Sunday, September 11, 2022

POST MORTEM (2020) Blu-ray Review



Post Mortem (2020) d. Peter Bergendy (Hungary) (115 min)

Following a near-death experience in the final days of World War I, former soldier Tomas (Viktor Klem) adopts a very specific and macabre profession. As a portrait artist for the recently expired, he allows the bereaved an opportunity for closure, creating family photos that combine living and dead subjects. Whilst working with a traveling sideshow, a young orphan girl Anna (Fruzsina Hais) asks him to come to her village which has recently been decimated by the Spanish flu; with the winter ground too hard to bury the bodies, it seems like an ideal opportunity for Tomas to snap a few more pics and pocket a few more coins. However, he and Anna discover a powerful supernatural force surrounding the small community, one that proves increasingly violent toward the locals. Teaming up with a kindly spinster Marcsa (Judit Schell), the two race against time to find the answers before the restless spirits tear the place apart.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

CAT PEOPLE (1982) Blu-ray/UHD review



Cat People (1982) d. Paul Schrader (USA) (118 min)

After years in orphanages, Irena (Nastassja Kinski) reunites with long-lost sibling Paul (Malcolm McDowell), who soon reveals a more-than-brotherly attraction to her. Seems the two are the supernatural offspring of panthers, doomed to mate only with their own humanimal kind, as any other coupling results in fanged-and-clawed death for their unsuspecting partner. Needless to say, this throws a wrench into zookeeper Oliver's (John Heard) romantic designs on the exotic female newcomer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

DOG SOLDIERS (2002) Blu-Ray/UHD Review



Dog Soldiers (2002) d. Neil Marshall (UK) (105 min)

Dispatched to the Scottish Highlands, a half-dozen soldiers find their special training maneuver exercises interrupted by an S.O.S. signal flare. Upon arrival at the distress site, they discover the sole remaining member of a Special Ops team, Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham), raving and bleeding profusely. Moments later, the team is besieged by mysterious, snarling assailants that decimate one of their number and leave their leader, Sgt. Harry G. Wells (Sean Pertwee), grievously wounded. Their panicked retreat under the command of Pvt. Cooper (Kevin McKidd) leads to a chance encounter with a local woman, Megan (Emma Cleasby), who helps them escape to a secluded cabin in the woods. Low on ammo and facing periodic but increasingly effective attacks, the pinned-down troops must use their every resource to combat the lycanthropic menace until the full moon sets.

Monday, August 22, 2022

CHILD'S PLAY (1988) BLU-RAY/UHD REVIEW



Child’s Play (1988) d. Tom Holland (USA) (87 min)

After Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), the notorious Lakeside Strangler, is cornered and shot in a Chicago toy store, he uses his dying breaths and voodoo mystic abilities to transport his soul into that of a Good Guy doll, the red-headed, freckled, talking sensation on every kid’s birthday wish list. Young Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) is one such lonely youngster, hoping that his newly widowed mother Karen (Catherine Hicks) can somehow come up with the funds to buy him his very own “friend to the end” to ease the pain of his father’s death. She manages to secure a deal with a back-alley peddler, not knowing that the doll in question is in fact harboring the serial killer’s spirit, and equally ignorant of “Chucky’s” plans to inhabit Andy’s body! Mysterious deaths begin to surround the young lad, arousing the suspicions of Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon), the level-headed detective assigned to the case. Will anyone believe Andy’s story or will he become the vehicle for Chucky’s future crimes?

Sunday, August 7, 2022

YELLOWBRICKROAD (2010) Blu-ray Review



YellowBrickRoad (2010) d. Jesse Holland / Andy Mitton (USA) (98 min)

“One morning in 1940, the entire population of Friar, New NH, walked north up an unmarked trail into the wilderness. Some were later found frozen to death. Others were mysteriously slaughtered. Most, however, were never found. Among the classified records is [an] audio recording of a lone survivor, conducted at the outset of investigation.” So reads the pre-titles onscreen text, after which it is revealed that in 2008, the coordinates for the “YELLOWBRICKROAD” trailhead have been declassified and investigative photojournalist Teddy Barnes (Michael Laurino) is eager to explore the legend of Friar. He assembles a team comprised of his wife Melissa (Anessa Ramsey), the brother/sister mapmaking team of Erin and Daryl Luger (Clark and Cassidy Freeman), the Luger’s intrepid intern Jill (Tara Giordano), forestry service rep Cy (Sam Elmore), and behavioral psychologist Walter Myrick (Alex Draper), with a last-minute addition in the form of Friar local Liv (Laura Heisler), and into the woods they go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966) Blu-ray Review



