Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Wraith coming to DVD

Lionsgate will be bringing the cult classic The Wraith to DVD as a special edition on March 2nd, 2010. Specs and special features are:

-Anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1)
-2.0 Dolby Digital sound
-Commentary by director Mike Marvin
-Interviews with Clint Howard and director Mike Marvin
-FutureCar Revealed" featurette

Friday, January 29, 2010

City of the Living Dead Coming to Blu-ray and a New Special Edition DVD

Blue Underground has announced that they will be releasing Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead on blu-ray, with a release date of May 25th, 2010. The specs and special features are listed below:

-1.85:1 16x9 (1080p for the blu-ray)
-6.1 DTS-ES (7.1 DTS-HD for the blu-ray)
-5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX (both)
-Original Mono (both)
-Making of City of the Living Dead
-"Acting Among the Living Dead: Interview with Catriona Macoll (blu-ray only)
-Entering the Gates of Hell: Interview Giovanni Lombardo Radice (blu-ray only)
-Memories of the Maestro (blu-ray only)
-Poster gallery (blu-ray only)
-Still gallery
-English language trailer
-Original Italian trailer

This is great news for any Fulci fan and any zombie. Blue Underground has done outstanding work on their blu-rays and this should be no exception.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update: Alone in the Dark II-Best Buy Exclusive

I reported in my New Release Tuesday (1/26/2010) that Alone in the Dark II was hitting blu-ray. I was partially right. It seems that the title is a Best Buy exclusive. Amazon did get some copies, but they no longer carry it. Sorry for the confusion.

Zombieland *

There are things that I want out of life. I want to go sky diving. I want to have a child. But first I must get Zombieland out of my head. Here we have a movie that is so devoid of anything resembling entertainment that we wonder why this movie got made at all.
The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus, one of the only humans left alive after a plague has started turning people into zombies. Along his travels he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harelson)- the characters all refer to themselves by the city they are from because they do want to give to much away- who gets a rush killing zombies and is on the lookout for whatever Twinkie he can get his hands on. In a movie like this, the filmmakers believe that by adding a simple thing like Tallahassee's search for Twinkies that this counts as character development, but it just some small stupid thing added to the movie.
Columbus and Tallahassee meet two girls (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who are also on a journey. They want to go to an amusement park. This is just what I would want to do if the world was overcome with zombies, go to an amusement park. This is another idiotic plot device that the script doesn't know what to do with.

Zombieland is labeled as a comedy, but I didn't laugh much. The characters do and say things that are clever, but almost nothing funny happens in this movie. I say "almost" because there is a cameo late in the movie that is pretty funny, but it sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the movie. The scene is almost it's own contained scene and seems like it doesn't belong here.
There have been many zombie comedies that have come before Zombieland, the best being Return of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead. These movies took the zombie genre and turned it on it's ear. Zombieland doesn't even try to do anything with the zombies. You take zombies out of the equation and you are left with a pointless road movie. Zombieland is a boring, uneventful, ugly, and overall stupid movie in search of one thing that zombies love- a brain.

In defence of Rob Zombie's Halloween Movies

I am sure many of you have already chosen your side on the debate concerning Rob Zombie's Halloween movies. And I'm sure that if you have picked a side it is probably the anti-Zombie side. Well, I'm here to play a little defense for the Zombie Halloween movies.
Rob Zombie started his feature film career with House of 1,000 Corpses, a movie that was a rip-off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but contained a lot of strange imagery and memorable performances that the movie has been given a pass by most fans.
Zombie's next movie was The Devil's Rejects. It continues the story of the Firefly gang, but does so in a way that is the exact opposite of what the first movie was. Gone are the neons and strange imagery and what we are given are harsh earth tones and a grind house feel. For me, this movie showed that Rob Zombie was maturing as a director.
So now we are talking about Halloween, Zombies remake of the John Carpenter classic. When the movie was announced fans got up in arms. They didn't think that Zombie could do the original justice and they even questioned the remake in the first place. But this is what I tell anyone who complains about the remake and it's sequel. How many times have we seen Dracula In movies? A lot.
What people don't understand is that the classic will always be there, untouched. Zombie didn't go back and mess with the original movie. That will always be there. What Zombie has done is take the story and many classic elements and given it his own spin. He stays true to the story, which there wasn't much to in the first place, and adds things that he feels is nessicary to telling his version of this story.

It has been a little over two years since Zombie's version of Halloween came out and, for the most part, the dust has settled. People have accepted the movie for what it is. It is done and over with. Now we get a sequel.
Zombie has said that he would not make a sequel, but changed his mind. When the movie came out in August 2009 it was universally panned and voted by many people as the worst movie of the year. I saw it when it was first released and, while I thought it was bad, I had a hard time shaking the movie. Somewhere deep down I knew that there was something else, something that I missed.
Well it turns out that there was something, but I didn't miss it. It wasn't there to begin with. In the theatrical version is a mess compared to the director's cut that was released on DVD and blu-ray in January of 2010. Many scenes play out in the theater like they weren't complete, like something was left out. In the director's cut these scenes play out in their entirety and we can finally understand what is going on.
We understand Laurie's descent into the madness that consumed her brother a lot more clearly now. We see that she has not been able to come to grips with the events from the first Halloween. She feels responsible for everything that happened and it eats away at her.
We also get a better understanding of the relationship been Laurie and Annie. Annie, too, has survived the events that haunt Laurie, but Annie has dealt with them in her own way. In the theatrical version we are led to believe that Laurie is just full of rage, but in the director's cut we see that Laurie is using that as a self-defense mechanisim. She doesn't know what is going on with herself and that is the only way she knows how to deal with it.
Played back to back, both of Rob Zombie's Halloween movies play like one movie. Zombie has crafted a complete story that can't be sequelized. He started with the first movie as a broad outline and went from there, crafting a story of loss, loneliness, and ultimately, madness. Fans of the Halloween movies should take note, Zombie has made a slasher movie with an incredible amount of depth.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Lovely Bones ***1/2

