Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

stryper

Stryper – Live in Indonesia at the Java Rockin’ Land

UK Distribution – Wienerworld   –  69 Minutes

Released – March 25th 2013 – http://www.wienerworld.com/stryper-live-at-java-rockin-land.html

Now if you had talked to a young me say in 1987 and told me to watch a live Stryper DVD I would have told you in no uncertain terms to *do one* . I was a young thrash fan heavily into bands like Slayer, Metallica, Dark Angel, Venom, Celtic Frost and Stryper were looked upon as a dirty blot on the face of heavy metal which back in the 80’s was littered with anti-christian sentiment . I would never have listened to Stryper (but I may have a little bit).

Stryper were huge in the 80’s with their debut EP The Yellow and Black Attack released in 1984 and their 1986 album To Hell With The Devil spent 3 months in the USA Billboard charts and went on to sell well over 2 million copies. So its hard to believe that they just gradually dissolved in the 1990’s and just disbanded.

At the back end of 1999 they reformed and in various guises have been touring since , but currently as with this DVD it is the original “classic” Stryper line-up of Michael Sweet, Oz Fox , Tim Gaines and Robert Sweet.

This DVD was recorded at the Java Rockin’ Land festival in Indonesia in 2010.

This is a classic festival stage show , very little going on so basically we have Stryper with instruments and that is all. In front of a fairly good sized crowd Stryper kick off with Sing-Along Song and immediately I heard how tight they sounded . The DVD features all their classics including Calling on You, Soldiers Under Command , To Hell With The Devil and more. Michael Sweets vocals are fairly good with a couple of exceptions but still bloody good for a guy who is nearly 50. Oz Fox’s guitar was bang on as was Tim Gaines bass, and Robert Sweets gurning efforts on the drums were good and hilarious to watch at the same time.

Now I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this , BUT I really got into it. It is strange that after 25 years I actually still remembered some of the songs and even lyrics. The crowd are fairly static , but saying that they are in sections due to security fencing. The sound is pretty good and the camera does a good job at showing all 4 members and not just focusing on Michael Sweet.

So all in I enjoyed this , it would be good just to have on in the background as visually it is nothing special but as a retro return to God Rock from the 80’s it is a lot of fun.

On a final note God must be looking down on Stryper as all 4 members have great heads of hair and that can’t be said for most approaching 50 metalheads .

Calling on You for a good 6/10

This is another release from the great UK distribution company Wienerworld who have been supporting independent releases since 1981 and have a huge selection of very varied titles on offer – please check them out . http://www.wienerworld.com/

Tracks:

· Sing Along Song
· Murder By Pride
· Loud ‘N Clear
· Rock That Makes Me Roll
· Reach Out
· Calling On You
· Free
· More Than a Man
· Honestly
· Open Your Eyes
· All for One
· The Way
· Abyss/To Hell With The Devil
· Soldiers Under Command

 

 

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Devil-Riders-DVD

Devil Riders (aka Poker Run)  2009

Dir. Julian Higgins  –  97 minutes

101 Films UK DVD

Allan (J.D. Rudometkin) and Robert (Bertie Higgins) are two suburban lawyers who are bored with their everyday normalcy and are seeking something more.

Whilst out at a local bar they run into a couple of bikers – Billy (Jay Wisell) and Ray (Robert Thorne) who agree to sell them a couple of bikes so our lawyers can live their fantasy of doing the *Poker Run* and having the freedom for them and their wives of the open road.

Little do they know that Billy and Ray are a pair of psychotic bikers who will stop at nothing to play a life and death game with their now kidnapped wives across the desolate Mojave landscape.

Well this film really is all over the place, there is no character development or any real back stories. It is almost like the writer had an idea of some crazy bikers who take some RUBs (Rich Urban Bikers) wives hostage in the desert and set them some grisly tasks so they can get their spouses back. And just built a story around that without much thought to detail for the start or finish of the films.

