Wednesday, December 7, 2016

THE PAST COMES BACK TO HAUNT IN 'THE HARROW' FROM BREAKING GLASS


THE HARROW 

“From start to finish, everything is beautifully visualized. Toying with timelines and reality can be difficult, but THE HARROW walks that line and keeps every moment grounded in the characters' emotions ... THE HARROW remains engaging in every timeline and reality.”
 – Black Script Review

Breaking Glass Pictures will release the psychological thriller THE HARROW, the debut feature from award-winning director Kevin Stocklin, on DVD and Video on Demand this January.

Starring Sonya Harum (‘Gossip Girl”), Maggie Geha (“Gotham”, Ted 2), Tom McKay (“Hatfields & McCoys”) and Geneva Carr (“Bull”), THE HARROW follows a southern drifter plagued by visions of his dead lover, and the young woman who arrives to find out the truth that he buried long ago. THE HARROW will be available on DVD and Video on Demand January 10, 2017.

Official Synopsis:
Miller, a southern drifter, lives in seclusion in an abandoned 100-year-old slaughterhouse - his only company is visions of Gale, his dead lover who was murdered a decade ago. When Gale’s daughter Ruth arrives, looking to dig up the past, she and Miller reassemble the shards of his shattered memory and are horrified at what they uncover.

'Breaking Glass is very excited to bring The Harrow to worldwide audiences”, said Michael Repsch, SVP of Distribution & Sales at Breaking Glass. ‘First time director Kevin Stocklin did a tremendous job of blending genre elements into a dramatic story, creating something that crosses over many genre boundaries.'

Starting January 10, THE HARROW will be available to buy/rent on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Playstation, Xbox, Vudu, and On Demand through your local cable provider.

The Apocalyptic Thriller STAKE LAND II Comes to HD Digital Platforms on February 7, 2017

STAKE LAND II

Stake Land set a new standard in vampire apocalypse thrillers in 2011, and now the eagerly awaited sequel arrives to push the story and its characters to the next shocking level. STAKE LAND II, again starring Nick Damici and Connor Paolo, will be available across digital platforms on February 7, 2017. The film will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning February 14, 2017. 
STAKE LAND II, a Dark Sky Films presentation of a Glass Eye Pix production in association with Berserker Entertainment and Last Pictures, is a new adventure set several years after the events in Stake Land, in which mankind must struggle to survive in the wake of a vampire apocalypse. When his home in New Eden is destroyed by a revitalized Brotherhood and its new Vamp leader, Martin finds himself alone in the badlands of America with only the distant memory of his mentor, the legendary vampire hunter Mister, to guide him. Roaming the wilderness of a steadily decaying country, Martin searches for the one man who can help him exact revenge.

Once reunited, Mister and Martin prepare to confront the ravenous Brotherhood and its monstrous overlord. But it'll take more than the two of them to battle this terrifying new threat, and with the future of humanity hanging in the balance, the stakes are higher than ever before.

Reuniting one of horror cinema's most memorable heroic teams, STAKE LAND II is an epic exploration of a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by blood-thirsty vamps and social collapse, where only the strongest survive.

The film brings back some of the key cast and creative team behind the post-apocalyptic hit Stake Land. Nick Damici (Hap and Leonard) reprises his role as Mister and is also the screenwriter, while Connor Paolo (Gossip Girl, Revenge) is back as Martin, and director Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are, Cold in July) is back as executive producer. It is the second film from directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, following their gripping debut, Body. Also starring in STAKE LAND II are Jim Mickle (Basic Human Needs), A.C. Peterson (Shooter), Bonnie Dennison (Beneath), Kristina Hughes (Green River) and Steven Williams (TV's Supernatural).

The original Stake Land received prestigious international festival play and won the Midnight Madness Audience Award at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. It was a commercial and critical success around the world, praised as "The American horror film of the year" (Twitchfilm), "terrific" (New York magazine), "bold and memorable" (San Francisco Chronicle) and "nothing short of epic" (Dread Central).

Praise for STAKE LAND II has been equally enthusiastic since its world premiere at the 49th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (2016). Horror Society called it "the perfect sequel, the perfect continuation of the story ... the vampiric sequel we've all been dying for." Amy Seidman of Fangoria opined: "Olsen and Berk's direction is as strong as Matt Mitchell's cinematography which is beautiful and, at times, reminiscent of Robert Altman's westerns."

