Sunday, May 19, 2019

SUBMERGED (2016) Blu-ray review

Submerged (2016) d. Steven C. Miller (USA) (99 min)

When a local business magnate (Tim Daly) cuts a goodly percentage of his work force, the ensuing negative press prompts the decision to promote his head of security (Jonathan Bennett) to full-time bodyguard in order to protect his daughter (Talulah Riley). Cruising home from a club with friends, their military-grade limousine is sent careening off a bridge by a gang of ruthless kidnappers and the race is on to escape their watery fate.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

SUTURE (1993) Blu-ray review

Suture (1993) d. Scott McGehee / David Siegel (USA) (96 min)

The wealthy and self-assured Vincent (Michael Harris) meets his blue-collar half-brother Clay (Dennis Haysbert) at their father's funeral and is struck by their similarity. He decides to murder Clay and take his identity, only Clay survives the assassination attempt with no memory and is mistaken for Vincent. The fact that Vincent is white and Clay is black only complicates a film that probes deeply into the nature of identity.

Friday, May 17, 2019

HELL NIGHT (1981) Blu-ray review

Hell Night (1981) d. Tom DeSimone (USA) (101 min)

As a fraternity/sorority initiation rite, pledges Marti (Linda Blair), Jeff (Peter Barton), Denise (Suki Goodwin), and Seth (Vincent Van Patten) must spend a night in Garth Manor, twelve years to the day after madman Raymond Garth supposedly murdered his entire family. As the legend goes, the body of the youngest child, Andrew Garth, was never recovered and still haunts the now-deserted mansion… at least that’s the story spun by frat ringleader Peter (Kevin Brophy), who has designs on scaring the rushing quartet out of their wits. But amidst the projected pranks and skeletons-in-boxes, a real menace lurks in the corners, picking off the interlopers one by one, piece by piece.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

THE SEDUCTION (1982) Blu-ray review

The Seduction (1982) d. David Schmoeller (USA) (104 min)

L.A. anchorwoman Jamie Douglas (Morgan Fairchild) has it all: a glamorous career on a top-rated news show, a luxurious house in the hills, and a devoted young admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens). But when Jamie ultimately rebuffs his “romantic” advances (after spying on her swimming nude in her pool, the increasingly unwelcome phone calls, flowers, candy, and visits to her house follow), Derek plays out a psychotic courtship with the frightened newswoman, threatening every part of her life, and secretly observing even her most intimate moments. When the cops (led by TV’s Ben Casey, Vince Edwards) can’t do anything, Jamie goes commando, shotgun-blasting away in a satisfying whirling dervish revenge fantasy conclusion.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

SCALPEL (1977) Blu-ray review

Scalpel (1977) d. John Grissmer (USA) (95 min)

Dr. Phillip Reynolds (Robert Lansing), a renowned plastic surgeon, has a bit of a conundrum. His wealthy and recently deceased father-in-law has cut him completely out of a vast inheritance, leaving the entirety of the estate to Reynolds’ daughter, Heather (Judith Chapman). Problem is his estranged offspring is unlikely to share, having run away from home after her overprotective daddy drowned her beau in the pond out back last year. One night, the disinherited doc crosses paths with a young exotic dancer, Jane, her face beaten beyond recognition, and hatches a scheme to reconstruct her features in the form of the missing Heather and split the $5 million pot between them. As her scars heal, the two grow closer, both to sealing the deal and to each other, but first they’ll have to convince suspicious Uncle Bradley (Arlen Dean Snyder) and the rest of the family that Jane is Heather... and make sure Heather doesn’t show up to ruin the party.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SLUGS (1988) Blu-ray review

Slugs (1988) d. Juan Piquer Simon (Spain/USA) (89 min)

Simon, the maestro behind the gut-busting splatter flick Pieces, delivers another heaping helping of the red sauce, this time with toxic waste-fed gastropods doing the honors. While the line readings and WTF moments are not as abundantly plentiful, there’s enough head-shaking banana boat wackiness to keep guts chuckling and gruesome sequences to keep lunches buckling. When several members of a quiet upstate NY community start turning up munchified, it’s up to public health inspector Michael Garfield (as a character named – snicker – Mike Brady) and his public works buddy (Philip MacHale) to save the day.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Fool's Views (4/16 – 4/30)

You're gonna need a bigger cigar box....

Greetings, my friends!

It’s funny how things fall out in the Doc’s office. I started off the year knocking out a bunch of director Richard Fleischer’s films, and I have made pretty decent strides to that end (up to 10 at this point), slowly and steadily plugging away. However, as fate would have it, I reviewed screeners for new Blu-ray releases of Takashi Miike’s Audition and Brian De Palma’s Obsession (tres apropos, no?) in February, which renewed an interest in their respective films I’d missed and/or revisiting those that I hadn’t seen in a while. As of this writing, the tally already stands at 12 (each) for the year, with a few on deck still to go.

To further complicate things, having just reviewed Shout! Factory’s release of Tarantula, I was inspired to dig out Bill Warren’s massive tome, Keep Watching the Skies! American Sci-Fi Movies of the 1950s, which led me to the underrated 1953 3D thriller The Maze (recently released to Blu-ray by Kino Lorber) and now I can’t stop talking about it.

Then, last week, my friend Daniel asked if I was interested in seeing the Pet Sematary remake, only to reveal that he hadn’t seen the directors’ previous film, Starry Eyes, so of course we had to remedy that. Then Jon Kitley tells me he’s covering a couple of toothy “Animals Attack” movies for his HorrorHound column, which had me digging through my old DVDs for some good ’gator action of my own....

And then Arrow throws its new Jose Ramon Larraz three-pack my way!

It just goes to show, folks. Even the best-laid plans give way to fits of spontaneous completism, random inspiration, and pressing deadlines. Hope you have fun with this batch. I know I did.

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


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

THE MAZE (1953) Blu-ray review

The Maze (1953) d. William Cameron Menzies  (USA) (80 min)

Adapted from the novel by Maurice Sandoz by Dan Ullman (who usually trafficked in large and small screen Westerns), this highly original, if somewhat melodramatic piece features It Came from Outer Space (released the same year) star Richard Carlson as Gerald MacTeam, a fine strapping lad about to be married to his best girl Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst). Just before the wedding, Gerry receives a telegram summoning him to his ancestral Scottish castle; he leaves… and does not return. Hurt and confused, Kitty and Aunt Edith (Katherine Emery) book passage across the ocean to find the once-handsome fiancé unwelcoming and looking 20 years older. Against his demands, the ladies plot to stick around and uncover the mystery, which involves a topiary maze on the grounds with a pond at its center where mysterious lantern lights can be seen after dark. One night, Kitty and Edith sneak down to the labyrinth and discover… ah, ah, ah… that would be telling.