The ultra-hip STRAY CAT ROCK series starts off with the first of 5-films, DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS, directed by Yasuharu Hasebe (STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER, FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701’s GRUDGE SONG) and starring the Japanese (w/Korean ancestry known as a Zainichi Korean) pop singer-turned-actress Akiko Wada (more…)
The Grindhouse Releasing Deluxe Limited Edition 3-disc of Amos Sefer’s AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL includes the dvd/blu-ray combo of the film, as well as a third disc of the uncensored director’s cut of the movie taken from an original 35mm print of the film found. This film really gets the rock-star treatment with all the bells and whistles and with (more…)
Young director James Muro, going by J. Michael Muro on his IMDB page and in film credits later on in his movie career as a camera operator and cinematographer later on, directed STREET TRASH in 1987, one year after I got turned on to reading Stephen King and realized that horror films, books, and comics were all I really cared about and would consume my whole life up until this very moment and continue to so-forth and so-on, probably until the end of my life. Sadly, I never got to see STREET TRASH until (more…)
A film originally titled THE SAMURAI OF AYOTHAYA (2010) and now released out on Blu-ray from the gang over at WELL GO USA in 2012 under the title of MUAY THAI WARRIOR, of which I found odd the retitling of it, but maybe the recent trend over the years of Muay Thai/Thai Boxing films gaining popularity like ONG BAK and Tony Jaa films the reason being so. Regardless of which title you know the film as, director Nopporn Watin’s historical drama is filled with incredibly authentic real Muay Thai fighters training in Muay Boran (Thai boxing) throughout the film in showing (more…)
TAI CHI ZERO, the first of a planned trilogy of Martial Arts Extravaganza-fare with a Steampunk-flare look to them, director Stephen Fung (HOUSE OF FURY, JUMP) has teamed up with a legend in Martial Arts and action films, Sammo Hung, in getting him to choreograph the all the Martial Arts choreography, as well as some very talented and new names in this Hong Kong-style Martial Arts action flick coming out of China. Released by WELL GO USA, an American distributor that to my knowledge is releasing many of the most current Asian Action/Martial Arts flicks on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as some decent horror and dramas, I have found that looking for the newest dvd bootlegs (or what seem to be bootlegs) in Chicago’s Chinatown is proving to be pointless as the quality of the copies are pretty horrid and Well Go USA is giving its prints the all-star treatment in quality and sound.
TAI CHI ZERO is an action-packed Martial Arts fight-fest that is (more…)
Director Takashi Shimizu has gained much of his notoriety, if not all of it, for his writing and directorial efforts in starting the creation of the GRUDGE franchise, known in Japan as JUON: THE GRUDGE or JU-ON. At one point in my life, my film viewing genre of choice was strictly watching films from Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Korea. My favorites were usually coming out of Japan and I remember having such a fondness the first time I saw (more…)
Available for the first time in North America on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital download on March 20th from Anchor Bay Entertainment (more…)
20th Century Fox’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of director Declan O’Brien’s WRONG TURN 4: BLOODY BEGINNINGSstarts off with the origins of the West Virginian cannibal hillbillies from their days locked up in an insane asylum. The previous WRONG TURN films- WRONG TURN (2003), WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END (2007 Video), and WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD (2009 Video)-all took place in the backwoods of West Virginia, none of which took place during the winter with any snow. The seasons looked to be summer for the first three films, maybe even spring, but with the fourth the series decides to take it to a cold, brutal blizzard. It makes sense that the film was also released in the second half of October for the Halloween season as well as winter right around the corner (for me in the Midwest, at least).
The opening scene goes over ten minutes before the opening credits roll and to be honest, I wish the scene went even longer! The scene shows Dr. Ann Marie McQuaid (Kristen Harris) getting a tour of the facility by Dr. Ryan (Arne MacPherson) who, when both come to the cell of One-Eye (Dan Skene), Three-Finger (Sean Skene), and Saw-Tooth (Scott Johnson). The doctor warns his peer that these three individuals, even though they are children, are the most dangerous patients in the whole hospital. This foreboding statement could be no truer because the following scene is purely orchestrated chaos with Strauss’ Blue Danube playing in the background as the three cannibal youth escape with the help of a fellow patient who manages to pick up the new doctor’s hairpin and use it to pick the lock of the cells.
