12.10.2017

Bad Movie Night Review: Mankillers

"Where 12 hot and hardened criminals train for a few weeks in the wilderness to take down a sex and drug trafficking rogue CIA agent dressed like they're heading to a Playboy photoshoot"

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

1987 was undoubtedly David A. Prior's most successful year in his decades long career. Prior, a low-budget B-Movie king, wrote and directed some of the most legendary Bad Movie Night classics ever made, and though he would continue to make films for a total of 32 years, he actually never got any better at it. But I'm glad he didn't, because that's also one of his films most endearing qualities, and partly why they're so great in the first place. They're bad, but in a very enjoyable way, with a handful being some of the most unintentionally hilarious movies ever made.

Which brings us back to 1987. In this year alone, Prior created 3 of his best cult classics; Deadly Prey, Killer Workout, and Mankillers. While Deadly Prey and Killer Workout have gone on to legendary cult status infamy, Mankillers is less well-known, which is criminal, and just as difficult to get. You see, none of these 3 films ever received a legitimate DVD release in the U.S. As far as I know, VHS was the only format you could find these on. And the VHS collectors market being the way it is, they're not cheap, with Deadly Prey pretty much being the Holy Grail and most sought-after tape for most collectors of these kinds of films. In 2015, Olive Films and Slasher Films teamed up to correct that mistake by releasing all 3 of these films, including the Deadly Prey sequel Deadliest Prey (which is great!!) on DVD "and" Blu-Ray for the very first time, making it a whole lot easier for fans to finally get their hands on these films for their collection, and for some, being introduced to these classics for the very first time. I finally added the Mankillers DVD to the collection, completing my David A. Prior/Olive-Slasher Films classics releases. So let's dig in.

When a rogue CIA agent (a hilarious William Zipp) has turned into a sex and drug trafficker, undercover agent Rachael McKenna (Lynda Aldon) is brought in to infiltrate his camp in the wilderness. To do so, she needs a squad of mercenaries. Her solution? Train a dozen of the hardest female criminals currently incarcerated to do the job, thus guaranteeing their freedom if they complete their mission. 

Mankillers was a blast, plain and simple. Much like his other 1987 efforts, Mankillers is filled with unintentional hilarity, gloriously 80's hot women wearing next to nothing, and a neverending onslaught of action and violence B-Movie-style. In short, Mankillers delivers the Bad Movie Night goods like a true champ. And what is is that makes it such a classic? Where do I start? It's literally a film about a dozen half naked women running around the woods shooting guns, kicking ass, spouting off ridiculous dialogue, chasing a cheesy looking mullet-wearing villain that looks to be in a constant angry roid-rage every second he's on screen and it's hilariously awesome. Every second of this film is oozing with 80's nostalgia and if you just love cheesy movies, then this one will satisfy that craving because it's nearly impossible for David A. Prior to make a film and have it "not" turn out cheesy. That's what makes them so special, and Mankillers isn't any different.

The whole premise of this film is absurd, but it's in it's dead-serious approach that sells it, even though it's funny as hell by accident. Prior has never been one to write believable dialogue, or even characters for that matter, but that's not what you go into these movies for in the first place, because if you are, you're looking in the wrong places. Prior has maintained a sort of cult status credibility for 3 decades writing, directing and producing low-budget trash, usually with his brother Ted Prior starring, that dig into every genre. The quality of these films vary greatly, and to be honest, most of them are terrible, but early in his career he was knocking classics out left and right. Mankillers deserves equal celebration alongside Deadly Prey and Killer Workout, because it's just as good and just as entertaining. Here's to hoping that Mankillers gets the credit it deserves as a Bad Movie Night masterpiece. If you haven't seen it yet, then you need to fix that pronto. Lucky for you, it's a whole lot easier now.

The Olive/Slasher Films DVD and Blu-Ray Release:

The Olive/Slasher films DVD release from 2015 offers a decent presentation. Being that this film was shot on film and ultra-low-budget, the quality is already going to be low. And it's not sourced from an HD master. Using the various materials and film elements available to them, namely the PAL Beta SP, they were able to offer a transfer that is a step above VHS, but still not DVD quality. But that's okay. The film isn't that kind of film that needs that type of transfer. In fact, the occasional scratchiness and scene jumping from the bad source material only adds to it's character. It's also in full frame, just so your aware. I don't think we'll ever see any of Prior's early films in any other format than full frame to be honest, because I don't think they exist.