It is a shame as there are some very good elements to this , some great deaths and real nasty turns along the way. A great performance by Robert Thorne as the enigmatic biker Ray who really is a psychopath , unfortunately this is not the same with the rest of the cast.

The scenery and isolation of the Mojave really adds to the film as Allan and Robert’s increasingly desperate attempts to find their wives leads them to commit all types of crimes while under the puppet master guidance of Ray.

A decent attempt at a biker road film , but lack of decent script, actors and story ultimately let this down and it ends up just being another biker film.

Lots of potential, but really ends up a mess – a shame 5/10

Released in the UK by 101 Films – please take time to check out a great UK company – http://pinterest.com/101FilmsUK/

pokerrun

 

 

Deathdream

Deathdream (aka Dead of Night) 1972

Dir. Bob Clark   –   88 Minutes

Andy Brooks (Richard Backus) is a young soldier in Vietnam, his family back home have not heard from him in quite a while when they get a knock on the door. The family are told Andy has been killed in action and are devastated , the following day unexpectedly Andy returns home and the family put this down to a mix up by the Army.

Everyone is so overjoyed to have Andy home that they seem to turn a blind eye to his ever stranger behaviour, and just put it down to his war experiences.

Soon though Andy becomes more introverted and takes to just rocking in a chair in his room and has become almost mute in his lack of speech.

Andy’s father (John Marley) soon gets to the end of his tether and also hears that a local bus driver was killed on the same night that Andy returned and the only passenger on the bus was dressed in an army uniform. And his sister Cathy (Anya Ormsby) also seems to realise that all is not quite right with her brother.

The only person who is blind to Andy’s strange ways is his loving mother (Lynn Carlin) who is so happy her son is fine that she cannot see what is developing in front of her.

During the film we see Andy’s slow degeneration from a young man to a sickly pale almost vampiric figure who seems to decomposing in front of our eyes. Its then we realise that Andy is in fact a zombie or the walking dead and he needs blood and flesh to stop his from rotting.

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But this is far from just an early zombie film,  directed by the great Bob Clark (whose next 2 films were Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and the classic Black Christmas) this is a story of the return from Vietnam and the mental fatigue and physical exhaustion that many young men suffered and the intolerable strain that this put on them but more so on their families.

Lynn Carlin is fantastic as a mother who just believes that her son is a good boy and refuses to see any evil as she is just so happy to have him back after thinking he had died. And John Marley plays the heavy handed, heavy drinking father with great aplomb.

Richard Backus is the star throughout though as Andy, you really feel for him as we understand that he died at such a young age but is now having to commit acts of violence just to stay *alive*.

This is a must see film that captures the age superbly , there is so much feeling in this and also a very pertinent film for the time.

Lastly this is one of the first Zombie films although far from the films we are now used to . This is a well structured piece of cinema with a very tough message behind it but done in such a way that only Bob Clark could do. Do not watch this a pure zombie/horror film but remember what the year was and what was going on both politically and socially in the USA.

One last note for Zombie fans is that this was a certain Tom Savini’s very first film he worked on and what a film !!

A real classic in the zombie genre 8/10

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Reel Evil

Reel Evil (2012)

Dir. Danny Draven  –  80 Minutes

Full Moon Productions

Filmmakers Kennedy (Jessica Morris), Cory (Kaiwi Lyman) and James (Jeff Adler) are struggling however they catch a break when they are hired to film a behinds the scene’s documentary at an old abandoned mental institution.

What should be a pretty run-of-the-mill job soon turns into a nightmare as the crew get caught up in various ghostly goings on in the old building.

Now I am getting so tired of *found footage* films, it just seems to be that filmmakers with a limited budget use FF as a way to cut costs and deal with a lack of ideas (in many cases).

Unfortunately Reel Evil does just this. It is just a case of a thread bare plot, no back story, no character development, a poor script and so on. The acting to be fair was OK but I had no empathy with any of the characters and couldn’t care less about their predicament.