The following sequence has one of the goriest and fun kill scenes in the whole movie, as well as showing viewers just how sick and evil the three cannibal brothers truly are. In one scene their doctor is strung up with barbed wire, each limb tied to a contraption that pulls in a separate direction, eventually imitating the effect of being drawn and quartered. All of his limbs are slowly stripped of their flesh, slowly peeling off until the limbs are ripped right out of their sockets. I applaud O’Brien for choosing to use a limited amount of CGI and choosing to go the practical effects route. The gore in the scene looked so much more realistic because practical effects were used. Latex and fake blood always looks better than computer generated effects. The scene continues to get even nastier as the other doctor, Dr. Ann Marie McQuaid (played by Kristen Harris) is hooked up to the electrocution chair for the inbred cannibals version of electroshock therapy. The scene is pretty nasty and mean-spirited, with One-Eye (Dan Skene), Three-Finger (Sean Skene), and Saw-Tooth (Scott Johnson) laughing gleefully with each agonizingly painful piece of leg and arm are torn right off of the bone. Again, practical effects were mostly used for the sequence of gore shown. Once the two doctors are murdered off, the shot pans to capture the chaos of the rest of the inmates and the remaining staff getting tortured and killed off by the rest of the dangerous nut jobs. I was grinning ear to ear at this point. I can’t really recall enjoying any of the entries in the WRONG TURN series as much as this final entry.
The film then jumps to present day and the next scenes are four college kids having sex with their respective partners. Bridget (Kaitlyn Wong featured in Maxim Magazine) and Sara (Temika Davis of Canada’s Next Top Model) are completely naked and having sex in a very sexy scene. At the same time around the corner in the same room is Vincent (Sean Skene) banging Jenna (Terra Vnesa) in their college dorm room. Within the first 15 minutes there was a good amount gore, violence, and nudity. With the fourth entry in a films’ series, the last three of which two of which were direct-to-video releases, I was not expecting an award-winning cast and plot. I was expecting gore, violence, fun and creative kills, and hopefully some gratuitous nudity. So far, the film was delivering on all accounts.
The group of kids then drives out to the woods where they drop their car off and jump on their snowmobiles and head off to where they think is their friend’s cabin. Little do they know they are heading in the wrong direction and have made a “wrong turn”. The rest of the film consists of the cannibal hillbillies dispatching the boys and girls one by one. The film has some great death scenes, one of my favorites being the agonizingly slow and painfully torturous scene in which One-Eye, Three-Finger, and Saw-Tooth are having a cannibal fondue meal in which one of the characters shouts,
“They’re eating him alive like some sort of fucked-up fondue!”
The scene goes on for a decent amount of time, slowly showing the hillbillies slicing pieces of skin off or plucking off a chunk of flesh here and there, then dipping it in the hot oil and eating it. The camera unabashedly catches every bite and delicious morsel of flesh being consumed by the hungry brothers. These particular scenes almost made me want to run down to the kitchen and throw some bacon on the stove and cook up some crispy pieces of pork. Yeah, it is kind of sick and bizarre how a film showing cannibals eating human flesh can cause one’s appetite to be triggered. I guess animal flesh and human flesh is not all that different. One is just socially acceptable and the other isn’t. Of course, eating a human being alive while strapped to a metal table is not allowed but strapping an animal on a meat hook and carving it alive is totally cool. Go figure.
The film continues at a decent pace with our group of college kids trying desperately to escape and/or defend themselves from attack after attack. Another fun scene is where one of the ladies get gored in the midsection from an ice boring drill. The drill is huge and this is again another practical effect and looks fantastic. Doug Morrow was the Special Makeup designer and created One-Eye, Three-Finger, and Saw-Tooth’s masks, as well as many of the other practical effects involving latex and tons of blood. The visual effects team of Chris Peterson and Mark Hennessy-Barrett, who are credited to having worked on HOSTEL III, complemented the practical effects.
The Blu-ray of WRONG TURN 4 has a very informative commentary track on it with director Declan O’Brien and the Behind-the-scenes producer, as well as a plethora of extra features including the director’s Die-aries, Making Another Wrong Turn, Lifestyles of the Sick and Infamous, a WRONG TURN 4 music video featuring the Blackout City Kids, and some deleted scene. The dvd of the movie only has the film itself in Standard Definition. I do like when a studio puts out the Blu-ray along with the dvd so if one brings the movie over to a buddy’s place who does not have a Blu-ray player the film still can be enjoyed.
