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O. B. Tryggvason (Gardabaer Iceland)

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Blood Rage [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]
Blood Rage [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]
Dvd ~ Louise Lasser
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten slasher that simply works, 30 Jun. 2016
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There's just simply something about "Blood Rage" that works. In many ways it's quite amateurish, it's got a paper thin story and it's not exactly suspenseful. But it's fun for an 80's slasher and made with passion; the gory effects aren't all great but they're not for a lack of trying and some are quite squirm inducing.

There's a hint of a deep psychological thriller here as twins Todd and Terry are out with their mother and a boyfriend at the drive-in. They sneak out of the car and suddenly Terry grabs a machete and slices a poor horny guy to death. Then he hands the bloody machete over to a catatonic Todd who subseqently gets blamed for the act. Fast forward to a few years later and an institutionalised Todd escapes from his mental asylum and is probably headed home. Terry, who's been living with his mom, sees this as the perfect opportunity to resume his killing ways that have been dormant and blame them, again, on Todd. And quite a few poor souls meet a grisly end on that night.

"Blood Rage" is ambitious with it's set pieces and they're the highlight of this slasher. The story moves along fairly well and the film clocks in at under 80 minutes. Acting is quite good with Louise Lasser taking top honors as the twins' unfortunate mom. Conjuring up minor habits and neuroses for the character gives her a nice realistic feel and she becomes quite unhinged as the film moves along; not surprisingly. Mark Sober is actually very decent as he manages to give the twins a completely seperate personality and, as Terry, he shows quite the flair for brutality and "witty" one-liners (you can't help but laugh at that cranberry sauce line).

As said; it's quite amateurish at times with editing and dialogue (particularly inside the mental asylum), some of the gory stuff and supporting performances but it more than makes up for that with sheer passion for the genre and a willingness to deliver what slasher fans want. There's also that hint of a psychological thriller as the premise with an evil twin whose homicidal tendencies are triggered by his brother is very interesting. The film doesn't go anywhere with it but it's there. You fill in the blanks. The music is also terrific; just love those 80's synths.

Arrow Video goes above and beyond with supplements (cast and crew interviews, commentary, 3 cuts of the film, fun booklet) and the A/V quality is very decent. Quite the deluxe package for an obscure slasher that had, more or less, been forgotten. Kudos to Arrow.

Five Dolls for an August Moon [Blu-ray + DVD]
Five Dolls for an August Moon [Blu-ray + DVD]
Dvd ~ Edwige Fenech
Price: £15.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best from Bava; but not without interest, 10 Jun. 2016
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"Five Dolls" is not likely to appeal to anyone not, partially at least, addicted to Mario Bava and, or, "Giallo's". Purposely denying the audience of anything they're likely to expect, i.e. brutality, gore, suspense or coherent plot, "Five Dolls" wasn't a film Bava wanted to direct but he did imbue it with a few qualities that fans can admire.

The atmosphere is surreal, the music score is hypnotic in it's own way and, despite Bava not utilizing it in any interesting ways, the surroundings provide quite the backdrop for what is essentially a silly rehash of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" with a plot that plays second fiddle to the visuals conjured up. The humor works pretty well here but the complete lack of suspense and the non-existing murder set pieces (mostly all the characters die off-screen) prevent the film from being called a success.

The Italian dubbing fares better than the english one, the Blu-ray from Arrow provides a first rate visual presentation and the supplements are plentiful and interesting.

Of interest only to the initiated Bava fans and "Giallo" lovers.

Day of Anger [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD] [Region A & B]
Day of Anger [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD] [Region A & B]
Dvd ~ Lee Van Cleef
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch western, 10 Jun. 2016
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Top notch spaghetti western in every respect. Van Cleef and Gemma are good leads and all is present you'd want from a top tier Italian western; plenty of violence and shoot-outs, a solid story with rather complex characters, good cinematography and location shoots and a memorable music score.

Arrow Video's release comes with a few interesting supplements and a very good A/V presentation. There are two cuts of the film and I've only viewed the longer one; will eventually get around to the shorter one for comparison's sake. The booklet is a fun read also. All in all; another winner from Arrow who continually unleash the definitive releases of worthy cult films.

Highly recommended.

Hits South America [VINYL]
Hits South America [VINYL]
Price: £17.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great live period in a-ha's history, 10 Jun. 2016
This review is from: Hits South America [VINYL] (Vinyl)
There's something magical about a-ha's live period in and around the South America Tour. It was on that tour that they played for 198.000 people in a single show in Rio and were on a roll. This live period, compared to how they've played since their reunion in 2000, is quite raw, more rock driven and less polished than today.

Captured wonderfully on the "Live in South America" VHS (and on DVD today); some of the ten tracks there have proven to be the definitive live versions by a number of fans. This vinyl record has five previously unreleased tracks from that era and, to put it mildly, they're all wonderful. "Manhattan Skyline" and "Stay on These Roads" particularly benefit from the rockier and beautifully guiter driven interpretations and sound, to me, better than any live versions so far. "Hunting High and Low" has always sounded great live and here it even has a "Memorial Beach" intro which is very good. "You Are the One" sounds great with that sax break and that's very different from how a-ha sound live today. In short; this mini album displays a-ha at a time when they were a tight rock band and played some very different versions of their stuff in concert.

