HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"EDEN LOG" Arrives On DVD And Blu-ray Disc May 19

Vibrantly Surreal Sci-Fi Chiller From Magnolia Home Entertainment As Part Of The Six Shooter Film Series Under The Magnet Label

"Visually stunning, it's a bleak trip into a world that is both mesmerizing and terrifying." Bloody Disgusting

"A dark, philosophical spin on the Garden of Eden..." Twitchfilm.net

Official Selection Of The Toronto Film Festival, Austin Fantastic Film Festival and London Fright Festival

A man wakes up deep inside a cave. Suffering amnesia, he has no recollection of how he came to be there nor any idea who the dead man is at his side. The underground labyrinth is no ordinary cave but the abandoned labs of a company called Eden Log. Hunted by mysterious creatures, he must continue through this strange and fantastic world to escape their clutches. During his quest to the surface, he must uncover the secrets of what once lived in the caves and whether salvation exists above.

A twisting hallucinatory parable, EDEN LOG is warning that the relentless exploitation of natural resources could incite nature to fight back in the most vicious manner.
Director: Franck Vestiel
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Number of discs: 1
Rating: R (Restricted)
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
Run Time: 98 minutes

Buy it at Amazon.com: DVD, Blu-Ray


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vikings Take On a Terrifying New Enemy in "OUTLANDER"

The Battle for the Future Begins On DVD May 19 From The Weinstein Company and Genius Products

SANTA MONICA, CA - Action, sci-fi, and fantasy come together in explosive fashion when OUTLANDER comes to DVD May 19 from Genius Products and The Weinstein Company. In a story described by reviewers as "Beowulf meets Predator" (Boston Herald), a spacecraft crash lands in ancient Norway, bringing with it a bloodthirsty alien beast. As the creature ravages the Viking world, one soldier, the only surviving member of his clan, attempts to form an alliance with two warring Viking tribes, combining advanced technology with Iron Age weaponry to hunt the beast before it can destroy them all.

From the producer of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this "sci-mythic" epic stars Jim Caviezel (Déjà Vu, The Passion of the Christ), Sophia Myles (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution), Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Hellboy films, Blade II) and John Hurt (Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Fast-paced, daring, and imaginative, OUTLANDER is "visually spectacular" (Chicago Daily Herald). In the words of Detroit News, "Honestly: Best. Movie. Ever." The OUTLANDER DVD will be loaded with special features and available for the suggested retail price of $19.97.

Synopsis
Jim Caviezel stars in this action-packed, sci-fi adventure about an extra-terrestrial who crash lands on Earth in the time of Vikings. Caught between rival warrior tribes, the stranger soon realizes he's brought a stowaway: a hellish, fire-breathing monster who's now feeding on unsuspecting villagers. After proving his worth to his captors, the traveler joins the valiant hunt to kill the bloodthirsty creature. Featuring Ron Perlman and John Hurt as opposing kings, Outlander fuses stunning special effects, fast-paced action, and a unique period setting to explosive effect.

Bonus Materials
Deleted Scenes
Commentary by Writer/Director Howard McCain, Writer Dirk Blackman, and Producer Chris Roberts and John Schimmel
Visual Effects Tests
Animatics
Production Design Galleries

Basics
Price: $19.97
Street Date: May 19, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Run Time: 115 minutes
Languages: English
Dolby 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Closed Captioned

Buy it at Amazon.com
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Check out the "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series" Box Art!

When we told you about the upcoming "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series" DVD set a while ago (HERE, in fact) we didn't know what it was going to look like yet. Well, here it is!


Not bad, huh? I'm already wondering who I have to throw a temper tantrum to in order to get my grubby little mitts on one of these frakkers!

Buy it at Amazon.com: DVD, Blu-Ray


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RIFFTRAX: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD -- DVD review by porfle

In case your TV has been living under a rock for the last couple of decades, there used to be this show on the Sci-Fi Channel called "Mystery Science Theater 3000", in which a human and two robots were forced to watch bad movies which they heckled mercilessly. It was a wonderful idea that generated many memorable episodes and lasted for eleven years, until it finally ran out of steam and got cancelled. Either that, or the show simply didn't get the appreciation it deserved from the Sci-Fi Channel, which is now known as "SyFy" because the people running it these days don't know their wormholes from their asteroids.

Anyway, when the show folded, Mike Nelson took the "making-fun-of-bad-movies" concept, shaved off all the sci-fi elements, characters, and the movies themselves, and started making downloadable "riffs" for people to play while watching their own DVDs. This has now evolved into Legend Films' new series of ten "RiffTrax" DVDs with which viewers may now watch the film with or without commentary by Nelson and former MST3K co-stars Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. I recently got to watch their take on George Romero's 1968 horror classic, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and found it to be alternately hilarious, mildly amusing, and boring--much like the original MST3K.

If you're a serious fan of the film, the DVD gives you a nice-looking copy to look at even when you aren't in a laughing mood. The thing about NOTLD is that, for me, it's still so engrossing that I get caught up watching it and the riffers start sounding like those drunk high school guys who won't shut up in a movie theater. The parts of the movie that are still powerful, of which there are many, don't take that well to riffing, and often the guys are clearly looking for something to make fun of when there isn't anything.


For example, a shot of a fireplace elicits this remark: "A little product placement there from the Fireplace Council..." The opening titles sequence heralds a series of weak jokes about how empty the road is. And whenever Barbra cries "What's happening?" at Ben, then--you guessed it--we must hear the riffers warbling an eardrum-curdling rendition of the "What's Happening" theme. In the case of the burly police chief's celebrated ad-lib "They're dead...they're all messed up", the line is already so bent out of shape that they can only manage a weak "Death Be Not All Messed Up" in response.

All carping aside, though, there's still a lot of fun to be had with this film. My first big laugh came when Barbra's observation "They ought to make the day the time changes the first day of summer...it's 8 o'clock and its still light" was dubbed "Jerry Seinfeld's least-popular comedy routine." The sight of Ben barricading the farmhouse against the ghouls inspires a couple of clever cracks: "Now he knows how it feels to have a teenage daughter who's just started to date" and "Have to wonder how Macauley Culkin would've handled the situation." When Ben tells Barbra, "I know you're afraid...I'm afraid, too", the guys finish his sentence with "I'm the black guy in a horror movie! I might as well head straight to the morgue!"

During Barbra's screaming panic attack: "I imagine this is what it would be like to be stuck in an elevator with Kathy Griffin." After Harry Cooper throws a fit of his own and starts boarding himself in the cellar: "Cooper would be the greatest 'Real World' castmember of all time." Even Helen Cooper's creaking chair as she sits down is met with: "That's what it sounds like whenever Morley Safer stands up."

More exchanges between the movie and the riffers that tickled my funny bone--

BEN: "They're afraid of fire, I found that out."
"Mainly because they associate it with FIRESTORM, starring Howie Long."

NEWSCASTER: "So now let's go to that filmed report--"
"Taken by a drunk dog--"

NEWSCASTER: "...have been organized to search out and destroy the marauding ghouls."
"Marauding Ghouls? That was my high school football team!"

NEWSCASTER: "Kill the brain, and you kill the ghoul."
"That didn't work on Axl Rose!"


Okay, you had to be there for some of those. Like most of the films that have been made sport of by MST3K and RiffTrax over the years, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD yields it's share of howlers, groaners, and everything in between. Trouble is, my vivid memories of terror while first watching the film during its initial run keep me from settling into the mocking mood necessary to fully enjoy something like this. I think I might have a much better time with some of the other features in the RiffTrax series, including REEFER MADNESS, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, MISSILE TO THE MOON, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, and SWING PARADE.

