Film reviews

REVIEW SECTION IS UNDER MAINTENANCE: FOR NOW PLEASE ENJOY THE REVIEWS IN THE ORDER THEY HAVE BEEN RECEIVED. PLEASE EXCUSE OUR MESS OR WHATEVER....




RUBY BLU-RAY

"Christened in blood. Raised in sin. She's sweet sixteen, let the party begin."


Ruby is a remarkable stab into the annals of horror cinema. While it contains many of the same tropes as many horror films of the time, it stands on its own as an innovative movie. The highlights in this film which I have seen many times are: Piper Laurie of Carrie fame playing a crazy ass mom...again, a character wearing a "Death Records" jacket, a score that reminds me a bit of Goblin's Suspiria and something that I was not expecting was similarities to a film that I recently reviewed called J.D.'s Revenge. Ruby is about a 1930s-era gangster who is killed by his fellow gangsters, resurrected in the early 1950s through his mute daughter, Leslie, as a vessel to get revenge for his death. Ruby the namesake of the film is actually his pregnant girlfriend, the mother of Leslie. A lot of people always associated the name Ruby with the girl on the cover, but the girl you're looking at is actually Leslie, Ruby is played by Piper Laurie.
Ruby is now the owner of a drive-in movie theater, which is maintained by the killer of her boyfriend. The drive-in makes for an amazing setting for such a film and provides the ambiance needed for spookiness to ensue.Not too many horror films like Ruby exist. A bunch of previously detailed ideas and concepts swirl together and work pretty well. It has some obvious Exorcist tendencies but it's also a slasher and an old fashioned ghost story plus so much more. Taking place mostly at a drive-in theatre, it has a fun exploitation feel but it's classed up by the presence of Piper Laurie as the lead. The whole thing walks a fine line between camp and horror. MUST SEE.



ATTACK OF THE KILLER DONUTS DVD

A chemical spill turns donuts into bloodthirsty killers! Stop right there, YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION!  Now it's up to Johnny (Justin Ray), Michelle (Kayla Compton) and Howard (Ben Heyman) to save their city and friends from Killer Donuts. Im not looking for a high brow art film, Im not looking for something to change my view of the world, I am looking for something fun to watch, I think it's impossible not to love these kinds of films. This one in particular proves that it’s really a thing of the past; how much money you have to make a film, if you have a good idea, an even better name and filmmakers with some clue what makes us happy, you win! Movies like this keep the hope alive and are why I will give pretty much any film a shot. This is a goddamned gem and keeps me living! (Brandon Harrod)






J.D.'s Revenge Blu Ray
When J.D.’s Revenge showed up in my mailbox I could not contain my excitement. I live to unearth peculiar b-movie gems especially ones that astonish with uniqueness and subtle power.
The quality that I admire the most about J.D.'s Revenge is that it has an incredible lived in the 70’s quality. Like your favorite pair of corduroys, it is unkempt in all the right ways, presenting characters that are alive in their own way. It isn't a hipster foray that is trying to be something, it’s not. The characters aren't the epitome of anything or stereotypes. Ike is a young law student who finds himself susceptible to demonic possession after volunteering to undergo hypnosis during a night out with friends. He begins to experience headaches, flashbacks, hallucinations and blackouts as the influence of the spirit of J.D. Walker, a vicious 1940's gangster, slowly begins to take over Ike's conscious life.
This is responsive horror on a certain level. Ike, who is trying to build a different life for himself through hard work, now finds he is unable to avoid a life where J.D. takes over. He seemingly can't even remember what happens when J.D. takes over. There is no digging through a library for news reports of J.D., no finding a wise man who can tell him what to do because he doesn't know or understand. Even the doctor he meets with is clueless. The best advice he receives is: "Maybe meditate. Smoke some weed". Weed does a lot of things but doesn’t exactly rid your personality of a killer possession. Just like an illness, Ike has to suffer through it for however long it lasts.

