Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982, Stephen Carpenter & Jeffrey Obrow)

Just released this week on a Blu Ray/DVD combo set from Synapse Films, comes the long lost early 80s slasher film The Dorm That Dripped Blood.  Also known under the title Pranks (and not to be confused with the 1971 Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing film The House That Dripped Blood for which it was obviously named after), horror fans should be glad to finally get a proper US release of this classic - especially from a great company like Synapse.  Due to the rarity of the film, I was never lucky enough to see it until now, though I had heard the title many times in the happy days of VHS and I was always on the lookout for a copy.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood starts out like your typical 80s slasher.  Four college students stay at their school during break to prepare it for renovation.  Joanne (Laurie Lapinski) is in charge and decides that staying there instead of going skiing with her on again/off again boyfriend is a good idea.  WRONG!  As Joanne and her three helpers - Craig, Brian and Patti - prepare the building to be torn down, someone else is there with them.  Lurking in the shadows, this unseen psychopath starts killing off anyone who comes near the dorm, including fellow student Debbie (a young Daphne Zuniga from Spaceballs) and her parents.  Assuming it is the town weirdo, they try to take matters into their own hands but that proves deadly as the killer stars knocking them off one by one.
I'll be the first to admit that this film is not terribly original and I think that is actually a good thing.  There are a few odd twists along the way but for the most part, The Dorm that Dripped Blood is a straight forward, grisly, creepy slasher film.  It doesn't try to be different or terribly original.  Instead it focuses on the two most important things - atmosphere and gore.  A good percentage of the film is dark and some of the scenes are almost entirely black.  This really amps up the creepy factor and makes the scares more effective.  As far as the gore goes, makeup FX artist Matthew Mungle creates some really nasty (and surprisingly realistic) deaths - the most memorable of which involve boiling water, a spiked bat and a power drill.  If that doesn't make you want to see this film, then your gorehound card should be revoked.  I should also mention that this new version is the unrated director's cut (titled Death Dorm on the main title screen) so it is uncut and was supposedly lost for the last 30 years.  The picture quality is very good, especially considering the film's age and the sound (especially with the one of the first scores by the now-well known composer Christopher Young) really adds tension in the right places and is very clear with minimal hiss.  Other than a few slow spots, The Dorm That Dripped Blood is another classic example of why the early 80s was the best time for horror.
RATING:  8/10

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Real Cannibal Holocaust (1974, Akira Ide)

The Real Cannibal Holocaust, just released by One 7 Films (distributed by CAV Distribution) was a bit of a mystery to me when I first heard about it.  I had read online that it was actually a Bruno Mattei directed ripoff of Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust but then found out it was actually a 70s Japanese/Italian Mondo film.  Honestly, I was much more interested by the latter.  I did a little poking around and found that this seems to be the first U.S. release of the film (at least on DVD) and that it is the full uncut 99 minute version (previous releases have been cut down under 90 minutes).  So, about that title though?  I'll admit that it could be considered a terrible title, basically trying to trick viewers into thinking it is similar to Deodato's classic.  Though a little misleading, it's an intriguing title that is sure to pique the average horror fan's curiosity.  Plus, the title fairly accurately describes the film - it's a Mondo film containing (mostly) real footage and it also has a theme of cannibalism throughout. 

The Real Cannibal Holocaust, or it's original title Nuova Guinea, l'isola dei cannibali, is a documentary showing the rituals and lifestyles of the native tribes of New Guinea.  A large part of the film focuses on death and cannibalism, as we see a woman eating maggots from her husband's rotting corpse, a group of natives smoking a corpse on an open flame to preserve it and several other scenes involving corpses.  Other than dead bodies, we are also shown footage of lepers, real animals being killed (though not pointlessly) and old customs including the tattooing, scarring and piercing of various body parts. 

