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The Burrowers [DVD]
The Burrowers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Karl Geary
Price: £4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars " Who takes men and horses and leaves the valuables to rot?", 10 April 2012
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This review is from: The Burrowers [DVD] (DVD)
In the Dakota Territory, 1879. A family is violently abducted from their home, leaving some dead. A posse is put together to go and search for the family, believing they were taken by Native Americans. After several days of searching, they soon discover the awful truth, strange creatures that live underground called burrowers are responsible for the missing family. Now out in the unmapped badlands, they are in danger of becoming the burrowers latest feast.

The Burrowers is a very well acted film. William Mapother, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jocelin Donahue, Clancy Brown and Doug Hutchison round out the main cast, and they all do stellar jobs. I wasn't all that familiar with Mapother, seems he had an outstanding start to his career with prominent roles in Magnolia, Mission Impossible 2, In the Bedroom, Swordfish and The Grudge, he even appeared in quite a few episodes of Lost playing a character called Ethan Rom. But good roles seem to have really dried up for him in recent years, he definitely has enough talent to be a well known actor. I had only seen Sean Patrick Thomas in the worst of the Halloween films Halloween: Resurrection and Darren Aronofsky's severely underrated The Fountain, he's better in this than he was in those. The lovely Jocelin Donahue who I liked so much as the main star of House of the Devil continues to impress in a very small role, she could become a new scream queen if she chooses to keep working in these type of films. Doug Hutchison plays a very similar character to his role as Percy Wetmore in The Green Mile, replete with handlebar moustache, he plays another loud mouth who's ultimately a weasel and a coward, a role he plays brilliantly. To me he will always be Tooms from The X-Files, he's a fine actor but everytime I see him I can't get the image of him stretching down a chimney out of my head. Finally we have Clancy Brown, a man that even the most casual film watcher would recognise. He was Kruger in Highlander, Captain Hadley in the Shawshank Redemption, Sgt. Zim in Starship Troopers, Justin Crowe in Carnivàle and more recently, Meacham in Cowboys and Aliens. I've honestly never seen him give a bad performance, and along with the other actors, he made The Burrowers very watchable.

Written and directed by J.T. Petty, he's done a great job with this film. His script is a real slow burner, we only see glimpses of the burrowers until over half way in, the first half is much more about the characters and how they interact with one another, and I always appreciate a film that lets us get to know the characters before they start getting bumped off. His direction is confident and even in the much slower first half it's never boring, there's always a sense of dread and the open badlands is a great setting. The cinematography is splendid, there's some brilliant shots of the open vast emptiness of the old west. The film has a sepia look that suits the film really nicely. The budget was just $7,000,000 but it looks like it cost much more, the production values are just about the best I've seen for a film of its budget. The music was an excellent accompaniment, lots of violin and old western type of music. The burrowers themselves are a great design, especially when you see how they were done. It was released straight to DVD, a shame as I believe this would have done reasonable business if released theatrically.

The DVD itself is decent, especially for the price it's available for. The picture quality is fantastic for DVD, at least up-scaled on a Blu-ray player and the sound is above par. There's The Burrowers: Making a horror western and Digging Up the Burrowers: Creating the Monster, neither are on for long but both are interesting. There's English subtitles only.

I've always loved films that mix genres, and I really enjoyed The Burrowers. Mixing horror with a western is still a type of film that hasn't been done very often, Dead Birds was the first I can think of and recent films like Cowboys and Aliens and Jonah Hex have used the western, but they mixed it more with sci-fi. There's quite a few gruesome moments but it's certainly not a film for gorehounds, though the way the creatures feed on people was disgusting. This won't be a film for everyone, it does take a long time to get going and some will definitely be bored, the ending like in so many films also left a little to be desired. It's a film I thoroughly enjoyed and if you like films that mix genres, or you're after a little known and well acted monster movie then this is heartily recommended. If you don't like films that take their time to build character development, then I'd suggest the brilliantly fun and somewhat similar Tremors.


Monkey Shines - An Experiment In Fear [DVD]
Monkey Shines - An Experiment In Fear [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jason Beghe
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £5.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "She's unbelievable, she's like a miniature person", 7 April 2012
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Alan Mann is an extremely fit, promising young athlete in a relationship with Linda, who he loves deeply. One morning whilst out running, a barking dog jumps out towards Alan, just as a truck is driving by. Alan is hit by the truck and wakes up in the hospital having had spinal surgery, but the surgery has left Alan quadriplegic. Upon returning home, it very quickly becomes clear that Linda is struggling with the change. When Alan is trying to read a book, it becomes a monumental effort and in a state of depression, he attempts to kill himself by suffocation. Luckily his best friend, Geoff, visits Alan and manages to stop him before he's successful, and Alan is taken to the hospital. Geoff bumps into Linda at the hospital and realises that she couldn't possibly know about Alan yet, she's begun an affair with the very same surgeon that saved Alan's life. Alan now back at home and completely dependant on his overbearing mother and a nurse she's brought in, Geoff who works in a lab dealing in experiments on animals, decides that one of his capuchin monkeys could be of great help to Alan. Geoff takes the monkey to a capuchin trainer called Melanie, who agrees to train the monkey that she calls Ella. When Ella is taken to Alan's home, she and Alan quickly strike up a strong bond. As weeks pass and Alan and Ella become closer, she becomes more than a help, she becomes his friend, his confidante. Being a George A. Romero film, events soon take a sinister turn. Geoff has been injecting Ella with human brain tissue attempting to make her smarter, but Ella seems to become a telepathic receptacle for Alan's anger at his friends and family who he believes have betrayed him, meanwhile Alan and Melanie begin a tentative relationship. When Alan is informed that his condition may be reversible, Ella's protectiveness turns to savage jealousy.