This isn't neccessarily better than how they sound live today; the more rock driven sound might not appeal as much to every fan of theirs but this is fascinating to listen to. I sincerely hope that a complete package will be made available which will showcase their time in South America and contain more than 10 tracks on DVD and 5 on this Vinyl.

A side note; I saw a-ha last March in London and I'm almost positive that Morten Harket speaks more to his audience in these five songs presented here than in the whole concert at the O2. And judging by the DVD the band looked a lot livelier on stage in this period.

All in all; great record and highly recommended.

Eaten Alive [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD] [Region A & B]
Eaten Alive [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD] [Region A & B]
Dvd ~ Robert Englund
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gel crazy and atmospheric but very weird offering from Hooper, 24 April 2016
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Gel happy and artificial; Tobe Hooper went the complete opposite route with his follow up to "The Texas Chain Saw Massace" with "Eaten Alive".

In short; for casual fans this is a bust but for lovers of 70's horror with a healthy tolerance for weird stuff this fits the bill nicely. Shot on a soundstage and with crazy bright lights from pink to green to blue and an insanely fake looking crocodile; this is nicely atmospheric but definately not very approachable for most.

What's there to say about the plot? Mostly non-existent as the seemingly unhinged Neville Brand kills people who stumble on to his little motel and feeds them to his pet croc. There's a semblance of a side story with family members coming to look for the film's first victim but the other folks (a no-good redneck and another family who stop at the motel) serve no special purpose other than eventually being killed or fight for the lives.

"Eaten Alive", for better or worse, is a one of kind experience. Neville Brand is impressive as the film's psycho and his rants, probably on repeat viewings, will help the viewer understand his actions a bit better. Robert Englund is always fun to watch as the no-good redneck. The atmosphere Hooper conjures up is claustrophobic and well built and the film's overall offbeat nature certainly makes it stand out and, therefore, very memorable. But I can't, in all honesty, say it's very good as there are no scares to speak of and it's relatively tension free; unlike his debut feature. But the red stuff flows freely and is handled well.

The Blu-ray from Arrow presents the film in spectacular fashion. The colors shine and the visuals are the film's biggest asset. The extras are fun to go through and the booklet is highly informative and opened my eyes to many different interpretations for the flick.

Cast In Steel
Cast In Steel
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £4.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real grower, 13 Nov. 2015
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This review is from: Cast In Steel (Audio CD)
Having given this a spin quite a bit over a period of roughly two months; I have to say I'm very impressed.

In all honesty I wasn't blown away at first but this is a grower. The first four tracks are simply first rate a-ha; I'm particularly fond of the title track. Others like "Objects in the Mirror", "Mythomania", "She's Humming A Tune" and "Giving Up the Ghost" are fast becoming semi-favorites but the real winner here is "Living At the End of the World", a simply wonderful tune that Morten delivers beautifully. I'm even beginning to like "Door Ajar" which didn't appeal to me at first.

Like latter day a-ha; the trio share songwriting duty but this has a better flow than, particularly, 2002's "Lifelines" and 2005's "Analogue" and it's quite amazing really how well the album sounds given that this wasn't in the cards a year ago. I am thrilled the boys are back together and kudos to the Brazilian public for voting their 1991 gig in South America as the high point in "Rock in Rio" festival history since that prompted a direct invitation to this year's festivities. If not for them maybe this little reunion might not have taken place.

2015 has been a good year for an a-ha fan; already got all the deluxe editions and something tells me next year there just might be some live material to look forward to. Anyway; "Cast in Steel", if it's a-ha's swansong it's a good one and it's better anyway to have released ten records instead of nine. A much better number.

Theatre of Blood [Blu-ray]
Theatre of Blood [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Vincent Price
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £20.16

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Price in wonderful black comedy/horror, 30 April 2015
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I waited till 2015 to get properly aquainted with Vincent Price and now I'm a bona fide fan of the man's work. Having already gone through most of his Poe works and the Phibes films; "Theatre of Blood" is perhaps the most wickedly entertaining of them all.

Allegedly Price's own favorite; "Theatre of Blood" blends horror and black comedy extremely well in a tale of a Shakespearean actor who exacts bloody revenge on his critics who he feels have robbed him of deserved recocnition for his work. And what bloody deaths this actor can conjure up!

Marvelously funny, extremely bloody and quite gory; "Theatre of Death" has everything a Price fan (and a general horror/comedy enthusiast) could want. Price is priceless (too obvious :) ) in all manner of disguises and he excels in his delivery of Shakespeare literature, Rigg is just lovely to look at and Hendry is splendid as are all supporting players here. Simply a great cast that's willing and game for bloody mayhem.

The Arrow blu-ray is really good. I've noticed some professional reviewers criticizing the image quality but I was pleased with it. The extras are interesting; this isn't a fully loaded edition as some Arrow titles but what's here is good. I always enjoy listening to Price's daughter relaying stories about her father and film historian David Del Valle gives good insight as well. Haven't gone through the commentary yet.