Director O’Brien also directed the previous entry in the series, WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD, of which I think is the weakest entry. I remember there being a great deal of computer-generated effects versus practical effects and the gore being lighter than I had previously remembered. That and most of the victims were men because of the film’s plot leaving no reason for some pretty ladies to be gracing the screen. I think that O’Brien has redeemed himself (in my book) with WRONG TURN 4: DEADLY BEGINNINGS. The film is a horror film full of adequate acting, sexy heroines and victims, strong female characters, nasty villainous cannibals, tons of gore and lots of violence. The film was surprisingly well shot and had some artistic merits held within. I recommend seeing all the WRONG TURN films in the series, saving WRONG TURN 4, the best for last.
Anyone that knows anything about Hong Kong action films knows director John Woo and his 1986 gangster film A BETTER TOMORROW starring Chow Yun-Fat, Leslie Cheung, and Lung Ti, containing some of the greatest shootout scenes between villains and police officers. Along with Woo’s THE KILLER, I rank A BETTER TOMORROW among some of my favorite action flicks from Hong Kong and the rest of the world for sheer indulgence of violence, on-screen killings, and excessive waste of bullets and human life. If one is going to make a gangster film, then I expect their to be over-the-top gun shootouts with gun cartridges that carry an infinite amount of bullets so the user doesn’t have to stop the action to reload his/her weapon. Although highly unrealistic, it makes for one hell of an adrenaline rush when watching it unfold on-screen. All that I have just mentioned is generally in most of John Woo’s films, most noticeably in the Hong Kong productions and not quite AS MUCH as in his films made in Hollywood.
But enough about John Woo and his film A BETTER TOMORROW because this review is about the South Korean remake from Hae-sung Song, a director that according to my research has not directed an action/gangster flick before in his career. He has directed a couple of romantic comedies (MAUNDY THURSDAY (’06) and FAILAN (’01), and a biographical pic about a South Korean wrestler entitled RIKIDOZAN: A HERO EXTRAORDINARY (’01). I am guessing that his resume still gives him enough potential to have a chance at remaking a classic action film from Hong Kong, with respect to paying homage to it and not creating a giant mess that will infuriate HK Action purists, as well as those particular about what favorite films of theirs are being remade by who.
Myself, anyone that knows me will tell you I am not a fan of remakes and what I define as a remake is a direct interpretation of a film made within the same format and media. If a play was written and performed on Broadway and that same play is put on film and made into a movie, I don’t really consider it a remake because the artistic mediums are so different. I can live with that. I can also live with books, stories, animated projects, and short films being remade into feature length films. To me, there are so many differences between the original and the finished project that I have no problem watching both and not really even comparing one to the other. When a movie that is far outdated from the original comes along, I usually can let that slide also because (depending on how far apart in years the two projects are) generally the technology, setting, and story can become so different and fresh because the film is so much more modern (in many cases) and seems as if the story and idea is a totally original and unique one.
With Song’s A BETTER TOMORROW, we have a remake that is 25 years newer than the original. Both movies are not far apart enough in years for me to consider one to be given a “pardon” and not undergo large scrutiny by me. I had to watch Song’s South Korean film while making comparisons to Woo’s Hong Kong film the whole damn time. It is just in my nature if a film has been made after the other film. The ironic thing about both films is that there is another A BETTER TOMORROW out there. This one dates back to a 1967 Cantonese film called Ying xiong ben se (Story of a Discharged Prisoner). I have not seen this film nor remember hearing about it when I originally watched Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW for the first time nearly 22 years ago.
When I found out that Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW was a remake, I was kind of shocked. I truly loved a film that is a remake, less than twenty years old from the original. Now I was watching a film whose story has been made into a film not once already, not twice—but now THREE TIMES. I did not know what to think when I learned of this so I just sat down and watched Song’s South Korean remake of A BETTER TOMORROW and really hoped it didn’t suck and wish that I could enjoy the film for what its worth.
