Thursday, December 24, 2015

Poltergeist review by Vincent Daemon

Before we get into the review I want to wish all the loyal readers a Happy Holidays and a special shout out to blog writers Vincent Daemon, Jules Brudek and William O'Donnell whose constant support makes this blog possible with their unique cinematic points of view. And a big announcement coming soon. With that enjoy the review!

POLTERGEIST
Year: 2015
Director: Gil Keenan
Review by: Vincent Daemon

By all rights, I knew what I was getting myself into. And I knew it wasn’t going to be any good. But this bad? In fact, bad isn’t even the right word. Atrocious. Yes, that fits perfectly. However, it was one of those dullard post-Holiday nights where there is nothing but fucking sports on the tube, nothing to do, and no money to go get a lil altered. Nope, stuck in the house, couldn’t decide what to watch, then curiosity finally struck the cat. And the after effects left me indeed feeling like a special part of my childhood had been ripped out of me and set aflame before my very eyes, killing that same curious cat. Shit, when the best thing about a movie is the poorly done cover of a classic punk song *(“T.V. Set,” originally by THE CRAMPS, I have no clue who did this version, and don’t care), that rolls through a portion of the credits, it just makes you sick that they couldn’t even use the original song. Why’s it ALL gotta be bad rehash? *(I wonder if this is how all the STAR WARS fanatics felt toward the last 3 films, and will most likely feel over the next 3 as well.)

What we get is a 101 minute rehash of the original *(and aspects of POLTERGEIST 2 thrown in for no reason whatsoever) that would make a five year old laugh. The original is one of my favorite films, to this day retaining certain elements that still keep it creepy to me on a nostalgic level. Sam Rockwell *(a man who admittedly loathes children) plays the father, and the family has just moved into some kind of dream home, yet suffering some kind of rich person financial strife. The house itself has none of the strange ambience it had, even in the daylight shots, of the original. Craig T. Nelson originally played the father, convincingly and of the times. Sam Rockwell’s portrayal comes off as, well, a man who loathes his children. Horribly miscast, he just kind of funny-faces his way through the film.

The whole storm scene, with the grabby tree, is rendered not only entirely neutered of the tenderness of the *(absent from this film) “lightning count scene,” but also the sheer terror of the monstrous oak tree attack - - - here it’s the world’s softest fern tree attacking the children and whisping against the house. Oh, and the children - - - yeah, all their names have been changed. WTF? That’s just as offensive as changing the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’S “Leatherface”/Bubba’s name into Thomas Hewlett for that shitheap reboot - - - and makes about as much sense. “Carol Ann” is supposed to be “Carol Ann,” damnit, not “Madison” - - - who the fukk is “Madison”? And the boy, “Clifford”? They couldn’t have made the family more dislikeable if they tried.

And in the first ten minutes they are aware of the fact the housing development is built on top of a “removed” cemetery - - - and have no problem with this! The teenage daughter, named “Kendra” keeps fukking around with her computer, taking the film momentarily into that “First Person” niche of current filmmaking. The paranormal idiots that show up to try and fix everything the first time are completely inept - - - and of all scenes, what they did with my personal favorite from the original - - - the maggot-steak and subsequent hallucinated face-tearing - - - are nowhere to be found, replaced by a lame drill gag that never pays off. And instead of bringing in some kind of oh, say, creepy-ish ZELDA RUBINSTEIN-esque *(though she’s truly irreplaceable) medium, they bring in some “John Edwards/Edgar Cayce” type late-night paranormal internet show host - - - who happens to be the lead scientists ex, which ends the film on a seriously angering, neck-hackle raising note. After the terrible cover, of corpse.

And that’s pretty much what we’re looking at here, a film that makes constant allusions *(sometimes for no reason whatsoever, like Sam Rockwell’s sudden vomiting of a slithering leech thing into the sink, seen for merely seconds, as opposed to Craig T. Nelson’s tequila-worm nightmare from POLTERGEIST 2, again no payoff, unlike that forever branded series of nightmare inducing visuals Craig T. endured) to the first film/series, with nary a moment of originality nor fright, nor even fun, to be had, Which is not unexpected.

Hollywood’s been pulling the wool over our eyes since celluloids inception in various ways. We’re at that point where it’s all superheroes, remakes, and reboots, ever since Abbot & Costello met Dracula and the HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN *(both of which I love, incidentally) collapsed in on themselves in a fiery tumult of retrospective embarrassment, unfortunately, the real gems being found only after sifting through the piles of shit and half-realized nostalgia out there to find the real gold *(fukk, I’d be happy with bronze half the time).

The film in general seems forced, and far overindulged in all the wrong aspects *(do we really need not one insipid looking clown, but the whole fukking brigade as well?) - - - and the end is just a blithering, blathering mess that I’m not going to even bother going into. I’ll tell you this, however, I never want to hear the words “This House Is Clean” uttered again for as long as I live. Avoid the curiosity, save your feline self a life, and avoid this insulting remake altogether.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Goodnight Mommy: Innocent fun and games? Spoiler Free.

Title: Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh,Ich seh)
Year:2015
Directed By:
Written By:

**As always this review is Spoiler Free***

Creepy children in horror is a long standing tradition not only in America but all over the world. There is something in those angelic faces that can often be misleading. I put hype aside and went into this film knowing virtually nothing about it.

After a horrible accident a mother undergoes cosmetic surgery and must take care of her identical twins Lukas and Elisa while recovering from the psychical and mental strain. She is also going through a separation from her husband. To make matters worse her appearance is rather shocking as her face is wrapped in bandages. As the children try and coup their behavior becomes increasingly more strange.