J.D.'s Revenge isn't a movie about finding answers and expressive characters. It is about possession. Being and not being in control of what you were given and how to conquer those qualities. It is hard not to see something politically charged in this film, especially in this day and age. This is not a film about gaining insight but about losing it, waiting for the tragedy to happen and dealing with its after effects. This is a shocking and REAL look at race in America, not race relations, but race itself: what it means to carry cultural baggage and social expectation. You don’t have to make up your mind on anything, you just have to experience it.


DEVIL'S WHISPER DVD

The Devil’s Whisper follows 15 year-old Alejandro Duran, who comes from a religious Latino family and  aspires to one day be a Catholic priest. But when Alex discovers a mysterious box he unwittingly unleashes a demonic spirit bent on possessing him. Alex must find a way to defeat this ancient demon, which has been tormenting children since the dawn of man, before it destroys him and everyone he loves. At first glance, Devil's Whisper is a supernatural horror film about demonic possession but contains a lot of the elements that would allow me to categorize it as a psychological thriller about repressing one’s memories, childhood suffering and the cycle of abuse that children and families go through. Writing this off as just another exorcism movie would be a mistake, it shares a lot of the qualities of such but it is so much more. The portrayal of Catholicism in the film firmly sets into place the feeling of this but it has many other laters that will set this film apart. Devil’s Whisper compiles a lot of feelings and emotions into a film that is more repetitive thank I would like but it does not detract from the overall piece, this is to be expected with most low-budget horror. Propping the film up are some really great visual effects that are quite inspiring for this category of budget horror. Overall I enjoyed the flick simply because it give alternate angles to look at a story that has definitely been played before. Since, we are just coming off of a major pile of horror, exorcism, ghost stories I am in a muck when it comes to these films but this stands out on top of the heap. (Brandon Harrod)


RED CHRISTMAS BLU RAY  

This was a likeable even if slightly flawed effort. The premise here is simple: arriving for a family holiday, a group in a creepy remote mansion for a get-together find themselves stalked by a homicidal madman intent on punishing them for their beliefs against abortion and must fight to save their Christmas from the deluded psychopath. 

One of the better aspects here is the film’s rather strong and enjoyable concept of the holidays where one finds plenty to like. Taking place in Australia instead of out in the countryside has plenty of what I would gather are familiar celebrations to focus on, from the way the food preparations are given to the way the house is decorated which manages to really let the holiday flavor really sink in. That also helps with the later slashing antics and this film features some very creative scenes. The opening ambush on the hospital carrying out the service provides an excellent action-oriented start, the initial opening scene on the house manages to feature some rather decent stalking with the killer moving through the various areas of the house and makes for some tense confrontations out in the backyard or through the kitchen. Once it gets to the killer chopping through the family members this one gets incredibly fast and frantic with plenty of nice scenes featuring the family continually trying to avoid his advances as the brawling throughout the house and outside generates the kind of solid action that makes for an enjoyable, loveable, killer romp here, as well as letting the excessively brutal and graphic kills generate some solid scenes. The film manages to convey everything that it is going for,as well as, leaving all of its beauty marks and flaw on the line. The main disadvantage is the fact that the film has way too many connections to the abortion which grows pretty tiring quickly. The fact that this one ties that into the reasoning and motivation make no sense as the people said to have that condition are far and away completely different from that mindset and wouldn’t have any kind of impetus to go on this rampage and while a little cheesy, I feel that goes against the important message it’s trying to make with that storyline. While trying not to expect too much here, the killer himself is a joke with his hobbled and bent-over appearance not in the slightest invoking any kind of fear due to the fragile nature of his physical form, and that large number gathered together with weapons would have no problem ganging up to overpower and subdue him, especially in his physical state which doesn’t in the slightest look capable of inflicting that type of intense trauma on people. The last issue is the rather awkward finale that goes on way too long and seems like it lasts too long to get it up to a respectable length, rather than flowing naturally. These here are all that really hold it back. I'm not one to nit pick a great slasher to death but those elements take me out of it a little. I enjoyed this and will probably watch again as the Christmas holiday rolls around, just because I am a sick weirdo like that! (Brandon Harrod)




