Weapons at the ready as slasher DESECRATED gets a UK release

desecrated1Weapons at the ready as slasher DESECRATED gets UK release

Michael Ironside (Heritiks, Turbo Kid), Haylie Duff (Napoleon Dynamite) and Gonzalo Menendez (The Dark Knight Rises) star in Rob Garcia’s debut feature DESECRATED, a gripping psycho-killer thrill ride, which has a UK DVD and VOD release on May 16, 2016.

Synopsis: Allie (Haylie Duff) and her friends head to an isolated ranch owned by her father (Michael Ironside), but the trip turns deadly when they find themselves being hunted by the groundskeeper (Gonzalo Menendez), a delusional ex-military operative with a dark secret and some very sharp weapons.

The film also stars Heather Sossaman (TV’s Hawaii Five-O), Wilmer Calderon (Fast and Furious), and Paul James (TV’s Greek). It’s written by Cecil Chambers, directed by Rob Garcia and produced by Evenflow Entertainment & Triumphant Pictures.

DESECRATED comes to the UK courtesy of TriCoast UK. The DVD is released through Fusion Media Sales.

Scalps (1983) Blu-Ray Review

scalpsScalps (USA, 1983)
Dir: Fred Olen Ray
Starring: Jo-Ann Robinson, Richard Hench, Roger Maycock

Available on Blu-Ray from 88 Films – April 4th 2016

Plot: Looking for more Native American relics for his university, a professor sends out a group of students out into the wilderness to find some. Undeterred by warnings from the locals, the students set up camp and start digging.DJ (Robinson) tries to get her friends to stop when she feels uneasy about desecrating the sacred grounds. It’s too late however, something evil has been awoken and intends to seek revenge upon the students.

Scalps draws in it’s audience by being as weird as possible in it’s pre-title scene, using bizarre imagery and giving us absolutely no context. This includes a vicious decapitation and weirdest of all, what I can only describe as a lion in a wizard’s robe. Not a wizard wearing a lion mask, although the actual mask that the actor is wearing seems to be only partially functioning with it’s animatronics only working on the left side of it’s lion face. If this image doesn’t make you deathly curious about just what the hell is going on, you’re not curious enough.

scalps1This is followed by a pretty standard slasher movie set up as the students load up into a station wagon, excited more about shagging in the wilderness than the planned archaeological dig. They stop for a little car repair and to disregard the Native American man who warns them not to mess about with the cursed ancient relics that they plan to dig up. It’s at this point that our top candidate for Final Girl, DJ begins to show that’s she’s not fully onboard with the dig, and the other students dismiss her too as weird.

Scalps starts to drag it’s feet for a while, the group start their dig and there’s the usual sneaking off for shenanigans but the latter doesn’t really get any blood pumping, or lead to any of the blood letting that we’re eager for. The group gradually stumble upon the supernatural forces in the area, usually highlighted by the shot of an evil looking face fading in and out of shot.

scalps3Going into this film and seeing the locations it’s shot on, I was expecting something a little closer to The Hills Have Eyes albeit with a dated and less progressive representation of Native Americans. Instead we have something a little closer to Pet Sematary, using dark Native American magic as a means to kill off their cast. Scalps is technically a possession movie as one of the students becomes possessed by (and slowly turns into) a Native American renegade. His Transformation mostly happens off screen, with the actor running into shot with more prosthetic make up that borders between caveman and insensitive caricature. There is one part of his character that makes it clear that this is a transformation and not a different character and that is his blue jeans, which also adds some unintended comedy.

Not really a slasher classic and dated by it’s appropriation of Native American culture, Scalps is likely to fade into obscurity, although 88 Films’ Bluray release keeps it alive for all the lovers of obscure horror movies. They do there best to restore the footage as best they can, making it watchable even though the picture quality does suffer in certain scenes. 88 Films also fills the bluray with plenty bonus features and packages the disc with it’s usual high quality, reversible sleeve. Bonus features include trailers, commentary, and featurettes about Scalps.

scalps2While limited with a low budget, Scalps could have easily gotten away with being weirder than it is. It sticks to the slasher movie formula a little too much and I would have enjoyed it with more Lion Wizard, but we don’t get anything too interesting. Definitely one for the hardcore slasher fans.

