Sleepaway Camp II & III – Now Available On Blu-ray From Scream Factory

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Of all of the Eighties slasher films released to Blu-ray within the past several years, it surprises me that Sleepaway Camp II and III hold up better than most of them. I never really considered myself to be a fan of this series when I was a kid. I had seen them a few times each, but it was never something I’d develop an itch to revisit. In the not-too-distant past, Dead Air Podcast did a full Sleepaway Camp retrospective series. I’m certain I appeared on at least one of the episodes, because I vividly recall digging my Survival Kit box set off of the shelves upstairs, and watching the three films for the occasion. It surprised me then, and it surprised me again now, that I enjoy these sequels far more than even I was prepared for. In all honestly, I think I prefer the second and third films in the series over even the original, which rarely happens with low budget horror and slasher films.

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers:

The second Sleepaway Camp movie, Unhappy Campers, is easily my favorite. Not only of the two that are being released this month, but of the entire series. There’s something about it that just oozes rewatchability. Every single time I watch it, I find that I have enjoyed it a little more than the time before. When you really think about it, similar films, and especially their sequels very rarely possess the quality of film-making you get here. I mean, sure, some of the acting is a little over the top, but none of it is bad, and if anything, it adds to the charm rather than detracting from the film itself. By any standards, Sleepaway Camp II should be awful, bordering on unwatchable. Not only is it not, it may be one of my favorite Eighties slashers. I love the Slumber Party Massacre movies for what they are, but never were they as competent and enjoyable as the Sleepaway Camp sequels. There is some real heart, and raw talent on display in the second film in the Sleepaway Camp series, and some of that even trickles over into the third film.

Sleepaway camp III: Teenage Wasteland:

The third Sleepaway Camp film is the lesser of the two, but they were basically filmed back to back, so some of what made the second film so special carries over into this movie. It’s a different kind of film, visually. It’s not quite as dark as the second film. In the opening scene, there is even a segment that takes place outside of a camp setting, involving a victim being chased down a NYC alley in broad daylight. What the third film is mostly known for, is the fact that its final form is a butcher job, thanks to the MPAA, and the flawed way that they operate. There is actually quite a bit more about that on the documentary on the disc, but more about that in a minute. While it might not be as good as Unhappy Campers, Teenage Wasteland is still a far more enjoyable film than some would say it has a right to be. As far as Summer-themed horror goes, you could do much worse.

Extras:

Both discs come with a mixture of extras, new and old. The star of the show is a documentary titled A Tale of Two Sequels, which is split between the releases. The first part of the documentary, which appears on Sleepaway Camp II is interesting, but the second half is a real eye-opener. I knew before that Sleepaway Camp III had issues with the MPAA and was eventually cut because of it, but I had no idea of the extent. While the MPAA will not tell you specifically what to cut, the filmmakers had a pretty good idea as to what was twisting their titties. Several rough-looking gore scenes are both shown within the documentary, and available on the disc in the form of deleted scenes. In fact, a workprint of the film, including the longer kill scenes is included on the disc. It’s pretty rough, sourced from what had to have been some form of tape, but it is watchable if you would like to see a longer cut of the film. Some people say, gore is not what makes a movie good. And while I’d agree, I’d also state that, if you watch the deleted footage, and the documentary on the disc to see exactly what was cut, and where, I think you’d agree that the cuts that were forced by the MPAA turned this into a different film. Had those scenes been included, this would probably be much more of a cult classic than it is. Beyond the documentary, the deleted scenes, and the full workprint of the third film, both discs have commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, a home video distribution promo that was sent to video stores, trailers, and a few other little nuggets of bonus content. Overall, it’s a more-than-competent package, for a couple of films that you’re probably going to want to revisit each year, once the heat and humidity become too much for normal humans to breathe properly.

Sleepaway Camp II and III are now available on Blu-ray/DVD combo packs, released by none other than Scream Factory. The picture quality is beyond acceptable, considering the fact that there is no camera negative with which to restore the film, and the extras are plentiful. Highly recommended.

