HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, March 31, 2011

RONDO Award Winners Announced!

The 9th Annual Rondo Awards are now horror history, and the winners have been announced (courtesy of David Colton, aka "taraco") at the Classic Horror Film Board.  You can check them out HERE, and then go HERE to read various comments on the outcome.  It's all over but the screaming!

Congratulations from us here at HK and Cult Film News to all the winners.  And if your favorites didn't win this year, just remember--as Mr. Hatton himself seems to be telling us in the picture above--"Them's the breaks!"

Our review of the Best Film of 2010
Our review of the Best TV Presentation

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

THE INHERITANCE -- DVD review by porfle

It's like Black History Month gone bad when young cousins from five families, descended from slaves, learn more about their "roots" than they bargained for in THE INHERITANCE (2011).  And, as is usually the case in movies like this, the pagan superstitions blithely dismissed by the sophisticated modern youths turn out to be horribly true. 

Writer-director Robert O'Hara's script seems a little dry and talky at first as the five cousins--Karen (Golden Brooks), Henry (D.B. Woodside), Tyrone (Darrin Dewitt Henson), Lily (Rochelle Aytes), and the irreverent Simpson (Shawn Michael Howard)--congregate in an isolated snow-covered mansion to await the arrival of "the Elders" of the five families and find out who's going to eventually inherit what. 

Things get a little livelier that night as their booze and weed-stoked revelries are interrupted when Lily, seemingly possessed, goes into a wild dance and then screams her head off at the sight of the words "The flesh is the strength" scrawled across a window.  The creepy Elders show up the next day, led by Uncle Melvin (Keith David at his most super-smug), and begin to school the young 'uns on their heritage.  It seems their enslaved ancestors were promised freedom and prosperity if they would sacrifice their "best and brightest" children to a fearsome godlike being named Chakabazz (Lanre Idewu), which they did.

Despite Simpson's vocal skepticism, this pretty much lets us know what we and the five sacrificial lambs--err, cousins--can expect for the rest of the film.  As little by little we learn how bizarre and malevolent the Elder cult really is, O'Hara's direction and camerawork become wilder and more frantic.  He stages some nice setpieces, such as Lily's attempted escape from the house and a spooky candlelit bath during which Karen discovers she's the lucky "chosen one" of you-know-who. 

Some ghostly apparitions are fairly well-rendered although, despite a "gotcha!" or two, the film never really scares.  It does, however, get our adrenaline going as the cousins flee for their lives.  It goes without saying that (a) their car won't start, (b) one of them suffers a crippling injury, and (c) everything they try to do goes straight south real quick.  O'Hara manages to keep it all from getting too chaotic, and his dialogue displays some welcome color as in this exchange involving defensive weaponry:

Henry: "Will you man the f-ck up?  You have a hatchet, g--dammit!"
Simpson: "He's got a chainsaw and you've got a snowmobile!"

The finale takes place back at the house, where the survivors make a last ditch effort to fend off the Elders while Simpson tries to contact the outside world on his laptop.  Things remain pretty suspenseful right up to the fadeout, although the ending is much too abrupt.  It's as though O'Hara ran out of ideas and, lacking an imaginative resolution to his story, simply settled for the most arbitrary one he could think of.  Just when things are at their peak, the end credits appear and leave us hanging.

Despite the fact that some of the ensemble acting doesn't quite jell, the cast is generally above average.  Standouts include Golden Brooks and D.B. Woodside, who have at least one really good scene together, and of course the always reliable Keith David.  In a brief appearance as Aunt Felicia, who shows up unexpectedly early on to warn the young folks about the old folks, Adriane Lenox makes a strong impression.

Gorehounds looking for a good bloodbath will have to settle for some after-the-fact stuff like a head on a stick and a torso (no moreso, just a torso), with most of the violence occurring offscreen.  The film benefits from a rather robust musical score by Nathan Furst.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  A trailer is the sole extra.

While THE INHERITANCE doesn't rise that far above the pack of similar flicks about dwindling groups of imperiled young people, its premise does boast a few unique elements.  And just when you think you're in for a preachy history lesson or something, it does a cannonball right into the deep end of the hokey horror pool.  

Buy it at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

THE RESIDENT -- DVD review by porfle

After watching Hammer Films' THE RESIDENT (2011), I wondered how they could possibly make a trailer for it without giving everything away.  But sure enough, they managed to stick one together, mainly by showing just a bunch of hands and feet.  Too bad I can't show just a bunch of hands and feet in my review, because sometimes it's hard to stick one of these things together and remain 100% spoiler-free, especially when the big reveal occurs before the movie's even half over.

Not that it's any mind-boggling twist or anything, but this modern Gothic-tinged tale of madness and obsession does have us guessing at first who the crazy person is going to turn out to be.  Hilary Swank plays Juliet Devereau, an ER doctor fresh out of a bad break-up and moving into one of those spacious old too-good-to-be-true Brooklyn apartments on her own.  The landlord, Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, WATCHMEN), seems like a really nice guy, but is he really crazy? 

Max's creepy, decrepit old granddad, August (Hammer legend Christopher Lee), seems crazy--does this mean he's really sane?  And what about Juliet's ex, Jack (Lee Pace), who keeps trying to get Juliet to return his calls and even seems to be stalking he crazy?  Or is Juliet the crazy one, and we're getting the old dipsy-doodle pulled on us?

Whoever the nut is, Juliet's big, spooky apartment (which looks like it was decorated by Dario Argento) is a voyeur's dream, with peepholes in every electrical outlet and secret passages behind every wall.  Everything makes some kind of unsettling noise and shadows hover around every dark corner, and it doesn't take long for Juliet to get the sneaking feeling she's being watched.  Often the camera puts us right in the peeper's POV, inviting us to peer at the semi-nude or naked Juliet (Hilary Swank actually looks sexy in this movie) and reminding us how vulnerable she is. 

As you might guess, a romantic spark eventually flares between Juliet and Max just as Jack shows up hoping for a reconciliation.  And enigmatic old August is always peeking through his doorway, watching all.  We already know Juliet's in danger, and we begin to suspect that she's not the only one.  The script isn't rocket science or anything, but so far it's one of those familiar, old-fashioned woman-in-peril creepers that keeps you comfortably involved as you settle in and wait for things to get progressively spooky. 

It's around this time that the film does something interesting--it whips us back to the beginning of the story and reveals something to us that skews the whole thing in a new and disturbing way.  This is the surprise reveal I was referring to earlier, and at this point I can't really say much more except that this new revelation ratchets things up in a big way, setting the stage for the terror to come.

Finally, Juliet makes a shattering (and really icky) discovery in the latter part of the story which, for me, is pretty much the film's climax.  After this creepy-crawly shock, THE RESIDENT degenerates into the standard, prolonged cat-and-mouse sequence that one comes to expect (and dread) from this kind of thriller when it doesn't really know how to end. 

