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The cult classic returns!  STEVE RAILSBACK in the 10th Anniversary Edition of PLAGUERS – on Blu-ray and DVD!

The cult classic returns! STEVE RAILSBACK in the 10th Anniversary Edition of PLAGUERS – on Blu-ray and DVD!

Brad Sykes’ cult classic PLAGUERS is now available for the first-time on Blu-ray and DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

The 10th Anniversary edition includes audio commentary and an unseen Q+A with cast and crew.

When an alien contagion is released aboard a spaceship transforming its victims into demonic flesh-eaters, the crew must either destroy the infected or join them. Steve Railsback stars.

The title is also available on digital.

Posted by Philip Rogers in Categories, 0 comments
New clip released for the spine-tingling horror ‘Investigation 13’

New clip released for the spine-tingling horror ‘Investigation 13’

The book opens on Krisstian de Lara’s spine-tingling Investigation 13 this fall with Uncork’d Entertainment announcing a digital and DVD release for September 10.

Screen icon Meg Foster (Twin Peaks, They Live) stars in director Krisstian de Lara’s mesmerizingly unnerving Investigation 13, premiering on digital and DVD this September from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Incorporating traditional narrative story-telling, as well as numerous forms of pioneering technology, including found footage, hand-held cameras, surveillance cameras, and smart glasses, Investigation 13 is a new-age fright-fest chronicling the tale of a group of college science students investigating the urban legend of The Mole Man, an ex-patient said to still be residing within the walls of the Black Grove Asylum. When members of the group start missing, they soon learn that this myth is more real than they thought, making this 13th investigation one they will come to regret.

From Gorilla StudiosInvestigation 13 also stars Stephanie Hernandez, Patrick Flanagan, Robert Paget, William Alexander, Giordan Diaz, Jesse Ramos and Peter Aratari as ‘The Mole Man’.

Clay Smith wrote the original screenplay, Rolando Vinas and Krisstian De Lara wrote the most recent version.

Investigation 13 On VOD and DVD September 10 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Posted by Philip Rogers in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
New official trailer released for ‘The 11th Patient’

New official trailer released for ‘The 11th Patient’

Shelly Cole, Steven Cole, Liesel Kopp and The Blessed One’s Andy Gates star in the terrifying The 11th Patient, on DVD and Digital this October from Uncork’d Entertainment.

A boy is found in a coma deep in the woods several months after his kidnapping. The man that kidnapped him is still at large and Steven is the only person who witnessed and survived the ordeal. Now, Steven has been brought to a Doctor who specializes in PTSD patients. He must connect to Steven and make him face his fears in order to bring him out of his coma and catch the man that did this.

Directed by Derek Cole, written by Derek and Steven Cole.

The 11th Patient will be available on DVD and Digital October 15 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Posted by Philip Rogers in Categories, HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
New trailer and poster released for HELLmington

New trailer and poster released for HELLmington

This September, discover the frightening truth about Hellmington Asylum.

The frightening HELLmington from writer-directors Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams premieres on DVD and Digital this September.

Genre icon Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Top Gun, Turbo Kid) and Shadowhunters’ Nicola Correia-Damude stars in this year’s ‘Blair Witch Project”, an effectively frightening and chilling look inside the walls of an asylum and the young blogger who disappeared within it.

On June 6, 1985 Hellmington Asylum closed their doors for good. On June 6, 2009 it was re-opened as the very first Psychological Extreme Haunted House, where people could live out their own personal horror fantasies.

Willing participants would be pushed to their limits, blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s in your head. Katie Owens, a true horror fanatic and online blogger was invited as one of the first people to partake in the Hellmington experience.

Only Katie never left…that was 6 years ago, and her disappearance remains unsolved. Police reports stated no body was found, no suspicion of foul play and no evidence was discovered. After many years with no answers, a group of documentary filmmakers decide to join forces with the local police department to investigate and analyze the footage from that night to see.

From Uncork’d Entertainment, HELLmington on VOD and DVD September 10.

