, and well-worth the upgrade. 3/5


Scream Factory Presents Murders in the Rue Morgue & The Dunwich Horror On Blu-ray March 29, 2016



 MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE / THE DUNWICH HORROR

A pair of horror’s most famous authors – Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft – provide the inspiration for a most diabolical double feature. Scream Factory presents two terrifying tales from literary legends with the release of Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Dunwich Horror on Blu-ray on March 29, 2016. These two American International Pictures classics are now finally available for the first time on Blu-ray, in a release complete with new audio commentary with author and film historian Steve Haberman, and a stage tricks and screen frights featurette.

Your first frightening film is 1971’s Murders in the Rue Morgue. In early 20th-century Paris, a theatrical company with a specialty in Grand Guignol undertakes their most gruesome production yet. But when a madman with an axe to grind arrives on the scene, the stage is set for real mayhem and murder most foul. Will the backstage bloodshed be quelled – or is it curtains for the cast? Jason Robards and Herbert Lom star in this marvelously macabre mystery.

From the City of Lights (and frights), our tour of terror moves on to a small New England town in 1970’s The Dunwich Horror. When a beautiful student named Nancy catches the eye of the weird Wilbur Whateley, her professor, the good doctor and occult expert Dr. Henry Armitage, knows that no good will come of it. But as Armitage digs deeper into the Whateley family history, he uncovers a buried secret – and a plot intended to call forth an evil beyond imagination. A cult favorite that proves that The Old Ones are good ones, The Dunwich Horror stars Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, and Sandra Dee.

Special Features:

Murders in the Rue Morgue
· Audio commentary with author and film historian Steve Haberman
· Stage Tricks & Screen Frights featurette
· Theatrical trailer

The Dunwich Horror
· Audio commentary with author and film historian Steve Haberman
· Theatrical trailer


 

CODE 46 (2003) (Blu-ray Review)

CODE 46 (2003)
Label: Olive Films
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 93 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0
Video:
1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director:
Michael Winterbottom

Cast: Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Jeanne Balibar,, Om Puri, Nina Fog

Code 46 is a forbidden love story masquerading as a small scope science fiction film, set in a dystopian future where the government stringently controls human-breeding based on genetic compatibility. If a couple are too closely linked genetically they are forbidden from having children together, this is what is known as a Code 46 violation, from which the movie takes it's name.


Into this future we have a government investigator William Geld played by Tim Robbins (The Player), who is sent to Shanghai from Seattle to investigate a case of passport forgery committed by a young woman named Maria Gonzalez played by Samantha Morton (A.I. Artificial Intelligence). Perhaps fueled by an empathy virus he's been infected with William  falls heads over heel for the woman he's investigating in a short 24-hour period, together they embark on a whirlwind romance, with him covering up her crime, before heading back to Seatte the next day, home to his wife and child.


Once he returns he cannot forget her, and when the case is re opened after a death he is sent back to Shanghai to finish the investigation. There he tracks down Maria to a medical facility where she been given an abortion for a Code 46 violation, additionally she has had all memories of her encounter with William erased, which sort of brought to mind Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind, but on  whole other dystopian future levels, these are government sponsored mind-wipes and abortion, scary stuff.


I love these small scope sci-fi movies, this one in particular presents quite a few themes and threads which are brought to the screen rather matter-of-factly and without the burden of a lot of over explanation about the how and why of things, which might bother some but I liked. It portrays the one-world of the future as ethnically diverse, there's a lot of language cross-pollination, which is another a nice touch. Visually the movie imagines the brave-new-world as nothing too extraordinary, this is grounded in a reality not too dissimilar from our own, peppered with stylish and slightly futuristic aesthetic, with walled-in cities for the privileged citizens and very basic shanty towns on the outside where criminals are exiled.


Robbins comes across as a bit tired or bland in the role of the philandering investigator, it sort of reminded me of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation by way of Gattaca. I think this is a choice, not a ding on his performance by any means. Samantha Morton is desirable as the forger and love interest of the story, I can see the appeal for Robbins character, she is a mysterious and attractive young woman, Morton is a strong actress with a undeniable presence. Like Robbins she pays it a bit subdued, though there's a lot of depth just below the surface of her character, who also narrates the story. I have not seen a ton of her stuff but f you would like to see her boil over in a seething performance check her out in the thriller The Harvest from director John McNaughton, in which she is straight-up terrifying. 


The disc from Olive Films presents the film with a pleasing 1080p transferred framed in the scope aspect ratio. Colors are strong and nicely saturated, skin tones look good all the way around. The disc comes with only the option to view the movie with an English language DTS-HD Stereo 2.0 option, with no subtitles. The dialogue is crisp and clean, and the evocative score from David Holmes sounds just fine, but I do wish they would have carried over the surround audio option from the DVD. 
  
