Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mark of the Devil (1970, Michael Armstrong)

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"I accuse you of having trampled on the cross, of having ridden to the Sabbath, of throwing the Holy Cross of our Saviour into manure so that the skies grew dark, and the rain fell upon the earth!"

The history of film has seen many gimmicks to try to get people to get off their lazy asses and into theaters. There's the wonderful creation of 3-D. Then there was William Castle's traveling interactive films (The Tingler for example). The 70's brought along a new reason for the public to go to the movies. The times were changing and movies were becoming more risque, so what better reason to go see a movie than the chance you might get to vomit? Okay, I bet I know what you're thinking right now and the answer is no, I have not been sniffing white-out again. When Mark of the Devil, the first film to be rated V for Violence (or so the tagline said), was released in theaters, every ticket holder was also given a free barf bag. What a novel idea. But you know what? It was a smash. And with Arrow Film's new Blu Ray/DVD combo, we can all barf together in HI DEF!

Mark of the Devil takes place in England in the early 1700s...I think. They had those triangle Paul Revere hats so it was somewhere around there. Witch hunting has become a favorite past time of many God fearing town folk and it seems that it is starting to get out of hand, particularly at the hands of the deranged Albino (Salem's Lot's Reggie Nalder). In comes Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom) and his assistant Christian (Udo Kier) to keep order and prevent the wrongful deaths being caused by the sadistic witch hunters. All seems to be improving until Christian discovers that even his mentor is accusing the innocent, allowing the accusers to rape, torture and kill the accused. After Christian falls for a woman who is falsely accused of being a witch (Olivera Vuco) he tries to put an end to the madness.

Mark of the Devil is a vicious portrayal of how so many were wronged in the witch hunting craze. The tortures are pretty brutal including tongues being ripped out, beheadings, severed fingers and burnings at the stake. There wasn't really anything that made me feel like I needed a barf bag, but I'm sure there were few films as brutal as this at the time. The cast was great and it had a good script and period cinematography. It actually reminded me a lot of Witchfinder General and apparently was directed by that film's assistant director. Arrow Film's new Blu Ray/DVD combo is (like all of Arrow's previous releases) pretty amazing. Flawless picture quality and a bevy of extras that would even make an accused witch drool, make this the definitive release of Mark of the Devil. Not a perfect film but a lot of sick fun and a release well worth the price of admission (sadly a barf bag is not included). Below are a list of bonus features:

-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements
-Optional English and German audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Newly translated English subtitles for the German audio
-Audio commentary by Michael Armstrong, moderated by Calum Waddell
-Mark of the Times - exclusive feature-length documentary from High Rising Productions on the emergence of the 'new wave' of British horror directors that surfaced during the sixties and seventies
-Hallmark of the Devil - author and critic Michael Gingold looks back at Hallmark Releasing, the controversial and confrontational distributor that introduced Mark of the Devil to American cinemas
-Interviews with composer Michael Holm and actors Udo Kier, Herbert Fux, Gaby Fuchs, Ingeborg Schoner and Herbert Lom
-Mark of the Devil: Now and Then - a look at the film's locations and how they appear today
-Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
-Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Smith and Anthony Nield, plus an interview with Reggie Nalder by David Del Valle, all illustrated with original stills and artwork


Film: 7/10
DVD/Blu Ray: 10/10

Buy Mark of the Devil from MVD HERE

Spider Baby (1968, Jack Hill)

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"It's not nice to hate."

As I stated in my review of Swinging Cheerleaders, Jack Hill is a very unique and special director. With only a handful of films to his name, he managed to work in many different genres and brought his own unique touches to each one. Spider Baby was Hill's first solo film (though delayed for four years) and began his foray into horror, which was the genre most of his earliest films belonged in. After seeing Coffy, I had to find all of Jack Hill's films. This eventually led me to Spider Baby, which I watched several years ago and had been meaning to revisit. Arrow Film's new Blu Ray/DVD combo seemed like the perfect time to do just that.

Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told, is a strange tale about the Merrye family. After the wealthy Titus Merrye passed away, he left his servant Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) to care for his three children, Ralph (Sid Haig), Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) and Virginia (Jill Banner). The children have a rare disease that causes them to regress, both mentally and physically, until they become cannibal savages. Ralph's transformation is mostly complete while the two girls still seem normal, but act like little girls...very deadly little girls. The family then receive a letter stating that a pair of distant cousins are the true heirs to the Merrye fortune and come to the Merrye house to claim their inheritance.

Spider Baby, as I'm sure you can tell by the plot, is a weird movie. It's also a very fun and twisted movie. Chaney does a great job as the protective Bruno and Sid Haig is extremely creepy as Ralph (despite having no lines). The rest of the cast all excel and the camera work (by cinematographer Alfred Taylor), though being in black and white, is the real element that makes the film so creepy. The thing that struck me the most about the film is how much Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses (also starring Sid Haig) borrowed from the film. I always thought Zombie was trying to make his own Texas Chainsaw Massacre but it's evident that story wise, it was definitley more influenced by this film (the fact White Zombie has a song called Spiderbaby should have tipped me off too!). Arrow's new release of Spider Baby is the best this film has ever been presented, both in quality and in bonus features. It's good to see attention spent on such classic, cult films and Spider Baby definitely deserved the attention it was given. The black and white print looks pristine and there are a wealth of goodies included too. This film deserves another watch for cult, horror and exploitation film fans. Here are the full list of bonus features:

-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature,
-Original 2.0 Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
-High Definition transfer of the feature supervised and approved by director Jack Hill
-English SDH subtitles for deaf and hearing impaired
-Audio commentary featuring Jack Hill and star Sid Haig
-Panel discussion from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences FILM-TO-FILM Festival, recorded September 2012, featuring Jack Hill and stars Quinn K. Redeker and Beverly Washburn
-The Hatching of Spider Baby - Interviews with Jack Hill, Sid Haig, star Mary Mitchel, fan Joe Dante and more on the making of the film
-Spider Stravinsky: The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein - The composer of ‘The Terror’ and ‘Attack of the 50 Foot Woman’ among others is remembered by Harlene Stein, Jack Hill, American Cinematheque’s Chris D. and others
-The Merrye House Revisited - Jack Hill revisits the original house that was used as the main location in the film
-Alternate opening title sequence
-Extended scene
-Original Trailer
-Gallery of behind-the-scenes images
-The Host (1960) – Jack Hill’s early short film featuring Sid Haig in his first starring role [30 mins]
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
-Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by artist and writer Stephen R. Bissette, and an extensive article re-printed from FilmFax: The Magazine of Unusual Film and Television featuring interviews with the cast and crew, illustrated with original stills and artwork


FILM: 9/10
DVD/BLU RAY: 10/10

Buy Spider Baby directly from MVD HERE

Pit Stop (1969, Jack Hill)

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"Where can I get me a car?"

Coming June 23rd from Arrow Films, we have a film by one of my favorite directors of all time, Mr. Jack Hill. As much as this is an atypical Jack Hill film, it also fits in perfectly with his oeuvre. Though not as sleazy (I use this word with only positive connotations when speaking of this great director's work) as some of his later films, Pit Stop is still an exploitation film. This time around, the theme is car racing and though the story is fairly straight forward, there is still the unmistakably brilliant characterization that Hill brings to the screenplay.

Pit Stop (or The Winner, as it was originally called) tells the story of loner and aspiring car racer Rick Bowman (Dick Davalos), who is spotted by sponsor Grant Willard (Brian Donlevy) and begins racing in the deadly Figure 8 race. He becomes rivals with Willard's cocky champion Hawk Sidney (Sid Haig) and soon the lines of hero and villain start to blur.

