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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) -- DVD Review by Porfle

 Originally posted on 3/14/09


Up till now, I'd only seen Wes Craven's 1972 horror-movie debut LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT once, when I rented the VHS tape back in the 80s, and for the life of me I couldn't remember a damn thing about it. Which I found somewhat strange considering its reputation as a ghastly, hardcore horror ordeal that so many found hard to watch and even harder to forget. Now that I've seen it again, I can understand why I originally found it unmemorable, but I'm still at a loss to explain its profound effect on others. To me, it's just a fairly decent cheapo murder flick, despite whatever perceived historical significance it may have. Have I really become that desensitized, or what?

Sweet young Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel), who just turned 17, is on her way to a rock concert with her more worldly friend Phyllis (Lucy Grantham), when they're kidnapped by sadistic escaped convicts Krug (David Hess) and Weasel (Fred Lincoln), their wretched moll Sadie (Jeramie Rain), and Krug's junkie son Junior (Marc Sheffler), who'll do whatever his pop tells him to in order to get his next fix. The bad guys dump their captives into the trunk and head for the hills, but their car soon breaks down on a secluded road. They take Mari and Phyllis into the woods, where the girls are humiliated, raped, tortured, and murdered.

Posing as stranded travelers on a business trip, they're taken in by a friendly couple who offer them food and accomodations for the night. As it turns out, however, John (Richard Towers) and Estelle (Cynthia Carr) are Mari's parents, the Collingwoods. And when they discover that their houseguests have just murdered their daughter, the mild-mannered mom and dad find their own killer instincts fiercely kicking in. Naturally, more bloody violence and mayhem ensue.

Visually, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is pretty artless, bringing to mind the likes of BLOOD FEAST and early John Waters films such as PINK FLAMINGOS. Wes Craven attributes this to a deliberate attempt at a documentary, cinema-verite' style, and claims that this makes the film's events seem more realistic. Marc Sheffler's assessment, as stated in one of the DVD's bonus featurettes, is that "in its professional ignorance, its stylistic ignorance, it has created its own style." I think it's just crummy camerawork. Plus, it's hard to be fooled into thinking "Hey, this is real!" when the characters are so borderline farcical and the acting, for the most part, is on a porn-movie level. (The script, in fact, started as a sick hardcore porn project, which is how adult actor Fred Lincoln became involved, before most of those dubious elements were wisely jettisoned.)

Hess, who would later appear in Wes Craven's SWAMP THING, comes off fairly well in a brutish way, while Lincoln isn't very convincing as a psycho killer. Sheffler's "Junior" is more of a comic doofus than the pathetic heroin slave he's intended to be. Jeramie Rain (who later became Mrs. Richard Dreyfuss and is surprisingly beautiful in her recent interview footage) comes off pretty well as the feral Sadie. As Mari's parents, Richard Towers and Cynthia Carr are superficial at best, although Carr comes to life in the final scenes. I like the two girls, Sandra Cassel and Lucy Grantham, who are unpolished yet appealing and who manage to express genuine terror during key moments, although in Cassel's case there's more to this than acting skills (more on that later). Her sad death scene provides one of the film's genuinely affecting moments.

As far as the violence and gore are concerned, there's nothing more extreme than George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD from four years earlier, or even 1963's BLOOD FEAST. And I can never take these characters seriously enough for their acts to be truly shocking or difficult to endure. The only thing I find hard to watch--the rape scene--comes not from what's happening in the story but from what went on during the filming of it. As David Hess relates during the commentary, he had the already nervous Sandra Cassel so distraught and fearful of him that much of her humiliation and distress during the scene are real. Marc Sheffler also tells of actually grabbing her and threatening to push her over a precipice if she didn't stop fouling up take after take of their main scene together. For me, these two accounts are the creepiest thing about the movie.

Meanwhile, awkward attempts at comedy relief keep inexplicably popping up at the darndest times. These come mainly in the form of a fat, bumbling sheriff (Marshall Anker) and his moronic deputy (Martin Kove, the most recognizable actor in the film), who run out of gas on their way to the Collingwood home and try to hitch a ride on a chicken truck. In an early scene, the world-weary sheriff laments, "Sometimes I wish I was something else" and his deputy asks, "You mean, like a duck?"

