Friday, July 22, 2016
Posted by Ken Kastenhuber at 1:29 PM
Pioneer Motion Pictures Debuts New Teaser for Pitchfork Emmy Nominee Glenn Douglas Packard Makes Directorial Debut With New Slasher Film
Posted by Ken Kastenhuber at 1:27 PM
Something wicked this way comes... August brings erotic fairytales and horny devil-worshipping Nuns from Full Moon Entertainment!
Posted by Ken Kastenhuber at 1:26 PM
CAT IN THE BRAIN (1990)
THREE-DISC LIMITED EDITION BD/CD
Label: Grindhouse Releasing
Audio: English and Italian DTS-HD MA Mono 1.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)
Director: Lucio Fulci,
Cast: Lucio Fulci, David L. Thompson, Malisa Longo, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Brett Halsey
Cast: Lucio Fulci, David L. Thompson, Malisa Longo, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Brett Halsey
Synopsis: Acclaimed Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci, director of ZOMBIE and THE BEYOND , stars in this blood-soaked epic as a director being driven insane by his own movies. Fulci is thrust into an ultra-violent nightmare of death and depravity where murder and madness consume his sanity in a vortex of violence.
I love the opening of Lucio Fulci's psycho-gore shocker Cat In The Brain (AKA Nightmare Concert) with director Lucio Fulci playing a version of himself, an aging horror director plagued by the grisly visions of his own horror movies, which is visualized by a cat eating away at his brain while he types away on typewriter, a striking and somewhat comically disturbng image which sets the tone for this wildly uneven but fun slice of self-aware horror from the Italian master of gore.
As stated Fulci plays a fictionalized version of himself, years of making horrific movies have taken a toll on his psyche with the walls between what is real and what is a movie breaking down for the poor guy. Fulci's unsure of what is real and what is coming from his own imagination, to that end he begins to see a psychiatrist (David L. Thompson), a weird sort of doc who tells the director that he's having a mental crisis of some sort, brought on by years of macabre imagery. Unbeknownst to Fulci the doc is up to no good, and begins murdering a series of young women around the area, all the while trying to pin it on the increasingly discombobulated Fulci, who begins to believe that he has committed the murders with no memory of having done it.
The movie is comprised of various recycled bits from previous Lucio Fulci productions, notably the movie Touch of Death starring Brett Halsey as a murderous creep/cannibal. I remember when I first watched Cat In The Brain years ago, I only had a few of Fulci's more popular movies under my belt at the time and I sort of hated it, sure it had loads of gore and nudity, but the patchwork of scenes and newly shot connective tissue felt forced and poorly assembled. Watching it now I can appreciate the movie a bit more, I see what Fulci was going for with some commentary on movie violence and what if any ill effect these images might have on viewers, including the director himself. It possibly also acts as a commentary of Fulci's own career and how he was received by critics, but it still feels rough and slapdash to me. In my mind Cat In The Brain is lower tier in the Fulci canon but it is also a fun gore movie loaded with non-stop gore and nudity, though most of it culled from other movies... and were not talking about his more polished efforts, he's not pulling clips from The Beyond, The Psychic or Zombie, this is his late era stuff, movies that were cash-strapped and low-budget. The movie serves as a sort of late era highlight reel of his career, one that is loaded with low-budget gore and nudity, which is always fun, regardless of how I feel about the movie as whole.
I love the post-modern approach Fulci employed with Cat In The Brain, beating Wes Craven to the ironic-horror punch by a few years, but it is choppy, cheap and uniformly poorly acted. Fulci knows his way around a camera but he's not so great in front of one, but there is something charming about this movie, the way that Fulci turned the camera round on himself, and on that level I had a lot of fun revisiting this one, which is primed with some sweet cheap gore including cannibalism, chainsaw massacres, beheadings, hammers to the skull and much much more.
Audio/Video: The Grindhouse Releasing two-disc Blu-ray edition of Cat In The Brain presents the movie uncut with a new HD restoration framed in widescreen 1.66 and it look the best it has ever looked on home video. The movie is piece meal by design, borrowing lengthy scenes from various sources and stitched together via some new 16mm shot footage that very loosely brings it all together. As expected the varying sources make for an uneven viewing experience with varying degrees of grain and clarity, overall the end product is very watchable and benefits from a more natural grain field and some improved clarity, the source material itself looks nice with very few blemishes of any kind aside from some white speckling.
