Monday, September 29, 2014

THE SQUAD (2011)

THE SQUAD (2011)
AKA EL PARAMO
Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A 
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 100 Minutes
Audio: Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: 1080p Widescreen (2:35:1) 
Director: Jaime Osorio Marquez
Cast: Juan David Restrepo, Juan Pablo Barragán, Mauricio Navas, Alejandro Aguilar, Andrés Castañeda


Synopsis: All contact with a military base high in the desolate wastelands of Colombia has been lost. The authorities – believing the base to have fallen to a terrorist attack – send a nine-man squad to investigate. When they arrive, the men discover a shocking scene of carnage and only one survivor: a mute woman in chains. Gradually the isolation, the inability to communicate with the outside world and the impossibility of escape begin to undermine the sanity of the soldiers. They start to question the identity of their enemy and the true nature of the strange, silent woman. Is she a terrorist? A victim? Or something more sinister? Something supernatural? Paranoia takes root. Prisoners of fear and the terrible secret they share, the men abandon their humanity and turn savagely on one another.

This claustrophobic thriller from first-time director Jaime Osorio Marquez throws us right into a tense set-up as a group of nine Colombian soldiers are dispatched to a military outpost after communications have been cut-off. Operating under the theory that a group of guerrilla soldiers may have taken the base by force they arrive on foot only to discover a scene much more eerie, the base is completely empty with the exception of a few corpses.  There are no immediate signs of soldiers stationed at the outpost or of the suspected rebel fighters. 


The walls of the outpost are blood-spattered as if something awful has happened but are precious few clues as odd are the chicken feet dangling from the ceiling on strings and strange incantations written on the wall designed to ward off evil. It just so happens that behind one of these walls the soldiers uncover a feral woman sealed-up inside, she's alive but unable or unwilling to speak - she just screams a lot and makes the men uncomfortable. . 

The nine-man squad from the get-go are a bundle of nerves and the dynamic between each are strained, the situation only worsens after the discovery of the woman and the longer they remain on the mountain the more the soldiers succumb to distrust, paranoia and violence towards each other - could this witchy woman be the cause? 

The location of the base is quite effective, a secluded mountain top communications base shrouded in a dense layer of wispy fog, it adds quite a bit of character to the film when exterior shots are used, I only wish they had made more use of it. The color scheme is a bit drab and the characters sort of run into each other as they are in uniform and dirt-covered - it took me a while to differentiate between them all.  It's a taught slow-burn but I must admit that the pay-off left me less than satisfied, there's very little story arc to the film and by the end you realize just how little how transpired for the duration of the film and that was problematic for me. It has some truly creepy moments but is lacking the visceral punch it needed to make the slow-burn pay off. 

I give the cast a lot of credit for these are solid performances through and through, a mix of aggressive machismo and soldier camaraderie peppered with anxiety and edginess. Technically the film is very tight and well crafted but the journey left me wanting more as the film did not deliver on on the slow-burn that builds to more of a fizzle. A lot of promise onscreen but just not a film I can see myself watching again anytime soon. 

The Blu-ray from Scream Factory offers up a solid HD 
transfer with a strong Spanish language 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional English subtitles. Extras include a 20-minute Spanish language making-of featurette and a trailer for the film. 

THE SQUAD (2011) didn't quite do it for me but I do appreciate when Scream branch off from the eighties horror and cult-classics with a contemporary foreign import or made-for-TV production from time to time. They've had winners with Larry Fessenden's creature feature BENEATH (2013) and the COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (2012). This one's a decent one and done that won't leave you sour but probably won't have you running back for a second helping. . 

THE BABADOOK Trailer Debut

IFC Midnight Presents
THE BABADOOK

Opening in theaters and VOD November 28th

Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her ‘out of control’ 6 year-old, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both.


When a disturbing storybook called ‘The Babadook’ turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son’s behaviour, is forced to medicate him.

But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.

WD JACKSON horror/crime thriller 'SLASHER' arrives 10/27 from ASSENT PUBLISHING



"The new name in crime fiction unleashes Slasher"

On October 27th 2014 British author WD Jackson is releasing his new horror/crime thriller in time for the Halloween season. In Slasher, when a vicious serial killer targets Hollywood slasher movie actresses, Sergeant Joshua Matthews must overcome his past to end the brutal killing spree. Can new scream queen actress Kiralee Martinson survive long enough to make it to her first premiere?

This unique crime thriller will be available to buy as an ebook and paperback from selected stores and online retail outlets on October 27th, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Foyles. Slasher is published internationally through Bad Day Books, the horror and crime fiction arm of Assent Publishing.


Amazon.com Preorder link

Amazon.co.uk Preorder link

WD Jackson, 30, is a London-based author who has been writing crime and horror fiction since 2011. His first two books, Loose Ends and Red Light, were both self published on Amazon and both charted in the top twenty best selling Suspense/Thriller Kindle books on release, having sold more than 10,000 copies combined. 

