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West25 (UK)

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The Nest [DVD]
The Nest [DVD]
Dvd ~ Samy Naceri
Offered by FREETIME
Price: £2.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Assault On Warehouse 13, 28 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Nest [DVD] (DVD)
Abedin Nexhep, Godfather to the Albanian mafia is due to stand trial in European court, charged with running an extensive prostitution network. He's being escorted in an armoured vehicle by the French special forces, led by special agent Laborie. Along the way the vehicle is ambushed by Nexhep's men, but they manage to escape and seek safety in a warehouse. Already in the warehouse is a gang of armed thieves led by Nasser, they've just tied up the two security guards and begun to move the merchandise as the armoured vehicle arrives. As Nexhep's men surround the warehouse and open fire, the criminals, guards and special forces are going to have to work together if they're going to make it out alive.

The Nest is a French film that's subtitled, but that doesn't deter from the very good performances that are on show. Nadia Fares is probably the standout, I was already familiar with who she was after seeing the very good horror/thriller Storm Warning. She plays the role of Laborie, she has to be tough but shows a softer more emotional side in certain scenes. If this was an American film, it's the sort of role that Michelle Rodriguez seems to constantly play. The other actor that I knew going into the film was Samy Naceri, he played the role of Nasser and wasn't as important to the film as I thought he would be. Naceri is most famous for the 4 Taxi films and the excellent Days Of Glory, he's possibly more famous for his substance abuse, violent attacks and several spells in prison. I didn't know the other actors but felt they all did well, especially Benoît Magimel as Santino, Nasser's friend and fellow thief. I won't mention all the cast, but this is actually more of an ensemble film rather than mainly concentrating on specific characters. It's directed by Florent-Emilio Siri who also co-wrote the story with Jean-François Tarnowski, I liked his direction and once the action starts, it very rarely slows down. Siri's next film was the big budget US Bruce Willis film Hostage, another film I thought was far better than most films of it's type.

The Nest is clearly inspired by Assault On Precinct 13, which was itself inspired by the Howard Hawks film Rio Bravo starring John Wayne. If you switch the warehouse to a police station, the special forces to cops, this is almost the same film. I actually enjoyed The Nest a lot more than I did the US remake to Assault On Precinct 13, I thought this had the raw and gritty feel that the Carpenter film had. Like Assault, this film is almost shot all in one location, the warehouse. I liked that they had a much bigger area to protect, it meant that there were more ways in for Nexhep's men. The warehouse almost becomes a character in itself, especially when the lights are cut. If you've seen Assault On Precinct 13 then you'll pretty much know what happens here, they really don't change all that much. There's not that much violence or bloodshed in the film, but there's plenty of exhilarating gun fights. A mistake that some films like this make is that they become far too over the top, suddenly injured people are picking up 2 guns and taking on a whole army whilst jumping through the air spitting out wisecracks. This film from start to finish is quite realistic, they have to work as a group and there's no real hero at the end.

The dvd is pretty good. Picture quality worried me at first, the opening of the film is very grainy until it's revealed to be a programme a character is watching on the tv. From there on the quality is really good, very little grain, no scratches or other blemishes, the colour is good and the detail in close-ups is way above average for dvd. I didn't watch the film with the volume too high, but when the bullets start flying, it gets pretty loud and intense. There aren't many extras, a trailer, deleted scenes and a making of. The making of does clock in at 52 minutes long, it's quite detailed and has interviews with the cast and crew, it also shows plenty of behind the scenes footage.

The Nest doesn't offer us anything we've not seen before, but it does it all extremely well. It spends just the right amount of time to introduce us to the characters, it recreated the intense action of John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 better than the remake did, and best of all it's never boring which is one thing an action film should never be. The director always holds our attention, and the good performances from the cast is key to that. The Nest is an excellent French action movie that reminded me of those classic 70's and 80's action films that were so good, not quite the classic that Die Hard was, but a lot closer to it than most.

Watch Me When I Kill [1977] [DVD]
Watch Me When I Kill [1977] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sylvia Kramer
Price: £6.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When I go're better off dead!, 28 Aug. 2012
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When a young woman named Mara stumbles upon the murder of a pharmacist, she quickly becomes the killer's next target. After a lucky escape in which a neighbour's dog causes the killer to flee from her house, she decides to go and stay with her friend and possible ex-lover, Lukas. Through nothing but sheer coincidence, Mara is next attacked in the underground car park in which Lukas' neighbour, Giovanni Bozzi, seems to have been the intended target. As Lukas begins to investigate, he soon realises that bodies are turning up and they all seem to be connected. Just as Lukas thinks he has it figured out, he finds himself back at square one, with the killer ever closer to completing his task.