Audio options include viewer's choice of Italian or English DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono with optional English subtitles. The track is clean and free of hiss, considering the varying sources the audio does not fluctuate too noticeably from scene to scene. The mix of Fabio Frizzi score, dialogue and horrific sound effects are nicely balanced.
Disc one is set aside for the uncut version of the movie, the only advertised extras on the first disc are the American and Italian trailers for the film, plus there is an Easter Egg tucked away of Luci Fulci signing at a table for fans, which I presume to be from 1996 NYC Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.
Onto disc two, which is also a Blu-ray, Grindhouse have stuffed it with a smorgasbord of Fulco goodies, including new interviews with composer Fabio Frizzi, screenwriter Antonio Tentori, cinematographer Sandro Grossi and poster artist Enzo Sciotti. Each is fascinating, I particularly loved the interviews with poster artist Enzo Sciotti who shows off some of his early sketches for his posters, plus a few of his classic finished pieces, the interview ends with him painting the skull from the Evil Dead 2 poster he did All the new interviews are in Italian with the exception of composer Fabio Frizzi who speaks at length about his work scoring film for Lucio Fulci. Fans of Frizzi will enjoy the eight-minute Frizzi footage of the composer performing the main theme for Cat In The Brain.
Fulci is well represented during two interviews, one a radio interview from 1987 and the other is a video interviews tat has been split into two forty-minute segments, once covering his work for television and the other about his work in the horror and thriller genres.
Finishing up the bonus content on disc two we have a five minute appreciation from actors Jeoffrey Kennedy, Sacha Maria Darwin, and Malisa Longo, a poster and still gallery and footage from Fulci's Q+A at the 1996 NYC Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, which was his only horror convention appearance in the US..Tucked away within the filmographies are trailers for The Beyond (1981), Silver Saddle (1978), Magistrate (1967), Roy Colt and Winchester Jack, Return of the Fly (1959), Hot Rod Rumble (1957), plus a series of outtakes from the Brett Halsey interview discussing his movies Beatrice Cenzi and Esmeralda Bay. There's also a trailer reel of Grindhouse releasing trailers for The Beyond, Pieces, Pigs, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, The Tough Ones, Massacre Mafia Style, Gone With The Pope, Scum Of The Earth, An American Hippie In Israel, Corruption, The Swimmer, The Big Gundown and I Drink Your Blood.
This three disc set also includes a bonus CD containing the original score from Fabio Frizzi plus a live version of the main theme from 2015 recorded during the Frizzi and Fulci tour stop in L.A. from 2015. The disc comes housed in its own cardboard slipcase Packaging extras include a few goodies that are limited to the first 3000 copies including a embossed glow-in-the-dark slipcover, which is pretty cool! This may not be one of my favorite Fulco movies but I love the Enzo Sciotti artwork for it. Also limited to just 3000 is a mini postcard sized portrait of Lucio Fulci. Also included is a 20 Page Booklet with liner notes by Fulci's daughter Antonella Fulci, David J. Schow, director Eli Roth and a fascinating piece by Martin Beine who details the recycled movies that Fulci pulled from to create Cat In The Brain. The booklet is chock-full of awesome, including poster artwork and stills from the movie, plus there is a sleeve of reversible artwork housed in a Criterion-style clear case. .
