HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Miesha Tate and Holly Holm Star in MMA Thriller "FIGHT VALLEY"



BREAKING GLASS PICTURES'

"FIGHT VALLEY"


COMING TO THEATERS NATIONWIDE THIS JULY

Breaking Glass Pictures will released MMA action thriller FIGHT VALLEY in theaters and On Demand this July. FIGHT VALLEY stars the world’s best female fighters including the new UFC Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate and her UFC 196 opponent Holly Holm.

The film also stars Susie Celek, Erin O'Brien, Chelsea Durkalec, Cris Cyborg, a Brazilian mixed martial artist and the former Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Champion, Belgian standout Cindy "Battlecat" Dandois, Amanda Serrano, the current World Boxing Organization's Lightweight Champion, and Serena DeJesus, an inspiring autistic MMA fighter dubbed “The Southpaw Outlaw.”

 

Official Synopsis: When Tory Coro (Durkalec) is found dead in the streets of Fight Valley her sister Windsor (Celek) moves to the town to begin her own investigation. There she meets Jabs (Tate), the most feared and respected ex-fighter around.

Windsor realizes to survive in the town she will have to fight. Under the training of Jabs, Windsor is determined to come face-to-face with Tory's killer and fight for justice.



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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

STRANGE SEPTEMBERS: THE HILL ABDUCTION & THE EXETER ENCOUNTER -- Movie Review by Porfle



If you're like me, you've always been open to the possibility of aliens visiting our planet and perhaps even borrowing a few of its inhabitants now and then for a little research and/or experimentation.  Or whatever the heck their purposes may be.

Filmmakers Jeff and Jess Finn's documentary STRANGE SEPTEMBERS: THE HILL ABDUCTION & THE EXETER ENCOUNTER is definitely open to the possibility, enough to give us a close encounter with two of the most famous cases in the annals of UFO history and do so with the clear implication that they're both pretty much bonafide.

The first case covered, "The Exeter Encounter", tells of a New Hampshire man named Norman Muscarello who, in September of 1965, reportedly witnessed a large unknown craft hovering and maneuvering strangely over the treetops as he walked home down a secluded road.


Muscarello's sighting received crucial corroboration when two policemen also reported seeing the same thing, along with various other witnesses.  (Some last-minute information, referenced in the film's afterword but unconfirmed, suggests that there might've also been "missing time" and an actual alien encounter.)

The film offers first and second hand testimony from a number of people including area residents and relatives, former Air Force officials, and members of such UFO research groups as MUFON and NICAP.  Much of it is pure speculation and conjecture, but of interest to anyone who follows such things.

Such familiar names in UFO circles as Major Donald Keyhoe, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and UFO experts Stanton Friedman and Raymond Fowler are mentioned here and there, with Keyhoe emerging as a threatening figure as he reportedly orders Muscarello to "shut up" about the incident or else.


The actual firsthand accounts are, of course, the most compelling, which is why this segment of STRANGE SEPTEMBERS is at its best when offering footage of Norman Muscarello and Officer Eugene Bertram, an Air Force vet, who talk of what they witnessed that day.

It's also what helps to make the film's next segment most fascinating of all when the Holy Grail of abduction cases, that of Betty and Barney Hill in September 1961, is presented with recordings of the original hypnosis sessions of the two after they'd gone to a hypnotherapist for help.

What caused their extreme nightmares and health problems was a terrifying encounter with what they claim were a group of aliens who followed their car for several miles one night before blocking the road and forcing them into their large metallic craft to be examined. 

It's up to the viewer to decide the story's veracity, but one can't help but be affected by Barney Hill's cries of terror while reliving the event under hypnosis. ("God, I'm scared," he laments at one point.)


The descriptions by him and his wife Betty of their experiences are of great interest to UFO enthusiasts, as is the fact that Betty's later rendering of a star map she was supposedly shown during the encounter is believed to be a perfect match for the Zeta Reticuli star system.

Later physical evidence described includes a ring of warts around Barney's genital area, where he says the aliens had placed a strange circular device, and a number of odd marks on their car which caused a compass' needle to spin. 

Adding their thoughts on the case are venerable actors James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader in the STAR WARS films) and Estelle Parsons, who not only knew the Hills but portrayed them in the 1975 TV-movie "The UFO Incident." Giving the documentary additional gravitas is the familiar voice of Peter Weller (ROBOCOP, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) performing the narration.

While interesting for the most part, STRANGE SEPTEMBERS is of main interest to those not all that familiar with these and similar cases.  Long-time UFO enthusiasts will find much of this information old news although it's always worth hearing again if presented well.


This documentary does so, except for the times when we hear information and speculation that's been hashed over at length over the years.  One also can't get too excited by hearing some local citizen in a gimme cap philosophizing about the universe and our place in it, or some twitchy UFO fanatic relaying the usual biased talking points.

Technically, the film is adequately produced with illustrative graphics, animations, and photo montages to keep things visually interesting amidst the interview segments. 
 
The main two cases are covered in the first hour, leaving the final third to serve as sort of a grab bag of UFO fact and legend.  The Roswell crash and other famous cases are presented yet again, this time with the speculation that all are linked somehow.  The proximity of such events to nuclear power plants and atomic test sites is explored. 

STRANGE SEPTEMBERS: THE HILL ABDUCTION & THE EXETER ENCOUNTER isn't the most informative UFO documentary I've ever seen, and certainly not the most riveting.  But it is fairly well-done and should provide some entertainment and enlightenment on the subject for those who haven't already heard it all before. 