Jason Beghe is an excellent lead as Alan, he really manages to get across his anger and frustration at being quadriplegic. He goes through joy, anger, embarrassment, love, and handles them all fantastically, I'm really surprised he hasn't become much better known. John Pankow, Kate McNeil, Joyce Van Patten, Christine Forrest and Janine Turner are all good as his friends and family. Stephen Root and Stanley Tucci are really good in their small roles, Root plays Geoff's cold and cruel boss and Tucci plays the slimy, smarmy surgeon that "steals" Alan's girlfriend. The capuchin monkeys that played Ella have to be mentioned, it's an extraordinary performance and a lot of credit has to go to the animal trainers. Monkey Shines was George A. Romero's first studio film, if rumour is to be believed, the studio were in financial difficulties at the time and re-cut the film against Romero's wishes. The film flopped spectacularly at the box office, and apart from The Dark Half and Land of the Dead, he appears to have gone back to independent films which he has complete control over. Romero is most widely known for his zombie films and rightly so, Night, Dawn and Day of the Dead are still three of the best zombie films ever made. His other films are worth a look though, Martin is a superb film concerning a young man who may be mental or a vampire, The Crazies is an excellent look at how the military handle a town that's been over taken by a manmade combat virus. Creepshow is one of my favourite horror films of all time, and Monkey Shines is much better than the recent zombie films he's directed. It's the sort of film that could have been awful if it wasn't for Romero's masterful direction, I love the scenes where Ella leaves the house and we see through her eyes.

The DVD isn't all that good, the picture quality and sound is fine but there's a distinct lack of extras. George A. Romero has done a commentary on some of his films, but I assume his annoyance at having the film re-cut may have been the reason he doesn't do one here, it didn't stop him later making The Dark Half for the same company. Orion who fought bankruptcy for several years were finally bought by MGM in 1998, the Tom Berenger film One Man's Hero was the last film Orion released. A commentary or especially a making of would have been very welcome. There's the choice to watch the film dubbed in German, French, Spanish or Polish. There's French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese and Greek subtitles.

If you want to watch a George A. Romero film that doesn't have zombies in it, then Monkey Shines is as good a place as any to start. At nearly an hour and fifty minutes long, some people will find parts of the film slow and boring, I found the acting and directing was more than good enough to carry the film through those moments. It isn't really scary at all, but it does build up a decent amount of suspense and tension towards the end. There's some genuinely funny moments in the film, like when Ella raises her hand to answer a question when Alan is in a lecture. It does suffer from a sugary sweet happy ending that seems out of place for Romero, quite possibly one of the changes the studio made. If you're after a Romero zombie film then I'd suggest staying away from this, Monkey Shines is a very different film and shows that Romero isn't all about zombies. It also has the worst fake beard in the history of film which gives it a certain charm, and an Alien homage which is one of the better one's I've seen. Not a perfect film by any means, but it's a really fun ride and worth seeing purely for the monkeys alone.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2012 5:51 PM BST


Otis - Uncut (Raw Feed) [DVD]
Otis - Uncut (Raw Feed) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bostin Christopher
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You should feel good now. I have an 80% recovery rate", 5 April 2012
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In a small suburban house, the Lawson family are getting ready for dinner when they see a news story about a serial killer that is abducting and killing teenage girls. When the pizza delivery man arrives, the Lawson's teenage daughter Riley answers the door to pay him, the pizza guy seems to take an unhealthy interest in her. Early the next morning as Riley is leaving to go school, she is grabbed by the man from the night before and bundled into the back of his car and knocked unconscious. Riley wakes up in a dungeon type room with a chain around her ankle, the phone in the room rings where the man insists on calling her Kim. It very quickly becomes obvious that Otis, the man who has taken her, has kidknapped 5 girls previously and keeps them in the dungeon until "prom night". Otis is a 6'4" 300 lb. 40 year old man who is bullied by his older brother who stops by now and again, and the Lawson family have an insufferable FBI agent at the house in charge of finding their daughter. Eventually the Lawson family tire of the useless and tactless agent Hotchkiss, and along with their son Reed, take matters into their own hands with gruesome and hilarious consequences.

Bostin Christopher who had only ever appeared in a tiny role as a comic book clerk in Unbreakable, gives a great performance as Otis. He's intimidating in his scenes with Riley, and vulnerable in the scenes with his brother Elmo. Ashley Johnson is pretty good as Riley, she has to go through many different emotions and handles it well. Jared Kusnitz is quite likeable as the Lawson's delinquent son Reed. Daniel Stern and Illeana Douglas were fantastic as Will and Kate Lawson, I like both actors and it had been quite a while since i'd seen them in anything. Stern will always be Marv from Home Alone to me, I watched Home Alone in the cinema when I was 6 and loved his performance. Otis is a horror comedy so his performance isn't a million miles away from Marv, I was happy to see him follow this role up with another good performance in the better than expected Drew Barrymore film Whip It. I hadn't seen Illeana Douglas in anything since 2001's Ghost World, she's been in some great films such as Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Alive and Stir Of Echoes, but seems to have settled into more independent films in recent years. Kevin Pollack is Elmo, Otis' older brother. For such a small man, he really convinces as a bully and his chemistry with Bostin Christopher was brilliant. The absolute star of the show, the person that steals every scene is Jere Burns as agent Hotchkiss. He constantly says the wrong thing, irritates the family every second he's around and mishandles everything he does. I found his performance hilarious, as was Tracy Scoggins in a tiny role as the news reporter who says the most inappropriate things.