Highly recommended.

Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five good to great albums from a terrific band, 9 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
These "Original Album Series" are quite the efficient way of owning an instant library of music by artists. These are as barebones as they come; no lyrics, no booklet, no frills. The vinyl replica sleeves are a nice touch but otherwise this is simply the music.

I held back on this when it came out originally; hoping that "Stay on these Roads", "East of the Sun" and "Memorial Beach" would get some form of a re-release as their first two albums did shortly after the band called it quits. It doesn't look likely and I've just about worn out my copies of "East of the Sun" and "Memorial Beach" (21 and 24 years old respectively) so I shelved out for the minor uprade.

I love this band and I love all these albums. The first two are classics with many of their hits but I've always felt that "Stay on These Roads" has gotten a bad rep undeservedly. Morten, Paul and Magne have opined that it was a bit of missed opportunity as they wanted to go in other directions but they delivered what they thought people wanted. As is; the album represents well the music they had been doing and also where they were headed. "Touchy" and "You are the One" are unabashed pop songs while the title track and "There's Never a Forever Thing" (beautiful lyrics on that one) show off Morten's incredible range on ballads. Their serious side with "The Blood That Moves The Body", "This Alone is Love" and "Hurry Home" is probably why this album is still in high regard with their loyal fan base as is their offbeat "Out of Blue Comes Green" (a huge fan favorite) a big sign of things to come from the band. But I still think "You'll end up Crying", the album closer, is their worst ever song.

"East of the Sun" is A-ha, as Magne put it, in a state of identity crisis. There are some great things here; "Crying in the Rain", their only cover on an album, is one of their most powerful track and "Early Morning", "I Call Your Name", "Slender Frame", "Waiting For Her" and "Rolling Thunder" are solid to terrific songs. Their new sound, or their serious "more adult sound" includes the decent title track but also their lackluster "Cold River", "The Way We Talk" (very boring) and "Seemingly Nonstop July". It's a sound in progress but they come off best with the atmospheric "Sycamore Leaves". Overall this album is quite good and certainly a must for a fan.

Finally we're on to the big disappointment that is "Memorial Beach". I love it; but in terms of sales it bombed and a lot of fans shunned this new release as they didn't like this serious rock sound from a pop band. "Dark is the Night For All" and "Angel in the Snow" are two outstanding tracks and among their best ever. Other songs like "Cold as Stone", "Locust", "Lie Down in Darkness", "How Sweet it Was" and "Memorial Beach" may take some time to digest but they're good. I don't think they improved "Move to Memphis" here as the single version on "Headlines and Deadlines" is still the way to go and "Lamb to The Slaugher" is nothing special. "Between Your Mama and Yourself" deserves a special mention as I still think it's quite stupid lyrically but it's a strangely appealing song.

A-ha was a great band and these five albums come highly recommended.

Wild Seed
Wild Seed
Price: £13.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb effort from Morten, 9 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Wild Seed (Audio CD)
Morten's debut as a solo artist (with new material at least) is nothing short of superb. Not a dud among these twelve tracks and Morten's own compositions rival even the best of A-ha up to this point.

One always has personal favorites and I think "A Kind of Christmas Card" is still his best. Sort of flirting with the same sound A-ha pursued on "Memorial Beach", a little raw and cut live in the studio, and the sad lyrics give it all the more power. As always Morten excels on ballads and especially good here are "Half in Love Half in Hate", "Los Angeles" and "Ready To Go Home" - again, these are somewhat melancholy songs and that describes this album pretty well.

He's also socially conscious on the excellent "Brodsky Tune" and "East Timor" and lyrically these are quite powerful. And "Lord" is also a huge favorite of mine.

While his other solo albums are quite strong in their own right; "Wild Seed" is still his best as a solo artist in my opinion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2015 2:41 PM GMT

Lifeforce Blu-ray [Limited Edition Steelbook]
Lifeforce Blu-ray [Limited Edition Steelbook]
Dvd ~ Steve Railsback

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining film and a terrific edition from Arrow, 15 May 2014
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"Lifeforce" is an oddball of a film. While it will undoubtedly take me a couple of more viewings to fully appreciate it I did find it very entertaining at the very least.

It seems every conceivable idea was thrown in as the film details the coming of Space Vampires who make a big mess of things in London. That's a short summary but I've just got to watch the film at least once more to fully digest it as there were some things here that I just didn't get.

The film is part of Tobe Hooper's "no-holds-barred" deal with Cannon Pictures where he could completely let loose with a big budget and "Lifeforce" is that creation. The history behind the film is as interesting as the flick itself and it's well detailed in an accompanying documentary. Every penny went into the film and it shows as it's quite the spectacle (for 1985 at least) and the on-screen mayhem is very big scale and impressive.

If ever a "cult film" deserved red carpet treatment it's this one. Arrow doesn't disappoint with an impressive hi-def transfer of no less than two versions of the film (I've only watched the longer cut - am assuming the shorter one looks the same) and the roster of supplements is plentiful.

Recommended for those interested.

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