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August 31, 2014

Movie Review: The Man from Laramie (1955; Columbia/Twilight Time)

...hypothetical question time: What makes a good western, a great western?? Is it the sweeping, spansive view of the prairie, stretching out almost endlessly across the dusty frontier?? Not necessarily; one can find that in just about any well-shot oater. How about the prerequisite conflict between the dedicated lawful, and the self-serving, greedy & corrupt...invariably culminating in the ol' cliché of meeting in the middle of town, at sun-up, for the prerequisite gun-slinging showdown?? Naw...call such things, a dime-a-dozen, in the common western film tradition. The fleeting, hero versus villain, horse-galloping pursuit, with guns a-blazin'?? The free-for-all, barroom brawl, instigated by too many aces in the deck, during a 'friendly' little game?? The grizzled ol' drunken geezer, 'teched' in the head by too much sun, and too many crazed illusions of tapping into that ever-evasive gold vein?? Same old, same old, for those who are ardently devoted to the flicker of the celluloid western film fervor...

...so what exactly makes for a superior western epic, as opposed to something more generic, routine and derivative?? Depth and complexity of character, perhaps?? Motivation of said character, hiding a much more determined, albeit underlining purpose?? Both suppressed and exposed levels of strengths, weaknesses, jealousies and insecurities?? Basically, knowing what makes such characters, tick?? 1955's "The Man from Laramie"...one of Twilight Time's most recent limited edition releases, and the fifth & final western-themed collaboration between actor James Stewert, and director Anthony Mann...brilliantly balances a more psychologically inclined study of it's varied characters, amidst the backdrop and routine staples of high western drama, culminating in a somewhat unconventional and much more compelling approach to the genre, than typically rendered...

August 29, 2014

Movie Review: A Survey of an Open Space (2013)

Directed by Peat Duggins

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

In 2009, bicyclists Zach Hall and Michaela Duggins (the director’s sister) set off to span the breadth of our nation, from the Mexican border of their hometown of Austin, Texas, to the furthermost reaches of the Alaskan border. Ninety days and 4,000 miles later, both Hall and Duggins successfully completed their mission. What did they learn? Many things, chief among them the fact that America is still a place of wide open spaces and startling beauty. Touching three oceans before reaching the Arctic, the duo saw much natural wonder and desolation.

A Survey of An Open Space is as sparse and beautifully simple a documentary as one could hope for. While it would be expected that this project would have some sort of agenda, it has none other than objectively capturing the trip. It’s ironic that the film’s chief virtue works against the film’s favor: the two protagonists are just too gol-durn good natured and focused! One would think that Hall and Duggins would erupt into a big fight somewhere along the way, but it never occurs. Duggins in particular is so virtuous and pure she verges on the fringes of Pollyanna. Both bicyclists face bad weather and unfortunate situations but greet it with good ol’ fashioned American optimism. The audience is kept waiting for a big blow-up that never occurs … one wonders if any of this was edited out.

Movie Review: Born Yesterday (1950, Twilight Time)

Directed by George Cukor


Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The classic tale! Corrupt, kind-of gangster Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) breezes into Washington D.C. to buy a congressman – or two to facilitate his growing junkyard empire. Renting out the top floor of a luxury hotel, Brock becomes concerned that his unpolished chorus line girlfriend Billie (the incredible Judy Holliday in her Academy Award-winning performance) may not go over well with the local intelligentsia. Hiring journalist Paul Verrall (William Holden) to school her in the finer things, Billie hits the books big time. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Billie goes from dumb blonde to an increasingly aware, socially responsible woman. No longer blind to Brock’s corrupt dealings, Billie decides to take a stand. Confronting the bully, and hatching a scheme to keep herself immune, Billie confidently sails out of Brock’s life with Paul on her arm, in order to marry.

No doubt about it, Born Yesterday is one of the most wonderful movies ever made. Based on playwright Garson Kanin’s hit Broadway play, the celebrated movie adaptation is above all else a tale of redemption. Movie audiences in the past had long laughed at a long parade of dumb blondes and gangster molls before. Born Yesterday was among the first films to suggest that intelligence and wise decisions are available to the least aware, provided they set their minds to it. It also offers a timely message to the viewer as well: In order to defeat bullies, it’s essential to educate yourself and then follow through on what you know is right.

In this sense, Born Yesterday is a far more radical film than My Fair Lady (1964), to which it is frequently compared. In My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is transformed from a hardscrabble Cockney to regal lady-in-waiting under the tutelage of Dr. Henry Riggins (Rex Harrison) – but remains a common girl at heart. Not so in the case with Billie, whose slow transformation ultimately dismantles Brock’s ruthlessly constructed fiefdom of corrupt lawyer, for-sale politicians and gun thugs.