Once the plot has been resolved to a certain degree, then, as far as I'm concerned, endless attempts to drag out the action and suspense become tiresome.  Worst of all, there's even the obligatory "he's dead...he's not dead" thing that should've been retired after the first "Chucky" movie.  While the ending didn't totally wreck the movie for me or anything, it does lower it to the level of the more mundane and cliche-ridden entries in this genre. 

The film itself is well directed by Antti Jokinen and attractively photographed, with atmospheric production design and a rich, shadowy look that does seem a bit Argento-like at times.  The cast is good (look for "Deep Space Nine" vet Nana Visitor in a tiny role as a real estate agent), although to me Hilary Swank's performances often seem to waver between being assured and awkward.  At any rate, I've never seen a director more capably evoke her unusual sex appeal.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 2.35:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  A trailer is the sole extra.

THE RESIDENT doesn't re-invent the "lone woman menaced by nutcase in spooky old apartment" tale, but it's a pretty entertaining example of it.  I just wish the writers could've re-invented the stock ending that causes so many of these yarns to fizzle out instead of going out with a bang.  

Buy it at

Monday, March 28, 2011

VANQUISHER -- DVD review by porfle

The Thai action flick VANQUISHER, aka "Final Target" (2010), is loaded with action but it's a hit-and-miss deal, with several sequences that don't quite live up to their potential.

CIA black ops agent Claire (Jacqui A. Thannanon) is sent to Thailand to capture a terrorist.  She's also ordered to liquidate her "Vanquisher" task force once the job is done, so she takes off in a helicopter with her captive and then blows up the dock that the ladies are standing on. 
One of them, a Thai police force agent codenamed "Gunja" (Sophita Sriban), survives and returns to duty.  When Claire is ordered back to Bangkok two years later in pursuit of another terrorist, she runs into Gunja again, and this time the two warrior women are on decidedly less-than-friendly terms. 

VANQUISHER is nicely directed and shot for the most part, but the fact that this is Manop Udomdej's first action film is pretty obvious.  Camerawork and editing are all over the place in several scenes even though the choreography is good enough not to need such cosmetic misdirection.  The action is often confusing as we try to make out what the seemingly capable performers are doing through a barrage of shaky-cam images.

Still, the film manages to be exciting once things pick up around the halfway point and there aren't so many scenes of people sitting around spouting exposition.  Once all the plot details are ironed out the pace stays pretty brisk through a steady series of gunfights, sword battles, and chases, all featuring an impressive variety of stunts.  The frustrating thing is, you keep wanting these scenes to be better than they are--with more skillful handling, this movie could've been downright exhilarating.

Doing their part to keep us on the edge of our seats are the three leading ladies, who are not only beautiful but can kick some big-time ass in the action setpieces.  At first, Sophita Sriban looks way too cute and likable for the role of Gunja, but this impression is quickly dispelled as soon as she starts slinging a sword or blasting away with twin automatics.  Like Bruce Willis, she has a great "war-face", which director Udomdej captures exquisitely as he does the other female leads--the guy does love to photograph these ladies at their best.

As the duplicitous Claire, Jacqui A. Thannanon has a strong presence and is both sinister and exotic.  The only downside to her performance is that she seems to stumble a bit over the English dialogue--when speaking her native tongue (the film has a bilingual screenplay) she's terrific.  Lovely and lithe Nui Ketsarin plays Sirin, a Thai cop who teams up with Gunja against Claire and her ninja goons, and matches Sophita Sriban's acting skills in the frenetic fight scenes.

A late plot development has Bangkok on the verge of being racked with explosions which the bad cops plan to blame on the terrorists, and, while this angle isn't explored as fully as it should've been, it does give the SPFX guys an excuse to cook up some fake-looking fireworks.  Other digital effects range from fair (the scene where Gunja jumps a dirt bike onto a moving train which is then blasted with a bazooka) to not-so-hot (a ninja turns into a cartoon during an upwards leap).  One of the film's strengths is a robust, percussion-heavy musical score by Patai Puangchin.

The DVD from Magnolia's "Magnet" label is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  In addition to the international trailer, extras consist of an eight-minute "making of" featurette and another which gives us a look behind the scenes during filming.

VANQUISHER survives a slow start to become a hokey but fun guns-and-swords fest with some very appealing female characters.  The main drawback is that you might wear yourself out trying to mentally reshoot and re-edit the action scenes so that they'll be as good as they should have been.

Buy it at

Antonio Banderas, Sam Elliott and Snoop Dogg star in THE BIG BANG coming to Blu-ray and DVD May 24th from Anchor Bay Entertainment

An All-Star Cast In a Thriller About Murder, Money, Sex and Particle Physics!


Exclusive LA and NY Theatrical Engagements Planned

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Screen legend Antonio Banderas (Desperado, the Zorro and Spy Kids franchises, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger) leads an all-star cast in the  sexy, slick and action-packed detective thriller The Big Bang, out on Blu-ray™ and DVD May 24th.  Bending the laws of the film noir genre, The Big Bang dazzles with sharp dialogue, colorful characters, hidden agendas, and shocking twists that will leave audiences guessing until the very last frame.

In addition, the film will have exclusive New York and Los Angeles theatrical engagements starting Friday, May 13th. SRP is $26.98 for the DVD and $34.99 for the Blu-ray™, with pre-book on April 27th.

Late one night, Los Angeles private investigator, Ned Cruz (Banderas) gets a visit from a recently paroled Russian boxer with an intriguing job offer: find Lexie, his missing girlfriend—and the 30-million dollar stash of diamonds she’s hiding. As Detective Cruz sets out to find her, the clues send him into the city’s seediest corners, from a Hollywood action star with a dirty little secret (James Van Der Beek, “Dawson’s Creek,” Varsity Blues), to an enterprising porn producer who takes a personal interest in his own work (Snoop Dogg, Old School, Starsky & Hutch), and a kinky waitress with an unusual fetish for particle physics (Autumn Reeser,“No Ordinary Family,” “Entourage”).  Lexie proves to be as elusive as she is beautiful and Cruz becomes obsessed with finding her.

With time running out, Cruz discovers the trail leads to reclusive billionaire (Sam Elliott, Thank You for Smoking, Tombstone), and his physicist (Jimmi Simpson, Date Night, “Breakout Kings”), intent on recreating The Big Bang underneath the New Mexico desert. Tailed by a trio of cops also looking to find the missing diamonds, and with the body count piling up, Cruz soon realizes that what appeared to be a standard missing person’s case is anything but, and could quite possibly bring about the end of the world as we know it.