The Real Cannibal Holocaust is actually one of the best Mondo films I've seen.  Though it may not be as beautiful to watch as Mondo Cane, it did cut out a lot of the bullshit and get down to business.  There were very few scenes that were boring or pointless, another rarity with these types of films.  Real Cannibal Holocaust also seemed to have a higher percentage of real footage with only a couple scenes that looked faked or questionable.  The music and end theme song "Why?" by Riz Ortolani (who did the music for the Mondo Cane films) was also a great asset to the film and it made a nice contrast to the ghastly images on the screen.  As I stated before, I am sure that plenty of gorehounds are going to check this out based on the title, and I hope that they will be pleasantly surprised by the watchability of the film as well as the nauseating images displayed.  I have a strong stomach and I'll admit that there were several scenes that I had to look away.  The DVD from One 7 Movies is a treat, mainly just because it exists.  Though the picture shows some wear and the sound has a hiss to it, it didn't detriment the film at all.  In fact, it made it feel more authentic.  There are no special features on the disc but the film is the uncut version and worth picking up for Mondo fans and fans of extreme Horror.

RATING:  8/10


Thursday, April 21, 2011

2 Double Feature DVD sets coming from Shout! Factory this June 14

Paul Winfield in
Also Starring Carl Lee, Tony King and Grace Jones
Starring Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward and Amanda Pays
Featuring Special Appearance by Scott Glenn


This summer, get ready for more high-octane action as  two memorable classic films Gordon’s War, starring Paul Winfield, and Off Limits, starring Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward and Amanda Pays, arrive in an action-packed double-feature DVD on June 14, 2011 from Shout! Factory.  Featuring anamorphic widescreen transfers and all-new commentaries, this double-feature DVD set is a must-have for movie collectors and is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $19.97.

Gordon (Paul Winfield, The Terminator) spent four years in Vietnam as a Green Beret fighting someone else’s battle . . . now he’s come back home to fight his own. He returns to a Harlem that has changed — drugs and prostitution have taken over his neighborhood, and his wife even overdosed from drugs. Along with his former army buddies, he takes on the Mob to wipe out the corruption that has taken over the city. Also starring Carl Lee (Superfly), Tony King (Bucktown) and singer Grace Jones (A View To A Kill). Directed by Ossie Davis (Cotton Comes To Harlem).

GORDON’S WAR  Special Features:
  • Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Audio  commentary by cinematographer Victor J. Kemper and actor Tony King
  • Theatrical trailer and TV spots

Twentieth Century Fox presents A PALOMAR PICTURE Starring PAUL WINFIELD in GORDON’S WAR
Executive Producer EDGAR J. SCHERICK  Produced by ROBERT L. SCHAFFEL
Color by TVC Prints by DE LUXE®
© 1973 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Being a cop is tough. But in war-torn Saigon in 1968, being a cop is crazy. Someone is brutally murdering Vietnamese prostitutes with children by American fathers, and plainclothes military cops Sgt. Buck McGriff (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man) and Sgt. Albaby Perkins (Gregory Hines, The Cotton Club) are put on the case that no one wants solved. But things are never what they seem in ’Nam, including a novice nun (Amanda Pays), a deranged colonel (Scott Glenn) and a twisted trail of clues that takes McGriff and Perkins from back alleys to battlefields in search of a serial killer who's ready to make them the next victims. Fred Ward, Keith David and David Alan Grier costar in this explosive action thriller.

Music by JAMES NEWTON HOWARD  Directory of Photography DAVID GRIBBLE
 Production Designer DENNIS WASHINGTON
Produced in association with American Entertainment Partners L.P.  Color by Deluxe®
© 1987 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation  All Rights Reserved.

OFF LIMITS Special Features:
  • Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Audio commentary with writer/director Christopher Crowe and Willem Dafoe

 GORDON’S WAR – 90 min./OFF LIMITS – 102 min.

The Weapons Of The Future Are Alive . . .

