Maggie (2015) Review

maggie1MAGGIE (2015)

Director: Henry Hobson

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joely Richardson, Aiden Flowers, Carsen Flowers, Jodie Moore, Douglas M Griffin, J.D. Evermore, Bryce Romero, Raeden Greer

UK cinema release: 24th July from Vertigo

UK DVD/Blu-Ray release: 23rd November from Universal

The world has fallen prey to a deadly disease that turns sufferers into ravenous undead. There is no cure. However, unlike the bafflingly speedy infections of other zombie movies, in this film the disease takes an average of six to eight weeks to claim victims. The authorities are in control of the situation but the number of infected is placing a huge demand on resources. As such, individuals with the disease are processed into horrific quarantine pens.

Maggie (Abigail Breslin) is a teenager who has contracted the virus. The film opens with her father, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), walking into a quarantine unit to collect her after the family doctor has pulled some strings to allow Maggie home to spend time with her family before the end.

maggie2Upon getting back to the house we see her half-brother and half-sister bid her a sad farewell before they head off to live with their aunt. Quite understandably, Maggie’s step-mother Caroline (Joely Richardson) is concerned for their well-being but still wants to be there for her husband and the girl she has raised as her own in the tough times ahead.

Caroline isn’t the only one to have her reservations, as local lawmen Ray (Douglas M Griffin) and Holt (J.D. Evermore) aren’t pleased at having a walking biological hazard in the community either.

What follows is an in depth look at the physical and emotional trials Maggie faces as she draws closer to what scientists call The Turn. But what will Wade do when his little girl is lost to him forever? Will he endanger his life and those of the people around him through his undying father’s love?

When you imagine a zombie movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger you can’t help but picture a campy, high-octane, blood, brains ‘n’ bullets action romp.

Maggie is not that film.

maggie3This is first and foremost, a character study. It is barely a zombie film if the truth be told. A couple of heart-stopping encounters aside, there is very little in the way of brain-chewing undead. Much like the film’s ‘Necroambulist’ (see what they did there?) virus, this is a story prepared to move at a slower pace than a lot of zombie horror movies. Gorehounds should perhaps look elsewhere.

It could be seen as something of a gamble casting Arnie (who hasn’t exactly set the box office on fire since his full-time return to acting) in such a serious role, but a couple of clunky line deliveries aside, he is mostly up to the task of portraying the terrible turmoil his character is feeling.

The rest of the cast are uniformly superb, but special praise must go to the excellent Moore as Dr Vern and Oscar-nominee Breslin. She should already be familiar to genre fans for her roles in Zombieland, Haunter and TV’s Scream Queens, and for good reason – she is a revelation. Her chemistry with the Austrian Oak is astonishing and her subtle performance portrays complex emotions with ease. She really is the star of this film.

This is Henry Hobson’s first feature directing gig and it is an impressive début. The film has a washed out look, echoing the deathly pallor of the title character and tells its tragic story in a way that grips the viewer as it inexorably leads to the gut-wrenching climax. There are interesting sub-plots along the way, especially that of Maggie’s ex boyfriend and fellow infected Trent (Bryce Romero), but at its heart this is a story about a father and his daughter.

maggie4Saying this is a sad film might be an understatement. A warning to parents: this hits hard. I’ve never seen a cinema as morosely silent at the end of a film as I did when Maggie’s credits started to roll. It is not a date movie, but it is incredibly powerful, intelligent and moving — you NEED to see it.

I never imagined that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tears could possibly entertain as much as his muscles, but Maggie proves that I was wrong.

9/10

The Serpent and The Rainbow out in UK on DVD and Blu-Ray from Fabulous Films May 4th

satrThe Serpent and The Rainbow is to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray from Fabulous Films on May 4th.

Directed by Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) the film is based on the book and true life experiences of ethnobotanist Wade Davis. Filmed on location in Haiti, it’s a frightening excursion into black magic and the supernatural.