This, we're told, was meant to counterpoint the (already humor-laced) serious scenes just as David Hess' irreverent soundtrack songs serve as a jarring contrast to onscreen events. But as Fred Lincoln, who still refers to the film as "a piece of sh**", states in the commentary, "to cut back to them was to cut back to a different movie." It's like switching channels between a slasher flick and "The Dukes of Hazzard." The cartoonish Ozzie and Harriet-ness of Mari's parents is similarly overstated in their early scenes.

The blood-splattered finale, which takes place in and around the titular house, has its moments but is pretty much a mess. Reacting to the death of their daughter not with crippling grief but with a strangely industrious fervor, Mrs. Collingwood becomes a deadly seductress while Mr. Collingwood turns into a vengeful cross between Tim Allen and MacGyver. I won't give away too much of what happens, but aside from a few cool images, it's not all that shocking or suspenseful. A curiously tame chainsaw showdown does result in the destruction of some nice furniture, though. And one character's swimming pool demise is quite satisfying.

Fans of the film will no doubt enjoy the yakky, argumentative, and funny commentary track featuring Hess, Lincoln, and Sheffler (but not Craven or Cunningham, who did a commentary for the 2002 DVD release), as well as the behind-the-scenes featurette "Still Standing: The Legacy of The Last House on the Left" and the 40-minute documentary "Celluloid Crime of the Century", both of which contain much interview material with Craven, producer Sean S. Cunningham, and members of the cast. Along with some interesting inside info, the personable Craven also dishes up a little after-the-fact hooey about the script (based on Ingmar Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING) that he banged out with no deep intentions besides making a simple horror flick, "but I think what was going on subconsciously was a pretty complex matrix of the fundamentalists being alive in America at that time, and...uh, the Viet Nam war..." He also opines that some scenes evoked a perverse sympathy for the villains which resulted in a "trememdous turmoil of emotions in the audiences that created a lot of anger." I guess you had to be there--at no time while watching the film do I feel any sympathy for them whatsoever.

In "Scoring Last House", David Hess tells of how he wrote the music for the film and performs snippets from some of the songs. "Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out" is about eleven minutes of silent Wes Craven-directed footage from an unfinished 1976 film. There are also some silent never-before-seen LAST HOUSE outtakes, a minute of deleted dialogue from Mari's death scene, and some trailers for other films. This unrated "collector's edition" DVD, released on 2/24/09, is in 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital mono sound and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Picture and sound quality are about as good as can be expected considering the age and low budget of the film.

According to Roger Ebert, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT "never lets us out from under almost unbearable dramatic tension." I was really hoping it would have the same effect on me, and was genuinely surprised when it didn't even come close. For the most part, I found it lively and reasonably fun to watch, though much of the fun was of the "so bad it's good" variety with very little of it being just plain good. And it was nowhere near the grueling cinematic ordeal that I've come to expect over the years. I wonder if I've become desensitized, or if the film just isn't as sensitizing as it's cracked up to be.


Monday, June 27, 2022

SHINING SEX -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

  Originally posted on 6/24/20


I think it's fair to say that incredibly prolific cult filmmaker Jess Franco wrote and directed SHINING SEX (1977, Severin Films) as an excuse to closely examine the naked body of his lifelong love and artistic muse Lina Romay in what can only be described as loving detail.

Hence, the narrative consists of roughly 10% story and 90% naked Lina Romay, which is great if (a) you're really, really into Lina Romay, and (b) you enjoy just sitting back and watching compulsive film addict Franco getting his celluloid fix by thinking up different reasons to aim a camera at things.

Those things in this case would be parts of Lina Romay's body, which we get to know almost as intimately as her ob/gyn.  In fact, this film goes a long way toward making up for the fact that I never had sex education classes in school.  It's like an anatomical textbook in motion.

Of course, even Franco's simplest films usually have some kind of plot, and in this case it's the story of wildly popular nightclub dancer Cynthia (Romay), whose act consists of wearing next to nothing and rolling around on the floor in front of patrons like a kitty cat in heat, being taken to the luxurious home of an interested but strangely aloof couple.

Playfully seductive Cynthia strips off upon arrival and gets the woman, Alpha (Evelyne Scott), into bed for some girl-girl action while the man, Andros (Raymond Hardy) is supposedly off "putting the car away."