August 26, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Bernie

Kevin discusses the biopic about a mortician turned philanthropic murderer starring Jack Black.

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Movie Review: Man Hunt (Blu-ray, Twilight Time)

Reviewed By: Hal Astell

I've seen a lot of Fritz Lang movies, having been stunned by M and Metropolis and so deliberately seeking out as many more as I could find. I was impressed to no small degree by films like Hangmen Also Die!, Scarlet Street and The Big Heat. I even thoroughly enjoyed 1956's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the most recent film of his that I've seen thus far, though the quality of his films generally decreased as time went on, other films from the fifties like The Blue Gardenia, Moonfleet and While the City Sleeps leaving me surprisingly disappointed. The problem is that while some of his films are perennials on TV, my supply of Fritz Lang movies dried up at sixteen and I've only managed to see one more since 2007: Human Desire, again not one of his best, especially now I've seen the far superior original French movie that it remade. This one thankfully is much better.

Shortly before the war, as close as late July 1939, a British hunter called Alan Thorndike is holidaying in Bavaria and there is gifted with the biggest game of them all: Adolf Hitler, right there in the sights of his Hammond & Hammond. He even shoots him dead from 550 yards, or at least would have done had he a bullet in his rifle. When he loads that bullet, he's still only doing it to play the game, because it's the thrill of the chase that drives him. If he can get close enough to a game that doesn't want him to get close enough, then he knows he can kill and so actually doing so isn't necessary. Given what we know from history it won't surprise you too much to find that Hitler lives and we'll never know if Thorndike could have made the shot or not because he's interrupted by a patrolling German soldier, this being one of the most guarded buildings in the world, after all, and he's promptly delivered into the care of George Sanders.

The Billy Bagg Double Feature (The Violation of Claudia/Hot Honey) DVD


Label: Distribpix Inc / Sweetheart Theaters

Prebook: September 9, 2014 Streets: October 7, 2014 SRP: $19.99

UPC: 828320020016 Cat: 2001 Run Time: 134 Minutes Language: English

Color Widescreen 1.85:1 Dual Mono All Regions

Production year: 1977 / 1978

Genre: Adult Erotica / Drama Not Rated

Director: Bill Lustig

Stars: Jamie Gillis, Sharon Mitchell, Serena, Heather Young, Long Jeane Silvers

Before he became one of the most famous and important horror filmmakers of the 1980s, Bill Lustig(Manic Cop, Vigilante) directed these two X rated oddities. Both films have been newly restored in 2K from their original negatives and each audio commentary with Bill Lustig is moderated by Danish film director, Nicolas Winding Refn(Drive, Only God Forgives, Valhalla Rising, Bronson).

August 25, 2014

TV on Blu-ray: The Walking Dead - Season Four (2013/2014, Blu-ray)

The Walking Dead is undeniably one of the most popular shows on all of television -- for good reason, of course. When Robert Kirkman unleashed The Walking Dead on the comic book world a few years back, possibly the last thing on his mind had to be that it would be one of the most popular shows (on American Movie Classics of all places). Well, it is even with some imperfections, this thrilling story of a group of survivors battling a zombie apocalypse has easily amassed a loyal fan-base and continued on to where it is now going into its 5th season of production.

After releasing the three previous seasons on Blu-ray and DVD Anchor Bay and AMC has now gone forth with season four with this packed, 16 episode, supplement filled Blu-ray set that should put zombie fans in a frenzy for what could very well be the best season of The Walking Dead to date.

Following a brutal showdown at the prison with the Governor (David Morrisey), Rick, Herschel and the crew lick their wounds and call it a minor victory over the now beaten down aggressor. The Governor retreats with what’s left of his gang of goons vowing revenge but it aint that easy because soon this once super intimidating villain becomes a weak, bearded hobo roaming the streets for shelter. He does find his way to a family who just sees a new kinder gentler Governor.

August 22, 2014

Movie Review: All the King’s Men (1949, Twilight Time)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Earnest reporter and spoiled rich kid Jack Burden (John Ireland) asks later in this feature, “Doesn’t good come out of evil?” The occasion is marked by Governor Willie Stark’s (Broderick Crawford) nakedly aggressive attempts to quash his rivals during a time of extreme crisis. All the King’s Men, the Best Film of its year as dictated by the Academy Awards, offers a succinct introduction to the United States political system.

When we first meet Stark, he’s a poor but honest rube who wants to make life better for his fellow sustenance farmers. He’s not afraid to tear down idols in high places, and accuses his government of taking bribes in order to build the new school house. Running for office, he’s defeated – until a terrible tragedy at the school house brought on by faulty construction propels him back into the spotlight. He’s recruited by the local corrupt government in order to draw “the hick vote.” Ruthless political flack Sadie Burke (Mercedes McCambridge) pours liquor down the usually teetotaler Stark and is duly impressed the next day when he’s able to deliver a rousing speech on the plight of the working man. No turning back, Stark rises to the echelons of big government in his state, building roads and schools – but resorting to dishonest methods in order to do so. Do the ends justify the means?