Official website with the trailer:  www.StrangeSeptembers.com 

The film will first be available, April 1, 2016, for VOD and Digital Download, on Vimeo On Demand, where it is currently available for pre-sales at this time:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/strangeseptembers


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A TERRA-COTTA WARRIOR -- DVD Review by Porfle



Director Ching Siu-tung (A CHINESE GHOST STORY) and co-producer Tsui Hark (THE BLADE) are among the creators of A TERRA-COTTA WARRIOR (1989), a Hong Kong actioner that  starts out like one of those sweeping Chinese historical epics and then suddenly turns into a cross between BLAST FROM THE PAST and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

If that sounds like a curious combination, it's even more disorienting trying to figure out how to react to all of this while it's coming at you.  Especially since the first forty minutes of the film are such a sober, self-assured, and utterly enchanting tragic love story that we want the whole thing to be this good instead of taking an abrupt left turn into screwball comedy.

We begin in ancient China, where there's a really, really nasty Emperor in charge who's a homicidal narcissist obsessed with finding immortality.  Fearing for their lives lest they fail, his alchemists have assured him that they're developing a longevity formula which, for some reason, requires them to sail to some faraway islands with 500 male and female virgins.


The Emperor is like "Fine, but if this doesn't work I'm having you all beheaded" and the alchemists are like "Not if we don't come back, you won't." 

Meanwhile, there's this very good man named Meng Tian Fang (Zhang Yimou) who was recently promoted to Lord Chamberlain for saving the Emperor's life.  He's been put in charge of the project and thus ends up falling madly in love with one of the lovely young virgins, Dong'er (a lovely young Gong Li). 

When the two lovers are found out, the Emperor sentences them both to death.  But before she dies, Dong'er manages to slip an immortality Mickey to Meng, who is then encased alive in terra cotta in order to guard the Emperor's tomb forever.


While this segment of the film lasts, A TERRA-COTTA WARRIOR is a sumptuous mini-epic that's often quite exquisite in its visual beauty and emotional resonance.  The two leads gain our sympathy with their earnest performances and there's a sincerity to their love story that tugs the old heartstrings.  This is intensified by a lovely musical score and some eye-pleasing photography.

Then, after one of the more jarring transitions this side of THE DEER HUNTER, we're suddenly thrust into the first half of the 20th century, where a Chinese film crew is getting ready to do a contemporary Asian knock-off of GONE WITH THE WIND called "Going With the Wind." 

One of the extras, Lili, dreams of taking the leading lady's place with handsome actor Barry Chi and becoming a star. As is obvious just by looking at her, she also happens to be the reincarnation of Dong'er.  


Barry meanwhile, is actually in league with a bunch of gangsters who are trying to locate the Emperor's ancient tomb for profit, with the film production being a cover for this.  So when Lily accidentally finds the tomb herself and reawakens Meng, comic complications ensue.  Repeat--comic complications ensue.

This is where I started to really lose my handle on A TERRA-COTTA WARRIOR.  Not only was it no longer the tragic love story I'd been enjoying, but now it was veering into "zany farce" territory. 

In one scene, Barry takes Lili up in his airplane and then parachutes out, whereupon the crippled plane not only safely lands itself but then falls through the earth's crust into the Emperor's tomb.  And then takes off again when Lily and Meng need to escape from the bad guys and lands safely again.  By itself.  It's as though Warner Brothers cartoon physics had suddenly taken over.

Meng's character, mercifully, is allowed to keep most of his dignity through all the ensuing "fish out of water" gags (Lili takes him to a restaurant and he tries to eat the menu) which would work better with Brendan Fraser in the role. 

But the reincarnated Dong'er doesn't fare so well, since Lili is a screwball ditz of the first order and we no longer really care about the story's love angle all that much until there's a last-minute effort to serious things back up a bit. 


There is plenty of action, however, as when the gangsters all start coming after Meng to make him lead them back to the tomb and he fights them all off using his ancient martial arts techniques.  Once there, Meng, Lili, and Barry go through a gauntlet of deadly booby traps in a scene that's clearly derivative of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. 

There's also a good number of satisfying old-school special effects and the requisite pyrotechnics to go along with them, leading to a suitably explosive climax.

The DVD from Warner Archive Collection and Golden Harvest is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 soundtracks in Cantonese and Mandarin, and English subtitles. No extras.

For awhile, it looks as though A TERRA-COTTA WARRIOR is going to be one of those epic love stories that spans the ages, like THE MUMMY (both Meng and Im-ho-tep get buried alive and return thousands of years later to seek their reincarnated lovers).  But as it turns out, watching this movie is like being served a filet mignon appetizer followed by an entree of microwave popcorn.

Buy it at WBShop.com
Read about The 6th Old School Kung Fu Fest



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Monday, March 28, 2016

Saban Films Is Acquiring North American Rights to Rob Zombie's Horror Thriller "31" Starring Sheri Moon Zombie & Malcolm McDowell



SABAN FILMS IS ACQUIRING NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS 
TO ROB ZOMBIE’S HORROR THRILLER “31”
STARRING SHERI MOON ZOMBIE  

AND MALCOLM MCDOWELL

LOS ANGELES – March 24, 2016 – Saban Films is acquiring North American distribution rights to horror thriller 31, the latest film from visionary mastermind Rob Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects Halloween and Lords of Salem). The film stars Sheri Moon Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween), Golden Globe® Nominee Malcolm McDowell (“Mozart in the Jungle,” A Clockwork Orange), Jeff Daniel Phillips (The Lords of Salem) and Meg Foster (The Lords of Salem). Zombie wrote and directed the film, which made its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and will have a September 16th release.

​31 follows five carnival workers who are kidnapped and held hostage in an abandoned, Hell-like compound where they are forced to participate in a violent game, the goal of which is to survive twelve hours against a gang of sadistic clowns.