Directed by Tony Krantz (producer of Mulholland Dr., and Fox’s “24”), written by Emmy® award winner Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) and featuring the debut solo soundtrack by The Smiths’ legend Johnny Marr, The Big Bang is a neo-noir detective thriller for the 21st century.  The film also stars Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong, Valkyrie), William Fichtner (Drive Angry, Date Night,“Prison Break”), Robert Maillet (Sherlock Holmes, 300) with Delroy Lindo (Gone in 60 Seconds, “The Chicago Code”.)

Richard Rionda Del Castro (executive producer of Casino Jack, The Son Of No One and Touchback) co-produced the film with Krantz and Jendresen. Executive Producers are Patricia Eberle, Cassian Elwes, Gary Howsam, Lewin Webb, Richard Salvatore and Ross Dinerstein.

Bonus features on The Big Bang Blu-ray™ and DVD will include filmmakers’ commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, extended scenes and the theatrical trailer.


Street Date: May 24, 2011

Pre-book Date: April 27, 2011

Run Time: 101 minutes

Rating: Unrated

-Blu-Ray: $34.99
-DVD: $26.98

Format: 2.40:1/16x9

-Blu-Ray: DolbyTrueHD  5.1
-DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, Spanish



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Warner Bros. Entertainment Offers Five Additional Movies For Rent Directly On Facebook®



BURBANK, CALIF., March 27, 2011 – Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD), a market leader in video-on-demand and electronic sell-through, announced it will expand its test offering of movies for rental through Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Facebook Movie Pages.  Starting today at 10:00 pm Pacific Time / 1:00 am Eastern Time, consumers will be able to rent five additional titles directly through each film’s official Facebook Page using Facebook Credits.   The films include “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Inception,” “Life as We Know It” and “Yogi Bear.”

To rent a film, consumers simply click on the “watch now” icon to apply their Facebook Credits, and within seconds they will begin enjoying the film.  This offering is presently available only to consumers in the United States. 

“We’re pleased to expand our test with a variety of titles that will appeal to a broad audience,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.  “These titles have substantial followings on Facebook.  The Fan Pages for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Inception’ alone are two of the most popular and active communities on the site.” 

Fans will have full control over the film while watching it through their Facebook account for up to 48 hours from purchase.  They can choose to watch it in full screen, pause the movie, and resume playing it when they log back into Facebook.  Consumers will also have full Facebook functionality including the ability to post comments on the movie, interact with friends and update their status.     

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

About Warner Bros. Digital Distribution
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) oversees the electronic distribution of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s content through Video-On-Demand, Pay-Per-View, Electronic Sell-Through and Subscription Video-On-Demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels.   WBDD also distributes content through third party digital retailers and licensees.  A worldwide industry leader since its inception, WBDD also manages the Studio’s E-commerce sites that include and  Twitter: @WBDigitalDist

Saturday, March 26, 2011

MESKADA -- DVD review by porfle

When two bumbling burglars break into a home and end up killing a little boy, the impromptu murder sparks an investigation which has unexpected consequences in MESKADA (2010).

Nick Stahl (TERMINATOR 3, "Carnivale") is Noah Cordin, the smalltown detective on the case, with Rachel Nichols (the green-skinned "Gaila" from STAR TREK) as Leslie Spencer, a county deputy assigned to assist him.  Although Leslie reminds me of certain soap opera characters who are prematurely promoted to detective seemingly on the strength of their youth and sex appeal, she proves that she can handle the job during a couple of tense altercations.

A clue leads to Nick's nearby hometown of Caswell, where out-of-work locals are fighting for the approval of a new factory that will supply them with hundreds of jobs.  When Nick's investigation proves a detriment to the town's future, he and his family face the ire of a desperate citizenry on the verge of violence.

The story is about as low-key and unsensational as it gets, starting out as a leisurely police procedural and ambling into more complicated matters as Noah and Leslie poke their way into sensitive areas that put the townspeople on the defensive.  Stahl gives a reserved performance that's a far cry from his "Yellow Bastard" in SIN CITY, with Laura Benanti as the murdered boy's mother doing most of the heavy emoting.

TWILIGHT's Kellan Lutz is the simple-minded Eddie, who neither comprehends the enormity of his crime nor has the brains to keep a low profile.  Jonathan Tucker (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) plays his partner Shane, whose motive for the robbery is to help pay for his nephew's much-needed operation.

Tucker is an actor I've always liked and is very good here, giving his character a sympathetic element that enriches the story.  I also like Norman Reedus ("Scud" of BLADE II) who plays Shane's hotheaded brother-in-law Dennis, an early suspect in the murder.  Shane clashes with both Dennis and the irresponsible Eddie as he attempts to evade the inevitable consequences of his guilt.

Writer-director Josh Sternfeld's script burns with a slow fuse that touches off occasional flashes of gripping drama.  Noah's deteriorating relationships with various childhood friends lead to some tense situations, and his tough interrogation of Eddie's girlfriend Nat (Meryl Streep's daughter, Grace Gummer) after she's caught fencing stolen goods is one of the film's livelier moments. 

The DVD from Anchor Bay is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish.  A trailer is the sole extra.

Although in dramatic terms MESKADA comes to a fairly satisfying conclusion, there's a melancholy lack of resolution to the story that's both realistic and frustrating.  Neither an action-packed crime drama nor a by-the-numbers detective tale, it draws the viewer in by being quietly unpredictable. 

Buy it at

Friday, March 25, 2011

10,000 A.D.: LEGEND OF THE BLACK PEARL -- DVD review by porfle

A worthy effort to do something epic on a low budget without resorting to all the usual exploitation elements, 10,000 A.D.: LEGEND OF THE BLACK PEARL (2010) works hard to impress but fails to entertain.

After a ROAD WARRIOR-like montage of apocalyptic images, we see a future Earth in which all of civilization has been reduced to two tribes--the warrior Hurons and the weaker Plaebians.  When a new threat appears in the form of shadowlike wraiths known as the Sinasu, who are bent on destroying them both, a young Huron named Karupi (Julian Perez) must fulfill his destiny to become the savior of mankind. 

Since Karupi's mentor Tukten (Loukas Papas) has disappeared, another warrior, Ergo (writer and co-director Raul Gasteazoro) steps in to take his place.  But Ergo leads Karupi down a different path that may end in ruin.  Meanwhile, Maitreya (Edgar Feliciano) rises from among the Plaebians to play a surprising role in the ultimate fate of humanity.

The first thing I noticed about this film is that it's filled with stunning location photography, shot in a number of national parks in various countries by a skeleton crew.  Most mainstream films would kill for such a breathtaking array of lush, panoramic backdrops as those seen here.  The beautiful beachfront scenes in Puerto Rico alone are enough to help BLACK PEARL transcend its low budget, and they're only a small part of the visual splendor that's maintained right up until the final shot.