Wade Davis was named by the National Geographic Society as Explorer for the Millennium. His research has been the subject of more than 900 media reports and interviews in Europe, North & South America and the Far East. He has inspired numerous documentary films as well as three episodes of the television series The X-Files.

When Wes Craven released his first horror film The Last House On The Left in 1972, tenants in his group apartment were appalled and would no longer leave their children alone with him. People would walk out of the room he was in. Many were breaking in to the projection booths to destroy the films. Craven had to set up an editing room especially to repair prints that had been slashed.

Synopsis: A terrifying story of one man’s nightmarish journey into the eerie and deadly world of voodoo. A Harvard anthropologist is sent to Haiti to revive a strange powder that is said to have the power to bring human beings back from the dead. In his quest to find the miracle drug, the cynical scientist enters the rarely seen nether world of walking zombies, blood rites and ancient curses.

Cast: Bill Pullman (The Last Seduction, Independence Day) Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa), Paul Winfield (The Terminator), Zakes Mokae (Waterworld), Brent Jenings (Money Ball).

Extras: Trailer

Order Blu-Ray here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Serpent-Rainbow-Blu-ray-Bill-Pullman/dp/B00TTYAHOW/

Order DVD here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Serpent-Rainbow-DVD-Bill-Pulman/dp/B00TTYAHRY/

Automata (2014) DVD Review

automataAutomata (2014)

Director – Gabe Ibáñez

Starring – Antonio Banderas, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith

Automata is released on DVD & Blu-Ray from Lionsgate on May 4th

The year is 2044 and this humble film reviewer is fifty seven years old. Or at least, I will be if I manage to survive that long. You see, according to Spanish director Gabe Ibáñez’s film, at some point between now and then a drastic increase in solar flares has scorched the Earth and wiped out 99% of the world’s population. Thanks, Global Warming. The remaining population of the Earth are divided into two distinct categories: those that can afford to live in large bubble-like cities that protect them from Earth’s now radioactive atmosphere and those who can’t, and live in squalid ghettos outside of the city walls.

These large cities have been built, and are maintained, by robots, or Pilgrims as they are known. These robots have become a large part of everyday life – not only building and maintaining the cities but helping out around the home, catering to the needs of their human owners. The robots are programmed with two main protocols: the first is that they can not harm, or allow harm to be caused to a human life. The second is that they can not alter themselves, or another robot in any way. Jacq (Antonio Banderas) is an insurance fraud investigator for the robotics company who manufacture the Pilgrims. He is a down trodden man who hates his job and when a police officer guns down a Pilgrim unit who he claims to have witnessed self-repairing, it is Jacq who is tasked with investigating the matter. This leads to a chain of events that takes him deep in to the murky underworld of the ghettos, where robots are bought, sold, traded and altered (illegally) by people known as ‘Clockmasters’.

automata2This is film is very much inspired by the film noir of the 40s and 50s, you could easily imagine the likes of Robert Mitchum or Humphrey Bogart in the Banderas role. It is a slow burner, following the weathered protagonist as he attempts to unravel the mystery of how and why these robots are able to alter themselves. The robot effects are largely practical, which not only looks excellent, but adds so much to the texture and tone of the film. Ibáñez has crafted a grimy, gritty atmosphere, reminiscent of Blade Runner or more recently, the work of Neil Blomkamp. As well as looking wonderful, this is a thought provoking story, which throws up many questions around the nature of evolution, morality and of life itself. If you’re in the market for a Terminator style, Man vs Machine action flick, then you won’t find it here. What you will find is a rewarding, well directed, superbly acted and beautiful looking film.

8/10

Automata is available to order from Amazon UK NOW here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Automata-DVD-Gabe-Ibáñez/dp/B00TSEW5LQ/

Elijah Wood & Sasha Grey in ‘Open Windows’ UK DVD & VOD

openwindowsOPEN WINDOWS
Out on DVD 20th April
Released Digitally 13th April

From revered horror writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, comes the “fiendishly inventive” follow-up to modern cult favourites TIMECRIMES and segment ‘A’ of THE ABCs OF DEATH…

Director
Nacho Vigalondo

Cast
Elijah Wood (Maniac, Sin City, Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
Sasha Grey (The Girlfriend Experience, Would You Rather)
Neil Maskell (Kill List, TV series ‘UTOPIA’)

Open Windows is released in the UK on VOD 13th April and DVD 20th April from Koch Media.