A Film by Charles Band
Starring Paul Ganus, Megan Ward, Bill Moseley,
Eva La Rue, Jack McGee and Ralph Waite
A Film by Albert Band
Starring Ron Michael Paul, Barbara Crampton, James Staley and Lisa Rinna


Buckle-up for double dose of science fiction adventures filled with heart-stopping action and suspense as Shout! Factory brings CRASH AND BURN and ROBOT WARS in a GIANT ROBOT ACTION PACK double-feature DVD this June 14, 2011. A must-have for fans of sci-fi classics and film collectors, own two of latest sci-fi classic at an attractive price of $14.97.

It’s the year 2030, and man’s worst nightmares have become an oppressive reality in Crash And Burn. Big Brother has come to life in the form of Unicom, an all-powerful conglomerate that emerged in the wake of a devastating global economic collapse. A group of dissenters has surfaced to fight Unicom’s autocracy and stop the murderous Synthoid—a humanlike robot programmed to kill all those who pose a threat to the organization.Starring Paul Ganus, Megan Ward (Dark Skies), Bill Moseley and Ralph Waite (Cliffhanger), and directed by Charles Band.

Special Makeup Effects by GREG CANNOM  Special Visual Effects by DAVID ALLEN
Music Composed by RICHARD BAND  Executive Producers CHARLES BAND & DEBRA DION
Directed by CHARLES BAND
The ultimate battle between metallic giants begins in Robot Wars when a malicious foreign dignitary hijacks the last mega-robot on Earth, the MRAS-2, and threatens to unleash its crushing powers against the people of the Eastern Alliance. There’s only one force magnificent enough to stop the MRAS-2 — a MEGA-1 robot hidden under the city. It’s up to a renegade pilot, his engineer and a brilliant archaeologist to revive the MEGA-1 and reestablish world peace. Starring Don Michael Paul (writer/director, Half Past Dead), Barbara Crampton (Re-animator) and Lisa Rinna (Melrose Place)


Crash and Burn, 85 min./Rated R
Robot Wars, 80 min./Rated PG

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hüsker Dü: The Story of the Noisepop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock (2010, Andrew Earles)

Here it is - my first book review.  I know, this is a movie review site, but why limit myself?  I was never really a big reader of books but have always had a fondness for biographies, particularly about movies and music.  To inaugurate my book reviews, I chose a new book about one of my favorite bands of all time - Hüsker Dü.  For anyone not familiar with the band, they begin in the late 70's as a hardcore punk band and eventually shed most of the hardcore and replaced it with pop, while still holding onto the punk.  Though never really getting the attention or fame that they deserved, shortly after their dissolution the kind of music they had been playing for years eventually became popular, with bands like Green Day and the Offspring becoming platinum selling artists.

Hüsker Dü: The Story of the Noisepop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock (long, but fitting title) explores the history of the band's humble beginnings playing local shows and eventually touring across the country in a van, before many other bands realized they could do it too.  Along with Black Flag, Hüsker Dü helped pave the way for touring bands to support themselves without the backing of a major label.  Eventually, Hüsker Dü's popularity within the underground and college rock scene grew and they became one of the first punk bands to be signed to a major.  Two albums later, tensions within the band became unbearable and Hüsker Dü was no more.  This book focuses on the band's formation, the bumps along the way and the overall impact it had on the independent punk scene and the way bands today function.