Getting tired of horror movies about bratty annoying teenagers in painfully predictable situations, only to die but who cares because they are terrible anyways? Well your in luck because "Goodnight Mommy" is a refreshingly new take on the old "creepy kid" troupes. Like Takashi Miike brilliant 1999 film "Audition"it is a film that slowly builds during which time it explores real characters and character development all the while ratcheting up the tension until its almost unbearable.I was impressed by the writing and how only little by little do you find out whats going on, even throwing a Hitchcockian Macguffin in for good measure. This is a nice change of pace from the typical smash you over the head with exposition and serves to keep the audience both guessing and in suspense. It also has some interesting symbolism and subtext that makes the film a must in repeat viewings. One theme the film explores is the idea of doubles. Besides the obvious one of the twin boys there are numerous times when pairs of things come into play and use of reflection shots.




Another things that serves this film well is the inventive camera work and wonderfully moody cinematography which at times is beautiful and other times dark and foreboding. A lack of a soundtrack gives the film a more stark reality and its a bold choice. Speaking of reality the film is grounded in it but also playfully sways into the realm of the surreal without going to over the board.  But you might be asking yourself, is it gory?  After a nice slow tension filled build up fans of gritty violence do get what they`ve come for, sort of. Its not ultra gory however I feel it works in the films favor. What is so effective about the gore is its not done in a cartoonish way but is kept unflinchingly real, to the point of being hard to watch.


Unlike other movies the splatter isn't used to justify the movie and that may disappoint "gore fans" And dont get me wrong i love a good mindless gut fest but the movies that actually get under my skin are the more psychologically driven.  Seriously why is this film hated by some? Not only is it ballsy with its pacing and harrowing subject matter, its also fresh, original and creepy as hell. I kept the plot short for a reason, its good to go into this movie totally blank and avoid the jaded "horror buffs". Easily in my best top films of 2015.













Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sticky Boxes Xmas Edition by Jules Brudek

Sticky Boxes: XMAS EDITION By Jules Brudek

A column about cult and horror movies ONLY available on VHS
 I named the column “Sticky Boxes” because that's what I touched everyday working at a video store in the nineties. 

Sweaty handed customers returned their rental tapes encased in gooey grime. Habitually, I would check them back in, wipe them off and re-stock. Humorous note: The bigger the babe's boobs on the cover art, the stickier the VHS box upon return. Each week, I will review a forgotten cult or horror video never released on DVD or Blu-ray.

I will review two from 1972. Please enjoy tonight’s “Christmas” Sticky Boxes:


 Home for the Holidays (1972) 
November 28th, 1972 ABC “Movie of the Week” Starring Sally Field, Julie Harris & Jessica Walter Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Produced by Aaron Spelling
Available on VHS from Starmaker Entertainment
Never officially released on DVD or Blu-ray

"Shut the door. That woman has ears that can hear sunshine.“ 

If Clue, the board game, was played with four unstable sisters and an anti-social stepmother you’d be half way to describing the soap opera Christmas horror movie, Home for the Holidays. Not to be confused with the dramedy, Home for the Holidays (1995), starring Holly Hunter, this film won’t make you projectile vomit your egg nog into your VCR.

It begins, when Alex Morgan, the eldest and codependent daughter of a dying millionaire, summons her three estranged sisters to their father's estate on Christmas Eve. Their father, Benjiman Morgan, Oscar award winning character actor, Walter Brennan, has a special message for his four daughters. From his bed, he tells them to kill his impassive second wife, played by Julie Harris, because she is slowly poisoning him to death. The bedside meeting is adjourned and the four sisters deliberate in hysteria.

A campy hoot that John Waters would die to revamp!



The guileless, youngest daughter, Christine Morgan, played by Sally Field, fights to restore balance by keeping her sisters from considering murder. But then, people start dying and Christine must stay alive to discover the real identity of the killer. As the bodies pile up, Christine takes to the woods and comes within inches of being killed by a mysterious rain slicker-clad stalker. Is it really her unassuming stepmother? Is there any truth behind her father’s accusation? What can Sally Field do in a “Movie of the Week?” Why didn’t anyone eat their scrumptious looking Christmas dinner? To find out all the juicy answers and to see why this film deserves a reboot from a director that could truly milk those disingenuous sentimental moments for comic gold, please get a copy of Home for the Holidays on VHS or watch it now on youtube.

If you think Friday the 13th (1980) was the first horror film to use a maniacal woman murderer in a yellow rain slicker hunting down young adults in the woods? Try again. Eight years before Friday the 13th (1980) and To All a Good Night (1980), ABC's “Movie of the Week,” Home for the Holidays, began the slasher tradition of women brutalizing their victims in the woods with complete abandon. Sadly, this made for TV movie has little blood shed to offer however, the clashing personalities, corny 70s dialogue and the audacious twists will make up for it!

I give this movie and its VHS presentation: Four sticky gloops out of five.





 Dead of Night: The Exorcism (1972) 
 AKA Night Of the Exorcist
TV Movie for BBC2 Starring Anna Cropper and Edward Petherbridge Directed by Don Taylor
Available on PAL VHS from Cougar Video
Also available on Region 2 DVD (UK) 

“It takes twenty minutes for a hanged man to die.” 

Here’s a cruel idea: Put on a seemingly harmless TV Movie and scare your unwitting family to death during the holidays.

Here’s how. This glum, British, made for TV Movie, haunts me to this day. Rarely, does a horror film resonate so deeply that it scares me into better behavior. And that is exactly how it got under this jaded horror fan’s skin. Ultimately, all good Christmas movies should put the fear of God in you. Right? Hmmm. Hopefully, I can explain.

Deceptively scary as hell! 