You can order the DVD now from Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Open-Windows-DVD-Elijah-Wood/dp/B00ST9QSKK/

SYNOPSIS

When Nick (Elijah Wood) discovers that he’s won a dinner date with his favorite star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), he’s incredibly excited to finally get the chance to meet her. That excitement deflates when Jill refuses to honour the contest and all of Nick’s hopes are dashed. He’s intrigued when Chord (Neil Maskell), a man claiming to be Jill’s campaign manager, offers him something he can’t quite refuse: Chord will give Nick the ability to constantly view Jill via computer. Nick is initially reluctant but ultimately cannot resist the opportunity to gain unlimited access to the woman of his dreams. However, Nick soon learns that everything comes at a price, and what starts as the realisation of his fantasies soon becomes a nightmare that puts him and Jill in serious danger.

openwindows2OPEN WINDOWS takes the techno thriller further, borrowing its playbook from classic voyeuristic films such as REAR WINDOW (1954) and PEEPING TOM (1960). Spanish genre trickster Nacho Vigalondo (“Timecrimes,” “Extraterrestrial”) combines all these cinematic elements and cultural influences to tell a lurid tale of celebrity obsession, blackmail and murder; with plenty of clever twists delivered in an intricately designed cyber world – not too unfamiliar to the audience.

The film stars Elijah Wood, once again playing against a type established with the hugely successful LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy. OPEN WINDOWS is evidence again of his range and love for cult sci-fi and horror, following on from his recent performances in MANIAC (2012) and GRAND PIANO (2013).

QUOTES

“Elevates Hitchcockian suspense to jittery new levels of mayhem and paranoia.” Variety

“Hugely impressive” Sci Fi Now

“Inventive” UK Horror Scene

“Open Windows is a thrilling and suspenseful” HeyUGuys

“Taut and tense thrill-ride that with some of the most impressive filmmaking techniques seen in many a year.” Flickering Myth

“Plays a like a high tech Hitchcock thriller, with Elijah Wood excelling at the ‘wrong man’ Movie Ramblings

Curse of The Witching Tree (2015) DVD Review

witchingtreeCurse of The Witching Tree (2015)

Writer, Producer, Director: James Crow

Cast: Sarah Rose Denton, Lucy Clarvis, Lawrence Weller

Running Time: 90 minutes

UK Release date: 18th May 2015

UK Certificate: 15

A classic tale of a cursed past brought bang up to date with unexpected scares to boot.

Opening with an atmospheric and concise prologue, we learn the story of a local woman who was accused of brutally murdering her son and subsequently hung as a witch. She cursed a nearby tree and all the children who played around it, causing further loss and horror. Flash forward 500 years and a troubled family move in to their new home, an old farmhouse near the woods and the cursed tree itself. Their arrival sets in motion a chain of events that reawakens the ghosts of the past and the family find themselves terrorised in the midst of this classic horror setting.

Dropping us straight in to the action, the plot moves along swiftly, exploring the tensions and issues faced by the family. With their father being in a coma and a new environment to adapt too, they have enough on their plate. So when the son (Jake) is bullied in to playing with a Ouija board and unleashes old spirits, he finds both himself and his family in grave danger. The script is exceptionally well structured and cleverly weaves the different story strands together. The family’s own personal troubles compliment the main plot, adding a depth to the film that otherwise might be lacking.

kid bath 2James Crow, writing, producing and directing his first feature, has not only constructed a strong story, but also displays a talent for pacing and style. Haunting music hits you from the very outset, adding to the production value and opening up what is essentially a small scale story. It’s a smart choice that adds style to a well-produced film. From the beginning the tension is slowly built, with small scale scares that genuinely make you jump. The action then moves along at a pace that would be hard to fault. That’s not to say there isn’t the occasional horror cliché, such as taking a bath at an inappropriate moment, but rather than jar, these moments are executed cleverly enough for you to smile and enjoy.