Having not seen STORY OF A DISCHARGED PRISONER, I can make no comparisons or allusions to, so I will just be mentioning and referencing Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW from time to time. The stories of both films are very similar. Both films tell the tale of a brother going the life of crime, and being rather successful at it, and having a younger straight-laced brother whom is not a criminal and grows up to be a police officer. The rest of the film varies a bit with the story. The main plot of the film in Woo’s version is that the father of both sons dies due to the older sons’ actions as a gangster and the younger brother blames him for their father’s death and wants to bust him as a cop. Song’s version is a bit different because it takes place in South Korea so he has both brothers flee from North Korea into South Korea with their mother. Older brother leaves behind his younger brother and mother. The mother dies and the younger brother is locked up, all the while getting beaten and tortured for trying to escape (North Korea is pretty messed up). Woo’s version has Chow Yun-Fat (HARD BOILED) as the older gangster brother and Song casts Joo Jin-Mo (THE WARRIOR) as Kim Hyeok, the older brother who abandons his family. The role of the mobster’s best friend and partner in Woo’s film is played by Lung Ti (A BETTER TOMORROW 2) and in Song’s version the role is portrayed by Song Seung-Heon (SO CLOSE). The role of the younger brother who joins the police academy and becomes a hard-driven cop is played by Leslie Cheung (FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE) in Woo’s film and portrayed by Kim Kang-W00 (MARINE BOY) in the updated version of the film. I only mention what actors play what characters in both films because as I watched the newest A BETTER TOMORROW, I watched the film thinking in my head what actors played the character in the original film so I thought I would just give readers some insight to what I had swirling in my brain during the whole movie.
Even though the film has subtle differences, such as taking place in South Korea instead of in Hong Kong and having the family escape from North Korea (all of which make sense since Song’s movie is taking place in the port city of Busan, South Korea and the cast and crew is mostly Korean), the stories are almost identical. Kim (Joo Jin-Mo) is a high-ranking mobster and his closest friend Lee (Song Seung-Heon), also a fellow mobster, get screwed over royally while traveling to Thailand with a new gang recruit Jung Tae-Min (Jo Han-Seon) for a meeting with some Thai gangsters. It is a set-up planned by the new recruit Jung and Kim is caught by the cops, locked up for quite a bit, reformed, and comes out planning to live a crime-free life and be a productive member of society. During the time Kim is locked up, his best friend Lee enacts revenge upon the Thai gangsters in Pusan and goes to kill their boss. During the shootout Lee is shot in the leg, forever crippling him and being the beginning of the downfall as his career as a successful gangster. Jung, on the other hand, rises to power and is still bitter over the once-successful gangsters who know firsthand of his treachery and deceit.
The film moves along at a great pace, filled with decent performances by all actors involved, and keeps the story interesting with the drama between the two fighting brothers, as well as showing the path they each chose and their current situations. Foreign films are kind of difficult for me to judge the acting on because I am reading subtitles of what the actors are saying and I can’t gauge the dialogue as it is delivered because I have no idea what the hell they are saying. If the subtitles are incorrect, it can be even more difficult. As far as I could tell, the performances were pretty good. Their body language and actions fit with the dialogue that was translated on the screen. I will say that at times, it was VERY confusing figuring out which character was which. With the time gaps of past and present, I almost had to take notes on which character was which. There were parts of the film that really moved fast and the introduction of new characters was not very long before some major turning point in the plot occurred, causing the story to jump back to a much earlier point in the timeline or to shoot forward quite a bit.
Besides that, I really enjoyed the film. I don’t think Song fully captured the action and violence of Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, as I believe Woo’s gun-play scenes were far superior and had a distinctive flair to them, but Song’s shootout scenes were pretty solid. One could tell that he was going for the slickness and trying to re-create the intensity that Woo had. The one thing I was hoping for was a lot of quickly edited and well-shot shootouts. If the action in the film was lacking, the film would have been a major flop but the action was there. It may not have been as awesome as it was in Woo’s film, but it still was quite entertaining and briskly paced. I tend to loath downtime in action flicks and was glad that Song did not throw in some cheesy, steamy sex scene that are prevalent in so many action flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. I come to think of a bunch of films starring Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme as having some needless romance within them.
The major difference were the acting in Song’s film, as well as the shootout scenes. Although he really tried to achieve the same intensity as Woo’s action scenes, Song’s sequences of violence are not on par with Woo’s. Of note, though, is the fact that John Woo did serve as an Executive Producer, as well as there being a 30-minute interview with him in the Bonus Features of the film. Looking at the film and making no comparisons whatsoever to John Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, Song’s A BETTER TOMORROW is still a well-done action film. It is not the greatest action film I have ever seen, but it is better than average and was a very enjoyable viewing. I think that there is enough action and violence for the action fans, along with the right amount of dramatic dialogue and plot about the past of brothers Kim Hyuk and Kim Chul. Personally, I felt that in-fighting between the two just got in the way of the revenge Kim was seeking towards Tae Min (Han Sun Jo). I could have been perfectly happy with a massive bloodbath. I also noticed there were no nasty villains in the movie. The “bad guys” were bad, but not really evil. There was no torturing, hacking off of limbs, brutal stabbings or dismemberment. The murders were pretty much straight-forward shootings and the victims either died instantly or were injured without the camera lens dwelling on their agony. I kind of missed having a villain that is larger than life in a movie, much as with how Hollywood films portray them, as well as in comicbooks. I guess Song was not going for a flashy stylized film. Too bad.