“31 is a treat not just to horror fans, but fans of true auteur filmmaking,” said Saban Films President Bill Bromiley. “The film is executed in true stylistic Zombie fashion. Rob is an unrivaled talent, and we are thrilled to bring his bold new film to audiences across the continent.”

"After meeting with Saban, it was obvious that this was the perfect home for 31," said Rob Zombie. "They have a true understanding of the genre and how to handle it. I am very excited to work with them.”

Bill Bromiley, Ness Saban and Jonathan Saba negotiated the deal on behalf of Saban Films. UTA Independent Film Group arranged financing and handled North American rights.

Bow and Arrow Entertainment financed the film and co-produced with Spectacle Entertainment Group.

Saban Films most recently acquired domestic rights to Renny Harlin’s action comedy Skiptrace, starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville, out of Berlin. Additional upcoming titles in the Saban Films slate include: Alex and Benjamin Brewer’s The Trust starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood, which made its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival; Tom Tykwer’s A Hologram for the King starring two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks, where Saban is partnering with Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on the theatrical release on April 22nd; and I Am Wrath with John Travolta.

Since the company’s launch in 2014, Saban Films has released The Homesman, starring Academy Award® winners Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank, which world premiered in Cannes; Tracers starring Taylor Lautner; Philip Martin’s The Forger starring John Travolta; American Heist starring Hayden Christensen, Academy Award® Winner Adrien Brody, Jordana Brewster, Tory Kittles and Aliaune “Akon” Thiam; Some Kind of Beautiful starring Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba; Man Up starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell; and MI-5 starring Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle and Tuppence Middleton.

About Saban Films
Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (“SCG”), is a film acquisition and distribution company which acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, SCG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as president, Shanan Becker, Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Director of Business Development.



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Sunday, March 27, 2016

BIG BULLET -- DVD Review by Porfle



The popular and award-winning Hong Kong cop flick BIG BULLET (1996) is a sleek, lightning-paced shoot-em-up with elements of DIRTY HARRY, DIE HARD, and LETHAL WEAPON all rolled into one sustained paroxysm of fun.

Lau Ching-wan stars as Bill Chu, a veteran Special Forces sergeant who quite justifiably decks his superior after a botched raid results in grievous injury to numerous cops. This gets him demoted to the Emergency Unit, a low-profile, non-glamorous uniformed patrol group doing the most thankless jobs, where he continues to court trouble by getting himself and his team right in the middle of the most volatile situations.

It's a good thing Chu is sort of a hero in cop circles because his new team, eager to prove themselves, will follow him anywhere.  They cover most of the bases: Dan (Lam Sheung Yee), the older cop who's close to retirement; Matt (Cheung Tat-ming), the impetuous rookie; Apple (Theresa Lee), the capable, adorable young female cop everyone else likes; and Tung Fai (Vincent Kok), their ear-to-the-ground office drone back at the station.


Not quite on Chu's side is his second-in-command Inspector Jeff Chiu (Jordan Chan), who would rather keep his nose to the rulebook than engage in any unauthorized police actions.  These, unfortunately, are Chu's speciality, which keeps the two at each other's throats during every action-packed shift.

On the other side, a criminal mastermind known as The Professor (Yu Rongguang) escapes from police custody in the film's first jaw-dropping action blowout that gives us a taste of what's to come.  As his chief gunman, Birdy, Anthony Wong (EXILED, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, THE WOMAN KNIGHT OF MIRROR LAKE) gets to do what he does best, which is play a badass.  In fact, as soon as I saw him wearing a cop uniform right before the big breakout, I knew his character was up to no good.

Their plan to steal nine million dollars from Interpol before it can be transported back to the U.S. provides the basic gist of the story.  Chu's knack for being in the right place at the right time puts him and his team where this plan first explodes into action, resulting in a spectacular and sometimes shocking urban warfare sequence which rivals the bank robbery shootout in Michael Mann's HEAT and perhaps even tops it. 


Later, a daring nocturnal break-in at Interpol itself is the impetus for a hail-of-bullets gun battle and a hair-raising car chase through downtown Hong Kong that leaves no vehicle unsmashed.  (Lots of stuff blows up real good, too.) 

The film reaches its peak on the runway of a military airstrip where the bad guys' plan to leave the country with the loot is challenged by our heroes, with the result being yet another certifiably insane action sequence.

Ching Wan Lau and Anthony Wong take top acting honors (in my opinion, anyway), although the entire cast couldn't be better.  As gritty as it is, the script sparkles with humor and engaging character interplay (I love it when Dan's wife suddenly shows up at the window of their police van with his sack lunch), as well as heartfelt moments such as Inspector Chiu's pain over his own brother's involvement in the criminal underworld. 


Direction by Benny Chan (CITY UNDER SIEGE) is lean, sharp, and devoid of unnecessary visual frills.  One especially cool touch is when Anthony Wong's "Birdy" pulls the pin from a grenade, but instead of lobbing it down a flight of stairs at his oncoming pursuers as we think he's going to do, he casually tosses it over his shoulder into a display of large bottled water containers.  The instant tidal wave caused by the explosion washes the hapless policemen back down the stairs as Wong makes his escape.  

The DVD from Warner Archive Collection and Golden Harvest is in 16x9 widescreen with a Dolby 2.0 Chinese soundtrack and English subtitles.  No extras. 

Anyone who relishes a solid, modern cop flick featuring mind-boggling action and a gripping, no-frills story with interesting characters should have a ball watching BIG BULLET.  It's a gritty urban thriller with the heart of a "feelgood" flick. 

Buy it at the WBShop.com
Read about The 6th Old School Kung Fu Fest



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THE BLADE -- DVD Review by Porfle



THE BLADE (1995) is my first full-fledged Tsui Hark film--I don't count his half-baked Hollywood debut DOUBLE TEAM with Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman--and it really satisfies the curiosity I've had about this fascinating director ever since learning about him on an episode of Jonathan Ross' "The Incredibly Strange Film Show" way back in 1989.