- HD digital restoration of the original UNCENSORED DIRECTOR'S CUT
- Presented with English and original Italian language soundtracks
- Italian Trailer (2 Mins) HD
- U.S. Trailer (2 Mins) HD
- Easter Egg: Lucio Fulco table signing at 1996 NYC Fangoria Weekend of Horrors (4 Mins)
- Have a Nice Vacation, Doctor Fulci! - Interview with screenwriter Antonio Tentori (27 Mins) HD
- A Nightmare in the Brain - Interview with cinematographer Sandro Grossi (28 Mins) HD
- Frizzi and Fulci - Interview with composer Fabio Frizzi (31 Mins) HD
- Fabio Frizzi Live in Hollywood October 2nd 2015 (8 Mins) HD
- Painter of Nightmares - Interview with poster artist Enzo Sciotti (18 Mins) HD
- Antonio Tentori Interviews Lucio Fulci - 1987 Radio Broadcast (16 Mins) HD
- Lucio Fulci Interview Rome, July 27th 1995 - The Television Years (41 Mins), Genre Terrorist (40 MIns)
- Interview with Breti Halsey - Living La Dolce Vita (46 Mins)
- Memories of Fulci with actors Jeoffrey Kennedy, Sacha Maria Darwin, and Malisa Longo (5 Mins)
- Gallery of Stills and Poster Art, plus Lucio Fulci's heroic appearance at the 1996 NYC Fangoria Weekend of Horrors (24 Mins)
- Lucio Fulci and Brett Halset Bios and Filmographies
- Grindhouse releasing Trailers (34 Mins) HD
- Easter Egg: Luci Fulci Video Interview Outtakes (2 Mins)
- Easter Egg: Brett Halsey Video Interview Outtake (1 Mins)
Bonus CD: The original soundtrack by composer Fabio Frizzi (15 Tracks)
- 20 Page Booklet with Liner notes by Antonella Fulci, David J. Schow, Eli Roth and Martin Beine
- Chilling GLOW-IN-THE-DARK slip cover - Limited to first 3000 copies
- Mini portrait of Lucio Fulci - suitable for framing - Limited to first 3000 copies
Another gorgeous and definitive slice of gore cinema from Grindhouse Releasing, one that any self-respecting cult cinema sicko will absolutely want to have in their collection. Cat In The Brain is not among my most loved of Fulci's filmography but this sweet three-disc edition is jam-packed with more cool extras than any self-respecting Fulci fan can live without, yet another must-own release from Grindhouse Releasing!
Friday, July 15, 2016
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 77 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0
Director: C. Courtney Joyner
Cast: Jon Finch, Blake Adams, Ashley Laurence, Jeffrey Combs
Synopsis: The town of Leffert's Corners has been plagued by unearthly beings for decades, and now there is only a few people left, including the local priest and a woman traumatized by the death of her sister. But when John Martense turns up to claim his illicit family fortune, with bad guys in pursuit, the last stand had become a lot more complicated.... What everyone is not aware of are the humanoid creatures lurking underneath the holy grounds! Based on the writings of H P Lovecraft.
Full Moon's mid 90s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Lurking Fear strays far from the macabre source material, even ham-fisting a crime plot into the proceeding with the introduction of an ex-con named John Martense (Blake Adams) who returns to his childhood home of Lefferts Corner to recover a buried cash of money, which was buried in the local cemetery by his ate father with the help of the local mortician Knaggs, played by the odd-looking character actor Vincent Schiavelli of Better Off Dead.
Digging up the buried loot proves to be more difficult than originally planned when a trio of violent gangsters arrive in Leffert's Corner also intent on recovering the buried money, which is rightfully theirs. Mobster Bennett (John Finch) shows up along with his seductive femme fatal Ms. Marlowe (Allison Mackie), and henchman Pierce (Joseph Leavengood). They each descend upon the small village at about the same time but none of them realize that Lefert's Corners is infested with cannibalistic creatures that dwell below the ground, and on the day they show up the town's few remaining survivors have planned an all out assault on the grotesque creatures. B-movie icon Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator) shows up as the wry Dr. Haggis, then we have Hellraiser's Ashley Laurence as the ass-kicking Cathryn and the town Priest (Paul Mantee), who seems intent on martyrdom.
The movie begins with a bang-up intro with two sisters in a mansion with a bay, they're besieged by the long-fingered flesh eating creature who have taken up inside the walls of the dilapidated place, when one is snapped in half and dragged through a hole in the wall to her death, the surviving sister is Cathryn (Laurence) who becomes obsessed with avenging her sibling. It's a good atmospheric set-up, but unfortunately the disjointed movie fails deliver anything near as good after the opening credits.