Having walked out of the theater after viewing The Lovely Bones, I asked myself if it was a good movie. I liked what I saw, but I was having doubts. Here we have a movie that has gotten a lot press about what did and did not make it into the movie. That press had gotten to me and I had to sit and ponder the movie, forgetting about the press and focusing on the movie. I came to the conclusion that I did, in fact, liked the movie. It was not the masterpiece that I had hoped for, but it was a good movie.
The movie begins with the introduction to Susie Salmon, who serves as the narrator even after she has been murdered. We meet her family and get the overall sense that she comes from a loving and safe home. Peter Jackson handles these scenes as if they are a fond memory. The movie takes place in the 1970's and we feel like we are right there in the time period.
But just when we get that safe feeling tragedy strikes. Susie doesn't come home one night after being lured into an underground clubhouse that her neighbor (Stanley Tucci) built in the cornfield behind Susie's school. We watch as her father frantically looks for all over town. The cops end up being called and the slow realization that Susie has been killed slowly sets in at the Salmon home.
The press that I spoke of earlier had to do with the death of Susie. The book goes into graphic detail, describing her rape and murder from the mind of Susie. Peter Jackson, in my opinion, made the right decision in not depicting the actual crimes. I believe that it would have turned off viewers and brought the movie to a dead stop. I don't believe that the viewers would have been able to overcome such a graphic situation so early in the film.
Susie goes to what is referred to in the movie as the "in between", which is the place you go to when you have things on earth that are unresolved. From what I got out of it is that Susie must help her family come to grips with her death and help her father find the killer. It is not made entirely clear, but that is what I got out of it.
The scenes in the "in between" are full of color and things from Susie's memory. However, there is a place that she is not ready to face. When she finally does, we see how many victims her killer has actually killed and we realize that Susie was not the first or only one to be killed by her killer.
The performances in the movie are handled very well. I am not a fan of Mark Walhberg, but I thought his performance was just right for the role. The actress that plays Susie is also very good, bringing an innocence to the role. Stanley Tucci, as the killer, is very effective. He brings an overall creepiness to the role and there is not one moment where we like him. His scene with Susie is one of the most effective scenes in the movie.
There are a few faults with this movie. What the mother does to grieve I felt didn't fit into the story. I also felt that the Susan Surandon character was unnecessary. She felt tacked on and out of place.
Despite these minors flaws, The Lovely Bones is a very good movie. It has a peaceful feel to it that I think is lacking from movies today. The Lovely Bones may not be the movie I thought it was going to be, but what I saw I liked. That I think is a fair trade

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Piranha delayed, but more Corman has been announced

Shout! Factory has delayed Piranha, moving it back to August 3rd. This makes sense as the remake is also coming out in August, but with the delay comes to more titles: Death Race on June 22nd and Starcrash on September 7th. Check back soon for cover art and specs

Monday, January 25, 2010

True Blood Season 2 Coming This May

True Blood is set to hit shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on May 25th, 2010. The 5 Disc set will included:

-All 12 Episodes in 1080p (1.78:1) the 1080p applies to blu-ray only.
-English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack
-True Blood Enhanced Viewing Mode for all of the episodes.

Blade II ****

The first "Blade" was a good movie. It gave us a character that wasn't just a one note character and it showed us a different side the vampire genre. It was also a very good action movie and contained some scares as well. Now we get "Blade II" and with it we get everything that the first "Blade" was and so much more.
Wesley Snipes stars as Blade who is half vampire and half human. He posesses all our their strengths and none of their weaknesses, except for one. He still needs to feed on human blood in order to stay alive. Blade lives with an old man named Wristler (played by the always gruff Kris Kristofferson. Wristler has taught Blade everything that he knows about vampire and even assists Blade in hunting them. Wristler has also made a serum that acts as a substitute for blood.
"Blade II" introduces something to the genre by creating a new kinda of vampire. This creation is a genius movie by the writer because, like zombie movies, the vampire movie has grown a bit stale. This new vampire not only feed on human, but vampires as well. The vampires come to Blade for his help in stopping the new vampire because they can not do it alone.
This is all brought to us by Guillermo del Toro, whose previous movie was "The Devil's Backbone". He knows how to scare us and gross us out, too. He gives us scenes that would gross out even hardcore horror fans, but their is something about them that is beautiful.

The production design here is top notch as well. Blade's warehouse hideout is a massive space of emptiness, that shadows Blade's self containment. The vampire's lair is a mixture of corporate and underground, and the harvesting area is cold and sterle. All of these enviorments are void of most colors, except for earth tones, so that when the blood flies you can really tell.
The action is better than expected. The first "Blade" had good action scenes, but were mared by fast cutting. Here del Toro and choregrapher Donnie Yen craft some great action scenes. They make it seem like the camera is everywhere at the same time.
Guillermo del Toro has crafted a superb action movie. Everything in this movie works. Even the new special effects that were used on this movie somehow work. He also did something that was once thought impossible: he made vampires scary again.