Posted by Philip Rogers in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MIDNIGHT RELEASING ANNOUNCES WICKED WITCHES THEATRICAL RELEASE

MIDNIGHT RELEASING ANNOUNCES WICKED WITCHES THEATRICAL RELEASE

On August 9th, Midnight Releasing sets free Wicked Witches, the creepy, witchy new horror jaunt from The Pickering Brothers.

After being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group demonic, flesh eating Witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches honey trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls.

Duncan CaseyJustin Marosa, Samantha Schnitzler, Jasmine Clark and Laura Coleman star in an “extremely entertaining and pretty damn evil”* film, in theaters and available on digital and DVD August 9.


The 10-city theatrical (cities to be announced), DVD and Digital release begins August 9.

Posted by Philip Rogers in HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
New documentary ‘Scary Stories’ coming to DVD THIS JULY

New documentary ‘Scary Stories’ coming to DVD THIS JULY

Scary Stories, the highly anticipated documentary about Alvin Schwartz’ iconic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series, will be released on DVD July 16 via Wild Eye Releasing.


Explore the history of one of the most controversial works of modern children’s literature: The best selling teen classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which scared a generation of young readers and became one of the most banned books of modern times. Scary Stories creates both the ultimate celebration and dissertation of this iconic piece of horror literature.

Cody Meirick’s film features more than 40 interviews, from family members of author Alvin Schwartz, to fellow children’s book horror authors like R.L Stine (Goosebumps) and Q.L. Pearce, to folklorists, artists and fans discussing the impact that the books have had on both themselves as well as the culture at large. The documentary also explores the various times in which the books were banned or targeted by parent and religious groups as ‘satanic’ or otherwise too macabre for its targeted teen scholastic audience.

Penned by Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen GammellScary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a three-volume series consisting of short horror stories for pre-teens and children that were adapted from American folklore and urban legends.  Because of some of the violent illustrations and the subject matter, parent groups, religious organizations and school boards had the books pulled from libraries and schools at various times. A feature film adaptation of the books, produced by horror icon Guillermo del Toro, is due in theaters this summer.

Posted by Philip Rogers in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

We here at The House of Tortured Souls love horror. It’s kind of our jam. And we love to see good horror get recognition. It can be argued that horror is more popular than ever, there are more conventions, festivals, and awards than ever. However, one thing bugged us here at HoTS, and from responses online, we weren’t the only ones. Some awards, not to call names (message me), stretch out the word horror way to far. Seriously Deadpool? Captian America: Civil War? I love me some Cap, and who can talk smack about Ryan Reynolds’ red spandex covered ass, but it’s not FUCKING horror.

So we said “Screw it. Let’s do this”. So here we are with the first annual House of Tortured Souls Awards. Neato huh? We can’t promise we wont make mistakes, can’t promise we don’t stutter step and come in a bit late (I planned to have this April 1st), but we do promise to keep it horror. No super heroes, no Tarzan, and no funny South African robots! What we got? Serial killers, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons, we got ’em. No there are films that straddle that line of horror/ thriller. We accept that, but repeat after me, no friggin superheros or Jedi.

We are still learning, but we decided to jump in with both feet and stomp the shit out of it. We asked our staff to pick their favorites in a group of categories. Rules are the films have to be originally released in a mass audience format. So feature films released to VoD, DVD, or theater, for the FIRST time in 2016 are eligible. Secondary release to DVD, does not qualify it for 2016. Thus, a film released to theater in 2016 will qualify for 2016. If it is released to DVD in 2017, it would not qualify for 2017.

There is a slight difference for independent films. Since most of them will not get a wide release theatrical release, and it might be years before a VoD or DVD release. For independent films, they may be considered, if they have had a major festival release, are currently (award year) touring the festival circuit, or have a release to VoD, DVD, or theater, AND have not been nominated in a previous year. There’s a logic there as many Indie may tour the festival circuit for a couple years, this allows them a chance to be seen, but not to win multiple years. The HoTS staff will select four nominees per category, in case of an unbreakable tie (which we had a couple of), we may select five nominees in some categories. It’s a work in progress, but we think this is fair.

So without the proverbial further ado, here are the nominees.