The story begins almost like a one act play or chamber piece. A sparse one room set, four friends and a Christmas dinner about to begin. A year ago, a wife, Rachel, played by Anna Cropper and her wealthy husband, Edmund, played by Edward Petherbridge, purchased an abandoned cottage in the countryside with plans for renovating it. Now, a year has passed and the cottage is refurbished with all the updated goodies a vacation home needs. Later, they invite another swanky couple to share in a relaxing Christmas holiday vacation. (Brits say, “Holiday,” Yanks say, “Vacation,” so I put the two together. VoilĂ ) 

After being lured into a false sense of simplicity, the film changes tone. Suddenly, while both couples ready dinner, meanwhile, sport debating politics and philosophy, the power goes out. As the dinner transitions from slightly eerie to macabre, each person experiences a different sensory disturbance. Rachel is affected first. Sitting down at the piano, she begins playing a strange tune unknown to her. Edmund tastes blood in his otherwise normal wine glass. At first, the other couple thinks they are being pranked with a sadistic joke, then, they too, experience some of their own frights.

The film culminates with Rachel’s body being possessed by the spirit of a woman who starved to death many years ago in the same cottage. The woman uses Rachel to communicate her plans to avenge those who wronged her and her family. She seeks justice for her husband’s wrongful execution which led her family to starvation. Without food or the means to make money, she watched her children die helplessly while the wealthy families responsible for her husband’s death enjoyed a festive and abundant Christmas. Her unbearable wails continue: “Whilst my husband laid dead and my children were crying for food, I thought this can never be forgiven. No circumstance, no degree of self interest, not even ignorance could excuse this feasting and dancing whilst on the same planet, in the same village, people are starving!” 

As the film hunches somberly to its finale, another shocking horror is revealed. The ending is worth the wait! Watch for yourself and you will understand why it penetrated my soul.

Merry Christmas United Kingdom! I guess us Americans never had the guts to make Christmas “bloody” devastating!

 I give this movie and its VHS presentation: Four sticky gloops out of five.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Burt Pages: The Mommie Dearest Dairy Written By Rutanya Alda: Carol Ann's Final Word


I`ve always been mesmerized by the film "Mommie Dearest". While everyone was traced by Joan Crawford in all her movie star monster greatness it was the character Carol Ann who I found the most compelling. She is the anchor for Joans extreme maniac highs and lows. She's also her loyal best friend, someone who will take care of you when your passed out drunk or when you need a deadly weapon to do a little midnight gardening.

 Bringing her to life is the lovely and talented Rutanya Alda.


In the final gripping scene the adult Christina Crawford (Diane Scarwid) is comforted with the fact that Joan left her and her brother  nothing in the will. Her brother Christopher says with a sad smirk "As usual, she has the last word" to which she replies "Does she?" which foreshadows the writing of "Mommie Dearest"  a book that was the first of its kind, blowing the lid off of a huge movie star and pealing back the "perfect" Hollywood image. Later Bettie Davis's daughter followed suite with a equally shocking tell all book. The film based on the book was notoriously troubled with being over budget and its star Faye Dunaway being difficult to work with, causing many hurt feelings and in one case leave the production totally.  Ironically the last line of the film can be applied to Faye's co-star Rutanya Alda who played the thankless Carol Ann, Joan's assistant. Like the real Christine Crawford she gets the final word in her wonderfully delicious book which is a diary she kept during production. The first chapter introduces us to Rutanya Alda as a person, telling her story of coming to America as a child, the horrible abuse she suffered and how she uses this pain to create wonderfully real and deep characters. Alda pulls no punches and tells many colorful details about her start in films as well as off screen flings. I found this part of the book interesting, humorous and at times heartbreaking. The second section is the diary itself. Everything you wanted to know behind the scenes of this cult classic is detailed. It explores the diva star Faye as well as director Frank Perry and co-stars Diane and Mara (Young and adult Christina) You also get a peak into her troubles with husband Richard Bright (The Godfather) who struggled with substance abuse until his passing. She provides the daily record of her life at the time of filming with updated antidotes. As a fan of both her work and the movie I found it a enjoyable read. Finally after the diary ends we get an update on life for Rutanya post Mommie Dearest, including how she discovered its major fan base due to its unintentional camp value. Through out the book Rutanya does not come off as bitter or mean about her time as Carol Ann but remains objective and truthful about her experience making a now cult classic movie. My only complaint is when I was finished I wanted to read more. I would love to read another book about all her amazing experiences. After all this is the woman that was in such classics as "The Deer Hunter" and genre favorites like "Christmas Evil" "When a Strange Calls" and "Amityville Horror II", "The Stuff" etc I mean how cool would it be to have a book choked full of amazing antidotes and stories of such great films. Fingers crossed. One thing is sure, this book is a lot of fun and any film buff will find it a must read. As with the real life Joan Crawford this book peaks in perfection and should be on any movie lovers shelf, but plus dont put it on a wire hanger... You know what`ll happen.






Monday, November 9, 2015

Gunnar Hansen: The Passing of a Horror Icon.


Every generation has their iconic movie monsters, for kids in the 1940s 1950s and 1960s they had Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. We had Gunnar Hansen.


The year was 1974 and the America was going through many social changes and political upheaval. People would pick up the paper and read about Watergate,Patty Hearst and and a gas shortage. It was also the year "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was unleashed on movie goers. Audiences were shocked at the presents of this towering man wearing human flesh as a mask and jumped when they heard the mighty roar of a power tool he wielded. In the films final frames, as Leatherface does his chainsaw dance in the glow of the setting sun few film patrons knew they had just witnessed the birth of the first modern horror icon. Under that frightening mask of skin (Or in this case rubber) was Mr. Gunnar Hansen who stood an imposing 6 feet four inches.

The Man Behind the Mask: 
Gunnar Hansen was born March 4th 1947 in Reykjavik, Iceland which is the Capital, known for its mountains, sweeping landscapes and booming nightlife. At age five his family had moved to the United States, settling in Maine. Hansen was a bright student with high marks in both Mathematics and English and would later attended the University of Texas. Fresh out of college his first job was in the computer field but his true passion was writing. He had been published in several magazines and tried his hand at screen writing. Fate it seems would have something totally different in store for the hulking actor. Gunnar had met Tobe Hooper a bright young man looking to make his mark in cinema and he was looking for his villain, a leather skin wearing brute who has a fetish for killing and power tools.  After a successful interview he would don the now iconic leather mask and apron and the film would roll on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Though he utters no actual dialogue he along with Hooper created a language all his own and helped add layers to the character. It was a hot and grueling shoot but nobody could predict that they were going to make film history and literally change the face of horror films forever.