August 21, 2014

Movie Review: Grindhouse Trailer Classics Vol. 1 (Intervision / Nucleus Films)

A few years back the U.K genre specialists at Nucleus Films produced their first of four volumes (up to now) of cult film trailer compilations entitled Grindhouse Trailer Classics. At the time it wasn't available for anyone outside of England unless you had an all-region DVD player...that is, until now. Severin Films’ sleazy little brother, Intervision have now locked their teeth into the region one debut of this collection with their new release making it even more available to the masses. If you have yet to see it, it’s a deliciously diabolical compilation of trash that shows some major love for the lost art of the trailer and grindhouse theaters of yesteryear.

This particular collection is pretty exhaustive as there are well over 2 hours of trailers with the different genres often associated with the grindhouse -- horror, sexploitation, kung fu, Blaxploitation, Nazisploitation and so on. Here's a list of most of what you’re going to catch on this first volume:

August 19, 2014

Movie Review: Save Your Legs! (2012, Twilight Time)

Directed by Boyd Hicklin

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Lovable loser Edward “Teddy” Brown (Stephen Curry) lives for his local neighborhood cricket club and his two best friends, Rick (Brendan Cowell) and Stavros (Damon Gameau). Teddy’s world is shaken when the substance-abusing, drunken Rick announces his impending marriage to a girl he recently knocked up. In lieu of thinking there may be more to life than getting pissed on the weekend with his fellow Aussie mates, Teddy leads his “D-string” team to a tour of India. Setting up a three match tour, coupled with the chance to meet cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, the usual “fish-out-of-water” shenanigans take place. Rick remains a surly, drunken piece of work, Teddy samples some of the local Indian cuisine and spends the majority of finding serviceable areas in which to defecate. Unaccustomed to the chaotic civilization of modern-day India, there is lots and lots of gags surrounding cultural differences. Local lovely Anjali (Pallavi Sharda) is thrown into the mix, and gives the boy something to ogle to perhaps draw away attention from Teddy’s, uh, somewhat inappropriate fixation on Rick. The clueless Australians stumble and fall adorably, and they take up a challenge from an arrogant Bollywood star to take on his cricket team. Everything turns out alright at the end … was there any question it wouldn’t?

Visiting Hollywood’s Amoeba Records DVD section, this reviewer saw a shelf full of discs with the title, “Sports Team is led by a Caring Individual to Victory.” Save Your Legs! Is one of those, and is exceptionally plain and unremarkable in spite of the many exotic locales and unique situations. The cricket team is a bunch of middle-aged losers who spend their weekends drunk and “attempting” to play the game (it doesn’t matter if the viewer doesn’t understand cricket as it doesn’t appear that any of the characters do). Well into their thirties, they cling to youthful hopes and ambitions, but must accept the fact that “the train has left the station” at this point. The guys get into scuffles, patch up their differences, and find plenty of time to look with startled expressions at the culture of India. Save Your Legs! Is painfully predictable, and is intended solely to provide diversion on a weekend night. The closest thing it makes to a statement on the team’s “Peter Pan” syndrome is when Teddy confronts the boozing Rick on what type of father he’ll make for his forthcoming child.

Movie Review: See You Next Tuesday (2013)

Directed by Drew Tobia

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Declared “The Most Effectively Offensive Film” of the 2013 Boston Underground Film Festival, See You Next Tuesday takes no prisoners. Described as a film that “the whole family can enjoy cutting themselves to,” there are plentiful laughs to be found here, just be warned that it has several sights and sounds that shocked this most seasoned reviewer …

Mona (Eleanore Pienta) is a verging-on-psychotic check-out girl at a Brooklyn market. Days away from giving birth – no word on the father or medical treatment, as Mona hates those doctors putting their fingers in her vagina, she stumbles from her colorless job to her shithole apartment in a daze. Put upon by her ghetto fabulous coworkers, Mona turns to her immediate family for solace. There’s her mother May (Dana Eskelson), a selfish, verbally abusive woman who lives for her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and the gossip opportunities it brings.

August 18, 2014

Movie Review: The Sacrament (Blu-ray, 2014)



Reviewed by: Jimmy D.

Ti West is one of those directors that horror fans are torn on, some love his slow-burn style of storytelling and others just wish he would get to the horror and ditch the long drawn out story.  This time Ti trades in the supernatural for a religious cult leader. The film opens with Sam and Jake who are reporters for a magazine that specialize in stories that go under the radar for publications. Patrick is a photographer who receives a letter from his sister Caroline. The letter states that she is staying in this cult like commune outside of the United States. Patrick invites the two reporters hoping for a good story for the magazine.

As soon as the trio arrives they encounter men armed with guns and seem very confrontational. Well, once they get past this they meet the people in this community, and each person goes on and on about how great it is there, how there are no problems or issues and that the leader looks out for them, his name is “ Father”. After, an interview of sorts with this leader Father, the guys soon discover he is not what he seems on the surface. After the interview, a few others in this commune start to ask the guys to let them leave with them.

August 14, 2014

Movie Review: Purely Physical / Cat House Fever

Vinegar Syndrome seems to be digging more and more into their already massive library of adult films for 80's porn titles. Much of what's been released has been from the 70's so it's definite plus seeing titles from the era where porn on film soon became porn on video. Their double-bill of Purely Physical and Cat House Fever come from director Chris Warfield (aka Billy Thornberg, Garters and Lace, Sheer Panties) and are still thankfully on film.

First up, we get Purely Physical starring Laura Lazare (who also narrates) as Kathy, a young woman just starting a new job at a hotel that caters to people who just like to show up and bang. She likes fantasizing about the guests so it's a perfect fit for this horny young lass. There’s a nice variety of clientele: from virgins enjoying their first time, a chubby rich guy and his whore and even a business woman (Played by the legendary Aunt Peg) who likes to diddle her lady parts while peeking in a make-up mirror.

August 13, 2014

"Ghost in the Shell" Debuts on Blu-ray this September!


25 years ago, a breathtaking leap in the history of animation stunned and amazed audiences, with the release of Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell. Now, to celebrate a quarter century of its groundbreaking blend of traditional cel and CGI animation, Anchor Bay Entertainment proudly announces the Ghost in the Shell 25thAnniversary Edition Blu-ray™. Boasting an all new HD transfer, the GitS 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray™ streets September 30th with an SRP of $29.99. Pre-book is August 27th.

2029 – A female government cyber agent and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of a "The Puppet Master" – a computer virus capable of invading cybernetic brains and altering its victim’s memory. Created by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and codenamed "Project 2501", this 'hacker' is actually a prototype virtual agent which has now defied its makers by seeking asylum within a new host body outside of the electronic net. Now the two agencies must maneuver against each another in a violent, high-tech race to capture the omnipresent entity.

When released in 1995, Ghost in the Shell took the world by storm exhibiting a new dimension of anime with unprecedented and mesmerizing cinematic expression. Seamlessly merging traditional cel animation with the latest computer graphic imagery, this stunning sci-fi spectacle broke through the boundaries of mainstream animation with detailed artistic expression and a uniquely intelligent story line. The film has gone on to inspire a generation of filmmakers and has become the most revered anime feature of all time. Veteran anime writer/director/producer Mamoru Oshii, working in conjunction with the animators at Production I.G. (Blood: The Last Vampire, Kaidohmaru, Kill Bill) brought to life Masamune Shirow’s vision.

Bobcat Goldthwait's "Willow Creek" Debuts on Blu-ray and DVD September 9th!


THE SEARCH FOR THE LEGENDARY BIGFOOT TURNS OUT TO BE NO WALK IN THE PARK FOR TWO TERRIFIED YOUNG ADVENTURERS

WILLOW CREEK

Bobcat Goldthwait's Tension-Filled Shocker, a Bold New Step for the Writer-Director, Arrives on Dark Sky Films Blu-ray and DVD on September 9, 2014

"Unnerving." - Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

 "[Bobcat Goldthwait's] most satisfying work." - Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

A young couple find themselves face to face with a terrifying evil when they venture into the heart of Bigfoot country in WILLOW CREEK, director Bobcat Goldthwait's unique spin on the horror genre. It creeps onto Blu-ray and DVD from Dark Sky Films and MPI Media Group on September 9, 2014, with SRPs, respectively, of $29.98 and $24.98.

Movie Review: I, Frankenstein (2013; Lakeshore Entertainment/Liongate)

...a hypothetical question, if I may: Given the countless examination and variations on authoress Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's immortal horror classic...the films, the books, even that imaginatively scribed by the feeble, albeit able-minded hand of Shelley, herself...what message, overall, was the original 1818 novel, called "Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus" trying to explore and expound upon?? That there were certain things that man was not meant to know?? That absolute tragedy, turmoil and nightmarish horrors await, whoever dares to emulate the power of God?? That science and technology must evolve, even in the face of the status quo's fear of the unknown & unexplored, and that there will always be the daring and unconventional one, who is bravely, sometimes recklessly willing to take that step into the unknown, no matter what it takes, no matter what the stakes, as well as the results are...and no matter what consequences, nay even what punishment awaits, as the result??...