A reworking of Chang Cheh’s 1967 classic THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN, this action-packed sword saga of ancient China is like a lovingly-crafted assimilation of all that's good about Hong Kong's venerable wuxia genre.

Siu Ling (Song Lei) is a naive young girl living in her father's sword factory which employs the two men of her fancy, Ding On (Wenzhuo Zhao) and Ti Dao (Moses Chan).  When the orphaned Ding On discovers that his father was murdered by a fearsome tattooed assassin named Falcon (Xiong Xinxin, THE WOMAN KNIGHT OF MIRROR LAKE) he takes up his father's broken blade and sets out for revenge. 


Ling follows but is captured by bandits.  When Ding On tries to rescue her he loses his right arm and, after plunging over a cliff, is feared dead.

Ti Dao and Ling search for Ding On, who now lives on a humble farm with a strange hermit woman named Blackie (Chung Bik-ha) who found his nearly lifeless body and dragged it home.  When the bandits attack and burn down her farm, Ding On's helplessness against them compels him to train in martial arts and swordplay despite his disability. 

With his father's broken sword in hand, Ding On takes on the marauding bandits and then goes up against the bloodthirsty Falcon, who has never been defeated.


It's hard to summarize THE BLADE because the plot is so dense and comes at the viewer in dizzying waves of imagery which require some thought to fully assimilate.  (Not to mention what I found to be a necessary second viewing just to get it all straight.) 

In one sense it's a coming-of-age tale, since Siu Ling narrates the story and, in her quest to find Ding On, gains insight into the human condition and the various things others must do in order to survive.  (She never completely matures, though, since we see her still cavorting with her kitty before the final battle.)

Her lovesick infatuation with the two men, which develops during the course of the story into something more tortured and agonizing, adds to the film's coming-of-age angle in addition to its other motifs such as honor, loyalty, unrequited love, and retribution as a moral imperative.



Most of all, though, THE BLADE is one of the most dazzling, dizzying, often astounding action films you'll ever see.  In several major setpieces throughout the story Tsui Hark displays a brilliant visual sense that takes this kind of filmmaking to its own unique level.

It's almost impossible to count the number of camera setups used, with editing so rapid-fire that the scenes become almost subliminal.  Yet this is done skillfully and, more importantly, coherently, unlike the case of, say, the sometimes incomprehensible QUANTUM OF SOLACE. 

The director rarely uses slow-motion except to emphasize a moment here and there--his editing is too restless and impatient for that, bombarding us with flurries of eye-dazzling imagery that flash past as though in a dream. 

The camerawork appears unsophisticated at times but is raw and immediate, and during several scenes the constant use of close shots keeps us right in the middle of the action as though we're participants rather than watching from a safe distance.

This is especially true during the nightmarish early sequence in which Ding On loses his arm during his attempted rescue of Siu Ling from the bandits.  The whole thing is one long, disorienting blur of mud, blood, fire, thrashing limbs, clashing blades, splintering bamboo, pain, and fear, with Tsui Hark shooting and editing it the way one might imagine a frenzied orchestra conductor flailing his way through "A Night On Bald Mountain."



Subsequent fights scenes are similarly done in a frenetic free-for-all style that is always visually and emotionally involving, leading to a bloody showdown within the walls of the sword factory and a final confrontation between Ding On and Falcon which finds Tsui Hark's direction at its most hyperkinetic and free-form.

This loose approach also serves him well during character scenes, although he also accentuates such moments with beautifully composed close-ups.  The camera especially likes the interesting face of Chung Bik-ha as the comically eccentric Blackie, who gives one of the film's best and most likable performances amidst an excellent cast.

The DVD from Warner Archive Collection and Golden Harvest is in 16x9 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 soundtracks in Cantonese and English.  English subtitles are available.  No extras. 

With fully-realized characters and an emotional ending that resonates past the fadeout, THE BLADE is more than just an action movie.  But, wow--what an action movie! 

Buy it at the WBShop.com
Read about The 6th Old School Kung Fu Fest


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Saturday, March 26, 2016

FOURTEENTH ANNUAL RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARDS -- Voting Under Way NOW!

   

 IT'S MONDO RONDO TIME AGAIN!

"Long live the Rondos!" - Ain't It Cool News
"I love Rondo!" - Guillermo del Toro

Forget the Oscars--forget the Emmys--it's time to cast your vote for the awards that really matter. Namely, the 2016 Rondos!

Growing in popularity by leaps and bounds is this increasingly prestigious annual award which was created by fans (David Colton and Kerry Gammill) for fans (this means you!) and is a fond tribute to the one and only Rondo Hatton of THE BRUTE MAN and HOUSE OF HORRORS fame. The eerily lifelike bust itself was sculpted by illustrator Gammill, and cast by modeler Tim Lindsey.


Everything you need to know about the Rondos, including nominees and how to participate in the excitement yourself, along with a crypt-load of other creepy threads on the subject, check out the Rondo folder at the Classic Horror Film Board.

All together now: "Da doo ron Rondo, da doo ron ron!"



                                            "Rondo SMASH!!!"


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Friday, March 25, 2016

THE HORROR -- Movie Review by Porfle



It's called THE HORROR (2015), but anyone expecting the usual gore, jump-scares, or other horror movie stuff will be disappointed.  What the title actually means, in fact, is the movie's final, tragic reveal.

Not to say that there isn't anything scary about it, but this subtle, low-key, character-driven tale of one man's slow descent into madness while his sister looks on helplessly generates more of a growing sense of unease than visceral thrills or sensationalism. 