Author Andrew Earles' biography of one of the most important and sadly underappreciated (by the mainstream at least) bands focuses mostly on the history of the band in terms of their actual music, instead of the band member's personal lives.  This was definitely the right decision and helped put the focus on why the band was so great, instead of making it a gossip-y tell-all.  There are many stories floating around about the band members, most of which are one-sided or rumors, so it is good that that aspect was (mostly) left out of this book.  Giving a little background on the band members is important but the focus here is as should be - the music.  The one main detractor for the book is that Bob Mould (guitarist/vocalist) didn't participate, though this is of no fault to the author.  Mould is in the middle of writing his own memoir, which perfectly explains his lack of cooperation.  Fortunately the other two members, Grant Hart (drummer/vocalist) and Greg Norton (bassist) were willing to relate their stories.  There are several other musicians, producers and those around at the time (Mike Watt, Peter Jesperson, Joe Carducci, Terry Katzman, Lou Giordano) on hand as well to shed light on this legendary band.  Other than a few minor factual discrepancies and repetitions, this book was well researched and well written.  I didn't find myself bored at all and actually learned quite a bit that I didn't know about Hüsker Dü.  There was a nice section at the end detailing what the band members did after the break up as well as a intricate discography (including mix tape suggestions).  Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of music biographies or underground music lovers.

RATING: 8/10

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

THE SECRET OF DORIAN GRAY and ADUA AND HER FRIENDS - coming soon from Raro Video

A rare masterpiece and a wonderful example of Italian Cinema starring two European film icons, Simone Signoret and Marcello Mastroianni, Adua and her Friends tells the story of four prostitutes forced to fend for themselves when a new law closes the bordellos of Rome. They pool their savings to open a trattoria, but find they cannot get a license. A prominent fixer with connections obtains the license for them, on the condition that they conduct their old business upstairs and pay him an exorbitant monthly fee. RaroVideo U.S. is proud to present this work of Antonio Pietrangeli, one of the most talented members of the Italian neo-realism movement.

RaroVideo U.S.’s restored version of ADUA AND HER FRIENDS, will arrive on DVD for the first time ever on April 26.  The extensive DVD extras include a documentary on the restoration of the film and a booklet containing critical analysis of the genesis of the film.

Running time:                                   118 minutes
Distributor:                                       ENTERTAINMENT ONE             
DVD UPC:                                           816018010111
Year:                                                     1960    
Language:                                           Italian with English subtitles
Rating:                                                 NR

-Introduction by Italian film historian Maurizio Poro
-Documentary: Before and After restoration
-Booklet including critical analysis of the film
-An episode from the film, Amori di Mezzo Secolo, entitled Girandola 1910

RaroVideo U.S. will also release THE SECRET OF DORIAN GRAY on DVD April 26. Never before released on DVD in the U.S., this is a seventies classic Italian film restored to its original splendor. In London, a wealthy, god-like, young man, Dorian Gray, loves Sybil, an aspiring actress; thanks to her, he’s momentarily less self-centered. He’s also sitting, scantily clad, for a portrait painted by his ascot-wearing friend, Basil. When it’s done, Dorian complains he’ll grow old while it stays unchanged- the classic plight of the vain. On the same night, as if he has sold his soul to the devil, exchanging vanity for morality, he ends it with Sybil, and then accepts the seductive offer of a party’s hostess to sleep with her. The next day, the painting looks slightly older. In horror and fascination, Dorian hides it away and continues a life of degradation. Over time, as the portrait becomes hideous, he’s unchanged by his ever-increasing libidinal life; finally, he and Basil face the painting. The exceptionally groovy score by Giuseppe De Luca enhances the seventies milieu.

Release Date:                                        April 26, 2011
Pre-Order Date:                               Now
Running time:                                   93 minutes
Distributor:                                       ENTERTAINMENT ONE             
DVD UPC:                                           816018010128               
Year:                                                     1970
Language:                                           Italian with English subtitles
Rating:                                                 NR

- Interview with the assistant director Maurizio Tanfani

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blood Oath (2010, David Buchert)

Blood Oath, another new offering from Troma Entertainment, is an 80's flavored, slasher in the woods flick.  Though I love this sub genre of horror films, I'll be the first to admit that few of the recent entries are worthwhile.  As with any genre, there is only so much you can do with it before recycling the same tired formulas.  Occasionally though, something original (or at least interesting) comes along.