As well as having the John Woo interview, Well Go USA’s Blu-ray/DVD combo (I love when distributors put out combos because not all of my friends and family have updated to the digital age yet!) has Deleted Scenes, Actor and Director Interviews, a Theatrical Trailer, and a Photo Gallery. The film runs 124 minutes and is not rated.The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack retails for $29.98 and the DVD for $24.98.
Sadly, when one remakes a film as great as the original (or in this case, the earlier remake) such as John Woo’s, one really has to raise the bar VERY high to come anywhere near the quality and impact that Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW. As you read, I was continually making comparisons to Woo’s film. How could one not?!? My advice to anyone wanting to see this film is to just watch the film and pretend it has nothing to do with Woo’s movie because it would be like going to a dinner party and having to choose between Filet Mignon and a Steak & Shake burger. There really is no comparison.
Not only was RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES a solid update on the talking ape saga, but it also held a bit of inspiration for a famous artist, too. If one has got nothing to do this weekend and is in the L.A.-area, then one will not want to miss this arty event.
On December 9th, Australian street artist and painter Anthony Lister will begin working on creating a fabulous piece of street art inspired by the Rise of the Planet of the Apes! Lister will be arriving in Southern California straight from Art Basel Miami Beach, the most prestigious art show in the Americas, where he painted several murals across the city. The mural will be painted at 7769 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles across the street from Fairfax High School, and Lister will be there from Friday until Monday afternoon.
CAESAR IS COMING….
Don’t forget you can pre-order your copy of Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Planet-
Sink Your Teeth Into Something Terrifying
Take a bite out of the New Year with Shark Night
on Blu-ray and DVD January 3rd
Your deepest fears are about to surface with this frightening tale of seven vacationers whose fun weekend at a lake house turns into a nightmare when they become victims of a series of hellish shark attacks. From David R. Ellis, the director of The Final Destination, SHARK NIGHT features a sexy ensemble cast who bring a whole new dimension of terror to the screen. Jam packed with exciting extras including “Shark Night Survival Guide” – everything you need to know to avoid becoming human chum – the Blu-ray and DVD comes up for air on January 3rd from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The moment Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends arrive at her parent’s Louisiana lake house, the party is in full gear. Everyone is having a blast until Malik (Sinqua Walls) loses his arm in what initially appears to be a tragic wake-boarding mishap. Determined to get him to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible, it isn’t until they’re far from shore that they realize the lake is teeming with hungry sharks, and a tiny speedboat isn’t about to stop them from getting their next meal. As the feeding frenzy begins, Sara and her pals realize that their only hope for survival is to swim for their lives!
SHARK NIGHT features performances from Sara Paxton (Superhero Movie), Dustin Milligan (Slither), Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”), Katharine McPhee (“American Idol,” House Bunny), Chris Zylka (My Super Psycho Sweet 16, The Secret Circle), Alyssa Diaz (“As the World Turns”), Joel David Moore (Avatar) and Sinqua Walls (The Second Half).
SHARK NIGHT is available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 3rd. Incentive Film Entertainment and Sierra/Affinity’s SHARK NIGHT was theatrically-released by Relativity Media on September 2, 2011.
SHARK NIGHT DVD Features:
· Shark Attack! Kill Machine! – Use this feature to jump to your favorite kills quickly
· Ellis’ Island – A cast appreciation of what Shark Night director David Ellis brought to the film
SHARK NIGHT Blu-ray Disc Features:
All of the DVD features, plus…
· Shark Night’s Survival Guide – Everything you need to know about the sharks in the movie to avoid becoming human chum!
· Fake Sharks Real Scares – This behind the scenes featurette focuses on the use of both animatronic and CGI sharks in Shark Night
· Digital Copy
SOURCE: 20th Century Fox
Malcolm McDowell is an actor whose voice and performance always seems to mesmerize me, no matter how horrid the pile of crap film he happens to be starring in. With POUND OF FLESH, I think it would be fair to rename the title POUND OF CRAP because from what I saw, that was what I thought of the movie. What made matters even worse was the fact that the review copy that was sent to me was defective. From the moment I popped the blu-ray disc in my player, the film’s menu was showing glitches on it. The picture was pixilated. The sound was making weird noises. At first, I thought it was part of the gimmick for the menu but when I could barely get it to play the main feature, I popped it in and started it up again I realized the blu-ray was screwed up. If one has ever watched a defective blu-ray, continually trying to rewind portions because the film skipped 10-30 seconds of integral plot development (or utter nonsense in this case) than one knows how difficult and aggravating watching a film in this manner is. Let us not dwell on the negatives of this film and get right to the positives of POUND OF FLESH.
