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Docu-horror ‘Lonely Hearts’ gets Blu Ray release from Darkside Releasing

Docu-horror ‘Lonely Hearts’ gets Blu Ray release from Darkside Releasing

The docu-horror Lonely Hearts gets a Blu Ray release today with exclusive limited-edition slipcase only available from Darkside Releasing.

A reality TV show has deadly consequences for five single people looking for romance…

The British countryside is anything but idyllic in this spine-chilling and wildly erotic horror offering that will have you on the edge of your seat! Will this be your last date?

Starring Sue Dawes, Chris Mills, Alice Mulholland, Martin W Payne and Tyne Stewart with Sophie Atkinson, Simon Berry. Written and Directed by Jessica Hunt and Sam Mason Bell.

Darkside Releasing is proud to present this edgy horror offering from the UK, courtesy of HB Films and Trash Arts in collaboration with the co-directing team of Jessica Hunt and Sam Mason Bell. Truly a film for adventurous genre film fans; LONELY HEARTS embarked on a successful film festival tour prior to its home media release, garnering several awards and competition nominations, along with fantastic reviews and feedback: ” …brave… and the love for a certain style of ‘trash’ swayed the day”

SPECIAL FEATURES:
DUAL BLU-RAY
16-page Booklet
Audio Commentary by the Filmmakers
A Selection of Short Films by the Filmmakers, curated by Sam Mason Bell, Trash Arts, and HB Films
Darkside Releasing Trailers
Exclusive slipcover

Lonely Hearts is available to buy from Darkside Releasing here

 

Posted by Philip Rogers in HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Stuff (1985)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Stuff (1985)

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By Nick Durham

Arrow Video is going to make me go fucking broke. That being said, when it comes to their quality Blu-ray releases, it's pretty much money well spent. Arrow's release of the Larry Cohen schlock classic The Stuff is no exception. A long time favorite film out of the long list of films that Cohen has been behind, The Stuff is a bona-fide guilty pleasure of ridiculousness and awesomeness; all wrapped up in a nice little package.

Most of you more than likely know the plot of The Stuff: The Stuff is a new and mysterious dessert that is taking the world by storm. Everyone seems to love it for some reason; so much so that it's putting other snack companies in tough spots. Enter professional industrial saboteur Moe (Cohen favorite and Law & Order vet Michael Moriarity), who is hired to uncover the secrets of The Stuff, and is eventually teamed up with young Jason (Scott Bloom), who has discovered that The Stuff is taking on a life of its own.

There's not much else to the story of The Stuff; other than the film is absolutely fucking bonkers. Moriarty plays it firmly tongue-in-cheek, while everyone else plays it relatively serious (for some reason), until we're introduced to Paul Sorvino's military man character, and from that point forward it's an absolute hoot. It also happens to be one of Cohen's better crafted films, and it also manages to contain enough social commentary to save it from being terrible schlock, and some of it shockingly manages to hold up today if you can believe that.

This Blu-ray release from Arrow Video is quite good, and definitely blows the old Anchor Bay DVD release from years back away. The film has been restored and looks better than ever, and the film's mono soundtrack sounds better than ever as well. There's a new documentary on the film featuring interviews from Cohen and others, the film's trailer is here as well (which features a commentary from Darren Lynn Bousman for some reason), and a collector's booklet as well.

All in all, Arrow may not have put the extreme amount of love and care into this release compared to some of their other releases, but this is still a great pick up regardless. I've always had a soft spot for The Stuff, as have many others, which is why it has managed to resonate for the past thirty plus years. So go out, pick this up, and indulge yourself aplenty.

Rating: 4/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

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By Nick Durham

Oh Arrow Video, how you spoil me. No more having to watch that crap, out-of-print (and edited) DVD version from Artisan, here we are with a wonderful Blu-ray release of the underappreciated Bride of Re-Animator. Like they did with their Society release, Arrow has gone above and beyond with the treatment they’ve given this film, and this package is quite the sight to behold. This is a film I have held in relatively high regard, even if some of it feels a little cheaper in overall quality compared to the original.

This 1989 sequel to Stuart Gordon’s 1985 classic Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator finds Brian Yuzna (who produced the first film, as well as being the director of Society, Return of the Living Dead 3, and tons more) in the director’s chair this time around. The film picks up eight months after the massacre at Miskatonic, with Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) in Peru during a civil war as meatball surgeons. They’re both still testing the limits of West’s reagent serum, and eventually the two of them wind up back at Miskatonic. There’s a cop (Claude Earl Jones) scoping them out for his own personal reasons, a beautiful woman (Fabiana Udenio) that has caught Dan’s eye, and the re-animated head of Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) has returned to wreck havoc. Oh, and the boys are trying to make their own Frankenstein-ish monster from dead body parts, including the heart of Dan’s late fiancé Megan (who was played by the great Barbara Crampton in the original film).

Yeah, things are a little convoluted to say it lightly in terms of the plot and story of Bride of Re-Animator. Some of the character’s motivations, particularly Dan Caine’s, are so all over the place it’s hard to really sympathize with him, especially when he makes puppy dog eyes to any female character with a pulse. Plus, as I had mentioned earlier, some elements of it feel kind of cheap. One thing I will say is that the grotesque gore and makeup effects from the then fledgling KNB Effects group as well as Screaming Mad George and John Carl Buechler are the bloody icing on the cake. Some of the puppet effects have definitely not aged well though, but in all honesty that isn’t too much of a surprise. Those flaws aside, I still find this film to be an underappreciated sequel that sadly doesn’t get enough of the recognition that it deserves.

What also isn’t a surprise is how much love and care that Arrow Video has put into this Blu-ray release. The film has been remastered in 2K for the unrated version, and the R-rated version is here too for shits and giggles. While the unrated version looks great, there is a noticeable degradation in the picture quality during the unrated scenes of the film (which honestly makes it easy to tell what got cut from the film during its original release). There’s a bunch of commentary tracks featuring Yuzna, Combs, Abbot, Kurtzman, and more besides; as well as a retrospective with Yuzna, a few looks at the film’s FX, deleted scenes, and more. This limited edition set from Arrow also features a booklet reprint of the awesome comic book prequel to the first film. Yes, this set is a thing of beauty.