Unfortunately, along with this comes a screenplay that's both exceedingly talky and hard to follow.  The story moves at a snail's pace while characters assail each other with stilted dialogue ("Do not kindle my slowly burning fire...the wick is short and the scar long") delivered in a melodramatic, mock-classical style that's beyond the abilities of most of the cast. 

The thinly-disguised political message is simplistic (the word "Sinasu" gives it away pretty quick) while the film's efforts to be taken seriously grow tiresome.  Much of the murky narrative may leave you scratching your head trying to figure it all out.

Relieving the solemnity at various points are some fight scenes that are shot in confusing fashion.  Filmed in "chunks" (as one of the directors puts it in the commentary), these sequences are clumsily choreographed with most of the actors displaying a lack of martial arts skills that the choppy editing and shaky-cam fail to disguise. 

More successful are a distinctly homoerotic training sequence with Kurupi and Ergo, and Ergo's short-lived romance with a beautiful blonde warrior woman named Lana (Lilly Husbands), both of which were shot on the beach in Puerto Rico.  In regard to special effects, the decision to forego CGI in favor of some imaginative camera tricks and other visual sleight-of-hand was a wise one.  The film also benefits from an exceptional musical score.

The DVD from Indican Pictures is in 4x3 full frame with Dolby Digital sound.  No subtitles, except for in the early scenes when the characters are speaking in their native language.  Extras consist of a commentary with co-directors Raul Gasteazoro and Giovanni Messner, plus trailers from this and other Indican releases.

It's admirable for indy filmmakers with meager funds to attempt something as ambitious as 10,000 A.D.: LEGEND OF THE BLACK PEARL, even when the final result falls short.  Maybe it could've used less speechifying and a few more of those exploitation elements that make post-apocalyptic Earth a little more fun to visit.

Buy it at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BEHEMOTH -- DVD review by porfle

When a SyFy original movie has the words "worldwide destruction" in the synopsis, you can pretty much bet you're going to hear about it more than see it, with most of the action taking place in a centralized location with occasional dollops of bad CGI.  In BEHEMOTH (2011), the location is a mountain community in the wilds of Canada, and the CGI dishes up one of the goofiest monsters this side of REPTILICUS.

A rash of earth tremors and some mysterious deaths have the citizens of Ascension on edge, including concerned geologist Emily Allington (Pascale Hutton, GINGER SNAPS: UNLEASHED) and government agent Jack Murray (Ty Olsson, "Defying Gravity").  A lovable, quasi-senile old professor, William Walsh (William B. Davis, who was Cancer Man on "The X-Files"), believes that the ravaged Earth has dredged up a mythical beast to purge itself of Mankind as it sometimes does whenever we get too destructive with our global warming and whatnot. 

Ed Quinn ("Eureka") makes a pretty stalwart hero as logger Thomas Walsh, William's son and Emily's old boyfriend, who ends up guiding Jack up the quake-prone Mt. Lincoln in search of some vital equipment left behind by two missing agents.  Naturally, Emily insists on going along, and, even more naturally, Thomas' headstrong younger sister Grace (Cindy Busby, "Heartland") and her dopey boyfriend Jerrod (James Kirk) are camping out on the same mountain.

The behemoth, it turns out, is so big that it practically wears the mountain like a backpack and can flex its enormous CGI tentacles for miles.  Just as the romantic Jerrod picks the perfect moment to hit a knee and propose to Grace (thus marking himself for death), a giant eyeball pokes out of a hole in the rock wall and peers angrily at the two lovebirds.  Their reactions are somewhat comical as they scamper off down the mountain screaming "What was that!  What was that!" as a tentacle makes a grab for them.  This would probably be a good time to mention that some of the acting and dialogue in this flick aren't quite up to par.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Emily are having their own tentacle problems as they search for Jack's missing equipment, which turns out to be an anti-behemoth weapon.  We know exactly what they're going to do with it, too, because it's foreshadowed in the most obvious terms possible by one of William B. Davis' early lines.  Speaking of which, Professor Walsh and his waitress friend Zoe (Jessica Parker Kennedy) get trapped in a diner that's gone down a sinkhole and has tentacles sliding past the window like city buses.

The screenplay takes its time slowly building up to the action until finally it's time for the cameramen to start shaking their cameras around and the characters to start freaking out while the behemoth lobs its appendages at them.  As Professor Walsh works his tired old bones to a frazzle trying to rescue the infuriatingly-stupid Zoe, the big finale features the behemoth sticking its giant, roaring head out the top of Mt. Lincoln while tentacles writhe around it.  This is a sight that will either stupify viewers or have them rolling on the floor in bad-movie delight. 

The DVD from Vivendi is in widescreen with English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.  No extras.

BEHEMOTH is the kind of monster movie that used to run on a drive-in double bill before turning up years later on "Mystery Science Theater 3000."  If you can appreciate bad movies of recent vintage in addition to the finely-aged ones, you'll probably find it a somewhat enjoyable viewing experience.  If not, however, you should follow the advice of the town sheriff and evacuate the area around Mt. Lincoln as soon as possible. 

Buy it at

Film Chest and Virgil Films & Entertainment Proudly Present on the HD Cinema Classics and CULTRA Labels …"THE TERROR"

In the Classic Tradition of Dracula, Frankenstein & House of Wax, Roger Corman's Horrorfest Sets its Trap!

Starring Boris Karloff & Jack Nicholson, in HD for the 1st Time Ever!
DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack Out April 26th 

NEW YORK CITY - April 1, 2011 - For Immediate Release - Roger Corman's 1963 thriller The Terror - restored and in HD for the first time ever - will be available in a special DVD/Blu-ray combo pack April 26 from Film Chest on the HD Cinema Classics and CULTRA labels (distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment).

In 18th century France, Lt. Andre Duvalier (three-time Academy Award-winner Jack Nicholson, The Departed, As Good As It Gets, A Few Good Men), an officer in Napoleon's army, has been separated from his regiment. Wandering near the coast, he spies a young woman (Sandra Knight, Frankenstein's Daughter, Blood Bath) and calls out. When she fails to acknowledge him, he follows her into the dark surf and loses consciousness.

He awakens in a house, tended by an old woman, Katrina (Dorothy Neumann, Sorry, Wrong Number, The Ten Commandments), who claims not to know the mysterious lady. On his way again, Andre comes upon the castle of Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff, Frankenstein, The Mummy, How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

There he learns that the girl is in fact the spirit of the Baron's late wife being used as a pawn by the witchy Katrina, who is bent on driving the elderly Baron to suicide.