One Million Years B.C. (1966) d. Don Chaffey (UK) (100 min)

“This is a story of long, long ago, when the world was just beginning. A young world, a world early in the morning of time. A hard, unfriendly world. Creatures who sit and wait. Creatures who must kill to live. And Man, superior to the creatures only in his cunning. There are not many men yet. Just a few tribes scattered across the wilderness. Never venturing far, unaware that other tribes exist even. Too busy with their own lives to be curious. Too frightened of the unknown to wander. Their laws are simple: the strong take everything. This is Akhoba, leader of the Rock Tribe... And these are his sons, Sakana and Tumak. There is no love loss between them. And that is our story.”

Saturday, July 23, 2022

THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS (1976) Movie Review



The House with Laughing Windows (1976) d. Pupa Avati (Italy) (110 min)

Art historian and restoration specialist Stefano (Lino Capolicchio) is summoned to a rural Italian town to restore a grotesque fresco (grotesquo?) depicting the death of St. Sebastian, shown in horrible torment with daggers skewering his naked body. When his friend Antonio (Giulio Pizzirani), who recommended him for the job, is found dead on the cobblestones outside his apartment, the police quickly deem it a suicide, ignoring Stefano’s claims that a shadowy figure was lurking on the balcony above. Through encounters with the town’s bizarre locals, Stefano learns more about the mystery surrounding the fresco’s artist, Legnani, dubbed the “Painter of Agony,” as well as Legnani’s equally twisted sisters who helped him procure unwilling subjects and torture them while he captured their anguished expressions on canvas.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES (1966) Blu-ray Review



The Plague of the Zombies (1966) d. John Gilling (UK) (91 min)

In a remote 19th-century Cornish village, a mysterious plague relentlessly consumes lives at an unstoppable rate. Unable to find the cause, Dr. Peter Tompson (Brook Williams) enlists the help of his mentor, Sir James Forbes (Andre Morell). Desperate to find an antidote, they instead find inexplicable horror: empty coffins with the diseased corpses missing. Following a series of strange and frightening clues, they discover a deserted tin mine where they discover a world of black magic and a doomed legion of soulless, murderous slaves... the walking dead.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS (1957) Blu-ray Review



The Brain from Planet Arous (1957) d. Nathan Juran (as Nathan Hertz) (USA) (71 min)

“Recognized nuclear scientist” Steve March (John Agar) and his way-too-young assistant Dan Murphy (Robert Fuller) pick up some troubling radiation activity on their, ahem, Nucliometer, and determine that the source of the Geiger-jiggering is none other than the ominously named Mystery Mountain (where viewers have seen a bright floating light land and explode during the opening credits). They pack up their equipment and drive out into the blazing hot desert to investigate – leaving Steve’s fiancee Sally Fallon (Joyce Meadows) to clean up the dishes from lunch – and encounter a flagitious floating flock of megalomaniacal gray matter calling itself Gor (voiced by Dale Tate). Seems Gor has escaped from his (despite its limited anatomy, this is very much a male presence) home world of Arous and is now bent on dominating ours, starting with the overtly hostile act of frying Dan and then taking over Steve’s body in order to a) threaten the world’s leaders with annihilation and b) sexually assault Sally every chance he gets. Meanwhile, Arous has sent another airborne brain, the intergalactic police officer Vol (also voiced by Tate), who allies forces with Sally, her father John (Thomas B. Henry), and their faithful dog George to deal with the mental menace from beyond the Milky Way. May the best frontal lobe win!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

TRAUMA (1993) Blu-ray Review



Trauma (1993) d. Dario Argento (Italy) (106 min)

David (Christopher Rydell), a graphic artist for a local news station, encounters a young Romanian runaway Aura (Asia Argento) contemplating suicide on a highway overpass. He convinces her to come in off the ledge, but when he tries to comfort her at a local diner, she reveals her bulimic tendencies, fleeing for the bathroom and into the waiting arms Dr. Judd’s (Frederic Forrest) Farraday Clinic cronies, from which she had recently escaped. Returning Aura to her spiritualist mother Adriana (Piper Laurie), the family reunion is spoiled when Adriana holds a séance in which she senses a murderer at the table and is herself murdered along with her husband by a mysterious serial killer known as “The Headhunter,” so dubbed for his/her decapitatory tendencies with a portable garroter. (Who knew there was a call for such things?) Aura flees again into David’s arms, and the two begin an investigation into the killer’s connections to Dr. Judd, Adriana, and the increasing number of victims, all of whom seem to be connected by a common thread…