4/10

The Mutilator (1984) Blu-Ray Review

mutilator1The Mutilator (1984)

Starring: Mat Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers

Directors: Buddy Cooper & John Douglass

UK Dual Format Blu-Ray & DVD release from Arrow Video Feb 15th 2016

I always love to snap up the oldies when they get a new release on Blu-Ray; they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore! ‘Bloody’ Buddy Cooper’s brainchild The Mutilator, A.K.A. Fall Break, is a fun, camp, totally mid-‘80s slashfest that combines the creativity of Friday the 13th and the sympathy and humour of Sleepaway Camp. Before even starting the movie, I liked it. The Blu-Ray menu is blessed with an extract of the movie’s theme song, performed by Peter Yellen and the Breakers (one of whom is writer-director-producer Cooper) – an instantly catchy and upbeat retro pop song which also serves as the opening credit music.

This use of ironic soundtrack to juxtapose the violence is somewhat reminiscent of David Hess’s musical contribution to Last House on the Left, which may push the cheese level into overdrive for those who can’t appreciate techniques of the era, but made me feel quite at home.

mutilator2The introduction is a compelling one, which tugs at the heartstrings and lands the audience’s sympathy somewhat with the character who goes on to do all the slashing. Young Ed leaves a birthday note for his father and makes a start cleaning his shotguns as a gift, when he accidentally shoots his mother dead. The father, a surly and burly man, finds them and, much against his usual behaviour, we guess, takes the blame and confesses to murder.

Years later, Ed (Matler) is in high school, and his friends complain that there’s no way to pass the school holiday in their boring little dump of a town. So when Ed receives a call demanding that he close up his father’s beach villa for the winter, the crew jump on the opportunity for a little fun, and a road trip is underway. Along for the ride are his prudish virgin girlfriend Pam (Martinez), essential sex-crazed couple Mike (Morey Lampley) and Linda (Frances Raines) and slightly more restrained couple Ralph (Hitchcock) and Sue (Rogers). They are a very standard dead teenage bunch, and with frigid Pam on board, she’s pretty much guaranteed a free invincibility cheat when it comes to who’s getting butchered.

mutilator3I mean, it goes without saying that they start getting butchered, and I shan’t disclose who’s behind it all, but I shall say that though the set-ups for the murders are wonderfully stupid (“Come on you guys, quit messin’ around!”) and a few of the kids are in the habit of incessantly thinking out loud, the attack sequences are imaginative, with impressive make-up effects. It really ticks all the boxes for a fun old slasher movie, and let’s face it, the fun has always been of equal importance to the fright.

Yes, the acting is pretty bad, but yes, in a sort of ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ way, and it’s comfortable for this sort of movie. All good horror fans know to approach dead teenager movies from any era with an open mind, especially ones from the 1980s, churned out when the slasher bug had firmly burrowed itself into the cultural ear, following on the heels of the some of the more admirable and professional horror efforts of the ‘70s. Semi-amateur production, below-standard acting, and the majority of effort being put into special effects just go with the turf.

The Mutilator is a thoroughly entertaining movie, with a stirring beginning and ending, and a hell of a lot of fun in between.

Rating: 8/10

mutilator4DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

Brand new 2K restoration of the unrated version from original vault materials.
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations.
Original mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray.
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Introduction to the film with writer-director Buddy Cooper and assistant special make-up effects artist/assistant editor Edmund Ferrell.
Audio Commentary with Cooper, Ferrell, co-director John Douglass and star Matt Mitler.
Audio Commentary with Buddy Cooper and star Ruth Martinez Tutterow.
Fall Breakers: The Story of The Mutilator brand new feature-length documentary on the making of the splatter classic featuring interviews with Cooper, Douglass, Ferrell, Mitler, actors Bill Hitchcock, Jack Chatham and more.
Mutilator Memories special make-up effects artist Mark Shostrom looks back at one of his earliest projects.
Tunes for the Dunes composer Michael Minard reveals how The Mutilator s unique score was created.
Behind-the-Scenes Reel
Screen Tests
Alternate Opening Titles
Trailers and TV Spots
Fall Break Theme Song (Original and Instrumental Versions)
Opening Sequence Storyboards
Motion Stills Gallery
Original Fall Break Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM content)
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artworks
Region: Free