Two more titles, RIFFTRAX SHORTS: VOL. 1 & 2, contain riffs on some of those achingly hilarious old educational films that are another brand of "bad" altogether. A sample disc that I received along with NOTLD contains the fifteen-minute short "Harm Hides at Home", about a woman who is not only both an architect and a school crossing guard, but also a safety-conscious superheroine known as Guardiana. After being given superpowers by some aliens who sound like the Lollipop Guild from THE WIZARD OF OZ, Guardiana leaps into action whenever a careless kid starts a fire on the stovetop or, better yet, finds Dad's gun. This kind of stuff fractures me by itself, and with Mike, Kevin, and Bill adding their own wisecracks, it's irresistibly entertaining.

The thing I miss most is seeing Mike and the robots in the corner of the screen (especially the familiar yakky silhouette of Crow T. Robot) and hearing the robots' character voices. Somehow Corbett and Murphy just aren't the same when they're regular-sounding offscreen guys. But that's a pretty small gripe considering that MST3K fans can now enjoy the closest thing available to the original show with these new "RiffTrax" DVDs and get decent-looking copies of each film in the bargain. It'll be interesting to see what the next batch of titles will be.


Buy it at Amazon.com
Get more RiffTrax at http://www.rifftrax.com/
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69 -- DVD review by porfle

At a stultifying 135 minutes, Keith J. Crocker's ode to grindhouse Nazi-sploitation, BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69 (2008), is almost twice as long as his 1997 trash classic THE BLOODY APE, but not quite as much fun to watch. Still, the more prurient among us (excluding myself, of course, heh heh) will find much to enjoy, although getting to these tidbits of titillation can be pretty slow going until the lively climax.

With the writer-director of THE BLOODY APE at the helm, BLITZKRIEG's atrocities rub shoulders with lots of goofy comedy. Charles Esser plays Helmut Schultz, the rotund commandant of the camp, like a petulant kid whose mommy didn't love him enough. Shoehorned into the same uniform that he had fifty pounds ago and sporting a German accent that would be hard for Arnold Schwarzenegger to decipher, Schultz delights in performing inhuman experiments on prisoners even as his superiors warn him of retaliation by the rapidly advancing Allied forces. His Ilsa-lite sister Frieda (Gordana Jenell) is a junior officer who also enjoys tormenting the hapless POWs.

Schultz's "pet" project is a mutant ape-man (seen only in deleted scenes) about which he boasts, "This beast will not only kill the enemy...he will rape the women, and defile the entire environment!" After a disapproving scientist nixes the project, Schultz tells his equally-corpulent toady Wolfgang (Steve Montague): "He must be blind not to realize the potential of my mighty man-ape!"

Meanwhile, burly Yank prisoner Jack Jones (Edward Yankus) is planning a daring escape with the help of his fellow inmates Lucille (Brenda Cooney), a plucky Scottish lass, and the fierce Natasha (Tatyana Kot), a Russian ball of fire whose unending torture sessions only make her more revenge-crazed and dangerous. Yankus, whose acting style consists mainly of reciting his lines without actually falling over, resembles an amusing cross between John Goodman and Al Gore. Crocker himself, as "James St. Bernard", appears as an American sad sack named "Bernard St. James."

Also joining the Allied opposition are two captured USO performers-- Marjie Kelly as 70s style jive-talkin' black mama Marjie ("Who in the hell are you two turkeys?" she asks Schultz and Wolfgang), and Tammy Dalton as a cute Southern-fried stripper named Candice, who, posing as a guard, greets an approaching Nazi with a chipper "Heil Hitler, y'all!" Kelley looks well fit in the buff, but after a brief flogging and a shower scene, she doesn't have much to do. But when sweet Candice is forced to perform her cheesy burlesque act for her jeering captors, Tammy Dalton pulls it off beautifully. It's one of the three or four really good setpieces in the film--suddenly Crocker and company are firing on all cylinders and, for a few minutes, it feels like we're watching a real movie.

For sheer, manic intensity, however, nobody in the cast can match Tatyana Kot. Her flame-haired dervish Natasha is a real treat to watch, whether she's spitting blood and screaming wild-eyed obscenities back at her torturers or running naked through the woods with a machine gun, mowing down German soldiers. In a flashback, we see her lure one of them into a bubbly bathtub for some almost-hardcore sex before gleefully castrating him, in an obvious homage to the tub scene from I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

Another penectomy occurs in the Nazi torture dungeon, this time in full close-up as the sadistic and sexy Dr. Zuber demonstrates to a visiting Japanese general (Wayne Chang) the best way to neutralize an unruly male prisoner. Here, the awesome Steph Van Vlack, who is the closest thing in BLITZKRIEG to a genuine "Ilsa"-type character, delivers the film's most skilled performance while once again the direction and camerawork somehow click into just the right groove. Seductive yet steely-eyed and evil, the topless Dr. Zuber playfully toys with her captive until the scene comes to a cutting end with some fake-looking but rather startling FX. After that, I'm thinking that if Crocker had made Steph Van Vlack's Dr. Zuber the main character of this movie, it would've been a lot more awesome.

Additional horrors include Natasha's incessant ordeals of bamboo shoots under the fingernails, hot branding irons, a nasty finger vise, a stretching rack, etc., plus various other male and female prisoners being violated in depraved ways. These episodes are interspersed between numerous boring dialogue sequences until finally we get to the breakout finale, where the action finally kicks into high gear. In addition to the obligatory gory revenge against the Nazis, some of the good guys also get theirs in surprising ways and there's an ironic twist or two as well. It's no spoiler to reveal that Schultz gets away, since the whole sordid tale is a flashback that he's recounting years later to a shocked priest (THE BLOODY APE's Paul Richichi), in a framing story that has its own surprise ending.

Obviously, no film made for $10,000 is going to look all that impressive, especially when it's a WWII sex-and-sadism thriller set in a Nazi prison camp. The locations are okay although some of the camp exteriors look like they were shot in somebody's backyard. Costuming and set design (by co-scripter Keith Matturro) range from semi-realistic to impressionistic, with a ragtag group of Russian POWs looking the most authentic. Crocker decided to go with the cheaper digital video instead of film this time, although his 16mm black-and-white test footage (one of the DVD's extras) looks pretty cool.

Other bonus features include an entertaining commentary track with Crocker, Matturro, Kot, and Wild Eye Releasing's Rob Hauschild, a making-of featurette called "Nazis Over Nassau", the original 16mm extended trailer "Schindler's Lust" (1995) starring THE BLOODY APE's Larry Koster, deleted scenes, a cast and crew Q & A session from the film's premiere, production stills, bloopers, trailers, and short film by Crocker entitled "Desade '88." Image and sound quality are okay, although the really bad accents rendered much of the dialogue difficult for me to make out.

Although the production values are exceedingly low, it's fun watching Keith Crocker attempt something this ambitious on such a small budget. And while it takes a bit of effort to get through this overlong and often tedious schlock epic, there are enough elements of sex, violence, and perversion--along with some pretty off-the-wall comedy--to make the trip worthwhile for fans of this bizarro brand of entertainment.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

THE BLOODY APE -- DVD review by porfle


Just so I don't give you the wrong impression, I want to say up front that this is a favorable review. I had loads of fun watching THE BLOODY APE, writer-director Keith J. Crocker's affectionate homage to the drive-in trash of yesteryear, and will enthusiastically recommend it to people who come knocking at my door trying to sell me a satellite dish or invite me to their church.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way and we can speak freely, I'll try to describe this surreal cinematic artifact to you. Imagine a cross between LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, BLOOD FEAST, and your dad's worst home movies. Whatever your mind comes up with, this is worse. Though filmed in 1997, it looks as though it were shot in 1967, buried, and then dug up by somebody's dog in 1997. It makes PINK FLAMINGOS look like it was directed by Terrence Malick. In fact, it makes almost literally every other movie ever made look good in comparison, unless, of course, Billy Crystal is in it.