But whereas this is usually a prelude to naughty fun, we can see (even if Cynthia can't) that there's something very not right about Alpha's disaffected, almost robotic behavior.

Even her growing sexual arousal in response to Cynthia's efforts to engage her has an ominous feel to it, as the accompanying music itself sounds like something out of a Herk Harvey movie.

How much should I reveal about the rest of the plot? I like to watch movies like this without much foreknowledge, and in this case the mystery just made it that much more enjoyable. Suffice it to say that Franco takes a big left turn into sci-fi territory with elements of the mystical and the metaphysical.

All that, of course, is in service to the abundance of prolonged sex scenes, which get about as close to hardcore as I've seen in a Jess Franco movie. I'll even wager that this one would need extensive cuts to have been shown on Cinemax or the Playboy Channel back in the day.

Evelyne Scott (DEVIL'S KISS) is a commanding presence as Alpha. Monica Swinn (BARBED WIRE DOLLS) appears about halfway through as mystic Madame Pécame, who becomes involved in the paranormal goings-on along with Franco himself as Dr. Seward, head of a private psychiatric hospital. Also appearing are Olivier Mathot (THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME) and Elmos Kallman.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin contains a CD of music from this and other Franco films. The uncensored print has been scanned from the original negative. Soundtrack is English 2.0 mono with English subtitles. A slipcover features different artwork than the box itself.

Bonus features include "In the Land of Franco, Part 3" with Stephen Thrower, an interview with Thrower entitled "Shining Jess", "Never Met Franco" with filmmaker Gerald Kikoine, "Filmmaker Christopher Gans on France", Commentary with scholars Robert Monell and Rod Barnett, some very explicit outtakes, and a trailer.

While the sci-fi angle gets nuttier (and the sex kinkier) as it goes along, there's always the spectacle of Jess Franco's beloved Lina languishing in the nude and getting ravished by everyone in sight. If you're not a Francophile, this will probably mean very little to you. But for those to whom every aspect of the director's career evokes endless fascination, SHINING SEX will prove evocative indeed.

2-Disc Blu-ray Featuring Limited Edition Slipcover
Limited to 1500 copies

Slipcover art:


Sunday, June 26, 2022

HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

  Originally posted on 6/12/20


Poor Gary--just when he achieves every man's fondest fantasy (well, many of us, anyway) of being the only guy stranded in a remote location with a bevy of beautiful babes, he gets bitten by a big, hairy mutant arachnid and becomes one of the HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND (Severin Films, 1960).

These days a film like this German trash classic is usually described as "cheesy", which, admittedly, is rather apt since it's cheap, it's goofy, and it has all the dramatic gravitas of a dime-store sex and horror pulp novel come to sordid life.

It's main qualities are either pros or cons, depending on your point of view. Bad movie fans will love the dumb dialogue and situations, florid performances, and overheated plot that has its over-emoting cast either engaged in steamy sex clinches or running from hairy, fanged monsters through the jungle.  

The plane crash scene is especially amusing as it consists of stock footage of a burning plane intercut with random closeups of women screaming comically in front of a black background.

But it also has some nice black-and-white photography which at times is actually quite good, as well as actual outdoor locations and some very attractive actresses portraying the stranded women whose plane went down on its way to a gig in Singapore under the supervision of manly showbiz producer Gary (Alexander D’Arcy, THE AWFUL TRUTH, BLOOD OF DRACULA'S CASTLE) and his partner and romantic interest, Georgia (Helga Franck), a stern woman who isn't above bitch-slapping the more unruly gals when they step out of line.

Chief among these is the lush, plush blonde mega-babe Babs (Barbara Valentine, BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ), upon whom many male viewers will remain focused for most of her screen time. Others include the more emotionally vulnerable Gladys, the exhibitionist Linda who strips at the drop of a hat (or anything else), and several other attractive aspiring actresses. 

Alpha-blonde Babs and a contentious beta-babe engage in the film's central catfight scene which, in the unedited version, features a guest appearance by Babs' boobs. 

While stranded on the island they stay in the cozy cabin of a scientist whose dead body they discovered hanging in a giant spider web in the livingroom, and whose experiments with uranium created the monster spider that will bite poor Gary and turn him into sort of a clawed were-spider with a face even his mother would run screaming from.