The Orange Man (2016) Review

orangeman1The Orange Man (USA, 2016)

Dir: Stephen Folker

Starring: Ben Rollins, Dave Juehring, Trena Penson

Available on DVD & Limited to 100 Blu-Ray from Legless Corpse Films

http://leglesscorpsefilms.com/product/the-orange-man-limited-edition-bluray/

Plot: When Gerald’s (Juehring) wife, Deborah (Penson) leaves him, Gerald uses a work project as an excuse to rally his old group of friends for a trip away. Renting a cabin near the orange plantation that his work is developing, Gerald and his friends plan to have some fun and do a little fishing. Unknown to them, the area is stalked by a crazed killer, a hook handed orange farmer who started killing after people stopped buying his oranges. Soon the killer has his sights set on the group and the Orange Man claims more victims.

There’s something to be said about the ability for slasher movies to assimilate any gimmick regardless of how ridiculous. As long as you can come up with 5 or 6 kills centred on a theme, you can make a slasher movie out of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any good but with enough determination it can still be made. Stephen Folker and his crew definitely had that determination when it came to making The Orange Man, and it looks like they had a lot of fun making it too.

orangeman2The Orange Man follows the classic slasher formula, a group of friends go out to the woods to have fun but get murdered instead. Despite the traditional set up, The Orange Man has quite a bit of originality in it’s casting. The film is centred round a group of middle-aged guys rather than the usual group of teens, although they don’t act that much different. The Orange Man is more of a horror comedy rather than a serious slasher horror, focusing more on low brow humour than building suspense. If you like Troma films, this should be a good film for you.

I mentioned that the older cast act like teens so I’ll elaborate, the majority of the dialogue revolves around them talking about their sex lives, there’s one character who sneaks off to spy on a skinny dipper and has a wank, and at one point the group beat up Deborah’s new boyfriend without any sort of repercussion. While this might come off as endearing coming from a group of teenage boys, too young to know what’s good for them, coming from a bunch of guys pushing fifty, it’s just a little sad. Combine that with the excessive number of bathroom jokes and it’s a cringy level of low brow that I just don’t enjoy.

I was worried that by having such an oddly specific theme for the killer that the kills were going to be repetitive but I was pleasantly surprised. The Orange Man manages to vary it’s methods of death, with several orange related kills, or through the use of the killer’s other key feature, his hook hand. That being said, the problem with this film isn’t the stalk and slash moments but the scenes the bookend it. The film opens incredibly slow and if you’re not on board with the humour it takes a while before anything really interesting happens. The ending loses steam twenty minutes from the end, dragging it out much longer than seems necessary.

orangeman3While it’s an interesting take on the slasher sub-genre, The Orange Man is far from a classic and I doubt it would benefit from becoming a franchise with endless sequels (except maybe one set in space, I’d probably watch that). The Orange Man himself is not an iconic enough character to invest in. Maybe if he were more interestingly designed, he could become something better but for now he’s just another one hit wonder.

5/10

The UKHS Writers Christmas Horrors – O’Hellige Jul! aka Christmas Cruelty (2013)

The UKHS Writers Christmas Horrors

O’HELLIGE JUL! A.K.A. CHRISTMAS CRUELTY (2013)

Directors: Per-Ingvar Tomren and Magne Steinvoll

Stars: Eline Aasheim, Tormod Lien, Per-Ingvar Tomren, Magne Steinvoll

UK RELEASE TBC

The film opens on a terrified family, bloody, bound and powerless to resist as a sadistic psychopath (Tormod Lien) has his way with them — even their infant child. Afterwards we are introduced to our ‘heroes’ — a group of youngsters looking to have a good time: long-suffering Per-Ingvar (Tomren), who is disabled; angry and misogynistic Magne (Steinvoll); and Eline (Aasheim), their feisty but caring friend. The three discuss festive customs, create and don masks to terrify the townsfolk and create their own potent mulled wine.

However, they have become the latest targets of the psychopath we saw earlier. A seemingly respectable family man, his work at the NAV (an agency that handles benefits for the unemployed, homeless and disabled) has led him to Eline and her friends. And now he’s plotting to deck their halls with blood…

If you’re after ‘merry and bright’, Christmas Cruelty is NOT for you. This is a sick and sadistic Grindhouse flick for those who want horror to horrify.