Sunday, April 17, 2022

TASTE OF FEAR (aka SCREAM OF FEAR) (1961) Movie Review



Taste of Fear (aka Scream of Fear) (1961) d. Seth Holt (UK) (81 min)

Following the recent death (by drowning) of her boarding school friend Maggie, wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby (Susan Strasberg) is beckoned to her estranged father’s seaside home in the south of France. After being literally picked up by the family chauffeur Robert (Ronald Lewis), she is informed by her stepmother Jane (Ann Todd) that despite the fact that her father has been suddenly called away on business, Penny is invited to consider this her new home. That night, Penny investigates a mysterious light in the summer house and sees what she believes to be her father’s corpse; in her hasty retreat, she falls into the adjoining swimming pool and is rescued by Robert. The cordial but stern Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee) quells her fears, telling her it must simply have been “a case of nerves,” but this marks only the first of Penny’s encounters with her pater’s inanimate form popping up in the most unlikely of places. It’s the kind of thing that could drive a person mad… and out of her inheritance.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

THE MUMMY (1959) Blu-ray Review



The Mummy (1959) d. Terence Fisher (UK) (86 min)

In 1895, archaeologists Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer) and his brother-in-law Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) unearth the opening of Egyptian princess Ananka’s tomb, much to the excitement of Banning’s son John (Peter Cushing), who is laid up with a broken leg but refuses to leave the site until his father breaks the seal. A local follower of the god Karnak, Mehemet (George Pastell), cautions the Westerners with a dire warning: “Whomever disturbs the tombs of Egypt… dies.” They shrug him off, but within moments, Banning is rendered a gibbering idiot after his encounter with… something. Three years later, ensconced in a mental hospital, he emerges from his stupor long enough to warn his son that the curse of Ananka is real, and is shortly thereafter dispatched by the murderous hands of the princess’ guardian mummy, former high priest, and forbidden lover Kharis (Christopher Lee), resurrected by Mehemet. Whemple is next on the bandaged assassin’s hit list, followed by John, although the latter escapes his fate when his wife Isobel (Yvonne Furneaux) distracts Kharis with her striking resemblance to Ananka, awakening a centuries-old fire in its dessicated breast….

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL (1957) Blu-ray Review



Monster from Green Hell (1957) d. Kenneth G. Crane (USA) (71 min)

Dr. Quint Brady (Jim Davis) and colleague Dan Morgan (Robert E. Griffin) are performing the usual 1950s cinematic scientist duties of space exploration, researching the effects of cosmic radiation on a few animal test subjects (including wasps, monkeys, and crabs) by firing them in three, count ’em, three rockets into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, one of the capsules goes off course, disappearing from the radar although the “computer” determines that it will probably land somewhere “in Africa.” Sure enough, six months later, there are reports arising from an area known as Green Hell, already treated with much apprehension from the locals, that SOMETHING has arrived so unnerving that birds refuse to nest in the trees and herds of elephants (and other stock footage wildlife) steer clear. Oh, and one of the tribe has been killed by a predator that injected so much venom into its victim that resident white doctor Dr. Lorentz (Vladimir Solokoff) is stumped. Brady and Morgan FINALLY mount an expedition to track down their stray rocket to see if there is a connection. Surprise, surprise, there is, to the tune of mammoth radiation-mutated wasps buzzing, stinging, and strangling their helpless prey, and it’s up to our heroic Western eggheads to clean up the mess.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

ON THE 3RD DAY (2021) Blu-ray Review



On the 3rd Day (2021) d. Daniel de la Vega (Argentina) (85 min)

Enrique (Gerardo Romero) answers a mysterious phone call, telling him to bring a certain item to Santa Cruz, with it “hopefully being the last time.” Elsewhere, Cecilia Amato (Mariana Anghileri) and her son Martín (Octavio Belmonte) are taking a spontaneous road trip. These two disparate individuals literally collide one fateful night, with Cecilia waking up three days later in a deserted building with no idea how she got there and, further, no idea where Martin is. When a kindly service station agent brings her to hospital, she immediately falls under suspicion of having done harm to her child by the local police (Osvaldo Ventura) as well as her ex Fernando (Diego Cremonesi). But her doctor, Hernan Pastori (Lautaro Delgado), believes there’s something unusual about Cecilia and tracks her down after she escapes the house of healing, offering to help her remember what transpired and hopefully recover her boy.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER (1982) Blu-ray Review



The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) d. Albert Pyun (USA) (100 min)