All of this, however, is simply part of THE BLOODY APE's makeshift charm. Crocker, a devoted grindhouse film aficionado who for several years published the popular fanzine "Exploitation Journal" with his pal George Reis, eschewed the "shot-on-video" look of much of today's indy titles and went instead for the more traditional look of actual film. Super 8mm film, that is--exactly the same stuff that all of us pre-home-video auteurs used in order to make our own geeky home monster movies back in high school. Except here, Crocker managed to shoot a feature film and get it released, so you gotta admire him for that.

It's this homespun ingenuity and love for moviemaking that help make THE BLOODY APE such a strangely fascinating experience. The gleefully bizarre screenplay by Crocker and Reis is another factor. Loosely inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue", it's the story of a carnival barker named Lampini (after George Zucco's character in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN) and his beloved performing gorilla, Gordo. After being screwed over by an abusive garage mechanic and a crooked rabbi, and then rejected by his girlfriend Ginger while he's proposing to her, Lampini decides to use his ape as an instrument of revenge.

Taking a cue from Bela Lugosi's diabolical aftershave murders in THE DEVIL BAT, Lampini mails Ginger some of his special homemade banana cream soap. This lures Gordo to Ginger's apartment, where he kills her roommates in a frenzy of fake blood and banana-scented soap suds. In one scene, we get to see what would've happened in PSYCHO if Janet Leigh's shower had been interrupted by a crazed gorilla instead of Norman Bates. Then Gordo chases another naked roommate around the livingroom couch a few times before squeezing the life out of her as she looks into the camera and laughs.

Rabbi Rabinowitz and Vic White, the incredibly racist garage mechanic, are next on the list, having been given bunches of bananas by Lampini beforehand. I don't want to spoil too much of the intricate plot, but this is where Gordo rapes Rabbi Rabinowitz' wife and then disembowels her. Although this sounds horrible, the fact that the victim is giggling through the whole ordeal tends to soften the heinousness a bit. Gordo's reign of terror then goes on to include car theft--he drives around until stopped by a cop, whose head he pulls off--and the murder of an ill-mannered video store clerk, which is justifiable. Equally shocking is the scene in which a hippie is furtively taking a leak in some bushes when the confused ape mistakes part of his anatomy for a banana, and...

During all of this, an incredibly racist police lieutenant named LoBianco (Reis, who also plays Gordo) is irrationally convinced that the whole killing spree is the work of an innocent black man named Duane Jones (after the lead actor in George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), which is a whole other subplot. With his ridiculous hair-helmet wig and fake goatee, Reis is as over-the-top hilarious as everything else about this movie. And as mechanic Vic White, Larry Koster is like a Jerky Boys character come to life. The early scene in which he browbeats the incredulous Duane (Chris Hoskins) out of the garage simply for wanting his car fixed sets the goofball tone for the rest of the film.

Acting honors, however, must go to Paul Richichi as Lampini. With his dopey porkpie hat, cane, and Dracula cape, the ever-cheerful Lampini is a delightfully absurd character brimming with memorable quotes, as during his romantic dinner with Ginger: "The sky has never been bluer, the grass has never been greener, and Japanese sports cars have never been smaller, ever since I laid my head between your breasts," he gushes over a plate of Spaghetti-O's. "My love for you is as deep and as wide as the expanses of your vaginal cavity." To which the nonplussed Ginger responds: "What's the matter with you tonight? You're acting like a crackpot--like one of those self-proclaimed medicine men from the days of yore." Later, regretting his callous treatment of Gordo, he laments that he has become "so overwhelmed with repugnance for my enemies, that my love for my ape completely disappeared."

Now, this is where I usually mention stuff like image and sound quality, but we'll skip that part and go on to the bonus features. The audio commentary is an entertaining gabfest with Crocker, Reis, Richichi, and Wild Eye DVD's Rob Hauschild, who directed the informative "making of" featurette, "Grindhouse Gorilla." Next is a Crocker short film, "One Grave Too Many", which boasts a crude sort of creepiness. Lots of other miscellaneous stuff is included: a gallery of covers from the "Exploitation Journal" 'zine, trailers for THE BLOODY APE and BLITZKRIEG: ESCAPE FROM STALAG 69, a pressbook, original VHS cover art, lobby cards, stills, and other related art.

If you've read this far, you already know whether or not you should watch THE BLOODY APE as soon as possible or avoid it like the plague. It's loaded with exploitation goodies--nudity, violence, badly-done gore, bizarre situations, extreme characters, weird comedy--and done in such an unabashedly crude way that it radiates its own strange kind of fascination. As a Poe adaptation, George Reis accurately comments: "If you're running down the films based on Edgar Allan Poe, it's--one of them." As a study in miscommunication, as Crocker describes it, you couldn't find characters that are more miscommunicative. As cinema, it's like some kind of Super 8mm folk art whose worth can only be measured by each individual who watches it. As for me, I found it to be one of the funniest and most entertaining comedy-horror films that I watched yesterday.
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"Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5" and "Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series" on DVD 7/28

ALL IS REVEALED AS THE SCI FI CHANNEL’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HIT COMES TO A SPECTACULAR CLOSE

The Dramatic Final Season of the Highly Rated SCI FI Channel Series and a Comprehensive Multi-Disc Collection Featuring all Four Seasons of the Landmark Show—Each with Hours of Bonus Features—Arrive on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def and DVD on July 28, 2009


Universal City, California, April 20, 2009 – The epic story of survival that redefined science-fiction television for a new generation comes to a breathtaking finish when Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 arrives on Blu-rayTM Hi-Def and DVD on July 28, 2009 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The must-own home entertainment release of the year, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5 features over 13 hours of explosive extras, including three extended episodes of the series finale that never aired on television, never-before-seen deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and commentary and podcast interviews with Executive Producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. The Blu-ray™ Hi-Def edition also includes Universal’s acclaimed U-Control and BD-Live features, providing the ultimate way to enjoy this thrilling, contemporary classic television series.

And if just one season isn’t enough, fans can also relive all the drama, intensity and action with Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series. The ambitious 20-disc Blu-ray™ Hi-Def set and a 25-disc standard DVD set contains every episode of television’s most original, thought-provoking series, together with extensive bonus materials delving deep into the richly imagined world of the hit SCI FI Channel original show.


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON 4.5 BONUS FEATURES

EXCLUSIVE TO Blu-rayTM Hi-Def:
U-CONTROL: Universal’s exclusive signature feature puts viewers one click away from going deeper into the making of the film without ever leaving the movie.
THE ORACLE: An interactive guide including ships and characters.
BATTLESTAR ACTUAL: A glossary of all the unique Battlestar Galactica terms.
WHAT THE FRAK HAPPENED TO YOU? Explore the history and connections of your favorite characters through video clips and relevant facts.
BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers, and more!
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA ULTIMATE BATTLE : Players can battle their friends as Colonials or Cylons using strategy and luck to achieve victory.
MY SCENES: Pick your favorite scenes from the film to create your own video montage.
THE MUSICIANS BEHIND DAYBREAK: Composer Bear McCreary interviews and explains how many unique musicians have contributed the show and specifically the series finale, Daybreak.