Isabell Rademacher (Callie Ott) tells the story to her sympathetic psychiatrist Kristin (Schell M. Peterson) about how she and her twin brother Malcolm (co-scripter Raymond Creamer) lost their parents in a tragic auto accident which Malcolm witnessed, and how tying up the loose ends of their earthly affairs triggers painful memories.


A visit to the family's vacation lakehouse with Isabell's boyfriend Chris (Chris Oliver) and Malcolm's maybe, maybe-not girlfriend Annie (Lexi Moeller) along for the ride not only results in strained relations between the couples but also leads to a terrifying home invasion by two men wearing gas masks which changes both the twins' lives forever.

(There's a subtle feeling of paranoia right from the start, since we know from Isabell's account that there's going to be a traumatic "break-in" at some point.)

While Isabell struggles to get on with her life after the incident, Malcolm is mired in an ever-darkening mental state that's centered around the lakehouse.  Isabell's flashbacks to his downright creepy-as-hell behavior, including his furiously chopping holes in the frozen lake at night and reaching into the freezing water in a frantic search for one of their attackers' discarded gas masks, have a chilling "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy" quality about them.


These scenes of the bleak, wintry Michigan lake setting--surrounded by empty summer houses with a virtual ghost town nearby--have an oppressive gloom which adds to the film's melancholy, ominous mood. Direction and cinematography are lean and effective throughout but never moreso than here, where nature itself seems to reflect Malcolm's own mental and spiritual hypothermia. 

What happens later when the apprehensive Isabell's personal account veers abruptly into firsthand experience for psychiatrist Kristen leads to the film's nailbiting payoff with yet another home invasion. 

Here, at last, the film's deliberate pace works its way to a higher level of tension that stays taut until, finally, the darkly suspenseful ending allows us take a deep, shivery breath.  (This, despite the fact that most of the action takes place offscreen and we see only the aftermath.)


Director Jerry J. White III gets some good performances from the cast, especially considering that this film is the feature debut for several of the lead actors.  Raymond Creamer, who plays Malcolm, wrote the literate script along with White and Sarah Carman and managed to invest it with some interesting characters and dialogue.

Two "Blair Witch"-o-vision scenes involving a ghostly legend on a nearby bridge still have me pondering what the heck they mean, but at any rate they make pretty good bookends to the story.

That story wasn't nearly as thoroughly resolved as I would've liked, yet I didn't feel as though I'd been left hanging at the end--even though that's exactly what it does.  Mainly, THE HORROR left me in a very pensive mood.  It's a very pensive movie.

Available on Digital VHX and Limited Edition VHS April 1
Order The Horror on VHX Download
Order The Horror on VHS

Watch the trailer


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Rovio's ToonsTV Lands on Apple TV



ToonsTV Now Available on Apple TV

Rovio's Family Friendly Video Platform Eclipses 5.6 Billion Global Views; Unveils Dedicated Easter Programming


LOS ANGELES - March 24, 2016 -- ToonsTV, Rovio Animation Company's go-to platform for family friendly video entertainment, launched globally today for the all-new Apple TV. Available as a free download with no in-app purchases, ToonsTV features more than 30 channels of high quality, video on-demand (VOD) family entertainment, including the original animated series Angry Birds Toons, Piggy Tales and Stella, as well as its educational Rocket Science Show, developed in cooperation with NASA. ToonsTV also offers renowned animation properties, including Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep by Aardman, Zooville by National Geographic and Pucca by Vooz.

ToonsTV is currently featuring an "Eggs, Eggs, Eggs" channel of Easter-themed episodes from the platform's various properties, including "EggsHaustion," an all-new episode of Angry Birds Toons. Another major focus is a new series of humorous Easter Egg "unwrapping" videos, starring the feathered hands of Red from the Angry Birds flock.

"The latest Apple TV with Siri Remote has opened up exciting new opportunities for media app publishers, and is helping change the way consumers engage with their favorite shows and characters," said Tommy Korpinen, President of Rovio Animation Company. "We have high expectations for ToonsTV as a key component for watching top-notch, on-demand family content, and Apple TV is the perfect platform for directly reaching a wide audience in their living rooms."


ToonsTV has amassed more than 5.6 billion views since 2013, when it was first hatched within every Angry Birds game as a video distribution channel, bypassing traditional broadcast media and delivering original content to consumers. In January 2015, ToonsTV won a DigiDay award for Best Video Distribution/Syndication Platform, and in October 2015, ToonsTV launched as a standalone app for iOS and Android devices.

The full listing of ToonsTV programming is available within the app and on the web at www.toons.tv.

ToonsTV is the company's second app to launch for Apple TV. The first was the fast-paced racing title Angry Birds Go!, which arrived in App Stores in February 2016 and has since hit No. 1 on the Apple TV games download charts in 85 countries.

To learn more about ToonsTV and view content: http://www.toons.tv.

About Rovio Animation Company

Rovio Animation Company (RAC) creates and distributes family friendly animation properties for audiences worldwide. The company distributes content through ToonsTV, its multi-channel video entertainment app that's available on iOS, Android and Apple TV. In addition RAC also develops and manages a range of quality licensed consumer products based on its globally known Angry Birds franchise. Rovio Animation Company's first full length feature film, The Angry Birds Movie is slated for release in May 2016. www.rovio.com
Rovio Animation Company is a subsidiary of Rovio Entertrainment.




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Thursday, March 24, 2016

FELICITY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



Having already been introduced to the ins and outs of sex "dan unda" by his documentaries THE ABC OF LOVE AND SEX: AUSTRALIA STYLE and AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK (in addition to his lurid slasher-horror NIGHTMARES), I was interested to see Ozploitation director John D. Lamond's entry in the "Emmanuelle" school of softcore sex dramas, 1978's FELICITY. 