...of course, you've heard the story before: Dedicated and obsessed scientist, going against the grain of his teachings...and yet, taking those very same teachings, far and beyond what his educators might have imagined...or would not dare to blasphemously consider...aspires to create a being, from the assembled parts of the dead, using nature's own dark forces, chemically and that wrought from the electrically charged heavens. At first, elatedly relishing his success at reanimating the pieces/parts corpse, Victor Frankenstein is quickly repulsed and disgusted at the unbearable ugliness of his soulless creation, and as such, rejects the misshapen creature, and attempts to destroy it. Driven into a forsaken life of wandering solitude, as the result of his ugliness, as well as the rejection by his 'father'...the creature, whose mental and vocal capacities develop quite rapidly, trudges through a solitary life, learning of what it means to be human...learning of how he came to be...feared by all whom he encounters...and very much desiring the luxury of companionship...someone like himself, who will not reject him. Returning to Frankenstein's home, the creature murderously coerces the doctor to repeat his experiment, in an effort to create a female companion for him; when the experiment fails, and the newly born female creature indeed shrieks at the very sight of her inhuman predecessor, the monster is once again forced into isolation, filled with rage. However, Victor Frankenstein...now in the throes of personal tragedy and emotional turmoil, as the result of the creatures' murderous effect on his life...relentlessly pursues his creation, with the intent of destroying him, once and for all...

August 12, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Guardians of the Galaxy

Kevin is joined by fellow Abnormalites Masked Blogster, Self E. Santana, Mandy and Sam Poe to discuss the most fun movie in the Marvel universe.

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Movie Review: Violent Saturday (1955, Twilight Time, Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Hal Astell

The Bank of Bradenville is right in the middle of town so we get plenty of opportunity to see it as three would be thieves turn up and start casing the joint. They're important folks too, like J Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin, and they're led by Stephen McNally playing a character called Harper. They do their homework carefully and well, studying not just the bank itself, its employees, its safe and its routine, but also the local geography, finding a potential safe haven at an Amish farm run by Ernest Borgnine, the year he won his Oscar for Marty. Yes, the film's worth watching just for that, along with the revelation that Amish farmers in blindfolds look like ninjas. The crooks watch the townsfolk too, with open eyes and ears, which is how we get to know their stories and discover that they're a pretty unhappy lot across the board.

August 11, 2014

Movie Review: Hell of the Living Dead / Rats: Night of Terror (Blu-ray)





Since I first laid my hands on VHS copies of the bloodiest horror films Italy had to offer at the numerous Mom 'n' Pop stores in my neighborhood I came to admire the often gruesome work of Lucio Fulci, (Zombie), Dario Argento (Suspiria), Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox) and Sergio Martino (Torso). These guys were the best and to this day have a place in my black heart. One gentlemen not mentioned that I do feel has had quite a contribution to the Italian cult genre but doesn't quite get the attention is the much maligned, Bruno Mattei. Bruno was essentially the Asylum Films of Italy in the 80's (minus the lazy CGI effects), ripping off bigger films like Aliens and Dawn of the Dead. He was the best at it and his films were rarely boring.

Blue Underground has taken it upon themselves to put together a double-feature Blu-ray of a couple of Mattei's more notable and enjoyable films with high-definition presentations of both Hell of the Living Dead (aka Virus) and the post-apocalyptic rats-run-amok entry Rats: Night of Terror. Let's see if I can handle this much genius!

Hell of the Living Dead is essentially a mash-up of some widely known flesh-eating classics from just a few years before, Dawn of the Dead and Zombie. Except here, Mattei and screenwriter Claudio Fragasso actually add some of their own touches to the mix. When a young woman (Margit Evelyn Newton) hooks up with a group of trigger-happy mercenaries, together they scour the jungle and inevitably wind up at a lab were a horrible accident happened. The path ain’t easy as they run into hordes of zombies and natives infected with a virus unleashed from the lab that’s causing people to want to eat human flesh.

Movie Review: Home, James (2014)

Directed by Jonathan Rossetti

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell
   
James (played by director Jonathan Rossetti) is an aspiring fine art photographer who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He pays the bills by working as a sober driver, trolling the pubs of the downtown area, offering rides to inebriated club goers. It is in this seedy milieu that he meets Cooper (Kerry Knuppe), a woman who likes her liquor and high times. James plugs away at his photography career while dating the carefree Cooper, until he gets a break with a major gallery owner. Matching Cooper drink-by-drink, James stumbles and falls and realizes he must divest himself from what is essentially a toxic, dead-end relationship.

Home, James is a microscopic budget indie romance and labor of love currently making the film festival rounds. Its story is simple and stark, and the performers are able to pull off the subtle gradations of infatuation, romance, love and alienation in a compelling manner. Director-writer-star Rossetti seems a bit too old to be playing a conflicted twenty-something artist. Co-star Knuppe has probably tired of being told how much she resemble Julia Roberts. As befitting a story about a photographer, the cinematography by George Su is gorgeous. Especially noteworthy are the scenes set at dawn, where the young lovers are bathed in exterior scenes doused in rosy hues of peach and red.

Movie Review: Raw Force (1982)

Directed by Edward D. Murphy

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

A cruise ship full of swinging singles and martial artists piloted by Captain Harry Dodds (Cameron Mitchell) and managed by loudmouthed harridan Hazel Buck (Hope Holiday) run afoul of jade smuggler Thomas Speer (Ralph Lombardi) who resembles Hitler in an ice cream suit. Speer sends his goons to sink the boat, and the survivors land their life raft on an island inhabited by cannibal monks (one of whom is played by perpetual Filipino trash film star Vic Diaz) who have the power to raise disgraced kung-fu killers from the grave …

In short, listing the exploitive elements that this Filipino feature DOESN'T have would make for a much shorter and more manageable list.

It’s not possible to dislike a film featuring cannibalistic monks and hordes of reanimated zombie martial artists. Such is the case with Raw Force. Add tons of tits and ass, gore that wouldn’t convince a pre-schooler and lots of slapstick and you simply can’t miss! This is exploitation cinema as it will never be again: no irony, no cross-referencing other films, a nonsense logic that only applies to the particular universe in which it is set … and the result is Movie Magic. Quentin Tarantino could bang on a typewriter for an eternity and never reach the joyous energy found on display here.

August 8, 2014

40th Anniversary Texas Chainsaw Black Maria DVD/Blu-Ray Streets 9/16!

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Black Maria Ltd Ed

Exclusively Available Through Gorgon-Video.com Starting September 16th


It's been imitated and remade, but never equaled. Tobe Hooper's THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE rose from a notorious 1974 sleeper sensation to rank as one of the greatest horror films ever made. Now, to mark the film's 40th anniversary, Dark Sky Films is presenting the digitally re-mastered masterpiece on Blu-ray for the first time in a stunning Limited Deluxe "Black Maria" Collector's Edition box set.

THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE appears in an all-new 4K digital transfer and with a newly created 7.1 surround sound mix supervised by director Hooper (Poltergeist). This release marks the only transfer of the film to go back to the original 16mm A/B rolls, the actual film that rolled through the cameras. The Limited Deluxe "Black Maria" Edition of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE will be released at retail in October but will be available exclusively at www.gorgon-video.com for 30 days starting September 16, 2014. Fans of the film will recognize the unique packaging as a replica of the iconic 'Black Maria' cattle truck that comes to Sally Hardesty's rescue when she's being pursued by Leatherface, a fitting nod to the legions of TCSM enthusiasts who were instrumental in keeping the film at the forefront of the genre throughout for the past 40 years and a true collectible display piece.'

This four-disc DVD/Blu-ray combo pack will include a wealth of extras, including:
A Leatherface apron
Theatrical mini-poster
Five audio options
Four feature commentaries with the filmmakers and cast,
Several making-of featurettes
Deleted scenes, outtakes, bloopers, trailers and much more

August 7, 2014

Cinema Head Cheese: Podshort! - Escape From Tomorrow

Kevin talks about a movie that was filmed in Disney World without Disney's knowledge or permission. It follows a man who loses his job on the last day of a family trip before he loses his mind.

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August 5, 2014

Movie Review: Soft in the Head (2014)

Directed by Nathan Silver

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Every once in a while you come away from a motion picture, worrying … was I supposed to laugh? Would people think less of me if I did? Giving new meaning to the film “indie comedy,” Soft in the Head has many such moments. The characters range from flaky to dysfunctional to outrageously psychotic, all of them living far below their potential.

Set in contemporary Manhattan, Soft in the Head stars Sheila Etxeberría as Natalia, a beautiful 25-year-old “free spirit” that everyone wants to strangle. Alienating friends and family with a goofy smile perpetually on her face, she’s turned out on the street when she meets a kindly elderly man named Maury (Ed Kane). He offers her a place to stay with no strings attached … before you assume the worst, it turns out that Maury’s apartment is an undeclared homeless shelter housing some of the most out-to-lunch street crazies imaginable.

Movie Review: Baby Rosemary (1976) and Hot Lunch (1978)

Directed by “Howard Perkins”

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Vinegar Syndrome wipes off a couple of shot-on-film XXX favorites that are, uh, more interesting than most. Both Baby Rosemary and Hot Lunch were directed by John Hayes, who directed the quirky Garden of the Dead and Grave of the Vampire. Under the name of Howard Perkins, Hayes would helm hardcore porn, giving these features a bit more attention than they probably deserved.