BONUS FEATURES (BLU-RAY™ HI-DEF and DVD):
EVOLUTION OF A CUE: Composer, Bear McCreary takes us step by step through his process of creating the music of Battlestar Galactica.
What the Frak is Going On With Battlestar Galactica?: A recap of Battlestar Galactica’s first three thrilling seasons – in only eight minutes!
… AND THEY HAVE A PLAN: What do they mean every episode when the opening sequence on the Cylons states “And They Have A Plan?” All will be revealed in the upcoming movie The Plan.
THE JOURNEY ENDS: THE ARRIVAL: Battlestar Galactica has traveled full circle. The journey has concluded never to be revisited. But how did we arrive at the end?
A LOOK BACK
SO SAY WE ALL : Executive Producer Ron Moore and the cast and crew reveal their personal insights on Battlestar Galactica.
MANIFESTO DESTINY: It all began with this manifesto. Why was it written and what was the response?
BATTLE-STYLE GALACTICA: Those behind the camera delve into their approach to visual style of Battlestar Galactica.
MARTYR TO A CAUSE: As the only actor to appear in both the original and reimagined series, Richard Hatch offers his unique perspective on Battlestar Galactica.
THE SINS OF THE FORGIVEN: Insights on the curious religious aspects of Battlestar Galactica.
BATTLESTAR REVELATIONS: Firsthand accounts from those on the Battlestar for the past five years.
AUDIO COMMENTARIES BY RONALD D. MOORE, DAVID EICK, AND EDWARD JAMES OLMOS
Ronald D. Moore’s Podcast Commentaries
David Eick’s Video Blogs
DELETED SCENES
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE COMPLETE SERIES BONUS FEATURES:
For detailed information on Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series on Blu-rayTM Hi-Def and DVD including episodes, bonus content, box art, stills and more, please visit www.ushepublicity.com.

Battlestar Galactica has riveted audiences for four seasons with its gripping tale of the last remnants of humankind’s struggle to find safe haven. An inspired, visually stunning reimagining of the 1978 series of the same name, Battlestar Galactica captured the imaginations of a new generation of fans with its gritty realism, compelling storylines and commanding performances. The show garnered numerous awards, including two Emmys® and the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award and was recognized by the American Film Institute (AFI) as one of the most outstanding television programs of the year for two years running. In March 2009, Battlestar Galactica’s impassioned explorations of today’s hot-button issues, including politics, terrorism, treatment of prisoners and religion, even inspired the United Nations to host a special panel to discuss the questions it has raised.
The show’s outstanding ensemble cast is led by Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer and Grace Park. The series is from Universal Cable Productions and is executive produced by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. Preorder close is June 9, 2009.


SYNOPSIS
The Battlestar Galactica saga began on one devastating day, when the human population of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol was annihilated in a series of surprise attacks by their own creation—the Cylons, a race of sentient robotic clones. The few survivors huddled together on space ships, facing almost certain death at the hands of their ruthless enemies. In Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5, Commander William Adama (Emmy Award®-winner Edward James Olmos), the hawkish military leader of the last surviving battleship, searches for a habitable planet as the murderous Cylons follow relentlessly. As mysterious premonitions help Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) the President of the Twelve Colonies, guide the ship to the fabled Thirteenth Colony, Earth, treacherous double agents, Cylon spies and internal dissent plague the Galactica. The ship’s crew and passengers battle for their lives—and the survival of the human race—armed with only cunning and determination against the military might of the Cylon Empire.


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 4.5
TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Blu-rayTM Hi-Def
Street Date: July 28, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Universal Studios Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Pre-Order Close: June 6, 2009
Selection Number: 61108246
Price: $69.98 SRP
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
Rating: Not rated.
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

TECHNICAL INFORMATION
DVD

Street Date: July 28, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Universal Studios Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Pre-Order Close: June 6, 2009
Selection Number: 61105927
Price: $49.98 SRP
Layers: Dual Layer
Aspect Ratio: AW 1.78:1
Rating: Not rated
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE COMPLETE SERIES
TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Blu-rayTM Hi-Def
Street Date: July 28, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Universal Studios Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Pre-Order Close: June 9, 2009
Price: $349.98
Selection Number: 61107923
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
Rating: Not rated
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

TECHNICAL INFORMATION
DVD
Street Date: July 28, 2009
Pre-Order Close: June 9, 2009
Copyright: 2009 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Price: $279.98
Selection Number: 61106532
Layers: Dual Layer
Aspect Ratio: AW 1.78:1
Rating: Not rated.
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

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Warner Brothers New Red2Blu Upgrade your old HD-DVD's to Blu-Ray!

http://www.red2blu.com/

It's really simple.

You select the title, mail the original HD-DVD cover art to a processing center and in 4-6 weeks get your new Blu-ray title.

All the details are available at the above link.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Suspense: Ultimate Collection" -- Special 12-DVD Collector’s Set, in Stores May 19th


Join Master of Horrors Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi & Other Iconic Hollywood Stars For 90 Episodes of Popular ’50s Mystery TV Series

‘And now, a tale well calculated to keep you in … Suspense’


LOS ANGELES — May 1, 2009 — At last, your journey into the obscure, the bizarre and the downright terrifying is complete with Suspense: Ultimate Collection, a special DVD collector’s set being released May 19 from Infinity Entertainment Group and Falcon Picture Group.

Marking the first time all 90 episodes – including many episodes long thought lost – have all been available in one collector’s set, this 12-disc compilation is a must-have for any fan.

Suspense, a premiere anthology drama series featuring stories of mystery and the macabre, broadcast live from New York on CBS from 1949 to 1954. The show chilled and thrilled Americans each week with a new, spine-tingling tale. Suspense’s television version was based on the long-running show from the "Golden Age of Radio" and successfully created the atmosphere of its radio predecessor by using the same identifiable opening announcement, "And now, a tale well calculated to keep you in … Suspense," accompanied by the familiar, ominous Bernard Herrmann theme.

Film and television critic Leonard Maltin marks the unearthing of these lost shows as "a major discovery," touting the show as "especially fun to watch, exciting TV at its best!"

Throughout its run, the series featured many of Hollywood and Broadway’s most legendary young stars, including Boris Karloff, Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, Rod Steiger, Anne Bancroft, Jack Lemmon, John Forsythe, Brian Keith, Peter Lorre, John Carradine, Art Carney, Chester Morris, Leslie Nielsen, Hume Cronyn, Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Lloyd Bridges, Jackie Cooper, Jack Palance, Jack Klugman, George Reeves and Lee Marvin, Walter Matthau, Jayne Meadows, Jack Warden, Stella Adler and many more. One special episode was written by Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone).

Complete your Suspense library with all 90 episodes, digitally remastered from the original Kinescope masters.

Infinity Entertainment Group, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., is a multi-service home entertainment retail distributor specializing in independent films, television programming, special-interest, documentaries, anime and music. Clients include Smithsonian Networks, MOJO HD, Falcon Picture Group, Bandai Entertainment, Roxbury Entertainment, SJ2 Entertainment and Retromedia. Hit titles include the iconic Route 66 television series, now available on DVD for the first time, and Spike Jones: The Legend. The company was launched in 2006 and is a division of Infinity Resources, Inc., a privately-held, multi-channel marketing and service enterprise with general offices based in suburban Chicago, Ill.

Suspense: Ultimate Collection (12 Discs)
Infinity Entertainment Group/Falcon Picture Group
Genre: Classic TV/B&W
Not Rated
Format: DVD Only
Running Time: Approx. 43 ½ Hours (90 Episodes/29 Minutes Each)
Suggested Retail Price: $49.98
Order Date: April 14, 2009
Street Date: May 19, 2009
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Get Ong Bak II Legal, English Subtitled, Anamorphic, and NTSC Region Free From HK FLIX for only 12.95

HK Flix today announced the sale of an import Keris Video DVD from Malysia of Ong Bak II and have announced this wonderful news!

This DVD is labeled as Region-3, but is actually all region. The English subtitles are not advertised on the case, and are not available in the menu. To access them, you must use your remote while the movie is playing. We have manually confirmed that the subtitles are of excellent quality.


You can get the DVD via
http://www.hkflix.com/xq/asp/filmID.550457/aid.85597/qx/details.htm or simply click on the banner at the top of the page.

No need to wait for an American release or have to settle for a shitty bootleg!
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Top Gear Season 10 DVD Review

Top Gear 10: The Complete Season 10, Warner Brothers and BBC Video.

Each disc Includes 3 discs with 3 or 4 episodes on each. The video and audio are excellent. The video is in it's original aspect ratio and enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The video quality is top notch and features no video related issues. The quality of the production is greatly helped by the excellent video quality as you can enjoy all the action looking gorgeous.