Titus Cromwell (Richard Lynch), frustrated by noble King Richard’s successful defense of Ehdan, ventures to Tomb Island and resurrects a terrifying master of the black arts, Xusia of Delos (Richard Moll). With the wizard’s help, Cromwell crushes his foes then attempts to murder his newfound ally before Xusia can regain his full powers. Meanwhile, Richard’s young son Talon, who witnessed the murder of both his parents at Cromwell’s hands, escapes into exile, eventually becoming a highly profitable and respected mercenary. 11 years later, rebellion is brewing, with the Ehdan people championing Prince Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale) to reclaim the throne, with his faithful and spirited sister Alana (Kathleen Beller) by his side. Cromwell captures Mikah, whereupon Alana entreats Talon (now played by Lee Horsley) to take up his three-bladed sword against their mutual longtime enemy and rescue her imprisoned sibling.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

MY DEAR KILLER (1972) Blu-ray Review



My Dear Killer (1972) d. Tonino Valerii (Italy/Spain) (100 min)

While investigating an unsolved kidnapping, an insurance agent is killed in most dramatic fashion, lifted up and then decapitated by a small steam shovel engaged to dredge a small pond. When the lethal heavy machinery operator is found hanging dead in a country barn, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide… until the clever and handsome Inspector Luca Peretti (George Hilton) demonstrates that the driver could not have killed himself. Thus begins Peretti’s descent into the infamous and newly-reopened “Maroni case,” complete with a tangled and ever-increasing web of suspects and victims, with the hopes that he can eventually get home in time to make love to his sexy doctor girlfriend (Marilù Tolo).

Monday, March 7, 2022

SILENT NIGHT (2021) Blu-ray Review



Silent Night (2021) d. Camille Griffin (UK) (92 min)

With Michael Bublé blaring through the soundtrack, far-flung members of a British family converge on the moneyed country homestead of Nell (Keira Knightly) and Simon (Matthew Goode) for the Christmas holiday. Her posh sister Sandra (Annabelle Wallis) arrives with her soft-hearted and soft-bodied husband Tony (Rufus Jones) and holy terror offspring Kitty (Davida McKenzie) in tow, while her other sibling Bella (Lucy Punch) sails along with partner Alex (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), taking odds as to how long before one of them needs to drink themselves into a stupor. The final party to arrive is schoolmate chum James (Sope Dirusu) with his younger girlfriend Sophie (Lily-Rose Depp), who have a rather portentous announcement to make. Rounding out the crew are Nell and Simon’s eldest son Art (Roman Griffin Davis) and their younger twins Thomas (Gilby Griffin Davis) and Hardy (Hardy Griffin Davis), all of whom swear like longshoremen and add lively color to the proceedings. This eclectic cast of characters squeeze in tight for an evening of “truth, forgiveness, and love,” a holiday they will never forget.

Because it’s the last one they will ever see.

"Wait... what?"

Friday, February 25, 2022

EYEBALL (1975) Blu-ray Review



Eyeball (1975) d. Umberto Lenzi (Italy/Spain) (100 min)

A group of American tourists seeing the sight of Barcelona are targeted by a red-gloved killer with a penchant for slashing and dashing and tarrying only long enough to puncture the victim’s left eye as a calling card. With a literal busload of suspects and a cranky veteran cop (retiring in a week) on the case, this is an admirably energetic and playful entry in the giallo sweepstakes, one of the last entries of the Italian heyday and Lenzi’s final effort in the subgenre.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT (1955) Blu-ray Review



The Quatermass Xperiment (aka The Creeping Unknown) (1955) d. Val Guest (UK) (82 min)

After Professor Quatermass’ (Brian Donlevy) experimental Q1 rocket crashes in a field in the English countryside, it is discovered that two of the crew have vanished and the third, Victor Carroon (Richard Wordsworth), is catatonic and undergoing inexplicable metabolic changes (or “meTABolic,” as Donlevy pronounces it). Dismissing all other concerns, Quatermass searches for answers to uncover the scientific truths, while Dr. Gordon Briscoe (David King-Wood) and Carroon’s wife Judith (Margia Dean) attempt to help her mutating husband.

Monday, February 14, 2022

DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980) Blu-ray Review



Don’t Go in the House (1980) d. Joseph Ellison (USA) (92 min)

Lonely misfit city worker Donny Kohler (Dan Grimaldi) suffers the one-two punch of witnessing a co-worker engulfed in flame after an aerosol can explodes in the incinerator and then coming home to discover his overbearing mother has kicked the bucket sitting in her easy chair. This pair of traumatizing events apparently fry the last circuit in Donny’s brain, because he immediately starts hearing disembodied voices, instructing him to remedy the “evil” in the world, which he interprets as “build a steel-plated furnace room in the basement, purchase an asbestos fire suit and flamethrower, and start luring unsuspecting females into your new DIY BBQ palace.”