Otis is the second film directed by Tony Krantz, his first being the decent straight to dvd offering Sublime. He clearly allows his cast to have fun, in turn making it very fun for the viewers. Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz wrote the script, both are normally writers on tv shows with Jendresen having worked on Band Of Brothers, Schauz had worked on a few episodes of The X-Files and currently works on Breaking Bad. It's a very funny script, there's quite a few scenes that are funny in an Office type of way, where you laugh at how awkward and uncomfortable certain moments are. At other times the dialogue gets quite nasty in equal measures to the comedy, I found it a near perfect blend of comedy and horror. There's a couple of gruesome moments towards the of the film, but the funny dialogue going on at the same time really dilutes the violence. The music used in the film was fantastic, from the opening scenes with the Talking Heads playing, A Flock Of Seagulls, Devo, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Blue Öyster Cult, Quiet Riot and The B-52's all feature.

The dvd has plenty of extras, a commentary from director Krantz and writer Jendresen, an excellent alternative ending that couldn't be more different to the ending they used, the twisted world of Otis featurette, additional scenes and trailers. The picture and sound quality is good, there's English, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish subtitles.

Otis is essentially a torture porn type film like Captivity, but played out as a jet black comedy. It's definitely one of my favourite films from 2008, and anybody that likes their horror films with dark comedic moments should find plenty to enjoy. The acting is way above the standard these type of films normally have, and Jere Burns' performance alone is enough to recommend this film.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2012 12:27 AM BST


See No Evil [DVD]
See No Evil [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mia Farrow
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: £4.46

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In a world of darkness, evil can hide anywhere, 5 April 2012
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This review is from: See No Evil [DVD] (DVD)
Sarah has just left the hospital after a horseback-riding accident left her blind, she is staying with her auntie and uncle where the accident took place. A day or two after she arrives and settles in, Sarah goes to meet her boyfriend, Steve. After a couple of hours, she's dropped off at home and goes to bed, unaware that whilst she was out with Steve, a psychotic killer has murdered her relatives. She wakes up early in the morning and assumes that the others are sleeping, she hears Steve outside so gets dressed and meets him, where she discovers that he's given her a horse as a present. Later that day whilst running a bath, she discovers the bodies of her family and falls down the basement in a panic. When she comes around, she finds her way into the hallway where she finds a bracelet with a name engraved onto it. Blind and terrified, she realises the killer is going to come back to retrieve the bracelet, when he does, Sarah is going to have to escape and get to safety.

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Mia Farrow, apart from Rosemary's Baby and this, I've always found her quite irritating. I thought she was excellent in See No Evil, her British accent is spot on and she's totally convincing as a blind woman. The way she moves and touches her way around her house is very believable, and there's several scenes where she looks genuinely terrified. Like most people, I seem to have read and heard more about her marriages to Frank Sinatra, Andre Previn and her relationship with Woody Allen than her films, but if Rosemary's Baby and now this is anything to go by, I'm thinking I need to go back and re-evaluate some of her other films. Dorothy Alison and Robin Bailey are good as her auntie and uncle, Norman Eshley is quite likeable as Steve, and there's an early role for Michael Elphick as a gypsy called Tom. It was confidently directed by Richard Fleischer, a director who has made more than a couple of great films. The Vikings, Tora! Tora! Tora!, The Boston Strangler, 10 Rillington Place and Soylent green are just a few of his better films, he also directed the Schwarzenegger films Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonja before retiring in 1987, he passed away aged 89 in 2006. It was wrote by Brian Clemens who was just coming off writing the excellent And Soon the Darkness the year before, his script is packed full of tense and suspenseful scenes, he was awarded the OBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Broadcasting and to Drama. The music in the film is excellent, and the cinematography perfectly captures the wet and dull Berkshire countryside.

Sadly the DVD is a barebones affair apart from a few trailers, there's the option of watching the film dubbed in French, German, Italian or Spanish. There's French, German, Italian, Spanish or Dutch subtitles. The sound and picture quality was far better than I expected, the sound is nice and clear and the picture is quite detailed with very few blemishes.

See No Evil is a really good, but not great film. The directing and acting is very strong, but there is the odd moment of unintentional humour. There's a tense atmosphere created after the reasonably slow but interesting opening half hour, and some superb creepy moments like when the relatives bodies are first shown and a scene in a bathroom towards the end of the film. Some would say that the film is now extremely dated, it's very '70s with the clothes, the music, even the way they talk seems '70s. I disagree with older films being called dated, if I watch a film made in the '70s and set in the '70s, I want it to look and sound like the '70s. I want to see the strange haircuts and clothes, I want to see the old dial phones, I want to see people smoking in a pub, it's a great reminder of how things used to be. Not really a horror film as the cover and synopsis makes it sound, it's a suspenseful thriller with the odd creepy scene. If you're after a blood and guts horror film I suggest looking elsewhere, if you want a really well crafted, suspenseful thriller, then this is a good choice. Be aware that there are at least another two films that share the name See No Evil, there's the cheap horror film with a wrestler called Kane, there's also a made for TV movie about Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, so be sure to choose the right one.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2012 9:26 PM BST