The unfortunate Gary disappears for much of the film when a couple of other studly guys enter the picture in their motorboat and find themselves surrounded by amorous females. 

One of them, Bob (Reiner Brandt), is a womanizing letch who acts like a kid in a candy store, while the older, more mature Joe (Temple Foster) finds love with one of the less brazen beauties (during a night of drunken revelry for the rest of the gang which, in the uncut version, is also semi-naked) until their jungle meet-cute is interrupted by the return of slavering party-crasher Gary.

This leads to a lively, fun finale with everyone running around the jungle in terror, alternately chasing after and hightailing it away from their resident human-spider-monster as the film draws to a satisfying close for those brave souls who've actually stayed with it all the way.

Severin Films' Blu-ray edition of the film, "scanned from the Düsseldorf dupe negative", looks great all things considered and is likely the best-looking version of the film currently extant. The disc also contains the alternate U.S. version which is dubbed in English and minus the nudity (released in 1963 as "It's Hot In Paradise" although I've only ever known it under its current title). 

Bonus features include the featurette "The History of Spider Island" with film historian Prof. Dr. Marcus Stiglegger, an audio interview with actor Alexander D’Arcy ("Gary") by horror historian David Del Valle, alternate "clothed" scenes from the U.S. version, a trailer, reversible box artwork, and a slipcover with yet more different artwork.

There are two kinds of people in the world--those who will find HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND to be unwatchable, unredeemable trash that they wouldn't touch with ten-foot eyeballs, and those who will savor every single minute of it. I'm a happy member of the second group, and if you are too, then I'll meet you on Spider Island!

Buy it from Severin Films

Special Features:

    Alternate US Release Version: IT’S HOT IN PARADISE
    The History of Spider Island With Prof. Dr. Marcus Stiglegger
    Audio Interview with Actor Alexander D’Arcy by Horror Historian David Del Valle
    Alternate Clothed Scenes
    Revisable Artwork

 Box art:

Reversible box art:


Saturday, June 25, 2022

THE GREEN MILE -- Movie Review by Porfle

 Originally posted on 5/8/16
Four years after 1994's THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, Frank Darabont once again tapped master storyteller Stephen King (in addition to his own screenwriting talents) for another prison tale, THE GREEN MILE.

I recall the novelty of reading King's tale when first published not as a lengthy single volume but as a series of small paperbacks released in serial form a la Charles Dickens. I was skeptical when I heard that this riveting but highly unusual tale would be turned into a movie, a skepticism that Darabont proceeded to dash into smithereens by creating what I consider to be his finest and most thoroughly accomplished work to date.

The story takes place on Death Row in a Southern prison circa 1935, where head guard Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) strives to treat the condemned men with a fair amount of dignity and compassion until their date with "Old Sparky." Brawny, reliable Brutus "Brutal" Howell (David Morse) is his right hand man, aided also by the other guards Harry Terwilliger (Darabont regular Jeffrey DeMunn) and young Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN).

Paul's biggest headache, besides the occasional psycho prisoner such as fiend killer "Wild Bill" Wharton (Sam Rockwell, GALAXY QUEST, GENTLEMEN BRONCOS), is a cruel, cowardly weasel of a guard named Percy Wetmore, brilliantly played by one of my favorite actors, Doug Hutchison (MOOLA). As the spoiled nephew of the governor's wife, Percy threatens to tattle on Paul whenever he doesn't get his way or is caught abusing the prisoners. It's Hutchison's best role since that of inhuman super-creep Eugene Tooms on "The X-Files."

While his connections could secure any job he wishes, Percy remains on Death Row because he aspires to be lead guard during an execution. Anxious to be rid of him, Paul grants him this opportunity. But it turns disastrous when Percy deliberately botches the electrocution of a hated inmate, turning it into a horrifying, agonizing ordeal (which Darabont stages with exquisite aplomb) both for him and the mortified onlookers in the film's most grueling, deliciously Grand Guignol sequence. (The SPFX as the ill-fated inmate's smoking body jerks, spasms, bursts into flames, and finally roasts alive are gruesomely convincing.)