Famous for being shot on leftover film sets from other productions, The Terror, produced and directed by Roger Corman, has been released under several titles (Lady of the Shadows, The Castle of Terror and The Haunting) and more recently aired as episodes of the syndicated TV series Cinema Insomnia With Mr. Lobo and Elvira's Movie Macabre (Oct. 3, 2010).

The Terror, restored from original 35mm elements, is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16 x 9 and 5.1 surround sound mix. Enclosed is a collectible postcard reproduction of the original movie poster and special features include Spanish subtitles, before-and-after film restoration demo and trailer.

About Film Chest:
Film Chest, headquartered in New York City, boasts one of the world's largest digitized libraries (10,000+ hours) of classic feature films, television, foreign imports, documentaries, special interest and audio, which it continues to grow aggressively. Founded in 2001, the company offers high-quality content (much in HD) for a wide variety of production and distribution needs and produces collector's sets for consumers. In 2010, Film Chest unveiled three new labels. HD Cinema Classics are films that have been painstakingly restored in HD and 5.1 stereo - utilizing state-of-the art digital technology - from original film assets. American Pop Classics restores classic American film and TV shows from the '30-70s. CULTRA showcases the best (and worst) of cult cinema, a cinematic cesspool of films that are surreal, eccentric, controversial, comical and scary but ultimately engaging and entertaining. With directors who were both visionaries and crackpots, these films were originally misunderstood and rarely a box office success, achieving status by word-of-mouth and underground distribution. Film Chest releases theatrically, on DVD (distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment) and digitally on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Verizon FIOS and more. Visit us online at

About Virgil Films & Entertainment:
Virgil Films & Entertainment, formerly Arts Alliance America, was founded in 2003 as Hart Sharp Video by Joe Amodei to develop, acquire, market and distribute DVD product in the theatrical film, documentary, special interest and sports categories. The company has built partnerships with such high-profile entertainment brands as Sundance Channel Home Entertainment, National Geographic Cinema Ventures, ESPN, MLB Productions, Bombo Sports and Entertainment and Morgan Spurlock's Warrior Poets, among others. For more information, please visit:

The Terror (2 Discs)
Film Chest / Virgil Films & Entertainment
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Original Release: 1963 (Color)
Not Rated
Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack
Running Time: Approx. 79 Minutes (Plus Special Features)
Suggested Retail Price: $15.99
Pre-Order Date: March 22, 2011
Street Date: April 26, 2011
Catalog #:  APC-007
UPC Code:  #851169003070

Buy it at 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan star in the Oscar-nominated THE WAY BACK coming to Blu-ray and DVD April 19 from Image Entertainment

"As big as a film can be. As big as life itself." — Los Angeles Times

"Few films can match Peter Weir’s epic escape movie for sheer adventure, danger and, ultimately, the triumph of the human spirit." — The Hollywood Reporter



From the Best-Selling Memoir by Slavomir Rawicz--Arriving on DVD and Blu-ray™ April 19, 2011

Chatsworth, CA – Incredible but true… These conflicting words shouldn’t be describing a single event…yet they do.  On April 19, Image Entertainment releases The Way Back, the thrilling story inspired by real events of seven escapees and the agonies they endured as they cross a brutal landscape towards a distant, safe haven. Directed by six-time Academy-Award® nominee Peter Weir (Witness, Master and Commander:  The Far Side of the World), the film wowed critics and audiences during its theatrical run earlier this year. Oscar® nominated for Best Makeup, The Way Back will be available on DVD for an SRP of $27.97 and on Blu-ray™ for an SRP of $29.97.  Special features (both formats) include the original theatrical trailer, with a behind-the-scenes featurette. Pre-book is March 22.

Starring four-time Oscar® nominee Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe), Oscar® nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges), this is an epic saga of survival; a trial of humanity and strength.  The year is 1940, and seven prisoners have daringly escaped from a brutal Siberian gulag.  But they find that having escaped one prison they are now surrounded by another:  the brutal, unforgiving Siberian landscape. But freedom is tempting and the men begin a treacherous 4,500-mile trek, with little food and supplies.  Their trust in each other is even less, but in order to withstand nature at its most terrifying extremes, they must learn to rely on each other and overcome their suspicions.  Their compassion is further tested when they meet a teenage runaway who begs to join them on their quest.

The Way Back is an exhilarating testament to human courage and endurance, a wilderness adventure that spans miles as well as emotions.  Vast and powerful, it has been called “Peter Weir at his hypnotic best.” (

The Way Back is the first film produced under the Exclusive Films label to be distributed through Exclusive’s subsidiary, Newmarket Films, in partnership with Wrekin Hill. National Geographic Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhabi co-produced the film as part of their joint production agreement. 

About Image Entertainment:
Image Entertainment, Inc. (OTCQB: DISK ) is a leading independent licensee and distributor of entertainment programming in North America, with approximately 3,200 exclusive DVD titles and approximately 340 exclusive CD titles in domestic release and more than 450 programs internationally via sublicense agreements. For many of its titles, the Company has exclusive audio and broadcast rights, as well as digital download rights to over 2,100 video programs and approximately 400 audio titles containing more than 6,000 individual tracks. The Company is headquartered in Chatsworth , California . For more information about Image Entertainment, Inc., please go to

THE WAY BACK  Blu-raytm
Genre:             Drama, Feature Film, Based on the Book “The Long Walk, Inspired by True Stories, MIA/POW
Rating:            PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language
Languages:      English
Format:            Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio:             DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:         English, Spanish
Year:               2010
SRP :                $29.97
Street Date:     April 19, 2011
Pre-Book:        March 22, 2011
Length:            132 minutes
UPC :               014381693959
Cat#:               NMF6939BD

Genre:             Drama, Feature Film, Based on the Book “The Long Walk, Inspired by True Stories, MIA/POW
Rating:            PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language
Languages:      English
Format:            Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio:             Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:         English, Spanish
Year:               2010
SRP :                $27.97
Street Date:     April 19, 2011
Pre-Book:        March 22, 2011
Length:            132 minutes
UPC :               014381693829
Cat#:               NMF6938DVD

Buy it at

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CONTOUR -- DVD review by porfle

It's high-octane martial arts excitement vs. no-tech filmmaking in the stunning action-comedy blow-out CONTOUR (2006), with the former beating the latter into submission through sheer determination and skill. 

The flick gets off to a shaky start with a shot-on-video look that may bring the word "unwatchable" to mind.  But once it gets cranked up and you get used to the el cheapo production values, it begins to yield enough thrills and laughs to transcend its almost non-existent budget.

Producer-writer-director Eric Jacobus stars as Law, a freelance mercenary whom we first see trying to make off with the McGuffin during a warehouse exchange between two groups of bad guys.  This leads to the film's first fists 'n' feet tussle, which is just a warm-up for what's to follow.  Law returns empty-handed to crooked Vietnamese entrepreneur Tuoc (Stephen Reedy), who reminds Law that he still owes him several thousand dollars.  Deep in debt but finished with his dangerous way of life, Law returns to his former occupation--running a rinky-dink tour van through San Francisco.