As a film set in an old disused mental asylum I was at least hoping for a few scares or jumps but not even one – nothing.

There is very little I can really say about this, it was such a disappointment with almost no redeeming features.

I was expecting something more especially from the press releases , with it being from Full Moon and from the trailer . But it seems the press pics were cherry picked from the film to make it seem far scarier than it is.

A reelly poor 1/10

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gangsterguns1

Gangsters, Guns and Zombies (2012)

Dir. Matt Mitchell  –  88 Minutes

Lionsgate Films (UK)

Yes it is another UK Zombie film with another awful title , but I guess the film does feature all of the above.

A gang of bank robbers are escaping from their crime and one has been shot meaning they must find either a hospital or get to their safehouse as soon as possible.

Unfortunately there has been an outbreak of the living dead that is slowing down their progress, and with in-fighting and running out of petrol the gang are in a race against time to get to safety and save each other.

However when one dies and the petrol does run out then they must make alternative arrangements and quick.

Now this is a much used premise , but then in the zombie genre trying to be original is extremely difficult with the huge amount of zombie films now out there. There is plenty to like in this film especially the last 30 minutes or so, but the start and first hour is just littered with the now compulsory cockney villains with far to many “cants and facks” , and the gang is made up of  the usual the Boss, the Moody, the Mental and the Muscle.

You get the feeling the director was trying to do a horror Lock Stock but it really doesn’t work , but with the micro budget there is still lots to offer the horror fan and some great humour too. The effects are OK nothing really special and some pretty dodgy CGI blood spurts too.

All in an average Zombie film with equal amounts of good and bad moments but for the budget its a sterling effort and really enjoyed the final 30 minutes.

So still really worth a watch and grabbing on DVD      5.5/10

Also the DVD comes with a fun 30 minutes documentary – The Making of Gangsters, Guns and Zombies (Fake Blood, Sweat and Tears)

 

 

 

ANTD

A Night To Dismember (1983)

Dir. Doris Wishman – 69 Minutes

Juri Productions

On the back of Halloweens success the great exploitation director Doris Wishman (Deadly Weapons, Satan Was a Lady, Double Agent 73) decided to have a go at a slasher herself. Casting porn star Samantha Fox as the lead Vicki shooting was done in 1979 and the film was sent off to the processing lab.

Whilst the film was being processed the lab was declared bankrupt and a disgruntled employee attempted to destroy several films of which this was one. Over 34 minutes of the film was completely destroyed so Doris Wishman set about trying to reassemble and finish the film.

She had to reshoot entire scenes , brought in new actors and had the whole thing cut back to 69 minutes. As entire scenes and much of the dialogue was ruined she had a police detective narrate the entire film from his point of view.

The film starts with Vicki being released from a mental institution where she was placed after the murder of 2 young men. Vicki’s brother and sister embark on a scheme to drive Vicki back to the institution by playing various pranks on her so she will think she is truly insane.

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Vicki also finds out her ex boyfriend Frank is with her sister and Vicki starts to have some good old softcore erotic hallucinations. Also I don’t know if it was just me but there did seem to be a lot of foot shots going on , lingering feet shots aplenty.

There are a series of murders at the same time as Vicki’s release and all fingers point towards Vicki but is she the guilty one??

This film is in reality a complete mess , scenes jump from one to the next with no continuity or sense at times. Doris did her best to restore this but this is almost impossible to follow.

Maybe it would have been best if Doris had just left this alone to go down in history as Doris Wishmans unseen slasher classic? But I was told that one of the reasons she finished it was that the rights had already been pre-sold to distributors so she had no choice.

A mess and a shame 3/10

ANTD2

 

555

555 (1988)

Dir. Wally Koz  –  90 Minutes

King Video Productions

555 was a straight to video release in 1988. Producer and Director Wally Koz and what seems like his entire family shot this in Chicago , and Koz who had no experience in film making was convinced he could shoot a decent slasher on a miniscule budget.