All the actors do a good job, the director admitted that he mainly chose his actors because of their look, but made sure they could act as well. Corrado Pani and Paola Tedesco have good chemistry as Lukas and Mara, they both give good performances and bounce of each other nicely. I really enjoyed the look and performances of the supporting cast, especially the thin, pale and balding Bozzi played by Fernando Cerulli. It's masterfully directed by Antonio Bido, he later went on to direct the even better, Bloodstained Shadow. Although the film is heavily inspired by the Dario Argento films that were popular at the time, Bido has a different style to Argento, something he improved upon even further with his next film. This was Bido's directorial debut, and it's as accomplished as any I've seen. The original script was very different to what we ended up with, the script was revised to resemble Argento's films without Bido's knowledge, something which almost caused him to walk away from the film. Showing a braveness that most first time directors wouldn't even dream of, he argued against the changes and they came to a compromise. Bido would make the film from the new script, as long as certain scenes from the older script also made the film. The music in the film is also clearly inspired by Goblin who did the music for Argento's films, the soundtrack is so similar to that of Deep Red that it almost verges on plagiarism. There's no nudity as Bido claims that sex on film is pointless if it doesn't add to the plot, something I'm inclined to agree with. There's not much blood and gore, but there are some really good kill scenes. There's a scene in which a woman has her face forced into a hot stew, and a fantastic death scene with a man in a bath tub with operatic music booming out.

Shameless Screen Entertainment have produced another excellent DVD, and unlike many of their others, this one has quite a few interesting extras. There's a reversible sleeve with one of the film's alternative names, The Cats Victims. There's a commentary track in the form of subtitles, it's got plenty of decent information but has some very long pauses from time to time. Watch Me When I Tell is a twenty minute interview with Antonio Bido, it's subtitled as he speaks Italian but it's very interesting. He seems quite regretful that he only made two gialli, as he didn't really like them at the time but has grown very fond of them over the years. He also explains in the interview why the picture quality isn't as impressive as many of Shameless' other releases, he chose to shoot the film using something called Gevaert colour instead of Kodak. Gevaert gave the colours a more washed out and faded look compared to Kodak, but it continues to lose colour and definition over the years and lost its original quality. So the slightly faded and washed out look has nothing to do with the transfer from Shameless, it was a problem with the original film stock and this is the best the film will ever look, which I thought for the most part was pretty nice anyway. There's a very brief introduction to the film from Bido, a picture gallery, a few trailers for the film and finally as on all their DVDs, trailers for other films released by them.

Watch Me When I Kill/ The Cats Victims is a very solid but unspectacular giallo, that was inspired by but not as good as Dario Argento's early classics. Everything it imitates from Argento and Goblin is done very well, and Bido brings his own class and style to it. I'd be quite surprised if Argento fans found nothing to like about the film, especially the chase sequences, music and bath tub scene. I feel this film is well worth adding to the collection anyway, but the twenty minute interview from Bido made this a must have for me. He seems like a really fun and genuine man, and hopefully one day we'll see him return to the genre in which he already has two very good efforts.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 4, 2015 1:11 PM GMT

Macabre [DVD] [1980]
Macabre [DVD] [1980]
Dvd ~ Bernice Stegers
Offered by adabola1
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For God's sake don't raid the fridge!, 27 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Macabre [DVD] [1980] (DVD)
Jane Baker is a middle aged married woman and mother of two, she's also been having an affair. One morning after her husband leaves for work, Jane decides to leave her young daughter and even younger son at home alone to meet her lover. Angry at being left alone when she believed her mother was going to take her and her brother to the cinema, Lucy finds her mother's phonebook and calls her at her lover's. Jane hangs up on her daughter which seems to irritate her even more, Jane soon gets another call informing her that her 5 year old son Michael has drowned in the bath. In tears and wracked with guilt, her lover starts to drive her home when he crashes the car and he's decapitated by a guard rail.

A year later Jane gets out of the mental institution where she was sent to recover, now seperated from her husband she decides to return to the place where she and her lover would meet. The house owner has died in the time Jane has been away, leaving her blind son in charge of the house. Over time the blind Robert starts to develop feelings for Jane, but he can't shake the strange feeling that there's now something very wrong going on in the apartment upstairs. Normally to mention more of the story would be a spoiler, but the front cover completely gives it away anyway. Jane obviously should have spent much more than a year in the mental institution, as once she gets out she continues her relationship with her dead lover.

Bernice Stegers gives an excellent performance as Jane, she manages to be strangely sexy and creepy at the same time. Despite her character being quite dislikeable in that she cheats on her husband and leaves her kids alone, there's also times when you sympathise with this clearly disturbed woman. I was quite often reminded of the performance Clare Higgins gave as Julia in Hellraiser, they're quite similar characters in how far they go to maintain the sexual desires they have for their former lover. A few years after Macabre she starred as Rachel in the cult horror film Xtro, but has mainly done tv work since. I really enjoyed Stanko Molnar's portrayal of Robert, he's extremely likeable and you constantly find yourself hoping he decides to stay away from her. He plays a blind man very well, there seems to be a real sadness about him. He later went on to appear in the director's next film called A Blade In The Dark, but hasn't acted since 1990. Veronica Zinny also deserves a mention as Lucy, it remains her one and only film credit.

Macabre was Lamberto Bava's directorial debut, having previously spent around 15 years working as an assistant director including on several of his father's films, the legendary Mario Bava. Lamberto Bava always had a tough task considering who his father was, and as is always the case, he will always be in the shadow of his more famous and respected dad. That's not to say that Lamberto didn't direct several excellent films before Italian cinema basically disappeared in the late 80's. A Blade In The Dark is a really effective and atmospheric giallo, and the Demons films he's best known for are fantastically gory and over the top. If you're a fan of his Demons films and want to check out some of his other films, then Macabre would be a great place to start. I feel I have to warn you though, Macabre is a very different type of film. Co-written by Bava, Pupi Avati who directed the superb House With Laughing Windows, Antonio Avati and Roberto Gandus, Macabre is a slow film that gradually builds up a quite sickening atmosphere and sense of dread. The film is set in New Orleans but is mainly shot in Italy, the dubbing is annoying from time to time as the exaggerated southern drawl is sometimes a bit much. The music and camera work is excellent, giving it a kind of gothic look and feel.