His horror short story, What's Yours Is Mine, was shortlisted for the Horror For Good anthology.

As well as his passion for horror and crime thrillers in all forms, WD Jackson also loves art and design, having studied Fine Art and Art History in Leeds and Toronto and working as a graphic designer for the majority of his career.


THE VISITOR (1979) on Blu-ray in the UK 10/6 from ARROW VIDEO!

Prepare for the Space Jesus! One of the strangest cult-movies of all time is coming to Blu-ray in the UK on October 6th.

THE VISITOR 
ON BD/DVD OCTOBER 6th

THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE…


Arrow Video is thrilled to announce the release of the 1979 B-movie sci-fi/horror mash-up The Visitor, available on BD/DVD from 6th October. A bizarre blend of The Exorcist, The Omen and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Visitor was criticized and humorously dubbed ‘a turkey made of cement’, yet it has recently gone on to become something of a cult classic in its own right.


The Visitor is the ultimate experience in B-movie madness from Ovidio G. Assonitis, producer extraordinaire and director of such deliciously guilty pleasures as Beyond the Door and Tentacles. Described by various sources as “one of the most mind-altering cinematic experiences of the 1970s” and “the Mount Everest of insane ‘70s Italian movies”, The Visitor brings together an astonishing ensemble cast (Lance Henriksen, Shelley Winters and Mel Ferrer to name but a few) in a hallucinatory intergalactic tale of a demonic little girl and her pet hawk. In the words of one astute reviewer, The Visitor is “the most fun you can have in a movie theater without risking permanent brain damage”!


In addition to offering a high definition (1080p) and Standard Definition presentations of the feature, this release will also feature interviews with star Lance Henriksen, screenwriter Lou Comici and cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri. The Reversible sleeve features original artwork and a praised newly commissioned cover art by Erik Buckman. The collector’s booklet features new writing on the film, illustrated with original stills.

Synopsis
You may think you’ve seen it all, but NOTHING can prepare you for The Visitor! The ultimate excursion into B-movie madness, this 1979 cinematic oddity from schlock producer extraordinaire Ovidio G. Assonitis, director of such deliciously guilty pleasures as Beyond the Door and Tentacles, brings together an extraordinary ensemble cast in a mind-bending tale of a girl and her pet hawk.

At first glance, Katy Collins is just like any other normal 8-year-old girl – but appearances can dangerously deceptive. As it turns out, Katy is the Earthly incarnation of an ancient evil by the name of Sateen – an intergalactic supernatural entity who was vanquished many light years ago. Katy possesses tremendous powers making her capable of great destruction – powers which some are keen to eradicate, and some to harness…


A veritable cult phenomenon thanks to its recent re-discovery, The Visitor combines stunning imagery, incredible set-pieces alongside a truly jaw-dropping cast list which includes John Huston, Mel Ferrer, Shelley Winters and Franco Nero appearing as Jesus!


Special Features
· High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements
· Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
· Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
· Interview with Star Lance Henriksen
· Interview with Screenwriter Lou Comici
· Interview with Cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri
· Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Erik Buckman
· Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film and more!

Specs
Release Date: Monday October 6th 2014
Certificate: 15
Language: English (English SDH Subtitles)
Running Time: 108 minutes
Region: B
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: 2.0 Stereo


THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) 40th Anniversary Restoration UK Steelbook Blu-ray released on 11/17


The brutal classic THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) 40th Anniversary Restoration comes to Blu-ray in the UK on November 17th from SECOND SIGHT FILM as a standard two-disc Blu-ray and a Limited Edition Blu-ray SteelBook with new extras and a 4K HD Restoration!!
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE
40TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATION

Label: Second Sight Films
Release Date: November 17th 2014 
Region Code: B
Duration: 84 Minutes
Video: 1:77:1, 1080p
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Aduio 7.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, PCM Stereo 2.0, PCM Mono 1.0 
Director: Tobe Hooper 

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre not!only changed the face of!horror in 1974 but still remains one of the most shocking, powerful and terrifying films ever made.Now to celebrate its 40th Anniversary, brand new!restored version comes to Blu-ray!courtesy of Second Sight.


Widely banned on release! its notoriety has not! diminished and this harrowing tale of a depraved Texan clan and its chainsaw wielding icon of horror Leatherface! continues to stun and disturb audiences like no other film.

Supervised by director Tobe!Hooper, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has received a stunning 4K restoration and 7.1 audio!mix, looking and sounding like never before.

The film will be released as a two-disc limited edition Steelbook blu-ray with!brand new artwork created by Doaly and stacked with brand-new!bonus features, a standard two-disc Blu-ray with reversible sleeve featuring the new 
artwork and the original!U.S. poster!artwork will!also!be!available on November 17th 2014.