So yeah, it goes without saying that you need to get your hands on this Bride of Re-Animator set from Arrow. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and it’s more than worth your time and attention. Pick this up while you still can.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Pieces (1983)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Pieces (1983)

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By Nick Durham

Pieces is a weird fucking movie, and that’s saying it lightly. Said weirdness usually comes from the fact that it’s really hard to figure out whether the film is supposed to be a parody of the slasher and splatter genres, or if it’s supposed to be taken seriously. You never really get a clear answer in figuring that out, but in all honesty, that’s quite okay, because it’s super mega-fucking enjoyable regardless of its absurdity and occasional downright awfulness.

Pieces begins in the 1940s when a young boy hacks his mother to death with an axe after she threatens to destroy his jigsaw puzzle of a naked lady (yes, you read that right). Forty some years later, there’s a string of super grisly murders on a college campus; featuring female victims being butchered by a chainsaw, and discovered with various body parts missing. Our killer appears to be making his own woman out of these various pieces (nooch), and it’s up to a cop (genre stalwart Christopher George), a former tennis player and occasional cop (George’s real life wife Lynda Day George), and an annoying student (Ian Sera, who if he looks familiar, he was a featured player in Pod People, i.e., the greatest episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever) to save the day. Along the way there’s plenty of nudity and gore effects, and one of the most ludicrous conclusions and final shots you will EVER see in any horror film in existence.

I’ve praised Grindhouse Releasing a lot in the past for their wonderful Blu-ray releases, and their release treatment for Pieces is top notch. The film is presented here in both its uncut U.S. release, as well as its slightly longer, uncensored Spanish release with full audio. Each has wonderful new 4K transfers. There’s a new commentary from actor Jack Taylor, older interviews with director Juan Piquer Simon and genre great Paul L. Smith (who plays the most red herring-esque character you’re likely to ever see), a very worthwhile documentary called 42nd Street Memories, and a bonus CD featuring the film’s soundtrack. Some of these features carry over from Grindhouse’s DVD release of Pieces from a few years back, but that doesn’t stop this from being a wonderful package.

So yeah, if you’ve ever seen Pieces before, you know it’s a ridiculous and absurd trip that must be seen to be believed. For those of you that haven’t seen Pieces before, what the fuck are you waiting for? Pick up this fantastic Blu-ray release from Grindhouse Releasing while you can. You’ll be damn glad that you did.

Raing: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Mutilator (1985)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Mutilator (1985)

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By Nick Durham

The Mutilator is one of those slasher flicks from the 80s that you may kind of remember, but if you do, you don’t remember it too well. Chances are you know the title at least, and yes, that is a great title for a piece of slasher trash. Funny enough, the original title for the film was Fall Break, which actually makes more sense considering the story revolves around a group of college douche bags on their fall break, and the film even has a fucking theme song entitled Fall Break. Oh well, a lot of films of this type in the 80s had at least two different titles at some point, so this actually isn’t that much of a surprise.

The Mutilator, as I said already, revolves around the typical brand of 80s college douche bags (and we know they’re douche bags because a couple of them wear sweaters tied around their necks or draped over their shoulders) who decide to take a trip to the beach house of owned by the father of our lead Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler). Thing is though, Ed’s father went a little off the deep end some years back when young Ed accidentally killed his mother with daddy’s rifle. Throughout the years, Big Ed has hunted a lot and made trophies of his kills, and now he has his sights set on his son and his friends.

The film’s flimsy plot isn’t done any favors by the laughably bad acting peppered throughout The Mutilator. In fact, the film as a whole seems really fucking amateurish in terms of its direction and technical aspects. This isn’t really that much of a big deal, because in the mid-80s, everyone and their mother was making slasher flicks in their back yards with camcorders they rented from the local video store. Where The Mutilator shines though is with its gore effects. For its time, they are really fucking good, and even though it takes us a while to get there, the gore shots and kills are worth the trip.

Arrow Video has done another fine job crafting a great Blu-ray set here. They’ve remastered the film in 2K, and somehow actually managed to piece together this rarely seen unrated version of the film as well. Somehow, someway, Arrow has managed to not make this movie look like shit. There’s a few different commentary tracks featuring writer/producer/director Buddy Cooper, as well as star Matt Mitler and female lead Ruth Martinez, and a new documentary featuring interviews with them and more besides. There’s a look back at the splatter effects of the film, screen tests, trailers, original and instrumental version of the film’s funky ass theme song, and a retrospective about the film’s super weird musical score (seriously, it’s weird). As usual, Arrow really packed in the goods special feature-wise.

So yeah, The Mutilator is an often forgotten 80s slasher trash fest that is gloriously awful, yet somehow endearing. It’s enjoyable in its badness though, and the film’s ending is a total hoot to say it lightly. Go check it out if you’ve never seen it before, and if you have seen the film before and have fond memories of it, pick up Arrow’s Blu-ray while you can.

Rating: 3/5 (film), 4.5/5 (special features)

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

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By Nick Durham

Does the name Ulli Lommel ring a bell? If you’re a horror nerd (and chances are that you are since you’re here reading this) then you’ve no doubt heard of him, or at least been subjected to some of his more recent exercises in depravity. He really made a name for himself in the 80s with Boogeyman, which in itself was a pile of shit, but nowhere near as bad as his more recent, direct-to-DVD pieces of shit that he’s churned out at an alarming rate for Lions Gate. What you may not know however is that back in the day, Lommel was an up and coming director, and even an understudy of Andy fucking Warhol. His 1973 film, The Tenderness of the Wolves, is a surprisingly thoughtful and totally disturbing character study of infamous German serial killer Fritz Haarmann. It goes without saying that this is undoubtedly the best film that Lommel has ever made.