Life after "Chainsaw" 
Work was few and far between after filming wrapped.Later that year he starred in "The Demon Lover" in 1977 and only one film in the 80s, the now cult film "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" However it was the late 80s he would see a resurgence in popularity and worked steady in the 90s and continuing for the rest of his career. One thing about Gunnar was despite playing big bad brutes he was in reality a very kind and thoughtful man who very much enjoyed meeting and talking to his fans at various conventions such as Chiller, Monster Mania, Cinema Wasteland etc. Film maker Jeff Burr was in pre production on the third Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre III for New Line. He wanted Gunnar to reprise the role that made him famous. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr.Burr and he had this say regarding Gunnar
"Basically in a sense I felt obligated to Gunnar. I had met him and he had not been in number two and I felt I should offer it to him. So I offered it to Gunnar and I thought it would increase awareness of this movie and I thought since the title was Leather and having the quote unquote real Leatherface would be a perfect marriage. But unfortunately he wanted more money than what New Line was willing to pay and what he wanted wasn't out of line as all it was absolutely a fair figure. So once Gunnar was out of the picture" 


Strangely enough in 2003 he was asked to make a cameo in the remake of "Texas Chainsaw" but declined because he felt it was a classic not to be remade. In 2007 he starred in "Brutal Massacre: A Comedy" and he got to show off his skills in breaking people up, this time not with a chainsaw but with his comedic timing. He dove into the role with much madcap gusto and steals every scene hes in. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Ironically one of his finale film roles was in "Texas Chainsaw 3d" in 2013. It seems that his career had come full circle.

I woke up yesterday morning and was shocked to read on my news feed that Gunnar Hansen has passed away at only 68 years old. To many fans it was not just merely an actor who died but a larger than life iconic movie monster, there Karloff or Lugosi. Not long after his agent confirmed the tragic news an out pour from fans flooded social media, sharing stories and pictures. It is just further proof of how this man touched so many lives. Truly its a huge lose, not only was he a talented guy but was very generous with his fans, something that is sadly becoming rare these days. I`d like to share my own experience.

Meeting Gunnar: Like so many other horror fans this movie made such a huge impression on me and I knew what I saw was something very special.  Over a decade ago I had the extreme pleasure of attending "Cinema Wastelands Chainsaw 30th Reunion" It was the first time coming face to face with the very imposing Gunnar. Being fairly new to conventions and a long time fan I`m not ashamed to admit i was a little bit nervous. I had in my hands a poster (replica because I was a poor High School Student) and my 18" Leatherface figure (McFarland) which was a Christmas present from my parents (and the coolest gift I`ve ever received) I approached him and to my delight he had a huge smile and said "Hello" As a dork I said how much I loved him in Texas Chainsaw which was something he heard all day i`m sure, but he was very humble and said Thanks and he enjoyed seeing the figure and told some behind the scene stories. Later on I got to meet Paul Partin, Robert A Burns, Marilyn Burns who all sadly passed away untimely. Looking back it remains bitter sweet but out of all the conventions I would later attend it remains my favorite.




Famed horror artist Jason Edmiston whose art can be seen on posters, blu releases and Neca toys gave Gorehound Mike's blog this exclusive quote:


"Gunnar Hansen's portrayal of Leatherface was terrifying and nuanced. Despite never revealing his full face, you got the clear impression that he was a disturbed, confused baby inside the body of a giant killing machine. Simple minded, but extremely loyal to his maniacal family members. All of this was evident despite never speaking a word of actual dialog."


Senior Writer at Blumhouse.com Gregory Burkart had this to say to Gorehound Mike's
I've had the honor of sharing Gunnar's company a few times over the past 20 years, and each time I learned something amazing. My favorite was a Weekend of Horrors back in the mid-'90s -- he was very tired and I didn't want to take up his time, but we got to talking about Viking history, and you could see him light up with enthusiasm. That's my lasting image of him, as a wise and sharing person.


Before Michael Myers stalked babysitters in Haddonfield and Jason donned his famous hockey mask, the gentle giant Gunnar terrified millions of people and made a huge impression on many including this humble film journalist. Gunnar Hansen may be gone but his legacy he left us will live on in celluloid form. Also he will remain alive in the treasured memories of the people he worked with and the many fans that was lucky enough to meet the man behind the mask.


R.I.P March 4th 1947- November 7th-2015

A Special Thank you to Jason and Gregory for taking time to share your thoughts with us. 







Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blood Splattered Blood: Army of Darkness: One Blu to rule them all?


Title: Army of Darkness
Release Date: 10/27/15
Company: Shout Factory (Scream Factory)


Most fans were really really excited when Scream Factory announced they were going to do a deluxe edition of the cult horror favorite "Army of Darkness" It also comes hot on the heals of the new series "Ash Vs the Evil Dead" on Starz. Some fans however were less than thrilled, wondering if this blu would be the one edition to own. Seeing how I held off on buying a blu of AOD i was more than just alittle happy when I received my copy. I`m going to break down all three discs.

*Please note* Not going to list the differences in footage however this website breaks it down nicely.

http://www.bookofthedead.ws/website/army_of_darkness_different_versions.html

Disc One: Theatrical Cut : 81 Minutes

Picture:Aside from a slight issue with a 2 or 3 seconds of footage missing (followed by a slight syn problem. SF already addressed this and is issuing replacement discs this month) the picture is amazing. Done using a 4k scan the picture is crisp and clear with faces looking natural and thankfully not looking either too dark or washed out. Its also an vast improvement from the previous "Screwhead Edition"

Sound: Theatrical Cut features a 2.0 and a wonderful 5.1 track. With a movie that has so many great sound effects (swords clashing, bones breaking etc) the 5.1 mix really brings the movie alive. It also greatly enhances the wonderful score.