The dvd from Arrow is good but not one of their best, apart from the usual reversible sleeve and booklet there's only one real extra on the disc, an 11 minute feature called Macabre and the golden age of Italian exploitation, it features Bava, Joe Dante and Ruggero Deodato as they briefly discuss the days when Italian films like this was all the rage. There's a photo gallery and trailer, but the booklet is the real highlight as it's a fascinating 12 page Q & A with Lamberto. The picture quality has quite a lot of speckles, lines and other blemishes, but it doesn't detract too much and the colours and image is very strong despite this. After about 5 minutes once you get used to it, it almost adds something to the film giving it a real grindhouse look.

Macabre was Bava's first film, it's also probably his best. I absolutely love the Demons films and they're so much fun, but this is a much better and more refined piece of work that shows he could create atmosphere and tension around a pretty simple premise. This is another great example of the classic Italian horror films that were so popular in the 70's and 80's, but for someone who isn't really familiar with these type of films, this one probably isn't one you should watch first. I would suggest starting with the Demons films, watching a couple of Dario Argento's more popular films, moving on to Fulci and then give Macabre a go. Macabre may seem very strange and far too slow if you don't already love Italian horror, but it's a beautifully shot and highly original film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2012 1:17 AM BST

Cannibal Apocalypse [DVD]
Cannibal Apocalypse [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Saxon
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £4.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars POW's in Vietnam....Starved in captivity....Released with a taste for human flesh, 27 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Cannibal Apocalypse [DVD] (DVD)
During Vietnam, Norman Hopper is sent on a rescue mission to find POW's. After a shootout between Hopper's team and the enemy, they come across Charlie Bukowski and Tom Thompson who are being kept in a pit. Hopper makes a gruesome discovery, the two are chowing down on the flesh of a human being. Suddenly Thompson bites a chunk out of Hopper's arm, when Hopper wakes up to reveal he was dreaming about what happened a few years earlier. Later that day just as Hopper's had his first nightmare about it in a long time, Bukowski has been deemed cured and given leave, he decides to call Hopper and invites him out for a drink. Hopper turns down this request leaving Bukowski to go and catch a film at the cinema, during the film his hunger for flesh returns and he bites a young woman in the throat. Bukowski is run out of the cinema and chased by a biker gang, eventually barricading himself in a mall. When Hopper hears about what's happened he immediately figures out that it must be Bukowski and goes down there to talk him out, something he does successfully. On the way out of the mall, Bukowski manages to bite a cop before being bundled into an ambulance and returned to the military hospital. Back at home, Hopper tells his wife that he himself has been getting an urge to bite people. After a little convincing, he goes to the same hospital Bukowski and Thompson are at so the doctors can run some tests. While at the hospital, the virus has spread and Bukowski and Thompson are freed by an infected female doctor. Hopper can no longer resist his desire for flesh, and along with Bukowski, Thompson and the doctor, they escape the hospital with the police and army in hot pursuit.

John Saxon gives a good performance as Hopper, he's probably best known to most horror fans as Nancy's dad in A Nightmare On Elm Street, he also gave good performances in Enter The Dragon, Black Christmas and Dario Argento's Tenebrae. Saxon supposedly signed on to do this film before realising it was an Italian exploitation film, he lost interest but still had to shoot the film after already signing. He's claimed to have never watched the film calling it foul and in bad taste, a real shame as it's much better than that. Giovanni Lombardo Radice who was credited as John Morghen is fun to watch as Bukowski, any fan of Italian horror will know who he is. This is credited as his first film, he followed it up in the same year with City Of The Living Dead and The House On The Edge Of The Park, not a bad first three films at all. Elizabeth Turner was very attractive as Hopper's wife and played her part well, she earlier appeared in Lucio Fulci's The Psychic. Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King and Wallace Wilkinson all offer good support. It's well directed by Antonio Margheriti, he's a director that I have to admit to not knowing much about. I love Cannibal Apocalypse though, so I'm definitely going to seek out a few more of his films. I don't recall there being any nudity, but there's quite a few instances of blood and gore. It has plenty of funky '70s music in it as well, an odd choice but I thought it worked really well.

The DVD I'm reviewing is the version with the white cover and the city in the background, sadly this version has absolutely nothing on it but the film itself and scene selection. I don't know why this is, as the version that was released five years earlier with the bloodied hand on the cover had a documentary with Saxon, Radice and Margheriti, a video tour of the locations used, an alternative opening sequence, cast and crew filmographies and a few other extras. I have no idea what the picture quality is like on the older version, but I was genuinely surprised at how good it was on the version I bought after the opening 5 minutes. If the quality is just as good on the older version then that would be the one to get, that's something you may want to look into if you decide to buy the film.