A lot of the movies failure in my mind has to do with the large cast, all played by mostly capable actors, aside from a wooden lead from Adams, but they're undefined and their motivations are shallow and rote, they're just rough sketches of characters. Poor Jeffrey Combs is criminally underused, and they're are just too many damn characters to invest in, they're here for canon-fodder and the characters are streched too thin and poorly written.
The cannibalistic creatures are nicely designed and look creepy onscreen but are glimpsed sparsely, these white-eyed deformities are awesome, I only wish we had more of them onscreen. Watching the movie I could not help but think if the story had just stuck to the original source material a bit more, if they hadn't of crow-barred in the crime plot, and stuck with the small town horror of the source material, that this could have been something special, but this is largely forgettable despite the kernel of a good idea, the inclusion of Jeffrey Combs and some very cool creature effects.
The same source material was used for the movie Bleeders (1996) which also strays from the source but had a more solid story, defined characters and creepier atmosphere. Originally Stuart Gordon (From Beyond) was slated to direct this as a period piece for Empire Pictures, I can only imagine what we missed out on there, surely it would have been better than what we ended up with, which is not awful, but a middle of the road '90s horror entry.
Lurking Fear arrives on Blu-ray from Full Moon framed in 1080p HD widescreen looking crisp and clean, the image has some nice sharpness and clarity with pleasing moments of fine detail. The movies original aspect ratio is 1.33:1 full frame, what we have hear is a re-framed image, and taking that into consideration I think they did a good job, the picture doesn't feel cramped, though I wish they would have included both the original full frame and widescreen versions of the movie for the sake of completeness. Again FM go the lossy audio route with Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 and Stereo 2.0, of which I preferred the stereo option, there are no subtitles. Dialogue, score and effects are rendered clean and crisp, no issues with the audio, but it would have benefited from a DTS-HD MA upgrade.
Extras on the Blu-ray begin with an audio commentary from director C. Courtney Joyner who offers a detailed commentary about the making of the movie. There's also a vintage Videozone featurette with on-set interviews from Jeffrey Combs, Ashley Laurence, Allison Mackie, and director C. Courtney Joyner with some cool behind-the-scenes video. There's also four minutes of deleted scenes without any sync sound or subtitles, apparently those elements have been forever lost, plus there's a selection of FM trailers.
- Audio Commentary with Director C. Courtney Joyner
- Videozone (Making of Lurking Fear) (7 Mins)
- Deleted Scenes w/o dialogue, just music (4 Mins)
- Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins)
- Teaser Trailer (1 Mins)
Lurking Fear missed the mark for me despite some interesting elements, strong creature design, and a decent cast. It's a poor Lovecraft adaptation and the story is too heavy on cast and a clumsy script. The mix of crime with the Lovecratftian doesn't marry well onscreen, however, if you're a Full Moon completist I have to say the new HD image looks quite nice, just wish FM would opt for lossless audio on their Blu-rays releases.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 109 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen Anamorphic (2.35:1)
Audio: German DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround with English and Spanish Subtitles
Director: Andreas Marschall
Cast: Michael Balaun, Lucyna Bialy, Lisa Blaschke, Franziska Breite, Zübeyde Bulut, Nico Ousman Corr
In her quest for fame, drama student Stella gets caught in the grip of a mysterious and deadly stage school.
Stella longs to be an actress. When she is accepted to a private school in Berlin, her dream seems to come true. But there is something wrong with the "Matteusz Gdula-Institute". In the seventies, the school's founder, Matteusz Gdula, practiced a learning style that promised to let students shine by driving them to their mental limits. In the end his method was banned, as mysterious deaths occurred during his lessons and Gdula committed suicide. At night, Stella hears eerie sounds in the corridors of the school. A fellow student disappears. Stella suspects that behind the closed door to the abandoned, forbidden wing of the school lurks a bloody secret. A secret that kills the students...
First 3000 copies include:
- CD - Original Soundtrack
- Collectible Blu-ray/DVD Slipcase and Sleeve
- 24 Page Booklet.
- EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK CD
- BEHIND THE SCENES
- DELETED SCENES
- MUSIC VIDEO CLIP
Posted by Ken Kastenhuber at 12:24 PM