The plot, written by Janner Iren Holseter, Anita Nyhagen, star Aasheim and stars/directors Steinvoll and Tomren, tells a simple, a linear story that follows a serial rapist and murderer as he plans his next attack and his potential victims. This means we get plenty of characterisation after that explosive opening, before a seriously disturbing final act, which leads to some rather erratic pacing. In fact, if it weren’t for the opening scene, it could be mistaken for a slacker comedy.

I enjoyed this mid-movie lull, as it gives us a reason to care about the characters before Serial Santa strikes. It also lulls the audience into a false sense of security, which heightens the horror of the later scenes, but less patient viewers may find this section drags. However, strange as it sounds to say about a film that features gruelling torture and sexual assaults, there’s a lot of black humour in the script.

Magner’s outbursts lead to some hilariously creative insults, while the interaction between him, Tomren and Aasheim manages to be both witty and natural. There are also bleakly humorous moments with Lien’s psycho, including an interaction with a shop clerk that shouldn’t be as funny as it is.

However, funny as these moments are, this IS a hard-hitting horror flick, and it gets bloody. The film might have a micro-budget (as evident in the number of hats that each member of the crew donned) but the special effects never disappoint, with buckets of blood and gore on display before the end credits roll.

Which leads to another area in which O’Hellige Jul! excels — for as those credits roll it’s accompanied by one of the great tracks on the film’s awesome soundtrack. Impressively, actor/director Steinvoll performed most of the music himself. He’s a talented guy and his rocky/bluesy songs mixed with a selection of traditional Christmas tunes make this soundtrack reminiscent of a festive Tarantino flick.

Steinvoll, Tomren and Aasheim are all as good in front of the camera as behind it. Each is great, making their characters likeable and believable. I especially liked the charming Aasheim, but the most impressive cast member is the terrifying Lien. He’s best known for 2007’s Jakob – mannen som elsker Jack Nicholson and Jakob og campinglivets farer, a pair of family films, so his intense work here is a massive departure. The writing of his role is clever, his profession is an excellent piece of social commentary — he’s a social worker employed in a benefits department who can be generous benefactor or a destructive ruiner of lives.

Finally, Steinvoll and Tomren are excellent directors, ensuring that the framing of each shot heightens the mood of the scene. The grainy filmstock just adds to the ambience, giving the film a gritty Grindhouse feel.

With an extreme level of festive sadism, Christmas Cruelty is no John Lewis ad. Its depravity won’t be for everyone, but if you’ve got the stomach for it, O’Hellige Jul! is a nasty little Christmas gift to genre fans that I thoroughly recommend you unwrap as soon as you can.

8/10

The Scope of Horror by Christopher Stewart

The Scope of Horror by Christopher Stewart

October is a distant memory as we draw to the end of November but I can’t help but think back to the Halloween month, when people discuss what’s the best horror films. Numerous top ten lists to decide what to watch on the spookiest night of the year. More lists will be spawning around the web shortly to decide what was the cream of the crop for 2015 as we enter December. This article isn’t to discuss that, everyone is entitled to what they thought was the best this year or what are the best horror films ever. Instead I want to turn the focus on the other discussion, the discussion that determines why some of your favourites aren’t horror.

In every comment section of every top ten article, the horror fans are up in arms. Why is Shaun of the Dead in that list?! Don’t you know it’s a comedy! Why is Se7en there!? It’s a Thriller. Underworld!?! Are you mental? The lines where horror crosses over into other genre are loose boundaries, areas of contention. It seems that some people are afraid to walk too close to the horizons of horror in fear of falling off the side into some genre oblivion. A nightmare abyss where Rom-Coms lurk.

 

I’ve often had to defend the Horror Comedies when it comes to their place on my horror DVD shelf. They are often disqualified due to their inability to generate dread compared to a true horror film. I would say that when it comes to the properties of a horror film, how scared it makes me is not a factor that I care deeply about. If I was to judge my horror film collection based on that sole characteristic, my shelves would be quite bare. It’s more about the content the film offers, morbid tales of monsters and murder are how I would determine a horror film.