This story of a young schoolgirl's growing sexual awareness is a deft mix of crass and class that plays like a humid back-pocket novel.  Within minutes it's already offering up plentiful amounts of nudity as young Felicity and her fellow convent school mates splash in the shower (Felicity marvels at the tingling in her "special place") and go skinny dipping at a nearby pond as neighboring boys look on from the bushes, which excites her.

Felicity isn't just curious about sex--she's obsessed, thinking about it every waking minute and talking about it at length in the diary-like narration.  Her school day consists of gazing at the other girls, contemplating her own body's budding wonders, and making those awkward first lesbian advances toward her best friend Jenny while fantasizing about losing her virginity to an actual boy. 


The film continues in this hazy pastoral vein until Felicity gets an invitation from her sister Christine (Marilyn Rodgers, PATRICK, "Prisoner: Cell Block H") to vacation at her home in Hong Kong, which we predict will be like setting wild dogs loose in a butcher shop. 

Not surprisingly, Felicity witnesses a couple having sex on the plane and pleasures herself in lieu of finishing her dog-eared copy of "Emmanuelle."  Arriving amidst the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, she soon ends up peeping at Christine and her cutie-pie hubby Stephen doing the nasty as well, and chomping at the bit to try it herself.

At this point it's pretty much just a matter of waiting to see what kind of sexual exploits will come Felicity's way next, and with whom.  Our first sight of a dashing older guy with a porn 'stache is a dead giveaway, as is Felicity's meeting with Christine's pretty friend Me Ling (Penthouse Pet Joni Flynn). 


These two adventurous babes go out on the town for the day, allowing Lamond to indulge in plenty of nicely exotic travelogue stuff until it's time to retire to a bath house for some steamy (literally) interplay with a couple of lady sex workers.

Our sensuous heroine wanders in and out of a few more brief encounters until she finally finds love with the proper stranger (Christopher Milne, THIRST), whereupon she discovers that there's more to life than simple hedonism. 

I won't give away the final outcome, since this story has precious few surprises to offer as it is before the rather abrupt ending.  Suffice it to say I was pleased that it didn't take the sort of darker turn that I was anticipating. 


Not exactly the most plot-heavy movie you'll ever see, FELICITY saunters along at a lazy pace and is quite enjoyable if one gears down enough to sit still for it.

The sex scenes are artistically rendered--hazy lighting, soft focus, subtlety--with enough simulated hoo-hah to count as softcore porn without ever coming close to raunch.

Director Lamond has enough finesse to make a visually pleasing film with a low budget and get adequate-to-good performances from his cast.  Glory Annen (SUPERGIRL, THE LONELY LADY), who was actually about 26 at the time, is fresh-faced and girlish enough to be convincing as the young Felicity without creeping us out.  The Hong Kong backdrop adds immeasurably to the film's appeal.


The Blu-ray from Severin Films is widescreen HD with Dolby 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  Incredibly, the bonus menu includes both of the aforementioned full-length sex documentaries from John D. Lamond, THE ABC OF LOVE AND SEX: AUSTRALIA STYLE and AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK, in their entirety, including the original commentary tracks.

We also get lengthy interviews with Lamond and an older "Felicity" herself, Glory Annen, as well as a commentary track for FELICITY featuring the two.  Trailers for Lamond's films round out the selection. 

I'm past the point of finding this kind of stuff all that titillating these days, but back in 1978 this was pretty hot stuff for those not yet jaded by Cinemax After Dark or The Playboy Channel.  Now, FELICITY has a pleasant kind of novelty value and, with a little honest-to-goodness romance thrown in, it makes for a very nice couples flick.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Release date: March 29, 2016
Stills shown are not taken from the Blu-ray




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"RESURRECTION" With Ellen Burstyn and Sam Shepard -- On DVD June 14th



RESURRECTION

Release Date: 6/14/2016

Theatrical Studio: Universal
Theatrical Release: 9/26/1980


In Resurrection, an unforgettable story of love and devotion, Ellen Burstyn delivers a tour-de-force performance as a woman who experiences clinical death and returns to life with the amazing ability to heal others.

Attributing her powers to human love rather than divine intervention, she begins to aid the residents of her childhood town.

After healing a zealous young farmer (Sam Shepard), she starts to fall in love with him. As their affair develops, he tries to make her confess that her powers come from God and not from within.

Her refusal leads to a violent climax that will change the healer and all who touch her forever.

DVD Widescreen (61178799) : Disc 1 (Side A): Resurrection
 Format:      DVD      UPC:      0-2519-23568-0-3
 Unit Type:      Standard      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      6/14/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 44 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      DVD-9 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
 Picture:      Anamorphic Widescreen
 Version:      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      PG



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"Airport: The Complete Collection" Takes Off on Blu-ray in June




AIRPORT: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Release Date: 6/14/2016

Prepare to take off on a nonstop, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride with four suspense-filled adventures in Airport: The Complete Collection.

The quest begins with the original Airport, nominated for 10 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, which launched the popular 1970s disaster film genre and became a box office smash.

In Airport 1975, a mid-air collision leaves a 747 without a pilot and little hope for survival.

The tension continues in Airport ‘77 when a 747 is trapped underwater in the Bermuda Triangle and it’s a race against time to save the passengers and crew.

In The Concorde: Airport ‘79, at twice the speed of sound, the Concorde must evade a vicious attack by a traitorous arms smuggler.

Featuring stellar ensemble casts that include Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, Jacqueline Bisset, Dean Martin, George Kennedy and many more, Airport: The Complete Collection will leave you on edge from takeoff to dramatic landing.