STAKE LAND II
HD Digital release date: February 7, 2017
Street date: February 14, 2017
SRP: $29.98 (Blu-ray), $24.98 (DVD)
Running time: 95 minutes
Language: English
Not rated

Charles Band's HEAD OF THE FAMILY (1996) hits Blu-ray just in time to fill those Christmas stockings!



HEAD OF THE FAMILY (1996) 


Christmas has come early for fans of Full Moon Entertainment, as Charles Band's 1996 horror romp HEAD OF THE FAMILY (1996) arrives on Blu-ray on December 20th 2016.

One of Full Moon's more unique features, HEAD OF THE FAMILY (1996) stars Blake Adams, Jacqueline Lovell, J.W. Perra, Bob Schott and Alexandria Quinn in a horror comedy about the head of the family who is literally that - a giant head on a tiny body!

Synopsis: Lance and Loretta are having a torrid affair behind her husband Howard's back. The problem is that Howard is brutal thug who is bound to catch the cheating pair sooner or later. To solve this problem, the lovers hatch a plan involving the Stackpoole family: a collection of misshapen freaks who waylay unsuspecting travellers and dissect them in gruesome experiments. Unfortunately, things don't go quite according to plan.



OFFICIAL TRAILER

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Overlooked serial killer saga MURDERLUST (1985) on DVD UNCUT for the first time from INTERVISION!

MURDERLUST (1985) 

Label: Intervision Picture Corp
Release Date: January 10th 2016
Director: Donald M. Jones
Cast: Eli Rich, Ashley Saint John, Rochelle Taylor, Dennis Gannon 

Intervision Picture Corp. has slashed deep into the video archives to present an overlooked classic of the VHS era FULLY UNCUT for the first time in home video history! MURDERLUST is an unflinching look at the darkest impulses of the human animal, and Intervision has restored footage that was brutally carved out of the initial home video assault. 

From enigmatic director Donald M. Jones comes one of the most disturbing – and rarely seen – serial killer sagas of the ‘80s: By day, mild-mannered Steve Belmont (Eli Rich of THE JIGSAW MURDERS) is a clean-cut teacher and youth counselor at his Los Angeles church. But by night, he’s a sexual psychopath who murders prostitutes and dumps their bodies in the Mojave Desert. Ashley St. Jon (TAKIN’ IT OFF) co-stars in this “overlooked and effective” (Horrorpedia) chiller, now with an all-new audio commentary and available uncut on DVD for the first time ever. 

As a bonus, the disc also includes the first DVD appearance of Jones’ trippy directorial debut. PROJECT NIGHTMARE is the obscure psychedelic nugget that Unobtanium13.com calls “something of a surrealistic masterpiece!”. Due to the absence of extant film materials, each film has been transferred from original one-inch video masters. Release date: January 10th, 2017.





SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer James C. Lane on Murderlust
- Partial Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer James C. Lane on Project Nightmare
- Murderlust Trailer

Saturday, December 3, 2016

AMERICAN GUINEA PIG: BLOODSHOCK (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

AMERICAN GUINEA PIG: BLOODSHOCK (2015)
3-Disc Limited Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD/CD  

Label: Unearthed Films
Region Code: A/1
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0, English Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen 
Director: Marcus Koch
Cast: Dan Ellis, Andy Winton, Lillian McKinney, Gene Palubicki, Alberto Giovanelli

Let me just say that I came into this second entry in the American Guinea Pig series not having watched any of the Guinea Pig movies that came before, not the original Japanese series nor the first American entry, American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014). I knew sort of what to expect just based on word of mouth about the movie and the repugnant reputation of Unearthed Films and from what I've seen from them thus far. I'm here to tell you that you do not need to have watched any of them to take this in if that's how you come to it, so fear not, jump right in, the water's red and gory as Hell. From what I can tell there's not much connective tissue between the films other than the human flesh being brutalized for various reason, and depending on your own personal appreciation for wicked gore and demented depravity, a story through line might not be all that important. 