Cannibal Apocalypse is a really fun exploitation film that was quite unusual at the time, the cannibal films that were popular were all set in jungles where this film switched the action to the city. The cannibals were almost part zombie as well, they had an uncontrollable need to eat flesh and their bites could also infect others, but they could talk and think as normal so I'll call them cannibies. The film was also caught up in the video nasties scandal and was banned in the UK until the 2005 DVD I spoke of earlier, the film is still cut by 2 seconds which is simply the removal of a rat that was accidentally set on fire. All the actual gore is here including the fantastic blown open stomach and the cutting of flesh by the cannibals, but in truth there's not that much gore here and the film should never have been banned. It always reminds me of the David Cronenberg film Rabid as well, it has a very similar look and feel to it. If you liked Rabid, like exploitation films, enjoy most other cannibal or zombie films, I really don't see why you wouldn't enjoy Cannibal Apocalypse.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2012 4:30 AM BST

Timber Falls [2007] [DVD]
Timber Falls [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Randall
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We're not violent people, Michael. It pains us to pain you.", 12 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Timber Falls [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Mike and his girlfriend Sheryl travel to a state park in West Virginia for a weekend of hiking and camping, they live in the city and want to get away from it all for a while. When they arrive they ask a park ranger for his advice on the best route to take, he suggests that the couple follow the Donner trail or Willow Creek Bridge, and they set off on their way. Very shortly into the trek, they meet a friendly enough woman called Ida who convinces them that Timber Falls would be the best route to take if they really want to take in the scenery. A little while later when they reach a very quiet area, they decide to have sex when they're interrupted by three local hillbillies, after an altercation, Mike ends up giving them $50 for a bottle of moonshine just to get rid of them. Further along the trek, they come across another park ranger who is clearing a path after a heavy rainfall. The ranger is called Clyde and tells the couple where they can set up camp for the night, after some trouble with the tent and an awful dinner, they finally settle down for the night. In the morning whilst Mike is still asleep, Sheryl goes for a swim and gets abducted. Hearing her scream, Mike wakes up and starts a frantic search for her when he gets his leg caught in a trap. Ida comes across Mike and he later wakes up in her home, she tends to his wounds but he quickly becomes suspicious of her strange behaviour. He ends up knocking her out and finds a trap door which he goes down, he soon finds Sheryl but unfortunately he gets captured and tied up. It seems that Ida and her husband are religious nutters who can't have children, so they intend to torture the couple unless they get pregnant and give the baby to them. Ida also has a brother who was deformed in a fire, as no film like this is complete without a disfigured character.

Josh Randall and Brianna Brown make a very likeable couple, the only time I was annoyed by their characters was when they were about to have sex out in the open before getting interrupted. I'm no prude but I mean who has sex in a state park where couple's with children could be, not only was it disgusting but irresponsible. Apart from that, I found them to be the most likeable couple i'd seen in a horror film in a very long time, even more so considering i'd just finished Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre that I thought had no likeable characters whatsoever. Josh Randall impressed me in this and really reminded me of a young James Caan, obviously with less talent and charisma, he spends quite a bit of time topless which should keep the ladies very happy. Brianna Brown was also very good and made a believable victim, she's gorgeous and really held her own in her scenes with Randall. Beth Broderick was surprisingly effective and creepy as Ida, she's best known for playing Zelda in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. Nick Searcy who i've liked since American Gothic was very good, his role in this was a big departure from what he normally does, just as it was for Broderick.

It's directed by Tony Giglio who previously directed the awful Soccor Dog: The Movie in 1999, and later the very good Chaos in 2005 starring Jason Statham, Ryan Phillipe and Wesley Snipes. He's clearly a fan of films like Misery and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and he aims to make a similar type of film here, it's well acted and even though there is quite a bit of gore, it's more about the acting and characters. I really enjoyed that this was a film about Jesus freaks who desperately want a baby but are unable to have one themselves, so try to force a couple to have a baby for them. It was a nice change from just hillbillies hunting for food or fun, and I dare say it's even quite original in that sense. It's strange to have such a decently acted horror film with a half original story, but there were things that irritated me a little. The film couldn't help itself from using several horror cliches, the deformed freak that wasn't really needed, the killer walking as the woman runs away and falls over, the hillbillies that always crop up that also weren't needed as they don't do much except add ten minutes onto a film that is probably about ten or fifteen minutes too long, the scene where not long after they are harassed by the rednecks and they suggest they might rape her, she forces him to throw away the bullets he had in his gun, and the real kick in the teeth that nearly made me take a star off, the last few seconds of the film were awful and cheapened everything that came before it.

The dvd boasts excellent picture quality, the sound is also above par. There's two different commentaries, one from director Tony Giglio, and another where he's joined by Brianna Brown and Josh Randall. Both of them are quite good, the first is much more informative, whereas the second commentary is more fun as they joke around a bit and laugh at each others jokes. There's also a making of documentary that lasts around forty minutes and goes into good detail, a few different trailers, film stills and artwork. I very nearly knocked a star off from this because of the awful ending, it was largely down to how good the dvd was that I decided to stick with a four star rating, the film alone is probably three stars. There's Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic subtitles.