Further in to the film, we are introduced to some important new characters that serve to add another layer and provide more information for both the audience and the existing characters. It is a credit to both Crow and the actors themselves that this manages to feel natural rather than too contrived. There are a few moments that feel a little expository, but again, I was happy to overlook them in order to get to the next scare.

The main cast deliver some great performances, particularly Lucy Clarvis (as daughter Emma) who seems a visually perfect actress for the horror genre. She has an ethereal, light quality but also exudes a strong presence. As she drives the story forward, she creates a believable, relatable character. Sarah Rose Denton and Lawrence Weller (as mother Amber and son Jake) complete the strong central trio. Although I was initially distracted by the feeling that Sarah Rose looked a little young to be playing Lucy’s mother, her performance won me over. Equally, Lawrence (in his first film role) does a sterling job of portraying the terrorised young boy.

screaming with blood eyesThe Curse of the Witching Tree ties together all its elements to create a well-rounded horror film and for a 15 certificate, there are more scares and disturbing images than you might think. It may be that there is a little too much going on at times, but when you are having this much fun, that seems like a churlish comment. Ultimately, Crow juggles the domestic and the horror plot expertly and delivers a glorious ending that definitely hits the mark.

7 out of 10

Curse of The Witching Tree is available to order from Amazon UK here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Curse-Witching-Tree-Sarah-Denton/dp/B00SX54D9S

Lionsgate announce UK Release for Sci-Fi Action Thriller AUTOMATA starring Antonio Banderas

Automata_DVD_Sleeve_RETAIL.inddUK Release for Sci-Fi Action Thriller AUTOMATA starring Antonio Banderas

Fast forward thirty years into the future where mankind is struggling to survive as the environment around them deteriorates, whilst technology thrives.

Antonio Banderas stars in this intense sci-fi action thriller as Jacq Vaucan, an agent for ROC robotics corporation, who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocol: not to harm humans. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future.

From the producers of The Expendables franchise and also featuring a great supporting cast, including Dylan McDermott (Olympus Has Fallen), Melanie Griffith (Hawaii Five-O) and Academy Award® winner Javier Bardem (Skyfall).

Lionsgate UK Release AUTOMATA On Demand 27th April & Blu-ray and DVD 4th May, 2015

Automata is available to order from Amazon UK here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Automata-DVD-Gabe-Ibáñez/dp/B00TSEW5LQ/

And in the meantime here is the trailer

Judas Ghost (2013) Review

JudasGhost-DVD-2DJudas Ghost (2013)

Director: Simon Pearce

Starring: Martin Delaney, Lucy Cudden, Simon Merrells, Alexander Perkins

Judas Ghost is released in the UK from Bulldog Films on April 20th

We don’t take any shit from the hereafter.”

Five Ghost Finders from the Carnacki Institute have been sent to a village hall to investigate a suspected haunting and film a training video for the Institute at the same time. They’ve been told it’s just a typical haunting, people getting the willies and children making creepy drawings. The group is lead by brash and overconfident Jerry Mackay (Delaney) the team sets up in the empty village hall and goes to work.

All is not what it seems, psychic Anna Gilmore (Cudden) can’t detect anything in the hall, not even traces of the living which it should be rife with. They guess that something very powerful is masking itself but of course all thoughts of leaving are shot down by Mackay who constantly (and in the face of evidence to the contrary) insists that it’s just a typical haunting and everything will be fine. But of course far more is going on than anyone on the team suspected and the Carnacki Institute leaves it’s investigators to their fate. Supposedly the Institute is watching it all go down from somewhere safe and cozy with ample popcorn.

jg3Judas Ghost is a locked room mystery and in an interview with Simon R. Green, author of The Ghost Finders series and scriptwriter of Judas Ghost, he explained that they had a much larger movie in mind. However the film they wanted to make cost too much so he had to go back to the drawing board. He devised Judas Ghost as a stage play. The film has one setting (aside from a few brief flashbacks) and five actors. In such circumstances, and on such a limited budget, a lot rests on the performances. Luckily everyone is up to the task. The acting is topnotch and the film makes good use of the few special effects it can afford and while not particularly scary, there is a sense of mystery and suspense maintained throughout.