While all this horror is going on, the Green Mile--named for its faded green linoleum--receives its strangest guest yet, a monstrously huge but mild-mannered black man named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted of murdering two little girls but seemingly unable to hurt a fly. Duncan, whose only previous film credit was in ARMAGEDDON, sought the services of an acting coach for the role and this paid off handsomely when he delivered a bravura performance as the doomed behemoth with the mind and heart of a child.

The film plunges full-bore into the supernatural when it's discovered that Coffey has miraculous healing powers which he uses to bring life back to the pet mouse of fellow condemned man "Del" Delacroix, an eccentric Cajun (Michael Jeter), after Percy cruelly stomps on it. (The mouse, "Mr. Jingles", will be a crucial element of the story in unexpected ways.)

After Coffey heals his painful bladder infection as well, Paul suddenly gets a wild, farfetched idea upon which he's willing to stake not just his job but his very freedom--that perhaps, somehow, John Coffey might be able to heal the dying wife of his boss and friend, Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell). But if Coffey is capable of doing this, how in the world can Paul preside over the man's execution? Especially now that he's convinced Coffey is actually innocent?

It's a dilemma to haunt the viewer for some time to come, as impeccably rendered by Darabont with the skills of a master screen craftsman. Here again he tells the story unhurriedly and in a formal, old-school fashion that evokes the satisfaction one feels delving into a fine novel. Beautifully designed sets and another ideal prison location, this one with a distinct Gothic atmosphere, combine with gorgeous cinematography to create a film whose period ambience is intoxicatingly effective.

Hanks is at his best here, as is Morse, both portraying the kind of good and stalwart men you'd want in such positions. (Ditto for actors DeMunn and Pepper as their fellow guards.) Duncan gives the performance of his career and earned the Oscar nomination he received for it. James Cromwell and Patricia Clarkson, as Warden and Mrs. Moores, help make their strange encounter with John Coffey unforgettable, while always likeable Bonnie Hunt provides endearing moral support and domestic romantic interest as Paul's wife, Jan.

Gary Sinise (FORREST GUMP), Eve Brent, and SHAWSHANK alum William Sadler appear briefly as well, and in the film's wraparound segments, an older Paul Edgecomb is portrayed by none other than the great character actor Dabbs Greer in one of his juiciest and most high-profile roles ever.

As in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, Darabont and King present prison inmates who are more like members of a social club than hardened criminals in order for us to more easily accept and identify with them. The first one to walk the Green Mile is Graham Greene's Arlen Bitterbuck, who gets one wonderfully poignant scene in which he wistfully recounts his happiest moment in life to Paul. 

 Michael Jeter is profoundly effective as Del in his scenes with Mr. Jingles the mouse, which never fail to have me blubbering like a baby even more than the film's powerful finale. As Wild Bill, Sam Rockwell is both repellent and perversely hilarious. Harry Dean Stanton is also funny in a smaller role as a prison trustee.

THE GREEN MILE ultimately becomes not only a highly absorbing tale of life on Death Row from both sides of the bars, but also a fascinating and moving morality tale that mines some of our deepest and most profound emotions. Darabont achieves a perfect balance here between the story's darker, uglier aspects, which manage to hold us in morbid fascination even at their most repellent, and the joyously uplifting passages that radiate with the compassion, empathy, and love which human beings sometimes display in the unlikeliest of circumstances.




Friday, June 24, 2022

DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. (aka ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST) -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

 Originally posted on 7/17/16


I really scored this week, getting to see two notorious exploitation titles from the 80s that I hadn't seen before.  Well, not quite, since they're both pretty much the same movie. 

Thanks to Severin Films, both are now available in a 2-disc Blu-ray set under the title DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. (1980), which includes that noteworthy "video nasty" along with its predecessor, ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST. 

The initial film, an Italian gorefest directed by Marino Girolami (father of Enzo G. Castellari of "Inglorious Bastards" fame) and featuring both loinclothed zombies and ravenous cannibals on a tropical island, was then purchased by ballyhoo master Terry Levene and somewhat "Americanized" for the 42nd Street crowd. 

In addition to some general editing for time and a different score, the main changes consist of the new name (from "Zombie Holocaust" to "Dr. Butcher, M.D.") and an entirely new prologue and main titles sequence with footage taken from an unfinished anthology film called "Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out" and starring its producer Roy Frumkes as a zombie whose presence is totally unrelated to the original storyline.

What the two versions have in common is the story of a New York hospital plagued by a rash of weird cadaver mutilations that stymie Dr. Peter Chandler (Ian McCulloch) and Lori Ridgeway, a hospital staff member who's also an anthropologist (Alexandra Delli Colli, renamed "Alexandra Cole" for the altered version). 

After catching the culprit actually eating the heart of one of the cadavers and then jumping to his death to avoid capture, Peter and Lori organize an expedition to the man's native island in the West Indies where it is said that primitive tribes still engage in cannibalism.

With Peter's assistant George (Peter O'Neal) and an annoying photo-journalist named Susan (Sherry Buchanan) in tow, they meet up with Dr. Obrero (Donald O'Brien) in his island research retreat and head out for the dreaded Kito Island.  Soon after arriving, their party is attacked by bloodthirsty cannibals who dismember and devour anyone they can lay their hands on. 

Thus, after a prolonged stretch of exposition and build-up, the stage is set for an almost non-stop parade of some of the most grisly and disgusting gore effects that a low budget and ample imagination can provide.  They range from obviously fake-looking to near Tom Savini-quality gore, and even the less convincing stuff displays a sort of giddy showmanship. 

(The main FX fail, in fact, is when a dummy thrown from the hospital roof loses an arm upon hitting the ground, whereupon in the next shot the victim's arm is intact.)

Entrails are strewn, eyeballs plucked out, scalps lifted--and that's before the zombies show up.  It turns out the living dead are the result of Dr. Butcher's mad experiments in his island laboratory, which he soon stocks with the survivors of the expedition in order to include them as additional unwilling subjects in what resembles an even more horrific variation of "The Island of Dr. Moreau."

This guy's a real sadistic bastard, which means that we're in for some more grotesque makeup FX which must've delighted gorehounds over the years while giving anti-"video nasties" crusader Mary Whitehouse and her ilk heart seizures.  The exposed brain effect with its pop-top skull foreshadows a very similar, and much more expensive, one in Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL.

Marino Girolami's direction is serviceable as are the modest production values--the film has the same basic look as other Italian cannibal and zombie pictures of the era by directors such as Lucio Fulci and Ruggero Deodato, as well as later ones by Bruno Mattei (ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING, IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS, MONDO CANNIBAL).  The dubbing is often amusingly bad, yielding (as expected) some lines of dialogue that are real corkers. 

The acting isn't always top-notch either, but the cast give it their all.  Alexandra Delli Colli shows off her nude body a few times to stunning effect, especially in her big human-sacrifice scene during the film's climax.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin Films is a treasure trove of extras.  The keepcase itself features a reversible cover insert and a barf bag.

Disc one contains the feature film DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. plus the following extras:

"Butchery and Ballyhoo": an interview with Terry Levene
"Down on the Deuce": Roy Frumkes and Chris ("Temple of Schlock") Poggiali's nostalgia tour of 42nd Street's grindhouse theaters
Roy Frumkes' unfinished segment from "Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out"
"The Butcher Mobile": an interview with "Gore Gazette" publisher Rick Sullivan
"Calling Dr. Butcher": an interview with editor Jim Markovic
"Experiments With a Male Caucasian Brain": an illustrated essay by Gary Hertz
Theatrical and Video trailers

Disc two contains the feature film ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST and these extras:

"Voodoo Man": an interview with star Ian McCulloch
"Blood of the Zombies": an interview with FX master Rosario Prestopino
"Neurosurgery Italian Style": an interview with FX artist Maurizio Trani
Filmmaker Enzo G. Castellari Remembers His Father/Director Marino Girolami
Interview with Actress Sherry Buchanan
"New York Locations Then vs. Now"
Ian McCulloch sings his hit "Down By the River"
Theatrical trailers

The films are anamorphic widescreen with English 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  "Zombie Holocaust" can also be viewed with its original Italian soundtrack.  Picture quality is a bit rough at times due to the source material but the films probably look as good here as they're ever going to look.

All in all, DR. BUTCHER M.D. is a gorehound's delight, with its slower first half giving way to a veritable charnel house of hokey horror later on.  Which might truly horrify if it were meant to be taken at all seriously, instead of being such total dumb fun that your main reaction to its ample atrocities may be simply to laugh yourself sick.

Buy it at

Release date: July 26, 2016