The largely black and white slice of hurt opens with an unnamed man played by Plotdigger Film alum Dan Ellis (Gutterballs)wakes up to find himself trapped in some sort of nightmare hospital from Hell, held captive by a mad scientist (Andy Winton) and his sadistic orderly who subject the poor guy to all sorts of surgically-precise awfulness. Surprisingly, there's not a lot of limb-hacking happening here, which is what I sort of expected, instead the mad doc subjects the guy to invasive surgical procedures applied without the aid of anesthetic to dull the pain, they want this guy to suffer. The suffering seems to be connected to some blood-draining that's happening during all the procedures, as if it does something to the blood, not quite sure what, but it seemed integral to the desired outcome.

The doc is funnily overly polite, always speaking in calm tones with a dry morbid wit about him, which I thought was a nice touch, the madman with a smile is always more menacing. For his part as the suffering man subjected to a series of tortures Ellis is fantastic, I've seen him in a few of the Plotdigger films but this is his tour de force, a mostly silent (if you don't count his agonized screaming) performance, but his face and physical acting convey a deep sense of anguish and suffering, this is pure acting, and he digs deep and brings the pain to the surface is both painful-looking and subtle ways, but you also get an idea of what kind of person he is, too.  Between he torturous surgeries he is kept locked away in a white padded room, where he soon discovers he is not quite alone in his suffering, there's a young woman (Lillian McKenney) in the padded room next to his, they're able to pass on short notes to each other through a gap in the walls, the notes are written in crayon, and they eat the notes to hide their communications from their captors, and thus the two develop a strange pen pal relationship. 

Back to the tortures visited upon them, we begin with something simple, his tongue is cut off, some teeth are extracted, again without anything to dull the pain, he has to suffer for whatever it is they're aiming for to work. It moves on to more brutal and strange activities, his knees are brutally beaten with a mallet, the doc makes incisions into his back and strings a rope-saw around his ribs bones and proceeds to saw them in half, brutal stuff, then he is stitched back together. His cranium is operated on, and his chest cavity is cracked open at the rib cage with a surgical spreader, exposing his beating heart, which the doc then licks! This stuff is ungodly looking and filmed in minute detail, director Marcus Cook (We Are Still Here)is well-known for his FX work, and he and his team did great work here, they should all be ashamed of themselves for the nightmares they're inducing, haha. 

These scenario plays out repeatedly, locked away in a room, brought into the surgical suite for more brutal elective surgery, and communicating with his neighbor. Eventually the man and woman get the opportunity to make a break for it, and that's when things get really weird. The story such as it is very simplistic, there is not a traditional beginning, middle and end to it, this is more a series of painful vignettes that only get more visceral as the movie plugs along, punctuated by a blood-sex-gore scenario that I certainly didn't see cumming, weird and wild stuff. I cannot say that I followed just what the Hell was happening in the larger picture, what the endgame was here, I have no idea, but there are a series of short scenes that play as a sort of epilogue during the closing credit sequence that have my interest piqued, I may be watching this one again and see if I can't  figure out what it all means, if anything. 

Audio/Video: American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock arrives on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of the iron-stomached folks over at Unearthed Films, the image is  nice hodgepodge of crisp high contrast black and white with some granier looking 16mm looking footage though I would assume this is all shot on digital. The black and white cinematography looks great, I like the arthouse pretense it brings to the otherwise dour and gore-strewn production. The film looks great in HD, notably there is a rather shocking scenario wherein we are treated to a bloodbath orgy of color, the primary colors being predominantly skin tone flesh and buckets of blood. 


Audio on the release includes DTS-HD MA 2.0 on the Blu-ray and a Dolby Digital 2.0 on the DVD. Both tracks are crisp and clean, some of the sound design is purposefully muted, the dronal score from Kristian Day is appropriately dour in tone. I was a tiny bit surprised we didn't get a creepy surround sound mix for this one, the claustrophobic and slightly surreal imagery would seem to lend itself to a surround mix, but what we get is just fine. Optional English Subtitles are provided.


The release comes packed in the usual DVD sized tri-fold digipack that Unearthed Films have been using for awhile now, I like it. Three discs (Blu-ray, DVD, CD) each with it's own unique artwork branded to the disc. There's also a 4-page booklet with an appreciation of the movie from Art Ettinger of Ultra Violet Magazine 


Onto the extras we have oodles to choose from beginning with two audio commentaries, the first with Director Marcus Koch and Unearthed Films Stephen Biro (who directed the first entry in the American Guinea Pig series), and a second with Actors Andy Winton, Gene Palubicki, and Alberto Giovannelli, this appears on both the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film. 