My favorite part of the whole film aside from the fact that Malcolm McDowell stars in it and plays a pretty cool character is the opening sex sequence. It was filmed in a cool manner, artistically shot on par with some of the finest soft-core porn films and even showed a full-frontal shot of some dark bush from the brunette actress who was lustfully getting “railed” from a man whose fetish was using firearms during intercourse. I thought this film looked fairly promising. But then it all went downhill from there.
The rest of the film played out like the most confusing and shoddy detective crime-drama ever to grace cable television. I felt as if the film was a puzzle and a handful of the most important pieces of it were missing. Earlier I mentioned how the disc was not playing correctly, having issues with the picture and sometimes having the picture freeze and the sound continuing and not being correctly in sync, but this did not happen until past the halfway point. There were glitches, but they were just annoying but not hindering the story or scenes of the film in any way. I was able to follow the discordance in plot and flow of the film, but as the film went on, the technical errors just grew to be larger and infinitely more annoying. The film was almost 80% of the way through and the plot, to the best of my knowledge, involved a college professor who traded grades to attractive students for sexual favors or dates administered to fellow faculty members and rich donators to the institution of learning.
Dee Wallace is in the movie for a few scenes as the Dean of the college, Dean Jean Clark, and Malcolm McDowell plays the charismatic Professor Noah Melville who teaches literature classes and perversely woos his mostly female-filled classes with his swarthy knowledge of Shakespeare and other literary giants. Looking at how old McDowell is and the character he played who had the twenty-something pretty ladies eating out of the palm of his hand, I just kept thinking of Adam Sandler in BIG DADDY describing his ex’s new (I mean OLD) boyfriend and his “…old balls?! Gross!” line. No offense to McDowell, but the scenes with him and those young vixens look to be far less than believable. This was only the beginning of the unrealistic scenes played out within the film. The city detective who was demoted to working in the small college town of Somewhere, CA (the filming locations of POUND OF FLESH were Los Angeles and Santa Monica so it must have been a nice vacation for whomever was working on the film if they were not from the West coast), Detective Patrick Kelley (Angus MacFadyen) was not a terrific actor and the chemistry between him and Sgt. Rebecca Ferraro (Elizabeth Rodriguez) was missing. Rodriguez gave a decent performance acting and it was evident in some of her scenes with McDowell, but the scenes with MacFadyen were dull and lacked energy. The film really was just full of confusion. I do not remember what distributor sent me the film and it is a good thing because I don’t even care to ask for a new copy of it, one that actually works, because it is not even worth it. The film was pretty awful and I do not care to relive the viewing experience.
Director Tamar Simon Hoffs, known for THE ALLNIGHTER (1987), a film about college kids and partying (which is what POUND OF FLESH should have just been about instead of throwing a murder subplot and some sexual escort service into the mix minus the sex!) and I am assuming- having some good ol’ sex! Do you feel my distaste for this film?
Generally, with most films, I can find a few good things within the film to write about but the only good part of the film I enjoyed was the first six or seven minutes. I think that if the film would have actually thrown in a butt-load of gratuitous nudity and gave it a ‘80s slasher look and feel—it might have been enjoyable and fun to watch. I just could not get into it and there was no appeal for me to get a chance to enjoy anything with a messed-up disc. I am thinking that maybe my blu-ray player just didn’t feel like playing the crappy movie and wanted to take the disc out and chuck the damn thing out the window.
I did not even get a chance to check out the special features because the third time I tried to access the menu it went all batshit crazy on me. I was done dealing with the film and its screwed-up disc. From what I saw, maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the film crapped out before it was completely finished because I might have even more fuel to add to this already brightly burning fire of contempt for POUND OF FLESH. If one is not aware, “pound of flesh” is a shylock term for loaning money out in reference to Jewish culture, or something of that nature. I looked up the title on Google to see if there was any other press on the film and that came up. I don’t even think the film is actually referencing that or not, but it may be due to the fact that one of the characters, Cameron Morris (Timothy Bottoms), is giving money to the University in exchange for young, fresh students (which is how the murder in the beginning of the film came about to be). The young girls get a scholarship and the Mayor, Chief of Police, and chairman of the school board get some hot, young, college tail to sexually gratify them. After a girl is murdered, shown at the beginning of the film, a lackluster investigation coupled with horrible acting ensues. I suggest reading the synopsis online so most of the movie makes much more sense. I also suggest never watching this film if one can help it. I really hated this movie. There are a few movies a year that I really loathe writing reviews for and this is one of those films. I may be only SLIGHTLY less bitter towards it if the damn disc played correctly. Avoid this film. You have been warned.