Best Horror Movie 2016*

  • Green Room
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • The Witch
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • 31

Best Horror Director 2016

  • Jeremy Saluner – Green Room
  • Andre Overdal – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • Roger Eggers – The Witch
  • Rob Zombie – 31

Best Actor Horror 2016

  • John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Anton Yeltsin – Green Room
  • Patrick Wilson – The Conjuring
  • Richard Brake – 31

Best Actress Horror Movie 2016

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
  • Anja Taylor Joy – The Witch
  • Blake Lively – The Shallows

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Stephen Lang – Don’t Breathe
  • John Gallager Jr – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Christopher Lloyd – I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • Patrick Stewart – Green Room

Best Supporting Actress Horror 2016

  • Imogene Poots – Green Room
  • Kate Dickey – The Witch
  • Ella – The Monster
  • Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2

Best Television Horror

  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel
  • Ash versus Evil Dead
  • American Horror Story
  • The Exorcist

Best Actor TV Horror

  • Bruce Campbell – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Freddie Highmore – Bates Motel
  • Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead
  • Alfonso Herrara – The Exorcist

Best actress TV Horror

  • Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel
  • Millie Bobbie Brown – Stranger Things
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist

Best Supporting Actor TV Horror

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead
  • Ray Santiago – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Max Theriot – Bates Motel
  • Gaten Matarazzo – Stranger Things

Best Supporting Actress TV Horror

  • Kathy Bates – American Horror Story
  • Lucy Lawless – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist
  • Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel

Best Indie Horror Movie

  • Circus of the Dead
  • The Barn
  • Plank Face
  • Family Possession

Best Indie Horror Director 2016

  • Billy Pon – Circus of the Dead
  • James Bickert – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Justin M Seaman – The Barn
  • Scott Schrimer – Plank Face

Best Indie Actor Horror 2016

  • Parrish Randal – Circus of the Dead
  • Nathan Barret – Plank Face
  • Mitchell Muselino – The Barn
  • Fred Lass – Bubba the Red Neck Werewolf

Best Indie Actress Horror 2016

  • Tristan Risk – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Chanel Ryan – Circus of the Dead
  • Susan M Martin – Plank Face
  • Lexi Dripps – The Barn

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Bill Oberst – Circus of the Dead
  • Laurence Harvey – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Mitch Hyman – Bubba the Redneck Werewolf
  • Will Stout – The Barn

Best Supporting Actress Horror

  • Ellie Church – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Alyss Winkler – Plank Face
  • Lizzie Mears – Family Possessions
  • Brigid McCauley – Plank Face

(*Five nominees due to a tie.)

Posted by Allen Alberson in CONTESTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

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

the-tenderness-of-wolves

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: Blood Rage (1983)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Blood Rage (1983)

bloodrage

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
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eve of Destruction (1991)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eve of Destruction (1991)

By Nick Durham

https://houseoftorturedsouls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Tales_titles-1.jpg

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

GENRE REVIEW: Naughty Horror

Horror Porn Parodies of Your Favorite Horror Films!

By John Roisland

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Feeling a little...naughty this Halloween season? Wanting something different to watch other than the usual slasher movies? Looking for something ... different in your trick or treat bag this year? Well with thanks to such wholesome production companies as Loaded Digital Releases, Burning Angel, Smash Pictures, Caballero and probably hundreds more, you can now have the best of both worlds in, naughty horror - HORROR-PORN PARODIES!

This great little entertainment invention is fun for the entire family (18 and older)! In the mid to late 80s, horror movies made a huge impact on the entertainment world. On Friday and Saturday nights , young couples flooded the theaters to be scared and entertained for a few bucks on their weekly dates. The adult industry took notice and wanted to cash in on the new found horror goers... as well as give these couples a new "happy ending" to their movies!

Many of the films simply put their actors in a known horror movie mask that resembles the main character of the film they are trying to (or supposedly trying to) portray. They wave a knife in the face of a half naked woman, she screams, then they go at it. Then there are directors like Rob Rotten, who has brought to life such titles as Porn of the Dead and The Texas Dildo Massacre, to the viewing public. Rob actually brought audiences a movie. A true horror-porn movie. His films actually use real sets, actors, props, and make up/special FX that are better than some I've seen in some actual horror films. For example, in one film a zombie woman goes down on a man and at one point eats his junk - IT DID NOT LOOK FAKE!