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are the hosts ( or Presenters in English speak); they are wonderfully droll, snarky and witty as always.

The episodes include the usual car testing of new models, a look at cars to exotic and expensive for any regular person to own ( or even drive or see!), a jaunt through the Kalahari Desert (located in Sub Saharan Africa), an attempt to cross the English Channel in amphibious cars, a race through London at rush hour, and a time trial against a jet!

The special guests who are invited to road test a "reasonably priced car" include Helen Mirren and Simon Cowell. Also the "Cool Wall", "The Stig" and Top Gears take on the news are back.

The production values are wonderful as always; the desert sequences are amazingly beautiful.

This is really for those who love the show and enjoy "car talk" ; it takes a few episodes to understand what is going on and what "role" each presenter plays.

But it is great fun -- you will never look at cars in quite the same way after viewing this. This season is great for a new fan, just as much as it is for a long time fan.


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Monday, April 20, 2009

GOTHKILL -- DVD review by porfle

Love 'em or hate 'em, it's just plain fun to watch Goths get slaughtered. At least, that's the idea behind first-time writer-director JJ Connelly's seriocomic bloodbath GOTHKILL (2009), and he makes a pretty strong case for it.

Stop me if you've heard this one: former priest Nicholas Dread (Flambeaux) has a serious falling out with his fellow Spanish Inquisitors, and while they're burning him at the stake, he makes a deal with Beelzebub--if he kills 100,000 corrupt people during his next several reincarnations, he'll eventually get to rule over them all in Hell. Having reached the magic number during a shotgun slaughter of some unsuspecting present-day sycophants, Nick gets his neck stretched and ends up "down under", only to find that old Scratch has hogged all those souls for himself and left Nick alone in a dark limbo of eternal thumb-twiddling. "Hello?" he calls out upon his arrival. "Is there anyone home?"

Meanwhile, two nubile young airheads, the worldly Kate and the virginal Annie (Eve Blackwater, Erica Giovinazzo), get invited to a secret gathering of the highly-exclusive Scorpion Society, the self-proclaimed elite of the New York Goth underground. After some perverse party hijinks with these wannabe vampires, the girls get drugged and end up as the main event in a kooky Satanic ritual. But when the clueless leader reads the wrong magical incantation from a mysterious book, it gives Nick the opportunity to jump into Annie's body and go on a slaughter spree that leaves no Goth unkilled and helps replenish his supply of souls to rule over in Hell.

Looking pretty good for a no-budget comedy-horror flick shot on video, GOTHKILL makes up for its occasional draggy spots with generous amounts of boobage, kinky stuff, and unconvincing but enthusiastic violence. Nick's noose-worthy gallows sendoff early on should please viewers with a "women in uniform" fetish, since strangely enough the warden and all the guards are of the female persuasion. The Goth party is a visual treat as well, with fire performer Sky Claudette Soto as a go-go dancer, a dominatrix or two, and the striking Anastacia Andino as butch lesbian DJ Demon.

"Unconvincing but enthusiastic" would also be an apt description of the cast. Scottish-born fire performer Flambeaux, who set the world record in 2008 for keeping a lit torch in his mouth for a full 57 seconds (according to Wikipedia), seems to be having a perpetual giddy fit chomping up the scenery as Nick Dread. This is especially true in the final minutes, when he launches into his fire-breathing act with a truly manic zeal. Erica Giovinazzo's transformation from shy, reserved Annie into a Nick-possessed killing machine is another highlight. And particularly vile is Michael Day as the rotund, clownishly-made-up Goth ringleader Lord Walechia, whose bushy, greasepainted eyebrows eventually begin to resemble horrible twin globs of cottage cheese suspended over his eyes. Yeccch! Fortunately, Fuse TV veejay Mistress Juliya is on hand as "Devil Girl" to help make up for such visual offenses.

Yes, there are boring parts. Certain scenes go on too long without any nudity or carnage to jolly them up, especially during Nick's Spanish Inquisition flashback, which consists of some guys in burlap bathrobes emoting badly at each other. Oh yeah, they do whip a few topless women before burning them at the stake, which is some consolation. And Nick's lengthy speech to his captive Goth audience before going medieval on their asses tends to drag despite his marvelous Scottish accent. Finally, though, he turns back into Erica Giovinazzo, has one of the most hilariously-inept martial arts battles of all time with my future wife Anastacia Andino, and then kills everybody in a fake-bloody frenzy. Now that's entertainment!

The DVD image is full-screen and, like I said, looks pretty good for such a small budget. Extras include:

Audio/video commentary by Connelly, Falmbeaux and Blackwater
Q&A with JJ Connelly from a New York City screening
GOTHKILL live performance chronicle
Production and publicity still galleries
Original trailers

Also of interest is the DVD cover art by artist Mike Hrubovcak, which is quite nice. And yes, Flambeaux does wear that nutty-looking fire headdress in the movie.

JJ Connelly has stated that his goal was to create "a campy, B-grade midnight movie that's fun to watch." Campy? Definitely. B-grade? Oh my, yes. Fun to watch? Well, unless you're one of those picky people who demand stuff like "good production values" in their movies, then GOTHKILL may be the most fun you've had watching Goths get killed since way back in the golden age of Gothkilling when guys like D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille were killing off truckloads of the creepy bastards.

Buy it at Amazon.com
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Follow that Bird and Star Wars: The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided DVD Review

Warner Brothers recently released two titles to DVD. While marketed to younger audiences these DVDs are ones that older fans can both enjoy and may want to pick up . One is the Sesame Street classic Follow the Bird and the other is the more recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided TV show. To go through a detailed synopsis is somewhat pointless. If you're a Seasame Street and/or Star Wars than you will need no further convincing as to the quality and enjoyment of these two productions. Therefore we should look at the tech specs of each.

Video: Follow that Bird is being presented for the first time in Ananmorphic Widescreen at 1:85:1, every previous release (even on DVD) has been pan and scan. It is a shame that it took so long to be issued in it's proper aspect ratio. It is great though that Warner Brothers took the time to rectify this error. The picture quality is excellent and free from any compression or visual defects. Since the retail price for the DVD is quite low it is reason enough to buy a new DVD if you're a fan of the movie.

Star Wars is also presented in its original aspect ratio and looks great. The animation is pleasent to watch and shows no sign of suffering from poor compression or any visual defects. The image because it is recent is flawless.

Audio: The audio on both products is fine and clear of any defects. There is obviously more range on the more recent Star Wars program than Follow that Bird.

Extras: Follow that Bird has an interview with the actor who played Big Bird, which is nice for kids who grew up watching the show and where interested in how things on the show worked. There is also a sing-alongs and a jump to a song feature. Star Wars is bare-bones.

Overall: If you're a fan of Sesame Street or of Follow that Bird than this release is a no brainer as it finally has the film in the correct aspect ratio. Star Wars is good for those interested in the show, but who only want to see a sample before plunging in.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

LOOK -- DVD review by porfle

These days, almost every aspect of our lives takes place under the watchful eye of a hidden camera. The average American, we're told, is captured on camera over 200 times daily. When writer-director Adam Rifkin (DETROIT ROCK CITY) began to notice this, it occurred to him that this would be an interesting way to tell a story about some of the people whose lives, loves, triumphs, tragedies, births, and deaths are recorded and can be played back by anyone with access to these records. And with his riveting mockumentary LOOK (2007), filmed solely from the point of view of different surveillance cameras, we become those hidden observers.