That personal boundary is challenged by one specific genre cross, the Action Horror. Films like Resident Evil, Underworld, and Van Helsing, don’t really fall under my personal scope of what horror is. The reason for that is due to the characters’ lack of vulnerability. There’s a similar issue when it comes to horror gaming, one example being Condemned 2. While there are a bunch of monsters raising hell, there’s also a protagonist with an unnatural level of badassery, equipped with either magic powers, genetically modified superpowers, or a long history of kicking ass and taking names. It’s the reason why I wouldn’t classify Predator as a horror film, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a powerhouse who can go toe to toe with his monster. In comparison to Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead, Arnie has a much tighter grasp on his situation than Pegg does.

 

The other genre that battles for the classification of horror films is the Thriller. With films such as Se7en, Silence of the Lambs, and Shutter Island, it’s often questioned which camp they fall under. The term Thriller is often joked as being “A horror film with a shot at an Oscar” due to The Oscars long time snubbing of the horror genre. I’d usually determine a thriller based on which perspective the film is being seen from, particularly if it is coming from a police investigation angle. The inclusion of an investigation usually moves the film away from a stalk and kill formula and asks questions to the killer’s motivation and providing the film with a more intellectual approach. However this usually only accounts for films with a human killer, and yet there is the sub-genre of the Supernatural Thriller which tries to “legitimise” paranormal and monster movies under the Thriller header.

 

At the end of it all, horror is still subjective. If you want to only recognise the films that scare you, it’s going to limit your appreciation of an extensive genre. A genre that takes the old folk tales of vampires and werewolves, and splices it with modern life either as side-splitting comedies like What We Do In The Shadows, or as gun-toting leather-fetish showcases like Underworld. The more film makers get weird and wild with the boundaries of horror, the more original stories we’re getting, for better or worse. You just have to decide if you want to step off into that abyss.

Splatter University (1984) Review

splatter1Splatter University (US, 1984)

Dir: Richard W. Haines

Starring: Forbes Riley, Dick Biel, Ric Randig

Available on DVD & Blu-Ray now from 88 Films

Buy direct from 88 Films own shop here – http://88-films.myshopify.com

Plot: Julie Parker (Riley) has just started teaching at St. Trinians University, a Roman Catholic run University full of raucous students who just want to party and get laid. Not everything is so laid back at the University though, an escaped mental patient is loose on campus. The maniac has already killed the teacher Julie is replacing and is making quick work of the students. Who is this crazed killer and will Julie solve the mystery or meet her fate?

SU1I’m a sucker for a splatter movie, visceral films like Evil Dead, Bad Taste or Street Trash have the kind of manic imagination that are guaranteed to blow you mind. So with a name like Splatter University, I went in expecting big things. If I’m honest I got confused and thought it was a sequel to Slaughter High (1986) although quickly realised that wasn’t the case (I mis-remembered the name and the fact that it came out two years later should have been a clue). Slaughter High was a similar film, a maniac on campus slasher film. It also had some amazingly imaginative kills. That was the bar that I had set for Splatter University.

The first main difference between those two films is that Splatter University isn’t really a slasher film in the same respects. It’s more of a “Whodunnit” style murder mystery, focusing on Julie’s investigation and the mystery of who the maniac is. The film does implement some misdirection, there’s lines of dialogue like “…find out who he is” “Or she!” to try and throw the audience off the scent. This film lacks a notable killer, lacking a Voorhees or a Myers, and tries to build up the suspense with the fact anyone could be the killer. Except it’s more likely to be one of the three characters that Julie really interacts with.

su3For a film that takes place in a university, the film doesn’t focus too much on the students, instead opting for the staff in the main roles. The female students are just fodder, the only male character to die is the doctor that the maniac kills (although I’m pretty sure he appears again at the end and he was stabbed in the crotch rather than the heart so maybe not dead). The male students are either trying to sleep with the girls, getting angry at them for not wanting to sleep with them, or being entirely unphased when they turn up dead. There’s an interview in the bonus features of the blu-ray that mentions the film’s misogynistic moments in the film, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a criticism of misogyny in society or just early slasher films, or if it was a message at all.

su2The second difference between Splatter University and Slaughter High is that Splatter University lacks the imaginative and diverse kills. For a film with Splatter in the title the film isn’t that gory and there is only one murder weapon, a large knife. Splatter University was Haines’ directorial début and distributed through Troma who are famous for championing low budget horror films so I could give Splatter University a pass based on budget constraints, but I’ve also seen a lot more imagination from low budget horror films so it’s not getting off so easy.