The late Kurt Raab plays Haarmann: a known homosexual in 1920s Germany (which was a crime by itself back then) that picks up and murders young men in horrific ways, and even moonlights into the fine delicacies of cannibalism to boot. As a known black-market criminal and homosexual, Haarmann becomes a police informant due to the poverty of the nation as a whole, which ends up finding him helping himself keeping the cops off his back so he can freely pick up and slaughter his victims. These scenes of Haarmann meeting and seducing his victims are where the real meat (no pun intended) of The Tenderness of the Wolves lies. They’re not super graphic or even really suspenseful honestly; but they really invoke how evil a son of a bitch this man is. This is both thanks to Lommel’s careful pacing, and Raab’s wonderful performance.

If there’s any drawbacks or flaws to The Tenderness of the Wolves, it’s that it doesn’t deal with the aftermath of when Haarmann is finally caught, or even deal with his origins either. The whole film is dedicated to this one particular fraction of time where he was at his most monstrous, which while incredibly effective, doesn’t do much to develop the character as a whole. Then again, this sick fuck was a real-life person after all, so maybe all we really need to know about Haarmann is what’s presented here.

Arrow Films has done another wonderful job with this Blu-ray release, but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The film itself has been remastered and looks glorious, and there’s even a new translation of the film’s English subtitles (which are way, way more accurate than any other American release of this film has ever been). There’s a commentary by Lommel, interviews with the film’s cinematographer Jurgen Jurges and actor Rainer Will (who plays one of Haarmann’s victims), an appreciation retrospective of the film, plus the film’s trailer and a fascinating booklet is included as well. Yeah, this is really good stuff here, which is the norm from Arrow.

Now in case you didn’t realize it by now, The Tenderness of the Wolves definitely isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a serial killer/thriller type flick, you’ll be disappointed here. This is a deliberate character study of a true monster, and Lommel doesn’t fuck around with expressing that to the audience. Still, with its brisk 82-minute running time, you don’t have much to lose by checking this out at the very least.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Guardian (1990)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Guardian (1990)

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By Nick Durham

William Friedkin is a very interesting dude to say it lightly. The man has directed a classic of the horror genre with The Exorcist, and even a classic of the action/crime-drama genre with The French Connection. Since that time, he's helmed some pretty good films (To Live and Die in L.A., Bug, Killer Joe) and some fairly awful ones (Jade). The Guardian falls somewhere in between those two camps as being a very engaging horror film (Friedkin's first foray into horror since The Exorcist) and being fairly overblown and flat out ridiculous trash.

The Guardian revolves around a married couple (Dwier Brown and Carey Lowell) and their newborn child. They hire a seemingly-perfect nanny named Camilla (Jenny Seagrove) who seems to have an instant connection to their child. Camilla however isn't quite human, and plans on sacrificing the baby to the living and super scary looking trees in what is apparently the only forest in Los Angeles. Eventually our clueless heroes start to realize something's not right with this dingy English broad who knows way more about breastfeeding than the mother does, and frequently likes to hang around naked.

We're never really given a clear idea as to what Camilla is, other than she's linked to Druids and is a physical, humanoid manifestation of these freaky-ass trees. That's all well and good I guess, but we're never really given a clear reason as to why she likes sacrificing babies to this fucking thing either. In case you can't tell already by reading all this, The Guardian tends to be a confusing mess more often than not. That aside though, it's an entertaining mess throughout its runtime regardless. Friedkin's direction is what makes this whole ridiculous affair worthwhile; believe me when I say that were it not for him, this would just be one big nonsensical pile of shit that would have been long forgotten and faded into obscurity. Wait, this did fade into obscurity? Well of course it did, but thankfully, we have Scream Factory.

Those fine-ass fuckers at Scream Factory have managed to throw in a surprising amount of extras here, including an assortment of interviews with cast members and Friedkin himself. One interesting piece of knowledge: Sam Raimi was originally going to direct this. Could you imagine how wonderfully over the top (well, more over the top I guess) The Guardian could have been if Raimi had stuck around? Sweet fucking baby Jesus.

So yeah, The Guardian is a clusterfuck of insanity brought to us by a legendary director who was probably on autopilot (and hallucinogens and/or cocaine) during filming. That being said, for what it is, it was shockingly entertaining in 1990, and still is today as well. Go check it out, make some popcorn, grab some beer, and enjoy the barrage of madness.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

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By Nick Durham

Italian horror and giallos...these are two of my favorite things ever. So why the fuck did it take me this long to discover and watch this? What Have You Done to Solange? is a 1972 giallo that features all the hallmarks of the genre, yet somehow manages to have a bit of class about it (well, a small bit) that a majority of these films certainly do not. Sleaze and giallos go hand in hand, yet this film is something else entirely, and now thanks to Arrow Films, a whole new generation of viewers can discover it.

What Have You Done to Solange? revolves around an Italian teacher named Enrico (Fabio Testi) whom is trying to get in the pants of one of his students. After a nasty murder occurs literally a few yards away from them, things begin to unravel for everyone involved. Enrico becomes a suspect, his affair gets exposed to his wife (Karin Baal), and the bodies just keep piling up with no end in sight. What's their connection? And just who the hell is Solange (Camille Keaton from the original I Spit on Your Grave in her debut role) and what does she have to do with everything?

Like I said earlier, What Have You Done to Solange? features a lot of the hallmarks of the giallo genre: eroticism, rampant nudity, vile murders, a confused detective, and a black-gloved killer. One thing that is notable about the film though is its craftsmanship. The camerawork and cinematography are wonderful to say the least. This shouldn't be surprising, considering it is directed by Massimo Dallamano, who served as the cinematographer for some classic Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Speaking of spaghetti westerns, legendary composer Ennio Morricone provides the lush score here as well. Nearly everything about this film is wonderful. If there's any flaws, it's that its conclusion is a little too anticlimactic.

This Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is a wonderful sight to behold. We get a new 2K restoration of the film, as well as a commentary track from critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman. There's interviews with Testi and Baal, as well as a visual essay that explores the themes of the film as well the sort of official, sort of unofficial sequels that would follow in its wake.

