Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dead Cert coming September 27th from Shout! Factory

You Think You Know Vampires? Think Again.



This Fall, get ready for a bloodthirsty mix of From Dusk Till Dawn and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels when  Dead Cert debuts for the first time in the U.S and Canada on Blu-ray™ and DVD September 27, 2011 from Shout! Factory, in association with Black and Blue Films. Jam-packed with all the ingredients of both a vampire flick and a gangster film -- creepy monsters, scantily-clad women, tough-talking wise guys, gratuitous bloodshed and a seemingly crazy vampire hunter, Dead Cert features a star-studded cast of familiar British acting talent including Craig Fairbrass (The Bank Job), Dexter Fletcher (Kick-Ass), Billy Murray (Rise Of The Footsoldier), Lisa McAllister (Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes), Steven Berkoff (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Dave Legeno (Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince), Jason Flemying (X-Men: First Class) and Danny Dyer (Dead Man Running).

Produced by horror specialists Black and Blue Films and directed by Steve Lawson, Dead Cert marks a welcome return to the fun, almost-traditional British horror filmmaking style that affectionately evokes the spirit of the contemporary-set movies of Amicus and Hammer -- particularly the latter’s Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula.

Dead Cert is a bloodsucking feast with more bite than most and one that horror fans will definitely enjoy sinking their teeth into.  (Blu-ray, $24.99 SRP / DVD, $19.97 SRP)

When respected but small-time gangster Freddie ‘Dead Cert’ Frankham (Craig Fairbrass) is unexpectedly given the chance to make a tentative leap into the big leagues with the opening of his new nightclub in London’s East End, he doesn’t quite realize what he’s getting into. Unknown to Freddie and his partners, the club stands on the former site of a Black Church, established as a temple of evil in the 17th Century by a Romanian warlord-turned-vampire known as The Wolf. Flushed out of the city by emissaries of the Vatican during the Great Fire of London, and since then exiled in mainland Europe, The Wolf and his undead disciples have now returned to England to continue their diabolical plans to expand their legions and overcome mankind.

On the club’s opening night, Freddie is approached by an uninvited guest in the form of Dante Livienko (Billy Murray), an Eastern European businessman, gangster and drug-dealer with a fearsome reputation. Livienko and his associates want ownership of the club and are prepared to make Freddie an offer he can’t refuse in order to get what they want. But to Freddie, his new, legitimate business means far more to him than money and he’s not about to give up his hard-earned turf without a fight. What he doesn’t know, but is soon to find out, is the man he is about to cross is a 500-year-old vampire determined to rebuild his empire of evil on its original, unhallowed site.

·        Audio commentary  
·        Making-of Dead Cert
·        Theatrical trailer

Dead Cert (2010)

Black and Blue Films/Raw Film Productions
Starring: Craig Fairbrass, Dexter Fletcher, Billy Murray, Lisa McAllister, Steven Berkoff, Dave Legeno, Danny Dyer, Perry Benson and Jason Flemying as “Chelsea Steve”
Directed by Steve Lawson
Executive produced by Will Horn and Steve Lawson
Produced by Jonathan Sothcott and Billy Murray
Written by Ben Shilito and Jonathan Sothcott, based on an idea by Garry Charles
Director of Photography: James Friend
Editing by Jason de Vyea and Wade Jackson

Not Rated
Running time: 82 minutes
Special features are not rated

Dead Cert Blu-ray™ and DVD
Street Date: September 27, 2011
1080p High Definition/ 2:35:1
Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
English 5.1
Bonus content: standard definition, 2.0 stereo


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evil Things (2009, Dominic Perez)