BRAND NEW BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE:
- NEW 4k transfer from the original 16mm A/B rolls.
-NEW 7.1 surround audio mix supervised by Tobe Hooper, 5.1 surround, 2.0 stereo, 1.0 original mono.
- NEW Audio commentary with Tobe Hooper.
- NEW Deleted scenes and outtakes.
- NEW audio commentary with cinematographer Daniel Pearl, sound recordist Ted Nicolaou, and editor J. Larry Carroll.
- NEW Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
- NEW 'Grandpa's Tales' with actor John Dugan.

OTHER BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE:
- Audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, actor Gunnar Hansen, cinematographer Daniel Pearl.
- Audio commentary with actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, and Paul A. Partain, and production designer Robert Burns.
- 'Cutting Chain Saw' with Editor J. Larry Carroll.
- Horror's Hallowed Grounds: TCSM.
- 'The Shocking Truth' documentary plus outtakes.
- 'Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of The Saw'.
- A Tour of the TCSM House with Gunnar Hansen.
- 'Off The Hook' with Teri McMinn.
- 'The Business of Chain Saw' – with Production Manager Ron Bozman.
- Tobe Hooper interview.
- Kim Henkel interview.
- Deleted Scenes and Outtakes, Trailers, TV and Radio spots.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

DOUBLE FEATURE FROM HELL: HELLINGER (1997) / HOLY TERROR (2002)



DOUBLE FEATURE FROM HELL: HELLINGER (1997) and HOLY TERROR (2002)

Label: SGL Entertainment
Duration: 125 mins
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Massimiliano Cerchi
Cast: Artie Richard, Shana Betz, James M. O'Donoghue, Veronica Bero, Solomon Cobitt, Kelly Goldstein, Stephen Steel, Beverly Lynne, Charlie David, Nick Armas, Jennifer Amanda Morgan, Yvette Lopez, Lindsey Labrum, Gregory Etchinson, Michael Brazier, Katy Moses


There's certainly some truth in the adverting which proclaims this to be a double feature from Hell. Truly I do feel as those I've been punished and sent to an awful place for what felt like an eternity - actually just two hours but those are two hours I will never get back. What we have hear are to sacrilegious no-budget cheapies shot on what would appear to be low-end consumer grade cameras. Now no-budget doesn't necessarily equate to awful but in this instance is certainly does, these are awful films. 

The first feature  is HELLINGER (1997) a painful knock-off of HELLRAISER featuring a demonic clergyman who appears in the darkness to pluck out the eyes of his victims before disemboweling them - definitely a few nods to HELLRAISER and a bit of CANDYMAN. The demonic priest is quite a sight, just imagine a white-faced Pinhead minus the nails and played by Wallace Shawn (THE PRINCESS BRIDE). Every scene is overwrought and unintentionally funny. The cast has zero charisma but somehow Massimiliano Cerchi manages to get some comely young lasses to bare their breasts for the  prerequisite sex scenes - which were not great but at least distracting. The gore is pretty awful and the production value is has all the charm of a backyard wrestling video on YouTube.

Onto the scond opus in this diabolic double-feature from director Massimiliano Cerchi we have HOLY TERROR (2002) which was shot a few years later  but somehow looks worse. This one is somewhat centered around a possessed nun who terrorizes a group of friends with the help of her evil minion - a pervy realtor. I had hopes for some fun schlocky no-budget nunsploitation with this one because I sort of enjoyed the make-up effects of the possessed-nun but the film is so criminally inept in all categories there's not much to enjoy even on a shitfest level. Again Cerchi finds a few actresses willing to bare their tits for a few sex scenes plus a strip club segment - which explains where these directors find young women desperate enough to bare some skin in shit movies  

This double-feature of no-budget awfulness is the worst sort of trash cinema. I can forgive the shoddy production value and poor acting but the both films are so uninspired and flat that they just cannot keep my interest. There's no passion to praise onscreen here and maybe if there was a modicum of wit or wink-wink irony I could maybe muster some enthusiasm but this is a dud from start to finish - a complete waste of time. At just over two hours to watch both films may I suggest you go to your shelves and pull out a decent ninety-minute horror film and watch that - anything but this one. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NAZI BASTERDS & BOMBSHELLS 5-Disc Nazi Exploitation Collection out now from FULL MOON!



NAZI BASTERDS AND BOMBSHELLS 
 5-Disc Collection

The NAZI BASTARDS AND BOMBSHELLS DVD set collects five of the most shocking and the most sizzling movies that the Nazi Exploitation genre has to offer! Packed to the brim with wild women, devious doctors, and furious führers, Nazi Basterds and Bombshells will settle for nothing less than your unconditional surrender! 


Featuring the "Nazisploitation" classics SS Hellcamp, Deported Women of the SS Special Section, Frauleins in Uniform, and Fraulein Devil, plus the modern retrospective Nazithon: Decadence and Destruction, this collection offers a history lesson like no other. 

So strap in and get ready for some unrestrained action with Nazi Basterds and Bombshells!


Check out the trailers HERE.