The Final Destination 1/2*

The Final Destination series has always been, what I call "fun gore movies". You see, a "fun gore movie" is a movie where you have fun while the people on the screen are being killed in inventive ways. "Fun gore" movies have a light, almost cheery spirit to them.. They are not like "Hostel" or "Wolf Creek", where to tone is dead serious. Those movies are not fun. I am sad to report that "The Final Destination", while falling into the "fun gore" category, is not fun.
The movie follows the same basic plotline as the previous movies. The main character has a premonition about how they and a group of people are going to die, the person freaks out and saves the lives of the group, then they are killed off one by one in inventive ways.

There is nothing wrong with this plot. It has worked before, so why try to fix it. But what happened here is that the people involved started the movie out wrong. In previous "Final Destination" movies the opening was spectacular. You wanted to see the movie just for the opening. But here they have picked a race track to be the place where we get our first taste of what's to come. The problem is a racetrack is not the coolest place to stage a massacre. There are only a few ways that people can die here and they are repeated many times. This makes the opening very boring and by the book.
That brings me to my next problem with the movie. The death scenes are not inventive nor is there any suspense whatsoever. Death scenes in "fun gore" movies are supposed to be inventive. They are supposed to make you scream then laugh because they got you. Not one time during this movie was I shocked by anything that happened in the movie. I was very let down.
There are some nice touches to the movie, though. The security guard from the racetrack, who was saved by the premonition, keeps trying to kill himself, but can't because it is not his time to die. If the whole movie had been like this, a group of people who had the premonition but wanted to die, then maybe we would have had a good movie. At the very least we would have had an interesting movie. This and other small touches can't make up for this movie's lack of imagination.
This is the first "Final Destination" movie to made for 3-D, but that is one of another of the movie's downfalls. It appears that the filmmakers paid more attention to the 3-D and less to make a good movie. The 3-D is really well done, the movie is not.

Halloween II: Director's Cut ***

When a director's cut is released on DVD or blu-ray I am always cautious. I have been burnt by more than one director's, promising a whole new experience, but giving us no more than a few new scenes. The recent release of Friday the 13th (2009) is a prime example. The makers of that movie promise a totally different, but the "killer cut" offered nothing more than a padded runtime.
The director's cut of Halloween II is a different beast. We are given more, but it adds to what director Rob Zombie was trying to say. It makes the movie more tolerable and a better viewing experience.
The plot of the movie is the same. It is two years after the events from the first movie. Laurie Strode is having a hard time dealing with what happened on that fateful halloween night. She is now living with her friend Annie and Annie's father. Laurie feels guilty about has happened.
After starting the movie with the standard kill scenes, the movie moves into these characters with ease. In the director's cut you get more of a feel fo these characters, something that was missing in the theatrical cut. Here you get more of Laurie's eventually descent into madness.

The visions that Michael Myers has in the movie didn't make much sense in the theatrical version, but here we understand that this is how Myers sees the world. This comes to light when Michael sees the billboard for Loomis's book. This scene was removed from the theatrical version because audiences could not grasp the concept of having Myers not wearing his mask in the daytime.
We also get a totally different ending. Here Michael is killed then Laurie, but in the theatrical version there is some added stuff about Laurie loving her brother. It just didn't work and I am happy that it was taken out.
In my review for Halloween II, I said that it was an interesting failure. I stick by that for the thearical version, but here I would say that the movie still fails on some levels, but overall we get to see a descent into madness that slasher movies don't have. This is not your typical slasher movie.

The Uninvited ***1/2

Going into "The Uninvited" I was a little skeptical. I hadn't heard very much about it and the few reviews that I did find weren't very positive. But being the person I am, I had to give it a chance.
The movie revolves around two sisters who think that their father's new girlfriend killed their mother. The new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) was their mother's nurse at the time of her death.
This is the setup to a movie that, I believe, Hitchcock would make. There are enough twists and turns in the plot that the master of suspense would really get a kick out of. The movie plays out like a good Hitchcock movie.

The sisters spend most of the movie looking into who their dad's girlfriend really is. They find some disturbing stuff, but no one will believe them. It doesn't help that Anna (Emily Browning) just got out of a mental institution. She went their after witnessing her mother's death and she is not quite clear on what she saw.
We are never quite clear on what happened either. We know that there has to has to be more to the story and when the final reveal comes it comes as a bit of a surprise. During the movie I thought I knew what was going to happen, and in one way I was right, but there are many layers to what is happening that I appreciated.
The movie does a really good job at setting a creepy atmosphere and sticking with it. The movie is rated PG-13 and I'll have to say that this is one of the darkest PG-13 movies I have ever seen. There are scenes in this movie that just creeped me out and there are some pretty good scares to.
"The Uninvited" is a remake of a Korean movie entitled "The Tale of Two Sisters". I have not seen the original, but if it accomplishes even half of what this movie does then it must be a good movie.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Release Tuesday 1/26/2010

Scream queen Edwige Fenech All the Colors of the Dark,The Case of the Bloody Iris stars in this violent masterpiece, the first 'giallo' film directed by Sergio Martino Case of the Scorpion's Tail & Torso. Fenech portrays Julie Wardh, a restless woman embroiled in a horrifying mystery that threatens to drive her to the brink of madness... or worse. Which of the men in her life is the vicious serial killer and will Julie become his next victim? Erotic, stylish and at times excessive, Blade of the Ripper remains one of the most celebrated and influential giallo of all times.