Coming August 9th from Inception Media Group, is a low budget,"found footage" horror film from new director Dominic Perez.  Ever since I saw The Blair Witch Project in the theater and got the shit scared out of me, I have been on the lookout for similar followers that deliver the scares.  I liked the Paranormal Activity films and thought this might be a good addition to this genre. 
Evil Things follows 5 friends who are going away for the weekend to stay at a secluded vacation house to celebrate one of their birthdays.  While driving on the snowy back roads, they come across a black van that appears to be following them.  After one of the group confronts the driver, he takes off and they think their problems are over.  Once they finally reach their destination, they talk, drink and have fun.  Until they realize that they are not alone.
Evil Things does an incredible job of building up tension and also spends a good amount of time with characterization.  Unlike your typical slasher film, you really care about the characters here which is why the scares are more effective.  The amateur cast are all very convincing, which made the "found footage" angle really work.  There wasn't one time that it felt like I was watching actors as oppossed to real people in peril.  The film is bloodless but it will keep you on the edge of your seat.  My only complaint is that the film ended too soon.  I wished the climax went on a little longer, but overall it was a strong film that hopefully will get some recognition.
RATING:  8/10

Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies (1981, Jesus Franco)

I remember shortly after getting into zombie cinema via George Romero's films, I was on the lookout for anything that may be similar.  I was walking through the old Woolworth's store at the Dedham Mall (R.I.P.) in Dedham, MA and found a bin of bargain video tapes.  This was probably 1996 and as I perused through this pile of mostly public domain garbage, I happened upon one with the word Zombie in the title.  I remember picking up the tape and seeing a horrible cover with a close up of an eyeless zombie drooling blood and the title OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES with a little swastika at the top.  The thing that really grabbed me though was what was written at the bottom of the cover - "THIS VIDEO FILM SHOULD NOT BE RENTED TO OR VIEWED BY PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE".  That tagline actually frightened me a little, thinking maybe viewing the film with my underage eyes would corrupt me for life.  I actually put the tape down and decided I would think about it.  I showed it to my mother but was unsure if I'd get it or not.  Before I made up my mind, my mother comes out of the store with the tape and hands it to me.  Thanks Mom, you're the best (*sniffle*).
Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies (aka Oasis of the Zombies - in case you didn't guess) is about exactly what you'd expect.  A group of nazi soldiers carrying gold across the African desert during WWII are attacked by Americans troops.  Both sides kill each other except for one American survivor.  The survivor is nursed back to health and has a child with a beautiful native woman who dies giving birth.  The soldier and his baby come back to the states and many years later the soldier dies before going back after the gold.  His son finds out and decides to take 3 friends over to Africa with him to find the gold.  What he doesn't know is that the gold is being protected by the undead corpses of the Nazi soldiers!
After watching this film for the first time in 1996, I was a little underwhelmed.  The movie was ok but didn't blow me away or anything.  I thought it was a pale imitation to the "classic" zombie films I had seen.  Re-evaluating this film 15 years later (and after seeing some of the worst zombie films ever made), I can definitely appreciate the film more now.  It's definitely not a classic nor even close to being a great film, but there are three things that make it special for me.  The first is the great zombie makeups used.  Sure they're nowhere near the best zombies I've seen, but they are effective and actually pretty nasty looking.  My favorites are the guy with the bug eyes and the half skull/half zombie.  The second thing was Jess Franco's direction.  Some of the film is too dark and the use of handheld cameras is ever present but he manages to get several shots in that are absolutely breathtaking.   When two of the characters are frolicking on the beach as the sun is setting, you'd swear you were watching anything but a low budget french/spanish zombie movie.  Franco can always be counted on for this.  The last (and most important to me) is nostalgia.  Just remembering the story I wrote above chokes me up a little and brings me back to a time when life was simple.  Put out by Cheezy Flicks, the presentation here is not much better than my old vhs (the soundtrack's constant hiss makes you think you have a cobra stuck in your eardrum) but anything else just wouldn't feel right.
RATING: 7/10

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Exterminator - coming to DVD / Blu Ray in September from Synapse Films


The Dead and the Damned (2010, Rene Perez)

Coming 7/26/11 from Inception Media Group is a new cult film which takes two of my favorite genres (Zombies and Westerns), throws them in a mixer and crafts a delicious brew of violence, action, gore and everything else you'd hope for.  The film is called The Dead and the Damned and was directed by newcomer Rene Perez. 