Timber Falls is a half original, well acted slasher/torture film that mixes elements of Misery and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre together and it mostly succeeds. If it hadn't fell victim to a couple of horror cliches and was a good ten minutes or so shorter, it could have been an excellent film. It's still a very worthwhile film, and the dvd is excellent. If you're after a slasher film that tries to do something a little bit differently, give Timber Falls a chance.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2012 3:05 AM BST

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009]
Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Pihla Viitala
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.60

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The catch of the day ... is you., 12 Jun. 2012
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A very diverse group of people go on a whale watching trip, there's a young German woman, a Japanese couple and their assistant, a drunk Frenchman, three ageing women who could be from anywhere as the accents are all over the place, and finally a man and woman who I think were supposed to be American. Once they board the ship, the Icelandic captain and his young crewman takes them out to sea. After a few hours at sea and failing to find any whales, the captain gets on the radio to ask if anybody else has seen any whales anywhere. His call alerts a family of fishbillies (hillbillies but on sea) to their location. Soon after a tragic accident is caused by the drunk Frenchman, and the captain is killed. With the captain dead and the would be rapist crewman gone, the passengers are left alone and in need of help. A little while later the fishbillies seemingly come to their rescue, and takes them to their ship. Almost as soon as all the passengers get onto their ship, the family show that they're anything but rescuers and start to massacre them. The strangers are going to have to work together, if they're going to get off the ship alive.

Gunnar Hansen is given top billing, he enters the film about ten minutes in, and departs around the twenty minute mark. Hansen was actually born in Reykjavik, so his inclusion as the captain at least lends the film some authenticity. He's best known for playing Leatherface in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and has had a decent career appearing in cameo's like this, annoying that he's given top billing but I didn't exactly get the film based on his acting chops anyway. The rest of the actors all do okay, but this isn't the sort of film you buy if you're after great acting and deep characters. A couple of them should have been made to work on their accents as some are terrible, why people continue to get cast and then put on an accent is beyond me, just cast someone from the country the character is supposed to come from, it's not like any of these were big name stars who were cast to make it more appealing anyway. It's directed by Icelander Júlíus Kemp, it's the first time he's directed since 1997 and is much more prolific as a producer. He does a pretty good job considering the script and actors he was working with, it's got a pretty good pace and is always entertaining. The script was done by Sjón Sigurdsson, a poet and composer who also writes the odd film. He worked as a composer on Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark, but his script for this is full of hideous dialogue and idiotic characters. Some of the cinematography is very nice, and the gore effects are done quite well. There's some impalements, a beheading, an exploding head, a burn victim and more, nudity makes a few brief appearences also.

I did enjoy the film but I do have a few issues that stopped me from liking it more, the main issue was that every single character by the time the film ends is shockingly unlikeable. I don't think I recall seeing a film where there hasn't been at least one character that was likeable, whether that be the potential victims or the would be killers. Some of the characters actually start off okay and then become more unlikeable as the film progresses, the rest are instantly unlikeable and you hope they die as soon as possible. It's that bad that even when a whale does show up, even the whale is an unlikeable idiot. The dialogue comes in a close second to the horrible characters, the worst or funniest part depending on the viewer was an exchange between two of them when one reveals he's gay. Another scene has a woman make a bomb out of things lying around the ship, and then she talks another character into blowing herself up to try and kill the killers with the revelation her father was a kamikaze, hilarious. There's a part where one of them manages to speak to a friend on the phone and tell them they are being killed off, only for the friend to assume she's high and puts the phone down. I'm still not sure if the film was meant to be a horror and a slight parody of slasher films, the use of Bjork at two different parts in the film makes me think that it was, the inclusion of Leatherface himself even more so. The decapitation scene for some reason come off as hilarious, and the Night Of The Living Dead homage made me giggle whereas the similar scene in the earlier film shocked.

The dvd has no extras or subtitles, subtitles may have come in handy as most of the characters speak English with accents. The killers speak in Icelandic and are subtitled, but with all the different accents speaking English, sometimes words are missed or just hard to understand. The picture quality is good but quite soft, and the use of music is good and comes across very nicely. There's been some excellent Scandinavian horror films in recent years, Harpoon is not one of the better ones. I would suggest going for Cold Prey, Dead Snow, Next Door, Troll Hunter, Let The Right One In, Rare Exports: A Christmas Story or Evil Rising also known as Sauna before this one, but Harpoon is still a very enjoyable film. The opening scenes are quite powerful, it's grainy and shows people capturing and killing whales, animal lovers may want to turn away as it is quite graphic. The ending is confusing and bleak, I don't understand what's going on with the Japanese assistant and still don't as it ends. It's a very decent, watchable film that really seems to divide opinion, some people seem to love it and others hate it, I'm somewhere in the middle as I liked elements of it, and disliked others. At the low price it usually sells for, it's probably worth taking a chance on this one.

Street Law [1974] (NTSC) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import]
Street Law [1974] (NTSC) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import]
Price: £5.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robbery, assault, murder. One man has had enough., 8 Jun. 2012
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Carlo Antonelli is in a bank when a group of robbers burst in with guns. When Carlo attempts to grab his money that he left on the counter, he's spotted and receives a beating from one of the theives. Eventually an employee manages to set off the alarm, but Carlo is taken along as a hostage. They bundle him into a car where they continue to beat him senseless, after an exhilarating car chase with the cops in hot pursuit, the criminals get away and Carlo regains consciousness, only to be met by photographers taking his picture. A little while later we're with Carlo at the police station where they basically tell him that there's not much they can do, and he's lucky to be alive and should just go home and forget about it. Embarrassed at not being able to protect himself and disgusted that the police don't seem to care, Carlo sets out to find the bank robbers and exact his own revenge, with the help of a young criminal called Tommy.