Children Of The Corn 1-3 DVD Boxset (3-DVD Set)
Children Of The Corn 1-3 DVD Boxset (3-DVD Set)
Dvd ~ Linda Hamilton

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Outlander! Outlander! We have your woman!", 2 April 2012
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Children Of The Corn - In the town of Gatlin, Nebraska. A strange boy preacher named Isaac convinces the towns children to believe in a demon called He who walks behind the rows, one day Malachai who is Isaac's second in command leads all the children to brutally slay all the adults in the town. A few years later Burt and Vicky are driving across country for Burt's new job as a physician, when they hit a young boy who was standing in the middle of the road. When Burt gets out to check on the child, as a physician it's blatantly obvious to him that the child was already dead before they hit him. With Vicky in shock at what's happened, Burt decides to put the body in the boot and get to the nearest town. Eventually the two end up in the deserted looking town of Gatlin, as usual in these films, the couple split up and Vicky is captured by Malachai and taken into the cornfield. Burt now has to find Vicky and save her before she's sacrificed to He who walks behind the rows, with no idea if the children have been brainwashed or if there really is a demon in the corn fields.

Children Of The Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice - Continues almost immediately after the events of the original. The residents of Hemingford, Nebraska, the town next to Gatlin decides to take in the children despite most of the evidence pointing to the children being the cause of all the adults deaths in town. John Garret, a reporter for the Worldly Inquirer is in Hemingford with his son Danny to report on the children being taken in. In no time at all, one of the former Gatlin children enters the corn fields and is possessed by a demon sent by He who walks behind the rows, over the course of the weekend, the children in town start killing everyone over 18. It's up to out of town reporter John and his son Danny to save the adult population, and free the children from the demon.

Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest - Eli and Joshua were residents of a small town in Nebraska, after the mysterious death of their father, they are adopted by a couple in Chicago. Eli has brought with him a suitcase full of corn, and on his first night as everybody sleeps, he sneaks into an empty factory and buries the corn he brought and prays to He who walks behind the rows. The corn he plants grows into a full corn field within days, and over time Eli starts bringing the local school kids around to his strange beliefs. As the strange plot involving children eating the corn becoming followers and adults that eat it dying in comical ways, Eli's own brother Joshua fights back against him and tries to destroy the demon for good. It doesn't really work, 5 awful sequels followed making it 8 films in total.

The acting in the original is of a high standard, Peter Horton who was married to Michelle Pfeiffer at the time was a likeable lead as Burt. Linda Hamilton was an unknown at the time, she played the role of Vicky and showed great potential, she went on to huge success later the same year as Sarah Connor in The Terminator. John Franklin is extremely creepy as Isaac, he later returned for part 6 in the series, and Courtney Gains plays his role as Malachai really well and was probably the most memorable character in the film. It was shot for $800,000 by first time director Fritz Kiersch, and was based on the novel by Stephen King. The Final Sacrifice was directed by David Price on a slightly increased budget of $900,000, and came a full 9 years after the original. The cast is made up of virtual unknowns but they do decent jobs, it also has a slightly more comedic tone to the original with increased gore. Essentially it does feel like a bit of a retread of the first, and offers very little new. Urban Harvest arrived 2 years later and was directed by James D.R. Hickox, the third film does try changing things by moving from the country into an urban area. This is both a blessing and a curse, it allows for new ideas but it loses the creepiness of the country corn fields and it's a little silly how the demon moves to the city. Daniel Cerny is quite effective as Eli, he might be known to some horror fans as the demon child in Demonic Toys. Part 3 also marked the film debuts of Charlize Theron in a non speaking role and Nicholas Brendon in a small role.

There's actually some very decent extras in this box set, the original has a commentary track with the director, producer and the actors that played Isaac and Malachai. It's a very fun commentary with them enjoying sharing their memories of the film, and have many insightful things to say. Harvesting horror is a new documentary made for this set, storyboard art, poster gallery, trailer and biographies. Part 2 has another commentary from the director and actors, theatrical trailers, photo galleries and biographies. Part 3 has no extras apart from a few trailers and was a bit of a let down, but I wasn't surprised as the quality of the films decrease. The picture quality on all 3 is above standard, and all 3 have subtitles for the hard of hearing.

I love the original film and it still holds up well today, it's more of a suspense film with the deaths suggestively gory rather than shown. It's virtually the only film to watch to see Linda Hamilton before she hit the big time with the Terminator, and it's extremely fun and cheesy. It does start going downhill in the second film and that continues into the third, but they're decent sequels and well worth watching if you want to see the story continue from the original. I believe these were meant to just be a trilogy as the story seems to wrap up at the end of the third, and all the sequels after went straight to dvd whereas the first three were released theatrically. It's nowhere near the best trilogy that you'll buy, but for the price, fun and decent extras then it's definitely worth a look. You never know, if you like your horror with a touch of humour and a lot of cheese, you may just love this box set. If the quality of the original was maintained throughout, this would've been a cracker.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2012 6:59 PM BST


Re-Animator (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [1985] [DVD]
Re-Animator (2 Disc Collector's Edition) [1985] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Bruce Abbott
Offered by thelastplace
Price: £14.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't expect it to tango, it has a broken back", 31 Mar. 2012
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When Herbert West, a medical student who was working in Switzerland with the late Dr. Gruber, starts at the Miskatonic Medical School in Massachusetts, he is quickly introduced to a promising young student called Dan Cain and the world renowned brain surgeon Dr. Hill. Upon meeting Dr. Hill, West makes it very clear that he feels Dr. Hill's work is useless and outdated. Soon after his introduction, Herbert moves into Dan's spare room where he discovers that Dan is seeing the school Dean's daughter Megan. Megan seems instantly creeped out by West and his strange behaviour, and for good reason as it isn't long before Dan gets dragged into West's bizarre experiments aimed at reanimating the dead. The two break into the school and begin their experiments which accidentally leads to the death of Megan's father, soon after Dr. Hill discovers exactly what they've been upto and tries to steal their work, leading to a gory, grotesque and often hilarious battle between West and Hill.