Sadly, there are no special features included other than the trailer (which is hilarious because they give you virtually the entire film in that trailer, spoiling any of the surprises that are to come if you actually watched the film), and a photo still gallery. Still, the DVD, or Blu-Ray (if you go with that), is cheap and it's a must-have for your Bad Movie Night collection. No question.

Mankillers is available on a number of online retailers, where the DVD and Blu-Ray goes for roughly around $15, which is really a great price. The DVD will usually run a bit cheaper than the Blu, and truthfully, it's not the kind of film that begs to be seen in Blu, given the source material isn't all that great to begin with. So the DVD will suffice if you're looking to save a few bucks. Whichever way you do choose to go, just grab it, invite a few buddy's over and enjoy the absurdity. It's glorious.

12.08.2017

Blu-Ray Review: The Man From Hong Kong (Umbrella Ent.)

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

"An Aussie-style James Bond clone that mixes Kung Fu, car chases, death-defying stunts and an almost absurd plot that balances the fine line between camp and serious hardcore action gracefully for a killer of a good time"

This is a film I only became aware of after seeing the excellent documentary "Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!", which focuses entirely on......you guessed it, Ozploitation (exploitation in Australia), and typically centers on films from the 70's and 80's. When this was featured on that excellent doc, I was immediately intrigued. It looked like loads of fun, and with legendary cult filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith at the helm, I was sold. Unfortunately, this was a hard film to find here in the United States. In fact, I'm not even sure if it was officially released here on any format because I've never seen one. Whats more, it "still" doesn't have a release here in the states to this day. Lucky for us, the excellent team over at Umbrella Entertainment released this as a Region-Free Blu-Ray back in March of 2016 for a killer price. So let's dig in.

SYNOPSIS:
The Far East picks a fight Down Under in The Man From Hong Kong, a cult martial arts action extravaganza from Ozploitation legend Brian Trenchard-Smith (Dead End Drive-InTurkey Shoot and BMX Bandits).
When Hong Kong Inspector Fang Sing Leng (Jimmy Wang Yu,Master of the Flying Guillotine) travels to Sydney to interview drug trafficker Win Chan (martial arts star and director Sammo Hung) he is flung into an international investigation destined to test his mettle and might.
Teaming up with Aussie Detectives Gross (Hugh Keays-ByrneMad Max, Fury Road) and Taylor (Roger WardTurkey Shoot), Fang soon discovers a cunning connection between Win Chan's drug imports and larger-than-life local gangster Jack Wilton (George Lazenby, James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service).
Determined to get his man, Fang will stop at nothing – bringing all manner of mayhem to the streets in a full-on fist fighting spectacle of explosive proportions.
While I had a feeling just based on the scenes shown in that aforementioned documentary that this was going to be fun, I don't think I was prepared for just how fun and how badass this would ultimately be. The film, a blast from start to finish, was full of surprises, the least not being that legendary Hong Kong god Sammo Hung co-starred in this. He was excellent, and while the film's main star Jimmy Wang Yu, does a decent (if a bit forgettable) job in the lead, it's really the one and only George Lazenby (On Her Majestry's Secret Service, Never Too Young To Die) who steals the show, here playing the villain, local gangster Jack Wilton. Not to say the film is perfect, because it's not. It's chock-full of very un-PC stereotypes, racial slurs and racial jokes (the 70's were certainly a different time). I think one of the most hilarious WTF? elements has to be where Wilton (Lazenby) is actually the kung fu instructor at an Australian martial arts school, where quite shockingly, all of his students are actually Asian. Huh? 

The rest of the cast is filled with Aussie regulars, but it's the lead that not surprisingly stands out. Not because he's great, but because he just doesn't come across as the leading action hero type and largely out of his element. I know that's the storyline, but one can't help but feel that real life mirrors art in this instance. He's small, and though he's clearly speaking English, he's been hilariously dubbed. He's also incredibly smug, uncharismatic and highly arrogant. I'm not sure if that was entirely written down in his description on page, but based on the reports of his behavior on set, I'll go out on a limb and assume that some of that was Jimmy just being himself.