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HorrorSexy Podcast: Episode 9 – We Are Still Here, Spring, Hudson Horror, Christopher Lee & Much More

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This week on the show, James, Eric and Shawn discuss the recently-passed Christopher Lee, and what his career has meant to them. Also up for discussion is E3 2015, with brief discussions about Fallout 4, and the new Doom.

James attended this year’s Hudson Horror Show, and he gives us the rundown, which leads to a discussion about the awesome Exhumed Films, their 24 Hour Horror-thon in Philly, and all of the awesome 35mm screenings and Drive-in screenings they are responsible for.

As always, new horror and other stuff has been dumped onto Netflix, and Eric has the scoop.

The indie sensation We Are Still Here is discussed at length, as is the recent announcement in regards to the Halloween franchise’s newest sequel.

Recent Blu-ray releases are touched upon, as well as quickie reviews of Jurassic World and the Poltergeist remake. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead’s latest, Spring closes out the show.

We will return. Tune in next week for another all-new episode of the HorrorSexy Podcast.

Much thanks to Karissa for her SEXpert vocalization used in the HorrorSexy introduction and Videogram aka Magnus Sellergren for the use of the track “Regina dei Cannibali End Titles” off his first release entitled Videogram.

You can purchase the full release of Videogram here: videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram

Make sure to stop by DiabolikDVD to support physical media, independent horror business and region freedom. www.diabolikdvd.com/

For more HorrorSexy podcasts and content go to www.HorrorSexy.com and support our contributors who work tirelessly to bring you horror that will turn you on.Much thanks to Karissa for her SEXpert vocalization used in the HorrorSexy introduction and Videogram aka Magnus Sellergren for the use of the track “Regina dei Cannibali End Titles” off his first release entitled Videogram.

You can purchase the full release of Videogram here: videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram

Make sure to stop by DiabolikDVD to support physical media, independent horror business and region freedom. www.diabolikdvd.com/

For more Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review: Escape From New York – Scream Factory Collector’s Edition

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It’s hard to review the classics, sometimes. With a movie like John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, what can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said a hundred times before? This film is so ingrained in pop culture, that even people who haven’t seen a single Carpenter film is familiar with it, and its titular character, Snake Plissken, played by Kurt Russell in a way that no other actor could have done. When you consider that this film was produced on a budget of around six million dollars, the scope of this movie, and what Carpenter was able to accomplish with such a modest budget is truly amazing. It feels like a fifty million dollar film, at the very least. I don’t know if I can call this my favorite Carpenter film, but it is one of the top 3, for certain. This is is a harder Blu-ray release for some to swallow, as it is also available in a release that came straight from MGM, so unless the previous release was garbage, or you have an extremely impressive extras package, it’s a hard sale, to get folks to double dip on a title like this. I think Scream Factory did a good job, at giving us a reason to buy yet another Blu-ray copy of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York.

To start with, the MGM Blu-ray is not garbage. It lacks that extra punch that comes with the Scream Factory release, with the Collector’s Edition packaging, and an entire disc dedicated to bonus content, but it is a respectable presentation of the film itself. Some have claimed that the Scream Factory release is a downgrade, but they would be wrong, and probably haven’t actually seen it, if you want the truth. Yeah, yeah, I know, “compression artifacts” and all of that, but if you haven’t actually seen the release in motion, and you’re just regurgitating what another person with a bone to pick has regurgitated from elsewhere, I have no respect for your opinion. I’m sorry, I just don’t. If the way you decide to purchase home video releases is by looking at compressed screenshots, on sites that love to tear the popular guys down, you’re only hurting yourself. You’re missing out on a lot of good releases, over practically nothing. I will admit that there are some Blu-ray releases that have issues. If you were to take a look at FOX’s “Ultimate Hunter Edition” release of Predator, you will see probably the worst Blu-ray release to ever hit a store shelf. Not a single one of Scream Factory’s releases even remotely resemble that hot mess.