Then there are movies that have a more comedic horror bent, such as Edward Penishands and Re-Penetrator, which give their audiences a less serious approach to the combination horror/porn than Rob Rotten gave his. These horror-comedy-porn movies were also on what seems to be smaller budgets and are seemingly more seductive through the comedic aspect.

evilhead1images (6)Love it or hate it, the adult film industry has been one of the largest money making venture in world for many years now! And joining the bandwagon of another huge money maker was just more dollar signs!

The number of this horror parody porn movies to me is unknown; I'm guessing in the thousands. Regardless, they are what they are, porn with a horror theme. Keeping up with the times, these little private time beauties have evolved with the times, from VHS to DVD and, yes, even Blu-ray. Now , I'm pretty sure that all you techie pervs can most likely find all these available for personal viewing pleasures on all your hand held (no pun intended) electronic devices. Don't expect to pay the cheap prices you might find in the Walmart $5 bin. I've seen some titles, especially the vintage films, being sold in the hundred dollar range.

But if you have a few extra dollars to spend on entertainment for you and your lover (or just on yourself), there are many great titles for you to choose from, including Friday the 69th , A Nightmare on Dyke Street, I Know Who You Did Last Summer, Evil Head, A Wet Dream on Elm Street, and The Human Sexipede...just to name a few.

No matter what you watch, no matter what the rating is, from PG to R , enjoy your movie, and if it's XXX,... then enjoy yourself...you little sinner!

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Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Videodrome (1983)

By Nick Durham

Videodrome

It's really hard to say anything about David Cronenberg's classic Videodrome that hasn't been said a million fucking times already. It remains one of the director's crowning achievements in a filmography that features a number of classics, as well as a classic of body horror. The fact that Criterion decided to add this film to their prestigious lineup (that somehow also includes Michael Bay's Armageddon... no, I'll never understand that) speaks to the lasting effect that Videodrome has had on all of us.

James Woods, in the most unnerving performance of his long career, stars as Max Renn, the proprietor of a sleazy cable TV network that specializes in softcore porn and hardcore violence. He stumbles upon a feed for a mysterious pirate broadcast of torture and murder called Videodrome, and it isn't long before Max starts losing his mind...or does he? The thing with Videodrome is that you keep questioning yourself as to what you're seeing unfold on screen. Is it real? Is it in Max's head? Is Debbie Harry really so goddamned sexy? These are the questions you'll be asking yourself throughout the film's running time.

I could talk more about the film's intricate story and plot, or about Rick Baker's disgusting and groundbreaking effects work, but instead I'm going to focus on the special features of this Criterion Blu-ray release. They are pretty much identical to the special features included on the DVD release from years back, which is absolutely fine because they were wonderful then and are wonderful now. The film is presented here in all its uncut glory with a beautifully restored picture. There's commentary from Cronenberg as well as Woods and Harry, Cronenberg's short film Camera from 2000, documentaries and interviews, complete footage of the Samurai Dreams softcore flick that Max views in the beginning of the film, and a vintage roundtable discussion between Cronenberg, John Landis, John Carpenter, and Mick Garris. All these features make this disc more than worth its price tag.

I know I've gushed before about releases from Arrow Films and Grindhouse Releasing, saying that they are the Criterion Collection for horror films, and that remains the absolute truth. That being said, there's nothing quite like a Criterion Collection release, and their release of Videodrome is something spectacular indeed. Do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP. You won't regret it.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

By Nick Durham

Before I speak anything in terms of the brilliance of The Editor, the first thing you need to know about is the crew behind it: Astron-6. Featuring Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, and Conor Sweeney, Astron-6 is the Canadian troupe that is responsible for the hilarious and brilliant Father's Day released by Troma in 2011 (and, seriously, go watch that like right now) as well as the low budget and super enjoyable green-screen romp Manborg. Seriously, go watch their work before you watch The Editor. Doing so will really make you appreciate just how far technically these guys have come within the past few years.