The only extras on the disc is a trailer for the movie, not carried over from the 2004 DVD are a selection of deleted scene and the "Obtaining Cover: Inside Code 46" featurette, so if you are upgrading you may want to hold onto the DVD.

The movie has a haunting quality about it, the ending particularly sad and thought provoking, which caught me by surprise since most science fiction movies don't have much of emotional impact on me, but that is why I say this is a love story wrapped in the trappings of a sci-fi film, at the core this is a story about forbidden love in a cold future world. If a mash-up of Lost in Translation and Gattaca sounds like good time to you I think you will enjoy this one. 3/5

THE AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT ON DUAL FORMAT BD/DVD - FEBRUARY 23rd 2016


THE AMERICAN HORROR PROJECT 

ON DUAL FORMAT BD/DVD - FEBRUARY 23rd 2016

Arrow Video is pleased to announce the American Horror Project, a new series of box-sets which sees a variety of rarely seen and long-forgotten cult horror films being restored and returned from obscurity and risk of being lost forever due to fragility of original film material. American Horror Project will ensure that these unique slices of the American Nightmare are brought back into the public consciousness and preserved for all to enjoy in brand new High Definition transfers from the best surviving elements.


The first volume of the series will be released Feb 23rd2016, with Arrow Video committed to bringing these lesser-known efforts of US genre cinema back into the limelight where they belong. The set will be limited to a run of only 3000 copies.

American Horror Project is a story of the unsung heroes of American horror cinema – films from the USA’s golden age of terror which, for a multitude reasons, have either slipped through the cracks or never gained the recognition they so richly deserve. Films that aren’t mentioned by movie fans in the same hushed tones of reverence as The Exorcist or Halloween – but are every bit as bold, bloody and bizarre as their more famous counterparts.

Synopsis: Everyone knows the classic American horror titles: Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street, to name but a few. But we want to tell you a different story: a story of the unsung heroes of stars-and-stripes terror, films that have remained on the fringes of the genre either through lack of availability or else sheer obscurity. This is where American Horror Project comes in.



Volume One of this series presents three tales of violence and madness from the 1970s. Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (Christopher Speeth, 1973) sees a family arrive at a creepy, dilapidated fairground in search of their missing son, only to find themselves at the mercy of the cannibalistic ghouls lurking beneath the park. Meanwhile, The Witch Who Came from the Sea (Matt Cimber, 1976), stars Millie Perkins (The Diary of Anne Frank) as a young woman whose bizarre and violent fantasies start to bleed into reality - literally. Lastly, every parent's worst nightmare comes true in The Premonition (Robert Allen Schnitzer, 1976), a tale of psychic terror in which five-year-old Janie is snatched away by a strange woman claiming to be her long-lost mother.

Newly remastered from the best surviving elements and contextualised with brand new supplementary material, American Horror Project proudly presents an alternative history of American horror and film heritage.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
· Brand new 2K restorations of the three features
· High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
· Original Mono 1.0 audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
· English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
· Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
· American Horror Project Journal Volume One - Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new articles on the films from writers Stephen Thrower(Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents), Kim Newman (Nightmare Movies), Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) and Brian Albright (Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews)

MALATESTA'S CARNIVAL OF BLOOD
· Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower
· Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
· The Secrets of Malatesta - an interview with director Christopher Speeth
· Crimson Speak - an interview with writer Werner Liepolt
· Malatesta's Underground - art directors Richard Stange and Alan Johnson discuss the weird, mysterious world of Malatesta's underground
· Outtakes
· Draft script (BD/DVD-ROM content)
· Stills gallery






































THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA
· Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower
· Audio commentary with director-producer Matt Cimber, actress Millie Perkins and director of photography Dean Cundey
· Tides and Nightmares - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with Cimber, Perkins, Cundey and actor John Goff
· A Maiden's Voyage - archive featurette comprising interviews with Cimber, Perkins and Cundey
· Lost at Sea - director Cimber reflects on his notorious cult classic

























THE PREMONITION
· Introduction to the film by Stephen Thrower
· Isolated score
· Audio commentary with director-producer Robert Allen Schnitzer
· Pictures from a Premonition - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with Schnitzer, composer Henry Mollicone and cinematographer Victor Milt
· Archive interviews with Robert Allen Schnitzer and star Richard Lynch
· Three Robert Allen Schnitzer short films: 'Vernal Equinox', 'Terminal Point' and 'A
Rumbling in the Land'
· 4 Peace Spots
· Trailers and TV Spots








DETAILS:
Region: Free
Rating: 18
Cat No: FCD1207
Duration: 251 mins
Language: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1/2.35:1
Audio: Mono
Discs: 6


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Slick Sci-fi Thriller "NARCOPOLIS" (2015) Makes Blu-ray Debut March 1st from Scream Factory


NARCOPOLIS (2015) 