Pit Stop is like a long lost racing film that ranks up there with the best of the 60s. Richard "Dick" Davalos, better known as Aron from East of Eden (or as the guy on the cover of The Smiths' Strangeways Here We Come, Best of Vol. 1 and Best of Vol. 2 albums) is perfectly cast as the rebellious Rick Bowman. He probably has the single coolest haircut ever committed to film. Jack Hill regular Sid Haig is also perfect as Hawk Sidney. Ellen Burstyn makes her film debut here as one of the racer's wives. She is also a mechanic and cheats on her husband with Rick. Lastly, the pixie-like Beverly Washburn (who was also in Jack Hill's Spider Baby with Haig) is impressive and a little mysterious (how old was she?) as Rick's girlfriend Jolene. The story takes a lot of unexpected turns and characters are not always what they seem, another strength of Hill's. In my eyes, this one is a classic. Arrow's new Pit Stop Blu Ray/DVD combo is another Winner (no pun intended) from this UK company that recently came overseas to spread joy among sleazy little girls and boys. With a beautiful transfer supervised by Jack Hill himself and a bunch of bonus features (including a booklet! Yay!), this one should not be missed! Below is a list of bonus features included here:

-New High Definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Jack Hill
-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
-Original Mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
-New exclusive audio commentary with director Jack Hill moderated by his biographer Calum Waddell
-Crash and Burn! - Jack Hill on the making of Pit Stop
-Drive Hard - Actor Sid Haig speaks about his experience of acting in Pit Stop
-Life in the Fast Lane - producer Roger Corman on the genesis of Pit Stop
-Restoring Pit Stop - Restoration demonstration with Technical Supervisor James White
-Original Trailer
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
-Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Glenn Kenny and musicologist and writer Gray Newell on the film's soundtrack, illustrated with original stills and artwork


FILM: 10/10
BLU RAY/DVD: 10/10

Purchase Pit Stop directly from MVD HERE

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Massacre Mafia Style (1974, Duke Mitchell)

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"You're in or you're in the way!"

Another recent release from Grindhouse Releasing is the rarely seen cult classic from nightclub singer turned film maker Duke Mitchell, Massacre Mafia Style (aka Like Father, Like Son). Briefly released theatrically and then gaining a cult following from its 80's VHS release (under the title The Executioner), Massacre Mafia Style is a rarely seen film that is like a US version of the Italian Polizioteschi and Godfather rip offs of the 70's. And similar to many of those films, Massacre Mafia Style delivers (and sometimes exceeds its spaghetti counterparts) in the exploitation department. Actually that's an understatement. Read on.

Writer/Director/Composer Duke Mitchell plays Mimi, the son of a retired crime boss who goes to America (after his family was exiled to Italy for many years) to follow in his father's footsteps. Mimi, along with his old American pal Jolly (Vic Caesar), kidnaps the Mafia don as a way to make himself known and is soon brought into the fold. He plans to steal a black pimp's stable of girls ("he's even got white girls!") and use them as stars of the porn films he wants to get into. You know, because the mob wants him to get into something "legitimate".

Ok, so tell me that doesn't sound like the greatest film ever? Well, it does. And it was. I fucking loved this film. As great as Mitchell's absurdly violent Gone with the Pope was, Massacre Mafia Style was even better. The violence in this film is balls to the walls crazy and Mitchell proves he has what it takes to kick ass. The film has some nasty, gory kills, an insanely brilliant story and enough hokey acting and beautiful, scantily clad women to appease the sleaze Gods. And then let's talk about Grindhouse Releasing's DVD/Blu Ray combo. AMAZING! More bonus features than you could shake a stick at (whatever that means) and a nearly flawless transfer. Below is a list of all of the bonus features:

-2 disc combo pack - Blu-ray + DVD
-Incredible new hi-definition digital restoration of the original director's cut
-Stunning digital restoration of the original mono soundtrack
-Interviews with Jeffrey Mitchell, Frankie Ray, George Jacobs, Jim LoBianco, and exploitation legend Matt Cimber
-Almost one full hour of never-before-seen Duke Mitchell home movies
-Lost audio recording - Duke Mitchell Live in Concert, June 9, 1960
-Extensive still galleries, radio spots, and theatrical trailer
-Glossy booklet containing liner notes by veteran cult movie journalist David Szulkin
-Spectacular new cover painting by renowned Los Angeles cult artist Dave Lebow