Anyway, The Editor is the crew's tribute/take on the giallo. A lost and too often underappreciated horror sub-genre, it's rare that we get a giallo anymore (let alone a good one...seriously, Argento, what happened to you?), and here we get not only a pretty good one, but a rousing and hilarious tribute as well. The story revolves around once prominent film editor Rey Ciso (Brooks) who, after a horrifying accident, is left with wooden fingers. Now editing grindhouse filth, Rey finds himself in the center of a series of grisly murders, as well as being hounded by a very "passionate" cop (Kennedy), and dealing with his fallen-star wife (Nurse 3D star Paz de la Huerta). All that is only the tip of the iceberg, though, as things aren't all what they seem, and when shit hits the proverbial fan, trust me, it really hits the fan.

As I said before, The Editor is definitely the most technically impressive film Astron-6 has given us so far. The camerawork, set design, costumes, and everything in between is both a loving tribute to the giallo as well as poking delightful fun at the all too prevalent shortcomings that the genre would feature as well. The performances from nearly everyone involved are wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and the cameos and small roles from genre stalwarts like Udo Kier, Laurence Harvey, and the super sexy Tristan Risk will definitely bring a smile to your face.

With all of that praise in mind, there's one thing you should keep in mind: The Editor is definitely not for everyone. If you're not into giallos or have no experience with them, you're not going to get much enjoyment here. You're bound to laugh your ass off quite a few times, but you'll miss all the surprising nuances and in-jokes that are peppered throughout nearly every frame of the film. That being said, you'll be missing out quite a bit, and that will kill how super enjoyable the film truly is.

I can sing the praises of The Editor day and night, and in all honesty I kind of want to, but I digress. This is a truly wonderful take on the giallo, and saying that it's worth your time and attention is saying it lightly. The fine folks at Scream Factory finally blessed us with a home video release after it garnered tons of praise on the festival and genre circuits, and with good reason. Go watch it, right fucking now.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Society (1989)

By Nick Durham

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Arrow Films, you treat me so good.

Long out of print on DVD, Brian Yuzna's delirious and insanely underrated Society is finally available on Blu-ray on this side of the pond, and holy sweet fucking Jesus, it's totally fucking amazing. This is quite possibly the definitive Blu-ray horror movie release not just of this year, but perhaps any year. Yes, even more so than Scream Factory's Nightbreed set. That's right, I said it.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, Society is about a teenage boy (Billy Warlock, which is probably the greatest name for an actor in a horror movie in the history of ever) who often feels out of his place with his wealthy family and contemporaries. Turns out it's because almost everyone he knows in high society is a humanoid creature that feasts upon the nutrients of the humans. Yes, the rich literally feed on the poor. The social commentary is far from subtle, but that is quite okay, because even to this very day, this 1989 (though not released until 1992) film remains shockingly and frighteningly relevant.

The real main attraction of Society is the makeup effects, which you probably already know about. Designed by Screaming Mad George, the effects here are shockingly imaginative, inventive, and totally fucking disgusting. The concluding "shunting" scene is something that you have to see to believe. Even if you've never seen the film nor have any desire to, look it up on YouTube, right now. You'll never forget what you're about to see, trust me.

I had mentioned in the beginning that Arrow Films really went out of their way with this Blu-ray set, and I wasn't kidding. Packaged in a deluxe case/box and featuring a reprint of the comic book only sequel Society: Party Animal, as well as the typical Arrow collectible booklet. There's a new commentary from Brian Yuzna, as well as new interviews with Yuzna, George, Warlock, and others involved in the film. There's a featurette on the effects work, a Q&A with Yuzna, and tons more as well. This set is fucking brilliant to put it bluntly.

I could gush over Arrow's Society Blu-ray forever, but I won't. I know I've said to pick up every other Arrow Films Blu-ray release before, and I still mean that, but you should pick up Society first and foremost. This is an absolute must own. I'm not kidding, stop what you're doing right now and go pick this up. Thank me later.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Spider Baby (1968)

By Nick Durham

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There're a lot of films I've seen over the years that have managed to make me say out loud, "What the fuck did I just watch?" Spider Baby is one of them. From exploitation director extraordinaire Jack Hill (who would go on to direct Foxy Brown, Coffy, and one of my all time personal favorites in Switchblade Sisters) and featuring the legendary Lon Chaney, Jr. in one of his last roles, Spider Baby is a nasty little gem and an underappreciated classic.