ALL THE SINS OF SODOM/VIBRATIONS BLU RAY

ATSOS: I was worried this was going to be another T&A movie disguised as a high-brow Art Movie. Although there is a seemingly weak story in the midst of the sexiness, this is more than a wild display of beautiful women posing without much in te way of clothing. Other reviewers and those with big mouths alike fail to mention the respite from fake movie actresses that these types of films provide. I appreciate the quality of the 4K transfer but there are a few detractions in the way of low quality in the digital copy in some places. Overall a great watch and I enjoyed although this is not the type of film I usually align myself with. (Brandon Harrod)

VIBRATIONS: Before watching this double feature I was not familiar Sarno, this would have to be my favorite of the two because it is just so distinctive. I had heard Sarno’s work referred to as sex noir, but did not get that from All The Sins of Sodom, this being the director’s best work(that I have seen mentioned in various sources). The films are set apart by their powerful use of black and white videography and a weirdo central character. Sarno also seems to lean on the central character to strain our sense of morality challenged by just who or what is good and bad, and you know, a little sexiness. I found this to be super graphic considering the censorship of the time. OOOh glorious 60s men with hairy backs! The plot here is 2 sisters; the bitchy one and the sweet one want to repeat the sexual games of their childhood, the sweet one is an aspiring poet. Meanwhile, next door a couple of buxom blondes go to town on an exploratory couple and a 50 year old vibrator.  I am assuming Sarno got around all this bawdiness by weaving in exterior shots of the older folks walking around in New York. Providing a dismal and soaking wet view of New York City, which really only make us eager to get back to the sex. That really is objective numero uno for sexploitation, right?! (Brandon Harrod)



BLOODFEAST  DVD REVIEW



A love letter to the horror genre written in blood well before Charles Manson or even the JFK assassination made such messages redundant. The inconspicuous story is as follows: a fiery cocktail of gore and dismemberment that masquerades as good clean fun. I love the cheap, antiquated scenes that are set in this film, and the way it mixes with the dollar store/dime bag  blood is such a textbook time capsule capturing a moment in horror that needs to be perfectly written on the wall. The fact that this movie unintentionally hatched an entire cinematic-cultural movement that now spans generations is almost unbelievable, given how puerile it is – but we don’t bite the hand that feeds especially in low budget, cut rate horror. Very rarely do you not only get to see a movie that started a genre, but find it exceed your expectations. Piling on my love of the Italian godfathers of gore and my research into them, it was only a matter of time before I traipsed across this gem from the American godfather of gore. Mind blown. (Brandon Harrod)

DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING DVD REVIEW
It used to be only once in a blue moon that movies would blow me away as much as DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING did. This film is crazy gory and ghastly much like films by other Italian horror masters, being prepared for it as I have come off of just recently viewing Beyond The Darkness I am surprised that I was affected so much by the film.  Another stunning and well-constructed  Giallo that works on every level. Much like the previously viewed Suspicious Death of a Minor this is not your typical Giallo, it would be more closely compared to The House With The Laughing Windows. The film is a whimsical tale that develops and matures organically. Yes there are some twists  and a small amount of expected Giallo tropes, but they aren't as expected as you would come to think. Every character plays a very significant role in the murders that act as the catalyst for the story. Your first mistake would be to believe everything you see and take it for the truth.

