Sunday, March 31, 2019

THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974) Blu-ray review



The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) d. Roy Ward Baker (UK/Hong Kong) (89 min)

Black Belt vs. Black Magic! Hammer Horror! Dragon Thrills! The First Kung Fu Horror Spectacular!

After learning of a macabre vampiric cult, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and his son Leyland (Robin Stewart) team up with student Hsi Ching (David Chiang), his sister Mai Kwei (Szu Shih), their five martial arts expert siblings (each skilled in a separate discipline), and heiress Vanessa Buren (Julie Ege), traveling en masse to the village of Ping Kuei. Throughout their journey, the group encounters numerous brutal attacks and ambushes until they arrive at the golden vampires' derelict temple, inhabited by Dracula in the guise of evil sorcerer Kah (Shen Chan), setting the stage for the ultimate clash between good and evil!


Friday, March 29, 2019

WARNING SIGN (1985) Blu-ray review



Warning Sign (1985) d. Hal Barwood (USA) (99 min)

BioTek Agronomics, a military-grade research facility located on the Utah plains, experiences an “incident,” with several of the employees exposed to a newly created virus that sparks homicidal impulses (along with some unsavory suppurating skin bumps). Button-pusher Joanie (Kathleen Quinlan) finds herself trapped inside, with the infected scientific team growing more and more hostile, while her lawman husband Cal (Sam Waterston) works alongside – and sometimes against – the officious Major Connolly (Yaphet Kotto) and cynical egghead Dr. Fairchild (Jeffrey DeMunn) to get her out.


Monday, March 25, 2019

DO IT YOURSELF (2017) DVD review



Do It Yourself (2017) d. Dimitris Tsilifonis (Greece) (98 min)

From the land of legendary god, heroes, monsters, and olive oil comes this clever, self-aware crime drama about a third-rate criminal, Alkis (Konstadinos Aspiotis), who makes a deal for early release – agreeing to a recorded confession exonerating a corrupt businessman, Daniel Bezerianos (Christos Loulis). The “shoot” goes off without a hitch, renting out a studio space at the local porn flick factory, but when it becomes clear that it’s much easier for the crooks to start with a blank slate (with their songbird dead), the bargaining stops and the battle of wits begins.


Sunday, March 24, 2019

MURDER PARTY (2007) DVD review



Murder Party (2007) d. Jeremy Saulnier (USA) (79 min)

Chris (Chris Sharp) doesn’t have much going for him in terms of a social life; his Halloween plans consist of a war of wills with his chair-dominating feline and watching a few scary movies rented from the local video store. When a seemingly random “Murder Party” invitation floats his way down the sidewalk, he seizes the opportunity to create an impressively off-the-cuff cardboard knight costume (designed and constructed by Sharp himself) and heads out for the night, pumpkin loaf in hand. He finds himself among an eclectic group of artists who have assembled in a secluded warehouse, only to discover that he is to be the object of the described festivity.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) Blu-ray review



The Body Snatcher (1945) d. Robert Wise (USA) (78 min)

Arguably Boris Karloff’s finest onscreen performance, this is another great-looking piece of atmospheric horror from producer Val Lewton. Karloff’s Cabman Gray, oozing ill-intentions and menace while remaining innately likeable, emerges as one of the most intriguing characters in film, regardless of genre. Gray has been employed as a grave robber to provide cadavers for Dr. Wolfe “Toddy” MacFarlane (Henry Daniell) to use at his medical institute. When there are too few corpses to satisfy demands, Gray goes about supplying them through “other means.”


Friday, March 22, 2019

THE WITCHES (1966) Blu-ray review



The Witches (aka The Devil’s Own) (1966) d. Cyril Frankel (UK) (91 min)

Following a traumatic experience involving witch doctors and voodoo while in Africa, fragile but recovering Gwen Mayfield (Joan Fontaine) accepts an appointment in a small and secluded English village. Alan Bax (Alec McCowen), his sister Stephanie (Kay Walsh), and the entirety of the local community welcome the Haddaby School’s new headmistress with open arms. But beneath the quiet and quaint surface, a sinister secret society holds sway, singling out two young sweethearts (Ingrid Brett, Martin Stephens) for a dark and mysterious purpose and it’s up to Gwen to face her fears and challenge the forces of evil before it’s too late!


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SKINNER (1993) Blu-ray review



Skinner (1993) d. Ivan Nagy (USA) (88 min)

“He’ll get under your skin!” So goes the tagline for this twisted little slice of serial killer madness, with an Ed Gein-inspired drifter Dennis Skinner (Ted Raimi) moving into the spare room of lonely young housewife Kerry (Ricki Lake) and her boorish truck driver husband Geoff (David Warshofsky). Dennis spends his days stalking the streets of L.A., picking up streetwalkers and separating them from their hides (visualized in graphic fashion by the goremeisters at KNB) and nights endearing himself to the neglected lady of the house. But unbeknownst to anyone except the manager of the sleazy hotel across town (David Schiff), a mysterious, trenchcoat-wearing blonde named Heidi (Traci Lords) has her eye on the freaky bladeslinger, her horribly scarred body a witness to his savagery and the whetstone for her revenge.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

KOLOBOS (1999) Blu-ray review



Kolobos (1999) d. Daniel Liatowitsch / David Todd Ocvirk (USA) (87 min)

An advertisement seeking individuals to participate in an “groundbreaking experimental film project,” one that involves living in a secluded mountain lodge together under constant observation via omnipresent videocameras, attracts a quintet of varied and attractive participants: troubled artist Kyra (Amy Weber), unfunny comic Tom (Donny Terranova), aspiring actress Erica (Nichole Pelerine), clean-cut college co-ed Gary (John Fairlie), and extroverted fast food worker Tina (Promise LaMarco). With their social dynamics primed to be exploited, things take a nasty turn when all the exits and escapes are sealed and an array of mechanical boobytraps make their lethal presence known. To make matters worse, a self-torturing sadist (Ilia Volok) dubbed “Faceless” has incorporated himself into the mix, seeking to hasten their collective demise.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