One of the film's finest elements is it's strong use of surprisingly brutal and death-defying stuntwork. Seriously, even in some of the fight sequences I found myself flinching from time to time. Even with the fight scenes, they go on and on for so long you almost forget that there's supposed to be a movie in here somewhere. Hey, I'm not complaining though, because the insanely long and brutal fight sequences are outstanding. But it's in the many chase sequences, some on foot and some with cars, that really blow your mind and make it as memorable as it is. The many uncomfortable racial slurs aside, the plethora of stuntwork, the killer 70's fashions and George Lazenby being so over the top as the main villain makes this one helluva fun ride and well worth seeking out. This is a classic by every definition. 

JUST THE DISC:

Thankfully, this comes in it's original widescreen aspect ratio, and believe me, writer/director Brian Trenchard-Smith makes full use of this extreme widescreen presentation. Trenchard-Smith has always been pretty hit or miss for me, and I don't always like some of his stuff, but I can honestly say this is one of his hands-down one of his best films.

Umbrella did a fantastic job with the new 4K transfer. It's vibrant technicolor pallet will melt your cornea's and if you dig retro visuals, then you'll just love the look of The Man From Hong Kong, and Umbrella's new restoration blows any previous release out of the water. It's literally the best you'll see of this film.

Now, to make this release an even sweeter deal, 5 of Brian Trenchard-Smith's other films are also included in the Special Features section and include Death Cheaters (1974), Stunt Rock (1979), Kung Fu Killers (1974 TV Documentary), Dangerfreaks (1989 Documentary) and The Stuntmen (Documentary). So that's 6 of his films on this one disc!

THE SPECS:
- Newly remastered 1080p HD 4K restoration
- Audio commentary by Brian Trenchard-Smith, Hugh Keay-Byrne and legendary stuntman Grand Page
- The Making of The Man From Hong Kong
- Newsreel Footage
- Uncut Not Quite Hollywood interviews with cast members George Lazenby, Rebecca Gilling and Roger Ward, writer/director Brian Trenchard-Smith, Executive Producer David Hannay and Second Unit Cameraman John Seale. 
-Trailers from Hell: Brian Trenchard-Smith discusses The Man From Hong Kong
- HD Theatrical Trailer
- Alternative Trailer
- Brian Trenchard-Smith's "The Headsman's Daughter" book trailer

PLUS:
- Deathcheaters with audio commentary by Trenchard-Smith, Richard Brennan & Margaret Gerard
- Stunt Rock with audio commentary by Trenchard-Smith, Grant Page & Margaret Gerard, promo reel and theatrical trailer
- Kung Fu Killers
- Dangergreaks with theatrical trailer
- The Stuntmen





The Man From Hong Kong comes packed to the gills with special features and extra content and is available on both Region-FREE DVD and Blu-Ray at a really great price via Umbrella Entertainment. You can order directly from their website HERE or any number of online retailers. 

12.04.2017

Hilariously Honest Trailer For The Room

Before you head into theaters this weekend to check out James Franco's The Disaster Artist, which is based on the book of the same name written by Greg Sestero, who starred as Mark in the legendary Bad Movie Night masterpiece The Room, be sure to revisit that epic film by watching this hilariously honest trailer for Tommy Wiseau's The Room. Even though I've seen The Room, this trailer still made me crack up throughout the entire 5 minute running time. It's hilarious!

The Disaster Artist is a behind the scenes look at the making of The Room, with James Franco both directing and starring as Tommy Wiseau in a truly meta-style reality whereTommy Wiseau both wrote, starred and directed The Room, and James Franco both starring and directing a film about a guy who both starred and directed a previous film.

The Disaster Artist hits theaters on December 8th, 2017



By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

12.03.2017

Bu-Ray Review: Blood Feast (Arrow Video)

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

"I want something unusual. Something totally different"

Those are the words, spoken by a customer, that kickstart the killers savage killing spree in order to take fresh body parts from unsuspecting female victims to use for an Egyptian Cult Ritual, in the hopes that he can resurrect the Egyptian Goddess Ishtar. And so begins Herschel Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast.

Blood Feast is a film that needs no introduction. Known as the first slasher, as the Godfather of Gore H.G. Lewis so graciously states in his introduction to the film, it's legendary status continues to grow and remains one of the first cult classics ever made. Very few films can carry that distinction, and even fewer people can legitimately boast about being the first this or that, but H.G. Lewis can proudly, because it's true.

I had actually never seen Blood Feast until now. Sure I had various VHS releases throughout the years because no collection or true horror addict would be complete without one, but I just never got around to it. This new transfer courtesy of Arrow Films was just the thing I needed to finally experience the legend that is Blood Feast, in all it's 1080p glory. So let's dig in.

I gotta say, Blood Feast was not at all what I was expecting, and that's just one of it's many strengths. I had always assumed it was somehow associated with the grindhouse genre, but I was completely wrong. I had this image in my head of the film looking dirty, grimy, dark and nasty, but it couldn't be any more opposite. Instead, it's a surprisingly retro looking candy-colored and unintentionally campy melodramatic horror film that surprised me on every level; the least not being how much fun it was and how much I ultimately enjoyed it. While there is plenty of gore, some that still looks shocking, and some that is a bit goofy, it's all of the moments in between that makes it worth watching. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a soap opera, complete with hammy acting and amateur performances, which was great. Other times it felt like a detective film, with two detectives trying to solve the series of murders using only their wits and nothing else. Then there's the slasher aspect (the heart of the film), which also works really well, if a bit amateurish. For all of H.G. Lewis's inept ability behind the camera, the rest of the film makes up for it in spades in candy colored gore and 60's nostalgia.

Since having seen this, I decided to finally dig out the other versions I had in my collection to compare, namely the Something Weird Video VHS release and one of many DVD releases and was shocked to find how muted and terrible the transfers were. You get no hint of correct color presentation at all and it's such a shame, because the film is an intense explosion of color. When it comes to an accurate presentation, this Arrow Video transfer just can't be beat.

Just The Disc

Arrow Films delivers yet another knockout release here. The technicolor of the 60's is brought to exquisite life in what will be the definite Blu Ray to own of this film, hands-down. The image is insanely sharp, the bright red, green and blue colors of the 60's pop loudly. The audio is strong, with the exemption of a few moments where H.G. Lewis and his sound department clearly didn't do their jobs correctly in recording audio from afar, with the actors back facing the camera. 


The filmography of late movie maverick Herschell Gordon Lewis brims with the mad, macabre, and just downright bizarre. But perhaps the most unhinged of all his directorial efforts, and certainly the most influential, must surely be his original gore-fest Blood Feast – the first ever splatter movie.
Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients – the body parts of nubile young women!
Featuring a host of stomach-churning gore gags including the infamous tongue sequence and much more nastiness besides, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast more than lives up to its name and remains essential viewing for any self-respecting splatter fan.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Scum of the Earth - Herschelll Gordon Lewis' 1963 feature
  • Blood Perspectives - Filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy and Rodney Ascher on Blood Feast
  • Herschell's History - Archival interview in which director Herschell Gordon Lewis discusses his entry into the film industry
  • How Herschell Found his Niche - A new interview with Lewis discussing his early work
  • Archival interview with Lewis and David F. Friedman
  • Carving Magic - Vintage short film from 1959 featuring Blood Feast Actor Bill Kerwin
  • Outtakes
  • Alternate "clean" scenes from Scum of the Earth
  • Promo gallery featuring trailers and more
  • Feature length commentary featuring Lewis and David F. Friedman moderated by Mike Grady
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil

Blood Feast was released this past October in a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack that comes Region-Free, in widescreen and with a host of fun extra's, including another H.G. Lewis classic, Scum of the Earth. "Blood Perspectives" is a thoroughly enjoyable interview where filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy and Rodney Ascher discuss the cult status of Blood Feast and how it's impacted the horror genre. "How Herschell Found his Niche" is also an informative interview with Lewis himself discussing how he started in the business (he was formerly an English teacher) and his transition to filmmaking and how he found his way in a sea of competition. Lewis is so kind, so warm and so endearing in his interviews that it's shocking that this is the same guy who makes some of the most legendary gory films ever made. You would never put two and two together, but I think that's what makes him such a fascinating individual. The extra features are loaded here, and you'll have a good time digging through all of them.

Pick up your copy of Arrow Video's Blood Feast from a number of online retailers today!

12.02.2017

Documentary Spotlight: Obey Giant

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

Obey Giant is a Hulu Original Documentary that focuses on legendary street/graffiti artist Shepard Fairey. Like a lot of people, Shepard Fairey was a name I only became aware of because of his "Obey" art, highly influenced by John Carpenter's seminal classic They Live. Now, I wasn't entirely 100% sure that this was the case, but with something as strong as the word "Obey", and considering how big that word was in the film's narrative, I just assumed, and as time went on, it was discovered to be true. Then when Fairey designed a They Live poster for Mondo back in 2011, I immediately became a fan of his. I was hooked. Sadly, like most of their posters and like all of Fairey's art, it immediately sold out within seconds and though I've spent years trying to acquire one for myself, it's been a futile effort. 

Since then, Fairey has become one of the biggest names in the graffiti/street art scene, as well as in the art world in general. His work can be found all over the planet, and his status would grow with insurmountable force when he designed and created the "HOPE" campaign poster for Obama during his presidential run. This fascinating and highly insightful documentary follows Fairey from his well-to-do upbringing to his rise in the street art scene (which would also give him his first taste of dealing with law enforcement), to his dominance as one of the biggest up-and-coming artists to his Obama campaign poster, which would ultimately bring him some major financial and legal trouble that would prove to be the darkest period in his life. 



I have to say, this engrossing documentary, courtesy of Hulu Plus, is one helluva roller-coaster of a ride. Never dull, totally engaging and surprisingly fun right from it's opening credits, we're taken on a tour of Shepard's life that somehow manages to also touch on the punk and skate scene of the 80's, which was the most influential period on his life. And it's revelations like this that make this documentary so fascinating and highly entertaining. Through this guided tour, poignantly narrated by Shepard Fairey himself, we're given a glimpse into what motivates him, his art, his life, and what he hopes to gain from it, as well as his passion for helping causes he believes in. If you're a fan of art, or even just a fan of good documentaries, you don't want to miss this one. 

11.30.2017

The Dark Half Film Review; George A. Romero Adapts Stephen King's Novel In This Surprisingly Solid 90's Thriller






By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

When George A. Romero and Stephen King collaborated for the very first time with Creepshow in 1982, it was a huge hit. In fact, it was bigger than any of them could have imagined and who's legacy has only grown more and more with each passing year. And despite numerous attempts to cash in with inferior sequels and similar themed films, it still remains one of the very best horror anthologies ever made. 11 years later (technically 9 as the film was made in '91 but held in limbo for 2 years due to Orion's bankruptcy problems) their talents would converge once again, only this time in a different capacity with Romero adapting one of King's books personally instead of having King write the screenplay. I'd actually been wanting to revisit this one for some time now, and as luck would have it, Hulu currently offers it as part of their horror lineup. So let's dig in.

Thad Beaumont is a novelist and lecturer who writes under the pseudonym of George Stark. When a series of murders aimed at disrupting Thad's life begin pointing to Thad, it becomes more and more apparent that Thad's alter ego George Stark has manifested into a real breathing human being whose goal is to force Thad to continue writing George Stark novels after Thad recently retired that series of books. George needs these books to continue to stay alive and Thad is the only one who can do that. 

I'll be honest. Romero is a hit or miss director for me. I don't always enjoy the films he makes, and his quality varies greatly from picture to picture. For every Creepshow, Day of the Dead and Season of the Witch (movies I love), there are Knightriders, Martin and Monkey Shines (movies I don't care for). Even in his zombie franchise, a genre he single-handedly created, his "Dead" films became less and less enjoyable. But still, while his films may not always be solid, or good for that matter, he does turn out a winner every once in a while. Which brings me to The Dark Half, a film I would definitely consider a winner for Romero.


While not a terribly exciting film, and admittedly a bit bizarre, it's enough of a well-made slow-burn thriller that delivers solid entertainment from every angle; not the least bit being Romero's deft touch behind the camera, which was a pleasant surprise considering his previous solo directing credit was Monkey Shines in 1988, and I just did not like that film at all. Monkey Shines didn't look or feel like a George Romero film, and that's probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed The Dark Half so much, because this one did. His stellar visual work here is on par with his work in Day of the Dead and I loved it, making it one of his most visually impressive films. It's constant tone of dread, right from it's very opening sequence, keeps the film grounded in a darkly unnerving ambiance that plays with your intuitions. It rarely ever goes the way you expect it to, and that's one of it's most endearing qualities.

Surprisingly, The Dark Half didn't connect with audiences at all, bombing at the box office and disappearing as quickly as it arrived. And it would be another 7 years before Romero would return to direct with 2000's Bruiser before he dove back into his zombie franchise with Land, Diary and Survival of the Dead before calling it quits in 2009. It's a shame really, because I think if people just gave it a chance, they might actually appreciate The Dark Half more today than when it first arrived. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it's not overtly a "George A. Romero" film in the traditional sense. His name isn't plastered all over the thing like it normally would. Instead, it's more closely associated with Stephen King's name since he wrote the novel that Romero adapted. Still, for me personally, it was a far better film than I anticipated going in and I enjoyed every second of it. Romero's stellar camera work, the solid cast, the surprisingly great and effective effects work (seriously, some of it will surprise you), and it's consistent unrelenting dark tone keeps everything in check. The Dark Half isn't a masterwork, but it's certainly one of the better horror/thriller's to come out of the 90's, and one of Romero's best films in his decades long career. Give it a shot.


11.28.2017

Blu-Ray Review: Pulp (Arrow Video)


By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

A year after writer/director Mike Hodges and Michael Caine made the genre-defining Get Carter in 1971, they re-teamed for a long-forgotten slice of Pulp Fiction titled Pulp. While this film didn't get quite the same response that Get Carter did, it's not any less entertaining either. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that audiences didn't quite know what to make of it at first. While Get Carter is a gritty, hard-edged revenge thriller, Pulp takes a complete 180 on similar material, giving it a more light-hearted approach, complete with clever dialogue, sight-gags and a strong dry wit humor that might not connect with everyone. And to be honest, you really have to know what type of film you're getting into to truly enjoy it. But make no mistake, it's a highly enjoyable slice of pulp fiction if you can accept it for what it is. So let's dig in.

Michael Caine stars as Mickey King, a sleazy pulp novelist who goes by various pseudonyms having written such novels as My Gun is Long and The Organ Grinder. When he's hired by former movie star Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), who was big in gangster flicks for a time, to ghost-write his autobiography, King is sucked into Gilbert's real-life gangster connections and all the trouble that comes along with it. King soon discovers that he signed on for more than he bargained for. 

Caine plays Michael King with such a large air of sarcastic and somewhat arrogant confidence that it's hard to tell whether you like him or not. While he is originally hired to pen a novel, an autobiography of a former aging movie star, he ultimately becomes a sleuth as he gets caught up in numerous assassination attempts and mistaken identity as he tries to figure out who is trying to kill him and why. There's a colorful cast of characters from all over the world, including the gorgeous Nadia Cassini, who acts as a sort of assistant to the bullishly rude and narcissistic former Hollywood star Preston Gilbert. But the real standout is hands-down Mickey Rooney as the aging former movie star. He's so over the top, surprisingly brutish in his small size, and awkwardly hilarious all at the same time that he steals the show every second he's on screen.

Ultimately, though a bit uneven at times, this early 70's British whodunit is a clever, sometimes unconventional, gangster/thriller/comedy/drama/crime caper that throws a lot of visual narrative at you courtesy of writer/director Mike Hodges (Flash Gordon) strong compositions making full use of it's 70's aesthetic. The humor doesn't always land, but the performances, tight dialogue (Caine narrates the film as well in a somewhat gumshoe way) and constant location changes make it an entertaining endeavor.

Just The Disc

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, supervised and approved by director of photography Ousama Rawi, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 1.0 mono sound
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Brand-new interview with writer-director Mike Hodges
  • Brand-new interview with director of photography Ousama Rawi
  • Brand-new interview with assistant director John Glen
  • Brand-new interview with Tony Klinger, son of producer Michael Klinger
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh

Arrow did an excellent job on this transfer, giving it a brand new 2K scan from the original film elements, supervised by the film's Director of Photography Ousama Rawi. The bright bold colors of the early 70's time period pop in every single frame and it's a strikingly retro piece of pulp filmmaking. Visually, it's about as vibrant as it could possibly get and it looks amazing. The audio is strong (1.0 mono) as well, and it needs to be since Caine is narrating the entire movie. For the hard of hearing or deaf, there are also English (optional) subtitles. Really, the picture and sound are superb from a technical standpoint.

If you're a fan of the film, you'll also want to be sure to dig into the brand new interviews with writer/director Mike Hodges, DoP Ousama Rawi and assistant director John Glen. Very insightful and entertaining. The extra's are rounded out with the original theatrical trailer and newly commissioned cover art by Nathanael Marsh.

Pulp hit's the U.S. on Dec. 12th

If you would like me to review a Blu-Ray release or film, please feel free to contact me at jasonisageek@yahoo.com

11.26.2017

Bad Movie Night: Beyond The Seventh Door

"Spouting his lines in a sometimes incomprehensible Eastern European accent and displaying a complete disregard for the craft of acting, Rockwood comes off completely uncomfortable and twitchy on camera, struggling to portray the (few) emotions demanded by the script and making nonsensical improvisations where required" 
- Canuxploitation.com

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

This highly obscure 80's Canadian thriller comes to us courtesy of best-selling religious thriller author B.D. Benedikt, here making his feature film directing debut. Long forgotten and extremely hard to find on VHS (it's only format until now), this 30 year old obscurity finally see's the light of day thanks to Intervision Picture Corps., which was just released on DVD for the very first time. I love bad flicks, which is surprising that I never even heard of this one until now. Doing some random internet surfing recently I came across a review on Bloody Disgusting that stated that if you like The Room and Dangerous Men, then you're sure to like this one. That's all I needed to hear. I was sold.

Lazar Rockwood (best name ever!) plays Boris, a thief who has recently gotten out of prison. He convinces he ex-girlfriend to help him steal from her current employer, a rich businessman who lives in a castle. Once they infiltrate the castle, they soon discover that the castle has been rigged with a series of booby traps and riddles that they must solve to escape each death-defying trap and move onto the next one to stay alive, culminating with.....The Seventh Door!

I loved this movie. It's a totally bizarre slice of cult cinema that is just as much baffling as it is entertaining. And it's not entertaining in the way you would expect. While it is indeed a bad movie, it doesn't quite reach the level of unintentionally hilarious classics such as The Room or Miami Connection. Instead, the real draw is the lead, Yugoslavian actor Lazar Rockwood who steals the show from the moment he first appears on screen. You just can't take your eyes off of him. He's such a genuinely unique looking man who delivers one of the most entertainingly awful performances in recent memory. So mesmerized was I by his performance that I had to do some research on him afterwards and was shocked to discover that the guy is still acting today, having appeared in over 30 roles, even as a regular on the Witchblade TV series back in 2001. But it all started with this film, his first starring role, which he begged his friend B.D. Benedikt to write and direct just for him. Make no mistake. Lazar Rockwood is a name you won't soon forget.

One of this films many attractive qualities is that despite it's lack of any sort of budget, there are some things that work surprisingly well. For starters, the score by Michael Clive, Brock Fricker and Philip Strong is pretty damn fantastic. While it's not a whole lot of music, mainly just reusing the same theme over and over, it's really good. As much as I loved it though, I doubt there's enough music to warrant a soundtrack, as cool as that would still be anyway. Another surprisingly solid element is in the booby-traps set and the riddles they must figure out in order to escape. I'll give Benedikt props for being creative with the traps. While he may not the best writer of natural dialogue, he does come up with some inventive gimmicks that made me feel like this was almost a prequel to the Saw franchise. Mind you, that's not to mean in gore content, because there is none, but in the riddles and traps. Not that it's mind-blowing ingenuity or anything, but for a no-budget flick shot almost entirely in underground rooms and vaults, it's somewhat impressive.....considering.

Stars Lazar Rockwood and Bonnie Beck behind the scenes photo


Despite all of these things, it's really Lazar's performance that keeps you invested. His delivery is a sight to behold. It's too painfully obvious that he is not actor, yet he tries so hard in the least convincing way possible. His heavy accent ever present, he struggles through his dialogue and delivery in the most hilarious and fascinating way. His complete lack of chemistry with his co-star, Bonnie Beck, who portrays his ex-girlfriend, is as much hilarious as it is awkwardly uncomfortable. His constant chain-smoking (literally 2 drags before he puts it out), loud wet-lip-smacking sounds, and constant body-twitching are characters unto themselves. Really, you have to see it to believe it. His performance alone makes this experience almost amazing.

Beyond the Seventh Door is a completely absurd and ridiculously constructed bizarre set of sequences that make little common sense and play out a bit too long to stretch out it's short 77 minute run-time. But it's because of all of it's inept qualities, unusual sensibilities, cringe-inducing chemistry between the two leads, hilarious dialogue and Lazar Rockwood's totally bizarre performance that nearly puts Tommy Wiseau to shame that make it totally a trip worth taking. Shut off your brain and enjoy the ride. You'll be glad you did.

JUST THE DISC

Intervision Picture Corp. did a good job on this release. Considering it's never seen the light of day outside of it's mega-rare release on VHS in the mid 80's, it's likely the best we'll ever get. It's not necessarily top of the line DVD quality, but I'm almost certain that they didn't have the best resources to work with considering it was shot on low-grade film 30 years ago. It is however, a far better looking transfer than it's original VHS presentation, even if it is still in a 1:33.1 full frame aspect ratio. The sound is surprisingly good, with the score being a lot louder than the dialogue.