The flaws of the film double as its strengths. It’s not really scary and it looks like a cheaper episode of Supernatural. It feels like a television pilot and at one point when the screen went black I fully expected a commercial break. It takes a long time for anything more than a few haunted house standards to happen (a piano plays by itself). Also Jerry Mackay (Delaney) is incredibly irritating, his dialogue consists mostly of varying iterations of “We can handle this”, although he does finally lose it at one point which turns out to be pretty satisfying.

Another minor irritant is cameraman Mark Vega (played by Simon Merrells). He alone seems to know what is happening, or at least a close approximation as he has run into something similar before. He dribbles information only when the plot demands it and it comes off as withholding important information. The ghost of the title doesn’t show up until well toward the end and he is a little anti-climactic. Gloating like a cartoon villain.

jg2Flaws aside it’s a great lesson for film makers on how make good use of a small budget. Show to aspiring filmmakers, older children, and fans of Supernatural. For curious book lovers there are a series of Ghost Finder novels, and if you know any Simon R. Green fans this one is for them.

Kudos for: The Exorcist gag and Shakespeare quote.

Final lesson: Always bring a towel.

6/10

Available April 20 from Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judas-Ghost-DVD-Martin-Delaney/dp/B00U2MTL60/

Rabid (1977) Blu-Ray Review

rabidRABID – 1977
DIRECTED BY: DAVID CRONENBERG
STARRING: MARYLIN CHAMBERS, FRANK MOORE, JOE SILVER, HOWARD RYSHPAN, PATRICIA GAGE
BLU–RAY
ARROW VIDEO

David Cronenberg’s follow up to the unexpectedly successful Shivers (1975) is an equally bizarre and suitably warped take on the Vampire movie. Coming to Blu-ray with the usual handful of Arrow extras it is an interesting time to be revisiting Cronenberg’s back catalogue. These early works may lack the finesse of his later masterpieces, and certainly the slick style of his more recent works, but they offer fascinating insight into the auteur’s mind and set the tone for what was to come. Even his work on more traditional ground like A History of Violence (2005) and Eastern Promises (2007) owe much to these early forays into dark body horror.

Bigger in scope than Shivers, Rabid follows young couple Rose and Hart (Chambers and Moore) who find themselves in a horrific motorcycle accident. Taken to a clinic for surgery, Rose finds herself at the mercy of a group of doctors using experimental techniques. She awakes to find herself thirsting for human blood, and through a strange phallic lump under her arm proceeds to drain and infect everyone she comes in contact with.

Cronenberg has always preferred scientifically inclined horror to the supernatural. Offering up strange contortions of the human form and a juxtaposition of the body’s physical resilience with its vulnerability to disease, he has always found new ways to shock and disturb. And he has certainly never been afraid to go to some very controversial places in his career. Like Shivers (1975) before it Rabid represents early steps towards the greatness that would be fully realised in films like Videodrome (1983) The Fly (1986) and Crash (1996). Rabid is structurally very similar to Shivers, and uses a similar set-up and template; albeit on a slightly bigger canvas that before. Again, Cronenberg seems preoccupied with ideas of medical malpractice and venereal disease and how they warp and mutate the very essence of what we are. The casting of the late Marilyn Chambers, a porn star by trade, seems to hammer the point home; ideas of sexual exploitation are suggested and then turned around as the films predators ultimately become the prey.