The Dead and the Damned starts off in a small town in California 1849.  A bounty hunter named Mortimer (David A. Lockhart) is trying to capture an Indian named Brother Wolf (Rick Mora) for an unknown reason and buys a beautiful young woman (Camille Montgomery) to use as bait.  After heading off on his quest, the small town of miners find a mysterious, glowing rock.  Thinking it might be filled with emeralds, they decide to break it open with a pick axe.  The rock turns out to be a meteorite and it unleashes a green gas turning the town folk into the undead.  After capturing Brother Wolf, the trio find themselves stalked by the zombies and have no choice but to band together to survive.

The Dead and the Damned does a great job of mixing two contrasting genres into one fun, action-packed romp.  The zombies look great and the Western settings/costumes are well done.  Even with a running time under 90 minutes, the simple story had a few nice twists and turns but it could have been filled out a little (there are several long stretches with just music and the characters walking around).  Other than that I have no gripes with this movie.  The CGI gore FX are surprisingly good (considering CGI is my kryptonite) and the acting is also convincing.  For a low budget horror/action film, this one stands out above the rest of the seemingly endless DTV garbage being released today.

RATING: 7/10  

The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer (1993, David R. Bowen)

Another title just released by Intervision Pictures Corp. fairs a little better than Things in the fact it actually feels like a real film and not a series of random images that you would see from a food poisoning hallucination.  The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer is a little seen, low budget documentary from 1993 starring Carl Crew (who also wrote the screenplay) as one of the world's most infamous serial killers.
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer follows the subject from the time he was young and used to disect road kill to the end of his murderous reign, when he was finally caught.  In between, we see inside the mind of the killer and how a bad home life, alcohol abuse, self loathing and just a demented soul caused Dahmer to commit the unspeakable acts that he did.  We see how he used to lure strange men and boys to his home with the promise of taking their picture for money and then drug them before torturing, killing and dismembering them.
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer is a very well done and factual depiction of the homicidal cannibal.  Crew does an impressive job as Dahmer, displaying how vile and sad he was and the situations with his victims more often than not have a  very candid feel.  The low budget film making style and dated fashions actually help the movie feel more authentic, especially considering it was made shortly after the killer was caught (and before he was murdered in jail).  Some of the killings are pretty brutal and the make up FX are pretty realistic (for the most part).  Intervision put out a nice disc here of an obscure film which comes with a trailer and commentary with director David R. Bowen and Carl Crew.
RATING:  8/10

Things (1989, Andrew Jordan)

Just released by Intervision Pictures Corp. is a rare slice of late 80's Canuxploitation that has to be seen to be believed - Things.  What is Things?  Is it any good?  Will I need to see a therapist after viewing this film?  These are all very hard questions to answer, but I will do my best. 
Things is a no budget horror film made by Andrew Jordan and Barry J. Gillis and what I assume to be a bunch of their friends/relatives.  Oh yeah, 80s porn star Amber Lynn is in it as a Newscaster (filmed in what looks like the back room of a pawn shop).  Don and Fred (Gillis and Bruce Roach, respectively) go up to Don's brother's house in the middle of nowhere on a road trip.  When they get there, brother is acting really weird.  It turns out that him and his wife were having trouble getting pregnant so the local doctor used her as an experiment and artificially inseminate her.  What hatches from her pregnant womb is not human....and begins a bloody rampage on anyone it encounters.
My inital review for Things was going to consist of three letters and punctuation mark:  W T F ? 
Is Things any good, you ask?  It depends on what you consider good.  If your weekend plans are to see Transformers 3 then I would say definitely not.  If you like watching terrible movies that are beyond comprehension to the normal, non-lobotomized brain then you are in luck!  There is no denying that Things is probably the worst movie ever made.  Luckily though, unlike some other bad movies - Things is so eye-poppingly, brain-meltingly bad that it's almost brilliant.  How a film like this made it beyond the film maker's (and I use that term loosely) house (or the parent's basement that they most likely still lived in at the time) and not only onto home video - but to amass a cult following and be released by a reputable DVD label is mind boggling.  Still, I can't deny that it deserves all of this.  Though probably best watched with a group of friends and as much alcohol as you can consume without blacking out, fans of cheesy cinema will undoubtedly be sucked into the parallel universe of hand made puppets, terrible dubbing and a double assault of mullets and mustaches that is THINGS!  Intervision Pictures Corp. gives Things an unbelievable abundance of bonus features including two commentaries, a cast reunion, and several interviews.  So once the dizziness caused from watching the film ends, you are left with these features to try to make sense of the whole thing.  Good luck with that!
Rating:  7/10 
(This rating is based on sheer fucked-upedness and enjoyability, as opposed to actual film quality)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sweet Life (2003, Rocco Simonelli)