Looking specifically at the Blu-ray disc we get a 5 min intro from Stephen Biro of Unearthed Films, plus a whopping 92 min behind the scenes featurette, what I loved about this one was the chance to see the gore make-up effects in screaming color, which was gruesome. There are also 7 mins of production videos taking you back to the start of the production, a 22 mins Q/A with Stephen Biro from Days of the Dead 2016, plus 50 mins of interviews with actors Dan Ellis and Lillian McKinney. These extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray and are not repeated on the DVD, which has it's own unique set of extras. 

Onto the DVD we have the same commentaries to accompany the standard def version of the feature film plus a new set of extras exclusive to the DVD, including 68 mins of interviews with Gene Palubicki, Alberto Giovanelli, Marcus Koch Interview, Andy Winton and Stephen Biro plus a 12-min deconstruction of the movie. 


Disc three is the original CD soundtrack featuring 78 min of score from composer Kristian Day, which is a great value-add to these releases from Unearthed. Far and away my favorite Unearthed score thus far comes from the neo-giallo Francesca, but this one is creepy and I can see using it around the house next Halloween to scare the kiddies. 


Special Features:


Disc 1 (Blu-ray) 
- Audio Commentary with Marcus Koch and Stephen Biro
– Audio Commentary with Andy Winton, Gene Palubicki, and Alberto Giovannelli
– Biro’s Bloodshock Intro (HD) (5 ins) (Blu-ray Only) 
– Bloodshock: Behind the Scenes(92 Mins) (Blu-ray Only) 
- Steve Nemeth's Bloodshock Production Cell Phone Videos (7 Mins) (Blu-ray Only) 
– Days of the Dead Atlanta 2016 Q/A (22 Mins) (Blu-ray Only) 
– Dan Ellis Interview (39 Mins) (Blu-ray Only) 
– Lillian McKinney Interview (11 Mins) (Blu-ray Only) 

Disc Two (DVD)
- Audio Commentary with Marcus Koch and Stephen Biro
– Audio Commentary with Andy Winton, Gene Palubicki, and Alberto Giovannelli
- Gene Palubicki Interview (12 Mins) 
- Alberto Giovanelli Interview (5 Mins) 
– Marcus Koch Interview (30 Mins) 
- Andy Winton Interview (10 Mins) 

– Stephen Biro Interview(11 Mins) 
– Bloodshock: Deconstruction Featurette (12 Mins)(Blu-ray Only)  

Disc Three(CD)

Kristian Day CD Soundtrack (78 Mins) 
– Booklet with Writing on the Film from Art Ettinger of Ultra Violet Magazine 

American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015) certainly lives up to the reputation of the series and that of Unearthed Films, a gruesome tapestry of physical tortures and hard-to-stomach sights and sounds. If you're one of those gore-lovers who lives to explore the depths of depraved cinema this is gonna be a must-see. On top of the intriguing minimal story and massive amounts of surgical gore the movie offers some nice arthouse pretension by way of the stylish black and white cinematography. American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock is yet another slice of soul-scarring cinematic trauma from Unearthed, who have been killing it in 2016 with a string of killer extreme horror releases.  


Friday, December 2, 2016

THE DEVIL'S DOLLS (2016) (Blu-ray Review)

THE DEVIL'S DOLLS (2016)  

Label: Scream Factory / IFC Midnight
Release Date: December 6th 2016 
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 85 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Padraig Reynolds
Cast: Tina Lifford, Yohance Myles, Brandon Johnson, Brea Grant, Christopher Wiehl, Kennedy Brice, Kym Jackson, Samantha Smith 

This half-hard Southern Gothic entry opens strong with a young woman being held captive by a homicidal maniac in a scummy warehouse, she escapes and a foot chase ensues with the killer, Henry Leonard Bale (Matty Ferraro), on her heels with a rather large power drill - this sucker rivals the one from 80s slasher Slumber Party Massacre! She winds up in the front seat of a police cruiser which is in the area, apparently the cops have been searching for her, and while the rookie cop (Graham Skipper, Almost Human) radios for backup the killer just walks up to the cop car and drives that drills full-bore right through his head with a nice red geyser of blood spraying all over the young woman, this is a Peter Jackson's Dead Alive sort of blood-geyser, and it's very nicely done. 

