on 19 July 2014
The film has a good mix of dark humour and slasher horror with some nice female nudity and a great over the top performance from Mr Spinell. It stands the test of time well.
The UK blu-ray is uncut and present in 1.85/16x9. It looks very good in HD but there is a disclaimer before the film stating that it has been sourced from various prints.
Most of the film appears to have been transferred from an original negative and therefore looks the best it ever has. Occasional scenes are faded and worn and there is one VHS quality scene about half way through. But this composite print is 90% very good.
Extras include a good commentary, the short film Maniac 2 Mr Robbie (very gory), Q&A session with Caroline Munro, trailers, tv sspots, collector booklet, interview with Spinell;s's friend.
Solid release, film has never looked better.
on 24 August 2014
After the relatively huge success (for a low budget gutter level violence-fest [that's a recommendation by the way...]) of Bill Lustig's Maniac Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell were once again paired up following a drive from the original backers, probably in the hope of repeating the financial rewards. As before, Munro is a celebrity beauty while the 'beast' is Spinell in another unhinged schizophrenic role. Very unhinged. His character, Vinny, embarrassingly envisions himself as a world class film-maker as he becomes increasingly obsessed with actress Jana Bates (Munro). When he hears that she is to appear at Cannes film festival he packs his suitcase and 16mm camera to head off for the exotic region. During the frenzy at Cannes people begin dying - anyone who seems to have anything to do with Bates. All the while Vinny is grabbing footage with his camera and occasionally calling back home to lie to his mother that his work is becoming a great success (he doesn't even appear to have completed a film). He is also working his way ever closer to Bates.
This kooky film sits itself uncomfortably within the slasher sub-genre that was still booming around the time, but it's really unlike anything else that falls into that category. I wouldn't say it always works, and I wouldn't even describe it as very good, but it does have a rather messy personality all of its own somehow, and there is some enjoyment to be derived from its quirks even if it never truly goes to places that could have elevated the whole endeavour.
The 'uncut version' is released by 88 Films for the UK market, thankfully as a Blu-ray. Playing in full AVC-encoded HD at 24 frames per second and running to 87:37 (minus 15 seconds for the opening statement) the transfer is taken from several sources. 88 have chosen to include the two previously excised goriest moments (a heart extraction and a chainsaw body split) from the only place they could get them - a VHS tape. This material literally only lasts a few seconds and I think it's better that it's there than not, so personally I feel this is a good fan-motivated move. The majority of the transfer has been constructed using either 35mm negative or prints - this means some of the footage can look grainy and appropriately grindhouse, but when it shines this disc really makes the film look way better than you'd ever have expected. The best material exhibits loads of detail with great depth. I was very pleased with this presentation. Audio (billed as LPCM mono but filtering through two channels) is pretty good - the lively music track comes across as bold and enjoyable, dialogue is mostly clean, although there are some patches of hiss and crackle during quieter moments. For a film of this type I was not overly concerned by anything, but some might find the more damaged elements to be a little distracting. Somehow I can't imagine The Last Horror Film being better presented than it is on 88's Blu-ray.
The extras are nice: there's an audio commentary with associate producer Luke Walter, an enjoyable interview with Walter (who was also good friends with Spinell) running 23:51, a Lloyd Kaufman introduction (3:38), some grimy promo footage for the doomed Maniac 2 project (8:06), an interview about the project gestation with Mr Lustig, who was invited to direct at one point but Vigilante was happening at the time (3:42), a Q&A session with Caroline Munro from Glasgow in 2011, which is generally unrelated to Last Horror Film but information-packed none the less (11:07), some TV spots, and an 88 Films trailer reel showing off many of their Blu-ray released items (which runs 21:55 in total). The cover is reversible, with some original cover art on the rear if you want to switch it around, plus the case contains a booklet. It seems like 88 Films have gone over and above for this crazy Section 3 (i.e. nearly banned in the UK) movie. It's never going to hit classic status but if you're remotely interested in checking this out or owning it then this is the disc to get.