Blood Oath follows two couples going into the woods for a camping trip.  They then decide to go look for a house supposedly inhabited by a badly-burned girl (though now grown up), who was the result of a deal made by her parents involving black magic.  We soon learn that there is someone out there, slaying anyone who comes in their territory, including the ex-girlfriend of one of the campers and a separate trio as well.  As the two couples finally find a house, it isn't long before they realize what a bad decision they made.

Blood Oath is a fun throwback to the horror days of yore, but at the same time adding some fresh elements.  The campers in the woods searching out an urban legend plot isn't that original but the origin of the killer itself is a fresh change of pace.  The killer is actually one of the best things about this film.  It is just so grotesque and creepy that it is sure to be appreciated by slasher fans who idolize Jason or Michael Myers.  The makeup FX (especially the burns on the killer) are very well done and the killings, though not always graphic, look professional.  Another thing that makes this film stand out from the crappier slasher entries of recent years is that it actually focuses on the characters more than just endless scenes of people getting hacked to pieces.  When the killer finally meets up with the group, we feel like we can identify the characters.  One drawback is the stiff acting by some of the cast, which makes it hard for the film to be seen as anything other than amateur.  An exception to this is scream queen Tiffany Shepis, who makes an all to brief appearance as an ill-fated ex-girlfriend.  Overall though, the film was quite a fun, entertainingly creepy slasher and its meager running time of 75 minutes made it easy to sit true without the filler that longer horror films sometimes carry. 

RATING:  7/10

DVD Release date: May 10th, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Alien 2: On Earth (1980, Sam Cromwell aka Ciro Ippolito)

Just released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 5th, Alien 2: On Earth is the first release by Midnight Legacy, a promising new independent label distributed by MVD.  An Italian production originally released in 1980, this film was obviously an attempt to cash in on the ALIEN craze (most films weren't as obvious as billing themselves as sequels though).  Hardly seen until now (even on home video) it is amazing Alien 2 has stayed undiscovered for so long.  When I first read about this film (which I too had never heard of before), I was instantly curious but then I saw the trailer and I thought to myself HOLY FUCK I NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE!  (view trailer HERE)
Alien 2: On Earth begins in a TV News studio where a rocket ship returning to Earth comes back empty...or so we think.  The news crew tries to cover this up by showing stock news footage.  For some reason (this part...and several others...confused me) some geologist is being interviewed and suddenly has a debilitating migraine.  Soon after, she goes bowling with some friends and then they put on spelunking gear and descend into some underground caves.  Oh, I forgot to mention that on the way, one of the spelunkers picks up a blue, pulsing rock and brings it with him.   Hmmm.  Of course while inside the caves, we are made aware that the rock actually came from outer space and contains an Alien presence, which somehow comes out of the rock and infestates the caves as a tentacle-like creature which melts people's faces into a pile of goo only to return them to their normal state...and then burst out of their faces.  *Gasp*.....*Exhale*
Alien 2 didn't make too much sense - the characters, the random excursions...well pretty much everything.  That said, I actually enjoyed the film a lot.  Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe it was a carbon monoxide leak in my house, who knows?  The three things that really made this film a winner for me were the Splatter FX, the cinematography and the almost hallucinogenic/dream-like feel.  Starting with the red stuff, Alien 2 delivers with some nasty exploding faces, decapitations and other gooey stuff.  As far as the cinematography goes, surprisingly there are shots that are absolutely breath-taking (the best of which involves the shimmering lights of the cave explorers' headlamps as they descend into the cave).  As far as the "feel" of the film, the whole thing just seems like one, long fever dream.  The way the film was put together, most of the dialogue, the random shifting from one location to another, incomprehensible stops along the just seems like a dream.  Most people would say that this haphazard style is a negative but I thought it just made the film more unique.  I doubt this was in any way intentional, but it worked for me.  So if you still aren't convinced to check this film out, who can resist Aliens exploding out of people's faces?  Midnight Legacy's treatment of their first release is incredible.  I couldn't tell you a single film I have seen that is 31 years old and looks like it was filmed yesterday, other than Alien 2.  My guess is that the film was so obscure that the print just wasn't played too many times, so it was still in pristine condition.  I am behind the times so I watched this on DVD and the picture was positively stellar.  From what I've read, the Blu Ray is superb as well.  I am really anxious to see what this exciting new company has in store for its sophomore release.
RATING:  7/10