The Deadly Bees An ailing starlet is sent to a remote island to recover and little does she know that she is about to stumble into...a Hive of Horror!  A diabolical neighbor has discovered the smell of fear and is using it to control a lethal swarm!  Featuring over the top performances and very "special" effects, The Deadly Bees is late night drive-in fare at its campy best. The Man Who Could Cheat DeathDr. Georges Bonnet has figured out a way to live forever.  All he needs are the glands of some very unwilling donors!  Anton Diffring stars as the mad doctor in this chilling Hammer Horror classic.  As he struggles against the inevitable icy grip of death, the doctor begins a descent into madness that threatens to destroy the laws of nature and the lives of those he lusts after.  It's up to horror legend Christopher Lee to stop his unholy quest before it takes a final deadly turn!
The Skull The Skull teams up horror legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in a chilling, supernatural tale of murder from beyond the grave.  Based on a short story by Robert Bloch (Psycho), The Skull introduces us to Dr. Christopher Maitland (Cushing), a collector of the occult.  When he is given the opportunity to purchase one of the infamous Marquis de Sade, he leaps at the chance.  What he doesn't know is that his friend, Matthew Phillips (Lee) is the former owner of the skull - and quite happy to be rid of it.  Possession of The Skull leads to a terrifying series of nightmarish events for Dr. Maitland as he tries to keep control of his life, and as the forces of unspeakable evil bear down upon him.

Meet the charming, flamboyant Doctor Death (the incredible John Considine), a 1000-year-old man who has mastered the art of "selective reincarnation", promising to keep one's soul alive forever! The catch? He needs a fresh body to host it for you, and finding willing volunteers is an impossibility. When Fred's beloved wife dies, he refuses to believe she is gone forever. Dr. Death's loyal assistant, Tana (Florence Marly, the original QUEEN OF BLOOD), offers a supernatural solution to return his wife to him...only to run into trouble when Dr. Death can't find a suitable body for her to reside in! The bodies pile up and Fred must choose between his lost love and stopping a mad doctor hellbent on success! Directed with tongue firmly in cheek by Eddie Saeta, this colorful horror oddity must be seen to be believed!

Cheerleaders, Tara and Jenna are on their way to Minneapolis to complete in a cheerleading competition. When they stop for gas they meet a couple guys dealing with car trouble and eager to catch a ride back to the city. The four also see this as an opportunity to party together. However, what they don t realize is they re being watched by a group of ruthless killers in desperate search of their next victims. It s wrong direction....ruthless rage....crazy guys and cheerleaders.....It s Madness!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Roger Ebert and The Lovely Bones

I know this has almost nothing to do with horror or cult movies, but it is something that has been weighing on my mind for some time and I fell that it needs to be said.
Roger Ebert, a week ago, posted his review for "The Lovely Bones" and I couldn't disagree more. It's not the fact that Ebert didn't like the movie, but why he didn't like the movie that pisses me off. I have no problem with people liking or not liking a movie. Hey, everyone has their own opinion. But when someone dislikes a movie they need to give reason and back it up with fact. Ebert's review of "The Lovely Bones" does not do this.
I want to say, before I go off on a tangent, that I respect Ebert's opinion. I grew up reading his reviews, and while we don't agree on everything, I always thought that he gave pretty good reasons for liking or not liking a movie. I have learned a lot about movies from reading Ebert, but I think the time has come for him to hang up his thumb and get on with the rest of his life.
So, back to the argument at hand. When I read Ebert's review of "The Lovely Bones" I was floored. How could he not like this movie? Is it really as bad as he says it is? I had to find out.
I got up early on the friday the movie went into wide release. The theater down the street from where I live has a deal where, if you go to a showing before noon, you pay five dollars. So I paid my five dollars and watched the movie play before me.
I liked the movie. I really did. I thought that the acting and direction were top notch, and I got involved in the story. There were things in the movie that I didn't like, but overall I thought it was a good movie.
On my way home I thought about what Roger Ebert had to say about the movie and it dawned on my that he was mostly wrong. But it wasn't the fact that he didn't like the movie, but the facts relating to the movie, that he uses to back up his argument where wrong. So I decided that I would take action and point them out, that way people don't go into the movie thinking one thing is going to happen and it doesn't. Consider me your movie fact checker.
1. Ebert speaks at great lengths about how Susie Salmon, the girl who is killed, is in heaven. This is simply not true. Multiple times in the movie is said that she is in "the in between", meaning that she has not ascended into heaven yet. At the end of the movie, when everything is taken care of, she does go to heaven.
2. Ebert mentions that when you go to heaven that you get to have fun and mingle with all of the killer's victims. Again, not true. Susie does meet one of the killer's victims in the "in between", but not until she finds out about the other victims does she meet them. And this happens at the end of the movie. We don't even find out that the girl Susie meets in the "in-between" is a victim of the same killer until Susie finds out.
3. Ebert goes to great lengths to talk about having a fourteen year old murder victim as the narrator of the movie. He finds it creepy. This is how the book was written. While director Peter Jackson may have shied away from depicting Susie's rape and murder, he could not change the fact that the book was narrated by the young murder victim. He is, at the very least, staying true to the novel in this way.
4. Ebert mentions that the we know who the killer is because of , what Ebert calls "The Law of Economy of Characters" "which states that we know who the killer is because: a.) The killer is played by an unnecessary movie star or b.) There is no one else it could be." Now this is just being lazy. We know who the killer is because WE ARE TOLD WHO THE KILLER IS! We don't need some "movie law" that Roger Ebert came up with to tell us who the killer is. We are told from the get-go.
5. Ebert talks about how the movie sees the killer as a hero because he liberated these girls. Are you serious? What movie was Ebert watching? The killer is seen as a creepy guy who is always looking over his shoulder. Never in the movie is he seen as a hero.
Needless to say, I hate when reviewers don't like a movie based on false "facts". If you are reviewing a movie you should take notes. I do, however, have theory about why Ebert got so much wrong. It is my theory that he didn't even see the movie. It's just my theory, but in my eyes, a pretty sound theory.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trailer Showdown #2: Friday the 13th

Troma's War hitting DVD this tuesday

Don't forget that Troma's War is hitting DVD, as part of Troma's Tromasterpiece Collection. This is going to be  great release. Troma has done very nice work with their Tromasterpiece collection and this one is not going to disappoint.