Horror legend Jeffrey Combs is a joy to watch as Herbert West, he plays the role with such sinister relish that it's impossible not to like him. A lot of the films comedy comes from how straight Combs plays the role, and along with From Beyond, Castle Freak and The Frighteners, this is his best work. The other real standout performance comes from the late David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill, Herbert West's nemesis. He died aged just 54 and I haven't seen anything else he made apart from the sequel, a shame he appeared in so little as he's wonderful in Re-Animator. Barbara Crampton is very pretty and played her role as Megan well, she later teamed up again with Combs in Castle Freak. Bruce Abbot and Robert Sampson round off the main cast as Dan Cain and the Dean Alan Halsey, but Combs and Gale are what make this film so endlessly enjoyable. I love the direction from Stuart Gordon and i'm sure the actors loved it too, this was his first proper film and to this day it's his best. He quickly followed it up a few years later with the excellent From Beyond and Dolls, after the 80's his films have been a little bit more hit and miss, but Fortress, Castle Freak, Dagon and Stuck are all very watchable. Re-Animator virtually steals Bernard Herrmann's fantastic Psycho score, but it fits the film so well that I can't imagine the film without it. There's some nudity, and lots and lots of over the top gratuitous gore. The effects and gore are brilliant considering this 1985 classic was made for under $1,000,000, it's probably the bloodiest over the top film i've seen along with Evil Dead 2 and Braindead.

This 2 disc special edition is packed with extras, especially when compared to the near barebones dvd I owned previously. On disc 1 there's what appears to be a cleaned up version of the film as it looks better than my old copy, there's a commentary from director Stuart Gordon and a second commentary from producer Brian Yuzna (later a director himself and director of the sequels), and actors Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson. Of course it would have been even better with David Gale. Disc 2 is just as good, a brilliant 70 minute making of, interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, further interviews with writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. A music discussion with Richard Band, deleted scenes, extended scenes, trailer, tv spots, production stills gallery, behind the scenes still gallery, fun on the set gallery, posters and advertising gallery, storyboard gallery, Stuart Gordon biography, the screenplay and finally Herbert West, Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft from which the film is based. It's a great dvd and what all special editions should be like, check out the Poltergeist "special edition" to see how little is on some. Considering how much is on the discs, it seems crazy that there's no subtitles which would obviously be a big problem for some.

Re-Animator is a great film and now has a great special edition, one of the best horror comedies ever made and if you're not too squeamish and aren't bothered by the perverted, gratuitous tone, you should love it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 7, 2013 2:21 AM GMT


Who Saw Her Die
Who Saw Her Die
Dvd ~ George Lazenby
Price: £11.81

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you can't play ping-pong, don't get mixed up in politics.", 30 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Who Saw Her Die (DVD)
In France, 1968, a young red headed girl is playing in the snow with her nanny. When the girl wanders off alone for a game of hide and seek, she is snatched, killed and buried under the snow by a woman dressed in black wearing a veil. Four years later and sculptor Franco Serpieri is working in Venice when he's visited by his young red haired daughter Roberta, it seems as though Franco and his wife Elizabeth split up and he was hoping she'd be visiting with her daughter. It's not long before Roberta meets a few of the local kids and starts playing with them, but she's being watched by a woman in black wearing a veil. When Roberta gets seperated from the other kids, she is snatched by the woman and Franco begins looking for her. A day or two later, her body is found floating in the canal. Elizabeth arrives in Venice to attend the funeral and stays with Franco, when a friend of Franco tells him about a case he found out about in France with very similar circumstances, he sets out to find out who is responsible for the murder of the two girls. The deeper he digs, the more people around him start to die.

George Lazenby plays Franco, he's almost unrecognisable from his role as James Bond three years earlier. He reportedly lost thirty-five pounds for the role and has a moustache, I couldn't help thinking he looked very similar to Christopher Lee in many scenes. I've always been a fan of his Bond performance in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and despite being dubbed, I really liked his performance here. Swedish actress Anita Strindberg plays Franco's wife, Elizabeth. She should be instantly recognisable to giallo fans as she appeared in The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail, The Two Faces Of Fear and Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key around the same time. She was a very good looking woman and had good screen presence, she and Lazenby had great chemistry and made a believable, grieving couple. Most fans of gialli and Italian horror should also know the then eight year old actress Nicoletta Elmi, the red head was also in Mario Bava's A Bay Of Blood, Dario Argento's Deep Red and much later Lamberto Bava's Demons. The supporting cast all do reasonable jobs, Adolfo Celi, another post Bond actor having played villain Emilio Largo in 1965s Thunderball was probably the pick of the bunch. It's beautifully directed by Aldo Lado, he later went on to direct the Last House On The Left inspired Night Train Murders, some called it a rip-off, but others believe Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now ripped off Who Saw Her Die? I personally think all of those films stand on their own, and I enjoyed them all regardless of the similarities. Ennio Morricone's music score is brilliant, the children singing and the creepy choral pieces complimented the film perfectly. At times it reminded me of the type of music Goblin would use in Dario Argento's films, it's been a long time since I enjoyed a film's music score as much as this. Being set in Venice, the cinematography is superb and the canals and surroundings look beautiful and eerie at the same time.