Get Your Fix on Blu-ray and DVD March 1st, 2106 from Scream Factory

In the near future where all drugs are legal, an elite police force works to keep drug companies rich and black market dealers off the streets. On March 1st, 2016, the slick sci-fi thriller Narcopolis will make its Blu-ray and DVD debut from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight. Boasting a visually stunning, futuristic atmosphere, Narcopolis also includes new bonus features including an audio commentary with writer and director Justin Trefgarne, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and more! Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com

In 2024, the manufacture and consumption of drugs has been legalized. An elite police unit, known as Drecks, are created by an over-stretched police force to keep the black market dealers off the streets and the licensed drug companies rich. When dreck and former addict Frank Grieves is called to investigate an unidentifiable corpse, he makes a connection to the biggest and most powerful drug producer of them all: The Ambro Company. But Ambro has friends in high places and as his corrupt superiors turn on him, Grieves finds himself cut loose by the law and separated from the people he loves. The only way to clear his name is to find the identity of the dead body and its connection to Ambro. But not even Grieves is ready for what the future has in store.

Written and directed by Justin Trefgarne, Narcopolis stars Elliot Cowan (Howl, Da Vinci’s Demons), Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones), James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) and Elodie Yung (TV’s Daredevil, G.I. Joe: Retaliation).

Narcopolis Bonus Features
· Audio Commentary with writer/director Justin Trefgarne
· Behind the scenes of NARCOPOLIS featurette
· Deleted scene
· Theatrical trailer


Friday, February 5, 2016

RED KROKODIL (2012) (DVD Review)

RED KROKODIL (2012) 

Label: One 7 Movies

Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
duration: 88 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 with Optional Italian, French Subtitles
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Domiziano Cristopharo
Cast:  Brock Madson, Valerio Cassa, Viktor Karam


Synopsis: Red Krokodil tells the story of a man meant to represent all men. It is the story of a man addicted to Krokodil , that suddenly finds himself alone in a post-nuclear city similar to Chernobyl. His physical decay, caused by the massive intake of drugs, is mirrored in his inner world, as reality mixes with hallucinations. The result is a film that uses the Krokodil as a metaphor of destruction. 

Director Domiziano Cristopharo's film Red Krokodil (2012) combines post-nuclear suffering with Krokodil addiction to tell a dark and hopeless story of a man living in an apartment of a high-rise in Russia after the bomb has dropped. The man without a name (actor Brock Madson) is wrapped in gauze bandages and wearing only some well-worn undies, he spends his days concocting his drug of choice while hallucinating of bunny-faced strangers, detached from reality and entwined within his own psychological issues brought on by the drug-use, wallowing in despair and waiting for death. 


The movie is largely dialogue free aside from some narration from our main character, who speaks cryptically of how he has lost his way and of his descent into madness All the while his body is decomposing, a compounded flesh-rot brought on by what I assume to be radiation sickness and the ill effects of the drug krokodil - a scarily real-life drug. Actor Brock Madson does an alright job in the wordless role, I found it hard to gauge as so very little is happening externally for him, the performance is largely internal, portraying addiction, a deteriorating mental state, confusion and frustration, and to that end he is very successful. 

The setting of the apartment is a dirty place, there's a layer of filth on the walls and floor, the place gave me an icky feeling, definitely the sort of movie that requires a shower afterward. By design the story and movie is dark and depressive, and it made for a challenging viewing, the minimal story and dark tone didn't keep me plugged in. I really struggled to make it through this one, this sort of movie is just not for me, it didn't engage me personally but I know movie fans who dig this sort of slit-your-wrist cinema, but I am not one among them.



The disc from One 7 Movies presents the film in anamorphic widescreen, the image quality is quite good for a low-budget movie. Th colors are desaturated, but the colors and black levels are good. I didn't notice and artifacting or compression issues, this a very fluid image. Audio comes by way of an English Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 track with optional Italian and French subtitles. The box indicates an English subtitle option, but there are none. Extras include two deleted scenes, a selection of trailers, the ending with alternate music, a photo gallery and test footage for the ending scene. A pretty well-stocked release by One 7 Movies standards, which are isuallu pretty light on bonus content. 

Special Features:
- Ending with Alternate Music (3 Mins) 
- Deleted Scenes (5 Mins) 
- Trailers (4 Mins) 
-Teaser Trailer (1 Mins) 
- Photo Gallery (3 Mins) 
- Test FX for Ending Scene (1 Mins) 

Watching this I was reminded of another film that was not awful, but like this, wasn't for me, that was the movie was Phil Stevens' Flowers (2014) from Unearthed Films. If you were a fan of that you might dig the sort of darkness this is dredging up, for me it was a chore to get through, turns out post-nuclear drug addiction is a hard thing to watch, and maybe that was the point. Stay away from drugs kids, they're bad for you. 2/5