People shouted from the rooftops that Arrow Video’s UK Blu-ray release of Motel Hell was “MUCH BETTER” than Scream Factory’s release, so I bought it, watched for comparison, and you know what? It’s not. Both releases are fantastic, and both look gorgeous. I get in trouble sometimes, for referring to those that belong to this new group of anti-Scream Factory curmudgeons as hipsters. But, in all honesty, I really don’t know how else to describe somebody that suddenly dislikes something, now that it has become popular. I’m not saying that Scream Factory have never released something with flaws. If you will take a look at their Nosferatu, it is of lower quality than other releases of that film. But generally, if you see a reviewer, or somebody in a home video collecting group on Facebook, blathering on about “compression artifacts”, it’s more than likely that they are full of shit. This Blu-ray, looks as good, if not a little better than the previous release from MGM. Couple that, with the fact that it comes to you, absolutely brimming with bonus content, and it should be a no-brainer, as to whether or not you should buy this release.

Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, is highly recommended. It sports a new transfer of the film, that is as good if not better than the previous transfer, with new audio commentaries, photo galleries, visual effects documentaries, interviews, deleted scenes, a retrospective featurette, trailers and more. Take it from me, someone who has seen this movie a thousand times, and loves it dearly, you can purchase this release with confidence. There is nothing wrong with the transfer, and you are going to want in on these extras, if you are any kind of fan of this film.

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Scream Factory’s Blu-ray Release of Class of 1984 Is Recommended

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I haven’t thought about Class of 1984 for a long time, but became excited the second it was announced by Scream Factory for a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release. This really isn’t a horror film, as much as it is a really gritty crime/drama, but the over-the-top look of the characters, and the post-apocalyptic feel of the film creates cross-appeal for genre fans. Glancing at the synopsis, and seeing the theatrical poster, one might get the wrong kind of expectations for a film like this. You cannot draw a comparison between this film, and Class of Nuke ‘em High, because there is none to be made. This is a serious film, first and foremost.

If you’re somewhat new to the horror output of the Eighties, and are over-and-over, experiencing new films because of a Blu-ray release from Scream Factory, or any other number of boutique labels that are giving some of us our childhoods back, Class of 1984 is easily misunderstood. It’s not a comedy, it’s not a movie that’s “so bad that it’s good,” it’s a genuinely unsettling, gritty and dramatic crime drama, wherein a local “gang” is creating problems at the town’s high school. When I say problems, I mean like, rape, extortion, murder, drug trafficking, you know, the staples of one’s high school experience. I can see the horror appeal within this movie, because it’s legitimately terrifying. If you’re an adult teacher, what are you supposed to do when the behavior of your students is likely to cause you and your loved ones physical harm?

So, while you’re not getting a Nuke ‘em High style, over-the-top gory and disgusting post-apocalyptic high school comedy, you are getting a hard-hitting film that, while not technically horror, presents a truly horrifying situation. As with most Scream Factory Blu-rays these days, there have been some mixed reaction from reviewers. If you buy Blu-rays to watch and enjoy the movies you love, with HD video and uncompressed sound, then you will be pleased with this release of Class of 1984. If you’re a home video hipster, and you watch movies with a magnifying glass, desperately hoping to find a flaw that you can spread around and amplify on social networking sites, and other places that think compressed screenshots are a good representation of HD video in motion, well, who cares what you think anyway? The extras package contains new retrospective documentaries, extra interviews, audio commentaries, and more. Buy with confidence, as this Blu-ray is more than recommended.

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Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of The Offspring AKA From a Whisper to a Scream Is Highly Recommended

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Though I pride myself on my encyclopedic knowledge of movies, every now and then one of these boutique labels releases a cult title that managed to slip by me. Such is the case with Scream Factory’s release of The Offspring, or, From a Whisper to a Scream. I knew of its existence, at least, mostly due to Doc Terror and his love for the film. I wasn’t expecting much, which is mostly a defense mechanism, so if a film isn’t my forte, I can at least keep an eye out for its positive values. But with The Offspring, I loved it from the first minute, and quickly realized that this is a film I should have watched long ago.

I love anthologies, but so many of them are mediocre, that I am instantly filled with apprehension when I learn that that is what I’m about to watch. I’m not sure what I expected with The Offspring, but the level of depravity took me by surprise. Part of that maybe because it’s marketed as a Vincent Price movie, but in reality, he’s just a Crypt Keeper, of sorts. Price’s character whose murderous daughter was just executed, presents four different tales to a reporter, in an attempt to explain to her, the town’s long history of of supernaturally-charged violence. Necrophilia, voodoo, flesh-eating, this movie has it all. And all of it is presented by a certified genre legend.