Here is the original trailer for Troma's War:

Redneck Zombies Archival Material

Our friends over at Troma have posted Archival Material for Redneck Zombies. These are the special features that were left off of the Tromasterpiece Collection due to space limitations. Click on the title of this post to see what was left off.

Trailer Showdown 1: Nightmare on Elm Street

The Relic Comes to Blu-ray this april

The 1997 hit movie The Relic is set to hit blu-ray on April 6th, 2010. No specs have been announced, but we have posted the artwork below. Also the trailer.

The Stepfather (2009) announced for DVD and Blu-ray

The remake of The Stepfather will be released on DVD and blu-ray on 2/23/2010. Special Features include:

-16x9 Widescreen (2.35:1) (1080p for the blu-ray)
-Commentary with Director Nelson McCormick, Penn Badgley and Dylan Walsh
-Open House: Making the Film
-Visualizing the Stunts
-Gag Reel
-Too Friendly
-movieIQ (blu-ray only)
-BD-Live (blu-ray only)

And remember that the original Stepfather is available on DVD through Shout! Factory

Class of Nuke 'em High Blu-ray features revealed

Yesterday we told you that Troma had announced Class of Nuke 'em High for a blu-ray release on 4/27/2010. Now we have learned what the special features are.

-New interviews with cast and crew
-Audio commentaries by co-director Lloyd Kaufman and Theo Pingarelli
-special effects and miniatures creator
-Nuke 'Em High School Sweethearts: picture commentary by stars Robert and Jennifer Prichard
-Scenes we thought we lost during the Chernobyl disaster
-Original theatrical trailer
-Scenes from the Tromaville Cafe TV show.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead blu-ray special features and artwork

Troma has announced the special features and sent over artwork for their first blu-ray release.

Special Features include:
-Att-hen-sion getting commentary by director Lloyd Kaufman and writer/editor Gabe Friedman
-Commentary by stars Jason Yachanin and Kate Graham
-Introduction by Troma co-founder Michael Herz 
-Interview with Troma star Joe Fleishaker 
-Sexy rooftop re-shoot 
-Explosion effect featurette 
-Ron Jeremy's "alternate happy ending" 
-Troma's first egg-a-morphic widescreen presentation 
-Music videos 
-deleted scenes 
Notice there us no mention of the documentary that came on the DVD. Hopefully they will include it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Class of Nuke 'em High on Blu-ray

Troma has also anounced Class of Nuke 'em High for a Blu-ray release on 4/27/2010. Again no specs have been given, but expect some special features. Troma is usually good about giving their fans something.

Tromeo & Juliet on Blu-ray

Troma has announced there hit movie Tromeo & Juliet for a Blu-ray release on 3/30/2010. No specs have been given, but I think that the special features will resemble those found on the special edition DVD released a few years back. Check back soon for complete specs.

Icons of Suspense: Hammer Films 4/6/2010

Sony has set April 6th, 2010 as the release date for Icons of Suspense: Hammer Films. Anyone who is familular with the Icons series knows that this release will be top notch.

The films included in this set are:
 -Never Take Candy from a Stranger
 -The Snorkel
 -Cash on Demand (with 11 mins of deleted footage)
 -Stop Me Before I Kill!
 -These Are The Damned (very long overdue)

All the films will be presented in their original aspect ratios. More details to follow. Also if you click on the title of this post you can vote for which cover art the release will have.

Matinee Coming May 4th, 2010

While it has not been officially announced, many retailers are reporting that Joe Dante's Matinee will be released on May 4th, 2010. The previous DVD, released by Image Entertainment, has long been out of print and sells used for upwards of $100. Cover art and disc specs are hopefully going to be available soon.

Shout! Factory to Release Roger Corman Collection this April

2010 might be the year for Shout! Factory. They announced a few DVDs and Blu-rays that will be hitting shelves later this year.
Called Roger Corman's Cult Classics, the three inaugural titles will be Humanoids From the Deep (4/13), a two-disc special edition of Joe Dante's Parahna(4/6), and a double feature of Up from the Depths/Demon of Paradise (4/13). Parahna will also be released on Blu-ray day and date with it's DVD counterpart.
Also being released on DVD by Shout! Factory, but not horror related is John Carpenter's Elvis on 3/2. This is a long awaited DVD release

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frozen Trailer

Personally I think that this movie looks bad. The people who have seen it have compared it to Open Water, a movie that I thought was terrible, but we will see. Take a look for yourself below:

Dawn of the Dead (2004) ***

Remakes are usually not as good as the original. You can ask any genre fan and they will tell you the same thing. That is why I was a little skeptical about viewing "Dawn of the Dead". As it turns out I didn't have to worry.
The original "Dawn of the Dead" is a classic in the horror genre. Combining social satire with heaps of gore, the movie remains in people's minds long after viewing.With this remake the film makers made a wise decision by making the movie into an action movie. Sure, the original had action in it, but that was not the primary focus. Here it is.
The movie centers around a group of people who get trapped in a shopping mall after a viral outbreak starts turning people into zombies. We get to know the characters, but only in broad strokes. This is not the type of movie you go to for in depth character development.
There has been a lot of debate about the zombies in this movie. Purist argue that zombies should not run, which is what they do in this movie. Others argue that zombies can do whatever they want. I personally feel that a slow, lumbering zombie is not scary in this day and age. Back when Romero made "Night of the Living Dead" the slow zombie was, indeed, scary. But times have changed and the zombie needs to be updated to stay with the times.
That being said, I enjoyed this version of "Dawn of the Dead". The movie is bloody enough to cater to the horror fans, but also has enough action to cater to the crowd that doesn't normally go to horror movies.