Crippled Masters 3 (1981, Kei Law)

You may recall that I reviewed a film called Crippled Masters 2 a few months ago.  Well, here we have the sequel, featuring more crazy martial arts action from our handicapped heroes Jackie Conn and Frankie Shum.  Conn can't walk and Shum has one diminutive arm (he, or whoever dubbed the film, refers to it as a flipper).  Fists (and political incorrectness) aplenty fly in this wacky slice of Asian cinema.

Jackie Conn and Frankie Shum play two crippled villagers living in a rural town.  They decide to travel to the city of Taipei so Conn can learn a trade to support them.  Shum, the older brother, tries to get a job as a taxi driver (employing his armless-friendly motorbike-taxi contraption) but has no luck.  Shum takes a job as a wood carver's apprentice but is constantly pre-occupied with his dreams of becoming a kung fu expert.  After initially being rejected by the local kung fu master, he proves himself worthy and enters himself in the big kung fu tournament.  In the meantime, Shum tries to become a street performer using his unique skills at balancing stuff and picking up coins with his feet, until a group of gansters rough him up for invading their turf.

Crippled Masters 3 is a much different film than its predecessor. I would say it's original title "Fighting Life" perfectly sums up the story of two down-and-out disabled brothers trying to make a living, despite life's obstacles.  There are some amazing martial arts action sequences but the film is more of a drama overall.  Most of the film highlights the trouble these heroic brothers have finding employment (and paying their bitchy land lady) and trying to prove that they are capable of handling everyday responsibilities.  Unfortunately, some of the over the top preachiness and stabs at political correctness end up being nothing more than preposterous.  I mean, it's a fucking movie about two handicapped kung fu masters!  Show them kicking ass!  This focus on drama over action is probably a disappointment for most fans of the genre, but for the lover of off-kilter oddities, it's mix of drama and action work.  Perhaps the balance could have been a little more equal but it was still a fun watch and witnessing Jackie Conn defying gravity by flying through the air in the final fight is worth the price of admission alone!
Crippled Masters 3 and its predecessor Crippled Masters 2 are both available now from Apprehensive Films, whose catalog features many other weird and wonderful cult films.

RATING:  7/10

Sunday, April 3, 2011

First Quarter Review 2011

Hard to believe we are already through the first quarter of 2011.  Seems like just the other day New England was being pummeled by snow.....oh wait, it was!  Regardless, as usual here is a list of the films I watched from 1/1/11 to 3/31/11.  Always encouraged are comments regarding any of the films or really anything in general.

1/1 True Grit (original)
1/3 Rollercoaster
1/4 Rolling Thunder
1/5 True Grit (remake)
1/6 Black Swan
1/9 Swinging Cheerleaders
1/10 Sorceress
1/15 Social Network
1/15 Saturday the 14th
1/16 From Corleone to Brooklyn
1/16 Deadly Blessing
1/18 City on Fire
1/19 UKDK (punk documentary)
1/20 Garden State
1/20 White Line Fever
1/22 Greenberg
1/22 High Ballin'
1/23 Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
1/23 Squid and the Whale
1/23 Closer
1/25 Bad Ronald
1/26 Match Point
1/27 My Blueberry Nights
1/27 Annie Hall
1/28 Vicky Cristina Barcelona
1/29 Wicker Park
1/29 Hannah and Her Sisters
1/29 I Knew it Was You (John Cazale documentary)
1/30 Sleeper
1/30 Crimes and Misdemeanors
1/30 Husbands and Wives
1/31 Manhattan