Franco Nero is an absolute joy in the role of Carlo, he seems to live and breathe the character. What I really enjoyed about his performance was the fact that he played Carlo as a normal everyday guy, he's vulnerable, scared, and spends most of the film getting beat up. He's also a very physical performer and did most of his own stunts which adds a lot of realism, in several scenes where he's beaten and dragged through the mud, it's all very real and it's clear to see. I really enjoyed Giancarlo Prete's performance as Tommy, he's one of the most likeable criminals I've ever seen put on screen, sadly the actor passed away aged just 58 in 2001. Barbara Bach gives a pretty decent performance as Barbara, Carlo's girlfriend that wants nothing more than for Carlo to stop his stupid vendetta and come home, she's a little underused to the point where you wonder whether the character was really needed at all, she's probably best known for being a Bond girl in The Spy Who Loved Me and for being married to Ringo Starr. Renzo Palmer is good as the police inspector who receives an earful from Carlo about how useless the police are, himself and the police only start to do anything once lives are being threatened.

One of the main reasons that Street Law works so brilliantly is Enzo G. Castellari's confident direction, there's nothing really new on show but he manages to create an excellent film. He was good friends off the set with Franco Nero which I think helped a lot, himself and Nero had a great understanding of what the other wanted, Nero's performance may have been very different under somebody else. The action scenes are shot with an energy that so many action films of today lack, and he doesn't shy away from the brutality of the crimes being committed. Some of the locations chosen are strange but wonderful, and the soundtrack by the De Angelis brothers is superb. Castellari gives himself a small cameo as the man at the port, he does well in the scene and I would have liked to have seen him a little more. He seems to be quite an underappreciated director, his name is rarely brought up when people mention their favourite directors. Along with Street Law, he directed The Big Racket, Keoma, The Heroin Busters, the Bronx Warriors films and Inglorious Bastards which was the inspiration for Tarantino's film. He did eventually move into very low budget Italian TV movies, but show me an Italian director other than Argento that didn't once the 80s ended and Italian cinema virtually died.

Blue Underground do their usual excellent job with the DVD, picture quality for the most part is really nice and the sound is better than expected. There's a great commentary track with William Lustig talking to Castellari and his son, his son rarely talks and at times I actually forgot he was there. Castellari has some great memories and doesn't need much prompting in sharing them with us, Lustig's enthusiasm and love for these Italian films comes across quite nicely as well, though he can get slightly annoying at times. Sadly Franco Nero for some reason was missing from the commentary, his inclusion would have been the icing on an already pretty sweet cake. He is very involved with the 17 minute featurette with interviews from himself and Castellari talking about the making of the film and their careers, there's also a trailer and a TV spot. It's an American DVD but is region 0 so will play on region 2 players without a problem.

Street Law is often unfairly labelled as a Death Wish knock-off, a mistake even William Lustig makes in the commentary only to be very quickly corrected by Castellari. It's unfair because Street Law was actually made first, and it has a lot more going for it than the straight revenge vigilantism of Death Wish. As much as I like Death Wish, I did prefer Street Law by quite a margin and consider it a classic, and one of the finest, if not the best film of its type to have come out of Italy's golden age of cinema. Anybody that likes Death Wish or any other type of film where the main character decides to take justice into their own hands, surely owe it to themselves to take a chance on Street Law. It's a thriller, drama, character piece and action film all wrapped into 105 glorious minutes. Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2012 2:37 AM BST

10 Rillington Place [1970] [DVD] [1971]
10 Rillington Place [1970] [DVD] [1971]
Dvd ~ Richard Attenborough

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's the moral question that concerns me, the taking of life - no matter how rudimentary.", 17 April 2012
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10 Rillington Place is based on the real life serial killer John Reginald Christie, not one of the most prolific but definitely one of the most notorious serial killers in Britain's history. The film doesn't go into great detail about all his victims, as he killed at least eight women. The film is mostly about a young couple that moved into the upstairs flat, Timothy and Beryl Evans and their infant daughter Geraldine. Timothy was a dimwitted lorry driver and a heavy drinker, Beryl was a poor housekeeper and was useless dealing with their finances. Their marriage was plagued by arguments and on occasion he resorted to physical violence, struggling financially he's shocked when Beryl tells him that she's pregnant again. After they eventually decide to abort the baby which was illegal in the UK at the time, their downstairs neighbour agrees to perform the operation for them. One day when Tim is at work, Christie goes upstairs and instead of aborting the baby, he strangles her, and when Tim returns home, he tells him that it went wrong and she died during the procedure. With Tim not being all that smart, Christie was able to talk him into leaving Geraldine with him while he leaves London to stay with relatives. Christie then strangles the 13 month old baby and discards of the body in the outhouse in the garden, eventually Tim goes to the police and tells them that his wife died and he disposed of the body, with a made up story of her dying from something he got from a man in a cafe. When the police discover the bodies, Tim is arrested and eventually found guilty of killing both his wife and daughter. It was in large part Christie's testimony in court that led to the guilty verdict, and on the 9th March 1950 Timothy Evans was hanged until dead. The film then briefly follows Christie as he murders his wife, eventually leading to his arrest.