THE HOUSE (aka HUSET) 2016 DVD review



The House (aka Huset) (2016) d. Reinert Kiil (Norway) (88 min)

Set during WWII, two German soldiers, Nazi officer Kreiner (Mats Reinhardt) and German soldier Fleiss (Frederik von L├╝ttichau), are escorting a Norwegian prisoner (Sondre Krogtoft Larsen) back to base. But as their compass falters, maps conflict, and the sun sets in the south, it quickly becomes apparent that sinister forces are at work. With supplies running low and desperate from the cold, they stumble across an empty farmhouse near the forest. They take shelter (after replacing the Norwegian flag flying outside with the Swastika, naturally) and encounter warm stew bubbling on the stove and all creature comforts in place – but no visible inhabitants. However, there are those noises coming from upstairs, behind the door with the strange symbols….


Friday, March 15, 2019

JACK THE RIPPER (1959) Blu-ray review



Jack the Ripper (1959) d. Robert S. Baker / Monty Berman (UK) (81 min)

While other films had previously been produced based on the notorious Whitechapel slayings of 1888, including Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger (1927), this feature from producing/directing team Baker and Berman (and distributed in the US by legendary showman Joseph E. Levine) was the first to call the Ripper by name in its story (and title, for that matter). It also represents the first time the iconic imagery of a caped figure with top hat roaming the London streets had been seen on screen (though it had been referenced in literature). Despite the talents of legendary scribe Jimmy Sangster (The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula) and being as effective as many of Hammer’s post-Psycho black-and-white thrillers of the early 1960s, it failed to resonate with audiences on its initial release and slipped into relative obscurity.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

SNOWFLAKE (2017) Blu-ray review



Snowflake (2017) d. Adolfo K. Kolmerer / William James (Germany) (121 min)

Set in a near-future Berlin, the murders of two different families spark a collision course of revenge, with a supremely varied ensemble of bizarre characters bumping each other off en route to a final confrontation. However, the twist-within-a-twist is that their ongoing misadventures are apparently being conceived and manifested by a screenwriting hobbyist (Alexander Schubert) who has included himself in his own story. Now hunted by a pair of cold-hearted assassins (Erkan Acar, Reza Brojerdi) who have stumbled onto a partial draft of the script, it’s a race against time and fluttering keystrokes as to who will survive.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

LUCIFERINA (2018) Blu-ray review



Luciferina (2018) d. Gonzalo Calzada (Argentina) (111 min)

When a 19-year-old novice nun, Natalia (Sofia del Tuffo), reluctantly returns home to say goodbye to her dying father, family tensions reignite with her sister Angela (Malena Sanchez), as well as Angela’s violent boyfriend Mauro (Francisco Donovan). During her visit, Angela’s friends decide to travel into the jungle to meet up with a shaman who has distilled the liquid of a mystical healing (and potentially hallucinogenic/euphoric) plant. But instead of the ultimate high, they encounter terrifying visions, brutal slayings, and the sisters’ mysterious dark past rising up to haunt them.


Monday, March 11, 2019

THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957) Blu-ray review



The Deadly Mantis (1957) d. Nathan Juran (USA) (79 min)

After our titular prehistoric big bug is released from an iceberg in the Arctic Circle by an earthquake, it begins a southerly wave of destruction, eventually climbing up the Washington Monument and hiding out in New York’s Holland Tunnel. Released during the height of gargantuan screen mayhem, the menacing mantis murders everything in its path while military man Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and paleontologist Ned Jackson (William Hopper, 20 Million Miles to Earth) work feverishly to stop the beastly insect, with beautiful photojournalist Marge Blaine (Alix Talton) livening up the scenery.


Sunday, March 10, 2019

THE CRAFT (1996) Blu-ray review



The Craft (1996) d. Andrew Fleming (USA) (101 min)

When new student Sarah (Robin Tunney) falls in with a trio of “bad girls” (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True), they are soon dabbling in the dark arts with squealing abandon. Courtesy of a relatively chintzy ritual, the feminine foursome conjure “Manon, the Spirit of All Things” to allay their personal hardships (poverty, racism, romance, physical scars). At first, everything seems rosy as the supernatural forces work in their favor. However, the desires to sample blacker magic create a rift with Sarah’s “natural witch” and the breezy movie turns marginally malevolent as the conflict escalates.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Fool's Views (2/15 - 2/28)


Forget Letterboxd - I've got a system of my own....

Greetings!

The second half of February yielded a wealth of fright flicks for review from the good folks at Severin Films, Arrow Video, and Shout! Factory, as well as an unexpected plunge into the De Palma pool. (We also reactivated our Netflix account for a brief spell in order to enjoy a few exclusives, which you’ll see more evidence of in next month’s installment.)

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2019

INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS (1972) Blu-ray review



Invasion of the Blood Farmers (1972) d. Ed Adlum (USA) (77 min)

After a local townsperson staggers into a Jefferson Valley bar gushing blood from every orifice before dropping dead, “renowned pathologist” Professor Roy Anderson (Norman Kelley) and his assistant Don Tucker (Bruce Detrick) are shocked to discover that the blood cells themselves are reproducing at a greatly accelerated rate. Along with Anderson’s daughter (Tanna Hunter), who also happens to be Don’s Best Girl, and police chief Frank Spano (Frank Iovieno), our heroes discover that a cult of druids have moved into one of their neighbors’ farmhouses with a nefarious plot to raise their beloved Queen Onhorrid from the dead.