Even if it mixed in a couple of other murder weapons, this film would be a lot more interesting to watch. I think that practical gore effects are comparable to stage magic tricks and seeing a knife getting dragged across someone’s forehead (Why the forehead?) with a trail of fake blood behind it, it’s kind of the inter-linking ring trick of horror effects. Everyone knows how it’s done and nobody is impressed.

su4Splatter University is dull. It’s predictable and lacks flare. It’s the sort of film I could only recommend to hardcore slasher movie fans who really want to watch something obscure, but there’s a reason that this film is obscure. It doesn’t have much to offer.

88 Films has done a good job in their release of this film for their Slasher Classics Collection, offering features including stills, tv spots and theatrical trailer. It also includes an interview with Slasher Expert, Justin Kerswell, and more surprisingly Richard W. Haines’ most recent film “What Really Frightens You“. Two films for the price of one. Although maybe it would be better to watch Haines’ next film, Class of Nuke ‘Em High instead.

3/10 (Film)

SPECIAL FEATURES

Brand New 2K Scan and Restoration from the 16mm Interpositive
Restored Soundtrack
Bonus Film! Richard W. Haines’ What Really Frightens You (2010)
Audio Commentary by Director Richard W. Haines
Splatter Scholar: Interview with Slasher Expert Justin Kerswell
Stills Gallery
Trailer
TV Spots
Trailer Reel
Reversible Sleeve

The Killage (2011) DVD Review

killageThe Killage (Australia, 2011)

Dir: Joe Bauer

Starring: Rita Artmann, Joe Bauer, Dryden Bingham

UK DVD – 26th October 2015 from Monster Pictures

Plot: A work retreat goes wrong when a masked psychopath starts to pick the employees off one by one.

The Killage is the first feature film by writer/director/actor/editor, Joe Bauer. Bauer’s vision in The Killage is a spoof of the slasher movie genre, much like Scary Movie. It picks on the tropes and clichés of the slasher movie all the while following those same clichés to reach the film’s conclusion. I went into this film knowing absolutely nothing about it, assuming that the title “The Killage” meant something along the line of a village full of killers, rather than slang term in the sense of “Whoa that’s some immense killage! It’s off the chain.”

killage2Speaking of The Killage’s killage, it does an admirable attempt at the slasher movie ironic death. The stronger examples include the jock (creatively named Jock) being killed with his bar-bells. Bauer tries to match up each archetypal character with a fitting death but some characters don’t really fit an archetype, but also don’t really have a fleshed out character so they get killed with coincidental weapons such as the deck of cards that character was using earlier. The characters are so basic, cookie cutter characters. They are given a singular character trait and that is their whole personality, they are fodder of the weakest variety.

The film does manage to do a lot with what little budget it has. There’s some stand out stuff in their when it allows itself to be imaginative but that imagination didn’t stretch that far. Making fun of slasher movies for being formulaic and cheesy has been done to death. When Scream did it, it was calling out lazy film makers to step up their game. When Scary Movie did it, it managed to make every gross out joke possible. The Killage finds little new material to bring to the table. There was a couple of observational gags that hit the nail on the head but they’re in the minority.

As I said before The Killage follows the exact same clichés that it’s parodying and following that well-beaten path it feels like I’m being begrudgingly pulled along. The characters aren’t very likeable so this is another film where you’re just there to watch them die. That works for some people but I found it a bit tedious.

killage1I can enjoy a good schlock-fest if it’s got something weird and fun about it, film’s like Gingerdead Man where the premise is so silly you just want to watch. The Killage however is like so many other films, trying to beat that puddle of blood and organs that once was a horse called Slasher movie parodies. If you enjoyed Scary Movie, and then Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The Thirteenth, and you’re still hungry for more, The Killage is for you. Whatever you do, don’t get your hopes up for a film about a village full of killers, this isn’t it.