Richard Attenborough is superb as Christie, he never shouts or loses his temper, he doesn't go around hacking people to pieces. He's a very soft spoken man who seems like he wouldn't hurt a fly, but there's a dark, evil side to him that you can sense is bubbling away just under the surface. It's a truly chilling performance, and despite having a huge body of work behind him, it's always his performance as Christie that sticks in my mind. John Hurt also gives an excellent performance as the slightly slow Welshman Timothy Evans, he'd been around for a while but hadn't really had any major success. His performance here got him nominated for a BAFTA award for best supporting actor, he lost to Edward Fox who won for The Go-Between. He wasn't truly recognised as a great actor until he had a run of three fantastic films from 1978-80, Midnight Express, Alien and The Elephant Man was a brilliant run of films and proved how brilliant an actor he is. Judy Geeson is good as Beryl, as is Pat Heywood as Christie's long suffering wife Ethel. It's expertly and more importantly, tactfully directed by Richard Fleischer. Fleischer directed 10 Rillington Place in a period where I believe he made his best films, Tora! Tora! Tora! and See No Evil are great films and were made just prior to 10 Rillington Place, the brilliant Soylent Green followed a few years later. I still view 10 Rillington Place as his masterpiece, he passed away aged 89 in 2006.

It would be very easy to start talking about the case, and to go into detail about events that happened before and after what is shown in the film, but it's extremely easy to find the facts online so i'll just stick to the film itself. I will just briefly say that the investigation by the police was nothing short of being a farce, and even though it happened far too late, it's brilliant that Timothy Evans was given a posthumous pardon and his innocence should have been proven when he was alive. The wrongful hanging of Timothy Evans also played a large part in the abandonment of capital punishment in the UK. The film was actually shot in Rillington Place, this really gave the film a sense of authenticity. Richard Attenborough's make-up took 3 hours to apply each morning, it mainly consisted of the bald plate and in certain scenes if you really focus on it, it does look just a little off. It's a very classy film that doesn't require nudity, blood and guts and quick MTV editing. It's a slow moving, engaging, character driven piece dealing with real events, watching it for maybe the 5th time, I was just as engrossed and emotionally involved as I was the first time I watched it.

The dvd is a good one, picture and sound quality is very nice. There's an introduction to the film by Richard Attenborough, where he claims the film rates very highly on the list of films he's made. There's a commentary with John Hurt where he talks about what it was like playing Timothy Evans, he seems extremely knowledgeable on the case and offers up many interesting facts and opinions. There's an exclusive interview with Lord Attenborough, filmographies, fact files and vintage lobby cards. The lobby cards aren't physical cards you get with the dvd, they're part of the extras on the dvd that you can flick through. 10 Rillington Place is a fantastic piece of film making, that treats its real life subject matter with respect. It's a fascinating film for anybody who's interested in the case, for everybody else it's still a brilliantly acted crime drama.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2012 10:22 PM BST

Leprechaun 1 [DVD]
Leprechaun 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Aniston
Price: £4.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Try as they will, and try as they might, who steals me gold won't live through the night., 16 April 2012
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This review is from: Leprechaun 1 [DVD] (DVD)
When drunken Irishman Dan O'Grady returns home a little worse for wear in a limo, his wife thinks he's gone mad. He explains to her that he caught a leprechaun and took his gold, she's obviously a little skeptical and goes inside to make a pot of tea. While Dan is outside hiding the gold, the leprechaun climbs out of Dan's suitcase and scares Mrs. O'Grady into falling down the stairs. Dan returns and discovers that the leprechaun has killed his wife, and with a four leaf clover he manages to trap the leprechaun in a box. He goes to set the box on fire but succumbs to a stroke before he can, leaving the leprechaun imprisioned. 10 years later Tory Reding and her dad J.D are moving into the old O'Grady house, where Tory very quickly meets Nathan, Ozzie and Alex who are fixing the house up for them. Ozzie finds the gold that O'Grady had hid years earlier, prompting the leprechaun to escape his shackles and reclaim his precious gold.

Warwick Davis is hilarious as the leprechaun, he has some cracking one liners and is clearly having a great time. Davis is best known as Wicket the Ewok in Return Of The Jedi, Willow Ufgood in Ron Howard's brilliant 1988 adventure film Willow, and Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter series of films. He's recently come to the attention of many people by starring in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's Life's Too Short. Leprechaun was Jennifer Aniston's first feature film role, and as is the norm in Hollywood, one she probably leaves off the CV and rarely if ever talks about. She gives a decent performance but basically just plays Rachel from Friends getting chased by a leprechaun, she was a little more curvaceous in a good way here, as opposed to the super slim actress she would later become. Ken Olandt, Mark Holton, Robert Hy Gorman and John Sanderford all offer good support, but this is Warwick Davis' film and it's him that really shines. It's written and directed by Mark Jones, he did a great job considering this was his debut. He followed Leprechaun with Rumpelstiltskin two years later, another decent film that's worth a watch. His last film was called Triloquist that went straight to dvd in 2008, it's similar to Leprechaun in the way it's made, but it's nowhere near as good. The film was originally meant to be a scary film for kids, the studio decided it would do better business if they filmed a few gore sequences and aim it towards adults. It's easy to see that this would have been ideal for kids if it weren't for the gore, but thankfully the murders are done really well as are the effects.