He was hoping to do everything himself , producing and directing along with marketing and distribution. And with various family members he did just that, however with no endorsment or rating from the MPAA almost every copy was seized and as few as 50 were released. Making this one rare VHS. However copies are available now on DVD from the USA.

The film starts with a young couple making out on the beach, they are then attacked and murdered by a knife wielding maniac who is according to an eye witness dressed as a hippie.

Now this isn’t your ordinary killer , oh no this one likes to rape the still warm bodies of the girls he kills. Now terror fills the town as the following night again another college age couple are killed in an equally horrific way. But hope arrives in the form of Sgt Connor and Detective Haller who are on the case along with the sultry news journalist Susan Rather.

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Together they try to find the killer who they realise kills on the 5th month every 5 years for 5 nights hence 555. So they must stop him before the end of the 5th night .

This is a grainy sleazy piece of 1980’s exploitation that features necrophilia, misogyny and really colourful language. Lots of bloody bare boobs abound and notice the one bloody scream for every female that gets killed .

Yes its not the greatest slasher or even near that but it entertains and thats what counts. If you get a chance to see Wally’s only film then do so and best served with beer and friends. A corny classic .

Way to go Wally Koz 6.5/10

Main Cast

  • Mara Lynn Bastian as Susan Rather
  • Charles Fuller as Colonel Peter Wayne
  • Bob Grabill as The Killer and Police Officer
  • Greg Kerouac as Sergeant Connor
  • Greg Neilson as Ralph Kennedy/Joseph Ralph Dwyer
  • B.K. Smith as Detective Johnny Haller
  • Wally Koz as Captain Luca

 

555-2

house_cried_blood

New York based production company Sideshow Pictures released this as their Halloween 2012 release .

Written and Directed by Frank Sabatella , it tells the story of four teens who on Halloween venture into the local haunted house. The house is supposed to be cursed by Old Lady Death who lost her two children in tragic circumstances.

The film is beautifully shot at times and has some really creepy moments that I enjoyed , however it is held back by some average acting, dodgy script and the death scenes and final shot are pretty poor which is a shame as it had real promise.

That said it is still 17 minutes of above average haunting horror that kept me gripped and was in the main very enjoyable.

I particularly liked the intro credits and all the poster art that accompanied this that gave it a real 1980’s horror video feel.

A good 6/10

So sit back and enjoy 🙂

 

 

The House That Cried Blood from Sideshow Pictures on Vimeo.

A few releases this week including the great Paranorman and V/H/S . Also many releases and re-releases from Palisade Tartan including Man Bites Dog , Ring and Audition. I could spend a few quid on this lot . Enjoy the list !

looperLooper [DVD , BluRay & Steelbook] Entertainment One
drwhoreignDoctor Who – Reign of Terror [DVD] 2Entertain
reretributionResident Evil: Retribution (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray) (Blu-ray) (DVD)[2012][Region Free] Sony UK
paranormanParaNorman (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy)(DVD + Digital Copy + UV Copy) Universal Pictures UK

vhsblurayV/H/S [Blu-ray] (DVD) Momentum Pictures

houseendstreetHouse at the End of the Street (Blu-ray) [DVD] Momentum Pictures

wrongturn1-5Wrong Turn 1-5 [DVD] 20th Century Fox

wrongturn5Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines [DVD] 20th Century Fox

piranhaPiranha [Blu-ray] [1978] Second Sight Films

primerPrimer [DVD] Tartan Video

paranormancoralineParaNorman 3D / Coraline 3D (Double Pack) [Blu-ray] [DVD]Universal Pictures UK

circlejerksCircle Jerks: My Career As a Jerk [DVD] [2012] Wienerworld
haxanHäxan – Witchcraft Through the Ages [DVD] Tartan