Special Features: The real gem on disc one (indeed the entire boxset) is Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness a feature length documentary produced for this set. The interviewees are lively with great stories and of course there is a loads of  material such as behind the scenes footage,stills and story boards. Sadly Sam Raimi was missing but his brother Ted was on hand instead. Its wonderfully made and a must watch. Also included is the alternative ending and deleted scenes not featured in this or the directors cut which includes commentary. Rounding out this disc is trailers, tv spots and U.S video promos.

Disc Two: Directors Cut Runtime 96 minutes
I had first seen the directors cut from "Anchor Bay" VHS which featured alternative artwork in a clamshell box. This was my early collecting days and the packaging and the idea of seeing a totally new cut of the film was pretty exciting.The release was flawed however with the new footage looking terrible. I also learned this  edition omits one scene (Bad Ash ripping off Shelia's dress) totally.

Picture: The additional scenes are nicely restored and fits in perfectly with the rest of the footage, and as much as I love Anchor Bay (mainly oldschool AB)  its a huge improvement over there release.

Sound: As in the first disc the 5.1 audio track is very nice with crisp clear dialogue and effects.

Special Features: This cut of the film is the only one with a feature length audio commentary. Fans hoping for a new commentary will be disappointed as its from a previous release. I`m perfectly ok with that because its such a well done commentary with wonderful back and forth with star Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi as well as brother Ivan. In fact i`d even go as far as to say this is in my top commentary tracks period. Rounding out this disc is some behind the scenes footage (some seen in the documentary) as well as vintage featurette. Sadly nothing new on this disc.

Disc Three: International Cut and TV Cut

Picture: As with the first two discs the International cut looks great,using a 4k scan. Its great to finally have this rarely seen cut of the film and in my opinion the real gem in this release. The TV cut is presented in its standard pan and scan tv format.

Sound: As with the first two discs the film sounds great in a newly mixed 5.1 track.

Special Features: The third and final disc features more tv spots as well as some great rarely seen stills. I was disappointed with the lack of content but as i said above just having this cut of the film is great.

Overall: Army of Darkness fans get out your boomsticks and celebrate because this release is the one you`ve been waiting for. Not only is there a wealth of material it features four different cuts, newly restored. Its great to have them in one sweet package. Complaints are lack of any new content aside from the documentary. A cast commentary would have been nice. Even a new interview with Sam R. Picture and Audio across the board are great with only some minor flaws. Is it the one blu to rule them all? I`d say without a doubt yes. So shop smart, dont be a primitive screw head and buy this release. Its most certainly going to make my best blu release of 2015.




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blood Splattered Blu: Burnt Offerings


Just in time for Halloween comes "Burnt Offerings" a delightful twist on the haunted house horror troupe. If you haven't seen it this post is Spoiler Free however I urge you to get a copy! Its only 12.50 on Amazon (guessing a limited Halloween sale price!) and as you will hear from my review well worth it. Also dont be put off by the PG rating, its incredibly effective in being smart and creepy.

Title: Burnt Offerings

Company: Kino Lorber

Release: 10/6/15

Picture: 1:85:1 Kinos blu is a nice upgrade to the previous MGM DVD. Thankfully the brightness is not over blown and colors are facial are natural looking. Blacks are deep with very little distortion. Kino always does a wonderful job at restoring films and this is no exception. The new print really enhances the dream like feeling that coats the film.

Sound: Mono 2.0: Audio is crisp and actors come across clear. It also really makes the films score really pop.

Special Features: Kino proves that they can hang with the other big Blu companies like "Scream Factory (Shout Factory) Synapse etc, with these frightfully fun extras. Returning from the previous MGM DVD release is the wonderful audio commentary with Dan Curtis and Karen Black. Its almost bitter sweet as now both are sadly no longer with us. Its a great joy to hear Curtis and Black gab about the film and the memories of making it. I`m thrilled they carried it over to the blu.A brand new commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith (Video Watchdog) also accompanies it. Smith obviously knows his stuff and the commentary is jammed packed with juicy trivia and background information. Hes great however my one complaint is he comes off a tad bit dry and it could use some fun personality (David Del Valle me thinks) Sadly most of the stunning cast is departed but the few remaining ones are interviewed. Highlights is Lee Montgomery who plays the Ben. His stories are so entertaining and make for a fun watch. Also interviewed is character actor Anthony James. It was nice they got him however he only touched upon the film briefly. The best interview is famed author (Logans Run) and co-writer William F. Nolan who shares his memories of this film. Rounding out features is a trailer, a trailer from Trailers from Hell and an animated montage of film stills.

Overall: Lovers of this film will be very pleased with this release which looks great and is loaded with interviews commentaries etc. As Halloween releases go this is a must own. I know i`m happy to have this in my blu collection. And as stated above Amazon has it for a price that wont scare you.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Top Ten: Special Edition:Best Halloween movies...that dont take place on Halloween.

First off a note to my few but loyal readers: I know I havent updated as much as i`d like but i`m working on a important project that will hopefully pan out. But dont lose the faith and keep following me on FB and Twitter @GorehndMikeBlog 
And to my readers thanks for sticking with this blog and look for more regular posts in the future. Please show your support by simply sharing the blog on your wall and Twitter accounts, every little bit helps a independent writer.




Best Halloween Movies...that dont take place on Halloween:

Like most horror fans Oct. is my favorite month. The cool weather, the pretty fall leaves and of course lots of horror movies and specials on tv. While I have my old standbys like Halloween (1978) and so bad there good films like "Hack O Lantern" there are some great movies that capture the "spirit" of of the holiday without actually taking place/or about the holiday all the ghouls love the most. Here are 10 films that I make it a point to re-visit throughout the month, unlike the other top ten's this is in no particular order as they are all equally brilliant. 