3/10

Horror Slasher INTRUSION hits USA & Canada just in time for Halloween

IntrusionposterprAn ‘INTRUSION’ Just in Time for Halloween

The horror slasher “Intrusion” will be released on DVD and blu ray in the U.S. and Canada on October 27th and soon after worldwide VOD.

Fans can pre order the film right now at www.Intrusionmovie.com or http://sglmoviestore.com/horror/intrusion/ where a list of several mainstream retailer links are provided, along with where they’ll be for sale when the film releases on October 27th.

“Intrusion” stars Katie Stewart (Overtime, Revelation Trail), Lee Haycraft and Teresa Lawrence (Ace Ventura Jr, Beethoven’s Big Break).

Synopsis: Holly Jensen leads an overly dramatic life. It’s one that is spent trying to avoid her problems and forget the past. Best friend Kali has the perfect solution to making Holly feel better. It’s a game called “Wrong Number”. However, the man on the other end finds the joke less than funny and decides to play a game of his own. A game where Holly will become the pawn. It’s a character-driven thriller where everything has consequences and something as beautiful as a rose can be turned into any woman’s, worst nightmare.

The DVD and Blu-Ray are loaded with special features that include:
-Trailer
-Commentary with Writer/Producer Craig Everett Earl, Katie Stewart, Lee Haycraft and Teresa Lawrence
-Photo Gallery
-Behind the Screams
-Sneak Peek at the upcoming Intrusion:Disconnected sequel due out in 2016 also starring Scream queen Tiffany Shepis

 

Madman (1982) Blu-Ray Review

madmanMadman (1982)

Directed by Joe Giannone.

Starring: Paul Ehlers, Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, Tom Candela, Frederick Neumann.

UK Release – OUT NOW on Dual Format DVD/Blu-Ray from Arrow Films

Some good extras on the disc including an introduction by writer producer Gary Sales and Ehlers who plays the crazy farmer of the title. A nice intro by 2 very proud filmmakers. There’s a catch up 35 years later with Sales, Ehlers and Candela who played Richie in the film. And a feature length making of documentary. Trailers, pictures. A piece about musical influences and an old interview.

The picture is pretty decent, some of it is slightly scratchy and grainy, but overall not at all bad.

Onto the film, well, let’s get this out of the way straight away. It has nothing to do with advertising executives, though that world may be slightly more cut throat.

We start off with campfire ghost stories, one of which is sung by TP, yes, that’s the characters name and no he isn’t a tent. The singing is scary enough, but it is a nice opening. Once TP is done murdering song, Head man Max relates the story of Madman Marz. Some are chilled, there are kids here as it’s a camping trip, and some find it funny. The Madman axed to death his wife and kids, he was hung by a lynch mob who found his body missing the following morning when they went to cut him down. The corpses of his family also disappeared, never to be seen again. Though, to be honest, I don’t think anybody looked very hard.

madman1One of the kids, Richie, goes off on a wander and the counsellors one by one go looking for him not realising that the Madman is real and on the prowl. Silly counsellors.

The deaths are fairly good fun, a couple mostly because I couldn’t wait for Marz to get around to them. The only real problem I had was I never found myself rooting for anyone. It doesn’t hurt its enjoyment, but it’s always nice to have someone you can get behind…and I don’t mean with an axe.

The John Carpenteresque soundtrack is cool. The synth sound really works well here and the Ballad of Madman Marz is a fun song, when not being murdered around a campfire.

The acting is a little wonky, the characters one dimensional at best and the choices they make are just laughable. But, there is something really likeable about it all. Madman Marz doesn’t do much beyond killing the cast off one by one. No snappy one liners, no hockey mask and he’s not too accurate with his axe, but he is a better than average bad guy, especially when strangely almost tip toeing behind a potential victim. There’s a love here for the film being made which comes across on screen. It moves along at a good pace and the silly aspects kind of endear you to it a little more.

madman2I’m surprised there hasn’t been a sequel as it deserves one and it would have been interesting to see what they would have done with Mr. Marz.

There have been far worse films that have spawned franchises and although there has long been talk of a remake it has so far failed to see the light of day. Maybe if someone says his name above a whisper, it may finally happen.

5.5/10