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation of the film is a sight to behold. Usually on these non-Collector’s Edition releases, we get a few extras, but nothing much. This time around it’s stacked, including some new audio commentaries, several retrospective documentaries, including the feature-length documentary about the director, and the 8mm films he and his friends were producing as teens, and even a featured documentary about the production of this film in specific. There is more on the disc, and Scream are known for underselling their extras packages.

The picture and sound quality are reference quality, especially for a film of this nature, and from the late Eighties. Colors are gorgeous, the grain structure is existent, yet not intrusive, and the clarity is top notch. If somebody uses the term “compression artifacts” when explaining this Blu-ray release to you, smack them in the face, because they’re lying. Scream Factory put together an impressive package for a title that is a little less well-known than the the movies that generally turn into Collector’s Editions. I think The Offspring, AKA From a Whisper to a Scream has broad appeal, for even the most casual horror fans. If you were on the fence, take this as a strong recommendation for purchase. The movie is great, the extras are almost as good as the movie itself, and the video and audio presentation are in tiptop shape. Go forth, and purchase.

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Blu-ray Review – Mark of the Devil – Arrow Video US

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Mark of the Devil is one of those horror movies that was released back when going to the movies was an event. Where marketing slogans roped in potential ticket-purchases, and not catty online reviews and four hundred different trailers between the time a project is announced and its release dates. Most people who have a passion for genre films have at least heard the title Mark of the Devil, and that’s because of the marketing campaign behind it. Slogans like “Positively the most horrifying film ever made”, and “Rated V for Violence” would take care of putting the asses in the seats, but it’s the actual contents of the film that have us talking about it almost 50 years later. Arrow Video are introducing American consumers to their new US distribution house with three titles, one of which, Mark of the Devil. Continue reading

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Scream Factory’s Blu-ray Release Of Exterminators of the Year 3000 Is Recommended

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Exterminators of the Year 3000 is a film that I had never seen, but was highly anticipating once the announcement was made that Scream Factory would be bringing it to Blu-ray. I’m a huge fan of George Miller’s Mad Max films, and almost anything to do with a post-apocalyptic wastelands or dystopian societies. I am also a fan of Italian Exploitation, so when you combine those elements, you have my attention. I was expecting to be entertained by this film, but I didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was.

Yeah, Exterminators of the Year 3000 is a complete ripoff of George Miller’s epic Mad Max and The Road Warrior, but is that really a bad thing? You take a situation as enthralling as battling other survivors for resources by way of Twisted Metal-style car combat, throw in a few quirky but interesting characters, and put that Italian Exploitation twist on it, and you have a recipe for fun, and that’s exactly what this film delivers. We have one rigid anti-hero, one over-the-top baddie in fetish gear, tons of fast-paced vehicular combat, featuring cars straight out of a post-apocalyptic destruction derby, and a ton of nods to other films of the same ilk. Sound like fun? Well, it is.

As far as the controversy over the quality of the video presentation is concerned, there are some elements of the video quality that are occasionally problematic. However, this is pretty obviously due to problems with the source material, and not some kind of screw-up at the hands of Scream Factory. If you’ll read an honest review about the discs, it would read that this is a mostly-solid presentation of an obscure piece of Italian cinema. It’s not without its problems, but there’s likely nothing that could have been done. It looks beautiful, almost ninety eight percent of the time. So for those of you that have read on forums and social networking sites that this release is an awful DNR’ed mess, you can rest easily in knowing that such claims have been greatly exaggerated.

Currently, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Exterminators of the Year 3000 is sitting on Amazon.com, under sixteen bucks. For what you get, that price is more than fair. You do get several extras, including an audio commentary, some interviews and a couple of TV spots, and I can guarantee that no matter what you read on a forum, this is a big upgrade from any previous release of the film. The audio, much like the video, is somewhat problematic at the source, but for what it is, the presentation is impressive. For whatever reason, even though a lot of the actors could speak English, the film was eventually dubbed. I dislike dubbed films, I think it robs you the experience that the actors/director were hoping you’d have, but when there is no other option, I can certainly deal with it. Plus, some of the dubbing creates for some unintentional humor.