Sunday, January 30, 2022

CAMERON'S CLOSET (1988) Movie Review



Cameron’s Closet (1988) d. Armand Mastroianni (USA) (86 min)

Cameron (Scott Curtis), a young lad with psychic abilities, is put through the paces by his scientist father (Tab Hunter), but the attempts to amplify his powers have the unfortunate side effect of awakening a demon intent on crossing the veil over into our world using Cameron’s body as host. Meanwhile, a police detective with the rolls-off-the-tongue name of Sam Talliaferro (Cotter Smith) has been ordered to visit the local psychiatrist, Dr. Haley (Mel Harris), to address his poor sleeping habits due to bad dreams. When the demon starts bumping off Cameron’s inner circle, Talliaferro and Haley are mutually assigned to the case, unwittingly bringing them into the danger zone.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

TORSO (1973) Blu-ray review



Torso (1973) d. Sergio Martino (Italy) (93 min)

The female populace of an international Italian university is slowly being picked off by a ski-masked killer, beginning with two of the three subjects of a nude photo shoot, Flo (Patrizia Adiutori) and Carol (Cristina Airoldi). When fragments of a red-and-black scarf are found under the fingernails of one of the victims, their classmate Daniela (Tina Aumont) recalls that she recently saw someone wearing just such a scarf… but who was it? Was it Franz (John Richardson) the art professor? Stefano (Roberto Bisacco), the love-starved co-ed? The handsome local doctor Roberto (Luc Merenda), the creepy scarf vendor Gianni (Ernesto Colli), and the half-witted delivery boy (Enrico DiMarco) are equally likely candidates, as is Daniela’s overly friendly uncle Nino (Carlo Alighiero), who offers up his secluded villa as a place for his niece and her three friends to get away for the weekend after the killer calls and tells the frightened student that she’d better keep her mouth shut. Sure enough, as soon as the quartet settles in, the battle of wits begins, with the wily sex murderer seeking to have all loose women, er, ends silenced forever.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

THE LAST DAYS ON MARS (2013) Movie Review



The Last Days on Mars (2013) d. Ruairi Robinson (UK/Ireland) (98 min)

Astronaut Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber) and his international crew are in the final hours of their exploratory mission on the Red Planet and are just getting ready to head for home when one of their number goes out to check one final outpost reading which seems to have revealed a bacterial presence. In other words, Life. Unfortunately, the bacteria has a field day with the human biosystem and basically transforms anyone it encounters into a raving background player from 28 Days Later.

Monday, January 24, 2022

DISCOVER THE HORROR... THE PODCAST!



Hey there!

Any of you out there who have been paying attention over the last 17 years know that I happen to hold a certain gentleman named Jon Kitley in high regard. When it comes to “horror mentors,” it would be hard to imagine a more positive role model. The guy has forgotten more bits of trivia than I’ll ever learn in my life, and he’s a walking IMDb page with regard to actors, directors, producers, writers, and make-up artists who have worked in and outside of the genre. Plus, he's a pretty swell human being.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) Blu-ray Review



The Vampire Lovers (1970) d. Roy Ward Baker (UK) (88 min)

In the late 18th Century, in the Austrian province of Styria, General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing) holds a ball celebrating the birthday of his daughter Laura (Pippa Steele), who is engaged to the handsome Carl (Jon Finch). He is pleasantly surprised to see his old friend the Countess (Dawn Addams) along with her daughter, Marcilla (Ingrid Pitt), in attendance. When the Countess is called away to attend to a sick friend, Spielsdorf and Laura agree to care for Marcilla, with the two young ladies growing deeply attached. Sadly, Laura immediately falls ill to a wasting disease, punctuated by nightmares of being smothered by a large gray cat, and dies shortly thereafter, with Marcilla disappearing mysteriously into the night. Spielsdorf’s distant neighbor, Roger Morton (George Cole), comes across the aftermath of a carriage accident and takes in the passenger, Carmilla… who uncannily resembles Marcilla. Soon, Morton’s daughter Emma (Madeline Smith) is also under the exotic young woman’s spell and begins to experience the same nightmares and diminishing health. Meanwhile, the General, through his friend Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer), learns of the Karnsteins, an ancient family of vampires, and begins to put two and two (fangs) together….