The film is exquisitely twisted and  keeps the viewer involved from start to finish. The film deals with politics, narrow-minded ignorance  and religious paranoia. Fulci may be known as the splatter king and I applaud him and allow him to wear his medals with honor, but none of his stories can hold a candle to Don't Torture A Duckling. I had no expectations goin into this film and that is usually a recipe for a satisfying experience. (Brandon Harrod)


THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR DVD REVIEW


The Suspicious Death of a Minor is a fanciful Sergio Martino directed Giallo that proves to be a different kind of film from all of the other conventional Giallo, in that it's more of a crime/drama thriller following an astute police detective (Claudio Cassinelli) who is investigating the murder of a frizzy haired juvenile prostitute who leads him and his partner to a human trafficking ring that accommodates to affluent officials, with several people getting killed along the way. The film goes through a numbing amount of innumerable scenarios with its plot and storyline without fear of leaving us behind in the dust and elucidates that both the detective and his partner are no better than the criminals that they are tailing, making the viewer completely unaware upon where the film is going or how it'll end. The fact that it very rarely glimpses upon the Giallo subgenre that it is placed neatly within is not in the least bit unwelcome. The film includes appearances by Barbara Magnolfi of SUSPIRIA fame and Mel Ferrer from EATEN ALIVE.  3 ½ Stars (Brandon Harrod) 

BEYOND THE DARKNESS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Being that, Joe D'Amato is one of my favorite Italian Filmakers, BEYOND DARKNESS was a welcome sight in my mailbox one dark and dreary day. I always appreciated his touch on horror films. A few of them were so abhorrent and bawdy they became very highly sought after during the VHS trading explosion of the 90s.
Beyond The Darkness is the story of Frank. Frank is a taxidermist who's wife has just died from a serious yet cryptic illness. The illness turns out to be a voodoo curse put upon her by a creepy housekeeper, who Frank is boning. Frank still love his dead wife, so much he digs her up so he can stuff her, he is a taxidermist, after all. We aren’t dealing with Sesame Street here. He also wants to have sex with tons of women and killing them is the obvious next step. Luckily Iris (his houskeeper) has no problem helping him.

Intense, vivid murders, torture, sex, skin eating, disembowling, this one has it all. Throw in a score from Goblin and you have a film that would turn Lucio Fulci on his side.This one is despicable to say the least and not for everyone. Severin Films has put this out for the first time fully uncut and uncensored on Blu-ray and layered it with special features

Highly reco for Horror and gore fans. (Brandon Harrod)


BAG BOY LOVER REVIEW

Bag Boy Lover places itself in my lap as a punctured Valentine with a bloody, still beating heart inside to the grungy, dust laden New York City of the 1970s, and the films that emerged from it. An outsider relishes in his deepest, darkest desires through chance meetngs with a photographer who hires him for a position that he was born to play. This fresh out of prep school boy becomes a paintbrush that splatters the town with a trail of confrontational art and neurotic tendencies. Andres Torres directed a film that is properly foul in its portrayal of a disdainful creature in a city full of people unable to connect to much more than their phones. While this film hits a little to closely to home with some scenes it is also darkly funny in its take on how those who pursue their 'art' most passionately discover their place in the world. (Brandon Harrod)







FEMALE FIGHT SQUAD REVIEW
Female Fight Squad, to start, is a fantastic throwback to the Straight To Video Martial Arts films of the 90's that flooded the mom and pop video store shelves where Cynthia Rothrock essentially had her own space carved out for her.

Female stars Amy Johnston as a former mma fighter named Rebecca, who after making some bad choices, is turning her life around studying to become a veterinarian assistant. We learn that her father, played by Dolph Lundgren took the rap for a murder she committed and is now imprisoned for it. Things are going great for Rebecca untill her friend becomes involved with a shady underground fight promoter who has her put in the hospital for a debt she is him. With that Rebecca is drawn back into the world she left behind to save her friend.

A familiar plot, which is fine, is brought to life thanks to Johnston who is amazing in this roll. Her martial arts skills are absolutely amazing, and her good looks and acting take it to another level. Sure we have seen mma women in films but none with the complete of a package.