The opening scene in FRANKENHOOKER begins innocently enough at a family gathering at Jeffrey Franken’s fiancée’s place in which she shows off her soon-to-be-husbands’ newest invention, a remote-controlled lawnmower. She stupidly attempts to show it works while standing directly in front of it with her back to the mower while pressing buttons to turn it on. It starts to mow the lawn and she is directly in its path, all the while Franken is shouting at her to get out of the mower’s path. She either does not hear him or simply chooses to ignore him because she is so enthralled with his invention, proud to be marrying him in the near future. Sadly, no one at the party gets up to push Elizabeth (Franken’s fiancée) out of the damn way and she is chopped to pieces by the lawnmower. The opening scene of Frank Hennenlotter’s FRANKENHOOKER already had me in stitches laughing at the absurdness of the whole event, as well as admiring the gore and abrasiveness of the whole scene. I was prepared to be tickled pink with scenes of gore, humor, and hopefully, gratuitous nudity (given the concept and plot of the film).
Hennenlotter, director of such gory and cult fare such as the BASKET CASE Trilogy and BRAIN DAMAGE, never fails to interest me in the original concepts and plots that his films involve. A great. added bonus was the always hilarious and sarcastic James Lorinz, who first had me rolling on the floor in laughter during his small parts in Jim Muro’s STREET TRASH where he portrayed the smart-ass doorman at the swanky mobster’s restaurant. I will never forget my childhood friend Dave and I sitting in his basement while watching STREET TRASH for the first time as young teenagers (My parents would not even let me watch DIE HARD at home because of its R-Rating! I was in a living hell during my youthful years!). I was not even old enough to drive yet, but who needed wheels and chicks when one had filthy, nudity-filled, gory horror films to occupy our time with. Only years later would I realize that sitting at my best friend’s house in the basement watching STREET TRASH was to be one of my fondest childhood memories-that and discovering hardcore pornography.
After getting over my man-boner upon seeing that Lorinz not only is in the film but also is its lead actor, I was delighted that he played his usual sarcastic, joke-cracking, pessimistic character that really does not deviate too much from film to film. I guess you could say that he plays one character and he plays him very good.
Upon inadvertently being somewhat responsible for the demise of his fiancée, Franken decides to use all his brainy knowledge and figure out a way to bring back the love of his life. In figuring out how to bring Elizabeth (Patty Mullen) back, he decides to go about the completely far-fetched route and use his massive amount of medical knowledge and follow in the footsteps of the mad scientist from the Frankenstein movies and go out and find a woman that most closely resembles his dream woman and replace Elizabeth’s brain and head with the woman’s, thus having an even hotter version of his deceased wife.
Yeah, the film’s plot is goofy and the scenes of violence are somewhat ridiculous in execution and the likelihood that any of the aforementioned scenarios would ever work, even in a million years, but that is what Henenlotter was going for: fun entertainment that is so over-the-top and ridiculous in nature that it is laugh-out loud funny and almost lighthearted in nature. The basic premise or elements of the scenes were of a serious and self-damaging nature, but it was the humor that accompanied them that toned down any sort of serious tone to any scene.
In one of my favorite scenes, Franken (Lorinz) decides to troll the streets of filth in New York City, specifically 42nd Street, where all the hookers and pimps hang out, calling the area a smorgasbord for women and human traffic (or something along those lines!) and decides to arrange for a meeting with a handful of potential hot hookers and then just pick the one out that specifically meets the physical requirements he is looking for. After arranging the “physical” in a seedy motel room, Franken decides that no single woman meets every single requirement to make the perfect woman. Franken also made some SUPER CRACK that he intended to use to either blow up the girl or just keep her knocked out and under his command. I am not exactly sure what the intent was because when the girls all smoke it, they spontaneously explode and blow up, sending body parts this and that way. The pimp, a steroid-popping muscle head who can barely speak because he is so jacked up with muscles is furious that every single one of his ladies has been killed and blown-up.