on 28 July 2014
Another brilliant 88 films release on Blu-ray, This is a classic 80's movie with a great story that's original and well directed, the story is set around the Cannes film festival during the 80's of course, we follow an obsessed fan Joe Spinell as he stalks Caroline Munro a hot actress whom he wants for his movie, at the same time a killer is picking off directors and actors, the movie has some weird twists and turns as things are not what they seem, the film is great against he Cannes background and set amongst the glamour etc, the cast is brilliant of course reuniting Spinell and Munro again for 3 movies running as they were in Star Crash and Maniac, Munro still looks beautiful, one of the hottest scream queens back in the 80's, the soundtrack is cool too and there is some nice blood and gore and nudity, the Blu-ray picture is good for a restored 80's movie, some of the footage is lower quality were they have inserted some gore scenes that was missing originally, this is a top release a must have for 80's horror fans.
The Blu-ray has plentiful features too including commentary, interviews, and much more.
Blu-ray is region free ABC
on 23 August 2015
I am really pleased I have this in my collection. I am a big fan of actor Joe Spinell who was in my opinion a very talented character actor who left us way too soon. A great guy... I enjoyed watching this film and with the extras makes it a worthwhile purchase. RIP Joe ...
on 26 February 2016
This is a horrible releaase of a cult classic unofficial sequal to Maniac, at first it is a decent print but when it gets to the two juciest gore scenes it keeps switching to a print taken from a 3rd generation VHS tape. What you are left with instead is an inept storyline and performances, Joe Spinel and his dear Mum will be turning in their graves at this horrible blu ray.
Troman come back when you have a better transfer.
on 14 October 2009
To finally find after so many years such a rare movie, paring the stars of Maniac together again, may seem a tasty temptation.
Joe is standardly sweaty and perverted again, Caroline is standardly screaming again. Sounds good?
The film is ruined by the worst comedy ending and the biggest 'stalker let off the hook' ending ever. The film festival backdrop saves it from total devastation as Joes taxi driver from New York stalks and threatens Caroline's film starlett as the gory murders pile up around them.
Please take my advice and don't pay too much for this.
on 13 March 2014
Low budget shocker is undeniably fascinating for its setting, and its portrayal of the movie business. It reunites the two stars of "Maniac", Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro, in a story of NYC cabbie Vinny Durand (Spinell), a pathetic aspiring filmmaker who's obsessed with horror film star Jana Bates (Munro), tailing her to the Cannes Film Festival where she's promoting her latest film. In between Vinnys' desperate attempts to make contact with Jana, a psychotic killer is at work brutally dispatching various people in Janas' life. The film is co-written by Judd Hamilton, then married to Munro, and director David Winters, along with Tom Klassen, and Hamilton and Winters also play film directors on screen. Winters is more ambitious with his ideas and set ups than one would think, going for the surreal and laying on the creepy imagery at select points, and his framing is likewise interesting. The non stop pop / rock soundtrack helps to keep "The Last Horror Film" moving forward adequately, and there are some genuinely effective sequences, such as when a terrified Jana flees in terror from Vinny, clad in only a towel, and bemused onlookers think she's merely participating in a publicity stunt. Use of gore is entertaining - there's not a whole lot of it, but we do see a fair bit of the red stuff spilling. Cameos include June Chadwick and Robin Leach, and one truly compelling facet of this movie is the way it works as a snapshot of a particular place at a particular time, with many shots of posters of then current productions. Intriguing at every turn, "The Last Horror Film" also has a certain seedy ambiance going for it, with some nudity to go with its lurid thrills. Spinells' own mother Mary is hilarious as Vinnys' overbearing ma, and Munro is as gorgeous and appealing as she's ever been, but ultimately this is a vehicle for Spinell, who proves once again his ability to elicit some feelings of sympathy even when playing a disturbed character. This is not up to "Maniac", but it's not bad, and worth a look for fans of the stars
on 2 March 2011
well i first saw this movie a few years ago after i saw "maniac"....ok not as good as maniac,but its still a very good film.got it on amazon fairly cheap.bonus being its a region free dvd,not region 1 as stated.would recommend for a great night in.