2/1 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex...
2/2 Godfather
2/4 Dog Day Afternoon
2/5 Night Moves
2/5 Scarecrow
2/5 Whatever Happened to Pink Floyd?
2/6 Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy and Lou 1971-1973
2/6 Godfather part II
2/6 Deer Hunter
2/9 Cisco Pike
2/10 The Mechanic (remake)
2/10 Downhill Racer
2/11 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
2/12 Vampire Circus 
2/12 Honky Tonk Man
2/12 Get Carter (original)
2/13 Spacecamp
2/13 Dogfight
2/15 Heaven 17 - Live at Scala 2005 
2/15 History Lesson vol. 1: Punk Rock in Los Angeles 1984 
2/15 Running on Empty
2/16 Little Nikita
2/17 Detroit 9000
2/17 Thing Called Love
2/19 Abby
2/19 Depeche Mode Rewind documentary 
2/20 Mystery Science Theater 3000 XX 
2/20 Sweet and Lowdown
2/20 Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde
2/22 Lorna the Exorcist
2/26 Kidnap Syndicate
2/27 Mafia Connection
2/28 Young Violent Dangerous
3/1 Caliber 9 
3/2 Italian Connection 
3/2 Big Guns (aka Tony Arzenta)
3/3 Capone 
3/3 The Boss (Il Boss)
3/3 Rulers of the City (aka Mr. Scarface) 
3/5 Dead Space
3/5 Crazy Mama
3/5 Love and Other Drugs
3/6 I Clowns 
3/6 Terms of Endearment
3/6 Rachel Getting Married
3/7 PS I Love You
3/8 I Saw the Devil 
3/9 Lady in Red
3/9 The Messenger
3/10 Big Bad Mama
3/11 Big Bad Mama 2
3/12 Defcon 4
3/13 Beaches
3/15 Soylent Green
3/16 Daniel Tosh: Completely Serious
3/16 Georgia Peaches 
3/17 Smokey Bites the Dust 
3/17 Great Texas Dynamite Chase 
3/18 Billy Bragg and Wilco: Man in the Sand
3/19 Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry
3/19 Race with the Devil 
3/19 Brothers
3/20 Georgia
3/20 Macon County Line
3/21 Not of this Earth (1988)
3/23 Up From the Depths
3/23 Demon of Paradise
3/23 Perfume of the Lady in Black 
3/24 Attack of the Crab Monsters
3/26 Suburbia (Corman Classics)
3/26 Bob Dylan The Neverending Narrative 1990-2006 
3/29 Alien 2 on Earth
3/30 Blood Junkie 
3/31 Blood Oath

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blood Junkie (2010, Drew Rosas)

From the depraved minds of Troma, comes the first feature film directed by Drew Rosas.  Blood Junkie is a an 80's horror film...except it was made last year!  Everything from the cinematography, music, mustaches and basically every other aspect screams 80's.  I happen to love 80's horror films so I was excited to see how the film held up against the films of that era.  Made for the paltry sum of $7,000 in Wisconsin, I would say that the odds were against it....or were they?

Blood Junkie follows Craig (Nick Sommer) and Teddy (Mike Johnson), two teenage dorks with surprisingly thick mustaches for their age.  While hanging out at the local liquor store, they spot Laura (Sarah Luther) and Rachel (Emily Treolo), two underage girls using their charm to score some booze for the weekend.  Craig and Teddy use their charm (or more likely unseen hypnotism) to coax the girls to go camping with them for the weekend.  Despite the fact Laura has to drag her little brother along, they agree.  While in the woods, Teddy tells the others a story about a worker at a local chemical plant who, after an explosion, was badly burned and his body never found.  The man supposedly killed off all of the livestock in the area and drained the blood from the animals.  The group stumble upon an abandoned building that just might be that chemical plant in Teddy's story.  Only problem is that Teddy's story might not just be a legend.