It's not all good though, there's long periods of time where very little seems to happen. There's nowhere near enough blood and gore for some people, but there is a few scenes with nudity. The dubbing is particularly bad at times, especially when you consider that Lazenby was speaking English to begin with and he's badly dubbed to sound American. I really don't mind dubbed Italian films as I've been watching them for years, but it's a lot more noticeable here than normal. Even though it's explained why the killer has committed the crimes, it's not explained all that well and if you wasn't paying very close attention, it could go over your head as it did mine at first. There's also one or two very obvious red herrings, but for me personally the good far outweighed the bad.

Shameless have done another great job with this release, the picture quality for the most part looks superb. There's no grain, good detail, great colour and hardly any speckles, scratches or dirt. I suppose the best thing to say about the picture quality is, it doesn't look anything like a forty year old film, it looks much more recent. Audio quality is good, but now and again, just a few times I had to rewind as I missed what was said. Even when rewinded, it was still difficult to understand but this only happens rarely. As with most Shameless releases, the only extras are trailers for other films in their back catalogue, and this is the only area I feel they could slightly improve on. Still, it's fantastic that some of these old Italian films are even available to begin with, so moaning about a lack of extras seems a little silly. There's no option to watch the film in Italian with subtitles, the film only plays dubbed in English and there's no subtitles in any other language. If you don't like gialli then this won't change your mind, if you don't like dubbed films then I'd advise you to skip this one. However, if you're a fan of Argento, Bava, Fulci, Soavi, then I'm sure this will be another wonderful addition to your collection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2012 5:31 AM BST


Legend of Hell House [DVD]
Legend of Hell House [DVD]
Offered by SweetBuzzards
Price: £1.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "This house....It knows we're here.", 27 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Legend of Hell House [DVD] (DVD)
Mr. Deutsch hires physicist Lionel Barrett to go and spend a week in the Belasco house, he's to study survival after death as it's been long reported to be haunted by the spirits of its dead owner, Emeric Belasco, and his supposed victims. Emeric was a millionaire who had a penchant for the depraved, he disappeared after a massacre took place in the house. Barrett is accompanied to the house by his wife, Ann, and two mediums, Florence Tanner who is a mental medium and Ben Fischer who is a physical medium. They're also joined by the only survivor of a previous investigation in the house. Barrett seems very suspicious of Florence and Ben, especially when mental medium Florence starts showing signs of physical manifestations, he believes that Tanner is using the energy in the house against him after he's attacked by invisible forces. Soon after this attack, Ann begins to suffer from erotic visions and Florence is attacked by what she believes to be Belasco's son, Daniel. Meanwhile, Barrett is getting more frustrated with Fischer, believing him to be closing his mind to the house and is just after his share of the money. As the attacks become more frightening, the group are going to have to rid the house of Emeric Belasco before they all end up dead.

Pamela Franklin is good as Florence Tanner, my only other experience of her is from her small role a decade earlier in The Innocents. I'm very surprised she seemed to slip into TV mediocrity soon after this film, she was certainly a good enough lead to have landed some decent film roles after this. Roddy McDowall was the only actor that I was really familiar with, he was a little over-the-top in a few scenes but generally gives a solid performance. Like myself, most people probably know him best as Cornelius in Planet Of The Apes and Peter Vincent in Fright Night. Clive Revill and Gayle Hunnicutt are absolutely fine as Dr. Barrett and his wife, Ann. Michael Gough has an extremely small part, it's almost a blink and you'll miss him role. It's very competently directed by John Hough, he earlier directed Twins of Evil and later went on to direct Escape to and Return from Witch Mountain. It isn't all that highly rated, but he also directed one of my favourite '80s horror films called The Incubus. Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend and A Stir Of Echoes wrote the screenplay from his own novel, Hell House.

The Legend of Hell House almost feels like The Haunting's little brother, it desperately wants to be like the much loved older brother but doesn't quite live up to it and is destined to live in its shadow. It has a similar story, and much like The Haunting, it doesn't rely on gore or violence. The film is genuinely creepy in parts, but doesn't match the sense of foreboding that The Haunting creates. Most haunted house films really don't work at all, in my opinion The Haunting and The Changeling are by far the stand out films of the genre, but after those I can't think of one that has worked as well as The Legend of Hell House. I'm just thinking about the traditional big creepy haunted house films with that statement, of course films like Poltergeist, The Shining and The Amityville Horror are classics but I wouldn't really group them together with films like The Haunting and The Legend of Hell House. Compared to recent efforts like the 13 Ghosts, The Haunting and The House on Haunted Hill remakes, this is a bit of a classic and well worth checking out if you prefer your scares to be well thought out and slowly built. If you prefer blood and awful CGI then I'd suggest watching those remakes instead. The Belasco House is a big, dark, creepy place, it's called the mount everest of haunted houses in the film and lives up to its name. I loved the ending and the explanation of how the house has remained haunted for all these years, and the sexual undertones and Belasco's seedy past was dealt with well. I've never read the Matheson novel, but I believe the film dropped a lot of the sexual aspects and to some, this meant the film lost the power that the book had. Regardless of whether you've read the book, surely the film is well worth watching if you like '60s and '70s haunting movies. Clocking in at just ninety minutes, the film takes a little while to get going, but once it does it doesn't let up from the impressive atmosphere it creates. The picture quality is okay for a film of its age and budget, but sadly the disc lacks any extras. There's English, Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian subtitles. A very good film, but it can't quite match the suspense and atmosphere of The Haunting.