His latest batch of customers consist of hyperactive, cartoon-voiced young Alfonso (Ed Kahana), who claims to be the prince of a tiny country called Uruvia, and his Chinese bodyguard Lei Tak (Andy Leung).  Also along for the ride is the cute Renee Wilder (Tyler Wang), a Christian missionary and writer for WWJT ("Where Would Jesus Travel?") magazine.  When Law discovers that Al's father, the king of Uruvia, has offered a two-million-dollar reward for a mysterious videotape that's been stolen from him, he goes after it with his tour group in tow.  It turns out that both Tuoc and a suave gangster named Ticker (Dennis Ruel)--who obtained the tape during that original deal--are involved and the eventual result is a return to the warehouse where the two sides engage in a battle royale.

On the comedy front, CONTOUR is delightfully absurd.  Kahana is hilarious as hyperactive motormouth Prince Al, a big kid who turns into a martial-arts killing machine whenever he eats anything with sugar in it.  One of my favorite scenes occurs after Al scarfs down a Twinkie and then hallucinates that he's battling evil enemies of Uruvia, when he's actually beating up scores of people waiting to get into a Japanese tea garden. 

As it turns out, Al's hero is none other than Tuoc, who sells instructional videos for a fictitious fighting style known as "Tae-Pho."  Scenes from Tuoc's delightfully stupid infomercial feature several of his techniques, one involving a bowl of soup ("Do you like soup?  Soup can fight too!").  Al sits in front of the TV practicing these moves, which actually pays off later in the final battle after he accidentally gets a mouthful of Colombian "sugar" and goes nuts.

Amidst all this goofiness, CONTOUR features a steady succession of thrilling fight scenes that elevate it to the near-sublime.  At one point, Law punches Al in the face simply to test the skills of his bodyguard Lei Tak.  Later, Ticker's men and a rival gang of thugs go at it with baseball bats in an office building.  But all of this is merely a warm-up for the 17-minute free-for-all that erupts in the big warehouse and contains some of the best martial arts action I've ever seen.

Everybody gets into the act here, including the deceptively petite Renee and the sugar-charged Al, as the film intercuts between four separate battles involving a variety of found weapons.  The result of two grueling months of shooting, the prolonged action and stunts during this sequence are brisk and often breathtaking.  These furiously-paced fights, packed with precise, acrobatic choreography, sharp editing, and teeth-rattling hits, are downright exhilarating to watch as well as being consistently funny.  A driving musical score adds to the excitement. 

Even after the main action is done, a final melee breaks out during a party in Al's apartment.  These actors just love to fight.  Members of a group of martial artists and filmmakers known as The Stunt People, they're devoted to honing their onscreen fighting skills and displaying them in front of the camera.  As it stands here, their physical talents far surpass their cinematic abilities, but their fearless enthusiasm seems boundless.

The DVD from Indican Pictures is in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  No subtitles.  A bundle of extras includes cast and crew commentary, a half-hour "making of" featurette, a deleted scene, trailers and sneak peeks at other films from The Stunt People, CONTOUR training videos, and a stunt demo reel.  My favorite extras are a blooper reel containing some of their more painful goofs, and the entire seven-minute infomercial for "Tae-Pho."

Bursting with enough blazing beat-em-up action for ten movies, CONTOUR is one of the most enjoyable comedy-action flicks I've seen in a long time.  It may be lacking from a technical standpoint, but the fights and stunts are fiercely first-rate. 

Buy it at
The Stunt People official site

Monday, March 21, 2011


Making its TV debut at about the same time as Tim Allen's "Home Improvement", the similarly-themed Canadian comedy "The Red Green Show" (1991-2006) follows the adventures of a not-so-handyman who broadcasts a live-audience TV show from the rustic Possum Lodge somewhere in the Great White North.  But where Tim Allen's character was addicted to shiny, high-tech gadgetry with "more power", Red Green's forte is to fashion elaborately worthless contraptions out of scrap parts and duct tape ("the handyman's secret weapon"). 

Acorn Media's THE RED GREEN SHOW: THE DELINQUENT YEARS contains seasons 7-9 (1997-1999) of the popular show on nine discs and is more unabashedly-goofy fun than you can shake a hockey stick at.  Co-creator Steve Smith plays the gray-bearded Red with a low-key charm and a way with both deadpan one-liners and folksy words of wisdom.  A laidback lug in flannel shirt and suspenders who revels in his "guy-ness", Red is so perversely ingenious with his money and labor-saving inventions that they often go beyond the ridiculous to the downright dangerous. 

He gets this DVD collection off to a good start by duct-taping two junk cars together to create his own budget-priced Hummer.  In another episode, Red turns a full-sized city bus into a cigarette car by putting the steering wheel in the back and sawing off the roof to create a really long hood. 

Transforming his garage into a car wash or turning a washing machine into a homemade bread maker are child's play for this guy.  As the seasons progress, the writers keep topping themselves by coming up with wilder and more mind-boggling inventions, some of which, God help us, actually work if they don't explode first.

Red's co-host is his incredibly nebbishy nephew, Harold, who wields a keytar-like instrument with which he directs the show.  It took an episode or two for me to get used to Patrick McKenna's over-the-top portrayal, but I eventually realized that this guy is a scream and is the perfect foil for the down-to-earth Red.

Sort of a cross between Jerry Lewis and Pee-Wee Herman (with a big nod to Robert Carradine in REVENGE OF THE NERDS), the bucktoothed, bespectacled Harold is often the squeaky voice of reason in the face of Red's outlandish schemes but usually ends up getting caught in the backfire.  Harold helps run the lodge meetings that we see during each episode's closing credits and emcees many of the show's various segments such as "Possum Lodge Word Game" and "Ask the Experts."  His dream girl is Sandra Bullock, but in the meantime he'd settle for any girl.  

Each episode begins in the Possum Lodge and contains some basic storyline upon which to hang a series of recurring comedy sketches.  Whether it's a fishing tournament against a rival lodge, an attempt by Red to turn the lodge into a tax-exempt religion, or an effort to purify the rancid Possum Lake by having each lodge member drink 47 gallons of it in three weeks, the subplots help keep the show moving but rarely get in the way of the random dumb fun. 

Among the many supporting characters are familiar actor Graham Greene (THE GREEN MILE, DANCES WITH WOLVES) as amateur explosives enthusiast Edgar K.B. "Ka-Boom" Montrose, Gordon Pinsent (BLACULA, COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT) as habitual liar Hap Shaughnessy, Bob Bainborough (THE LOVE GURU, DEAD RINGERS) as the grumpy Dalton Humphrey, and Wayne Robson (WRONG TURN, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD) as cheerful, diminutive ex-con Mike Hamar, who just can't seem to stay out of legal trouble.  Comic Jerry Schaefer plays the extremely nervous animal control officer Ed Frid.