hollowHollow [DVD] Metrodome Distribution
replacementsThe Replacements – Color Me Obsessed (2 discs) [DVD] [2011] Wienerworld

eugeneEugene – Marquis De Sade’s Philosophy In The Bourdoir [DVD] Mediumrare

fearitselfFear Itself – Season 1 [DVD] Lions Gate

battleroyale2Battle Royale 2 – Requiem [DVD] Palisades Tartan
99women99 Women [DVD] Mediumrare

encountersspookyEncounters of the Spooky Kind [DVD] Cine-Asia

manbitesdogMan Bites Dog [DVD] Palisades Tartan
bloodrainBlood Rain [DVD] Palisades Tartan

theeyeThe Eye [DVD] Palisades Tartan

uninvitedThe Uninvited [DVD] Palisades Tartan

meancreekMean Creek [DVD] Palisades Tartan
ring2Ring 2 [DVD] Palisades Tartan
hillshaveeyesThe Hills Have Eyes / The Hills Have Eyes 2 [DVD] [2006] 20th Century Fox
ladyvengeanceLady Vengeance [DVD] Palisades Tartan

darkwaterDark Water [DVD] Palisades Tartan
doctorfaustusDoctor Faustus (3 discs) [DVD] Wienerworld

ringRing [DVD] Palisades Tartan
h6H6 – Diary Of A Serial Killer [DVD] Palisades Tartan

rpointR-Point [DVD] Palisades Tartan
versusVersus [DVD] Palisades Tartan

phonePhone [DVD] Palisades Tartan

tattooTattoo [DVD] Palisades Tartan

auditionAudition [DVD] Palisades Tartan

threeextremesThree Extremes [DVD] Palisades Tartan

ghostofmaenakGhost Of Mae Nak [DVD] Palisades Tartan
ataleoftwosistersA Tale Of Two Sisters [DVD] Palisades Tartan
badguyBad Guy [DVD] Palisades Tartan
thirstThirst [DVD] Palisades Tartan

house1000corpsesHouse Of 1000 Corpses [DVD] Palisades Tartan
venusfursVenus In Furs [DVD] [1969] Mediumrare

A short story of a Man and a Woman meeting in a bar. The woman recently divorced has her guard down and the handsome lonely man makes his move. They hit if off but the night doesn’t end the way the woman intended and she becomes his toy a bit more than she imagined. A real play on the dangers of a one night stand.

Shot over basically 48hours in the beautiful Ghost Town of ‘Gold Point’ Nevada. This is Melanie’s third short film which was solely produced, directed, production managed, AD-ed, costumed, art brought and put together under some serious stress in a week before the grueling shoot and drive to Nevada from LA. A minimal crew and camera and lighting kit. The sound had to be completely ADR-ed which was heart breaking and expensive. Post production and completion just as much a hair pulling nightmare as the shoot. This film is a baby I’d rather give up for adoption…this has been a beautiful failure to me. A lesson learned and a hell of a lot of my own money blown away in the wind. The next time I make a film I’m not doing it so much on my own again, in another country and under the personal stress I had going on at the same time. Julia and Darri where amazing and hey brought a real essence to the screen through a tortuous hugely ambitious shoot. Everyone else that has particularly helped me in POST production i am eternally grateful for your time and skilled crafts and polishes.

It’s going on the internet as it just may as well go somewhere…..thanks everyone involved X

Escape from Melanie Light on Vimeo.

Now I was going to review this but really the quote above from Melanie Light says it all.
However I will say that this is a visually stunning film , the landscape is fantastic and the sound (try wearing decent headphones whilst watching) was brilliant. This is one of the best shorts I have seen in the past year and deserves to be out there getting much more attention. Hopefully Melanie will go on to other projects soon.
A stunning 8.5/10 Watch it NOW !!

To watch more of Melanie’s work and find out more about this talent please visit her site – http://www.misartressmelanie.com/

escape