Blu-ray Widescreen Multi-Feature(61178745) : Disc 1 (Side A): Airport
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23564-4-5
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      6/14/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      2 Hours 17 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French European DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
Spanish

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      G
PG   

Blu-ray Widescreen Multi-Feature(61178745) : Disc 2 (Side A): Airport 1975
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23564-4-5
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      6/14/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 47 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      G
PG   


Blu-ray Widescreen Multi-Feature(61178745) : Disc 3 (Side A): Airport '77
 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23564-4-5
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      6/14/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 54 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      G
PG    

Blu-ray Widescreen Multi-Feature(61178745) : Disc 4 (Side A): The Concorde: Airport '79 Format:      Blu-ray      UPC:      0-2519-23564-4-5
 Unit Type:      Multi-Feature      Number of Media:      1
 Street Date:      6/14/2016      PreOrder Date:     
 Run Time (HH:MM):      1 Hour 54 Minutes          
 Language:      English      Disc Type:      BD-50 (Single Sided)
 Packaging:      Snap Case with Outer Box      Layers:      Single
 Audio:     English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
       Subtitles:      English SDH
French

 Edition:      -      Picture:      Widescreen
 Version:      -      Color/B&W     COLOR
 Rating:      G
PG



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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

VETERAN -- DVD Review by Porfle



Korean writer-director Ryoo Seung-wan's VETERAN (2015) is one seriously good cop flick.  Action, drama, comedy, thrills, suspense--it's all there and there's lots of it.

The film manages to be alternately gritty and funny in its opening minutes as a crack team of Korean cops go after a Korean-Russian automobile smuggling ring. This sequence starts things off with a bang as we're introduced to seasoned detective Seo Do-cheo (a rich performance by Hwang Jung-min), who enjoys scrapping with the guys he's arresting, and his down-to-earth team leader Oh (Oh Dal-su), who gets in on the action himself and always has Seo's back. 

The rest of the team, including everyone's favorite, the lovely and capable Miss Bong (Jang Yoon-ju), are a quirky bunch whose continuing exploits would be ideal fodder for a TV series. 


After the exciting opening, the story proper focuses on Seo's friend Bae, a lowly freight driver for the monolithic Sin Jin corporation, being beaten to a pulp in one of the executive offices after a contract complaint and then apparently attempting suicide in shame by taking a high dive down a flight of stairs. 

When the matter is hushed up, Seo oversteps his jurisdictional bounds and steps on several toes, including those of his department supervisor and members of Internal Affairs, in an attempt to get to the bottom of his friend's fate. 

Yoo Ah-in is brilliant as handsome but evil young Jo Tae-oh, eventual heir to the presidency of Sin Jin despite being a spoiled, dangerously impulsive narcissist with a severe anger management problem. Jo delights in humiliating and abusing his employees, a fact the shocked Seo observes firsthand during a party for the "super rich" which he attends after serving as technical advisor for a TV cop show.
  

As both the Bae situation and Jo Tae-oh's sinister schemes to cover it up intensify, so do Seo's efforts to overcome political red tape and other obstacles in his quest for justice.  One attempt on his life during this time leads to a furious knife fight inside a cramped apartment, resulting in the team's "newbie" getting seriously stabbed ("You stabbed our newbie!" the other team members indignantly remind a prisoner later). 

Finally the stage is set for a violent confrontation between the cops vs. Jo Tae-oh and his Sin Jin goons which will include a spectacular vehicle chase through the heart of the city that's filled with bent fenders and shattered glass, not to mention a few flying bodies.

Ryoo Seung-wan's solidly self-assured script crackles with great hardboiled dialogue, humor, and riveting drama, moving smoothly from one to the other without missing a beat. His direction is eye-pleasing and slick while still keeping its edge, particularly the fight action which is briskly done without looking overly choreographed.
 

The cast is uniformly fine, with the three leads--Hwang Jung-min, Yoo Ah-in, and Oh Dal-su--particularly effective, as is Yoo Hae-jin as Jo's pathetic toady Choi. Amidst all the sound and fury, Ryoo Seung-wan (THE BERLIN FILE, THE CITY OF VIOLENCE) finds time for plenty of engaging character interplay that makes the film all the more satisfying.

The DVD from CJ Entertainment is in 16 x 9 widescreen with both English (dubbed) and Korean 5.1 Dolby digital soundtracks and English subtitles.  Extras consist of trailers for this and other CJ Entertainment releases. 

I liked VETERAN so much that I immediately wanted to watch it again, which was great because the second time I could really relax and enjoy it without having to figure out the sometimes complicated plot.  And with this sizzling firecracker of a cop flick, there's an awful lot to enjoy.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Website:
www.cj-entertainment.com.



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"MEN & CHICKEN" With Mads Mikkelsen Opening New York & LA on April 22nd



DRAFTHOUSE FILMS Presents
MEN & CHICKEN

A Film by Anders Thomas Jensen
Opening New York & LA on April 22nd

"Mads Mikkelsen shows why he's one of the greatest character actors around", Michael Dunaway - PASTE MAGAZINE

2015 Toronto Film Festival - Official Selection
2015 Fantastic Fest - Best Director Winner


SYNOPSIS:

Men & Chicken is a darkly hilarious slapstick comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal,” ingeniously cast against type) about a pair of socially-challenged siblings who discover they are adopted half-brothers in their late father's videotaped will.

Their journey in search of their true father takes them to the small, insular Danish island of Ork, where they stumble upon  three additional half-brothers—each also sporting hereditary harelips and lunatic tendencies—living in a dilapidated mansion overrun by barn animals.

Initially unwelcome by their newfound kin, the two visitors stubbornly wear them down until they’re reluctantly invited to stay. As the misfit bunch get to know each other, they unwittingly uncover a deep family secret that ultimately binds them together.