Red [2008] [DVD]
Red [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brian Cox
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They Should Have Just Apologized, 15 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Red [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Avery Ludlow lives alone with his dog, Red, who was a gift from his wife for his 50th birthday. His wife died many years ago, so Avery and Red have formed a very strong bond. When Avery goes fishing by a lake, three youths with a shotgun approach him and Red. After some banter, the leader of the group decides to try and rob Avery at gunpoint. Avery doesn't have any money on him which makes Danny furious, before the youths leave, Danny decides to shoot Red in the head. Danny and his friend, Pete, clearly find it hilarious, whilst Danny's brother, Harold, seems shaken up. The three walk away still laughing, leaving Avery to cradle his dead friend in his arms. Avery later finds out the identity of the boys and goes to see the brothers father, he decides to take his sons word over Avery's despite it being clear they're lying. When Avery goes to the sheriff to report the crime, he's basically told that there's nothing that can be done, he can maybe get $100 for "damaged property". Disgusted by the fact that no charges can be pressed, he decides that just an admittance and apology from the boys will suffice. When the boys continue to deny what they've done, events escalate wildly out of control.

Brian Cox is wonderful as Avery, it's a subtle, poignant performance. Red isn't a Death Wish or Death Sentence type of film, Avery just wants the kids to admit to what they've done. Cox isn't hunting down people and blowing their brains out, he's simply an ageing man that's lost his best friend and wants some kind of justice. He doesn't set out to kill everybody involved, he would have forgiven the boys if they admitted what they did, apologised and were punished accordingly. Cox has a few sad scenes, but there's one scene in particular when Avery is telling a reporter about his wife's death that I found heartbreaking. Brian Cox is a brilliant actor that doesn't quite get the credit he deserves, his excellent performance as Hannibal Lector in Manhunter is often overlooked in favour of Anthony Hopkins' fantastic, but over the top portrayal in Silence Of The Lambs. The Three boys all play their roles well, I hated Pete and especially Danny played by Shiloh Fernandez and Noel Fisher, Kyle Gallner made me feel sorry for him as Danny's younger brother caught in the middle, he hates what Danny did but can't sell his brother out. There's some really good supporting performances from Tom Sizemore as the brothers dad, Robert Englund and Amanda Plummer as Pete's parents, Kim Dickens as a sympathetic reporter and Richard Riehle as the sheriff. Ashley Laurence from Hellraiser plays the brothers mother.

Red was shot on a budget of $2,500,000 by Lucky McKee and Trygve Allister Diesen, and originally starred Mckee regular Angela Bettis as reporter, Carrie. For unknown reasons McKee was fired and Diesen finished the film, Bettis was replaced by Dickens, again for reasons unknown. Whoever directed which scenes we'll probably never know, but it certainly hasn't affected the film in any way. Red doesn't feel disjointed at all, there's no sudden changes of style and it would be very difficult to try and guess who directed what. I don't know how much McKee actually directed, but I'm a fan May and The Woods that he made prior to this, so I tend to just think of Red as his movie. Red is based on a Jack Ketchum novel, for whatever reason McKee was fired, it hasn't put him off directing films based on Ketchum's novels, as his latest film, The Woman is one of Ketchum's. There isn't any nudity, and those expecting a Death Wish revenge film full of violence will be sorely disappointed. Red is very much a character driven film, that really lets the actors get their teeth into the roles.

Red asks the audience a few questions, is killing someone's dog a serious crime or a misdemeanor? Is the killing of a dog worthy of someone taking justice into their own hands? Avery himself questions whether he should have let it go after the boys denied shooting the dog. As a person who has had pets in the past, I know that a pet becomes a family member and their death hits the family hard. I had no problem watching a film about a man seeking justice for a murdered dog, he lived alone with the dog for years, Red was a gift from his deceased wife, when they killed the dog, they killed his friend, they killed one of the few things he had left that reminded him of his wife. I felt the main kid Danny was a psychopath and revenge was fully justified, just as if he had shot an actual family member. It's a film about escalating violence, but pointlessly and senselessly killing someone's pet is not something that should be taken lightly. Is vigilantism right? No. Is a fine of $100 right? No. It's a film that shows that if the proper authorities had took the murder of a beloved pet seriously, the kids would have been arrested and Avery would have got the justice that he craved. I also liked how the film shows that one senseless moment of stupidity, can lead to many lives being completely destroyed.