Now available from Synapse Films is a little known romantic comedy from the writer/producer of Street Trash (Roy Frumkes).  Yeah, I know what you're thinking but there are no people melting in this film.  The Sweet Life is actually a pretty straight forward movie, which I have to give Synapse a lot of credit for (considering the rest of their catalog).  It's an odd film to be put out by a company that usually focuses on horror and exploitation but I must commend them because it is actually a really good film.  Honestly, I didn't have very high expectations but I was pleasantly surprised.
The Sweet Life follows smooth talking, womanizer Frankie (Robert Mobley) and his shy, pessimistic brother Michael (James Lorinz).  They couldn't be more different but after Frankie dumps his hard partying girlfriend Lila (Barbara Sicuranza), Michael befriends her and soon their relationship escalates.  Michael encourages Lila to follow her dreams of becoming a massage therapist, which ends with disastrous results (for both of them).  They soon question their compatability while trying to keep their relationship a secret from Frankie, who wants Lila back.
The Sweet Life takes everything I hate about romantic comedies and flushes them down the toilet, replacing it with wit, humor and believable situations.  Your typical Jennifer Aniston dreck this is not.  The characters are easy to identify with and I found myself laughing out loud consistently.  James Lorinz does a great job as the grumpy, self deprecating and Barbara Sicuranza is also very believable as the sweet but rough around the edges Lila.  I must also mention Joan Jett's hilarious performance as Lila's drunk biker roomate Sherry.  For a low budget film with a mostly no-name cast, Frumkes and director/co-writer Rocco Simonelli construct a fun and rewarding movie experience.  Like I said, there are no melting people in this film, but it might just melt your heart (*sniffle*).
RATING:  8/10

Friday, July 1, 2011

Second Quarter Review 2011

Yes folks.  Here were are again.  Second Quarter review of 2011.  Hard to believe the year is half over but it's even harder to believe that I started this blog almost 3 years ago.  As always I've been watching a ton of movies and I'd like to share what I watched over the last 3 months.

Here is my quarterly review of films watched from April through June:

Bob Dylan Revealed

Crippled Masters 3
Brian Eno: 1971-1977 -The Man Who Fell to Earth

Anywhere USA

State of Grace

Some Kind of Wonderful

At Close Range

The Wild Life

Career Opportunities
Fresh Horses

Don't You Forget About Me (John Hughes documentary)
Scream 4

...About Last Night

Against All Odds
Dorm that Dripped Blood

Real Cannibal Holocaust

Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969

St. Elmo's Fire
Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

Breakfast Club

Trading Places
NOFX-Backstage Passport

Kentucky Fried Movie
I Vinti (The Vanquished)
Blue City

NOFX - Ten Years of Fuckin' Up

The Night Shift

Jackson County Jail


Embodiment of Evil

Poor Pretty Eddie
The Passenger

The Switch

Eyes of the Chameleon
Dahmer vs. Gacy

Zabriskie Point
Killer Yacht Party

Silent Running

Flipside Vol. 5
Decline of Western Civilization
Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years

SLOG movie



(500) Days of Summer

Trailers From Hell Vol. 2

Scavenger Hunt
Boys Next Door

The Searchers

Red River

Rio Bravo

Magnificent Seven

The Burning

Bullet for the General
Welcome to Blood City

Stranger's Gundown (aka Django Il Bastardo)


Little Shop of Horrors

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Duck You Sucker

Fistful of Dollars

For a Few Dollars More
The Nesting

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gunslinger
Once Upon a Time in the West