All in all, What Have You Done to Solange? is a masterwork of the giallo genre to say it lightly. This film is one of the landmarks of the genre, at least to me, and it deserves your time and attention. If you've never seen it and you dig giallos in the least, do yourself a favor and pick up this Blu-ray from Arrow Films. You'll be damn glad that you did.

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Blood Rage (1983)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Blood Rage (1983)

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By Nick Durham

You guys want to see an 80s slasher that features an assload of gory moments, murderous twins, and a young Ted Raimi in a cameo as a dude selling condoms in a bathroom?

If your first question is what's a condom?, well...we're in the same boat. I don't know what they are either, but I do know what a Ted Raimi is. My preferred choice of birth control is what I call the Ted Raimi, where right before I'm about to blow a load I start chanting I'LL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL and that's when my partner runs away screaming. No babies for me.

Anyway, Blood Rage is a cheap slasher flick that was filmed in 1983, but not officially released until 1987 in a heavily edited version that was even re-titled Nightmare at Shadow Woods for some reason. The story revolves around twins named Todd and Terry (both played by Mark Soper), of which Terry is a crazed killer that has blamed Todd for a gruesome murder when they were young. In the years that followed, Todd has been institutionalized while Terry has led a pretty nice life while being smothered by his mother (Louise Lasser). Things come to a head though when Todd escapes, and Terry goes on a blood-thirsty rampage for shits and giggles.

As I had said before, Blood Rage was heavily edited upon its eventual release, and it's easy to see why. This film is a flat out fucking bloodbath literally from its beginning to the end. Some of the effects are pretty good for their time, and some of them...well, they weren't then, and definitely aren't now. Still, there are some inventive kills, and the film walks a fine line between being tongue in cheek and ridiculously mean-spirited. The film's story is fairly predictable, but it's surprisingly well-acted for what it is.

The wonderful folks at Arrow Films have unleashed another shockingly spectacular Blu-ray release. A three disc limited edition set, the Blood Rage Blu-ray set features three (!) versions of the film that encompass its uncensored version and edited cuts, along with a shitload of commentaries and interviews as well. The film itself has been restored in 2K HD, and it looks wonderful to say the least. Arrow seriously literally overdid themselves bringing Blood Rage home.

To wrap things up, Blood Rage is a fairly entertaining and somewhat forgotten slasher that has received a brilliant Blu-ray set release from Arrow Films. The features and overall presentation of this set make Blood Rage worth picking up by itself alone. This is by and far worth your time and money, and you should probably act soon and pick it up while you can, because when Arrow calls something a limited edition, they're not fucking around. Grab this while you can.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 4: The Last Winter (2006)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 4: The Last Winter (2006)

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By Nick Durham

The fourth and final film in Scream Factory's Larry Fessenden Collection is 2006's The Last Winter. So far we've had science gone wrong with No Telling, love gone wrong (and a vampire) with Habit, and a family getaway gone wrong with Wendigo. With The Last Winter, everything you could possibly think of goes totally fucking wrong, for everyone and everything. To me personally, this is probably Fessenden's most well-put together film in his filmography. From a technical standpoint especially: this movie looks and sounds fantastic and is creepy as hell.

The Last Winter focuses on a crew of oil drillers in the Arctic where some strange occurrences are happening. After one of the crew is found naked and dead in the snow, an environmentalist (James LeGros) believes that some kind of gas that causes hallucinations and insanity is being unearthed by the drilling. Soon enough the group becomes trapped at their base, there's massive ghostly apparitions wrecking havoc, and the body count steadily increases as it looks like nature is telling humanity to fuck on off.

Ron Perlman is here, pretty much being Ron Perlman as the group's leader, while American Horror Story MILF Connie Britton is on board as well. There's a subplot of a love triangle between her, Perlman, and LeGros, but it feels really tacked on and out of place compared to the rest of the film. Other than that, the rest of The Last Winter is bloody wonderful. The atmosphere is brilliant and the performances are solid. In the hands of another writer/director, this whole affair would come off as fucking silly, but in Fessenden's hands, it's creepy and surprisingly poignant.

Then again, there are times when the whole thing comes off as a little too heavy handed as well. We get it: humans are assholes and we're slowly killing ourselves because of our dependence on fossil fuels. At least Fessenden manages to spin an interesting horror story around the whole thing. I had said before how deterioration always manages to play some kind of role in the films featured in this set. No Telling featured the deterioration of a marriage and science itself, Habit featured the deterioration of a self-destructive man and a relationship, while Wendigo revolved around the deterioration of the family dynamic and sanity itself. The Last Winter goes balls out with the deterioration of the whole planet and all of humanity as well.

The Last Winter is definitely the largest scale of the four films, and just might be the best as well. There isn't much else I can say about it other than check it out, it just may be Fessenden's crowning achievement.

Rating: 4/5

Larry Fessenden is truly a unique auteur in the world of independent horror, and it's wonderful that he's getting the recognition he deserves. Check out these films, this set, and everything else from Fessenden that you can get your little mitts on, you'll be glad that you did.

Blu-ray box set rating: 4/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 3: Wendigo (2001)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 3: Wendigo (2001)

 

 

 

 

 

By Nick Durham

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The third film in Scream Factory's Larry Fessenden Collection is 2001's Wendigo. Now this film actually managed to achieve a degree of mainstream success (I remember seeing this in heavy rotation on the Sci-Fi Channel...that's right, I refuse to this very day to call it the SyFy Channel. Fuck that shit.) and features some pretty well-known actors as well. This remains probably Fessenden's most well-known film almost a decade and a half later.

Wendigo revolves around a New York photographer named George (Jake Weber from the Dawn of the Dead remake) who is seriously stressed the fuck out. Seeking a getaway, George, his wife Kim (Patricia Clarkson) and their young son Miles (Malcolm in the Middle's Erik Per Sullivan) take a trek towards upstate New York, and slowly things start to go a little bit haywire. George manages to piss off some locals, and it becomes apparent that the family's cabin is inhabited by something otherworldly.