Blood Junkie is one of the most authentic (and enjoyable) 80's style horror films to come along since...well... the 80's!  It is obvious that the film makers love the genre and took a lot of time to make the movie feel like it was filmed 25 years ago.  Everything from the cheesy synthesizer soundtrack to the horribly dated wardrobes (and hairstyles) make Blood Junkie a hilarious trip down memory lane.  The homages are obviously tongue-in-cheek but the film also succeeds in the horror department, featuring a deformed maniac with a strange fetish for the red stuff.  Throw in some nicely done makeup FX, so-bad-it's-good dialogue and a great ending, and you have yourself a nice little gem.  I would gladly take Blood Junkie over all of the crappy, dime-a-dozen, horror remakes being churned out today...and I bet most other horror fans would too!

RATING:  9/10

DVD Release date: May 10th, 2011

Diry Mary, Crazy Larry / Race with the Devil (2011, Shout! Factory)

Coming from Shout! Factory on April 12th, 2011 is an Action-Packed Double Feature of Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and Race with the Devil.  Both films were originally released by Anchor Bay back in 2005 and have since gone out of print.  It is great to see them re-released again, especially by Shout! who handles every release with the highest of standards.  Not to mention the fact that Anchor Bay's Race with the Devil had possibly the ugliest and cheapest DVD cover I've ever seen (see the travesty HERE).  Anyway, with two films starring Peter Fonda, not to mention Dirty Mary featuring the beautiful and always fun to watch Susan George and Race with the Devil starring the great Warren Oates, this set is a must!

1974's Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry follows an ex-Nascar racer (Fonda) who, along with his mechanic Deke (Adam Roarke), rob a grocery store owner by holding his family for ransom.  After getting the money, they take off to re-join the racing circuit.  Mary (George), a foul-mouthed groupie with nothing going on in her life, manages to trick them into letting her tag along.  Soon, the cops are hot on their trail but Larry's driving skills make them hard to catch.  Enter Police Captain Franklin (Vic Morrow), who takes the matter into his own hands after several failed chases and road block attempts.

1975's Race with the Devil stars Warren Oates as Frank, the owner of a motorcycle shop and Peter Fonda as his friend Roger, a racer.  They decide to go on vacation together (along with Roger's girlfriend and Frank's wife) in Frank's new RV.  The first night of their trip, instead of staying in an RV park, they decide to find a nice secluded spot in the middle of nowhere for some peace and quiet.  Roger and Frank go to explore some strange noises they hear not too far from their spot and end up witnessing a satanic ritual which ends in a human sacrifice.  They are spotted by the devil worshippers and barely make it out alive.  After alerting the local police, they continue their vacation but soon find themselves being hunted by the cult.

This Action-Packed double feature is a great slice of 70's drive-in heaven.  Other than Peter Fonda, the only real similarities between the films are several exciting car chases.  Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is basically one long car chase, with a few bumps along the way.  Fonda and George are great as a pair of feuding ex-lovers and the car stunts are out of this world.  Vic Morrow is another highlight of the film, especially his helicopter chase scene at the end.  The sharply written (and very dated, but in a good way) dialogue makes the characters stand out and saves the film from being just a series of car explosions.  Race with the Devil is part of one of my favorite horror sub-genres - occult horror.  Though definitely not just a horror film, Race features several death defying car (or RV) chases too.  Basically an occult horror, car chase mystery with very few gaps in action.  The cast is top notch all around and the story is filled with several twists and turns, making the viewer unsure of every character that pops up.  Of the two, I would say Race with the Devil is the stronger film but they are both very entertaining and worthy of a re-release.  This 2 disc set includes a ton of special features (commentaries, interviews, trailers, TV spots and radio spots) and beautiful Anamorphic Widescreen Transfers.  Another excellent release from Shout! Factory.


Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry - 8/10
Race with the Devil - 9/10

Pre-Order now from Shout! Factory HERE - release date 4/12/2011