Right off the bat, Rifkin kicks the voyeuristic aspect of the film into high gear as we eavesdrop on two underage high school girls, Sherri and Holly, as they cavort naked in a dressing room at the mall. (Actresses Spencer Redford and Heather Hogan are both in their mid-20s, amazingly enough, so guys--you may gawk without guilt.) It doesn't take long to realize that these are two of the most vapid, preening, self-centered brats imaginable. On their way out of the store with a shoplifted item or two, they run into one of their teachers, Mr. Krebbs (Jamie McShane), and his extremely pregnant wife. Sherri, who is the very embodiment of the word "jailbait", hatches a devious plan to seduce the unsuspecting teacher and have sex with him just for kicks. This will lead to horrendous consequences that her ditzy little mind can't even begin to contemplate.

We begin to meet other characters whose stories will intertwine in unexpected ways. There's Marty, the cubicle-dwelling terminal nerd who is ridiculed by women and tormented by a bullying practical joker at work. Tony, a department store manager and compulsive letch, has sex with as many female employees as possible during work hours. Lawyer Ben and his wife Louise install "nanny-cams" in their apartment to ensure that their newborn baby isn't abused while they're at work. Willie and Carl, an irresponsible convenience-store clerk and his slacker pal, putter their way through the graveyard shift in unproductive (but funny) ways until one night they come face-to-face with two criminals suspected in the murder of a highway patrolman.

Each of these seemingly random storylines becomes more and more interesting as fate begins to bring them together. In the film's most disturbing scenes, we observe some mothers and their young daughters strolling through the mall, unaware that they're being stalked by a nondescript man in a blue fishing hat. He bides his time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike, and we know that sooner or later he'll succeed. For several of the characters in this film, terrible tragedy is inevitable, and there's nothing we can do but watch it unfold through the cameras' eyes.

Some scenes, such as the dashboard-cam view of the highway cop being overpowered by two thugs, are virtual re-enactments of actual footage you've seen if you watch reality video shows or YouTube. Some, we feel, will later be used as evidence. Often an unseen viewer zooms in on certain people and events, and fast-forwards through idle chatter to get to the good parts, like an omniscient Big Brother. Rifken states in the commentary track that he wanted it to appear as though someone with access to all of this material had selected and edited various segments in order to create a narrative.

There's no traditonal exposition, so you have to pay attention--which will undoubtedly turn a lot of viewers off. I found it interesting to become familiar with the various characters simply by observing their words and actions, which are presented in an entirely dispassionate manner that becomes subjective only when certain things are highlighted by a pan or a zoom. This method of storytelling, once you get used to it, offers its own unique fascination. It wouldn't work, of course, if the actors weren't natural enough to give us the feeling that we're eavesdropping on real, unsuspecting people. But after extensive casting sessions, the filmmakers have managed to choose actors who are more than capable of this. And in most scenes, the "extras" actually are real people.

It becomes obvious after awhile that the style of LOOK is less of a statement about privacy invasion than an offbeat way of giving the viewer a voyeuristic perspective on this multi-character narrative. It's interesting that if you wanted to tell someone's story, you could pretty much do so by gleaning footage from all the various hidden cameras that record their activitites every day. This includes the cameras we point at ourselves, such as Ben and Louise's "nanny-cams" and the ubiquitous cell phone cameras that turn average citizens into tabloid-style documentarians. One thing LOOK makes clear--whether we're in stores, cubicles, elevators, parking lots, hallways, buses, dressing rooms, or bathrooms, we are rarely truly alone and have very little privacy.

The DVD's image and sound quality are good, considering that the whole movie consists of simulated surveillance camera footage. A fun and informative commentary track features director Rifkin, producers Brad Wyman and Barry Schuler, and actor Hayes MacArthur ("Tony"). The half-hour featurette "Look at LOOK" is an entertaining video diary of the fifteen-day shoot. Lots of deleted scenes and outtakes, plus the teaser and trailer, round out the bonus features.

Before it's over, we witness a freeway car chase (containing actual police helicopter footage), a dramatic confession, a bomb threat, a live birth, an abominable act or two, and one truly jaw-dropping revelation. Entire lives are quietly and irrevocably destroyed. A woman farts in an elevator--a man masturbates at his desk. And we watch, because LOOK is a compelling and very entertaining exploration of the joys of seeing what we're not supposed to see.
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MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT #26 -- Another Awesome Issue For Classic Horror Fans


Hello? HELLO? Okay, as soon as you're done admiring that totally awe-inspiring Daniel Horne painting of Karloff from THE WALKING DEAD, which graces the cover of MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT issue #26, then we'll discuss the contents. Whenever you're ready. Like, sometime this week. ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME? Oh, the heck with it--I think I wanna gawk at that cool cover some more myself...

Once inside, we find editor Jim Clatterbaugh's "View From the Vault", which includes a tribute to the late Forry Ackerman, followed by the always interesting letters section where readers get to sound off about this, that, and t'other.

Kicking off the ish in grand style is the scintillatin' saga of "Boris Karloff at Warner Bros., 1935-1939", which describes in great detail the circumstances behind Karloff's sojourn from the Universal Studios lot in order to make THE WALKING DEAD, WEST OF SHANGHAI, THE INVISIBLE MENACE, DEVIL'S ISLAND, and BRITISH INTELLIGENCE for the brothers Warner during the late 30s. As fate would have it, I've never had the chance to see a single one of those films over the years. But just as in the days of FM, it's always interesting to read about movies like this (and salivate over the wealth of juicy Karloff stills) even if I haven't seen them yet. Especially when the article is written by horror historian Greg Mank, who really knows his way around this stuff and can always make it informative and fun.

Gary D. Rhodes keeps things rolling with "One Browning, Two Helens, and a Host of Fakes", the story behind the 1929 production of Tod Browning's THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR. For Browning, the enigmatic director whose work has been alternately critically praised and derided throughout the years, the film began "a shift away from collaborations with Lon Chaney and the beginning of his work with Lugosi." It also continues his fondness for "fakery and deception" so evident in LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT and its later remake, MARK OF THE VAMPIRE.

Largely unseen until it began to turn up on Ted Turner's TNT and TCM channels, the film is of interest today mainly due to its being the first Browning-Lugosi collaboration. David Skal and Elias Savada speculate in their book Dark Carnival that this apparent miscasting of Lugosi may have actually been intended as a screen test for the upcoming DRACULA. Rhodes contends that this is unlikely and that Lugosi, rather than being miscast, was simply cast interestingly against type. Rhodes then treats us to an exhaustive look at the film itself--along with another series of choice photos--detailing the differences between it and Bayard Veiller's play, which opened on Broadway in 1916.

Next up is "Vampires, Zombies, and Sorcerers: The Best of Hammer Horror in the 1960s." According to authors Mark Clark and Bryan Senn: "When MFTV learned that we were co-authoring a comprehensive guide to horror films of the 1960s...tentatively titled Sixties Shockers: Horror Films of the 1960s, editor Jim Clatterbaugh asked us to name our choices for the best films of the decade to emerge from England's fabled Hammer Films." This sneak peek at their upcoming book goes into detail about three key Hammer films--THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, and THE DEVIL'S BRIDE--and is a delight for Hammer fans.

"Universal-International's The Strange Door (1951): Part One" is another sneak peek, this time courtesy of authors Tom Weaver and Steve Kronenberg, of a chapter from their upcoming book, Univeral Terrors: The 1950s (the long-awaited sequel to Universal Horrors). Part One looks at the inspiration, synopsis, and cast of this '51 film which I saw on TV a few times as a kid and always found perversely compelling, with rich performances by Boris Karloff and Charles Laughton.

An interesting note is that Laughton chose to play up the humor inherent in his flamboyantly vile lead character, and, while director Joseph Pevney recounts this being his and Laughton's intention all along, Elsa Lanchester is quoted as saying that Pevney wasn't aware of this during filming and was shocked by the audience laughter at the inital preview!