The dvd is very basic, there are no extras but the sound and picture quality seems a little better than the older copy, not worth double dipping though. There's only English subtitles available, so it's a very disappointing release. Leprechaun was made for $900,000 in 1992 and hit the cinema's on January 1st 1993, making it the first theatrically released film of the year. It went on to make a respectable $8,500,000, and later made plenty of money through vhs sales. It quickly gained cult status and the studio's eyes lit up, deciding to make Leprechaun 2. So far there has been six Leprechaun films, one was set in "the hood" and another set in space. For a film that was a little daft to begin with, the sequels are very poor and just get more ridiculous. Leprechaun is by far the best of the series, it's funny, gory, reasonably well acted, decently directed and deserves a special edition. It's not worth buying if you're after a serious horror film, if you like a lot of humour with your horror then Leprechaun is great. Not a great film or a bad film, it's somewhere inbetween being good and so bad it's good. Whichever way you look at it, it's wildly entertaining and worth watching for Warwick Davis alone and a pre Friends Jennifer Aniston. If you want to buy the film, it might be worth looking at the box set with all six films, there nowhere near as good, but the price is great and if you love this one, you might like the sequels.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2012 10:18 AM BST

The House on Sorority Row [DVD] [2007]
The House on Sorority Row [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Kate McNeil
Price: £2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "How do we know she IS alive", 16 April 2012
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A group of sorority girls can't afford to have their party where they wanted, so they decide to hold the party at the sorority house. Mrs Slater finds out that the girls are planning on staying, even though the house gets closed for three months after the school year. She demands that the girls be out of the house the day after, and insists there will be no party. It seems that Mrs Slater was once a great housemother who had an excellent relationship with the girls in her care, but over the years she's become miserable and bitter, and the girls now view her as a dinosaur. Already furious that the girls are still in the house when it should be empty, she catches one of the girls called Vicki having sex and is disgusted. She exclaims "You filth, trash like you doesn't belong in my house." Vicki decides to pull a prank on Mrs Slater, and of course the prank goes wrong resulting in her death. Vicki manages to rope the others into covering it up for her, instead of just going to the police and explaining the accident. There's the usual arguments of she's already dead and going to the police won't change anything and why should all our lives be ruined for a mistake? With Mrs Slater dead and her body out of the way, the girls decide to go ahead with the party. Once the party begins, the girls start getting knocked off one by one.

The acting really does fluctuate between good and awful, but it's classic eighties bad acting which is never a bad thing. Kate McNeil is the main girl and the film focuses on her more than the others, a good thing as she's clearly the better actress out of the friends. I watched her just last week in Monkey Shines and she's gone on to have considerably more success than the others, she's appeared in dozens of TV shows throughout the last twenty years. Eileen Davidson was decent as Vicki, she's been one of the main stars of American soap The Young and the Restless for over 25 years. Special mention needs to go to Jodi Draigie who plays a ditzy blonde called Morgan, she's attractive enough but her acting is just hopeless, her delivery of certain lines is side splittingly funny. Lois Kelso Hunt has a good screen presence but she's clearly been dubbed, the producer's didn't believe her voice to be assertive or scary enough. For most of the other girls and cast members this stands as their one and only film, hardly surprising. It's written and directed by Mark Rosman, his debut as both. This is by far the best film he's done, with such a decent debut it's surprising he's had such a mediocre career since.

There's a little bit of nudity for anyone interested, and nowhere near as much blood and guts as you would expect from an early eighties slasher film. Some of the deaths are quite good though, and there's a brilliant scene in a toilet. The music is good, especially the band that plays in the house, they're a typical cheesy eighties band. It moves along at a cracking pace, once the party begins it's pretty relentless. The murder weapon of choice is a walking cane, some of the other reviewers have criticised the film based on this, but it's not the only film to have a walking cane as a weapon and it's a somewhat interesting choice. The ending is a little weird but genuinely creepy, especially a scene in the attic that I have to admit made me jump.

The region 2 DVD isn't great, the first few minutes look horrible, it was meant to be in black and white but the producers changed it and gave it a dark blue tint. It's extremely grainy and soft, almost hard to see what's actually going on. Once we get to the house the picture quality improves a lot, but it's still reasonably poor. The sound isn't the greatest, no real problems apart from the dubbing I mentioned earlier. There's a trailer and scene selection, no extras at all and no subtitles. A few years ago a 25th anniversary edition was released in America, I don't know what extras are on it but I've heard favourable comments on the picture quality. The film will be thirty years old next year, a perfect time for a new region 2 release but it's doubtful to happen. If you have the means I'd suggest you at least look into the region 1 release before ordering this version, but if all you're interested in is the film itself with an okay transfer, then this is quite cheap and will get the job done.

The House On Sorority Row isn't as good as the classic slashers, Black Christmas, Halloween, The Prowler, Friday The 13th, My Bloody Valentine and The Burning. If you don't already like slasher films then this won't change your mind, if you're interested in slashers then this isn't really an ideal film to start with. It's a very enjoyable film if you happen to be the film's target audience, most other people will hate many aspects of it. For me personally, it's an essential for a slasher fan, but not even close to being a favourite. It is however much better than a lot of the '90s slasher films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cherry Falls, Urban Legend and Valentine. Not awful films but like so many films of their type, it was done much better in the '80s. I would have no hesitation in giving the film 4 stars, but the very poor region 2 DVD is the reason I've settled on 3 stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2012 8:50 PM BST

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