Dolph Lundgren has a few great fight scenes as well proving he still has what it takes. In fact the entire supporting cast does a great job. Fans of MMA and action in general should head out and pick this up. It's action packed fun from beginning till end


WARLOCK COLLECTION BLU-RAY

Lionsgate continues to knock it out of the park with there Vestron Video Series, and the new title may be the best release yet. Warlock the complete 3 movie set has now been released on Blu-ray and it's loaded with special features.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Warlock trilogy let me give you a breif synopsis of the films.

Warlock stars Julian Sands who gives a fantastic performance as The Warlock. He's trust into modern times by Satan from the sixteen hundreds to assemble the Gran Grimoire. It's a book that when assembled will reveal God's true name. When that name is spoken the world will end.

Luckily enough a Witch Hunter who followed the warlock in the past has jumped through Satan's time portal and is here to stop that from happening.

The film is considered a cult classic for a reason. Fun, creepy, and over the top. A must watch for any horror fan and a well rented titled back in the video store days.

Warlock II The Armageddon again stars Julian Sands as the warlock, this time battling Druids. He this time is reborn durring an eclipse. In what can only be described as different a grown woman gives birth to him, he fully grows to adulthood then simply murders her. The woman in question has one of the sacred Moonstones. He now must find the other five so he can summon Satan to earth.

This time a decendent of a Druid Warrior is on the case and he and his girlfriend do battle with the warlock to stop this from happening.

Played over the top by Julian Sands this is a a very well done sequel which also was quite a hit durring the video rental boom.

Warlock III The End of Innocence this time stars Bruce Payne as the Warlock. This is more of a cut and dry slasher with satanic overtones. This time the warlock is stalking a group of young people in an old house. He wants the main girl, Kris, as she is the "Child of the Caul" and has with blood in her. Through her he can begin fathering a race of satanic demons.

Though not as fun as the previous entry, primarily because of the loss of Julian Sands as the title character this is an acceptable entry into the slasher genra.

As I said this set is part of the Vestron Collection so aside from. Watching these on a spectacular transfer you get a lot of special features for each film. They are as follows

WARLOCK:

NEW Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner
NEW Isolated Score Selections/Audio Interview with Author Jeff Bond
NEW Interviews
"Satan's Son" with Actor Julian Sands
"The Devil's Work" with Director Steve Miner
"Effects of Evil" with Make-up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
Vintage Featurette with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
Vintage Featurette with Visual Effects Supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, Animation Supervisor Mauro Maressa, and Matte Artist Robert Scifo
Theatrical Trailer
Video Trailer
TV Spots
Still Gallery


WARLOCK II


NEW Audio Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox
Vintage Making-of Featurette Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Extended Vintage Interview Segments with Actor Julian Sands, Director Anthony Hickox, and Actress Paula Marshall
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Still Gallery


WARLOCK III


Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
Trailer
Video Sales Promo
Still Gallery



A must own set for horror fans.





STENDHAL SYNDROME BLU RAY REVIEW
Before I get into the review I want everyone to know that the Stendhal Syndrome is actually a real thing, in fact here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter

​ "Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art."

Turns out famous Giallo Director Dario Agento actually experienced this when he was a child While touring Athens with his parents young Dario was climbing the steps of the Parthenon when he was overcome by a trance that caused him to become lost from his parents. Years later he read La Sindrome di Stendha which became the basis for this film

It stars Dario's daughter Asia Argento who plays a detective chasing a serial killer. She follows him into an art museum and is stricken with stendhal syndrome and the killer is able to evade her.

Unfortunately for her he also learns of her condition and triggers her Stendhal Syndrome so he can kindnap, rape, and torture her. She escapes but is soon kidnapped again. This second time however she manages to shoot the killer and escape.

Believing him to be dead she resumes her normal life and even falls in love. However people close to her begin getting murdered, which leads to on fantastic twist of an ending you want see coming.