"Films From the Vault" offers another batch of insightful DVD reviews by Mark Clark. This time he weighs in on "Fox Horror Classics Volume 2" (featuring CHANDU THE MAGICIAN, DRAGONWYCK, and DR. RENAULT'S SECRET) and "Icons of Horror: Hammer Films" (featuring SCREAM OF FEAR, THE TWO FACES OF DR. JEKYLL, THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB, and THE GORGON).

And finally, "Books From the Vault" reteams Clark and Bryan Senn for reviews of I Talked With a Zombie:Interviews with 23 Veterans of Horror and Sci-Fi Films and Television and Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies.

In a 4/7/09 message to readers of the Classic Horror Film Board, editor Jim Clatterbaugh offers this update: "Now that software, hardware, malware, and virus issues on my computer have been resolved and I've recovered from a brief illness (all of which created havoc on my production schedule for Monsters from the Vault #26), I'm happy to announce that the issue finally went to press this morning! I'll be getting my proof after work today (if all goes well) and my printer says I should have copies back in 10 working days (around April 21st or 22nd). I should be doing my mass mailing on the weekend of the April 25-26 and all copies should be in the mail come April 27th. The issue should start showing up in comic book stores on April 29th or May 6th.

"A BIG thanks to our readers for their patience!"

For information on subscriptions, back issues, and a whole lot more, check out the MFTV website today!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Goth Kids Won’t Know What Hit Them..."GOTHKILL" Available on DVD 5/12/09

"Grown men shouldn't wear shiny black lipstick, and GOTHKILL is bloody good fun."
– B Through Z

"Deals with the Devil may not be new to horror films, but Connelly’s spin on the premise is fresh."
– Soho Journal

Wild Eye Releasing is pleased to announce release of cult New York midnight movie GOTHKILL on DVD. Featuring the dark talents of Flambeaux, and FUSE favorite Mistress Juliya.

When Catholic Priest and Inquisitor Nicholas Dread finds out that innocents are being burned as witches he decides to do something about it. Unfortunately for him, his superiors don’t agree and he’s burned at the stake alongside two women he forced confessions from. While dying, Nick curses god and makes a pact with Satan to reign over his own kingdom someday at any cost.

Now, in 21st century New York City, Dread has returned to finish the deal. His end of the bargain with Satan must be fulfilled, and many will die so Dread can take the throne in his kingdom of over one hundred thousand corrupt souls. He just has to find the right bunch of victims…and it just so happens the best Goth Club in the city is ripe for this bloodthirsty butcher bent on revenge!

Can a group of Goths and wanna-be vampires hold their own when the real thing arrives?

This tongue-in-cheek, JJ Connelly horror fest features a willing cast of New York underground and avant guard music and fetish performers, including Flambeaux, Eve Blackwater, and FUSE’s Mistress Juliya.

Official Selections: Coney Island Film Festival (2008) and Evil City Film Festival (2009)

Most Evil Extras
• Audio/video commentary by Connelly, Falmbeaux and Blackwater
• Q&A with JJ Connelly from a New York City screening
• GOTHKILL live performance chronicle
• Production and publicity still galleries
• Original trailers
Street Date: May 12, 2009
Retail: $19.95
Run Time: 75 minutes

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Some Thoughts on Cannibal Holocaust

I was just thinking about Cannibal Holocaust recently and some of the thoughts I felt about the movie. In lieu of doing a standard review I decided to list my general observations and thoughts on the film. Feel free to comment on any of these points.

  1. I think the structuring of the story is just genius. I always expected it to turn into one giant flashback, instead it the viewing room scene was one where the audience is always aware they are in the viewing room and not just dissolved into a flashback. I really kept expecting it to just default to some sort of flashback structure. Deodato was smart in avoiding this easy pitfall, instead the audience becomes another viewing room member with the other characters. It does not feel detached, because we do not become detached from the footage. I just feel the way the entire story and narrative is arranged is quite clever and if it was in a more linear method or used obvious flashback methods (dissolves to, instead of viewing the raw footage) the movie would have not been nearly as good. The care and skill in the structuring of the narrative raises it beyond the simple cannibal movie.
  2. Robert Kerman is excellent, he really represents the audience as a sort of moral authority looking in, while not becoming too pandering. He is a decent person, not someone party to the actions, the type of person we would hope to be in this type of situation. He is almost like an avatar for the audience. It's funny Kerman in real life in reference to the movie has become somewhat like his character. I think the debate between him and the interview on the Grindhouse DVD release extras about not including the animal killings, is extremely interesting, a little uncomfortable, but at the same time well argued and similar to his character in the movie. I just felt that Kerman gave a great performance in the film and deserves a lot of praise, for bringing humanity to a movie with almost anything but humanity.
  3. In regard to the animal killings, I didn't have so much as a disturbed view as much as an annoyed/pissed off view, with a "Deadato come on what the fuck" approach. I still hold the view that Dedato could have used special effects and was just lazy, with the mondo genre as a way to justify and excuse his laziness, it's no different from the attitude that John Landis had on The Twilight Zone shoot. I mean look what Fulci did earlier in Lizard in a Women's skin. I think it's a shame that the footage was done, because it really detracts so much from the other qualities the movie has and would still have if it was done during special effects. Still, I wouldn't watch it cut, at least not the first time and even after that, the animals are long dead and in a sense its no different than the turtle episode of Iron Chef (which interestingly my wife was never bothered by, but her friend at the time who had a pet turtle was understandably horrified with). It's wrong and cruel and something Deodato should feel like a piece of shit for doing and if made today prosecuted for it. I wouldn't hold it against someone who didn't want to see it. It's not fun stuff to watch, even more so because Deodato didn't have to do it.
  4. The final death reel of the crew did not bother me that much. It may sound strange, but we have seen tons of footage of them committing atrocities prior to this that seem like something the Nazi's would do. It may come from watching too much kung fu or Cheng Cheh, but I felt they got a sense of justified vengeance for the horrors they committed (granted rape is not something I'm saying was right or approve of), they brought their own actions upon themselves. I did not find it harrowing, but more of a "die your motherfuckers" approach (once again discounting the rape aspect). I mean I never hear anyone express sympathies for Rhoades in Day of the Dead and he hardly did anything to rival the camera crew.
  5. At the same time you don't exactly fall in love with the cannibals, I mean raping a women for adultery with a sharp object is just fucking wrong. You can say cultural relativism all you want, but I'm not buying it, even if they are supposed to be detached from the modern world. Now it is interesting that when the camera crew goes Entzapgruppen, that you never notice any of the villagers doing anything wrong and they also look extremely docile and just terrified. It divorces them from the earlier footage we have seen. In fact and I feel sort of wrong making this comparison, but I can't help thinking that Deodato was drawing thoughts of vengeance that he felt may have been believed after the liberation of concentration camps, both by the Allies and Nazi victims. There are certainly examples of it occurring (though no rape or obviously cannibalism), and it's hard to blame those people. There is just something about the imprisoned and degraded prisoners taking revenge. It's not something limited to the Holocaust, but Deodato is no idiot and certainly not a person without a sense of history. I mean if you think of it on the surface besides the scene with the burning of the tribesmen, the title makes absolutely no sense, may be it means more, but that's more of a hunch than anything I have facts to prove. I know Deodato has gone on record it was more of a look at the media gone wild, but I don't think that excludes anything else from being read from the movie, even if it was made as simply commercial cinema.
  6. The movie is wonderfully shot and scored. The contrast of the opening theme, which sounds more at home with of Riz Orlanti's western scores contrasted to the track "Adulteress' Punishment", which is a mixture of an adagio and pervading feeling of electronic dehumanization and death, helps to add to the further contradiction that is Cannibal Holocaust. The cinematography and it's quality should not be surprising considering Deodato's training and the people who he worked with when coming up in the Italian film industry. I think part of the skill is that the movie doesn't suffer from the problem of having something stick out to us as the audience as "oh its fake and they're trying to make us think It's real" which is insulting when its done crappily, say with Imovie adding grain or scratches. You can still think its fake, but if you're not being insulted by it, then you won't mind it. It's why I hate fake news stations, countries, or leaders in movies that are supposed to be realistic, and at the same time reek of fakeness (that is not to infer it is impossible or always wrong to do), it just removes me from the movie, the use of lots of NYC location shooting helped a lot too.
  7. One thing to keep in mind is that I saw this with the benefit of knowing it's not real, which a lot of people at the time legitimately had no clue if parts of it were real or such. I've talked to a person who saw it during its initial release and said that's one of the important things to remember if you saw it later on.
  8. The movie is in my opinion excellent and one all should see (even if you choose to watch the cruelty free cut), it is more than a simple Cannibal film, it is beautiful, yet disgusting, grindhouse, yet made with skill, it's offensive, yet moral, it's full of damn contradictions, but is still incredible and one people should see at some point.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