While its title and basic premise may make you think this is a creature feature at first glance, the horror of Wendigo is much more psychological than visceral. That's another thing about Fessenden's films: they always manage to intertwine psychological horror with more traditional horror elements...and just like No Telling and Habit before it, deterioration plays a big role here as well, this time with the deterioration of the family dynamic. George and Kim aren't quite a loving couple, nor are they even really loving parents. They're actually kind of assholes, and we really don't feel all that bad for them as the situations in the film become more dire either.

The acting from everyone is really good, actually it's damn good. This is probably the most well-acted film Fessenden has ever committed to celluloid in his whole filmography. The atmosphere is good and creepy as well, and there's a really nice sense of dread permeating throughout the film during its whole running time. If there's any drawbacks to Wendigo, it's that I feel the film's ending kind of betrays a lot of the mythology the film has already set up. I don't want to give too much away, but watch it and you'll see what I mean.

So yeah, Wendigo would end up becoming one of Fessenden's most well known films, so much so that he even continues to go back to the mythology of the wendigo legend for other projects like his Fear Itself episode Skin & Bones and the PS4 game he co-wrote Until Dawn. Watching Wendigo again for the first time in a long time makes me realize my memories of the film are better than the film itself, but I digress. You should definitely check this out regardless if you never have before.

Rating: 3.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 2: Habit (1995)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 2: Habit (1995)

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By Nick Durham

The second film in Scream Factory's Larry Fessenden Collection is the Independent Spirit Award winning Habit, which was filmed in 1995 and released in 1997. This was the film that really started getting the ball rolling on Fessenden making a name for himself within the realm of independent horror. While No Telling and his short films were interesting and original to say the least, it was this film that really announced his presence to the genre. It should also be noted that this is a remake of Fessenden's own 1982 short film of the same name, which expands on everything presented there in terms of character and atmosphere.

Habit is a vampire film in which our lead character Sam (Fessenden) finds himself at a crossroads in his life. His father has just passed away, and he's broken up with his long-time girlfriend as well. Finding solace in booze and his bohemian lifestyle in 90s New York City, Sam meets the sexy Anna (Meredith Snaider) at a Halloween party. They eventually engage in a kinky sex-charged relationship and soon things begin to turn a little strange. Sam finds himself getting sicker and weaker, while Anna continuously enjoys sinking her teeth into him. Eventually he realizes what she is, and then things start to get nasty.

As I said above, Habit received a shitload of acclaim upon its original release from the indie circuit, and it's easy to see why. This is a decently original take on vampirism, and it manages to overcome any of the clichés that come with it too. For being super low budget, the film is well-shot and features some great shots of New York City as well. The acting is great all around, particularly from Fessenden as our lead who finds himself deteriorating more and more with each passing day.

Special features wise, Scream Factory's Blu-ray contains a commentary from Fessenden as well as a making of documentary. The Habit short film is included as well, and so is Fessenden's N is for Nexus short from ABCs of Death 2 and a making of for that to boot. There's a weird music video thrown on here as well that Larry was behind too. So yeah, there's some good stuff here for sure.

So yeah, Habit is definitely one of Fessenden's best films to be sure. If you've never seen it before, I strongly recommend giving it a look. It's not likely you'll find a more unique vampire film from the mid-90s era.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 1: No Telling (1991)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 1: No Telling (1991)

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By Nick Durham

Larry Fessenden is a weird fucking dude man. He's a one man sow of writing, directing, producing, acting, and more besides. Go to iMDB and look at this fucking guy's filmography: he's produced and acted in so much stuff it's hard to comprehend. He's had his hands in almost everything in terms of independent horror (or close to independent horror) ranging from Stake Land, We Are Still Here, I Sell the Dead, House of the Devil, and tons more besides. In terms of writing and directing, Fessenden has made a hell of an impact in the world of independent horror. Scream Factory and IFC have decided to bestow upon us a wonderful collection of four of Fessenden's films in one handsome Blu-ray set. The Larry Fessenden Collection features No Telling, Habit, Wendigo, and The Last Winter; four films that are definitely different from the rest of the independent horror pack.

The set begins with 1991's No Telling; Fessenden's feature length horror debut after directing a string of well-received short films in the 80s. This film revolves around scientist Geoffrey (Stephen Ramsey) and his wife Lillian (Miriam Healy-Louie) moving to the rural countryside. What should be a nice and relaxing environment becomes nightmarish for everyone as Geoffrey sink deeper into his experiments and projects involving pharmaceuticals, animals, and some very, very bad things.

I'm going to tell you all right now: No Telling is hard to watch because of the graphic animal carnage. It's never super exploitative though, as Fessenden knows when enough is enough and when to make the camera pan away. The heart of the story is a mix between showing the degradation of the marriage between Geoffrey and Lillian as he becomes more obsessed and unhinged with his work. That, and the social commentary on animal testing/experimentation, makes for one shocking and intelligent flick. If there's any drawbacks to this, it's that like I said: this is really hard to watch. When the experiments take a Frankenstein-esque turn...holy shit. Fucking hell, this definitely isn't for everyone. The film's conclusion is also pretty abrupt and anticlimactic, and we never get the satisfaction of seeing those that deserve it get theirs in the end. Then again, maybe that's the point Fessenden was trying to make: this kind of shit continues to happen in the real world, even to this very day.

Like just about all of Fessenden's future work to come, No Telling is a startlingly original and thought provoking horror story. If it weren't for the depictions of animal mutilations, I would recommend this to everyone I possibly could, but that in itself stops me from doing so. It's not that the depictions are that extreme and over the top; it's just that shit like that gets to me. I can watch a guy get his cock chopped off and eaten by cannibals, but I can't watch bloody experiments on mice and dogs. Color me weird I guess.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dressed to Kill (1980)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dressed to Kill (1980)

By Nick Durham 

dressedtokill

After a seemingly super long wait (and a recall, more on that later), we finally get Criterion's release of Brian De Palma's Hitchcock wanna-be giallo thriller, Dressed to Kill. Somewhat critically reviled upon its original 1980 release, Dressed to Kill features all the typical De Palma film elements that we've come to expect: close-ups, inventive camerawork, and slow motion shots. Watching it again for the first time in a long time really makes me appreciate the film much more for what it is than I did when I had originally seen it in my youth, and the fine folks at Criterion have released the film in a Blu-ray set that...well, I'll get to that in a bit.