Co-creator Rick Green is hilarious in the "Adventures With Bill" segments, which are pure silent-movie slapstick with the accident-prone Bill engaging in delightfully wrongheaded and hazardous pursuits as Red looks on in awe.  Two things always happen during an adventure with Bill--one, Bill gets seriously injured (but bounces back like a cartoon character), and two, he always manages to knock the mirrors off Red's Possum Van. 

Besides Bill, my favorite supporting character is the deceptively normal-looking Ranger Gord.  Gord has spent several years alone in a firewatch tower, which has warped his mind in a variety of ways.  His emotional relationships with the forest animals and even the trees themselves are creepy enough to have even Red and Harold squirming in their seats during one of his bizarre personal accounts.  During the 1999 season Gord starts making his own public service cartoons which are a real hoot.  Playing Ranger Gord is Peter Keleghan, known from such films as SCREWBALLS and COOPERS' CHRISTMAS, along with the "Non-Fat Yogurt" episode of "Seinfeld."

Unfortunately, both Patrick McKenna and Rick Green left the show at the start of the 1999 season and, while some of the lesser characters were promoted to help fill in the gap, the absence of these two key performers is keenly felt.  McKenna makes frequent guest appearances during segments in which Red visits Harold in his new job as an accountant in Port Asbestos, but it just isn't the same. 

The nine-disc, 47-episode collection from Acorn Media is in 4:3 full screen and Dolby Digital stereo.  Each season comes in its own three-disc keepcase.  Extras consist of text biographies of Red and Harold, plus Steve Smith's production notes on the show--these appear in all three sets, with season three containing some additional bios of other characters. 

One of the reasons I like THE RED GREEN SHOW: THE DELINQUENT YEARS so much is that it's like a skewed adult version of some of my favorite kids' shows such as "It's Howdy Doody Time" and "Captain Kangaroo", by way of "The Uncle Floyd Show" and "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."  The main difference, besides the lack of talking animals, is that Red isn't concerned with being a good example or teaching us sensible life lessons--he's happy just to cheer us up, make us feel a little better about getting older, and allow us to vicariously revel in the joys of being totally irresponsible.

Buy it at

Sunday, March 20, 2011

GANG LAND -- DVD review by porfle

Based on actual events, Randolph Kret's GANG LAND, aka "Pariah" (1998), is powerful indy filmmaking whose reach just barely exceeds its grasp.

With rival white and black gangs in a constant race war in L.A., the interracial couple of Steve (Damon Jones) and Sam (Elexa Williams) suffer the wrath of both sides.  The final outrage comes when Sam is brutally gang-raped in a parking garage by David Lee (David Lee Wilson) and his skinhead cronies while Steve is beaten and forced to watch.  Sam commits suicide later that night, and the grief-stricken Steve swears revenge.

Writer-director Randolph Kret gives us an uncomfortably close look at the racist skinhead culture as we spend time hanging out with these dregs of society--slam-dancing, gang-banging, and generally being hostile toward the world and each other.  These lost souls have nothing better to do with their lives, so they convince themselves that their violent intolerance of blacks, gays, Jews, and other "different" people has some kind of meaning. 

Their leader, Crew (Dave Oren Ward) has a drug dealer for a dad and Adolph Hitler as a hero, quoting "Mein Kampf" as though it were the Bible.  The barely-human David Lee is such a sociopath that even the other skinheads can scarcely tolerate him, yet these wretched cretins band together because they don't belong anywhere else.

Into this volatile atmosphere comes the vengeful Steve, now transformed into a swastika-tattooed skinhead and putting on a tough-guy act in order to infiltrate the gang.  Damon Jones, who appeared in the Seinfeld episode entitled "The Maid", is believable as Steve's "Joe College" self but seems jarringly out of place as an enigmatic, spaghetti-western-type badass. 

This isn't entirely Jones' fault, since he was a last-minute replacement for the actor originally cast for the role and delivers a highly intense performance.  The growing empathy between him and Crew's girlfriend Sissy, along with a falling-out with his religious sister, are explored in some powerful scenes that are emotionally explosive.  Still, Jones' miscasting calls attention to itself throughout the film.

Even the less technically-skilled members of the cast play their roles with conviction.  Standouts include Ann Zupa as overweight misfit Babe, Brandon Slater as the mentally-challenged naif Doughboy, and Angela Jones, who was Esmerelda the cab driver in PULP FICTION, as a spaced-out heroin addict who perilously straddles the fence between the warring factions.  As Sissy, Aimee Chaffin's portrayal of a sexually-abused runaway with nowhere else to go is harrowing.

Jewish actor Dave Oren Ward invests the character of Crew with just enough intelligence and charisma to make him dangerous--at times he seems almost reasonable, especially in his philosophical debates with Steve, but then he does something vile to remind us that he's beyond hope.  (Sometime after filming, Ward was tragically murdered in a road rage incident.) 

Most of all, though, it's David Lee Wilson's portrayal of psychotic neanderthal David Lee that keeps the film humming like a high tension wire.  In his commentary, director Kret describes Wilson as "a cancer on the set of this film", yet their conflicts seem to have added rather than detracted to the character's effectiveness.

The skinheads live from one outbreak of senseless violence to the next, a cycle of attacks and retaliations more immediate and unsettling than the antics of Kubrick's "Droogies" in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.  Like the acting in this film, Randolph Kret's direction is unpolished but intense, and he realistically stages these episodes in messy, chaotic bursts that often come out of nowhere. 

Steve's initiation into the group results in the stabbing of a transvestite, blurring the line that separates him from the others and casting him into even deeper turmoil.  We're never really sure what he's eventually planning to do (if he indeed has a plan), or what shape he'll be in when the time comes.

The DVD from Indican Pictures is in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 in English and 2.0 sound in English, Spanish, and French.  No subtitles.  Randolph Kret gives a frank account of the making of the film in his commentary, readily admitting to his various influences and describing the difficulties of working within a highly restricted budget and schedule.  The extras also include a trailer and TV spots, deleted scenes, actor audition tapes, a photo gallery, storyboards, and a detailed text history of the skinhead movement and its various factions. 

I didn't really like GANG LAND all that much the first time I watched it, but upon second viewing I began to better appreciate what Randolph Kret had accomplished with this sincere effort.  With more conviction and imagination than actual finesse, he's made a scary, unpredictable action flick with a message that resonates.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Coppola/Corman Classic "DEMENTIA 13" DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack Out April 26th

Film Chest and Virgil Films & Entertainment Proudly Present DEMENTIA 13 on the HD Cinema Classics and CULTRA Labels

Which Mourner Has a Motive for Murder?