JAKE AND THE FATMAN: SEASON TWO -- DVD review by porfle

"Jake and the Fatman" was never one of my favorite series--it came along when I was losing interest in sitting around watching "old people" shows with my mom and dad. But now that I'm older myself, I'm beginning to enjoy hunkering down to watch stuff like this on DVD.

With ten episodes on three discs, JAKE AND THE FATMAN: SEASON TWO begins with a two-parter that explains why veteran district attorney J.L. "Fatman" McCabe and his police detective partner Jake Styles have suddenly moved their operation from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii. It all has to do with the murder of Jake's former-cop friend, who conveniently wills his awesome beachfront pad to Jake. McCabe zips over to the island (which, incidentally, is his old stomping ground) to help Jake track down the evil hitman who did it, and before you know it Honolulu's District Attorney (James Karen), who's itching to retire, ropes McCabe into taking his place! All that's left is for them to transport the Fatman's young assistant Derek (Alan Campbell) and his beloved bulldog Max across the big water, and before you can say "aloha" the team is complete.

The real story for the move (according to IMDb) is that after "Magnum, P.I." went off the air, CBS still had its Hawaii studio sitting around gathering dust. So they revived "Jake and the Fatman" (which had been cancelled after one season) and relocated the characters to the sandy shores of Honolulu. This proved to be just the shot in the arm that the show needed and it continued for a full five seasons, later returning to L.A. when CBS' lease on the Hawaii studio expired.

The show looks like the usual network drama from its era, with production values that range from good to a bit iffy, but the tropical location is a perfect backdrop for the casual, laidback atmosphere of the series. In fact, once you get used to the leisurely pace and start liking these characters, it's a fun "hang-out" show in which the plots aren't all that important. Even so, the stories are involving enough, and occasionally offer some strong dramatic moments along with the usual hokum. There are times, in fact, when the acting and writing come together in such a way that you may be a bit taken aback by how good a scene is--and this happens often enough to keep the show consistently interesting.

I was especially surprised at how much I liked Joe Penny as Jake. What a good actor he is here--handling the cool action stuff competently (without the usual martial arts or clever quips), while still coming across as a regular guy. A skilled actor, Penny's low-key approach to the role works very well, especially in contrast to his more flamboyant co-star. J.L. "Fatman" McCabe is a classic William Conrad character in the tradition of "Cannon." Conrad's so good I could watch him in anything, and this show gives him a chance to do what he does best, which is to be himself. As his assistant Derek, Alan Campbell adds a little comedy relief due to his love-hate relationship with McCabe but remains a believable character who is helpful in their investigations.

The guest stars range from great to not-so-good, with few of the familiar character actors who so often grace the older classic TV shows. The initial two-parter features old pro James Karen as the outgoing D.A. and Amy Steel of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 in a cringe-inducingly bad performance. Some of the few recognizable actors in later episodes include Khigh Dhiegh (Wo Fat of "Hawaii Five-O"), Ben Piazza, Alex Cord, Lenore Kasdorf, Ramon Bieri, Frederick Coffin (LONESOME DOVE's Big Swede), and Charlie Brill.

The "I'll Never Smile Again" episode, which is somewhat reminiscent of DEATH WISH, contains two truly remarkable performances, one from David Schramm as a mugging victim who may not be all that innocent, and the other from a young Brigid Conley Walsh (who has since had quite a prolific television career) as his troubled daughter. Both are outstanding and help make this one of the high points of the collection. Another notable episode is "Why Can't You Behave?" (you may have noticed that all the titles are from old blues songs) in which McCabe is forced to choose between protecting his crooked, weaselly son Daniel (Tom Isbell) and upholding the law. The episode also features a nice cameo from bluesman Clarence Clemons.

Michele Scarabelli and Patricia Sill are very good as cops' wives whose husbands are cut down in the line of duty in "They Can't Take That Away From Me." The final episode in the set, "Snowfall", is an exciting yarn about cocaine and counterfeit money which contains a couple of blazing shoot-outs and features a young Michael Madsen.

The DVD set contains no extras. Production values vary, so the image quality isn't always that sharp. Old pros such as Bernard L. Kowalski, Jackie Cooper, and Don Medford are on hand to direct. The musical score is often nicely jazz-tinged, and while I wasn't very impressed the first time I heard Dick DeBenedictis' main theme, it really started to grow on me after a few listens.

I wasn't expecting much from this set, but JAKE AND THE FATMAN: SEASON TWO turned out to be quite a lot of fun to watch. William Conrad at his best, a dynamic Joe Penny, and those gorgeous Hawaiian locations add up to several hours worth of solid entertainment.
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Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade DVD Review by 42nd St Pete

Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade 1978 Directed by Joe D’Amato Starring Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti and Ely Galleani DVD released by Severin Films.


I always said that Joe D’Amato was one of the best when it came to erotic films , either hard or softcore. Joe was a master at this genre, yet totally sleazy with other genres. Joe had a long collaboration with Laura Gemser, one of the most sensual women in the history of exploitation and grindhouse. Gemser’s exotic looks and smoldering sensuality gave all us 70’s grindhouse junkies fantasies. She made the character she played, Emanuelle, an extension of her personality.


This was their last Emanuelle film together. The film starts out in Africa as Emanulle and her assistant are looking to expose a mobster who is hiding out. She arranges for her and her assistant to be introduced to the gentleman. She has a camera hidden in her zippo lighter. Lots of very hot sex scenes occur before the job is done.


She catches wind of a prostitution ring run by her real life husband, Gabriele Tinti. We see an auction in New York as young girls, with hairy armpits, are auctioned off. One girl, who is supposed to be a “16 year old virgin” has more hair under her arms than I have left on my head. Just think of brillo pads. The girls parade in and do a strip before the potential buyers. They are very calm for girls being sold as sex slaves.


Anyway after a lot more sex, Emanuelle agrees to work in a high end brothel in San Diego. She befriends a cross dresser and they plan an escape. They are cornered by thugs and we are treated to a tranny kung fu fight until he/she gets killed and Emanuelle has sex with multiple men at once. The ring is exposed, Emanuelle gets her story and this film got lost for a good many years.



Grainy 10th generation bootlegs made the rounds of the convention circuits until Severin Films got a complete print from a private European collector. It most likely came from one of my customers on Ebay. Anyway this print is beautiful, a must for any D’Amato/ Gemser fan. It showcases Joe’s strengths as a director of erotica and Laura Gemser clothed or naked is breathtaking. If it’s skin you’re looking for, it’s all right here, three ways, girl on girl, the afore mentioned multiple partner love making session, and hot, & hairy Euro chics. The ‘plot” is just a framing device to showcase Laura. There were many hot women in grindhouse films in the 70’s. You had Pam Grier, Angel Thompkins, Christina Lindberg, Tiffany Bolling, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith, and others, but to a lot of us, Laura Gemser was our Queen of Exploitation Cinema. Kudos to Severin Films for unearthing this lost gem.


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