Tuesday, March 3, 2015

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOLUME 6 (DVD Review) - Impulse Pictures


USA/1970s-80s
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Starring: Various
Color/124 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 13, 2015

The Film
Do you want to see a prisoner give herself up to her jailor just to get a tampon? How about watching the jailor earn his red wings? Yup, that is how this volume of 8mm adult loops starts off...

Then how about watching the housewife pleasure herself with a cucumber before an Asian stranger (or neighbor?) shows up at her door to finish the job. Not everything is as off the wall as period blood and vegetables though. There's the far more straight forward "Stewardess" which is the simple story of a lovely flight attendant returning home and getting it on with her man. There's a unique mix of sexual encounters and acts in this volume (including more veggies! Yum!) and a bit more envelope pushing with interracial scenes which had not yet become normal.


The raunch factor is upped yet again with these 15 loops that are sexy and obscene and will make you want to make sure your doors are locked and the blinds are shut before popping this disc in. You'll be instantly teleported back to the sticky porn shops and theaters from decades passed and that is half the fun!

The Audio & Video
The Impulse Pictures line from Synapse Films delivers this collection of 8mm stag reels with a 1.33:1 full frame transfer straight from the original prints. Quality ranges from beaten and battered, while still being perfectly enjoyable to rather clean and rather sharp for 8mm productions. There's scratches and dirt present while color washes out at certain moments. It all adds to the nature of these great shorts. There's no audio except for the sound of the projector.


The Extras
The lone extra is liner notes from the editor of Cinema Sewer magazine Robin Bougie. These notes are good enough to not need other extras.


The Bottom Line
Aficianados of vintage smut will feel the need to add this volume to their collection and who am I to tell them otherwise? This is good stuff!

42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEPSHOW COLLECTION VOLUME 6 is available HERE

Monday, March 2, 2015

SWAMPHEAD (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing



USA/2012
Directed By: Dustin Drover, Justin Propp
Written By: Dustin Drover, Justin Propp
Starring: Josh Harmon, Andrea Smith, Theodore Koepke
Color/75 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
I love SWAMPHEAD. I now own two different releases including this DVD and a previous limited DVD/VHS combo pack. I first saw the movie on a pre-release screening one Saturday night on the website Infini-Tropolis back in 2011. Since that night I've been in love with this over the top, cheese fest of epic proportions.

The film revolves around an ancient severed head that has recently been released from its resting place in the swamp. This evil head terrorizes a small town, including a party, and our main group of characters who are camping in the woods for the weekend. Only a special dagger can stop the severed head from creating more bloody carnage.


SWAMPHEAD is a brilliant blend of raunchy humor, gore, the energy and spirit of Troma and a DIY independent attitude. This is indie horror at its best and most creative. Despite its obvious low budget the production is never held back from accomplishing what it wants to do. That is the true spirit of indie film. I can't stress enough how much fucking fun SWAMPHEAD is. It's full of stupid shit (literally) and one liners and gore and a dancing robot. Jose Canseco is still somebody in the world of SWAMPHEAD and you'll never be quite the same after watching this one.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing gives SWAMPHEAD a proper home on DVD that looks and sounds slightly better than the previous limited DVD release the film received. There's a clean widescreen transfer that features decent colors (the entire film has a bit of a dreary appearance) that look good for this movie. There's no scratches or damage to the source material and overall appearance is nice. The audio is the better improvement of the two, giving a quality stereo mix that nicely blends dialogue and soundtrack. There's no popping, crackling or other annoying damage.


The Extras
-Audio commentary with the directors
-Deleted Scenes
-Short film selection
-Still gallery


The Bottom Line
SWAMPHEAD is one of my favorite horror movies, independent or otherwise, of the last five years. It could also work in being one of my favorite comedies of the last five years. I never get tired of this in your face, pedal to the metal thrill ride that will make you question your morals and good taste.

SWAMPHEAD is available HERE

Saturday, February 28, 2015

CUT! (2014)


USA/2014
Directed By: David Rountree
Written By: David Banks, David Rountree
Starring: David Rountree, David Banks, Sam Scarber

Travis Simon (David Rountree) is an aspiring film maker working at a film equipment rental warehouse fulfilling orders to help other film makers make the movie of their dreams. Along with his friend Lane (David Banks) who is on parole, they aim to make their own hit horror film by scaring real people. Things quickly get out of hand and someone dies from their tactics. Lane decides this is the way to make a truly terrifying and realistic film, and reluctantly Travis agrees, driven by the dream of making a successful film.

CUT! caught me off guard as I had heard nothing about it prior to viewing the film for this review. The film is successful on all levels, but the foundation is in its fantastic screenplay. David Banks and David Rountree nailed a story and script that is simple and effective complete with a couple of twists that the viewer won't see coming and will turn the entire film on its head. A well done plot twist at the climax of a film is something of a cliche these days and one that most films don't manage to pull off. CUT! pulls it off and really makes the film that much more interesting and special at the end.

Rountree and Banks play very well off each other as the nerdy dreamer with his head in the clouds and the asshole, "fuck the world" friend made bitter by a stint in jail who is quite unlikeable.  The dichotomy works very well in progressing the actions and decisions of the characters in getting to the final product. The supporting cast is also pretty damn spot on. There's no performances that the audience needs to overlook as a downside to independent horror films. The special effects work is also good, with a good amount of blood being spilled. The negative here is that much of the violence is off screen, which is important to the context of the film but as a horror film it may leave the audience wanting a bit more in the way of gratuitous violence and gore.

CUT! came out of left field and is a tight character study in to the mind of someone that will do anything to create the art he loves. Horror fans should appreciate this approach and the success of the performances and the script.

8/10

Friday, February 27, 2015

BLOOD CAR - (DVD Review) - Horizon Movies


USA/2007
Directed By: Alex Orr
Written By: Adam Pinney, Alex Orr
Starring: Mike Brune, Anna Chlumsky, Katie Rowlett
Color/76 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: March 3, 2015

The Film
In the not too distant future gas prices have risen to record high prices topping $30 per gallon. Almost nobody can afford to drive anymore, least of all Archie, a shy vegan school teacher. Archie is trying to build an engine that runs on wheat grass. Eventually Archie discovers that his engine can be fueled with human blood and devises a contraption in the trunk of his car that he can dumb bodies into to fuel his car. While Archie enjoys the attention he is getting from the ladies now that he can drive he quickly loses his grip on his sanity with each and every person he shoves in to the trunk.

BLOOD CAR is a black comedy horror film steeped in social commentary. Unfortunately the commentary was more poignant and powerful a few years back when it was made. The humor largely falls flat for me and the production is quite cheap at times with the "meat" and "vegan" stands being little more than a child's lemonade stand made from cardboard. There is quite a bit of gore in the film from the rotating blades in Archie's trunk among other scenes so gore hounds might be a bit more likely to enjoy it.


This was my second viewing of BLOOD CAR, I had seen the film several years ago and found it to be complete and utter trash that deserved a spot at the bottom of the ocean. While I'm still far from being a fan of the movie I must say that I wasn't offended by the movie this time and found it to be considerably more tolerable. The acting is decent for what it is and the idea is interesting but BLOOD CAR is still rather monotone and bland throughout.

The Audio & Video
Horizon Movies' anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer on BLOOD CAR looks pretty good overall with a clean presentation that has a nice sharpness to it. Colors are natural and there's no damage to the transfer. The 2.0 stereo audio track is nothing special but it features a proper mix of dialogue and soundtrack with a nice clear quality.


The Extras
-Trailer
-"The Adventure" (short film, 21 minutes)
-"The $100 Short Short" (short film, 10 minutes)


The Bottom Line
Simply put, I'm not a fan of BLOOD CAR despite my opinion of it improving upon a 2nd viewing. There's enough gore and dark humor in this for gorehounds or big fans of comedic horror to give it a shot though.

BLOOD CAR is available HERE

Thursday, February 26, 2015

THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER: THE HOLY TERROR (DVD Review) - Brain Damage Films


USA/2013
Directed By: Bradley Creanzo
Written By: Bradley Creanzo
Starring: Bradley Creanzo, Taylor Raftree, Stella Difabio
Color/103 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: December 30, 2014

The Film
A madman is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital after the brutal murders of several people. In true slasher film fashion the psycho has no trouble escaping the institution to get revenge on the relatives of the victims who testified against him leaving quite the bloody trail in his wake.

THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER: THE HOLY TERROR is a sequel to an original short film by Bradley Creanzo. No worries as you quickly get the gist of what happens in the short film (or you can watch it before this feautre as it is included as a special feature). The first 20 minutes of this movie made me want to smash my head into a wall. The acting is bad, the composition isn't much better. There's a character in the court room scene that seemed to be holding back laughter every time he spoke. It was atrocious. Then something in this movie clicked with me. Perhaps it was the totally over the top killer who spouted one liners at his victims while tearing out bible pages and throwing them on their corpse. Maybe it was the fact that he bore a striking resemblance to Francis from Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Or maybe it was the heart and soul that wants the viewers so badly to believe that this movie was actually made in 1989. I don't know what it was but something about this movie turned around my opinion on it quite quickly and I ended up enjoying it for what it was.


Slasher fans will appreciate the bloody nature of the film despite the fact that the film runs too long (we really didn't need that music video at all). There is a substantial body count in this and some of the humor actually works. THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER: THE HOLY TERROR is far from perfect. FAR. But that said some movies like this just end up working. They have a certain charm and spirit to them that pull the viewer in and get them to look passed their faults (to a point) and enjoy them. This movie managed to do that.

The Audio & Video
Brain Damage Films brings this retro styled slasher to DVD with a decent looking 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors look good, vibrant enough without looking aritifically pumped up. Black levels are decent without too much crush or compression issues. The looks is clean of any damage. The audio is a 2.0 stereo mix, featuring a clean dialogue track and a well done mix with the soundtrack.


The Extras
-Bible Belt Slasher part 1 (short film)
-"Demons Of The Night" music video
-"Enemies" music video
-"The Pulse" TV spot
-Deleted Scenes
-Bloopers
-TV Spot
-"Mario Likes Movies" featurette


The Bottom Line
An entertaining and pretty nice selection of special features add on to the package that makes this cheeseball body count film a fun romp for any indie horror fan.

THE BIBLE BELT SLASHER: THE HOLY TERROR is available HERE

Monday, February 23, 2015

ZOMBIEWORLD (DVD Review) - Image/RLJ


USA/2015
Directed By: Various
Written By: Various
Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Marc Velasco
Color/100 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: February 24, 2015

The Film
The world has fallen victim to a zombie apocalypse and nowhere is safe. Through a news report that shows footage of fights for survival from all over the globe, and even a brief history lesson of the first zombie attack, we see various corners of the globe get down and dirty with the undead.

ZOMBIEWORLD is an anthology film featuring quite a few segments, a wrap around story starring Bill Oberst Jr. as the news anchor who is slowly transforming from a respected news reporter to a blithering zombie and even a few PSA style tips for surviving in these troubled times. The film is cheap and campy as hell, sometimes too much. The wrap around story is well done and surprise surprise, Bill Oberst Jr. is great in his comedic role. The rest of the film is really bad. I suppose it could come down to your tolerance for cheese and camp but I tend to think I have a high tolerance and even a certain affection for the stuff (Troll 2 is one of my favorite movies!) but I simply could not tolerate the majority of ZOMBIEWORLD. It started early when Jesus started fighting zombies by throwing fish at them and continued throughout with incredibly weak film making and acting (even for low budget indie standards).


On the up side there is some really well done special effects and makeup work throughout the film. The effects work is easily the high point of the movie and there's plenty of different takes on what the zombies look and act like that it does keep each short interesting from the previous. Unfortunately the effects work couldn't save this movie for me. Or even come close.

The Audio & Video
Dread Central "presents" this movie that has been released by RLJ/IMAGE and as you'd expect from a low budget anthology film, the quality of each segment differs quite a bit. Overall the quality is good for both audio and video. The anamorphic widescreen transfer is as strong and sharp as it's going to be on DVD and the shorts filmed with better equipment and conditions look nice. Others look soft and dreary as they were filmed. A Dolby 5. 1 track with English subtitles for the shorts that aren't in English handles keeps things in line for the audio and sounds crisp and is free of any distortions or damage.


The Extras
The lone special feature is a short film called "Marathon Apocalypse".


The Bottom Line
If you're a zombie super fan and simply can't get enough of them or are morbidly curious about why I had such a miserable time watching this movie I'd suggest a rental.

ZOMBIEWORLD is available HERE

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Turnpike Killer (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing



USA/2012
Directed By: Evan Makrogiannis, Brian Weaver
Written By: Evan Makrogiannis, Brian Weaver
Starring: Bill McLaughlin, Edgar Moye, Lyndsey Brown
Color/88 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date:

The Film
Driven by a voice in his head which tells him to punish impure women, a psychopathic killer terrorizes the areas surrounding the New Jersey Turnpike. Everything from brutal murders to holding victims hostage, the killer continues his reign of terror while the police try to hunt him down.

THE TURNPIKE KILLER tries desperately to harken back to films such as Maniac and Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, even going as far as having extensively grainy video to make it look like a production of the 70s or 80s. While Bill McLaughlin is an imposing physical force his performance and overall character is beyond dry and bland. There's nothing that makes him interesting and the writing is at fault as much as the performance given.


There's quite a bit of on screen violence and gore which juices things up but the film essentially plays out as the same scene over and over and wears out its welcome before the 88 minute run time elapses (thankfully it doesn't run 105 minutes as the DVD cover states).  I respect what the film makers were going for and paying respect to but you can do better than THE TURNPIKE KILLER.

The Audio & Video
The movie was filmed with excess grit and grain on purpose for stylistic reasons which means the DVD is only going to look as good as it's going to look. Wild Eye Releasing gives THE TURNPIKE KILLER an anamorphic widescreen transfer that probably looks the best it can. Colors are washed out and the picture is far from sharp. Again, this has nothing to do with the transfer on the disc and has everything to do with the production of the film. Audio is on the quiet side so you may need to turn the volume up. Even then it still sounds a bit distant and not particularly crisp.


The Extras
The DVD has a decent lineup of special features....

-Audio commentary with the directors
-Cast and crew interviews conducted by Michael Gingold of Fangoria magazine
-Deleted Scenes
-"Devil's Moon" short film
-Trailers


The Bottom Line
A noble attempt at making a film in the vein of exploitative classics of the early 80s that ultimately ends up being too repetitive for its own good.

THE TURNPIKE KILLER is available HERE