Roger Corman & Francis Ford Coppola Explore the Demented World of the Seedy, Greedy & Insane, all in HD for the 1st Time Ever!

NEW YORK CITY - April 1, 2011 - For Immediate Release - Produced by celebrated B movie icon Roger Corman and directed by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, 1963's terror-ific Dementia 13 will be available in a special DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, April 26 from Film Chest on the HD Cinema Classics and CULTRA labels (distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment).

Considered Coppola's first mainstream, "legitimate" directorial effort, this gothic psychological
thriller - based on a story idea Corman penned in one night - was shot for a budget of $42,000. The majority of the American actors were college pals of Coppola, many of whom paid their own way to Ireland for the opportunity to appear in a film. Although Coppola promised "lots of sex and violence," Corman later battled with Coppola and hired director Jack Hill to shoot additional scenes of carnage. For years, it was rumored that the film's print had mysteriously disappeared. Now, Film Chest makes Dementia 13 available to fans, restored and in HD for the first time ever!

 After inadvertently causing her husband's fatal heart attack, Louise, a scheming young woman (Luana Anders, Easy Rider, The Last Detail, TV's Santa Barbara), attempts to have herself written into her wealthy mother-in-law's will. 

Forging a letter from her deceased spouse to convince his family he's away on business, Louise - determined to get into their good graces - pays a surprise visit to the ancestral home in Ireland. With other family members gathered at the foreboding castle, she joins in a morbid ritual to honor Kathleen, her sister-in-law who died mysteriously seven years earlier.

When an axe-wielding lunatic begins murderously stalking the gatherers, her plans are permanently interrupted. But which one is the killer?  Is Louise - or one of the other peculiar mourners, each with a dark motive - willing to do anything to gain fortune?

Also starring William Campbell (Cannonball, Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte), Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange, Chariots of Fire), Bart Patton, (THX 1138, TV's Riverboat) and Ethne Dunne (No Resting Place, The Mutations).

Dementia 13, restored from original 35mm elements, is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16 x 9 and 5.1 surround sound. Enclosed is a collectible postcard reproduction of the original movie poster. Special features include Spanish subtitles, before-and-after film restoration demo and trailer.

About Film Chest:
Film Chest, headquartered in New York City, boasts one of the world's largest digitized libraries (10,000+ hours) of classic feature films, television, foreign imports, documentaries, special interest and audio, which it continues to grow aggressively. Founded in 2001, the company offers high-quality content (much in HD) for a wide variety of production and distribution needs and produces collector's sets for consumers. In 2010, Film Chest unveiled three new labels. HD Cinema Classics are films that have been painstakingly restored in HD and 5.1 stereo - utilizing state-of-the art digital technology - from original film assets. American Pop Classics restores classic American film and TV shows from the '30-70s. CULTRA showcases the best (and worst) of cult cinema, a cinematic cesspool of films that are surreal, eccentric, controversial, comical and scary but ultimately engaging and entertaining. With directors who were both visionaries and crackpots, these films were originally misunderstood and rarely a box office success, achieving status by word-of-mouth and underground distribution. Film Chest releases theatrically, on DVD (distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment) and digitally on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Verizon FIOS and more. Visit us online at

About Virgil Films & Entertainment:
Virgil Films & Entertainment, formerly Arts Alliance America, was founded in 2003 as Hart Sharp Video by Joe Amodei to develop, acquire, market and distribute DVD product in the theatrical film, documentary, special interest and sports categories. The company has built partnerships with such high-profile entertainment brands as Sundance Channel Home Entertainment, National Geographic Cinema Ventures, ESPN, MLB Productions, Bombo Sports and Entertainment and Morgan Spurlock's Warrior Poets, among others. For more information, please visit:

Dementia 13 (2 Discs)
Film Chest / Virgil Films & Entertainment
Genre: Horror
Original Release: 1963 (B&W)
Not Rated
Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack
Running Time: Approx. 75 Minutes (Plus Special Features)
Suggested Retail Price: $15.99
Pre-Order Date: March 22, 2011
Street Date: April 26, 2011
Catalog #:  APC-005
UPC Code:  #851169003056

Buy it at

Friday, March 18, 2011

THE ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI -- DVD review by porfle

The tropical beauty of Tahiti helps make up for the lack of 3D in the flat DVD version of the IMAX film THE ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI (2010).  As a surfing documentary, though, it has a similar lack of depth.

As we join surfing champions Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolear, they're sitting next to Raimana's beachfront shack watching the ocean and waiting patiently for the waves to come in.  The viewer must wait as well, since there really isn't all that much surfing in this movie and most of it doesn't take place until around the halfway point. 

Till then, we get some nice helicopter views of the heavenly Tahitian landscape and watch the assembled surfers pass the time by skiing and riding outrigger canoes.  The camera takes us underwater to observe them lugging rocks around on the bottom to keep in shape, while schools of fish, a few sharks, and even some humpbacked whales glide by.  We also get a look at some of the ships and airplanes that have sunk beneath the waves over the years.

These picturesque views are periodically interrupted by animated science lessons which teach us things such as how the solar system's gravitational ebb and flow affects ocean currents on Earth, how waves are created and shaped, and how the Pacific islands came to be in the first place.

Tahiti's culture is touched upon with some weird animations of their ancient gods floating around an old shack before flying at the camera (which no doubt looks cool in 3D) and a Polynesian cookout around the campfire which features indigenous costumes, music, and dancing. 

Things begin to pick up when the surfing finally starts, with Kelly and Raimana trying their skill at what's known as "the demonic wave", one of the biggest and most dangerous in the world.  It's pretty exciting stuff although not always up to some other surfing docs I've seen.  The best parts feature a surfboard-mounted camera that places the viewer right in the middle of things.  Other shots put us inside the wave as it washes over us.

Unfortunately, the surfing sequence is over way too soon for me.  We get a number of good rides and some amusing wipeouts, and that's about it.  This is disappointing since I was expecting massive amounts of awesome surfing footage from this film.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English, French, and Spanish Dolby 5.1 sound.  No subtitles.  In addition to several trailers for this and other documentaries, extras include five brief vignettes--"Board Design", "Kelly", "Raimana", "Tahiti", and "Wave Science"--and a short film, "About Tahiti", designed to attract tourism.

THE ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI is fairly engaging although I felt it could've taken better advantage of its subject, with the science lectures and travelogue elements taking up too much valuable surfing time.  But if you're interested mainly in a scenic travelogue and aren't all that keen on watching people surf, you should enjoy it.

Buy it at
Blu-Ray 3D