If you want to see a good example of an unwatchable Blu-ray, check out FOX’s “Ultimate Hunter Edition” Blu-ray release of Predator. That’s a DNR’ed, disgusting mess. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Exterminators of the Year 3000, is absolutely not. There are some issues with the film at the source level, but there is no such tomfoolery here. It looks as good as it probably could have looked without a full-on 4K restoration, and even then, most of the issues I’ve seen people complain about would still exist. So take my advice, ignore those people and their agendas, and pick up this Blu-ray, I can almost guarantee that most of you will have a fun time.

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Blu-ray Review – God Told Me To – Blue Underground

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I am a fan of Larry Cohen. From Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem, the It’s Alive series, and Q: The Winged Serpent, the man has developed a diverse body of work, and most of it is at least worth watching. Somehow, Gold Told Me To had eluded me up until Blue Underground released it to Blu-ray. This was not at all what I expected it to be, and may have become one of my favorite Cohen films. Fans of offbeat cinema should take note, this is one of this year’s Blu-rays that you’re not going to want to miss. I say “offbeat” because from the outside looking in, this just looks like your typical New York City thriller, where people are being terrorized by an unknown murderer. In reality, this is a Sci-Fi tale at its very core, and ventures into even stranger territory before it’s all over.

Casual genre fans may find it to be somewhat off-putting, for the very reason that I find it to be refreshing when compared to somewhat similar films. If you know absolutely nothing about God Told Me To before going in, the way in which the film transitions between different genres will grab your attention. From Crime/Thriller onto horror, and then again from Science Fiction, even dipping into Blaxploitation near the end, Cohen tried a “Kitchen Sink” approach to genre storytelling, and manages to pull it together extremely well. Another thing I really liked about God Told Me To, is that you really do have to pay attention. If you leave the film playing while grabbing a snack from the kitchen, you may return to an entirely different film, and have no idea what happened. There are a lot of moving parts here, so in a way, it’s like a brain game, only in the form of a late Seventies exploitation film.

Blue Underground, as usual, have put together an impressive release of Cohen’s film. There is a generous portion of bonus content, including a commentary, several interviews, a Q&A session with Larry Cohen from a screening of the film at the New Beverly, TV spots and more. The sound quality is nearly perfect. You have three audio tracks to choose from, including a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is the original mono recording, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track for good measure. During the feature, I switched back and forth between the 7.1 and 2.0 tracks. For the type of film this is, I much preferred the original 2.0 mono track, but both exemplary.

With a new 4K transfer, I highly doubt that Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To has ever looked better. In fact, I’d wager to say that, at least until the new 4K resolution players/displays become the standard, it may never look better than Blue Underground’s presentation. The images is remarkably film-like, with a healthy grain structure. Exterior scenes are absolutely gorgeous, but the well-lit interior scenes are almost as impressive. Even if the film itself wasn’t so engrossing, its presentation is so beautiful that I would highly recommend this disc to any proponents of film restoration. We’re treated to a ton of genre fare on the Blu-ray format, now that we have several competing boutique labels battling it out for licenses on bucket list titles, and God Told Me To is Blue Underground showing us the proper way to Blu-ray.

Buy your copy right here!

 

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Blu-ray Review – Animal – Scream Factory

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I’m not saying that Animal is a “ripoff” of Feast. It’s hard to make an original monster movie these days. Everything has already been done. What I am saying though, is that whether or not the creative team behind the new Chiller TV film Animal admit it or not, they owe most of what they put together to Gulager and his hilariously claustrophobic monster movie from 2005. Animal is another one of those films, made specifically for Chiller TV, even though it is aired censored. A few months later, it is released onto Blu-ray, through some kind of deal that is currently in place between Chiller and Scream Factory. The story takes place, mostly within a single location(sound familiar?), while a crazy Feast-looking creature tries desperately to huff and puff and tear the house down so he can eat a bunch of people, including Joey Lauren Adams. It all sounds pretty derivative, and it is, but it still manages to be pretty entertaining, and some of the FX work, though highly reminiscent of previous monster movies, is pretty impressive. Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – Fright Night – 30th Anniversary Edition – Twilight Time (SOLD OUT)