Picture quality is good, shame that such a good film has absolutely no extras, this could be due to the changing of directors. There's no subtitles. The front cover states "from the writer of The Grudge", it also looks like a horror film. It's not a horror film at all, it's a poignant drama with the odd moment of violence. A very good film.
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2012 3:29 PM BST


Dressed to Kill [Blu-ray]
Dressed to Kill [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Price: £6.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Every Nightmare Has A Beginning...This One Never Ends, 14 Mar. 2012
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Kate Miller is an unfulfilled wife and mother, she loves her husband and son, but her husband does not satisfy her sexually. She goes to see her psychiatrist, Dr Robert Elliott, and expresses her frustration with her husband's "useless performance", before attempting to seduce him into sleeping with her. Dr Elliott explains that he loves his wife and it wouldn't be worth risking his marriage, and Kate seems even more depressed. She later goes to the Metropolitan Museum where she flirts with a mysterious stranger, leading to her getting in a cab with him and they begin to have sex which resumes once they reach his apartment. With the man asleep, Kate decides to slip out but not before leaving the man a note. She then discovers a letter confirming that he has a venereal disease, absolutely mortified, she quickly leaves the apartment forgetting her wedding ring. Whilst in the lift, Kate realises she's missing her ring and decides to return to retrieve it. When the elevator doors open, she's met by a tall, blonde woman with sunglasses wielding a razor. The woman enters the lift and begins to slash away at Kate, as a call girl and her client await the lift on another floor. The lift opens to reveal a bloodied and dying Kate, with the mysterious blonde hiding inside. The client panics and runs away, whilst the scared call girl sees the woman's face in the mirror before the doors close.

Dr Elliott later receives a phone call from a patient called Bobbi, Bobbi is transgender and tells the Dr that she has stolen his razor and killed a woman. Bobbi tells the Dr that a young woman saw her, and now she'll have to deal with her. Liz Blake is the call girl that witnessed the crime, she's pretty much the only suspect according to a crude cop that tells her she better find her client if she wants to clear her name. Liz soon starts seeing the tall blonde and fears she may be the next victim, whilst Kate's brainiac son Peter has figured out that the killer must be one of Dr Elliott's patients. Liz and Peter team up to try and find the killer, before the killer finds and kills Liz.

Michael Caine gets top billing as Dr Robert Elliott, but I doubt he had more than 25 minutes of screen time. I have to say, Caine is a great actor but his performance here is no more than solid. Angie Dickinson is pretty decent as Kate, she appears in virtually every frame until her murder. She doesn't even have that much dialogue as half of her time in the film is a long silent scene in the museum. If this is a vehicle for any of the actors, then it was for former Mrs Brian De Palma, Nancy Allen, as Liz Blake. Allen has far more screen time than anyone else, and the story is from her point of view. Nancy Allen is not a great actress in my opinion, but she is likeable and her performance doesn't harm the film at all. She's probably best known to most people as RoboCop's partner, or for her performances in her former husband's films Carrie and Blow Out. Keith Gordon was good as Peter, but to me he will always be Arnie Cunningham from John Carpenter's Christine. Dennis Franz plays his small part as the slimy cop well, he also starred with Nancy Allen in Blow Out.

Dressed to Kill isn't really a film to watch for superb acting, the real reason to watch it is for the brilliant work by one of my favourite directors, Brian De Palma. I love the way De Palma shoots his films, there's so much creativity and style. He's been accused of being an Alfred Hitchcock imitator which is very unfair. He does make his films in a similar way to Hitchcock, but he definitely has a style of his own. His mystery type films like Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Obsession, Body Double and Raising Cain all have a certain style that it's easy to tell they're his movies. Dressed to Kill has some fantastic sequences and some classic De Palma shots. The scene in the museum lasts roughly ten minutes and not a word is spoken, Kate and the stranger play a flirtatious game of cat and mouse that is expertly filmed as to never become boring. There's a scene where Peter is looking at his watch which is held up for us to see, all the while there's almost another scene playing out in the background. A scene as Liz looks along the platform leaning out from a train, she twice changes which way she's looking as characters behind her enter the train, it's just beautifully filmed. Even a simple looking scene in the police station where several of our main characters are in different areas are shot so the background and foreground are in focus at the same time, so our attention is never taken away from any of them. There's also a beautiful crane shot of Kate coming out of the museum, the camera then pans across to the taxi but not before we catch a glimpse of our killer, something I strangely only noticed this last time I watched it. There's the trademark De Palma split screen shot, and as a possible homage to Hitchcock, there's two shower scenes. There's an erotic undercurrent running through the film, with a few scenes of topless women. Nancy Allen goes topless in a shower scene, Angie Dickinson also appears nude in a shower scene which was later revealed to be a body double (It was the body double incident here that later inspired De Palma's Body Double). The attack in the lift is reasonably brutal, but it isn't a film for gore hounds. The music score by Pino Donaggio is excellent, as the film skips along towards its conclusion, the music gets louder and more chilling.

Certainly not my favourite De Palma film, it's still a very enjoyable mystery/thriller with an interesting transgender killer storyline that focuses more on style than substance. If it was filmed by a lesser director then the film would've fell flat, it's De Palma that makes this film as worthwhile as it is. The Blu-ray from Arrow is a huge step-up in quality to the old barebones MGM DVD, though I doubt the picture quality will blow anyone away as it was shot to look quite soft to begin with. It is a lot sharper and detailed now, and the colours are much more vibrant. I don't think any fan of the film will be disappointed with the transfer, though I have read that the US Blu-ray is slightly better. The sound comes through clearly and there's English subtitles available. There's some really nice extras here, an 18 minute interview with producer George Litto, 30 minute interview with Angie Dickinson, 23 minute interview with Nancy Allen, 31 minute interview with Keith Gordon, a 44 minute making of, a 5 minute film comparison showing the difference between the R rated cut and the unrated version, a 10 minute feature with the cast and crew speaking about the problems with the film and the censors, the original trailer and a gallery that contains some great behind-the-scenes photos. The Blu-ray also comes with a reversible sleeve and a reasonably thick and informative booklet that contains lots of photos and information.


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