Film: 10/10
DVD/Blu Ray: 10/10

Gone with the Pope (2010, Duke Mitchell)

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"A dollar from every Catholic in the world"

Recently released from Grindhouse Releasing is a dream for exploitation and crime film lovers over the world. Gone with the Pope is an unfinished film that took Oscar winning editor Bob Murawski (Spiderman) 15 years to complete. With missing film elements, no script and the director/writer/star deceased, it is amazing that this movie ever came to be. But God bless (no pun intended) the folks at Grindhouse Releasing for making this happen.

Gone with the Pope stars Duke Mitchell, a well known crooner who decided to try his hand at film making. He plays Paul, a gangster who was recently released from jail and is asked to do one last job before retiring. After the job is done, and before the mob (who hired him) can whack him, Paul gets a few of his ex con buddies to join him on a boat cruise to Italy to live it up with his recent wealth. He then unloads his plan to kidnap the Pope with a ransom of one dollar from every Catholic in the world (after realizing how many Catholics there are, he kindly lowers the ransom to fifty cents. What a guy!).

Gone with the Pope is a difficult film to describe. I guess I would call it an exploitation crime film with plenty of bloody violence, nudity and potty words. Mitchell's character is the text book definition of an anti-hero and you find yourself rooting for him throughout. The film itself almost feels like two films put together, pre-Pope and post-Pope. I actually thought I may have accidentally put on Mitchell's other film Massacre Mafia Style a half hour in because there was still no mention of the kidnapping. But once the group manage to snag him, I found myself laughing at the conversations the characters had with the Pope. I wouldn't call the dialogue inept though it was very absurd, but endearing too. I thought the film was so entertaining and Mitchell & Co. were so watchable and even likable that I can see myself re-watching it repeatedly. I actually can't think of the last film that was this entertaining (well at least not until I watched Massacre Mafia Style). But going beyond the film itself, Grindhouse Releasing's DVD/Blu Ray combo (like all of their other releases to date) is so jam packed with goodies that I almost felt overwhelmed. Not only is the packaging great (a booklet! yay!), but the extras are just so sprawling, well done and informative. For a long lost film that almost never was, the fact that so much care was given to its creation and release is astounding. I'd have to say that every Grindhouse Releasing release is essential for cult film fan, not only for film selections but also for presentation. Gone with the Pope is silly at times but so much fun that it I can't recommend it enough! See list of bonus features below:

-Spectacular 2K digital restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
-Three stunning audio options - mono, stereo and 5.1 - mixed by Emmy award-winning mixer Marti Humphrey
-In-depth interviews with stars Jim LoBianco and John Murgia, cinematographer Peter Santoro, editors Bob Leighton and Robert Florio, and legendary exploitation producer/director Matt Cimber
-Footage from the 2010 Hollywood World Premiere
-Deleted scenes and bloopers
-Liner notes by acclaimed horror novelist John Skipp
-Extensive still galleries and theatrical trailer


Film: 9/10
DVD/Blu Ray: 10/10

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981, Walerian Borowczyk)

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"Misfortune follows misfortune. Madame, I have murdered your chauffeur. My humblest apologies."

Another lost film recently unearthed by Arrow Films, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (aka Docteur Jekyll et les femmes) is, as the title states, strange. I was unfamiliar with the film before reading about its new release, however I was familiar with director Walerian Borowczyk, probably best known for his films The Beast and Immoral Women. I had watched one of his films, Behind Convent Walls, about five years ago (on September 23rd, 2010 to be pointlessly exact) and based on that film's strange blend of artful sleaze, I knew what I was getting into.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (damn that's a long title) stars Udo Kier (who I love) as Dr. Henry Jekyll. Jekyll is having a get together announcing his engagement to Miss Fanny Osbourne (the lovely Marina Pierro). Some of the guests include a General, his daughter, a fellow doctor (Jess Franco's buddy Howard Vernon) and a reverend. Shortly after the guests arrive, they start getting knocked off one by one, though not by ordinary means. The inhuman killer seems to have a giant pointed wang which he uses to penetrate his victims to death with. Ouch! I'm sure you can guess who the killer is by the title of the film...or can you?

This film (I'm NOT going to type that title again!), is not only strange, but it's warped. Really warped. The use of classical music confuses your expectations, as do the beautiful settings (Borowczyk did the set designs too) and the hazy, period camerawork. But don't let this fool you, this film has plenty of perverse scenes and characters. The killer's (as described above) appearance is startling and Jekyll's transformation into Mr. Hyde sends him into an almost orgasmic frenzy. I'll admit, there are some slow parts in this film, but I never found my mind wandering or my ass squirming in my seat (well, maybe in a couple key scenes...but not out of boredom). Arrow's release is pretty amazing, in both quality and quantity. The transfer used for this release is stunning and clear. And the bonus features? Boy do we have bonus features here. Interviews, commentaries, short films and even a booklet! Overall, not a perfect film but definitely an oddity that lovers of avant garde and sleazy films should seek out. Below are a list of the bonus features included in Arrow's Blu Ray/DVD combo:

-Brand new 2K restoration, scanned from the original camera negative and supervised by cinematographer Noel Very
-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film, released on both formats for the first time ever
-English and French soundtracks in LPCM 1.0
-Optional English and English SDH subtitles
-Introduction by critic and long-term Borowczyk fan Michael Brooke
-Audio commentary featuring archival interviews with Walerian Borowczyk, Udo Kier, Marina Pierro and producer Robert Kuperberg, and new interviews with cinematographer Noël Véry, editor Khadicha Bariha, assistant Michael Levy and writer / director Noël
-Interview with Marina Pierro
-Himorogi (2012), a short film by Marina and Alessio Pierro, made in homage to Borowczyk
-Interview with artist and filmmaker Alessio Pierro
-Video essay by Adrian Martin and Cristina Alvarez Lopez
-Eyes That Listen, a featurette on Borowczyk's collaborations with electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani
-Returning to Melies: Borowczyk and Early Cinema, a featurette by Daniel Bird
-Reversible sleeve with artwork based on Borowczyk's own poster design
-Booklet with new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and archive materials, illustrated with rare stills


Film: 7/10
DVD/Blu Ray: 10/10

Order The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (I lied about not typing the name again) directly from MVD HERE

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Cut-Throats (1969, John Hayes)

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X Rated war film? SOLD! I'll fess up to watching a few nazisploitation films in my time and generally they're not my thing. The Cut-Throats however is more skin than shock (not bad in this case). Recently released by Vinegar Syndrome, this film is a limited release of 1500 and only available through Vinegar Syndrome's website as a freebie if you bought either their May or June monthly bundles (or July if they have any left).

The Cut-Throats takes place at the end of WWII in Germany where an American captain assembles a group of top soldiers (one of which dies on the way). Their mission is to take over a German army base and steal top secret plans. After taking over, they meet up with a group of German women who dress in costumes and perform for the men (in more ways than one). Will the men lose focus on their agenda in favor of their desires?

The Cut-Throats was a very watchable and surprisingly engrossing film. The hour and 15 or so minute runtime seemed much longer (in a good way) and there was a fair bit of suspense regarding how the film would resolve. The Cut-Throats wore its low budget on its sleeve and some of the acting was lackluster but it never detracted from the film's enjoyment level. Oh and when I say it's rated X, its not a hardcore adult film, more softcover by today's standards. My favorite scene was the love scene between the German officer and secretary who immediately start fooling around (with a bottle of wine) once the war is declared finished. As expected from Vinegar Syndrome, we are treated with a very obscure, but very entertaining film from a beautiful transfer. Overall a nice release (if you can get a copy).


Film: 8/10
DVD: 9/10

Purchase a monthly bundle from Vinegar Syndrome and get this film for free HERE

Day of Anger (1967, Tonino Valerii)

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"Your last lesson Scotty: when you start killing you can't stop it."

Recently released from Arrow Films is Day of Anger, a little known western (to me at least) by Sergio Leone protege Tonino Valerii. After the success of Leone's Dollars trilogy, Lee Van Cleef did countless Spaghetti Westerns (of various quality) so my expectations were fairly low for this film. The addition of Italian star Giuliano Gemma peaked my interest enough to check this one out.

Giuliano Gemma stars as Scotty, a shy outcast who was orphaned as a child and given the lucky job of emptying the town's toilets. A drifter named Talby (Van Cleef) comes into town with thoughts of settling (and maybe even taking over). Scotty tries to follow Talby after he encourages Scotty to stick up for himself. Reluctantly Talby accepts Scotty as a sidekick but things start to change when Scotty's marksmanship and fearlessness start to threaten Talby's plans.

Day of Anger was a very surprising success. As much as I love Spaghetti Westerns, my main complaint is that they frequently move too slowly and are overlong. Even at almost two hours, Day of Anger doesn't drag or let up for a minute. The film has a great story, a wonderful soundtrack by the late, great Riz Ortolani and an excellent cast. Regardless of what I said in my intro, this is actually a fairly well known (and highly regarded) Spaghetti Western so I guess even I don't know everything. What I do know is that you need to buy this set immediately. It comes in a 3 disc set (1 blu ray, 2 dvds), features two different versions of the film (I watched the longer version only) and a whole slew of extras. Here's the full list:

-Brand new restoration of the original 35mm Techniscope camera negative
-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of both the Italian and International versions of the film
-Original uncompressed mono audio
-Newly translated English subtitles for Italian audio and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio
-Brand new interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
-Brand new interview with Tonino Valerii's biographer Roberto Curti
-Previously unreleased 2008 interview with Tonino Valerii
-Deleted scene
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
-Booklet featuring new writing on the film by spaghetti western expert Howard Hughes, illustrated with original archive stills


Film: 10/10

DVD/Blu Ray: 10/10

Purchase Day of Anger directly from MVD HERE

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Muthers (1976, Cirio H. Santiago)

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"I'm not crawling on my knees for nobody!"

Recently released from Vinegar Syndrome is the Filipino exploitation classic The Muthers. Directed by Roger Corman's go to Filipino director Cirio H. Santiago, this film was actually included as a bonus feature on the Australian release of Mark Hartley's wonderful love letter to Filipino exploitation, Machete Maidens Unleashed. I was disappointed that the US version did not include it as well so luckily Vinegar Syndrome saved the day once again and brought this sought after film to us patient trash lovers.

The Muthers stars "TNT Jackson" herself Jeanne Bell as Kelly and "Swingin' Cheerleader" Rosanne Katon as Anggie, a pair of female pirates who sail the seas looking to rob unsuspecting ships. A government agent, who is trying to nab a female slave camp owner, agrees to forget about arresting them if they go undercover in the camp. After Kelly finds out that her sister has been kidnapped and may be at the camp, she and Anggie agree. There they meet fellow slave Marcie (played by Trina (Thumper from the Bond film Diamonds are Forever) Parks and Serena (the beautiful Jayne Kennedy), who has become the slave owner's girl and therefore given certain privileges the other girls aren't. Will the girls be able to find out what happened to Kelly's sister and will they be able to escape the prison camp alive?

The Muthers is a real treat of a film. It's funny, sexy, bloody and a whole lot of fun. It has a similar feel to many other Filipino exploitation films (particularly Savage Sisters, Big Bird Cage and Wonder Women) and won't disappoint fans of the genre or of exploitation films in general. The leading ladies are all beautiful and surprisingly can actually act! The story moves along at a brisk pace and never gets dull. Vinegar Syndrome's transfer is superb and the DVD is sold for a very fair price (less than $15).


Film: 8/10

DVD: 9/10 (wish there were more extras)

Buy The Muthers directly from Vinegar Syndrome HERE

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Long Jeanne Silver (1977, Alex deRenzy)

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"I've got a secret: I fooled Mother Nature"

New from Vinegar Syndrome is another classic from adult filmmaker Alex deRenzy. Long Jeanne Silver, a fairly notorious film (for reasons we will get into later) that honestly I had never heard of but when I read the synopsis sounded very intriguing and I had to check it out. After watching it, I was shocked - not just by the content of the film but just how drawn in I was by Jeanne.

Long Jeanne Silver is part documentary, part anthology film following the main protagonist as an adult actress and behind the scenes as a loveably adventurous woman. Jeanne takes us on a trip showing us what she can do with her "special gift". Oh, did I mention yet that Jeanne is an amputee with one false leg? I'll admit the stage name is both hilarious and tacky, but Jeanne seems to embrace her disability and use it for some very interesting love making.

I really fell in love with Jeanne watching this film. She is just such a beautiful and unique person who seems so fragile, yet so bold, funny and fearless. deRenzy's film is a very original and touching portrait like nothing I've ever seen, especially in the adult film genre. I have to congratulate Vinegar Syndrome for putting out this courageous film. The presentation of this classic is handled expertly (as are all of Vin Syn's releases) and the transfer looks pristine. The film is definitely not for everyone, but I loved it.


Film: 8/10
DVD: 10/10

Purchase Long Jeanne Silver directly from Vinegar Syndrome HERE

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Society (1989, Brian Yuzna)

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"You were right Billy. I am a butthead!"

So after a 2 year period of inactivity, choosing what film to review first was tough. So I went back to my first ever review for inspiration. At the time, I just decided to choose the last film I watched. Seems logical. So I did the same damn thing this time too. Since I watched Arrow's new release of the ooey gooey late 80's body horror classic Society last night, that one wins.

Society stars soap opera star/Baywatch stud Billy Warlock as Billy Whitney, the captain of his Beverly Hills high school's football team AND candidate for class president. Despite this, he still manages to be an outcast in both his school and home life. He even has to go see a shrink! But this isn't just a normal case of teenage blues. After Billy is warned that something is up with the towns people, those that warn him start turning up dead. But is it only in Billy's head or is the "Society" that surrounds him really not what they seem?

I had been looking for a decent copy of Society for a long time so when I found out that Arrow was putting it out, I was ecstatic. For those unfamiliar, Arrow Films is a long running UK DVD/Blu Ray label that FINALLY started releasing films in the US this year. And so far, their releases have been impeccable, both in quality and film selection. Society is no exception. The film itself is everything you would hope from a horror film - disgustingly gory FX (courtesy of "surrealistic" FX wizard Screaming Mad George) and a great, thought-provoking story. I'll admit the film has that gross late 80's big hair and bright clothes thing going on, but that just fits with the time and doesn't deter from the timeless plot of paranoia and alienation. Below is a list of details from Arrow's new Blu Ray/DVD combo out May 9th!

Special Features:

•Newly remastered 2K digital transfer of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
•Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
•Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
•Brand new audio commentary by Yuzna
•Governor of Society – a brand new interview with Yuzna
•The Masters of the Hunt – a brand new featurette including interviews with stars Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Ben Meyerson and Tim Bartell
•The Champion of the Shunt – new featurette with FX artists Screaming Mad George, David Grasso and Nick Benson
•2014 Q&A with Yuzna, recorded at Celluloid Screams Festival
•Brian Yuzna in conversation backstage at the Society world premiere
•'Persecution Mania' – Screaming Mad George music video
•Limited Edition Digipak packaging featuring newly-commissioned artwork by Nick Percival
•Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
•Society: Party Animal [Limited Edition Exclusive] – the official comic sequel to Society, reproduced in its entirety in a perfect-bound book


Film: 8/10
DVD / Blu Ray: 10/10 (review based on screener DVD)

Order the Limited Edition Digipak (5000 units) of Society directly from MVD HERE


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That's right boils and ghouls! The B-Movie Cult is back (and some guy named Charles Hamm apparently)...with a vengeance! Muahahaha!

Expect a lot more ghoulish reviews of your favorite horror, exploitation, cult and whateverthefuckelse films I feel like watching!