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Fright Night has been somewhat of a coveted title among Blu-ray collectors. It was one of the first major horror Blu-ray releases that Twilight Time released, that grabbed the attention of horror aficionados. Due to its extremely limited run, the first Blu-ray released skyrocketed to prices upwards of two-to-four hundred dollars on the secondary market. When it was announced that Twilight Time would be reissuing the Blu-ray in the form of a ’30th Anniversary Edition’ with added bonus content, every person within the know quickly pre-ordered the release, selling it out long before the actual release date. But is it a good release?

If you have at least seen their last Blu-ray release in motion, you will immediately notice that this is the same transfer, with a few slight level tweaks. The truth of the matter is, for ninety percent of us that collect these things, you will be extremely satisfied with the end product. It looks and sounds gorgeous, and the bonus content is just enough to give you a lot of information surrounding the production of the film. It’s a little hard to review a title that I can’t recommend for you to run out and purchase, nor would I recommend giving the scalpers what they want and paying that ridiculously inflated secondary market price. But if you can find a way to acquire this Blu-ray for a price that you are comfortable paying for it, I can’t see you being disappointed.

I’m three paragraphs into this review, and I’ve barely mentioned the movie itself. I’d seen Fright Night on numerous occasions, and I enjoyed it, but something about the tongue-in-cheek nature of the movie caused me to favor films such as Near Dark, and others with a more serious tone. I didn’t realize until much later what a rabid fanbase Fright Night had. After Twilight Time’s first Blu-ray release sold out, I made a vow that I would never watch the film again, unless it was on Blu-ray, new or old. The 30th Anniversary Fright Night Blu-ray caused me to have a newfound respect for the film. Whereas before, I only kinda liked it a little bit. Sure, it’s more of a humorous outing than something that takes itself a little more seriously, but it wasn’t nearly as cheesy as I recalled.

A new Blu-ray release was all it took to win me over. It isn’t stuffed with extras to the point that they’re falling out of the case when you crack the seal, but there are some really cool behind-the-scenes stories from Tom Holland himself, which enhanced my revisit of everybody else’s favorite vampire film. I still feel like there are at least two vampire films from the same era that are superior in every way, but Fright Night is no schlub. I feel as if now that this release is on my shelf, I’ll likely revisit the film(and hopefully its sequel some day) on an annual basis. It’s clever, it’s sexy, and it’s oh, so Eighties. The picture quality is excellent, as is the quality of the audio track, and the bonus content that wasn’t available on the previous release. As I said, this Blu-ray is sold out. If you feel it is worth the money being charged on the secondary market, then by all means seek it out. If not, you can either try and find a kind soul with an extra to sell to you at cost, or wait another few years for the inevitable 3rd Blu-ray release of the film within North America.

 

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Blu-ray Review – Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (Scream Factory)

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It feels sort of weird, reviewing the sequel to Candyman without having the first film released to Blu-ray yet. I understand, however, that another distro company supposedly holds the rights to the film, with intentions on a Blu-ray release some time in the future, so it’s not something I’m holding against Scream Factory. I know they would have released the first film as well if given the opportunity. I just wish that other company, one that has been lighting the horror charts on fire as of late with their sold out limited edition Blu-rays, would hurry up with their release. I digress. I’ve always been a fan of Farewell to the Flesh. Perhaps even more so than other horror fans. And, I am a fan of Bill Condon. Sure, he directed a two-part Twilight movie, but he also directed Kinsey, as well as Gods and Monsters. Farewell to the Flesh is the type of sequel that takes that boogie man from the first film, and expands his mythology so you can get a better understanding as to how he came to be. Sometimes this works, and other times it doesn’t, but I really feel like this sequel is a shining example of how to do a followup like this, and do it right. Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – Lord of Illusions (Scream Factory)