Freddy Vs. Jason ***

Now this is the type of Jason movie that New Line Cinema should've made instead of making "Jason Goes to Hell". To think that it took them ten years to get it right just baffles me.
The movie is the showdown that horror fans have been waiting for ever since Freddy's gloved hand came up out of the ground at the of "Jason Goes to Hell". I remember that moment and thinking "Man, that would be a great battle".
Freddy has lost his power over the children on Elm street. Without his power he can not induce fear in them. So Freddy decides that the only way to get the children to start believing in him again is to send Jason in to cause a lot of havoc. Only then will people start remembering Freddy. Then he can come in and start his killing spree again.
The problem lies in the fact that Jason is an unstoppable killing machine. He doesn't take orders from anyone. He just keeps on killing, until Freddy is pulled into the real world to challenge Jason. The showdown takes place at Camp Crystal Lake.
The movie is R-rated and takes pleasure in that. There is no shying away from gruesome kills in this movie. It feels good to know that at least these movies won't be sanitized for the kiddies.
The director of the movie is Ronny Yu, who took on another horror series in the form of "Bride of Chucky". There he showed that he could handle the way we in America make movies. (Yu is from China where they have a completely different way of making movies) Here Yu builds up to the final showdown with a slew of inventive kills and dream sequences. This man was born to make this movie.
I wish that I had some good things to say about the cast, but I don't.. Outside of Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger, who play Freddy and Jason, the rest of the cast is pretty boring. Monica Keena is alright as the female lead, but Jason Ritter, who plays the male lead, looks like a deer caught in headlights. And Kelly Rowland, from Destiny's Child is just plain terrible. Her scene where she insults Freddy reminded me of a person who is called out on something and tried to come back with something smart, but can't.
Despite my complaints, I really enjoyed "Freddy Vs. Jason". The movie is well shot and the pace is brisk. And, of course, the final showdown is just plain awesome. You really can't go wrong with this movie.

Evil Dead II Blu-ray review

The Movie: ****
Rare does a sequel actually turn out better than the original. I know that people will argue that it happens more often than not, but that it not the case. Most sequels are hastily made in order to cash in on the popularity of the original. Just look at any horror franchise and you will know what I am talking about. With each and every sequel, the franchise gets worse and worse. "Saw" I'm looking at you.
You may remember the events of the first "Evil Dead", but if you don't then you have nothing to worry about because this movie gives you a full recap. Many people, when the movie came out that this movie was just a remake of the first movie because it really isn't made clear that the first fifteen minutes is a recap.
We now join Ash (Bruce Campbell) as he fights to get out of the woods and away from the force that killed all his friends. During the struggle to get out his hand becomes posessed, which leads to some of the funniest gags in the movie. This gives Campbell time to prove that he can do physical comedy just as well as anyone else. He has plates smashed over his head, he is thrown all around the cabin, and is almost choked to death before he decides that the only way to deal with the problem is to cut the hand off.
Most of this movie, if you haven't figured it out, is played for laughs, but the undercurrent of the movie is pure horror. There are scenes that don't belong in a comedy, but work perfectly here. Take, for example, the scene where Ash's girlfriend's body rises from the grave and dances. This scene would not work in a comedy because it is to grotesque, but here it work because we are watching a horror movie.
A lot of the credit goes to director Sam Raimi, who is so confident that scenes like the one I just described wiil work that when some of the later scenes don't work we just look passed it. Very few directors are confident enough to have the lead character have almost no interaction with anyone for nearly half the movie. That takes guts.
"Evil Dead II" works because it doesn't just rehash the first movie, but gives us something new. By adding comedy into the mix, Raimi has allowed himself a lot of freedom to expand and the story that was established iin the first movie. "Evil Dead II" is not just a great movie, but the even rarer type of movie: it's a great sequel.
Picture: ***
Anchor Bay has given us a nice looking 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture looks the best it has ever looked, but I think it could have been a little better.
Special Features ****
Anchor bay has given us some excellent special features. There may only be a few, but what a strong few they are.
-Audio Commentary
This audio commentary has been heard on every format that "Evil Dead II" has been on (outside of VHS). Some nay complain that the commentary is not new, but it is so good that the information contained in it is almost timeless. This is one commentary that you can listen to more than one time.
"The Gore the Merrier" featurette
This featurette is carried over from the special edition DVD released a long time ago. The special effects are covered here, and we get a good insight into how everything was done.
Theatrical Trailer
Obviously we get to see the original theatrical trailer for the movie.
Overall ***1/2
"Evil Dead II" is one of the best horror movies ever made and its high def debut is really good. Maybe when Anchor Bay rereleases this again (you know they will) they will give it the "Ultimate Edition" treatment that they gave the first movie..