Just as the killer seems about ready to finish the young woman off with the his drill he is gunned down by cop Matt(Christopher Wiehl) who arrives on scene just in the nick of time with his partner Darcy (Kym Jackson). It turns out that Matt's been chasing this serial killer for years, and it now seems that his reign of terror has ended, but as often happens in these low-budget horror flicks it is really just the beginning.

While cleaning-up the crime scene Matt finds a small wooden box in the killer's lair containing several hand-made "worry dolls", sort of voodoo looking stick figures, which he throws into a box in the back of his cruiser. Unfortunately 
Matt's eight year-old daughter Chloe (Kennedy Brice) finds the box in the back of the car and makes off with them, selling them at her mom's antiques and crafts shop. And wouldn't you just know it, the objects are cursed and cause the usually fine folk of the rural Mississippi town to become murderous white-eyed weirdos with bad-skin and mean-tempers. 

I like the idea, the cool promotional artwork, and the basic story has some nice Southern Voodoo sort of promise to it, but the execution is somewhat poor, beginning with a script and overall tone that pitch-shifted way too much for me to stay tuned into it, which is unfortunate because we had a great bloody opening, some nice murder set-pieces, and a decent setting, but what what it boils down to for me is a very bad performance from our main guy, actor Christopher Wiehl seems completely lost in the role, his line deliveries are weird and awkward, and not in a good way. Also, acting aside his character is one of the worst cops ever on film, everyone around him dies, and it is his own inept carelessness that the wooden dolls are even became a problem in the first place. 

Also dragging this down is the weak voodoo element, it had promise but it doesn't really go anywhere, they thrown in an old black voodoo woman (Tina Lifford) who warns him about the dolls early on but her pleas fall on deaf ears, until the seemingly random and motiveless murders happen, he seeks her out and is more willing to accept something supernatural is happening. Technically this is a nice looking film shot in the scope widescreen, the Mississippi views aren't used to their fullest but what we do get is nice, and the special effects work is top-notch, beginning with the bloody driller-killer opening, and my other favorite kills uses a large pair of garden shears, a nicely executed kill for sure, and some cool makeup special effects, but this one just meandered too much from overwrought cop family drama to voodoo-slasher goodness, it's way too uneven.  Not an awful movie, but coming from the director of Rites of Spring (2011), which I liked a lot, I was expecting something better, but this is just okay, a classic one and done watch for me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Brazilian Horror THE DEVIL LIVES HERE (2015) Comes Out December 13, 2016 on DVD and VOD/Streaming


THE DEVIL LIVES HERE (2015)  

Label: Artsploitation Films

Release Date: December 13, 2016
Directors: Rodrigo Gasparini and Dante Vescio
Cast: Pedro Carvalho, Ivo Müller, Sidney Santiago, Clara Verdier, Diego Goullart, Pedro Caetano, Felipe Frazão, Mariana Cortines
Country: Brazil
Language: Portuguese with English Subtitles
Duration: 80 Minutes 
Sound: 5.1 Surround

The Occult, Brazilian Folklore and Black Slavery - the Inspiration for the Horror Film, The Devil Lives Here 




Four teenagers get caught up in the midst of a deadly war between dark, ancient forces in a far away countryhouse in The Devil Lives Here (aka: O Diabo Mora Aqui, The Fostering). The film enjoyed a world-wide festival run (including Sitges Film Festival, Morbido FilmFest, Brussels International Film Festival) and was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the 2016 FilmQuest. According to Scream Horror Mag the film, “Grabs you by the throat and rattles your nerves in a manner not at all unlike a Sam Raimi flick. The Devil Lives Here is the most beautiful nightmare you’re likely to have in a while.” 

Three friends, Ale, Magu and Jorge, go on a trip to visit their friend Apolo at his family’s farm for a weekend of fun. At the same time, Sebastião and his younger brother Luciano are getting ready to perform the spiritual ritual their family has been tasked with every nine months, for centuries. On the night the two groups meet, they find out that what they thought were scary tales becomes more than real. It is now up to them to prevent evil to be born and take over the world.