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In late October, the director’s cut of Nightbreed was finally unleashed upon hungry fans. We’ve been waiting for that release for what seems like decades, and its pre-order phase was met with the appropriate internet buzz, both good and bad. Now Scream Factory are dropping another Clive Barker film upon us, and it too comes with a Director’s Cut, as well as the Theatrical Cut. Some may argue that this is the superior film of the two releases. Some, but not myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lord of Illusions, and especially the director’s cut, but for me, Nightbreed is the perfect monster movie. Lord of Illusions is more of a dark pulp detective movie than a horror movie, but it’s dark enough, and violent enough for it to fit nicely in that genre as well. This is a case where Barker had one vision in mind for the film, but the studio had another. Thankfully, they allowed him to bring bother versions to fruition, but only the Theatrical Cut received a theatrical exhibition. If Barker is to be believed, the main issue that the studio had with his vision for Lord of Illusion, is that they wanted a fluffier horror movie, with less emphasis on the noir elements. Barker had always intended it to be heavy with the noir, so now we have two totally different versions of the film to choose from, and both in stunning high definition with tons of bonus content, and some nifty new commissioned cover art.  Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – Dead Snow 2: Red VS Dead

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I enjoyed the first Dead Snow film well enough, but it seemed like it gathered a ravenous fanbase, which I was not a part of. It was a competently made zombie film, but at the time, I had pretty much had it up to here with the genre. Plus, another couple of nazi “zombie” movies came out around the same time, such as Outpost, and to a lesser extent, Frankenstein’s Army. I had little hope for a sequel to a mostly decent foreign zombie movie. You can imagine my surprise when early word of mouth from the festival circuit was mostly positive. After around 50 emails, I was finally able to find a PR person with an online screener for me to view. The first time I would see Dead Snow 2 would be mostly in its native tongue. I realized that Martin Starr was in the film, however, so I knew it had to be at least partially English. When the Blu-ray was announced by Well Go USA, I was surprised to learn that the movie had been filmed in both languages. I love it when a director does things like that. I love it even more when I compare the two versions of the film, and the experience is virtually seamless. The movie itself is a ton of fun. Quite possibly some of the most fun I had with a movie in 2014. That’s not to say that Dead Snow 2 is the best movie of the year, not by a longshot. But what it does, it does very well.  Continue reading

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DEADtime TV – Sleepy Hollow: “Deliverance”/”Heartless”

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Sleepy Hollow has been attempting to assimilate Katrina into its cast of recurring players for some time now, hinting that she might be joining forces with Ichabod and Abbie but never following through for extended lengths of time. Part of that has to do with her formidable magic – put Katrina into a situation, and she should easily be able to deal with it by casting a spell. The show can’t continue to keep her as deus ex machina, but it also has to come to terms with the fact that she’s an integral part of Ichabod’s life, and they can’t keep her on the outskirts forever. Continue reading

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Deadtime TV – American Horror Story: Freak Show: “Bullseye”/”Test of Strength”

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American Horror Story has often struggled to find its focus throughout the first half of its seasons; in general, though, the theme has been to keep the struggling group of cast members at its core together amid a lot of problems. In Coven, the goal was to keep the coven healthy and together; in Murder House, it was to keep familial relations together. And now in Freak Show, the season has made its intentions clear, that the pressures of living within the confines of Elsa’s freak show are threatening to break up the group. By doing so, Freak Show has cemented its place as the same story with the same cast, just set in a different facility. Continue reading

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This YouTube Channel Has No Subscribers – A Review of V/H/S: Viral

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I, like most horror movie fans, love an anthology. There’s no other genre that makes use of the short film the way horror does.  Throw three of them together, maybe a bookend segment, and you’ve more than likely got something that horror fans are going to be paying attention to. The first V/H/S film was met with mixed reception, some loved it, some hated it. Me? I loved it. I’m a fan of almost everyone involved in it, and I thought it was a quite solid anthology. Then V/H/S 2 came along a year later, and it was greeted with almost nothing but praise. I’ll admit, as much as I enjoyed the first, V/H/S 2 blew it away. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but it was just on a different level than the first. Now we have a third, and supposed final, installment in the series, V/H/S: Viral. Continue reading

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Come On In, Stranger! – A Review of The Guest