Chaney plays Bruno: a guardian and caretaker for three siblings who suffer from a strange genetic disorder that causes them to de-evolve. Bruno has always had his hands full, but things soon become a bit more complicated when some distant relatives show up to the decrepit mansion they all live in to claim the property. What happens next is some pretty nasty shit, with sanity and various body parts lost in the process.

Darkly humorous and peppered with some very freaky moments, Spider Baby is a treat. The performances from Chaney and the three siblings (which features a young Sid Haig!) are wonderful and somehow still terrifying to this very day. Granted some elements of the film itself haven't aged all that well, but it still manages to be an effective little piece of trash regardless. Originally filmed in 1964, the film didn't get officially released until 1968, and went through a whole lot of different titles in the process as well. Thanks to midnight showings over the years and word of mouth, Spider Baby has managed to become a beloved film of the era, and continues to be discovered and re-discovered as the years go by.

I know I've raved about other releases from Arrow Films before, but their release of Spider Baby is another wonderful Blu-ray package. The picture quality has been remastered, with it's stark black and white cinematography looking simply beautiful. There's a feature length commentary from Jack Hill and Sid Haig, as well as Hill's 1960 short film The Host (also starring Haig) included here as well. There's a panel discussion on the film from 2012, a rarely seen alternate opening sequence, new interviews, video of Hill revisiting the old house the movie was filmed in, and the typical collectors booklet that all Arrow releases include, among other features packed in here as well.

Like I said before, Spider Baby is a supremely underrated exploitation/horror film from an era where films like this were rarely seen. This release of it from Arrow Films is a must have for collectors and aficionados of this type of wonderful trash. Do yourself a favor, pick it up...even if you've never seen it. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

In Praise of Grindhouse Releasing

By Nick Durham

grindhouse releasing

One thing that horror fans have over fans of nearly any other film genre is the quality of the physical media release, in this case Blu-ray and DVD. You know The Criterion Collection? That line of films that feature a bevy of special features and picture restoration and are kind of pricey? Criterion features plenty of films that are worth your time (and somehow Michael Bay's Armageddon...I'm dead fucking serious) and even has a few surprising horror entries in their lineup as well (Videodrome, Naked Lunch, Don't Look Now). That being said, aside from maybe Arrow Films and Scream Factory to a lesser extent, no one delivers in terms of deluxe horror and genre releases like Grindhouse Releasing.

Co-founded by film editor Bob Murawski and the late Sage (son of Sylvester) Stallone, Grindhouse Releasing has picked up and distributed some super rare or in some cases never before seen films for small theatrical releases and Blu-ray/DVD releases as well. These range from grindhouse cinema classics like Cannibal Holocaust and The Beyond to shit you've never heard of like The Swimmer and Gone with the Pope. There're other films in their lineup (not all horror either), some which may sound familiar to you, including Cannibal Ferox, Massacre Mafia Style, Corruption, An American Hippie in Israel, The Big Gundown, Pieces, Cat in the Brain, and I Drink Your Blood. Hell of a lineup right?

I had mentioned Arrow Films and Scream Factory earlier. While both those labels are favorites of mine and offer some quality releases, a majority of the films featured on either label have something in common: we've heard of most of them at the very least. That's not the case with a majority of Grindhouse's lineup. While yes, we've all heard of Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and The Beyond; is there anyone that remembered Corruption? Hell, I love Peter Cushing and I never even heard of it let alone knew of its existence. Imagine the shock on my face when I realized one of the classiest men in horror starred in a film where he was killing young women to supply his wife what she needed to maintain her appearance, and that there were tits aplenty. It's things like that that really separate Grindhouse Releasing from the rest of the pack.

I could go on and on about Grindhouse Releasing, but I won't. Not because I don't want to, but only because they offer films that deserve your attention. The fact that they painstakingly restore and re-release these little known films for wide audiences today is a beautiful thing indeed. We should all take the time to love and appreciate what they've done not only for horror fans, but for the genre as a whole.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments