Thursday, October 23, 2014

Killer Mermaid (DVD Review) - Epic Pictures

Directed By: Milan Todorovic
Written By: Marko Backovic, Barry Keating
Starring: Kristina Klebe, Natalie Burn, Franco Nero
Color/96 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: September 9, 2014

The Film
A pair of American girls visit their old college friend and his fiancee on a Mediterranean island for a relaxing and exciting vacation. They meet a local man who promises to show them a good time and some unusual scenery and brings them to some secluded and off limits areas where the group encounters the lair of a lethal Siren and her keeper who kills people to feed her.

KILLER MERMAID is a surprisingly decent horror film, heavy with slasher elements and an even more interesting monster in the form of the beautiful mermaid. I haven't seen many killer mermaid movies in my day, or ya know, any, but this one makes it seem like a damn cool idea that can be carried out to successful results. The production of the film was rather good, with competent direction, good performances, a fair bit of juicy gore and CGI effects that aren't cringe worthy as you may expect in a straight to video horror film. Straight to video horror movies have a stigma of being cheap, generic or just plain bad but sometimes one that rises above the rest slips through the cracks and KILLER MERMAID may not be an amazing piece of art but it is a decent horror movie that was quite a bit of fun to watch.

The Audio & Video
Epic Pictures brings KILLER MERMAID to DVD with a pretty standard but effective A/V presentation. The 16x9 widescreen transfer has good detail and clarity with the interesting seaside settings looking very nice. The 5.1 audio track sounds fine with a solid mix and no audible hiccups or annoyances. 

The Extras
-Behind the scenes featurette
-"Making of The Mermaid" featurette
-Bonus crowd funding promo

The Bottom Line
It's a pleasant surprise when a movie comes out of nowhere and exceeds your expectations. KILLER MERMAID did that. Horror fans really should give this a chance.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 21

The first film of day 21 was technically a first time viewing. I've seen THE WOLF MAN plenty of times but never with audio commentary. The film itself is phenomenal, a beautifully filmed, perfectly acted classic horror film. The commentary track was full of great stories, facts and bios on the talent involved and I recommend any fan of the film give it a watch with the commentary track.

Next was DEAD GIRLS, an anthology film based around the diaries of well, dead girls. There are three stories and I'll be reviewing the film in full this week so just hang tight for the full review.

THE SCRIBBLER was next, not fully a horror film but it does have horror elements early on. It ends up being a superhero origin story thriller that ends up being a lot better than most indie superhero films have any right to be. Luckily for you the full review is already posted and you can check it out HERE.

Finally, I revisited HORROR EXPRESS starring Christopher Lee and Pete Cushing. It wouldn't be a proper horror marathon without at least one appearance of that dynamic duo. HORROR EXPRESS follows the terror on board a train as a prehistoric beast man is terrorizing passengers along with other evils. While this isn't a Hammer production it is often mistaken for one and is just as high quality as Hammer's output. I highly recommend you check this one out if you've never seen it.

Today's Rundown
The Wolf Man w/ commentary - 9/10
Dead Girls - 4.5/10
The Scribbler - 6/10
Horror Express - 8/10

The Scribbler (DVD Review) - XLRator Media

Directed By: John Suits
Written By: Dan Schaffer
Starring: Katie Cassidy, Garrett Dillahunt, Michelle Trachtenberg
Color/90 Minutes/R
Region 1
Release Date: October 21, 2014

The Film
A young woman named Suki (Katie Cassidy) is suffering from multiple personalities and is committed to a mental hospital where she's subjected to an experimental treatment called Siamese Burn, which is designed to erase all of her personalities except her main one. After the treatment she is sent to a sketchy halfway house so her recovery can be monitored but while she's there other patients begin dying off in droves. Suki has to uncover the mystery before she becomes the next victim.

Without any background knowledge THE SCRIBBLER sounds like it could go any number of ways but a superhero origin story isn't one I'd even consider. Dan Schaffer wrote this screenplay based off of his own graphic novels and it is a highly original and engaging direction he took. Director John Suits had a tough task of creating this world on a budget that I'm sure wasn't easy to work with. As we see comic book films with budgets upwards of half a billion dollars THE SCRIBBLER succeeds with interesting characters portrayed by a great cast who is more than capable and don't phone it in which is a problem that plagues many lower budget productions. Suits spices things up with a stylish look in the lighting scheme and
design of the film.

There's more than enough action to keep the viewer entertained but this isn't just about the fight scenes and special effects. THE SCRIBBLER is a more grown up superhero and I'm interested in finding out more about the character based on this film.

The Audio & Video
XLRator Media delivers THE SCRIBBLER on DVD with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks good. Darker scenes are handled competently without blocking issues, and the very deliberate color palette and stylish special effects come across looking good. The 5.1 Dolby audio track is crisp and clear with a good mix between soundtrack and dialogue. There's no audible hiccups, or distracting background noise to speak of.

The Extras
A trailer is the lone extra.