10: Carnival of Souls (1962)

Filled to the brim with creepy and thick dread. It also inspired the landmark film "Night of the Living Dead" Along with that film and Psycho its the most important horror film of the nineteen sixties. A perfect classic moody horror film to rise your spirits. 

9: House on Haunted Hill (1959) Not to be confused with the terrible remake. The original is an enjoyable spook ride starring the master of horror himself Mr.Vincent Price. Not gory like the new one, but what it lacks in blood it makes up for in sheer fun and intentional tongue in cheek humor. It also features some great supporting actors like Carol Ohmart (Spider Baby) and cult star Elisha Cook Jr (The Big sleep, The Killing, Rosemarys Baby) Fans of classic Price horror will find this a must while carving pumpkins.


8: The Innocents (1963) Loosely based on the play "Turn of the Screws" this film like Carnival of Souls is a wonderfully shot creepy film that builds and builds into a shocking and delightfully bleak ending. The film hits every note just perfectly from the brilliant direction to its screenplay some of which was written by the legendary Truman Capote. As far as moody, well written Gothic films go this is the best-period.. The infamous kiss scene still remains as shocking and chilling as ever.


7: The Haunting (1963) Released in the same year as the Innocents and in my opinion the only film that could hold a candle to it in terms of stark beauty and less is more film making. Based on the novel "The haunting of hill house" this film does so much with simply camera tricks, lighting and sound does that is praised by many horror industry people including effects wizard Tom Savini.  

It is also a early movie to explore lesbianism (though its left ambiguous) Great film and is hailed as a classic and perfect for your Halloween movie thon.

6: The Cabin in the Woods (2012) I love horror and splatter like the next fan, but i like brainnnns behind it and Cabin in the Woods delivers a smart self aware look at the genre that pokes fun of the troupes without getting into full blown parody like "Scary Movie" Choked full of gore gags, and great insider references, its endlessly watchable and a lot of fun around Halloween.


5: Les yeux sans visage aka Eyes Without a Face (1960) The French have always made really interesting films especially in the horror and fantasy genre. Eyes without a Face is a wonderfully dark, strange film that is oddly comical in tone. Like Haunting and Innocents it has a stunning visual style and is way ahead of its time in terms of disturbing themes. If you want to really mix it up and add some international flavor to your viewing this is certainly a master work. 


4: House of the Devil (2009) Ti West seems to really divide some fans. And while I think his work is sometimes hit or miss I do love his break out film House of the Devil. West is obviously a fan of 80s horror and this is his stylish homage to them. Visually its great and has a John Carpenter feel to it. Not very blood but there is a splatter effect that will please any hardcore fan. It also has a wonderful cast of new comers as well as genre favorites. All treats and no tricks with this one. 


3: Tourist Trap (1979) Do dolls, vent figures and mannequins creep you out? Than this film will certain play upon those fears. It even has been praised by Stephen King for its eerie and spookshow quality. It remains a classic in terms of strange set pieces and wonderfully macabre deaths. Look for Tanya Roberts (Charlies Angels, That 70s Show) in a early film role. Simply put its a great shocking thrill ride. 


2: The Conjuring (2013) This film is without a doubt the best horror film I`ve seen in a long time and perfect for any Halloween party or movie thon. Its non stop scares that has all the makings of a future classic. Seen it in the theaters and still watch it every Oct. And...yah i`d skip Annabell the horrible quick cash in.


1: Bride of Frankenstein (1935) How could you dont watch this classic horror film on or around Halloween? Its really hard to add anything to a film that has been written back, reviewed an studied for decades. 


Honorable Mentions: White Zombie, Insidious, Freaks, Munsters Go Home, Alien,The Inn Keepers, Sleep Tight,  


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

THANATOMORPHOSE Review by Vincent Daemon

THANATOMORPHOSE
Year: 2012
Director/Writer: Eric Falardeau
Review by: Vincent Daemon