This inventively bizarre and outlandish comedy is directed by acclaimed, Oscar®-winning director Anders Thomas Jensen and also stars David Dencik (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)

TRT: 104 Minutes



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Narrated by Peter Weller "STRANGE SEPTEMBERS" Feature-Length UFO Documentary - on VOD April 1, 2016



STRANGE SEPTEMBERS:
THE HILL ABDUCTION & THE EXETER ENCOUNTER -
NARRATED BY PETER WELLER

FEATURE-LENGTH UFO DOCUMENTARY
TO BE RELEASED ON
VOD AND DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 2016

The Two World-Famous UFO Experiences Took Place In New Hampshire In September 1961 and September 1965


(Los Angeles, CA - March 23, 2016) Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & The Exeter Encounter -- Narrated by Peter Weller is a feature-length documentary which explores two of the most famous and well-documented UFO encounters in history. One being the 1961 terrifying abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, and the other, the 1965 UFO sightings seen by dozens, including the credible and reliable sources of Navy enlistee Norman Muscarello, who was horrified as he ran for his life, and two Exeter Police Officers, Eugene Bertrand and David Hunt. The documentary will be released on VOD and Digital Download on April 1, 2016 on Vimeo On Demand, announced Directors Jeff & Jess Finn today. 

"What can these two controversial UFO cases tell us about where we've been, where we are, and where we're going, in terms of potential human interaction with intelligent extraterrestrials? If either of these landmark close-encounter cases occurred as the participants claimed, we are then faced with the shocking reality of a pair of the most important incidents in human history. For those clinging to a rigid worldview, the Hill Abduction and the Exeter Encounter could prove to be mind expanding as well as life changing," says director Jeff Finn.

Narrated by Peter Weller, the documentary features new revealing insights after more than a year of research, contact and interviews with over 100 relatives, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances associated with the principal witnesses of the Hill Abduction and the Exeter Encounter. Interviewees include James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons, who starred in the famous 1975 television movie The UFO Incident: The Betty & Barney Hill Abduction, ufologists Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden, former U.S. Air Force and Army officers, Lt. Alan Brandt and Col. George Rubin, and author John Fuller's son, Judd.

The documentary was directed and produced by Jeff & Jess Finn of Z-Machine, and produced by Joe Gressis and Dena Hysell of Secret Handshake, and written by Jeff Finn.

 Exclusive Interviews in the documentary:

James Earl Jones: Actor, Barney Hill, The UFO Incident
Estelle Parsons: Actress, Betty Hill, The UFO Incident
Stanton Friedman: Author; ufologist; nuclear physicist; civilian researcher responsible for reopening the Roswell Incident
Kathleen Marden: Author; lecturer; MUFON Director of Field Investigator Training (Emeritus); niece of Betty and Barney Hill
Thomas Muscarello: Brother of Norman Muscarello, the primary eyewitness to the Exeter Encounter
Judd Fuller: Son of John G. Fuller, author of The Interrupted Journey and Incident at Exeter
Dean Merchant: Organizer, Exeter UFO Festival; founder, Exeter UFO Hall of Fame; historian; author
John P. Oswald: UFO researcher; author; former NICAP investigator; confidant to Betty Hill
Lt. Alan Brandt: Former United States Air Force Lieutenant
Jean Hamilton: UFO eyewitness; friend of Norman Muscarello
Ted Loder, PhD: Former Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire; co-author, The Disclosure Project
William E. Ross: Professor and Head, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire
Valerie Cunningham: Principal, African-American Resource Center, NH; author; friend of Betty and Barney Hill
Col. George Rubin: Former United States Army Colonel
Steve Firmani: Founder and Director, New England MUFON
Joel Brown: Freelance writer; author
----------

Official website with the trailer:  www.StrangeSeptembers.com 

The film will first be available, April 1, 2016, for VOD and Digital Download, on Vimeo On Demand, where it is currently available for pre-sales at this time:
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/strangeseptembers



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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"SHARK EXORCIST" Rises From the Deep on DVD and Digital HD This June



New York, NY - WildEye Releasing is shoring up the release of cult director Donald Farmer's latest, Shark Exorcist, with a brand new trailer and key art.

Farmer (Demon Queen, Cannibal Hookers, Dorm of the Dead) turns his camera to the creature feature genre with a twist.  A deadly great white shark terrorizes the small village of Paris Landing. 

The beast is driven not by rage or revenge, but by the Devil himself.  Instead of a hardened shark hunter, the fishermen and swimmers must look to a Catholic priest to save their souls and his own.



A demonic nun summons Satan to a small fishing village, where he takes over the bodies of a great white shark and a young woman. A chain reaction of evil grips the tiny community as shredded bodies wash ashore.

A Catholic priest arrives, and he must fight both teeth and temptation on land and sea in order to send these man-killers back to Hell before the tide comes in for good!


Watch the Trailer







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Original Props and Costumes From Hit TV Show "Hannibal" To be Sold in No-Reserve Online Auction



Hannibal Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) bespoke suits, a terrifying Wendigo bust, and Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) full size therapy cage are just a few examples of lots set to go under the hammer in the upcoming Hannibal: The Complete Series Auction, in partnership with Gaumont Television, this March. 

Over 1250 lots of authentic pieces from the award-winning thrilling drama series, Hannibal, will be available for bidding with no reserve in a three-week-long online auction.

The auction begins on Monday, March 21st on the Prop Store website, with lots closing for bidding April 4th-8th.


The acclaimed series, based on Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, follows the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter and his patient, FBI agent Will Graham. With a star-studded supporting cast including Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, CSI) and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), the series ran for three jaw-dropping seasons, helmed by executive producer Bryan Fuller.



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