Anyway, Dressed to Kill revolves around a sexually frustrated married woman (Angie Dickinson) that ends up getting brutally murdered after having a random tryst with a stranger. Her murder is witnessed by a prostitute (Nancy Allen), who soon teams up with the son of our victim (Christine's Keith Gordon) to find the killer. Michael Caine is here too as the victim's shrink, and De Palma regular Dennis Franz is here too as...well, as Dennis Franz. The film is sexually charged and features some shocking violence for its time, and remains one of my favorite works from De Palma to this very day.

Now let's get to the Blu-ray release. Over the years, I've never had much in terms of issues with any DVDs or Blu-ray releases from Criterion. Their releases are usually top notch in terms of picture restoration/quality, special features, etc., which made me excited to see what they could get cooking for this release of Dressed to Kill...then something happened. It was announced that there was a mastering issue with the film's presentation, causing Criterion to delay the Blu-ray's release.  Well, a second pressing was ordered and the Blu was eventually released...and it the film looks terrible. Now it doesn't consistently look terrible, in fact sometimes it looks pretty damn good, but there are plenty of times where all of the sudden the film's picture stretches out of the blue, and the framing of the film is all over the fucking place. The old DVD release from MGM from years back is better quality than this for fuck's sake. While the film's color looks very vibrant in 4K, the framing inconsistencies are so damn jarring that it ruins the damn film, and that's a shame. Other special features, which include new interviews with Nancy Allen and others, as well as a documentary on the film from 2001 and a feature about the cuts needed to be made to film to avoid being rated X.

So yeah, the Criterion Collection edition of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill is disappointing to say the least. The film deserves a better treatment than this, especially from Criterion. Damn shame that this release leaves so much to be desired. If you can find this cheap and are a fan of the film and don't already own any of its previous DVD or Blu-ray releases, then I guess pick this up. If you do already own the film in one form or another, this really isn't much of an upgrade.

Film rating: 4/5

Blu-ray release rating: 2/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Troll (1986) & Troll 2 (1990)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Troll (1986) & Troll 2 (1990)

By Nick Durham

troll

Turns out you really can't piss on hospitality.

The first question you may be asking yourself is: haven't we heard and seen enough of the fucking Troll movies? Why does this guy have to talk about these fucking things after everyone else already has so damn much?

Well first of all: I hate myself. Second of all: you can't ignore the impact that Troll, and more so its sequel, have had on all of civilization...

...and by impact, I mean an impact similar to when you take an apocalyptic dump in the toilet so hard that the water splashes up and hits you square in the asshole. Pucker up fuckers.

Anyway, I could talk about Troll and Troll 2 all day, but like I said, plenty of people already have over the years, so I won't talk about what both movies offer...because we all know that both movies offer pure cinematic fecal matter. Both films, the sequel in particular, are so spectacular in their badness that they must be seen to be believed. I firmly believe everyone should see each film at least once in their lives. Fuck Citizen Kane, watch Troll and Troll 2.

Troll revolves around the Potter family, the father of which is named Harry (see? JK Rowling got inspired by this film...whether she wants to admit it or not. Thank you, Troll). Michael Moriarty (The Stuff) plays the dad, whose family's apartment complex features a passageway to a mystical world of evil trolls or some shit. The film's story is of little consequence, as the what happens during the film is practically incomprehensible, but it is notable for being directed by makeup effects guru John Carl Buechler (who would go on to direct Friday the 13th VII) and features a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has a memorable scene hardly wearing any clothes.

Troll 2 is the real main attraction here, and it earns that decades long status as being one of the most enjoyably awful movies ever made. I won't say much about it, because chances are you all know plenty about the damn thing already. All I will say is that I love how terrible this fucking thing is, and if I'm ever feeling really down in the dumps, I turn this fucker on and I'm nothing but smiles.

The fine folks at Scream Factory have chosen to bless us with this Blu-ray double feature release. There's a new making-of for the first film, as well as commentary tracks on each of the films as well, but the really awesome special feature included here is the DVD of Best Worst Movie. Best Worst Movie is a surprisingly insightful and interesting documentary feature catching up with the whole cast and crew of Troll 2, as they reminisce about their experience making the film, and the legacy that came with being in one of the most noteworthy terrible films ever made. Seriously, having Best Worst Movie included with this set makes this worth owning in itself. It is one of the best documentaries about the clusterfuck that filmmaking can be.

All in all, Scream Factory's Troll/Troll 2 Blu-ray double feature is a collection of terrible films...but they're still somehow super enjoyable in spite of themselves. Including Best Worst Movie is a total fucking bonus, and makes this even more worth getting. Now yes, I'm giving a glowing review of these cinematic shitstains, so you should know what you're getting into...but if you love awful movies, look no fucking further than this.

Film ratings: 1/5

Blu-ray set rating: 5/5 (just for Best Worst Movie)

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eve of Destruction (1991)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eve of Destruction (1991)

By Nick Durham

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Want to see some shit? Well, thanks to the fine folks at Scream Factory, we've got some shit in HD here. Eve of Destruction is a mix of sci-fi/thriller/quasi-slasher trash that hit the scene in 1991 and was largely ignored, yet somehow manages to have a small cult following. Scream Factory, who has a knack for re-releasing shit like this (for better or worse) is here to debut the film on Blu-ray, whether we want it or not.

Anyway, Eve of Destruction follows a brilliant scientist named Eve (Renee Soutendijk) who is employed by the government, creates a cyborg in her own image for some kind of covert ops missions or something that's never really given all that much insight honestly. When said cyborg is damaged during a bank robbery gone wrong (don't ask), she begins accessing the painful memories of her creator (which have been stored inside the droid's consciousness...because reasons), which ends up leading her on a path of death and destruction. The foul-mouthed Col. Jim McQuade (the late, great Gregory Hines) is tasked with tracking her and bringing her down, with the bot's creator lending a hand as well.