Jason Goes to Hell 1/2*

The "Friday the 13th" series had been around for 13 years when New Line Cinema, who acquired the rights from Paramount, decided that it was time for a new "Jason" movie. But instead of giving us a true "Jason" movie, they gave us an utter mess.
The movie start out promising. A young woman is alone in a cabin, about to take a shower, when Jason shows up. She exits the cabin, fleeing for her life, with Jason in pursuit. Then out of nowhere lights shine into the forest and a voice says "freeze!". The F.B.I. has set Jason up.. But before he can do anything they blow him up. He is now out of the picture until the last reel.
So now you are asking yourself "How is this a Jason movie with no Jason?" Well, the answer is, in name alone. The way they play this off is by having Jason's "soul" transfer from body to body whenever the screenplay requires it. This leads to some of the dumbest scenes I have seen in horror movies.
Probably the dumbest scene in the movie is how Jason's soul takes over the first body. The coroner is examining Jason's remains when he suddenly has a craving to eat Jason's heart.. Now I can take almost anything that a slasher movie has to offer, but this plot line is just plain stupid.
When Jason does reenter the picture the movie is almost over. He fights the two leads and then get sent to hell. If the whole movie would have been like this then we might have had a pretty decent "Jason" movie.
After "Jason Goes to Hell" was released, it took New Line another nine years before they released another "Jason" movie. On the basis of that movie and the recent remake, it seems that New Line wouldn't know a good "Jason" movie if it bit them in the ass..

Friday the 13th (2009) 1/2 *

There have been many "Friday the 13th" movies, ten in fact, so the formula is getting a little tired. So when they announced a remake I was hopeful. Could a reboot be just the thing that slasher fans needed? The answer is an astounding no.
This remake is really a remake at all. Well it is for the first minute or so, but after that it back to the usual business. After I watched the movie I asked myself "How can you take an entire movie and boil it down to a minute?" The answer to this is answered very quickly: you can't.
The problem lies in the fact that this movie was written by two people who apparently know nothing about the "Friday the 13th" movies. What they do know is public knowledge. Jason was thought to have drowned when he was a kid, but according to this movie he didn't. He watched his mother be decapitated and ever since has vowed revenge.
This may or may not be the case if you are a fan oF the series. Some believe that he did drown and is now the living dead, while others believe that Jason didn't drown and that he lived off the land until he could take revenge on the one who killed his mother. I like to think that Jason died and came back, but who am I to know?
Anyway, the after the opening we meet a group of twenty somethings who are venturing into the forest to find a hidden garden of weed. We get to know the group as they hang out by the fire., then they split off into groups of two to go have sex and explore. Soon enough Jason makes his appearance and kills off all of the group except for one. What I took away from this scene was that Jason was merely protecting his weed. How else would he get through all the years of being lonely?
The sequence above last for about twenty minutes. The reason I mention this is because after this sequence we get the title of the film. I have always been a fan of pre-credit sequences, but not twenty minutes worth.
Now we are into the meat of the story, but you know what? I didn't care. I don't like the fact that we were given time with the first group of people only to have them killed off so quickly. It didn't work in "Death Proof" and it doesn't work here.
There are nods to some of the previous movies, but they are so badly handled that you even wonder why they even tried. The writers said that they were bringing "Friday the 13th" back to classic form. I guess they did in a way, but they forgot that "Friday the 13th" movies are supposed to fun, not boring.

Paranormal Activity Blu-ray review

The Movie: **
At least once or twice a year a movie comes along that surprises everyone. Ten years ago it was "The Blair Witch Project". A few years ago it was "Napoleon Dynamite. In 2009 it was "Paranormal Activity"
"Paranormal Activity" played at film festivals for two years before it was released by Paramount. They had a great marketing campaign and even better word of mouth. But the real question is: "Is it any good?" The answer is yes and no.
The movie is about a couple who believe that they are being haunted by a ghost. The husband has the bright idea of setting up their video camera in the bedroom to see. If there is any proof to their claim.
As it turns out there is something going bump in the night, but instead of doing something they keep on filming. This is where I started having problems with the movie. They do at one point go to see a demonologist, but he happens to be out of town. This is very hard to believe because the couple lives in L.A. where a demonologist should be easy to come by.
There are some good scares in the movie and the anticipation of something bad happening is almost unbearable, still the movie just didn't work for me. I think that because the characters are unlikeable I couldn't really relate to them. Either that or because I don't believe in ghosts. Either way I can't fully recommend the movie. The only thing I can say is "It was ok"
Picture ***
Since movie is supposed to resemble a home movie you can't expect a lot from the transfer. I can say that the picture looks exactly how it did in theaters.
Sound ***1/2
The 5.1 DTS-HD track is very good. This movie is all about creepy sounds and this track does the movie justice.
Special Features: no stars
I am giving the special features no stars because there are no special features.
Overall: ***
While I can't recommend the movie, I can say that the Blu-ray is pretty good. I just wish that there were more special features. I mean, this movie did a fortune at the box office, the least they could do was give us a proper release.