rabid1For all its big themes and big ideas however, Rabid strangely feels less confident than its predecessor, and as such hasn’t aged as well as it could have. Essentially a B-grade exploitation flick, it has ideas well above its station and as such feels more relevant than similar films of the era. But where Shivers still feels relevant Rabid feels like an historical footnote in Croneberg’s career; suggestive more of things to come rather than feeling like a complete vision in itself. This is especially apparent in the film’s final scene, which seems to have accidentally wondered in from a George Romero movie and is at odds with the more singular vision Cronenberg has tried to create. That’s not to say Rabid is a failure; it has plenty of hints and ideas that would develop over later films and help shape Cronenberg into one of the foremost auteurs working in cinema today.

Arrow have put together another decent package for fans and completists here. Most of the material is retrospective but there is plenty to enjoy and it is always interesting to see how filmmakers react and respond to things differently over the years. Cronenberg as always, makes for an engaging interviewee and his recollections are worth the cover price alone. There is also a brilliant 1999 documentary called Directors that examines Cronenberg’s career up to that date and features fascinating insight from many of the people that have worked with him over the years. There are new interviews with producer Ivan Reitman (of Ghostbusters fame) a big champion of Canadian cinema and pivotal in kick starting Cronenberg’s career. The director himself provides an audio commentary as does William Beard, author of the book The Artist as The Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg.

rabid2The film is presented as well as could probably be hoped, and it looks okay in hi-def. Some scenes fare a little better than others, but it will probably be the supplemental features that talk fans into swapping their DVD’s for the Blu-ray. All in all it is another quality release from the folks over at Arrow and it still amazes me that they are able to put together such quality releases in an increasingly difficult market. Now if only someone would put out decent Blu-ray versions of Scanners, Videodrome, and Crash…

Film 7/10
Extras 8/10

Mother’s Day (1980) Blu-Ray Review

Mothers_Day_BR_2D_PACKSHOT_RED_1024x1024MOTHER’S DAY (1980) BLU-RAY REVIEW

Director – Charles Kaufman

Starring – Rose Ross, Nacy Hendrickson, Holden McGuire, Deborah Luce

Run Time – 90 minutes

Blu-ray Label – 88 Films

OUT NOW

Loving sons always do what their mothers tell them to… even if it’s to kill! A mad matriarch (Rose Ross) and her two maniac sons kidnap and torture three women in their backwoods cabin! – 88 Films.

Once upon a time banned in the UK, Mother’s Day now gets an uncut UK Blu-ray release thanks to 88 Films. For a Troma movie it manages to have a degree of seriousness that carries the plot (although it does have it’s weaknesses).

The first 30 minutes the false scare tactic is favoured. The girls keep pranking each other that they are being attacked/are attackers, as teen girls apparently like to do. It becomes tiresome after a while, there is only so many times it can work before the viewer will get bored of it.

Thankfully when the girls are attacked for real (never thought I’d write such a thing) it is a relief that it isn’t another swerve on the viewers. It is violent and disturbing, breaking the otherwise cheery tone the previous half an hour had built up. We get to meet the truly disturbing family that will carry out all manner of grisly acts on these women…

mothers1They are a dysfunctional family that functions perfectly fine within its own home, as it were. They are dysfunctional in the sense they think nothing of kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing people. Functional in a sense because they are so warped that they believe what they are doing is just another part of the daily routine, in their household these horrific things bring pleasure and entertainment. However, it’s them alone who will enjoy inflicting misery on young girls.

The girls manage to fight back and escape, changing the tone of the movie again, this time from a slasher to a survival feature. The women are determined not to be killed and trek through the woods to ensure they avoid recapture. They fightback in a bloody and equally savage way, that feels like a role reversal on several levels. They attack the attackers, and violate those that violated them. It brings up an interesting approach on gender and role reversal in a slasher, giving Mother’s Day some depth.

High definition is kind to Mother’s Day. While some imperfections are noticeable, the colours are strong and the image is sharp. The picture still has a gritty feel to it though that compliments the atmosphere of the feature.

Special features.

Amongst the usual commentary and trailers, the disc has the following notable extras…

Charles Kaufman Intro (2 mins) – Filmed from his bakery, Charles comes across as a likeable bloke. He’s honest, saying he would make the film with less gore if he could, then saws off his own ‘arm’. Old habits die hard, it seems.

Behind the Scenes (Super 8 footage, 10 mins) – Kaufman talks over silent clips of behind the scenes clips. The extra gives a glimpse into how the special effects were made.

mothers2Eli Roth (13 mins) – The ‘biggest fan’ of Mother’s Day talks, a lot, about his love of the main feature and how it influenced his own movies. After watching this the viewer will no doubt be stunned by how much he knows about Mother’s Day.

Kaufman and Darren Bousman, Comic Con 2010 (8 mins) – A Troma TV clip of the pair talking about Mother’s Day. Bousman, amongst other titles, directed the 2010 remake of Kaufman’s movie. He explains why his version isn’t a remake that strictly sticks to the original. A certain Lloyd Kaufman briefly gatecrashes.

Verdict.

A movie that deserves more credit than it gets, Mother’s Day is a fine slasher flick.

6 out of 10.

James Simpson (@JSimpsonCritic)

Mother’s Day is available from the following outlets –

88 Films – HERE

Amazon UK – HERE

88 Films bring a Quadrilogy of Cult Classics This February

88filmsnewTHE MONTH OF VALENTINE’S LOVE JUST GOT EVEN HOTTER!

88 FILMS BRINGS YOU A QUADRILOGY OF CULT CLASSICS!

FROM A FLESH-FLAUNTING FAVOURITE TO THREE FEAR-PACKED POT BOILERS, FEBRUARY IS AN EXCITING MONTH AT 88 FILMS!

Now in our third year, 88 Films is looking towards 2015 with the hopes of bringing our fans yet more in the way of under-looked genre gems, certified masterworks of marginal cinema and an array of slice and dice standouts with our Slasher Classics sub-label. This month, 88 Films drives their proverbial movie machine into top gear with four famous popcorn flicks that we believe few fans of cult craziness will want to avoid!

88EskimoFirst up is ESKIMO NELL – one of the most celebrated British sex comedies of the 1970s. Featuring a witty script from MARK OF THE DEVIL’s Michael Armstrong (who also stars) and directed by a young Martin Campbell – years before he helmed the James Bond gems GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE – ESKIMO NELL is a hilarious satire on the low-budget British skin-flick industry of the time. The story focuses on three inexperienced filmmakers (Armstrong, Christopher Timothy and Terence Edmond) who attempt to make a movie version of the notoriously rude poem ‘The Ballad of Eskimo Nell’, with disastrous results. This classic British rib tickler features a cast of famous faces including Roy Kinnear (THE THREE MUSKETEERS), Katy Manning (DOCTOR WHO), Christopher Biggins (THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW), Diane Langton (CARRY ON ENGLAND) and a cameo from the decade’s premiere sex kitten Mary Millington in her début movie appearance. Digitally re-mastered from the original film elements, and with a host of special features, ESKIMO NELL makes its way onto British BluRay for the very first time.

ESKIMO NELL SPECS:

Available: 16/02/2015, RRP 19.99 Blu-ray, £12.99 DVD

– New HD Transfer from preserved 35mm Film Elements Transferred and restored at Pinewood Studios
– Brand-new audio commentary with Michael Armstrong and historian Simon Sheridan
– Reversible sleeve with alternate poster art – Booklet notes by Simon Sheridan
– WILD LOVERS Bonus short Mary Millington film – Stills Gallery
– Theatrical trailer
– All Regions