There's not much more story-wise to Eve of Destruction other than that, but boy oh boy does this movie take a simple yet promising premise and piss all over it. The whole movie is so damn drawn out and honestly flat out boring. Twenty minutes of run time could have easily been shaved off in the editing room and it wouldn't have affected anything at all. Despite its drawn out nature though, there are some occasional cool images popping up now and then, and the acting from our leads is surprisingly good as well. The effects work isn't bad either for its time, and the film's climax isn't bad either, so I guess as a whole the film isn't totally awful.

Like I had said in the beginning, Scream Factory re-releases some interesting choices of films, most of which have special features that range from a shitload's worth to a handful. Eve of Destruction only has the film's theatrical trailer as its only feature...yes you read that right. Nothing else here but the fucking trailer. What is this, a DVD from 1998? Oh well, at least the film's HD transfer looks pretty good.

All in all, Eve of Destruction is a fairly forgettable early 90s dirge that tried to do the whole cyborg killer thing. It didn't totally fail, but it sure as shit didn't pass either. If you're a fan of the film, this Blu-ray release from Scream Factory may be worth picking up for cheap, but it's kind of disappointing that they didn't at least try to throw something extra here on the disc besides the fucking trailer.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Brood (1979)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Brood (1979)

By Nick Durham

The Brood

When it comes to body horror, no one does it like David Cronenberg. From Shivers to Rabid to Videodrome, Cronenberg's early work could fuck with your head and make your stomach churn like no other director in the horror business. One film that often falls by the wayside, at least when it comes to casual fans of his work, is his 1979 film, The Brood. Originally reviled by critics upon its initial release, The Brood is now often recognized as an oft-maligned classic of the director's filmography. I don't know if I'd really call it a classic, but that's where we are.

Anyway, the story of The Brood revolves around a man named Frank (Art Hindle) investigating the strange therapy techniques of psychologist Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed), and the effects they are having on Frank's institutionalized wife Nola (Samantha Eggar). Nola had a very traumatic upbringing, and Frank worries for the future of their young daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds). Eventually people linked to Nola begin being attacked by groups of seemingly deformed children, all the while Frank gets closer to learning the truth of the effects that Raglan's methods have had on his wife.

While The Brood may sound like a science gone mad-style of film, it really isn't at its heart. Like many of Cronenberg's other works from this era, this film focuses on the impact of the psychological torment that one can withstand before it starts manifesting itself in a physical nature, i.e. what we all know as the body horror sub-genre. Like I said before, nobody can do body horror like Cronenberg could. We get a nasty end result to everything to, with a shocker of a reveal at the film's climax to boot.

Now while The Brood is well shot, very well acted, and manages to leave a bit of a lasting impression, it just doesn't have that gut-wrenching impact that Cronenberg's more well-known works manage to have. That and the fact that somehow, some way, I just have a harder time believing a story about the physical manifestations of someone's psychological rage wreaking havoc than I do a vagina-looking VCR undulating from someone's chest cavity. I don't know, call me weird I guess. No matter what, The Brood has never really hit me in the way that Shivers, Rabid, Videodrome, The Fly, or even Naked Lunch could do to me.

Criterion's Blu-ray release is wonderful, as to be expected. The film's picture and sound are phenomenal, undoubtedly the best I've seen and heard it ever. There's a new documentary about the making of the film as well as delving into Cronenberg's early work, plus a 2011 interview with Cronenberg and Fangoria's Chris Alexander. Cronenberg's 1970 film Crimes of the Future is included here as well, which is also remastered for Blu-ray capabilities. There's also an appearance of Oliver Reed on The Merv Griffin Show. I will not comment on the state of his sobriety during this appearance.

So yeah, I've never been much of a fan of The Brood to say it lightly. It's not a terrible film, not one damn bit, but I find it hard to classify it as iconic as a majority of Cronenberg's filmography is. Like I said before, maybe it's just me, but it's never effected me like it has so many others. Either way, if you're a fan of this film, pick up this Blu-ray for the features alone.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eaten Alive (1980)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eaten Alive (1980)

By Nick Durham

eaten alive

When you find a movie called Eaten Alive, there's probably two thoughts as to what kind of movie it is that pop in your head: is this a cannibal movie, or is it a fucking porno? Wait what? There is a cannibal movie called Eaten Alive? Okay, that makes sense I guess. What else is it? There's like over a hundred porno movies that have some variation of the phrase Eaten Alive in it? Okay, that makes sense too I guess. No matter what type of Eaten Alive strikes your fancy, I think you'd be better off with either the cannibal one, or any of the porno ones, than you would be with this fucking thing.

Anyway, Eaten Alive is Tobe Hooper's 1977 follow up to his landmark smash hit The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Only instead of revolving around chainsaw-wielding inbred hillbilly cannibal maniacs, this revolves around...well, inbred hillbilly maniacs and a giant fucking crocodile. The crocodile lives next door to a run down hotel owned by the mentally deranged Judd (Neville Brand), who often supplies the croc with fresh victims of those that cross his path. We get to meet a variety of people, including a fucked up couple (William Finley and Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre lead Marilyn Burns) and a dude named Buck (a pre-A Nightmare on Elm Street Robert Englund) that likes to do stuff that begins with the letter F and ends with -uck.

Okay, let's just get this out of the way: Eaten Alive is a terrible movie. I know this film has its fans, but holy fucking hell I can't stand this flick. Usually I wholeheartedly enjoy this kind of shit, but there's always been something about Eaten Alive that has rubbed me the wrong way. Whether it's the overall tone of the film to the fact that when compared to the magic Hooper made with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this thing just can't compare. It almost comes off as being an ill-conceived parody of monster movies and backwoods living...without any laughs. Plus, it just drags on and on and on and feels like that it is NEVER going to end.