THE GUEST

I’ve been a fan of Adam Wingard  since a friend of mine told me I needed to watch Home Sick. Good directors have a unique style that’s all their own, and is immediately recognizable to their fans; Adam Wingard’s is one of my favorite. No matter the size in scope of the story he’s telling, his films have a smaller, more personal feel to them. They tend to center around one or two characters, and never stray too far from them. It takes talent to make that kind of movie work, and Wingard nails it more times than not. You’re Next was one of my favorite movies of last year ( I didn’t get to see it until it got wide release), so my expectations for The Guest were pretty high going in. For the most part it delivered, but fell just short of being one of my top films of 2014. Continue reading

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TEST/REPOST: Blu-ray Review – Night of the Demons / Witchboard

screamfactoryheaderEven if you’ve never seen them, if you’re a horror fan, you’ve likely heard something about both Night of the Demons, as well as Witchboard. Witchboard being the lesser known title.  Both film spawned several sequels that ranged from great, to “well, there were boobs.” Both films were brought to us by the same director, which shows in some ways, but not enough to feel derivative. Another thing these films have in common, is that I have only seen them both a couple of times, and all of that was from rental VHS copies. It’s not that I didn’t like them enough to purchase them on DVD when they made the switch, it’s just that when you’re managing such a huge collection, it’s hard to remember every title you’ve ever liked enough to make it your own. Nevertheless, here we are in 2014, and Scream Factor has come to the rescue with a Collector’s edition Blu-ray release of Night of the Demons, and a standard edition Blu-ray release of Witchboard, which happens to have more extras than most standard edition Blu-rays that the company has released. Continue reading

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TEST/REPOST Blu-ray Review The Dead 2

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The Ford Brothers’ The Dead is one of the best examples of modern zombie filmmaking. I know it has its detractors, mostly because of the slow-going nature of the film, but I found it to be breathtaking, which isn’t a word you hear tossed around when describing zombies anymore. The Ford Brothers managed to capture what made films like Day of the Dead have such a strong impact on viewers. It wasn’t a comedy, or even an action movie. It was a bleak, slow-burning tale of the dead returning to life, in a post-apocalyptic West Africa. While the setting of some zombie movies comes as an afterthought, in The Dead, it played as important of a role as any character in the film. While The Dead 2 takes somewhat of a different approach – at least in regards to the pacing of the film – it still retains that aspect of the first film. It’s no longer set in Africa, however. This time around, the action – and I do mean action – moves to India, where an American contractor is about to wrap-up the job he’s doing, and once the zombies make themselves known, he does whatever he can to make it to his local, pregnant girlfriend, so that she can make the trek back to America with him. The main difference here, is that The Dead 2 is a lot more action-oriented than the first film. Sometimes that doesn’t work very well, causing the film to lose the original tone, but in the case of The Dead 2, it makes it one of the most beautiful and exciting zombie films I have seen for a while.  Continue reading

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TEST/REPOST: The Battery Blu-ray Review

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I was on board with The Battery very early on. In all honesty, all it really took to rope me in was the unveiling of this badass, old school poster. I looked around on the net for reviews, but information was sparse. When the film was released on VOD/Digital, I jumped at the opportunity to watch it. I wasn’t expecting much from a no-budget zombie film. Little did I expect that it would secure a spot on my list of the best films of the year in 2013. I did what I could to promote the film, and let people know that this was something truly special. I managed to get a few people to watch it, and then it started getting more popular, as it screened at the 2013 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. People I had assured that they NEEDED to see this film, such as Jeff and Heather, found it to be spectacular as well. The extremely limited budget of the film ($6,000) certainly adds to the charm of the film. But, it’s the fact that the movie looks as good as it does, with performances as good as they are, and music as great as it is, despite that non-budget. How many multi-million dollar zombie films have we seen that were borderline unwatchable? Tons, even more than tons. I’d wager that around 1 out of ever 10 zombie films that are released today, are even worthy of consideration. The Battery is the zombie film, made for those of us that have had it with the genre. It’s the anti-zombie film, that manages to be better than any zombie film that may or may not be sitting next to it on the shelf. It’s one of the best no-budget films I have ever seen.  Continue reading

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