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

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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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DEADtime TV – Resurrection: “Will”/”Afflictions”

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I will say this: though I don’t think that Resurrection really has a plan in terms of its new Spanish flu development, it does make for some entertaining moments in these second season episodes. Maybe it’s because it gives real danger to the returned, something that has been missing from previous episodes; those people don’t feel like regular humans, because they don’t suffer from the same problems and have the potential to return after they die anyway. Introducing such a thing takes away any serious repercussions for many of the characters the show follows, and this includes Bellamy now. With the flu, at least, the returned don’t just die – they disappear. Continue reading

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DEADtime TV – American Horror Story: Freak Show: “Edward Mordrake, Part 2″/”Pink Cupcakes”

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In an effort to get caught up with DEADtime, and to stay caught up, we’re implementing a new way of posting reviews. Instead of compiling each week’s horror stuff, we’ll be posting them after each episode of the show airs. It’s going to work out better for everyone, because if someone’s late it doesn’t stop the rest of the episodes. For now, we’re a couple of weeks behind, but we’ll catch up to the latest episodes quickly with this new system. This will be a bulk review of American Horror Story: Freak Show, so I will mostly be treating these two episodes as if they were one.

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Pieces of Entertainment – A Review of Pieces of Talent

 

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There was a time, long before the internet, that I went out of my way to find out absolutely anything about a movie I was excited about. I begged my parents for issues of Fango, mailed away for catalogs, actually read the entertainment section of the newspaper, literally anything I could do to get information about a movie. Here we are, years later, and all of that information is literally in our hands at any given second, and I find myself going out of my way to not know anything about a film going into it. Word of mouth, hype, false praise, etc. run rampant these days and nine times out of ten, I find myself in total disagreement with the vast majority, be they positive or negative. We’ve all got our own taste in things, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As such, I like to form my own opinions. Having said all that, you may be thinking to yourself about all the wonderful things you’ve heard about Joe Stauffer and David Long’s Pieces of Talent, and getting the feeling that it didn’t quite thrill me the way it did seemingly everybody else on Earth. You’d be right.

Synopsis from IMDB:

This story centers around Charlotte, a struggling young actress who can’t catch a break. In an effort to support herself and her hopeless mother, Charlotte holds a job as a cocktail waitress at a seedy, local strip club and hates every minute of it. During a cigarette break late one evening she witnesses an altercation between an overzealous bouncer and an unfortunate passerby, David. David makes movies and given Charlotte’s career interests a friendship quickly develops. Soon enough, David mentions a project he has in the works that she would be perfect for and an excited Charlotte agrees to take part. She has no idea what she has signed up for.

That synopsis would lead you to believe that a girl named Charlotte (Kristi Ray) is the main character here, and while it’s true she would probably be considered the protagonist, the film most certainly doesn’t center around her. She plays second fiddle to the film’s villain David (David Long, who also co-wrote). Pieces of Talent is basically David just running around seemingly at random killing people as a part of an “artistic” film he’s working on. It feels like somebody is attempting to put together a large puzzle here, using different pieces from other, different puzzles. By the end, David attempts to explain a plot that interconnects all the victims, but as the concept had been completely ignored up until that point, 80 minutes into the 90 minute runtime, it felt forced and wasn’t particularly satisfying.

That sort of thing can be forgiven in some instances, particularly in the (groan) “torture porn” genre, as long as when it comes to the kills, they’re at least equal parts brutal and entertaining. Sadly, Pieces of Talent drops the ball in this regard also. That’s not to say there isn’t blood though. There’s blood, plenty of it. The disappointment comes in when David takes the time to build elaborate sets for the kills, then doesn’t even utilize them. For instance, he straps one guy into a chair, with his wrists restrained out in front of him, a large pendulum looking contraption, with all kinds of saw blades and the like on it, swinging ominously above them. When it comes down to the kill though, all we get is David smashing the guys writst with a small hammer and a quick cut away. That friends, is the very definition of a tease, and Pieces of Talent is full of them.

Things aren’t all negative though, this is a very well made film. It’s well shot, the acting is good, David Long in particular turns in a fairly creepy performance as David. That smile will haunt me for a couple of days. As mentioned there’s blood, and at times the film does exhibit a pretty substantial mean streak, I was just constantly left wanting. There was so much wasted potential. Couple that with a plot that at first appears to be non-existant then attempts to throw itself together at the last minute, before concluding in a highly unsatisfying manner, and you’ve got yourself the movie equivalent of going into an underground massage parlor and not getting the happy ending you paid for in advance.

 

5.5/10

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Blu-ray Review – Drive Hard (IMAGE)

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Drive Hard is a straight-to-video action/comedy, starring John Cusack and Thomas Jane. I didn’t expect much from it, but as it turns out, it was actually quite entertaining. I’m not saying that this is some sort of Triple-A title. It’s very much what you think it is, with both lead actors teetering somewhere between playing themselves, and phoning it in for a paycheck, but it’s funny enough that if you see it somewhere on the cheap, there are worse home video purchases you could make. The story follows Peter, a former NASCAR racer, who has settled down with a wife and child in Australian suburban hell. Peter gives driving lessons for a career now, so when Simon(Cusack) shows up, he assumes that will be the extent of his day. As it turns out, Simon knows very well who Peter is, and has picked him for a reason. See Simon is on a quest for revenge, which involves stealing 9 million dollars in bearer bonds from a corrupt “bank” and he has chosen Peter as his unwilling getaway driver.  Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – The Blob 1988 (Twilight Time) SOLD OUT!