Now I could spend all day shitting on this movie, but I won't, because somehow this managed to get a wonderful Blu-ray release. Arrow Films, whom I worship day and night, has provided Eaten Alive with a fantastic physical media release here, more than this fucking movie deserves. The film's picture and sound have been remastered, a commentary by one of the film's writers and a couple actors (curiously nothing on the commentary from Tobe Hooper or Robert Englund), a new introduction from Hooper, new and vintage interviews with Hooper, Englund, and Marilyn Burns, and a featurette about the story of Joe Ball; the real-life Texas bar owner that the film is loosely based upon. Yes, Arrow has packed in a shitload of features for this fuckfest for some odd reason, don't ask me why.

To wrap things up here, I really dislike Eaten Alive something fierce. That being said, if you are a fan of this film, this Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is definitely worth picking up just for the special features alone. There's no denying that Arrow has given this film a treatment that it really doesn't deserve, but if you somehow enjoy this flick, by all means pick this release up. For the rest of us, we can keep pretending this movie never happened, just like Tobe Hooper has been pretending the past few films he's directed never happened either.

Rating: 2/5 (but the Blu-ray is super-mega-crocodile-tits)

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: VHS Video Cover Art

BOOK REVIEW: VHS Video Cover Art

By Nick Durham

vhs
Do you remember when you were young, and you'd make those trips to the local video store? Remember that wonderful little feeling of magic that popped up inside you whenever you walked down the various store aisles and saw those beautiful VHS tape boxes displayed? Remember how you'd pick up those boxes, look at the glorious covers, and read through what was on the back to determine if it was worth your time or not? Remember the first time you found the porn section?

Wait, forget about that last sentence (for now).

Anyway, I have fond memories of my treks through my local video store, which was a mom & pop establishment that often had a lot of stuff (particularly horror) that the chain stores like Blockbuster didn't carry. What attracted me to the horror section in particular were the beautiful box covers that grabbed my attention...and the rest is history. Sadly though, with the end of VHS as a form of physical media, and the rise of DVD, Blu-ray, and digital downloading/VOD, cover art has become something of a sadly forgotten form of art.

Thomas Hodge (aka The Dude Designs, who is responsible for some VHS-artwork style representations of modern films) knows this, and we should all be thankful to him for compiling everything contained in this beautiful hardcover book that is a true labor of love and passion. I haven't seen a compilation of VHS art in print form like this...ever. No seriously, this is truly something unique and just plain awesome...and in all honesty, more awesome than my words here can really do it justice. In other words, you need to stop what you're doing, and pick up VHS Video Cover Art right the fuck right now.

Now granted, this book doesn't exclusively cover horror VHS box art. Every genre is represented here: from science fiction, to action, to comedy, to even kids fare. (Like seriously, did you know there was a fucking Rambo cartoon? The 80s were a weird time.) Horror, however, takes precedent here, with quite a large portion of the book devoted to our beloved genre of film. The 1980s to about the early 90s are covered here. Some of the films featured within this book you'll recognize, and some are quite obscure of course, but that's part of the fun right? That's the whole idea after all: discovery. That was that wonderful feeling I mentioned earlier when strolling down the aisle at the video store and you gazed upon those VHS boxes with little to no idea what you were getting into...but you wanted to check it out regardless. In the immortal words of Freddie fucking Mercury, it' just a kind of magic.

To close things out, VHS Video Cover Art is an absolute must own. You will more than likely not find a better book detailing this kind of thing (nor as handsome as this wonderful hardcover collection ends up being), which makes it all the more of an essential addition to your bookshelf. Now seriously, stop reading this fucking thing and go pick it up.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Last Shift (2014)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Last Shift (2014)

By Dixielord

Last Shift hanging scene

Last Shift

On a recommendation from a friend I took a chance on the Blu Ray of Last Shift the latest movie from director Anthony DiBlasi. The film is set on the last night of a police station before it is shut down. A lone officer, a rookie on her first night on the job, is assigned to babysit the empty station till morning. Everything is going okay until the station comes under attack from what may be supernatural forces.

You can probably already see the similarity to John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. It also bears a surface resemblance to Let Us Pray, with both involving solitary police officers in a dilapidated station. Overall it's closer to Assault than Pray. But The Last Shift is it's own animal.

Juliana Harkavy plays officer Jessica Loren, the lone policeman left in charge of the closing station. She is the central character in the film and the only one with any real screen time. The director really plays up the seclusion and sense of isolation until it becomes almost claustrophobic. Watching this film, I felt like I was trapped there with Officer Loren. It makes every jump, every dark hallway just a bit more frightening. You get a real sense of dread and impending doom, knowing there is no help coming for her.

And Last Shift is a frightening movie. Throughout the film we are confronted with situation that blur the line between real and Loren's imagination. Was everything in Loren's mind, or did some, or all of it really happen? Was it a trick from a modern Manson family, or was she facing the King of Hell? We never really know, till the very end what's real and what isn't. Maybe not even then.

There's a bit of gore in Last Shift, and it's done well, but maybe not enough to satisfy the most rabid gore hound. But then it's not to much to turn off most casual horror fans. The scenes with the demons, are visually disturbing, and while they don’t have a huge screen time, they use what they have well. Visually the demons were some of the most effective and fucked up I have seen since the original Cenobites. Kudos to the makeup and effects department on the Paymon family.

Juliana Harkavy in Last Shift

The Walking Dead's Juliana Harkavy in Last Shift

The Walking Dead fanatics might recognize Harkavy from a four episode stint on the AMC hit series as Alisha. Along with Harkavy genre veteran J. Larose (Saw, Insidious) gets a large and well deserved amount of screen time as a homeless person. Joshua Mikel (Terminator: Genysis) stars as John Michael Paymon, leader of a Manson like cult, who might be the devil himself (or worse). All of the actors do a great job, but it's up to Harkavy to carry the movie, and carry it she did.

If you are looking for a really creepy film for this Halloween, or even after, give Last Shift a try. It's a great film to watch with the lights off. If you dare. Just make sure you lock your doors before you do.

Solid 7 out of 10 stars

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments