Quick Shot: The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Directed by: Rodrigo Gudino
Category: Horror

So you're probably wondering, "What the hell is this?". I'll be honest, I'd never heard of it either, and would randomly come across this on Netflix as I was browsing. I still check out my local video stores selection as well from time to time, and never saw this there either. And I know, that cover does nothing for you. I'm in the same boat man. Come on, it just looks like another low budget DTV horror flick. What can you gauge by that cover art? Nothing really. But guess what? It's actually pretty damn good.

My girlfriend put this one on the other day because she had heard about it in a couple of other sites. Basically saying it's a good DTV horror flick. And while I sat down to watch it I noticed immediately this has a much better quality than you'd expect it to have. Tight fluid camerawork with a sense of style (for reals), a constant spooky factor and solid performances immediately make this one a standout. But here's the funny thing. There's hardly any dialogue or even any actors other than the lead for about 90% of the film. It's a very simple yet effective little film that looks good.

Basic story is that this guy goes to this big old house that he grew up in after his mother passes away. He's there to collect everything and figure out what to do with it all. Immediately he starts seeing and hearing some strange things, even having hallucinations along the way, and he soon discovers this house is haunted by some presence. His deceased mother? He's not sure; but something. What he discovers painfully takes him all the way back to his childhood to overcome some demons of his own. 

 I thought it was pretty cool and flat out gutsy to have most of the film without dialogue. Some may not notice, but I did. Most of the film deals with him being alone in the house investigating the sounds and the creepy things hiding in the dark. So since he's almost always alone, he doesn't talk. Makes sense doesn't it? And though the main guy (Aaron Poole) ain't nothing to write home about, he was good and held his own considering the film is basically a solo act, which is all you can really ask for in these low budget films. But I'll give the guy some props though, he was good. The guy doesn't know how to dress for shit, but I'll blame that on the costume department. He just needs to do something about that ridiculous hair. Seriously. He also reminds me of an older chubbier version of Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad.

Here's a fun fact. The films writer/director is Rodrigo Gudino, founding editor and president of Rue Morgue Magazine; a great horror magazine. Though he's made a few well received shorts, this is his first feature film. So I'll give credit where credit is due; this guy's got a great eye and though a lot impressed me about this film, it's the visuals that hooked me in. He keeps the film at a constant steady pace, the effects to a minimum and the tone dark, gothic and gloomy. All the necessary ingredients for a good haunted house flick. He's got a talent for camerawork. I liked that he didn't revert to the shaky-cam method at all. It's all fluid and steady with a lot of good tracking shots that work exceptionally well. Good job my man. I'm excited to see what he comes up with next and where he goes in his filmmaking career.

Good flick overall. I'm not saying to run out and grab it or anything, but if you find yourself browsing Netflix and can't find anything to watch and could use a decent haunted house flick, this will certainly fill the bill.

Review: John Carpenter's Christine

Directed by: John Carpenter
Category: Horror

John Carpenter's Christine was released 30 years ago; and it's taken me 30 years to finally sit down and watch it. No real reason why I suppose. It's just always been one of those films that always seemed to pass me by because a movie about a killer car never really appealed to me. Not my younger self anyway. But I'm glad I held off on watching this for so long because seeing it the other night, I knew that I would not or could not appreciate it the way I do now. I probably would have thought it was boring, being the dumbass that I was.

I should mention that when I finally sat down to see this, I was having a particularly bad weekend. But you know what? There's nothing like a great film from a master craftsman to brighten your mood. Especially when it's John Carpenter, adapting a Stephen King book, about a sentient car, that takes place in 1979. Awesome.

I had been reading up on Carpenter and his filmography from a Fangoria tribue issue I got recently and as I was reading it, it occurred to me that I have yet to see everything he's ever done. I guess I've always known that, but it just felt so wrong as I read further and further into his filmography and I immediately set out to visit the films I never got around to seeing, and revisiting the ones I only saw once and don't really remember too much of........starting with Christine.

So as you can already tell, I love this film. So I'm just gonna jizz all over it right now. This is probably one of the best films I've seen in a very long time. I see a shit-ton of films, and while I enjoy a good chunk of them for various reasons, this one is definitely one of the best for so many reasons. For me, Christine gets so much right in terms of how the film was made. I haven't read Stephen King's book, so this is all based purely off the film. But fucking John Carpenter is the man. I just love the way he shoots in extreme widescreen. Directors rarely ever went for the scope he did when framing his shots, and it's just so damn apparent right from the opening scene that you're in for something special; and boy are you ever.

Having always been a huge Carpenter fan, I've always considered a few of his films to be some of my all time favorites. They Live, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, all some of my favorite films. Holy shit, now that I think about it, I realize I haven't done reviews for most of them yet. But anyway, back to Christine. I can now add Christine to this list and hopefully a few more when I get through the rest of his stuff. And let me tell you, this goes up way on that list if I were to do a "Best of Carpenter", because it's that fuckin' good. The visuals, the pacing, the cast, the classic Carpenter score, the effects (!!!), hell even just the time it was made (1982) just all come together and work so perfectly and compliment the film in the best way possible.

First off, this film is visually stunning. Gorgeous!! It's not just the fact that he shoots in extreme widescreen, but it's in the way he frames them, where he puts the camera, where he moves it and more importantly, how he allows it to all play out properly. I never would have imagined that this little early 80's horror film could look as stunning as this, with some truly iconic scenes to boot. Like the sequence of Christine engulfed in flames chasing a sorry ass dude down a lone country road; aaaaaaamazing. And the "reconstruct" sequence. I almost flipped. And as if those sequences weren't cool enough, Carpenter's pitch perfect score only adds that extra layer of awesome.

Surprisingly, there wasn't much blood, if any, in here. There are some rad kills for sure, but coming off a year after The Thing, you sort of expect some gore. But that's not a bad thing. This is a different type of horror film and though it's not overindulgent in gore, it's still got some violence nicely done, even downright creative.

The cast is pretty spot on in this. They all do their jobs and come off as the stereotypes they were hired to portray. Nothing outstanding, but nothing subpar either. I think the real standout would be Keith Gordon, who plays Arnie, the guy who becomes obsessed with Christine. Now a successful film and television director, he started out acting and I'll always remember him as Rodney Dangerfield's son in Back to School. Yea, that guy. Here he does an awesome transformation from certified geek to dangerous psycho with the help of Christine. He doesn't overdo it, and convey's all the elements of both personalities note perfect that even when he's become a darker person, you still feel sorry for him.
And remember the main guy from another 80's classic My Science Project? John Stockwell. He's in this too as Arnie's best friend. Only this guy is actually a cool jock. How are they friends? I don't know; they just are. Believe it or not this guy is also a successful film and television director now as well, with his biggest claim to fame being Crazy/Beautiful and receiving accolades for that surfer movie Blue Crush; mainly for the stunning photography in that one. But wait! Everyone is great in this, with the veterans like Robert Prosky and Harry Dean Stanton bringing that extra spice to the table. The only thing I wish they had done was show more of a young and hot Kelly Preston. She literally shows up, teases you with her hotness, and then disappears. Bah!

I think it's time to wind things down and bring this to an end. Sorry for all the girly love for this thing. It was just exactly what I needed at just the right time to impress me the way that it did. I rented this since I wasn't sure if I was going to dig it or not, but I immediately got on eBay and picked myself up a copy because this has high rewatchability for me. Is it perfect? No. I think my main issue would be that in all honesty, while awesome and satisfying, it's not scary in the least. Was it supposed to be scary? That's open to debate, because it could very well just work as a straight up thriller. But I think it's always been marketed as a horror film soooo....
And Arnie's transformation from geek to hip, brooding and troubled soul who suddenly is able to get the hottest girl in school and happens literally from one scene to the next without any real progression or explanation. One day he's a nerd, the next a hip dude with the hottest girl and the coolest car.

The Special Edition DVD from 2004 is a solid release and the one I bought. It comes with 3 featurettes that get into every aspect of this film and it's production. Fascinating stuff!! I understand there was a Blu-ray release of this, but it was such a limited one that it literally sold out in hours of it's release and now I see them going for insane prices on eBay and Amazon. I think I'll stick with this DVD release. The picture quality and sound are great, and it's got a lot of special features. What more could you ask for?


Review: Man of Steel

Directed by: Zack Snyder
Category: Action

While I was initially excited to learn they were rebooting the Superman franchise after Bryan Singer's failed attempt years ago, once I saw the creative decisions being made and then finally seeing the trailers, I was less enthusiastic. Maybe that's why it took me this long to finally get to the theater to see it? As of this post, it's already been out 11 weeks, and it's taken me this long to get out there to finally see it.

Here's the thing; when Singer attempted to reboot the franchise with Superman Returns, he went about it the wrong way. It was too slow, way too melodramatic and there was hardly any action, for a Superman film anyway. I'll admit, the film looked beautiful. You can tell Singer put his heart and soul into every single frame. In fact, I'd have to say it's probably his most visually impressive film to date, but unfortunately it wasn't the type of Superman film we wanted. We wanted to see Supes kick some ass, not pine over his lost love (an annoying Lois Lane) and his son. And while we're at it, let's bitch about that bit of casting. Kate Bosworth was just all wrong as Lois Lane. And she played her like an annoying ice cold bitch. And that whole thing with her son was an interesting touch, but it seemed to piss a lot of people off. On the plus side though, I always felt Brandon Routh was pitch perfect as Clark Kent/Superman. I actually wished he had continued with that character. I thought he was great. Not sure why most others didn't feel the same. Was it because he resembled the late great Christopher Reeve too much??

So now back to Man of Steel. I don't like the design of the suit, so that just puts me off right away. And the teaser trailers they were showing one after another reminded us of another somber, brooding melodramatic Superman film again. I just kept thinking "Again?!". And the shaky-cam. I noticed a shitload of shaky-cam. So I was worried. It certainly didn't "look" like a Zack Snyder film. The same Snyder who meticulously shoots scenes to their most beautiful potential. Say what you like about his films, but the guy can shoot. Sure Sucker Punch was an unsatisfying and misguided mess, but holy shit there's some amazing shots in there. Some amazing imagery. But then they started rolling out endless trailers one after another; each showing a bit more action than the last and finally revealing he does in fact have a villain to fight in the form of Zod.

So what did I think? Right off the bat Man of Steel got everything right that Superman Returns got wrong. Right away you're thrown into some awesome action and destruction, only to have it one-uped repeatedly with every action set piece that follows. And man, when it gets to the third act, it's just insane. Like, almost too much. And they don't make us go through the history of how Clark Kent AKA Supes came to be. Instead they tell that part of the story through flashbacks (smart move) and instead reveal a lost Clark Kent learning where he came from and becoming who he was meant to be; only in a much faster beat. And that's one of the best things about this film. It never really slows down long enough to ever get bored. So much so that when it's finally over, you're exhausted. And really, that's the way to do it.

The Good:
The casting in this is top fuckin' notch. I'll be honest, I've known Henry Cavill from other stuff, but just couldn't picture him as either Clark Kent or Supes, but holy hell he was pretty damn outstanding. So it just goes to show you, don't judge a book by it's cover. Hear that Ben Affleck/Batman naysayers?!
And everyone else in here is just amazing. Really this is just a reminder as to why they're as badass as they are in what they do. It just seems so effortless, yet just inspired casting all around. Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Michael Shannon ripping it up as Zod, Christopher Meloni as Col. Hardy, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. I mean, the list just goes on and on and they were just perfect. I think my only hesitation is with Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I love her. I've always enjoyed her and think she's insanely hot. But I think it might take some time for her take on Lois to grow on me. Maybe it's just because Kate Bosworth just left a sour taste in my mouth or maybe because I'll never really be able to see anyone else play Lois other than Margot Kidder. I don't know. I've got problems. But Adams was fine and all, and HOT, but somehow I just didn't take to her character as much as I did the others.

The effects work is just unreal. I mean, it's just insane. I can't even imagine having to try and plan that shit out, and then to make it look so good and flawless. It's pretty spectacular from every angle in terms of the effects work.

Screenwriter David S. Goyer is slowly becoming the "it" guy for Superhero films. Sure not everything he writes is top notch; after all he did write the Nick Fury TV movie and some DTV stuff, but he's also responsible for some badass films such as Death Warrant, the Blade trilogy (among others), and along with Christopher Nolan, single-handedly reinventing the Batman franchise. He's got a knack for keeping the story running smoothly and also for keeping things fresh. Yea we all know the Superman story and have seen it done many, many times, but he surprisingly found a way to retell it without it seeming like a rehash.

The Bad:
The shaky-cam. I can't believe that's actually something that I'm complaining about in a Zack Snyder film because every one of his films have shown an even steady hand when it comes to filmmaking. In fact, he's one of the few left that I was always sure of that would never revert to that crappy style of camerawork. So I'm disappointed to say the least. And with a film this big, the shaky-cam technique was the last thing I'd expect. Not cool man, not cool. What's even more frustrating is that every once in a while you'll see some nice shots. So for whatever reason he actually tries and will compose a beautiful shot, but then 80% of the time go back to hand-held shaky-cam. I don't get it. Why start this style with Man of Steel when all throughout his career he's done the exact opposite?

As I stated before, I didn't like the design of the suit, nor the design of Krypton or the outfits they all wore. It all looks too overdone and with a "seen that already" feel to it. Like, you could pick a big budget effects film from the last 10 years and Krypton looks like it could have fallen into any one of those worlds. I think I'm just stuck on the simplicity of the world and costumes created in Richard Donner's original. In this one it just all seemed too much.

So there go. Regardless of my minor gripes, this was a blast and a helluva lot of fun. I mean, this movie really just had it all in terms of big budget entertainment and it never once felt empty like so many of these do nowadays. For a Superman film, better yet, a reboot of the franchise, they knocked this one out of the park.


Chopping Mall hitting theaters again and Blu ray release!!

So here's a bit of fucking awesome news via KillerFilm.com! One of my favorite horror films of all time, one that not nearly enough people have seen, will be getting a theatrical re-release for October, hitting possibly over 200 screens nationwide. But wait! That's not all! Apparently there is also a Blu ray release planned for next year! No specifics yet as writer/director Jim Wynorski simply stated recently on his Facebook page that:

"The ink is still drying on the contracts and we'll soon be making a 4K transfer for theatrical re-release in October. A retro Halloween special".

Obviously this is very exciting news. I just don't think enough people have seen this or know how great it is. Released in 1986, it screams awesome 80's cheesiness, but in a good way because believe it or not, Wynorski shot the hell out of this thing and it ultimately ends up being so much better than you expect it to be. One of the best "So bad it's good" horror films out there and I can't wait to see this baby in widescreen for the first time. Sweeeeeeet.

And I gotta be honest, with the week I've been having (Hell), this has certainly brightened my day. And you can bet your ass I'll be purchasing that Blu ray when it hits sometime next year. I hope they fill it with lots of Special Feature goodies as geeks like myself eat that shit up.  I'll be sure to post more info as I get more of it. In the meantime, here are some links to my original review back in February of this year and another link to some rad VHS covers of mine. Screw it, I'll throw in the trailer as well. But I'll throw in 2 different trailers; the theatrical and a badass fan-cut trailer. Enjoy!


VHS Radness:

Theatrical Trailer:

Fan-Cut Trailer (Badass and epic):

Review: Barton Fink

Directed by: Joel Coen
Category: Drama

Right now I'm on a Coen Brother's kick. I've devoured a few these past couple of weeks, Miller's Crossing being my favorite so far, and I have many more to go. Yes, I've seen most of these already, but it was mainly when they first hit theaters or VHS and I was too young to appreciate them the way I can now. So I'm kind of re-submerging myself in all things Coen Brother's to see where I stand with there films because there are a few I have never seen, and there are a few that just never worked for me (A Simple Man, The Man Who Wasn't There), but maybe watching them again will give me a fresh perspective? I don't know. Let's see. I also have to thank my buddy and fellow film blogger Francisco over at The Film Connoisseur . He recently did his take on Barton Fink and his enthusiastic review got me to push this one ahead of all the others. You can check out his take HERE.

When Barton Fink came out, even though I was only 15 at the time, it was a big deal for me. This was by the same guys who did Raising Arizona, and who had also shifted gears (much to my delight) with Miller's Crossing the year before and showed me a filmmaker doesn't have to stick to just one genre. Though many filmmakers do in fact do this, I don't think there are any quite as diverse as the Coen Brothers. I was 15, and I'm 37 now, so my memory is fuzzy. But what I do remember is that it was a dark and surreal film. A film that unless you were an avid lover of cinema, you were just not gonna get it. Nevermind the fact that it swept the Cannes Film Festival in 1991 by winning Best Actor, Best Director and the Palme d'Or (Best Picture), because in normal circles that don't mean shit. Especially in 1991. Most people didn't even know what Cannes or the The Palme d'Or was until Pulp Fiction implanted those terms into our consciousness 3 years later in 1994. Only then were we aware that that was kind of a big deal.

What's funny is that this is streaming on Netflix, but when I started it I noticed immediately it wasn't in widescreen. I gave it about 5 minutes and just couldn't do it. It would have been an injustice to Joel and Ethan Coen to watch this beautiful and intricately shot masterpiece in full frame. So I waited. I went over to my one and only remaining video store and rented it so that I could watch it in it's proper aspect ratio to get the full effect; I'm hardcore that way, and my life is all the better for it. Not that you care. But seriously, don't watch this in full frame.

Barton Fink (John Turturro) is a big time New York playwright. He takes a job in Hollywood signing under contract to write a wrestling picture. Struggling with writers block, Fink encounters strange goings on at his dive hotel and even more so, with the people he meets.

Yes, a damn synopsis. I know; forgive me. What's interesting about this film is that it seems to have so many different interpretations by almost anyone who sees it. A lot can be said about how almost everything that happens in this film is a metaphor for something. I can see that. But is that where my mind was going as I watched this? Nah. I mean, all this stuff very well could have meant something like the crappy hot hotel he stayed in was a metaphor for hell or purgatory or whatever, and that this and that meant this and so on, blah blah blah. I'll bet even the constantly peeling wallpaper is supposed to mean something considering .......well you should watch it first before I get any further into that. What I saw was a film about a guy with a big enough ego that he took a job he was sure he could do, because according to him pictures were a step down from plays, but became painfully aware almost immediately that he had made a big mistake and now under contract he's struggling to do anything to be able to write down even the first paragraph of a screenplay he's already been paid to do. Meanwhile (WARNING: SPOILERS!), he finds himself caught in the middle of an investigation of a serial killer and the film takes an even darker, more serious turn. And it's really this third act that took me by surprise. I was already enjoying the hell out of this dark, surreal, sometimes funny, sometimes odd, sometimes serious tale of a man slowly becoming unraveled as he tackles his first paying assignment, but then it took this unexpected turn and I liked it even more. (END SPOILERS)

I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Coen Brothers. While I can absolutely love some of their work, most notably films like Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, Fargo, No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, other's have left me underwhelmed and/or confused like A Simple Man (only they can get away with making a film like this), The Man Who Wasn't There (another example), and Burn After Reading. But there are a few that I have yet to see and even some I don't remember much about, like Blood Simple and The Hudsucker Proxy for example. But there's nothing like the feeling of being blown away after a viewing, which is what Miller's Crossing and now Barton Fink have done. I was literally floored by these two films in completely different ways. It's one of the best feelings in the world.


Review: Repo Man

Directed by: Alex Cox
Category: Cult Classic

So, Repo Man. You won't believe it, but I only just saw this one for the first time a few days ago. I know, I know. For whatever reason it's just always been one of those films that have always passed me by. The poster never did anything for me, and truth be told, I've never seen a trailer or ever even read up on anything about it. All I really know is it stars a young Emilio Estevez as a..ahem...repo man, and that it was one of cult filmmaker Alex Cox's first films. Any good? Well let's see.

I think writer/director Alex Cox will almost always be known as the guy who did Sid & Nancy, and maybe secondly for having made this. But has he ever been known to be a good filmmaker in general? Has he ever done anything else that people talk about or ever mention? Nope.

Here's the thing. I felt Repo Man had so much potential, yet didn't fully satisfy me like I hoped it would. It's a cult film in every sense of the word, but that doesn't mean it's awesome. All the ingredients are there, but director Cox just doesn't seem to be able to mix them properly. And the unevenness of it all leaves the film kind of a jumbled mess. Don't get me wrong, I dig the concept. As far out there as it is, it's pretty rad. The tone, setting (early 1980's punk era), style, casting, effects, it all works. It's just the way that they're all put together by Alex Cox and not utilized to it's full potential that I think a more experienced director would have been able to achieve that really gets me. I can understand the whole "cult" status thing with this. It's definitely an experience, no doubt about that. But again, you can't help feeling underwhelmed. And I know it's not just me. My viewing partner also felt the same way. Like "Hhhhmmm. I thought it would have been better". 

I hate beating up on films though. I really do. I almost always find something to like about any film, even the worst ones. And I don't hate this film. It has a lot of attractive qualities. My deal is just that overall, it could have been a lot better. A better flow perhaps? Something. It just never reaches that level of awesome, but it could have, which is the most frustrating part. But the film does have a following and is almost always listed somewhere in almost all "Best Cult Films" lists. Hell, I bought into it so much that I just went out and bought this blindly without knowing anything about it really. Now I kinda wish I had just rented it, but oh well.

I think one of the things that surprised me most, other than watching Emilio Estevez trying to be punk, was that the film is just wacky. I think I was expecting maybe surreal, but with a slight sense of normalcy. Nope, this one is flat out weird almost right from the start and it only ends off the charts. Hey, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I can dig a trippy and fucked up film like the next guy, but something always just felt "off" the entire time. Aaahhh, I just couldn't shake that feeling. But anyway, those are my thoughts. Take them as you wish.


Dark Angel AKA I Come In Peace comes to Blu ray!

Shout! Factory has done it again with another amazing release. Dark Angel AKA I Come in Peace (as it's known here in the states) is a film that had never gotten the proper digital release until about a year ago with it's first ever DVD release by MGM On Demand. But here we finally get a good release, complete with a few extras and in glorious widescreen.

This has always been one of my favorite action films. Don't know anything about it? All you have to know is that it was released in 1990 (one of the BEST years for action cinema), and is one of 3 theatrically released films by legendary stunt coordinator Craig R. Baxley (Action Jackson, Stone Cold) as director and it stars Dolph Lundgren in his prime (right between The Punisher and Showdown in Little Tokyo), as a cop chasing an alien that's landed on Earth and is killing people. Yea I could get more into it, but do you really want me to? Hell no! See it for yourself. It's full of ridiculous action and stuntwork, awesome 90's style setting and definitely has to be one of the few films with as many explosions as this one has. It's just ridiculous, and completely fucking awesome.

Dark Angel comes out August 26 and you can order it directly from Shout! Factory HERE, or over at Amazon. In the meantime, check out this trailer to wet your appetite.


Review: The Bay

Directed by: Barry Levinson
Category: Horror

Generally, I'm not a fan of "found footage" films. Mostly because they way they choose to film them make me physically ill. And that's not me using a dramatic metaphor. I actually get nauseous watching those things. Hell, I can't even play first person shooter games anymore. So I've stayed away from most of these types of films, of which there are a lot as it's one of the new "types" of films new talentless filmmakers can easily get into. I'm getting the feeling that the "home invasion" sub-genre will be the next. I hate to sound so harsh, but it's true. Don't have any real talent behind the camera but want to make a horror film? Make it a "found footage" horror film and it'll mask the fact that you can't film for shit.

But I'm getting off track here. What peaked my interest with this particular film was the fact that Oscar winning director Barry Lenvinson (Diner, Rain Man, Good Morning, Vietnam, Bugsy) was actually doing this one. Weird right?? Well, if we're being brutally honest, the guy hasn't made a memorable film since the late 80's. But he could still have some juice left in him. Or so I had hoped.

What sets The Bay apart from a lot of other found footage films is that instead of using footage taken from a single camera or camcorder, he instead utilizes news reports, camcorders, surveillance footage and everything else he could cull together to tell the story. And don't worry, I'm not going to bother telling you what it's about because too much of the experience is taken away if I were to even give you "some" of the story. It's currently streaming on Netflix, so give it a watch while you still can. But getting back to the technique he used, I actually found it much more.........interesting. And I could stomach it. There's no idiot running around with a camera in circles or making you feel like you're on a carnival ride. So that's something right there. And the way he puts everything together using all these different elements actually works and seems plausible. I don't know, for me anyway.

Not to say that this is a slam dunk, because it's not. While the story itself was interesting as well as the effects work and unique perspective, it just kind of left me wanting more when it was over. Like it felt like there was a whole third act missing. Things finally get going and the suspense and tension are building up nicely, albeit slowly, and you think it's going to have a grande finale to finish things off, but right when you're expecting that to happen it's over and you're left thinking "It's over?". At least for me and my girlfriend. We were just kind of left feeling that it was "okay". Definitely not the worst found footage film out there, but certainly not one of the most entertaining. And that right there is a shame because it very well could have been in my humble opinion. Being a found footage film, you're not going to see any recognizable actors in this, but the actors that are here definitely bring their A-game to the film and that works tremendously at selling this concept. So kudos to them for not sucking. And I just found the lead actress, Kether Donohue, who plays the news field reporter so damn cute.

Ultimately this won't win over any new fans to the found footage genre. It's a valiant effort by a respectable A List Hollywood filmmaker, but that "left hanging" feeling at the end just kind of killed what could have been one of the better found footage films out there.


Review: The Wraith

Directed by: Mike Marvin
Category: Action/Sci fi/Thriller

It's hard to categorize this as any of those really because it's not really any of those one kinds of films. It's more of a mish mash of different genre's that only work as well as this does because of the competence of director Mike Marvin and the pretty killer cast he's assembled here circa 1986. Had it had any "nobody" in this instead then we would have forgotten about this 80's gem long ago.

I remember seeing this film regularly in the 80's, I just don't remember if it's because it was playing often on HBO or Cinemax or because I had recorded it off of one of those channels and watched it repeatedly. But what I do remember was that it starred Charlie Sheen (remember somewhere in the 90's when he wanted to be professionally known as Charles?) and was about a phantom dude driving a badass futuristic car seeking revenge, which pretty much does sum up the film in general. But what surprised me after not having literally seen it since the 80's (almost 30 years ago!!) is that it holds up quite well and though not really definable by any one singular genre, packs enough entertainment from several that it ultimately delivers a good time. Do you have to love car chases and car crashes to enjoy this film? Certainly not, but it helps if you do because there are a lot of them in here.

Though there's nothing really spectacular that ever happens, except for a constant barrage of car chases and crashes, they are handled nicely with a deft touch by director Mike Marvin. Again, nothing fancy or anything, but it's competent and with small films like this, we are lucky when they come out as well as they do here. But what makes this slightly better than most low budget chase films is that car. When that car enters the picture it's just a beauty to behold.

While not really setting any kind of new ground here, another aspect that makes this film work so well is it's fresh young cast. I know I sound old when I say that, but it's true and extremely relevant. Here we have a young pre-Platoon and Wallstreet Charlie Sheen (man, this guy was prolific during this time churning out 4-5 films a year) as the mystery boy who rolls into town just when the wraith happens to also suddenly appear killing off a group of trouble makers one by one. In the hot young chick role we have a pre-Twin Peaks Sherilyn Fenn, complete with unnecessary boob action (unnecessary as in it's totally "not" integral to the story but THANK YOU anyway), a young pre-bald and pre-directing Nick Cassavetes, a badass Randy Quaid as a tough sheriff and a young crazy looking Clint Howard as a nerd. All in all, a fun well rounded cast of "then" newbies. 

Despite it's budget, you'll notice almost immediately that this film doesn't "look" cheap. This might be director Mike Marvin's biggest claim to fame as I've never heard of any of the other films he's ever made, and that's okay. I mean, come on; If you only ever ended up making a bunch of crappy forgetful films and were still able to make something as decent as The Wraith, then you did something right. No? He stopped directing films with 2001's Sunstorm, but had worked as an executive producer up until 2011. Not that you care about that technical shit; just sayin' the guy was still in the business up until just a few years ago.

I think I'll end this post with a complaint, just so it doesn't sound like I'm crushing on this thing. That US poster. Who the fuck is that guy on the right? There's Fenn, Sheen and Cassavetes, but who the hell is that dude? He certainly wasn't in the movie. Did they feel the need to have someone dress like a douche-bag with the cut-off shirt to remind us how awful we used to dress almost 30 years ago? I don't need a reminder, I have my old school pictures for that. But seriously, why not have Quaid's asshole sheriff or Clint Howards nerdy mechanic in place of whoever the fuck that's supposed to be? I was gonna include a trailer for this, but I'm not even sure if anybody even bothers to watch them. Some feedback would be nice. Do any of you ever bother to watch the trailers I include with some of these films? I mean, you could always certainly just get on YouTube to see any trailers for any of these films I post, but I do it for the convenience more than anything. Am I wasting my time or does anybody actually watch those damn things anymore? 

Hands of Steel AKA L' Enfonceur French VHS Cover

Hands of Steel AKA L'Enfornceur VHS cover courtesy of Gabriel Wagner

Look at this beauty. Though this one is currently not in my possession, but now that I know it exists, it will be one day; I can guarantee you that. This cover comes courtesy of the awesome Gabriel Wagner. Thanks again man for letting me share this beauty of a tape. If anybody has one of these for sale, please hit me up! 


Review: Antiviral

Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Category: Thriller

I have been reading up on this film on many horror sites and news articles for a little while now. More so after it premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival. Some have given it much praise, stating it's a strong debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg, the son of legendary cult film director David Cronenberg. But there's been lots of hype around this for sure if you keep up with this kind of stuff. So does it live up to the hype?

Weeell, while it is impressive on a technical level, it doesn't quite reach the height of greatness that you kind of hope for, or that you expect from a Cronenberg offspring.

Basically, the film looks great about 70% of the time with some real nice time-consuming and intricate shots. But unfortunately, that's not 100% of the time, because I also found him often going to some lazy handheld camerawork that kind of throws off the whole vibe he had built up with some truly stunning and original visuals. You "kind of" get the same feeling you got the first time you saw Duncan Jones debut feature Moon, but it doesn't quite reach that level of awesome or awe, which is truly a shame because it's really just "almost" there many, many, many times.

If you read any of my reviews in the last year or so, you'll notice I refrain from the "synopsis". I don't know, we get what the film is about mostly from trailers, articles or reviews and for me personally, I don't really like having the entire film laid out for me before I even see it by reading a review that gives you a play by play of the whole film. Rather, when I read someone's take on a film, as I often do with some of these other fine movie blogs like Hellford 667Collected CinemaComeupennace ReviewsDirect to Video ConnoisseurThe Film Connoisseur and The Video Vacuum to name a few, I really am only interested in their ultimate feelings and reaction to the film; what they liked and didn't like about it, which they do marvelously. So be sure to visit their review sites as well if you have not yet already.

So much of the time a review on a respectable site or newspaper will just give you too much and I'm not really interested in what the film is about or what it all means. I'd like to experience that for myself as much as possible. For example, there is a famous review site I visit regularly, but I've found his personal reviews of films increasingly more and more frustrating as he gives a play by play of every single little detail and well, you've just basically seen the entire film, spoilers and all. It seriously drives me nuts. Half the time I just stop reading because he's already spoiled most of the film for me. So I've pretty much done away with giving any kind of synopsis for any review I do be it a long or short one just for that reason alone. Plus, I think I'm just also lazy that way.

But I think Antiviral deserves at least a partial synopsis because the trailer is incredibly misleading, which is where some of my problems with this film come in to play. So here's my attempt at one:

Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) works in a clinic that specializes in infections. Specifically, infections that are retrieved from celebrities. Apparently, in this time, the "in" thing or the new trend is to be purposely infected with whatever disease or virus that a celebrity has had as a way of becoming closer to that particular person. It's quite a big business, generating tons of money and totally legal, as long as it's not a "life ending" virus. Syd is sent to retrieve the virus that has apparently stricken current big time celebrity Hannah Geist. But before he turns it over to the clinic he works for, he decides to inject some of it into himself, not fully knowing what particular virus she may actually have. You see, Syd has a side deal going on where he sells these viruses after infecting himself with them and harvesting them to sell on the black market. Soon Syd realizes it's something more serious than he could have imagined and now he must find out exactly what virus this is that's slowly deteriorating his body before it's too late. 

I did it! Whew! But I really dislike it. But the problem I have, and the reason I feel the need to elaborate on the story, is because the trailer, as awesome and haunting as it is, is so misleading and when the film was over, I was sorely disappointed that it didn't end up being the type of film the trailer leads you to believe. SPOILER ALERT! (you've been warned)
First off, yea you get the basic premise as I've just explained, but in the trailer they make it seem like because of this unknown and potentially deadly virus, Syd's body begins to morph and change into something .......well you don't really know. It just looks cool and disturbing as fuck, which was pretty much the biggest appeal to me. But guess what? That's not what we get. Yea, those badass scenes that seem to show Syd's body changing do appear in the film, but they are hallucinations. Damnit! For me, if "that's" what the film would have been about I would have been 100% on board with this. And the possibilities!! Kind of like Brandon's father's 80's classic The Fly, except more subtle, which can sometimes be more frightening if done correctly. THAT is the film I thought I was going to see and unfortunately, that's not what you get. What you get instead is a very slow-burn kind of film that plays out more like a mystery with some really nice and stunning visuals most of the time, but never achieving the level of awesome the trailer promises.

I've seen this guy Caleb Landry Jones in a few things; The Last Exorcism and X-Men: First Class to name a few. And here he does a decent job carrying the film squarely on his shoulders. He certainly looks the part, but my biggest beef with him is that he mumbles so damn much and barely ever enunciates that I honestly couldn't understand half the words that came out of his mouth. You'd probably have to watch this with subtitles. My viewing partner and I kept asking each other "What did he just say?".

Sooooo, not the breakout film I was hoping it'd be like Duncan Jones' Moon. To me, it felt more like another recent "debut" film, Panos Cosmatos' Beyond the Black Rainbow. Sure that film didn't make a lick of sense, but it was a hauntingly stunning piece of visual eye candy. Antiviral "almost" gets there, but not quite, which is incredibly frustrating because you know it can. I feel most will find this one dull, only keeping you invested or interested for the remainder of the time because you keep hoping the third act will blow your mind. Bad news. It doesn't.

Quick Shot: Juan of the Dead

Directed by: Alejandro Brugues
Category: Horror/Comedy

I had actually forgotten about this one because I saw it so long ago and it was during a time when I wasn't doing much action here on the blog. Actually, none at all to be quite honest. A period in time I like to refer to as "when robotGEEK'S Cult Cinema went dark". It's also a film I've been reading about on fanboy and filmgeek sites for the last few years; all positive I may add. But unfortunately, it wasn't available here in the states until recently, as is usually the case. So here weeee goooo...

I must say, Juan of the Dead was a very pleasant surprise. If I had to compare it to anything, it would be Shaun of the Dead, and just looking at the poster art, I doubt that would surprise anyone. But you know what? There really aren't enough of these types of films out there anyway. And when they try, they almost always fail miserably. But here is another prime example of horror/comedy done right. It possesses the same kind of humor and horror elements as Shaun of the Dead, hell even getting down right creative a lot of the time; there's a scene involving a pick up truck and a shitload of decapitations that was pretty impressive. And it plays to it's strengths, which a lot of these types of films don't ever do. This film knows it's budget limitations, and never really tries to go bigger than it should or needs to be, which almost always sinks a halfway decent low budget film.

As much as I did enjoy this film, Juan of the Dead is also kind of frustrating. While it can be extremely inventive and heavy handed in terms of looking like a polished film with a good budget with some pretty impressive visuals, effects and sequences scattered throughout, at times it also looks less impressive, like someone making their very first film. I don't want to beat up the director because the film "mostly" works and looks great, it's just those other moments I find frustrating where it can look and feel cheap. But I'd say about 80% of the film looks good and works fine. It's just those few moments that kind of throw you off. But if you ignore the technical aspect of this and focus on the story, which is pretty great (funny when it needs to be, serious when it needs to be, thrilling and intense at others), it's a valiant effort for sure and a lot of fun. Much more fun than I was expecting it to be and every actor was outstanding, especially the lead who plays the titular Juan. Though he looks wimpish, he's definitely got a strong presence.

So yea, it doesn't quite reach that level of awesome that Shaun of the Dead was able to achieve, but sometimes that's alright. A valiant effort indeed.


Quick Shot: Olympus Has Fallen

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Category: Action

This is going to be real simple.
Olympus Has Fallen is better than the last 3 Die Hard films combined. In fact, they should have just made this into a Die Hard film. In fact, they should have just rebooted the franchise with this film. This is the type of film the Die Hard franchise has so desperately been trying be since 1995, only this film got it right. This was pretty fuckin' badass. 'Nuff said.

Something I forgot to mention. While it's a great throwback to action films of the 90's with an insane onslaught of neverending violence, I found the excessive and unnecessary use of CGI a bit overwhelming and kind of took me out of the experience from time to time. That is all.


Quick Shot: Miller's Crossing

Directed by: Joel Coen
Category: Thriller

Man, I saw this one a few weeks back and have been wanting to put some thoughts down ever since, but I keep debating whether to go into depth about what makes this amazing film so great (knowing I could potentially bore you to death), or just do one of my "Quick Shot" reviews and just hit a few power points and let you experience it for yourself. The power point idea won out.

Wow. Just....wow. That was my exact reaction when this was over. I sat there and thought "How is this not considered one of the best gangster films ever made?". I mean, you just don't hear anyone refer to this one when discussing the great gangster films of the last 30 years, yet they should be because I was just blown away by this.

I do remember seeing this when it first came out back in 1990, but being as young as I was, I doubt I could appreciate it the way I do now. Well, obviously since I don't remember much about it save for a few really cool shots courtesy of director Joel Coen that always stuck with me. Being a fan of "almost" all of their work, I've found that cinematically and visually, I like the films that were just directed by Joel Coen more than the ones that were co-directed by him and his brother Ethan. Of course, some may not agree, but for me they were much more visually interesting, quirky and inventive and Miller's Crossing is no exception. I don't think Ethan started taking a co-directors credit until 2004's Ladykillers, and he very well could have been co-directing all of their films up until that point for all I know, but I've just always felt the Coen's films had a distinct style and luster that I prefer before they started sharing credit

Right away you'll notice it immediately has the Barton Fink style; dark and brooding with a washed out color pallet. At times you can feel a sense of restraint from Coen. Like he doesn't want to go overboard with some crazy camerawork because after all, it's a serious gangster flick. But then out of nowhere he hits you with some crazy awesome sequences that remind you that you are in fact watching a film directed by Joel Coen. I truly feel he's one of the most gifted directors working today and for the last 30 years.

Sandwiched between 1987's Raising Arizona and 1991's Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing is a film completely different from the zany worlds created in those other films. A serious, dark and violent tale about an advisor (Gabriel Byrne) to an Irish mob boss (Albert Finney) who seems to be playing both sides of a war between two mod bosses in 1930's prohibition era to his advantage while simultaneously dealing with his own set of problems.

Though it could be a tad confusing at times, at least for the first half, trying to remember an insane amount of names and who's who, this was such an engrossing and thoroughly riveting and entertaining gangster film. The film looks simply amazing, and all the actors bring their A game to the table, especially Byrne as the advisor with a huge set of balls and Albert Finney as his tough as nails boss who doesn't really seem to be afraid of anything. You really both love and hate this guy at times, and that's all due to Finney's portrayal of a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, yet isn't afraid to get his hands bloody and dirty.

The Coen's razor sharp dialogue in the film are what really keep things moving along when there isn't an awesome bit of suspense or action going on. It's fast and furious with lingo not too common these days so I'd recommend watching it with subtitles. It helps.

Overall, an incredibly solid and stylish gangster film. After having seen it on Netflix, I'm going to purchase this immediately. It's just that great and such a beautiful film to look at in widescreen. And I was surprised at how much I loved this. As much as I love a lot of their films, there are also a lot that I just don't like to be completely honest. So they've remained a hit or miss kind of duo for me, but when they get it right, they can turn out some truly memorable films. I don't normally "rate" films in general, but if I did, I'd give this one a solid 8 or 9.


Cobra German Big Box VHS Clamshell

Since it's been a little busy for me these past few days, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a badass cover of a badass film since I haven't had time to work on a new post. This beautiful and awesome original German VHS comes courtesy of my good friend Ingo over at Hellford667 Movie Reviews. Ingo, you the man! Thanks for hooking me up! 


Review: Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace
Category: Horror

"The night no one comes home."

When Scream Factory recently released this loaded Collector's Edition of the infamous Halloween III: Season of the Witch, I figured it was the little push I needed to sit my ass down and finally watch this bastard child of the Halloween franchise. All I ever really knew about this was that it basically had nothing to do with the Halloween films or with Michael Myers to be exact. But I have to believe that Scream Factory knows what they're doing because I've loved almost every single release they've done so far. So if they felt the need to get the rights to release this sucker and put it under their banner, then there "must" be something to it, right?

Let me start off by saying this was an impulse buy. I mean look at that cover, just awesome. But this also comes with a 30 minute comprehensive documentary surrounding "everything" Halloween III, so that was the clencher for me. I actually saw the documentary in the Special Features before I sat down to watch the film, which I probably shouldn't have done, but I had no idea what I had in store for me having never even seen a trailer of this, so I threw caution to the wind and dove right in with the doc and in hindsight, I should have seen the film first.

VHS cover scan courtesy of SerialKillerCalendar.com 

Okay, so let's get started.
I think this is a great little horror film that perfectly encapsules the look and feel of old school horror films, particularly films from the 80's. In fact, it "looks" and "feels" like a John Carpenter film, even though he's only credited as Producer and is responsible for only one of several drafts this films went under. Having seen it and loving it, I can see why a "lot" of people hate it though. If they didn't explain to the public beforehand (which I don't think they did) that this wasn't in any way about the exploits of Michael Myers, and you pay good money to go see this in the theater and it turns out to be another film entirely, then I'd probably be upset too. However, I do think it's a great idea. Beginning with this film, they had wanted to move into an anthology type of series with each subsequent film in some way having something to do with the word Halloween in general but each film being completely different from the other and not having anything to do with Michael Myers. Again, I think that's a great idea as a film franchise and this film in particular is a great way to have started that whole thing, if only it hadn't been called Halloween III. Seriously, take away the "Halloween" title and this is a cool little film. Sure there's no maniac or psychotic walking around killing people as in your typical 80's slasher film, but I had a great time with this one regardless.

Right off the bat Carpenter knew he didn't want another Michael Myers film and tried to do something different. A few other drafts by various others and a change in directors from Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling) to frequent Carpenter collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace (Fright Night Part 2, It) and you have this interesting and unique entry into the Halloween franchise. Again, they just should have gone out and made a film under a different title. Buuuuut, I can see the appeal with an already established franchise like Halloween where just by using that name alone will get people into the theater and hoping they'll like your film enough that they'll get over the fact that they were possibly misled into thinking this would be another Michael Myers film. But again, I can't remember back that far as I was only 6 and can't say what the word was out in the street before this hit the theater. But just based on the trailer alone, I would have assumed this wasn't about Michael Myers. But it still had the Halloween banner though, sooooooooo that alone probably would've gotten my hopes up. But that's just me.

As you all know I hate to do a synopsis, but here's a quick one anyway:
Instead of this being a film about Myers, it's instead about a doctor from the local hospital who's just witnessed a murder-suicide and teams up with one of the victims daughter to uncover a plot by a deranged toymaker who will use ancient witchcraft rituals and specially made Halloween masks to kill millions of children on Halloween night. 

Honestly, Season of the Witch should have been the title of this film, without the Halloween. Even then, you wonder through most of the film what the hell Season of the Witch even means or what it refers to. It's not until the very end that it's made semi-clear. But let's take away the franchise name and talk about just this film. Speaking personally, I love it. It's a much slower film than you'd expect, with not a lot of kills or violence. But when there is violence, it's very well done. Plus you've got the great Tom Atkins front and center as the doctor hellbent on uncovering the sinister evil doings of Silver Shamrock Novelties and it's owner Conal Cochran played awesomely by Dan O'Herlihy. Another aspect I love about Halloween III is Tommy Lee Wallace as director. I've always admired his work, with Fright Night Part 2 being one of my favorite horror films. Hell, even Stephen King's It scared the shit out of me when it first aired on television in 1990. Wallace has a very streamlined aesthetic when he's in the directors chair, and I find this film as well as Fright Night 2 showcase his best work; very Carpenter-esque. So even if it moves along at a snails pace sometimes, it's beautiful to look at with a trademark Carpenter score. But this film divides so many film lovers. For example, my brother was over at my place recently and saw this Blu ray sitting on my television. Now you have to understand, he's a die hard horror fan and always has been. We bother were all our lives and especially as kids growing up in the 80's, the BEST time to grow up being a horror film lover. He saw this Blu ray sitting on my TV and says "Ugh, I hate this movie. It sucks!". To which I reply "Why?". He simply stated "Nothing ever happens. It's so boring". And I can understand that. It's slow and not a lot happens. It ultimately plays out more like a suspense/thriller than anything, with cheesy sound effects utilized to the umpth degree to build tension or make you jump during a crucial moment that would otherwise have zero impact had it not been for said sound effects. But you know what? It all works for me. I dig it. It's the type of slow-burn kind of film I crave from time to time in the horror genre, much like The Fog, another Carpenter film. Coincidentally, legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey worked on this film as well, which is why I think it looks as gorgeous as it does. Sure you could rip this film apart, even I could. Why is Cochran trying to kill millions of children and turn them into robots? No idea. What the hell kind of doctor can't stop drinking and is able to just take off on this adventure with a hot young woman leaving behind his kids? These are just a few you might be asking yourself. You just have to go along for the ride and turn off your brain and enjoy the film, as I did.

Well as you all know, the public "did not" like it, and it took 6 years before producers attempted another Halloween film with 1988's fittingly titled Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, going back to the Michael Myers signature formula, a film I found as a decent addition to the franchise, but not without it's problems.

If you've seen this before, but haven't for a while, I suggest a new viewing. I think you'll have a whole new appreciation for this film. It has a very Wicker Man and Invasion of the Body Snatchers feel to it all. If you've never seen it, I suggest you check out this new transfer from Scream Factory with either their Blu ray or DVD release. It's amazing. But here's the best part. The included documentary Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch is worth the purchase alone. This 30 minute comprehensive, informative Special Feature delves into "everything" about this film with new interviews with all parties involved including Tom Atkins and Tommy Lee Wallace. It's just fucking awesome and I find myself watching this doc more than the actual film. If you're like me and live for this shit, it just doesn't get any better than that. A great misunderstood film, plus an all new in depth documentary, plus a shitload of original theatrical trailers and tv spots. What are you waiting for?


Hallelujah! Action Jackson on Blu ray? In Widescreen!

So I have no idea how this little bit of amazing news passed me by without me knowing. I mean, I just can't understand how I had no idea that Action Jackson, one of the BEST straight up action films to come out of the 80's, and just a badass throwback to blaxpoitation films of the 70's, was getting the Blu ray treatment and I had no idea? I've only been bitching and complaining for years that this film has never gotten the respectable release it deserves. Hell, I even included it in a post I did about a year ago about films I felt needed a Blu ray release. Yes we have an official DVD release from ions ago, but it's a bare bones disc with no features and worst of all, it's in Full Frame! Hell, even the trailer below is in Full Frame. So with the exception of the one time I luckily caught this streaming on Netflix in widescreen, this film has NEVER been available in its proper aspect ration, which has always bothered me because the film looks pretty damn amazing and deserves to be seen in true widescreen. 

Well, here it is. Finally. And apparently this was released on Aug. 6, without so much as a blurb to be found anywhere, except for Aintitcool. I think I'm still in shock really. One, because it's actually and finally available in widescreen, and two, because I had no idea this release was even ever on the horizon. But hey, I should really stop bitching and just be happy that it's finally here. 

So from what I can tell, there are no special features. Fuck! Not even a trailer? But we do have the one and only Action Jackson in widescreen, and for me, at this moment, that's enough. Hey, for just a little over $10, how you can you resist? Needless to say this was an immediate impulse buy, as it should be for you as well. You could also say this falls under the "So Bad it's Good" category because this thing is just plain ridiculous. I mean, just look at the trailer. But it's oh so much fun. 

This really is just one of the best action films ever made. It gets so much right that many action films get wrong, regardless of what time period it was made. This is old school style action from action producer Joel Silver (in his prime) and directed by action choreographer and stunt coordinator legend Craig R. Baxley, a man who kicked our asses with the "Triple Threat" Action JacksonI Come in Peace AKA Dark Angel and Stone Cold, before sticking with television work. What a shame. The guy knows how to direct action films using old school practical stuntwork. So yea, do your part and support this film buy spending a very small amount of cash for a piece of 100% certified Badass Cinema. Buy this. You will thank me.  

You can purchase this over at Amazon
And you can check out my review from years ago HERE.


Badass Buy: Peacemaker Japan Laserdisc

Before I begin, apologies for the horrible pictures. 
I took some shots using my phone and did a half-assed job of editing out the background with photoshop. I clearly wasn't in the mood. 
Peacemaker Japan Laserdisc front cover courtesy of robotGEEKSCultCinema.blogspot.com

Peacemaker Japan Laserdisc back cover courtesy of robotGEEKSCultCinema.blogspot.com

For those of you who have never seen this, you are sorely missing out on one of the best and baddest low budget action/sci-fi films to come out of the 90's. Seriously, I mean it. This film kicks some serious Badass Cinema ass and displays some of the best and coolest stunt work sorely missing from modern films. It's heaps better than you would ever expect it to be and remains one of my favorite all-time action films. Sure it's supposed to have a sci-fi angle, but it's mainly an action film with some amazing stunt work. Throw in some Robert Forster and Robert Davi for good measure and well, do I really need to sell you on this? 

I believe I may have suggested this to Matt over at Direct to Video Connoisseur a while back, but I may be wrong, and he ended up seeing it after another had suggested it on his Facebook page as well and liking it very much. So much so that he gave it a pretty badass and favorable review, which you can check out HERE. You can also check out "MY" review of it HERE

To the right here you will see the common U.S. VHS cover >>>

So here in the U.S., there's "still" never been a decent release of this film, shockingly. I can't imagine what the holdup is. The VHS is easy and cheap to come by, and only once had I ever come across the U.S. laserdisc on eBay. But no DVD release of this exists here in the states unfortunately, which is such a shame since we'll apparently never be able to see this in a cleaned up widescreen transfer. Shout/Scream Factory, I'm talking to you! Hint, hint. Buuuuuut, I randomly came across this Japanese Laserdisc beauty a while back and totally lucked the fuck out. So I now have a slightly better than VHS quality version of this for my viewing pleasure. I was also lucky enough to snag an original Japan VHS copy of this a while back also, which I will be posting sometime soon so be on the lookout. 

So if I haven't made my self clear yet, let me say it again. If you haven't seen this yet and you dig a badass action film, get yourself a copy and check this out immediately. 


Vampire's Kiss

Directed by: Robert Bierman
Category: ???

Hhhhmmmm. Vampire's Kiss. Yea. Ok, well let's give this a try.

Has anybody actually seen this? Am I missing something with this one? Because honestly, try as I might, I just don't get it. Was this supposed to be funny? Or dark? Or was did it start out as a "supposed" comedy and somehow inadvertently went off in different directions? Because I honestly don't know what this was trying to be. I really don't. And I'll give you a quick heads up, there is going to be a lot of bitching and complaining with this one.

I'll be honest, sometimes these comedy/drama/thriller/whatever hybrids can work. Some of my personal favorite films are of this caliber. But you gotta know what the audience is willing to stomach if you're going to try and mix genre's up and offer something unique. This, unfortunately, is a huge failed attempt. Considering it's reputation and even slight cult status, I was expecting something funny and quirky in the vein of saaaaaay....The Coen Brothers. That's not a longshot really. I mean, every bit of marketing for this suggests that this is going to be a cute/funny/quirky comedy or at least have some of those elements at play in an otherwise offbeat film that can be hard to categorize. Right off the top of my head, if I had to guess I would say I was expecting something like Once Bitten with maybe a dash of Raising Arizona, the Coen Brother's film Cage also starred in just the year before, which will bring me to something I will touch up on in a bit. But nope. What this is is a huge misfire in every sense of the word.

What you expect to see, as I said, is a quirky/offbeat, maybe even "Dark" comedy. What you get instead is a dull, odd, strange film that offers "nothing" in the way of entertainment, other than to see Nicolas Cage act batshit crazy like you've never seen him before, complete with a ridiculous accent of some sort that comes and goes throughout the film. At times speaking normal, at other times speaking with a weird surfer accent, and then at other times attempting to sound intellectual and distinguished with a "high society" accent that only really comes off as hilarious because it's so bad, you are just left dumbfounded and you think "this is the same Nicolas Cage from Moonstruck and Raising Arizona?". It is and you would never believe it. He's just awful in this.

But you know what? He is the most interesting thing about this film, mainly because it's a bore and a confusing mess of a film. Not funny, not interesting, not entertaining in any way, until you see Cage do something weird and crazy because he thinks he's turning into a vampire after a lustful night with a "supposed" vampiress. You never really know and that's one of the most annoying things about this. You don't know if this shit is really happening or if he's just going crazy. It's said some of his characteristics are nods to other famous movie vampires, but with the exception of trying to walk around like Nosferatu (okay, maybe even then too), you just shake your head and wonder what the fuck is he doing? And just when you think you've tried to convince yourself that maybe this was supposed to be a comedy that just didn't work, something hardcore happens (like Cage's character raping a woman) out of left field that leave you even more confused than ever.

Director Robert Bierman is a television director. This is the only feature film he's ever made and boy does it show in spades. Let's just be thankful he never tried it again and stuck with TV work. And Nicolas Cage can take pride in the fact that though this odd film sucks, he delivered one of his most odd and wackiest performances out of his long career.

I get the concept of a "Dark Comedy", which is what I think they were going for with this one. This is not a Dark Comedy. I don't know what this is. Okay, I'm done bitching. Time to move on.


John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness Blu ray & DVD release!

I love this film to death. Shockingly, this was one I had never gotten around to seeing until recently for the first time for whatever reason. I really don't know why, I just never did. But when I finally did I was blown away. This is easily one of John Carpenter's BEST films and a true testament to the "less is more" technique of old school filmmaking. After coming off a string of big budget flops, he wanted to get back to his roots and Prince of Darkness is a true testament to his talent as a filmmaking genius. The story and the techniques he uses to tell it are simple, yet extremely effective with Prince of Darkness. While Prince of Darkness got no love during it's initial release (as is the case with many of Carpenter's films), it's grown such a fan base and cult status throughout the years and is easily considered one of his best films.

Again, Scream Factory is knocking this release out of the park as with the continuous releases of classic and cult classic horror and sci-fi films. Check out their website for a list of films you never thought would get the Badass Blu ray treatment. Scream Factory knows how to do it right. I already own many of their recent releases and you can bet your ass this will be mine.

You can check out my original review of this masterpiece of horror HERE.

Prince of Darkness is set to be released on September 24, 2013.
You can pre-order the Blu ray HERE
And the DVD HERE

Here are the specs from the Scream Factory website:

SPECIAL OFFER: Order this directly from ShoutFactory.com and receive an exclusive 18"x24" poster featuring our newly commissioned artwork! Only 400 have been printed, so these are available while supplies last.

No film has ever frightened me more than Prince of Darkness…Carpenter is on top of his game…” – DVD Verdict

It is evil… It has awakened.

Master of horror John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) directs this terrifying battle between mankind and the ultimate evil.

A group of graduate students and scientists uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open it, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all of humanity. As the liquid turns their co-workers into zombies, the remaining members realize they have released the most unspeakable horror of them all. Terror mounts as the team must fight to save the world from a devilish fury that has been contained for over seven million years.

Starring Donald Pleasence (Halloween), Jameson Parker (Simon & Simon), Lisa Blount (Needful Things), rock icon Alice Cooper and Victor Wongand Dennis Dun (both from Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China), this “ingenious twist on classical occultism” (Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review) will scare you witless!

 Browse more frighteningly fun Scream Factory releases!
Bundle Contains:
  • Prince Of Darkness: Prince Of Darkness Poster
  • Prince Of Darkness: Prince Of Darkness [Collector's Edition]
Bonus Features: 

  • Audio Commentary with John Carpenter
  • Sympathy For The Devil – An all-new Interview with Writer/Director John Carpenter
  • Alice at the Apocalypse – An all-new interview with Actor & Rock Legend Alice Cooper
  • The Messenger – All-new interview with Actor & Special Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Grasmere
  • Hell On Earth – A look at the film’s score with Co-Composer Alan Howarth
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds with host Sean Clark
  • Alternate Opening from TV Version
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Discs: 1Format: NTSC
    Color: Color
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Language: English
    Subtitles: English