Rio Conchos
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hamlet

Today We Kill...Tomorrow We Die
Take a Hard Drive

Damnation Alley

Red Sun

Gordon's War

Danger: Diabolik

Brotherhood of Satan
Gator Bait

Last Summer


Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid

Damnation Alley (1977, Jack Smight)

Coming 7/12 from Shout! Factory is a film that many folks have been waiting a long time to get their 70's, post apocalyptic, sci-fi lovin' hands on - Damnation Alley!  First announced by Anchor Bay several years ago as finally hitting DVD, it never happened (sons of bitches).  Finally, Shout! Factory comes to the rescue and adds another great title to their already-fantastic catalogue.  I had read about this film a few years ago because it has two of my favorite actors from the 70's and 80's - Jackie Earle Haley and Jan-Michael Vincent (gotta love those girly first names).  Anyway, after realizing that I would probably have to seek out a crappy VHS version to see this film, the Gods reached down and placed a copy of this DVD in my mailbox.  Amen.

Damnation Alley takes place in the near future after a nuclear attack has shifted the planet off of its axis, causing all kinds of weird shit.  A group of army officers surive in their bunker and venture out in their survival vehicle (The Landmaster) to find civilization.  The team - Maj. Denton (George Peppard), Lt. Tanner (Vincent) and Keegan (Paul Winfield) - find themselves in an endless number of obstacles, including giant scorpions, mutant cockroaches and some backwoods creeps. 

Damnation Alley is admittedly not a great movie.  Some of the special FX are laughable and there is an slight lack of depth in the story and characters.  That said, you'll be hard pressed to find a more fun sci-fi post-apocalyptic film than this!  A definitely cult classic, Damnation Alley has a great cast, an awesome vehicle for them to ride around and kick ass in and some really cool scenes (the cockroaches being my favorite).  Shout! Factory does an incredible job here with a beautiful new transfer and a bunch of bonus features (commentary with producer Paul Maslansky, producer, screenwriter and car designer/stunt coordinator interviews, trailer and TV spot).  Though the film is definitely flawed, it's fun and well worth a watch - especially for a seemingly lost cult classic like this.

RATING:  8/10

Pre-Order the DVD and BLU RAY directly from Shout! Factory and receive a free 8x10 lithograph! (while supplies last).

Oblivion (1994, Sam Irvin)

Cowboys and Aliens?  I'm sure most of you think that new movie with Indiana Jones and James Bond battling ET in the Wild West is the first time these two crazy genres were melded together?  WRONG!  Coming July 5th from Shout! Factory is Oblivion, a 1994 low budget sci-fi western from Charles Band's Full Moon Entertainment.  I thought the idea of Cowboys and Aliens was interesting and, though not expecting much considering it was made by Full Moon, I decided it would be worth a watch.
Oblivion, a futuristic western town is being taken over by hideous alien cowboy Redeye (Andrew Divoff) and his horde of baddies - femme fatale Lash (Musetta Vander), boneheaded Bork (Irwin Keyes) and more.  The town's sheriff is gunned down by Redeye and it looks like the townsfolk are doomed.  Enter the sheriff's estranged son Zach Stone (Richard Joseph Paul - three first names?) and his Native American friend Buteo (Jimmie F. Skaggs - now that's a name!) to clean up and fight for justice.
Oblivion was a silly, action-packed, sci-fi romp with a fun story and great cast.  The film is like a who's who of b movie stars and has-beens - Catwoman Julie Newmar as Miss Kitty, Star Trek's George Takei as hard drinking Doc Valentine (using as many allusions to Star Trek as possible), The Addams Family movie's Lurch Carel Struycken as the grim reaper Gaunt and They Live's Meg Foster as cyborg Stell Bar.  The special FX in Oblivion are surprisingly well done, especially the "Night Scorps" scene at the end.  The story is hokey but it works and has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.  The DVD from Shout! Factory looks pretty good but I can tell the source was not the best to work with (very common for the seemingly endless DTV output from Full Moon in the 80s and 90s).
RATING:  7/10
Pre-Order Oblivion directly from Shout! Factory HERE