A tricky film to review, as not much actually happens on a visual level *(well, it does, but not in any standard sense). THANATOMORPHOSE is an Hellenic word meaning the visible signs of a once healthy and living things decay, the cause of which is death. And the film delivers death in spades. In fact, nothing but. However, this is not for your casual viewer. Essentially an arthouse menagerie of visual grotesquerie, this is also an horrific, near-brilliant trip down existential nightmare lane. Though we also get to see her uterus sluice out, too. It begins with an hallucinogenic mashup of sight and sound *(used to great effect throughout the course of the film) of a man and woman having sex. After that, the film becomes grey and dark in tone, as the female lead cleans the blood from her wretched, abusive boyfriends foot after he steps on a loose nail. He storms out and she is left alone, awake, and terribly unfulfilled. Being an artist, she seems to have run into a block with her latest sculpture, as well. *(I found sculpture a nice choice of artistic form as it is all about the malleability of the clay-made-flesh, and speaks volumes metaphorically). Then, she notices the odd scab on her shoulder. Her apartment is insanely claustrophobically small, and the entirety of the film in fact takes place in that sole location, to what I feel is a fairly decent effect. She has a party, which ends in a display of public verbal and physical humiliation by her boyfriend, and an abrupt end to said party. But not until after her best friend questions as to why she stays with him. Her answer is stumbly and full of holes *(as most are from people caught in those situations), but she swears she loves him, etc. She confronts him after the party clears out, only to more abuse, then cold, mechanical sex. The next day her skin pallor has changed significantly, and her basic cognitive skills are on the fritz. Essentially, the rest of the film plays out much this way, with her sitting completely alone, in dead silence, slowly necrotizing into nothingness from the inside out. The process is slow, and agonizing to watch. This bizarre STD condition also has her incredibly, violently horny most all the time as well, and brings strange, surreal nightmares of sex, monstrosity, and violence, when she can actually sleep. Eventually she kills her boyfriend, leaving his corpse to rot. The next day she awakes, and flies can be heard buzzing amongst the rotting detritus, and her, as she stumbles completely alone, rapidly decaying, and quite confused, around her apartment - - - when not staring blankly at a wall and trying to stitch herself back together. Her best friend stops by, sees her condition, and tries to get her to a hospital, which she refuses, giving him a blowjob instead, which he accepts with a series of mixed feelings and a bit of concern, but accepts nonetheless. He then leaves. Alone again, her condition worsens by the second, the final act of the film being truly grotesque and for the hardest of hardcore alone. Several days later, as most of her extremities have quite graphically fallen off *(and she starts keeping them in jars, Brundle-fly style). Several days later, her friend comes back again, finds her a fully rotten, maggot filled sack of living death, and tries to get her to a hospital, as she begs to be fukked. She then flips, saying he won’t fukk her because she is too gross, but good enough
for a blowjob. She then kills him *(heh, women). Finally, she just lays in her deathbed, compulsively masturbating *(which she’s been doing the entire film anyway, vile fluids eventually drizzling from her vag), as all parts of her begin to decay, mucous over, and when she finally leaves the bed in the final scene, sluice right off, as her flesh has now become that of liquified slippage. As this happens and her maggot filled death-sex corpse of poisoned madness reaches its full and final
stages of decay, her mouth opens wide as she lets out a primordial scream of unbearable agony, ripping at the last of the gristle clinging to her maggot-filled skeleton - - - until her jawbone falls off, and her fleshless corpse falls into the fetid puddle of its own oneness as tragic and alone as it was during the disorienting and cold display of sex in the opening shots. This is not for everyone. The vileness of what we witness can only be seen to be properly explained and appreciated, and the fx work put into her external decay top notch, and sickeningly effective. But the film is cold-molasses slow, I believe deliberately, mimicking the loneliness and impending doom of her
terminal condition. It’s like being on death row, in a sense. But it actually works within the limited confines and dialogue of this particular film. However, for the patient and more read between the line types, this is a sick trip worth taking. It’s existentially frightening, her external conditions really being nothing more than a physical affectation of her spiritual/mental/emotional ones. At its larvae-slithering heart, THANATOMORPHOSE is about the truly unbearable darkness of being, of the psychological effects of lack/loss of sense of self, of the inability to
find real love in a world growing evermore cold and claustrophobic, and it's biblically catastrophic effects on the psyche. It’s a metaphor for the lonely-lost, the incessant pain and life altering damage that can result from lack of love, of touch, and about the desperation it causes as well as isolation that births it. There’s a depth here not found in many films that goes deep, and the ever-increasing visual grotesqueries only serve to actually tell the tale through the decay. It’s unique, and it takes patience, but comes with my highest recommendations. And there’s a definite NEKROMANTIC vibe here, only in the reverse. And it is disgusting. This is the new body horror, along with other films that do what classic body horror should: induce thought - - - and I like it.


Consequently, there was another film that was made just after this, CONTRACTED, that treads similar territory in its own unique fashion, though is not as nearly existential in its terror. I believe there’s even a CONTRACTED 2 now, which I’m curious to see. *(In fact I believe I may have reviewed the original in the Vault somewhere). But THANATOMORPHOSE is definitely worth the time of the patient, deep-thought leaning horror fan.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Top Ten: Worst Horror sequels to good films.



Since Top Ten is fairly new i`ve solely focused on top ten best...But whats the fun in that...Lets talk about the worst for this weeks Top Ten..Only films that were great when they started but got bad with each sequel.

Because these are the worst the reviews aren't overly long because honestly these films are not worth very long reviews.

Top Ten: Worst Horror Sequels to Good films.

10. Psycho 3 (1986)
Following up the far better Psycho 1 and 2 the third and worst entry in the series. Despite some interesting camera work and a few decent actors this film is a total mess. The Catholic melodrama is totally out of place really and really tries the audiences patients. If your expecting maybe a fun 80s slasher it fails there as well. It also "borrows" heavily from the original classic in not so subtle ways, quoting classic lines and stealing shots. Perkins directed this and he seems to have no restraint over himself. His acting is hammy in the Shatner level.Its really sad when compared to the amazing 1960 film and the enjoyable sequel. A cold shower on a once hot franchise.

9.Hellraiser III; Hell on Earth (1992)
What happens when a major studio buys a original and fresh franchise, Hell on Earth happens. Not the worst in the series however it makes the list because it marks the end of any good Hellraiser film. Not an original idea in sight just a rehashes of ideas done much better in the first two films. You also wont find any poetic horror here, just big loud dumb action, bad acting and Pinhead spouting lines that are again recycled from the first two films only not nearly as good.

8.Fright Night 2
While this one has its moments and some decent special effects it lacked the spirit of the first film. Its hard to live up to how awesome the original one was. But I think we can all agree its not as bad as the reboot or the direct to dvd sequel that followed.

7: The Birds II: Lands End (1994)
Do you hear that? Its Hitchcock rolling around in his grave after this crap fest. You know when your in trouble the director omits his name on the film, using the Alan Smithee. This made for cable mess has 0 of the master craftsmanship of the original Hitchcock film. Its painfully slow and worst yet the flock of birds is far less impressive this time around. Its also raft with horrible cliche's such as the Major wanting to ignore the problem worrying about pocket lining than the public's safety. There is a reason why there has never been even a DVD release. Nobody would want it.

6:Halloween 5 (1989)
This is my pick for worst entry in the Halloween series..Even though 4 wasn't the greatest it did have an interesting story and a great twist ending. Halloween 5 is riddled with plot holes and annoying characters, not to mention killing off Rachel from part 4. Painfully predictable with any a few decent kills. It also nearly derailed the series, it would be six years before another film would be released. No treats only tricks here.

5. Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
Even hardcore Friday the 13th fans would agree the series is hit or miss. But the worst of the series would have to be Jason Goes to Hell. The fact that Jason is only on screen for a about ten minutes is not the worst thing about this steaming pile. Bad acting horribly laughable goofs and maybe one of the creepiest character in Friday the 13th history, that being the bounty hunter.

4. The Exorcist II:The Heretic (1977)
How do you follow up a cinematic masterpiece like The Exorcist? Well certainly not with this mess of a movie. Considered not only a bad movie but maybe the worst sequel of all time, it does have some good concepts but gets lost in goofiness. Also how did they get Oscar winning actress Louis Fletcher and James Earl Jones to be in this?


3.Creepshow 3 (2006)
After decades of waiting for the next Creepshow fans were in for a horrible surprise with this limp entry which nobody wanted.  There is no hint of the clever writing and top notch acting that the first film and to a degree the second film had. Also to makes matters worse the creative forces that made one and two so great is no where in sight. What hurts this film the most is they ditched the element of old school horror comics which is central to the fun spirit of the film, which leaves me to wonder if the point was only to cash in on the name, rather than give fans something worth waiting for.

2.Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987)
Yes the infamous and and unwatchable Silent Night Dead 2. This makes the number two spot for the sheer lack of creativity as 60% of the film is footage from the first film....umm yeah. The new footage is features some of the worst acting, lame kills with cheesy one liners. It also makes me mad that the producers had to balls to use the bulk of Selliers film and marketed it to fans hoping for an actual sequel. Some say this is so bad its good, well its not...Its just bad. Its like expecting a Ipad and getting socks...

1.An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
Its hard to think anyone could follow up John Landis's watershed horror film "An American Werewolf in London" and Anthony Wallers sequel proved that you cant teach an old wolf new tricks with this stink burger of a film. None of the humor, charm and slick satire of the previous film and maybe worst of all - CGI werewolves..Yep, foregone is the amazing practical effects of award winning artist Rick Baker for very badly done computer graphics. Its more laughable than hair rising.  


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bad Movies And the Fiends that Love Them


Topic: Bad Movies And the Fiends that Love Them

By: Gorehound Mike Vaughn

With the already worn out third film in the "Sharknado" series It got me thinking about the nature of bad movies and why they some find a hardcore fan base.

While pondering the subject one film "mistaker" leaps to mind. Edward D. Wood Jr. Years before Tim Burton made "Ed Wood" the Oscar winning bio pic,the cross dressing film maker had already achieved a huge cult following and even his stock players gained some measure of pseudo celebrity.I had the pleasure of meeting Conrad Brooks the last surviving member of Woods stock players, he is quiet a character. But why do fans flock over his badly made epics. There is even a official religion for Ed Wood (seriously...I wish I were making this up.)


So Bad there Good: Ed Wood would fall into this category. Obviously Wood had not the money or the skill to make it in main stream Hollywood but the irony here is that his films are more well known today than a lot of so called "main stream" films made by big studios. At the time Ed Wood was making his opuses a lot of money was spent to fulfill the booming Drive In market in the 1950s. What set these apart from Woods movies was his love of making films. He never saw them as trash but as cinematic treasures. I think it comes a crossed and honestly I`d rather watch "Plan Nine From Outer space" over a Michael Bay film any day.  I know a lot of people that refuse to think of Ed Wood movies as being bad and indeed while they have glaring problems they have a certain broken down charm with subjects that are interesting and in some cases even ahead of there time. But yes they are bad... 

I confess I am a huge fan of "The Room" one of the greatest bad movies that could even give Wood a run for his money. Film maker and self confessed vampire Tommy Wiseau wrote directed produced and starred in this epic disaster piece and like Ed Wood put a lot of effort (misguided it may be) and love into what he considered a serious drama. However its a massively insane and funny film and through word of mouth has gained a following- there is even a "making of" film starring James Franco as Wiseau in the works. If you haven't seen "The Room" its pure insane fun and will leave you and your friends in stitches. Also like Wood you can feel a sincerity in his work and even when it fails (and boy does it) it doesn't feel like were watching some cooperation selling merchandise or a director bending over for Hollywood.

 Camp And Counter Culture: Another reason why Wood and other films like "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" is the sheer camp factor. I mean we can't help but be entertained by shitty editing, goofy lines and acting as wooden as the cheap sets. The height of the hippie counter culture embraced these films and saw something in them (while mostly high) and like lore of days gone by passed them on to a new audience.With the sleeper success of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" Paramount tried to turn "Mommie Dearest" into a midnight film and it failed.  Roger Corman The King of the B's once said (and i`m paraphrasing) "you cant make a cult film the audience has to make it one." So genuine love of film making isn't enough, its up to you, yes you the audience to resurrect a film or leave it in cinema no mans land.

Cashing in on Bad: SyFy Channel seems to have caught on that there cheesy orgy of bad acting, goofy CGI and predictable plots were gaining attention for all the wrong reason. "Light Bulb" The birth of the SyFy shit fest that include "Sharknado" and "Sharkopus" among others. These films are purely made bad because of the "so bad its good" factor. And unlike the films of Wood or Wiseau they are simply soulless cash grabs instead of film makers that poured there hearts and souls not to mention risked a lot in the goal of telling what they thought was a good and entertaining way to tell a story.

Final Thoughts: As per the above statement it leaves me wondering the following: Will these films that are cashing in on the "so bad its good" trend be remembered like say "Bride of the Monster" or "The Room"? Again that's impossible to predict as its up to the audience to either embrace a film or leave it to cinematic no mans land.


Bad Movie Lovers: Here is a small list of Trashertenment *Warning may cause blindness, madness and seat wetting.
The Ghastly Ones (Or ANYTHING Andy Milligan, seriously its like Ed Wood/John Waters H.G Lewis Hybrid.)
Glen or Glenda
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
Bare Behind Bars
The Sinful Dwarf