on 16 May 2015
An obsessive fan follows an actress to the Cannes Film Festival, where he tries to get her to star in a horror film he wants to make, meanwhile someone is killing friends and colleagues connected to her,
This is a film that sounds & looks great but ultimately a bit underwhelming. Caroline Munro & Joe Spinell team up again in a very different production to Maniac, the locations look fantastic, the ad hoc shooting at the real 1981 Cannes festival does give the film a real air of class that defies its low budget, Caroline Munro is also good and gives the role everything, a real horror queen. Munro maybe good but the rest of the cast aren't, Spinell frankly was a brilliant actor, he had some excellent and memorable small parts in big studio pictures, but this however is not one, his rather pathetic and depressing character is so annoying at times it's actually quite off putting, his real mother plays him mum in the film and the less said about her "acting" the better, in fact the acting overall, Munro aside, is definitely not a strong point. Directing and writing are also not very good, the revelation of the killer is very unsatisfying and unmemorable thanks to some very slack writing, director David Winters struggles to create any suspense or tension and frankly never scary, in fact with such a promising storyline it's such a shame that the writers & director didn't do more with the interesting start they had.
A disappointing but not unwatchable Section 3 nasty horror thriller with Munro on form and a couple of decent scenes (most releases put a frame from the best sequence on the cover) just don't expect another Maniac.
Low-budget it may be, but The Last Horror Film (aka Fanatic) has panache aplenty and makes what appears to be a short trip to Camp Gore a surprisingly significant trek into the land of mystery, madness, and mayhem. Despite its greasy star, a real excess of bad acting, wretched early 80s soundtrack, deficient cinematography, and unimpressive special effects, this film really won me over in the end, not least because of the somewhat surprise ending.
Joe Spinell plays Vinny Durand, a New York taxi driver who dreams of becoming a famous movie director. He is particularly taken with Jana Bates (Caroline Munro), the biggest horror film starlet in the world. Jana is in fact so larger than life that she is up for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival (for her performance in Scream, a film which culminates in her character getting a radical new look at the hands of a madman with a blowtorch). Vinny has saved up his money, and so it is that he bids adieu to his mother and heads off to Cannes, determined to get Jana to be in the film he has written just for her. Not surprisingly, he can't get near such a big movie star, but he does come in contact with her producer ex-husband, an agent, a movie director, and others who don't exactly embrace his genius. Oddly enough, several of these very same people soon turn up dead or missing, starting with director (and Jana's ex-husband) Bret Bates (Glenn Jacobson). Many, including the French police, interpret these events as publicity stunts, leaving Jana decidedly vulnerable to Vinny's determined advances. Speaking of Vinny, we watch him spiral farther and farther into obsession, emotional turmoil, and maniacal behavior. His disturbing mental condition is seen most clearly in a series of emotional phone calls to his mother, in which he often breaks down crying as he tells her that he is indeed filming a movie with Jana and that he is finally going to make her proud of him.
It's all pretty formulaic stuff until you reach the final crescendo of blood and suspense, and it is this ending that allows The Last Horror Film to rise a little bit above all the unoriginal, derivative films littering the shelves of the B-movie horror genre. But wait - there's more. The filmmakers even throw in a little social commentary along the way, making the definite link of an obsessed horror fan with the timely assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan by Jodie Foster-obsessed nutjob John Hinckley, Jr. Jana, as the reigning queen of horror, also offers a few nice points about the violence of horror films.
The Last Horror Film was actually filmed in and around the Cannes Film Festival of 1981, which turns out to be an ideal setting for such a film dealing with the blurring of reality and fantasy vis-à-vis the movie business. You'll see footage of a couple of minor stars (such as Cathy Lee Crosby), and Robin Leach actually turns up as a reporter in one scene. That just makes the film all the more fun to watch. The real highlight for me, though, was the performance of Filomena Spagnuolo as Vinny's mother; she was a natural for the part because she was the real-life mother of Joe Spinell. She can't act a lick, but the mother-son dialogue between her and Spinell is really funny at times.
So, in conclusion, I really liked this unprepossessing little film. Its weaknesses are there for all to see, but so is the creativity that is too often found lacking in horror films of any kind, especially ones featuring a decent amount of gore.