This is considered one of Dario's best films and for good reason. Fantastic acting by the entire cast, and a great menacing tone he'll to captivate the viewers. Throw in a fantastic moody score and you have a great film. And now it is finally getting the treatment it deserves from Blue Underground on a 3 disc limited edition release.
This is a must own for fans  of cinema. It's captivating from beginning to end. I highly recommend

VIOLENT SHIT COLLECTION DVD REVIEW
Back in the late 80's and early 90's censorship in horror films was becoming quite an issue. In fact many people out there, myself included would often search out the import Japanese laserdiscs so we could see the gore fx that were cut out in our American VHS Releases. 
Now it wasn't just American that had these issues but Germany did as well. But luckily they had a horror director there named Andreas Schnass who created Violent Shit. A hybrid shaser gore feast about Karl The Butcher. Soaked in cheap, but effective over the top blood and violence the film became an underground sensation to millions of horror and gore fans out there. It was so poular that he created 3 of them.

The first, Violent Shit, introduces us to escaped killer Karl The Butcher who has weird demon like flashbacks. He goes around killing people with a meat cleaver. He's a bit messed up on account of dismembering his mom with a meat cleaver.

In part 2, Violent Shit II: Mother Hold My Hand we meet an old woman and her son Karl Jr. Yes he's the son of the original killer from part one. His mom has been raising him to carry on his father's legacy so he basically just goes around murdering people, which makes his mom extra happy in lots of wrong ways.

Then we have part 3, Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom. This one centers on a group of guys who wash up on a island that is ran by Karl Jr and Karl Sr. Turns out he's not dead. They have a zombie like army of followers and kill everyone who comes on there island.

Then let's not forget Violent Shit IV Karl vs Axe, as Karl Jr comes back from the Dead to battle a new serial killer who roams the now desolate wastelands of the future named Axe

It's true, these make little to no sense but they are lathered in blood and gore which is what the target audience was searching for. Now the folks at Synapse have unless this series to us on DVD in a big box of shit.

They even included bonus features and even a bonus movie

Bonus Feature: ZOMBIE ’90: EXTREME PESTILENCE


Shot for a reported $2,000 between the filming of VIOLENT SHIT 1 and 2, ZOMBIE ’90: EXTREME PESTILENCE follows two bumbling doctors as they investigate a zombie outbreak. After a military plane crash releases strange chemicals into the German countryside, the dead rise to attack the living! Can they be stopped? Transferred from an original PAL 1” master provided by cinematographer Steve Aquilina.


You can't pass this must buy set up. Add it to your collection today


NURSE SHERRY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Even though I am a huge film collector I must confess that Nurse Sherry escaped me all these years. Not that that's a bad thing it nearly meant I had something new to watch last night.
Nurse Sherry is the story of a nurse named Sherry who becomes possessed. See the film opens durring a cult ceremony where the head cult guy sacrifices himself. Don't worry it's part of the plan as the resident cult necromancer is there to bring him back to life to finish the ritual. Things unfortunately turn south as the Necromancer has a heart attack mid spell.

He's rushed to the hospital but the Dr's are unable to save him and he passes away. It's not all bad as he's able to come back as an angry spirit and possess one of the nurses there, Nurse Sherry. It's through her he has he go and start killing the hospital staff that let him expire. Lucky though one of that patients there realizes Sherry is possessed and uses his knowledge of evil spirits and voodo charms to save her.

This film is loaded with corny dialogue and a suprising amount of sexual screens. In fact I never realized how much sex goes on in a hospital. Is the movie good? Yes, in a good dumb fun way. It been released by our freinds at Vinegar Syndrome and they have done a great job on the transfer. They also loaded it up with special features.

• Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
• Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original negative
• Commentary track with Producer Sam Sherman
• “Nurses’ Confessions” – featurette with co-stars Jill Jacobson and Marliyn Joi
• Alternate feature length ‘exploitation’ version (dvd only)
• “Then and Now” – locations featurette
• Promotional still gallery
• Original trailers
• Reversible cover artwork
• English SDH Subtitles





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