Halloween (1978) ****


What can be said about the original "Halloween" that hasn't already been said? John Carpenter took a basic story line, about babysitters being stalked by a faceless madman and turned it into something truly terrifying.
In this day and age, the movie is viewed as "boring" and "slow" and while this may be true to the regular person, to someone who has never seen the movie before is in for a real treat.
The beauty of "Halloween" is in it's pacing. While today's horror movies are edited like music videos, due to the attention span of most people being reduced, "Halloween" takes it's time, setting everything up before finally getting to "the good part"
The opening scene of "Halloween" sets in motion how the rest of the movie is going to play out. By opening the movie with POV shot, John Carpenter is doing two things. The first is he is putting us into the role of the young Michael Myers. He is giving us nothing, but everything at the same time. The only thing that we know is what is put in front of us.
The second thing is the reveal at the end of this scene. After Michael kills his sister he walks out the front door to be greeted by his parents. Only then do we find out that the person who did all of this is a child. As the camera, now out of the POV mode, pulls back the young Michael Myers just stands there with no emotion on his face. John Carpenter has just scared us more in five minutes then most of "Halloween"'s imitators have done in their whole movie.
The rest of the movie is far from normal. We meet the babysitters who don't know what is in store for them on this fateful halloween night. This is where, for many people, the movie becomes boring. The thing Carpenter is doing here is giving us normal people. He is not giving us characters, but people with real emotions. Sure, they are not the best drawn people in the world, but they need to be. We feel like we know them so therefore we care.
We also get to meet Myers' doctor, Dr. Loomis. Played by Donald Pleasance, Dr. Loomis is actually afraid of Myers and the only reason he chases Myers down after the escape is because he needs to stop Myers. By making Loomis scared of Myers, Carpenter has allowed a faulty hero. Here we are given a man who would rather have nothing with Myers, but feels responsible for Myers escaping.
After Myers escapes Smith's Grove he returns to where he committed his first murder, obviously to continue where he left off. This may seem like a simple plot device, but it would only be natural for him to return home as it's the only place he knows.
Something that many people don't realize is that "Halloween" is violent,but relatively blood-less. This is not a gore film by any means and Carpenter shows great restraint by keep gore out of the movie. This movie could have easily turned into a bloodbath, but Carpenter is smarter than that. He allows his camera to see the action, but never linger on it. Once a murder is committed we move.
Michael Myers is described in the movie as "pure evil" and he lives up to this description, but not in the fashion that most would think. Myers toys with his victims, waiting for them in the shadows, watching their every move. He strikes when the fear has set in, but the fear doesn't come from the characters, it comes from us. Carpenter has worked us up into such a frenzy that when the typical jump scares come we don't know what to do.
Another thing that Carpenter does is that he makes Myers a "faceless evil". In other slasher movies this is done to hide the fact that the killer being played by a stunt man, but here it is used to symbolize the fact that pure evil is faceless. The killer could be anybody. It is not until the end of the movie, during a struggle with Laurie Strode, that the mask is removed. It is at this point in the movie that the "pure evil" is given a face, the face of a normal looking young man.
With "Halloween" John Carpenter showed that he could craft a movie that truly scared people. Up until 1990 it was the most successful independent movie ever. When all is said and done people will remember "Halloween" as one of the best horror movies ever made.

Halloween (2007) ***1/2

 Remaking a movie is a tough thing to pull off. If you do it right then you get a movie like "The Departed" (which is a remake of "Infernal Affairs" from Hong Kong), but if you do it wrong you get a movie like "Psycho" (the Gus Van Sant remake). Luckily, with "Halloween", we get the former.
The story pretty much follows the original. You get Michael Myers killing his sister when he is only a kid. You get the babysitters being killed off one by one on halloween. And you get the open ending, leaving room for the inevitable sequel. But with this movie writer-director Rob Zombie has given us a back story as to why Myers is the way he is.
In this movie Myers comes from a broken home. His mother is a stripper and his mom's boyfriend is an alcholholic. On halloween night Myers wants to go trick r treating, but no one will take him. His mother has to work and his sister has better things to do, like getting laid. This is all done with the usual Zombie touch and for me it works. For a lot of people, though, it does not.
Michael has problems at school too. He has a bully who picks on him and calls his mother a whore. After waiting outside for the bully after school, Michael kills him in the woods with a branch. This is one of the most brutal scenes in the movie, but one hell of a way to start out this movie.
With this scene Zombie is showing us that his version of "Halloween" is going to be drastically different from the original. Whereas the original was more of a visceral in scaring us, Zombie's version is going to be more visual. This is not a bad thing. I think that in the context of the way this movie play it works.
After Michael kills his sister and his mom's boyfriend, he is sent to Smith's Grove Sanitarium. This is where a bulk of the differences between the two versions come into play. In the original we are told nothing about Myers except that he is "pure evil". Here we get to see Michael being interview by Dr. Loomis. We get to see inside the head of Myers. In the interviews he comes off as a normal little boy, but when things don't go his way he snaps.
The Dr. Loomis in this movie is very different from the Loomis in the original. In the original, Loomis was scared of Myers and when Myers escapes he feels obligated to stop Myers before he kills again. In this movie, Loomis is interested in the way Myers is and why.
After years in the sanitarium, Myers escapes. This is a given. He makes his way back home to continue his reign of terror. This is where the movie begins to become more like a standard slasher movie. We are introduced to Laurie Strode and her friends. They will, of course, become the ones terrorized by Michael Myers. These characters are not really fleshed out as much as they could be, but that is because Zombie fleshed out all of the other characters and simply had no tine for these characters. Nothing is missed, though, because these characters are walking, talking horror movie cliches.
Rob Zombie's version of "Halloween" is different enough where he can call it his own. I liked the way he fleshed out the Myers character. I also liked the movie's look and feel. Zombie really knows how to make. creepy atmosphere and we get some good scare out of it.
John Carpenter's "Halloween" will always be referred to as "one of the greatest horror movies of all time", and while Zombie's version will never stack up to the original it does provide us a different look at a horror icon. For that I am grateful.