88mothersdayNext up is the continuation of our Slasher Classics line with three timeless terror totems.
Leading the lacerations is one of the most notorious and controversial horror shockers of all time: 1980’s matriarchal masterpiece MOTHER’S DAY. In this frequently censored frightener, we are introduced to three twenty-something women who are about to embark on a camping trip to hell. Our helpless heroines are stalked and snatched by a pair of psychosexual brothers and their insane parent – but oestrogen proves tough to overcome and MOTHER’S DAY ultimately provides us with a chair-gripping, sanguine- stained battle of the sexes. Prepare to be disoriented and disturbed by one of the true greats of eighties independent terror! Considered to be an essential entry in the backwoods-slasher genre, MOTHER’S DAY debuted in 1980 to critical confusion – but gained a fan following that includes such Hollywood heavyweights as Eli Roth (HOSTEL) and Brett Ratner (RUSH HOUR). Indeed, Ratner would eventually produce a lavishly budgeted 2010 remake, starring Rebecca De Mornay, although – as in most cases – it is the original which is most potent and powerful! Thirty-five years after its premiere, MOTHER’S DAY has lost none of its knife-sharp satire and this influential splatter outing remains recommended to the most seasoned of scary movie fans.
MOTHER’S DAY SPECS
Available: 23/02/2015, RRP 19.99 Blu-ray

– Fully Uncut!
– Audio Commentary by Charles Kaufman and Rex Piano
– Charles Kaufman Intro -Rex Piano Intro – Behind the Scenes Super 8 Footage
– Eli Roth on Mother’s Day
– Charles Kaufman and Saw’s Darren Lynn Bousman talk Mother’s Day
– Theatrical Trailer
– TV Spot
– Graduation Day Trailer
– 88 Films Trailer Reel
– Booklet by Dr. Calum Waddell featuring a conversation with star Nancy Hendrickson
– All Regions

88slaughterhouseAlso arriving with a bloodstained bang in February is 1987’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE! And if you loved THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES then you are sure to pig-out with the sicko-shocks of eighties fright-favourite SLAUGHTERHOUSE. This corpse-ridden classic introduces one of the screen’s most memorable madmen in Buddy a cleaver-wielding backwoods baddie who, along with his father Lester, doesn’t take kindly to trespassers. Buddy was brought up killing and packing meat, but now his rage turns to teens and market-capitalists seeking to buy-out his dad’s property. The end result is a tongue-in-cheek terror totem that returns from the dusty VHS vaults to BluRay in this great new worldwide premiere HD master – scanned from the original negative by director Rick Roessler!
SLAUGHTERHOUSE SPECS
Available: 23/02/2015, RRP 19.99 Blu-ray

– Brand New Director Approved UNCUT HD Transfer
– Rick Roessler Interview
– Audio Commentary by Rick Roessler and executive producer Jerry Encoe
– Jerry Encoe Interview
– Raw On-set Footage
– Buddy Meets the Public Classic Featurette
– Theatrical Trailers
– TV Spots
– Collector’s Booklet By Dr. Calum Waddell
– All Regions

88woodsLast but certainly not least we come to one of the original UK video nasties: 1981’s DON’T GO IN THE WOODS. This delirious camper-crippling offering doubtlessly attracted the attention of the anti-horror brigade due to its misanthropic madness and non-stop splatter action. A must-see slasher shocker, DON’T GO IN THE WOODS is a Utah-lensed, limb-lopping bout of slice and dice lunacy which also packs in plenty of comedic carnage and a natural park setting that provides a touch of creepy claustrophobia. Once banned but now available in all of its uncut outrageousness, 88 Films is proud to present DON’T GO IN THE WOODS with a new HD transfer overseen and approved by director James Bryan!
Available: 23/02/2015, RRP 19.99 Blu-ray
– Fully Uncut!
– Brand New 2K transfer overseen and approved by director James Bryan
– Audio Commentary by Director James Bryan
– Group Commentary by Deron Miller, Mary Gail Artz and James Bryan
– The Making of Don’t Go in the Woods -Talk Show Appearance -Theatrical Trailer
– Poster & Production Stills Gallery -88 Films Trailer Reel -Reversible Sleeve
– Collector’s Booklet By Dr. Calum Waddell featuring an interview with James Bryan
– All Regions