The Bottom Line
THE SCRIBBLER is a cool movie whether you know about the graphic novels or not. It works as an action thriller with horror elements along with the origins story it is. If you're looking for something different when it comes to superheroes and comic book movies you should give THE SCRIBBLER a look.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Horror Chalenge 2014 - Day 20

THE LIVING CORPSE is the first Pakistani film to receive an X rating. Now don't rush to judgement thinking this is filled with all sorts of obscenities, hardcore sex, and whatever else you've come to expect from that rating as this is the Middle East we're talking about, a much more conservative region of the world. In fact there's not much in the way of anything violent, offensive or material that could be viewed as morally obscene in any way. Hell, there's more than a single song and dance routine that don't fit the film at all. It's a totally boring vampire film based on Bram Stoker's Dracula and unless you really want to experience horror cinema from all over the world I suggest you find something better. But at least it wasn't the next film on the list...

WRONG TURN 6.... what a piece of shit. Such a piece of shit that the only positives I could come up with the tits from every attractive woman in the cast. If you want to see me rip it apart a bit more and learn about the full Blu-ray release check back in a couple days as I'll be posting a full disc review.

Then came SEE NO EVIL 2, and I can say this- at least it wasn't WRONG TURN 6. SEE NO EVIL 2 isn't very good at all. Kane is a terrible actor, the Soska sisters pretty much only make awful films and despite Danielle Harris giving a decent performance and Katherine Isabelle being sexy as hell there's not much worth while going on here. It drags on, it looks cheap and there's glaring continuity errors that are just plain lazy.

The day ended with MONKEY SHINES, or as my friend and I came to call it "Munkin Shines". This is a George Romero film I've wanted to see for a while and simply never got around to it before last night. A paralyzed man gets a helper monkey to assist him with normal tasks but this monkey has been subjected to genetic testing and experiments and quickly begins learning at a very fast rate and becomes highly intelligent. On top of that he has a telepathic link to his owner and a bit of a murderous side as well. MONKEY SHINES has a really good idea but suffers from slow pacing, moments of overacting and too much unintentional (or perhaps it was intentional which would make it even worse) silliness. It was the best movie of the day but that doesn't say much.

Today's Rundown
The Living Corpse - 4/10
Wrong Turn 6 - 2/10
See No Evil 2 - 3.5/10
Monkey Shines - 5/10

Monday, October 20, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 19

DEMONS 2 is not the classic that Demons is but it is a very fun piece of Italian splatter. The special effects remain great, the soundtrack is a bit more to the pop side which lends a fun vibe to the film, Bobby Rhodes is back again, this time as the badass personal trainer and it is still over the top. No, DEMONS 2 isn't as good as the first but I still really like it.

CRIMES OF THE BLACK CAT is an average giallo in just about every way. That doesn't make it a bad film, it just is not exceptional in any way. There is one scene toward the end of the film that is among the most viciously brutal acts of violence I've seen in any giallo which is the stand out moment of the film.

Today's Rundown
Demons 2 - 7/10
Crimes Of The Black Cat - 5.5/10

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 18

Day 18 had an old favorite and a change of pace that proved to be a big let down.

DEMONS came first, the classic heavy metal soundtrack driven classic from Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento. It's gory as shit with awesome makeup fx, some great characters and is just a fucking blast from start to finish. Dario Argento never made a zombie film, something a lot of fans have always expressed interest in wishing he had but this is pretty damn close. Lamberto Bava work with Argento on quite a few films as an Assistant Director and it certainly influenced him in the making of DEMONS.

Then there was the 1949 Disney animated film THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD. I knew that this movie had an adaptation of the Sleepy Hollow story so I was excited to see what classic Disney had in store for it. After getting through the Mr. Toad half of the film which only featured a few laughs I got to the Ichabod Crane half which was about 25 minutes of Crane being awkwardly lanky and ugly and then about 5 minutes of the Headless Horseman chasing him on a spooky October night. It was fairly worthless as far as a Sleepy Hollow story goes. The animation was as good as you'd expect and there were a few laughs in each story but overall it was disappointing as both a classic Disney film and a Headless Horsemen story.

Today's Rundown
Demons- 9/10
The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad - 3.5/10

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October Horror Challenge 2014 - Day 17

A long overdue re-watch of MOTHER'S DAY was in store and for a movie I wasn't crazy about years ago hit the right notes this time. I don't know what I didn't enjoy about it before but this is a really entertaining, somewhat sleazy and cheesy backwoods horror film. Plenty of blood and gore, some T&A and a lot of fun from director Charles Kaufman, brother of Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman.

I've been in the mood to watch some gialli and I feel a day long binge of them coming in the next week but I tided myself over with FORMULA FOR A MURDER from director Alberto De Martino. This film is from 1985, after the giallo cycle had died out and given way to the Italian splatter wave but that doesn't make it less effective. It has a good bit of the black gloved violence we've come to love in the genre and a creepy little nursery rhyme from the killer. The killer's revelation comes pretty early in the film and the motive is as standard as they come but there are some great scenes and a plot that works. Good stuff.

Finally was AMITYVILLE 3. This series has always been a mystery to me as I find the original to be highly overrated and the remake was awful. Prior to last night the only other film from the series I had seen was part 2 which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had no idea this series had 11 movies with number 12 scheduled for next year. Are you fucking serious that the Amityville Horror series has a dozen movies? Good lord. Part 3 features Meg Ryan and "Aunt Becky" Lori Laughlin (which makes me even more baffled) and starts slow and uninteresting. Luckily the last 25 minutes or so really pull everything together and give us an exciting demonic finish that makes it all worthwhile and boosts the rest of the movie.

Today's Rundown
Mother's Day - 7.5/10
Formula For A Murder - 6.5/10
Amityville 3 - 6/10