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It’s somewhat weird to review a release that I know anyone that happens to read this will be unable to buy anywhere other than the scalper market. But by the time I received my review copy, and found a quiet moment within October to watch it, it had already happened. So unfortunately, if you are reading this, you will be unable to purchase this Blu-ray, unless you pay a premium on ebay to buy it from one of those nasty scalpers. That being said, this is one Blu-ray I have been waiting for since the format was launched. There’s a reason why, if you were to find yourself in a conversation about the best horror remakes that have been made, The Blob ’88 will almost always be mentioned. The Thing, The Fly, and The Blob are three remakes that are universally heralded as “the best”. Some would consider all three of these remakes to be superior to the films they were based on, and I am included in that group of people. Add in Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, and Martin Scorcese’s The Departed, and you’ve rounded out my list of the top 5 remakes of all time. It was an absolute pleasure to revisit Chuck Russell’s 1988 remake of The Blob in high definition.  Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – Dolls: Collector’s Edition (Scream Factory)

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Dolls is one of Stuart Gordon’s most ballyhooed directorial efforts, next to Re-Animator and From Beyond, of course. It was a Charles Band production, under Empire International, and produced by Brian Yuzna. It has been so long since the last time that I watched the film, that the only thing that I could remember about it, was the front cover of the VHS tape. This means that I don’t really have a DVD experience with Dolls, for which to compare the Blu-ray transfer of the film to. After revisiting the film, I can’t say that it is my favorite Gordon film, but it is highly entertaining for what it is. Dolls predates the Puppet Master series, which Band would later become known for, and is infinitely more enjoyable than any one of those films. I recently re-watched a couple of the Puppet Master movies, and none of them contain the quality of production and storytelling that Gordon’s Dolls has.  Continue reading

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DEADtime TV: Week of 10/19/14

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We’re still playing catch-up after all of the Halloween celebrations, and we’re having a tough time with it. So far,  Kevin will continue his Stalker coverage as well as covering for Gotham again this week. He’ll also add Grimm. I’ve got American Horror Story: Freak ShowSleepy Hollow, and Resurrection still. Shawn will be posting a separate update with his updated coverage of Z-Nation, The Walking Dead, and more. Also, be on the lookout for a complete overhaul of the formatting of DEADtime TV. 

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Scream Factory Brings CANDYMAN FAREWELL TO THE FLESH To Blu-ray On 1/6/15

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So, Candyman isn’t on Blu-ray yet, mostly because it’s a SONY title, and Twilight Time have had dibs on it for what seems like 3 years now. That’s not stopping Scream Factory from bringing us the sequel, however. Today they announced the street date, as well as the bonus content that would be included, in their Blu-ray release of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, hitting store shelves on January 6th, 2015. Check out the press release below, for all of the disc specifics, and click here to pre-order your copy today.  Continue reading

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DVD Review: The Taking of Deborah Logan (Millennium)

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Prior to the DVD showing up in my mailbox, I had never heard of The Taking of Deborah Logan, formerly known as The Taking. No press release was sent out, no promotional still, posters or trailers, just an ominous notification from FedEX(or UPS, I can’t remember) that a package from Millennium was en route. After asking several colleagues, it would appear that almost everyone I know in the world of genre journalism, had this mysterious DVD en route. Most of us had already written it off, due to the generic sounding name, and the even less-effective front cover. A movie we’d never heard of, seen advertised, that was being pushed out without a request process? Surely that can’t be good. However, once word started trickling down from the first couple of brave souls that took it on, that the film was not only worth watching, but that it was actually pretty damn good, I instantly became intrigued. To add fuel to that fire, a week prior to the DVD release date, the movie was streaming in HD on Netflix. Apparently Millennium really wanted people to see This creepy little movie, but didn’t have the money to spend on an advertising campaign. That’s unfortunate too, because I think if this would have received a theatrical release, with a better name, poster and an effective trailer, this would have put some asses in theater seats. Continue reading

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BB – Exclusive Interview with Writer/Director CJ Wallis

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For any of you who may still be unfamiliar, BB is the new project from CJ Wallis, owner of FortyFPS Productions. His work is synonymous for outstanding camera work and cinematography, as well as a signature modern, yet classic look. BB is his return to the horror/thriller genre after taking time away to do documentary filming for hip hop artist Curren$y and his JetLife record label. Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review – The Doctor and the Devils (Scream Factory)

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Unlike most of what Scream Factory puts out there, this would be my first exposure to The Doctors and the Devils. I had never even heard of the film, if I’m being entirely honest. One thing I like about the label is that every so often, they challenge my prejudices when it comes to the type of films I usually watch. I’ve always gone out of my way to avoid period movies, unless there is a really good reason to watch them. Depending on the subject matter, and the period that is being recreated, of course. Anything that takes place during the 1800s, that isn’t about Jack the Ripper, is going to have a hard time keeping my attention. Continue reading

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