Special Features include:

- An audio commentary by writer/director B.D. Benedikt and star Lazar Rockwood, moderated by Canuxploitation's Paul Corupe. 
- "Beyond" Beyond the 7th Door: A fascinating new featurette with new interviews of B.D. Benedikt, star Lazar Rockwood and Canuxploitation's Paul Corupe.
- "The King of Cayenne": An appreciation of legendary Toronto eccentric Ben Kerr.

PLEASE take the time to watch the featurette "Beyond" Beyond the 7th Door. In it we follow Benedikt, who apparently works in a movie theater now cleaning up the popcorn from the seats and installing new films into the projection machine. Highly eccentric, he discusses what led him to make this legendary Canadian classic as well as eventually becoming a best selling author in the religious thriller category. BUT, the highlight is hands-down Lazar Rockwood's interview, where he confusingly attempts to teach the art of acting to the cameraman by explaining that observing a cat watching a bird will teach you all you need to know. Only in the most bizarre and long-handed way possible. It's a true gem of a moment and you really need to see it to believe it. Ultimately you walk away with the notion that these two guys are truly a bit crazy in real life as well, not just in how they make movies.

Beyond the 7th Door is a MUST BUY if you're a fan of Bad Movie Night. No question. And as luck would have it, it's insanely cheap right now on Amazon for just $11.99. Buy it. Buy it nooow!!!

Netflix Recommendation: Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

"Universal didn't want the footage we filmed behind the scenes to surface so that people wouldn't think I was an asshole "
- Jim Carrey

By: Jason E. (robotGEEK)

I don't know if it's just me, but Netflix doesn't really seem to be much of a movie channel for me anymore. It just feels like all I ever watch are documentaries, original series and comic book shows, and that their movie selection is becoming less and less interesting. Good thing their documentaries are good, such as this engrossing behind the scenes look at Jim Carrey's full-on embodiment of the late-great comic Andy Kaufman, whom he portrayed for the Milos Foreman biopic Man on the Moon back in 1999. There were reports at the time of Carrey's bizarre behavior on set, taking on the persona of Andy in nearly every aspect, never breaking character. But oddly enough, the talking never got above a whisper and eventually went away. Man on the Moon wouldn't become the blockbuster they had all hoped, especially when you take into account it's 82 million dollar pricetag, but Carrey would walk away with a Golden Globe award for best actor.

Documentary filmmaker Chris Smith (American Movie) sits down with Carrey for a deeply personal discussion about his time making Man on the Moon and Andy Kaufman. Smith has also been able to cull together backstage behind-the-scenes footage that Universal was not willing to release for the last 20 years for fear of it hurting the film's chances at the box office and awards season. You see, Jim Carrey's behavior was so obnoxious and so bizarre that they didn't want the public to think he was an asshole. He clearly was an asshole on set, but Carrey explains that it was because he was being Andy Kaufman every second of the day. Every single thing he did he would ask himself "how would Andy do it? Or how far would Andy go with this?". Could this behavior result in physical harm? You betcha. But that's what makes this so fascinating. The moment Carrey first stepped on set, he stopped being Jim Carrey and he was now Andy Kaufman, and anything that went along with that. Some of it annoying, some of it brave, some of it bizarre, but all of it is fascinating.



There's no doubt Jim Carrey is a comic genius. Here, maybe even for the first time, he discusses what drove him so passionately to pursue comedy in the first place, his epic turn to superstardom, the effect his father had on his life, and his identity crisis while playing Kaufman, all in a very zen-like demeanor that is unlike the Jim Carrey we've grown accustomed to. But that should be no surprise really. Carrey has largely remained out of the public eye for years, only appearing in minor roles or shorts, and devoting his life to his new passion...art. And much like he was as a comedian, he's also quite a brilliant artist. But he's also suffered personal tragedy, which isn't mentioned here, but if you're aware of it, gives you some better insight into who he's become lately. He doesn't headline films anymore, because he doesn't have to. He's content appearing in little projects (like his role as The Hermit in The Bad Batch), or as a detective in the Polish thriller True Crimes (1996). If he ever pops up in anything major these days, it's usually a big surprise. He's become a different person and listening to him discuss his life in a very calm tone, as if enlightened, is fascinating. His take on the whole experience of making that film and the impact it had on his life, his mental state and the Andy Kaufman legacy is brilliantly captured in this engrossing documentary. A. Must. See.