Baby Rosemary is unconnected with Roman Polanski’s horror classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968), although it has distinct horror elements. Sharon Thorpe plays Rosemary, a most unappealing female lead. With her dishrag personality and frequently dirty hair, still outgrowing a blonde dye job, she blue-balls her boyfriend Jon (John Leslie). Not to worry – John just hoofs it across town to a prostitute (Leslie Bovee) for some relief. The next day, Rosemary goes to visit her estranged father at a San Francisco flophouse – where she is raped at knifepoint by her father’s neighbors Ken Scudder and Monique Cardin! Rosemary decides she likes it and begins to see Scudder romantically where he brutalizes her a second time. She’s saved by John, now in his day job as a police officer!

No, it doesn’t make any sense – remember, this is a porno film! Rosemary’s father has passed, and she is asked to formally identify him at the coroner’s office. Now a teacher at an all girl’s school, two of Rosemary’s prize students, played by Candida Royalle and Melba Bruce, drop to their knees to offer up a pagan prayer involving a Priapic god. Visiting a funeral home, Rosemary’s two students ball a mortuary attendant in a room with classic horror movie posters tacked to the wall.

August 4, 2014

Movie Review: Cannibal Holocaust (1980, Grindhouse Releasing)

...ah, yes!! It was a sweltering mid-80's summer sizzle, when this viewer, per chance, received an updated mail-order flyer from one of this ardent collector's numerous bootleg 'connections' (...my favorite, at the time, was the exclusive and 'rare' bootleg offerings from published & respected horror auteur and spokesperson, Chas. Balun); it was a time, genre-wise, on the final gasp of gutsy theatrical releases...those films, daring not to adorn themselves with one of those pish-posh MPAA ratings...wearing instead, the seductive banner, sternly reading, "...there is no explicit sex in this picture; however there are scenes of extreme violence, which may be considered shocking. No one under 17 will be admitted". And an eye-rolling 'ya-dada, ya-dada, ya-dada...'. George Romero called it out, inaugurally, with his zombie masterpiece from 1978, "Dawn of the Dead", and of course, anything produced by Italian goremeister Lucio Fulci, post-"Psychic", was domestically labeled as such (..."Zombie", "City of the Living Dead/The Gates of Hell", "The Beyond", "House by the Cemetery", et al.). The quirky 1982 Spanish slasher, "Pieces" wore that badge of proudly shameless honor, as did the gory 1985 domestic splatter classic, "The Mutilator". And of course, later, in what was considered the 'year of the living dead', so did 1985's "Re-Animator", and the George Romero classic, "Day of the Dead"...with some of these aforementioned 'unrated' titles, wimping out, by quickly being pulled from theaters, and later re-released by 'hard R' versions...

...and yet, despite regular engagement of such deliciously visceral, higher-profile theatrical genre fare...for this ardent devotee of the crimson-drenched macabre, as probably was the case for most people of similar ilk, there was always that underlining desire to push that visceral threshold even further, and at the same time, a veiled and hesitant-to-admit apprehension to do so. Now, admittedly around this time, this viewer had indeed been 'hovering' over an at-the-time-only-available-underground title...intriguingly, albeit graphically entitled, "Cannibal Holocaust"; it compellingly and daringly claimed that this one was the 'one that goes all the way!!' Oh, really?? Considering the exploitative breakdown of the title...we're talking 'cannibals', and a 'holocaust', right...as well as the suggestive banner, describing how far the film supposedly goes...well, that's an impressive boast...oh hell, I'm game!!...

August 2, 2014

Movie Review: Resurrected (1989, Twilight Time)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

The time in which we welcome home soldiers from victorious battles, they say, is extremely brief. Case in point: Private Kevin Deakin (David Thewlis), presumed dead in the 1982 Falklands was after the Battle of Mount Tumbledown is given a regal and dignified military funeral in his English village. His friends and family, while devastated, accept the fact that Deakin died a hero in the service of his country. The problem: A disheveled Private Deakin, shell-shocked and filthy stumbles on a Falklands sheep ranch seven weeks after the war has been declared over. Claiming to have survived by eating worms while thinking that the war was still ongoing, Deakin is sent home to Britain – to a very unenthusiastic public. Having already accepted him dead and war hero, his parents (Rita Tushingham and Tom Bell) must now accept the fact that their son is alive – and as the British gutter press makes him out to be, possibly a deserter.

Deakin's life is effectively over before it's begun. Haunted by flashbacks and shunned by his girlfriend and townspeople, Deakin returns to his military regiment. Treated coldly by everyone, who brand him as a coward, fellow soldier Slaven (Christopher Fulford) leads a brutal “kangaroo court” against Deakin – and justice is meted out in an especially brutal fashion.

Movie Review: The Jungle (2013)

Directed by Andrew Traucki


Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Ugly, boring sleeve art designed to look good on a Redbox menu. STRIKE ONE. Turns out that the film at hand was "the last anyone saw of these people,” i.e., yet another found footage fright film. STRIKE TWO. Wait a minute, it's set in Indonesia, and hasn't this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed all the horror and fantasy films emanating from this part of Southeast Asia? Give it a go, then?

Australian conservationist Larry (Rupert Reid) is headed out to the wilds of Indonesia in order to track and preserve the endangered Java leopards. Taking his unseen photographer Ben along, the two Aussies are later accompanied by two natives, the superstitious Adi (Igusti Budianthika) and the stern and taciturn Budi (Agoes Widjaya Soedjarwo).

Deep into the rainforest, the four intrepid adventurers begin to find the partially devoured remains of the leopards … could it be the fearsome forest demon the villagers fear? There's lot and lots and LOTS of shaky, hand-held footage of walking through the jungle. “Wait! What's that peering at us from the darkness?”

The viewer waits for something original to happen – but is treated to a scene-by-scene recap of the original Blair Witch Project (1999). Bummer! At least the Paranormal Activity series include at least a couple original scenes in each installment … In fact, this stinkers so slavishly copies Blair Witch – it concludes with the discovery of a mysterious structure found in the middle of nowhere before everyone gets killed, it's a wonder that the Blair Witch filmmakers didn't sue these people for outright plagiarism! Adding insult to injury is the fact that a horned beastie, appearing on the disc's back cover illustration appears NOWHERE in the finished film, and we realize we've blown 84 minutes of our lives with nothing to show for it! STEE-RIKE THREE! 

Movie Review: The Suspect (2013, Blu-ray)

Reviewed By: Jimmy D.

I am at a point when I hear a film is coming out of Korea that I know it will be like all the other films that came out in the same genre. Sometimes it is a bad thing, but with the Suspect it is a good thing. What the Suspect lacks in originality, it makes up for in familiarity in a good way. The story opens with Ji who is trying to start a new life in the South. He is a driver but is pretty much to himself. That all changes when a chairman of a corporation is killed, it seems this chairman was helping Ji try to find someone. Now as you can guess Ji is the prime suspect of the murder. The Suspect is mainly the innocent man on the run sort of film, but the familiarity with this theme really works in the film's favor. You get some really good action sequences, some very good acting and a compelling film that really keeps the viewer on the edge of the proverbial chair. Beside the main character you have a good cast of characters that make this film have substance and really click.

August 1, 2014

Silent Screams: Waxworks (1924)

The anthology film is popular in the indie world, especially with genre filmmakers. This popularity is predicated on the notion that it is 'easier' to make a series of short films and compile them as a feature with a wraparound story. A vast majority of these schlock-y, shot on video masterpieces are in direct response to Stephen King's Creepshow (1982). Which was a response to Hammer's early Tales from the Crypt (1972). Which was heavily influenced by Paul Leni's Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett) from 1924. This was, quite possibly, the first feature-length anthology.

Movie Review: Kill Zombie (2012)

Oh, boy. It’s a horror comedy. I’m not opposed to the genre blending, of course, but sometimes it fails so spectacularly that I’m put off that particular brand of film for hours. Even days. The Nordic peoples have proven themselves capable with Dead Snow so when this film came along from their neighbor, Amsterdam, Holland (dude, I’m so baked...), though I am dubious, I am also hopeful.

Kill Zombie is a horror comedy about the zombie apocalypse. The movie begins with a man covered in green goop, brandishing a gun, as he tells us his story in flashback.

Aziz lives a life of drudgery in a corporate office. If it wasn’t for the gorgeous Tess, his life would be completely miserable. She asks him on a date, much to the chagrin of his boss, Mr. Douchebag. When Douchebag chews out Aziz for taking personal phone calls, to which Aziz explains it’s his brother who is very ill, a phone call comes in from said brother, Mo. Mo is partying up like there’s no tomorrow. Aziz is fired on the spot.

When Aziz arrives home to find his brother hosting a house party at Aziz’s house, naturally he’s a bit upset. Mo softens Aziz’s anger with a brilliant idea for them to start a business together, even though Mo is a perpetual clusterfuck-up. When Mo accidentally hits the date of a giant black man at the party, the offended guest sicks his posse (two very not scary dudes, Jeff and Nelson) on Mo and Aziz. Everyone ends up in jail.

While locked up, all hell breaks loose. Mo, Aziz, Jeff, Nelson, Joris (random banker thrown in jail for who knows what) and pretty cop, Kim, are the only survivors in the police station. They band together to fight their way to the militarized safe zone on the other side of town.

By the way, Aziz is the only one who doesn’t hit on the beautiful blonde cop AND he’s the only one who doesn’t get tasered. Heh.