After Franken sneaks away with a car full of women’s body parts, he builds his fiancée back together but in doing so has created Frankenhooker, a incredibly strong, “sexy”, super whore of sorts that immediately heads back to the scene of the crime to start hooking again.
FRAKENHOOKER is a film that I really enjoy; a little bit more so each time I view it. The film has a bit of a “party” feel to it, full of tons of nudity and raunchy comedy and over-the-top scenes of death and carnage. I would almost say that the scenes of death are not so much gory because there is not really that much blood and guts. However, there are certainly a great amount of large prosthetics used (such as when all the hookers blew up) and fake body parts tossed here and there for certain scenes. The scene in which the hookers blew up was hilariously spectacular because the fake bodies looked incredibly fake and like a firework show gone awry. The effect does the job and brought plenty of laughs when viewed (then and now).
One has to take FRANKENHOOKER for what its worth-a cheesy, nudity-filled, low-budget horror film that is just entertaining and titillating, both through its use of fun special effects, ridiculous violence and fatalities, and crude humor delivered by James Lorinz.
Synapse Films’ Blu-ray release of FRANKENHOOKER looks infinitely better in HD than it ever did on VHS and DVD. The film is fully uncut, as well as boasting a digitally remastered 5.1 surround sound and a plethora of special features including an audio commentary with Director Frank Hennenlotter and Make-up Effects Designer Gabe Bartalos, A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth: Patty Mullen featurette, A Stitch in Time: The Make-up Effects of Frankenhooker featurette, Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker, Jennifer Delora’s Photo Scrapbook and the film’s trailer. The most interesting of all these special features for this viewer was the commentary with Hennenlotter and Gabe Bartalos. I really enjoyed hearing the trials and tribulations that the film crew had to go through to get the film completed. Hennenlotter is a fun director to listen to in an audio commentary.
FRANKENHOOKER is a gory horror film that brought a handful of laughs to me, some cool special effects scenes depicting hilarious deaths full of gore and flying bodyparts at various scenes that just spelled out entertainment. By no means did Hennenlotter intend to win any prestigious awards or wow audiences with his script and premise, but he just wanted to have fun making a horror film filled with over-the-top scenarios that have not been explored in a gory horror film. I thought the film showed creativity on a low budget and may be one of those films categorized as Splatstick, but I don’t know. Categories were never my forte. Go in to FRANKENHOOKER not expecting a serious film and be ready for a few chuckles and laughs along with some tits and ass…as well as a few other body parts flying around!
Sad to say, being a huge fan of horror films, and just films in general, I was filled with shame when I heard that Synapse Films was releasing a new high-def transfer of director William Lustig’s (MANIAC, VIGILANTE) ‘80s cult classic MANIAC COP, a horror film about a cop going on a maniacal rampage through New York City killing innocent civilians with no rhyme or reason for doing so. With a story written and produced by Larry Cohen (director of THE STUFF and IT’S ALIVE), I have to wonder why a film whose title and cover artwork I was SO familiar with took so long for me to finally view. On a positive note, I got to see the finest print of the film in glorious high-def on Blu-ray, along with plenty of extra features and a newly remixed DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound.
A film with a tagline such as, “You have the right to remain silent…forever!”, is right up my alley. The film just screams out: Glorious cheesy ‘80s fair with plenty of memorable one-liners in the dialogue! Not to mention, lets take a look at the cast members within the film. Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD trilogy) plays a young, New York cop, Jack Forrest, who is cheating on his wife with a fellow cop. Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN III:SEASON OF THE WITCH, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) portrays Lt. Frank McCrae (when the hell is Atkins NOT portraying an awesome cop in a nominally to low-budgeted film generally in the genre of horror), whom has made it his personal crusade to get down to the bottom of these senseless slaughters before more innocent citizens and fellow brothers-in-blue get shot or killed from paranoid and scared New Yorkers whom have been told by the press better watch out if they see a uniformed officer for it may be the maniac cop in disguise looking for another victim.
The most redeeming qualities surrounding this film are the performances by Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins. Both played their parts to a tee, neither over-acting or laying on the cheese thicker than warranted, making the viewing of a pretty simple and standard slasher film (I consider it a slasher film since the victims are randomly being slashed and diced up) even though as the film progresses viewers get a bit more of a storyline and a semi-plausible reason for why the maniac cop is going around killing anyone that crosses his path. I have to say that I really enjoy watching Atkins in anything he is in, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS being my favorite so far. The man just always looks and plays a perfect cop. He is one of those guys that just have a “cop look”. No matter what other movie I see him in, I will always think of him as a cop.
As for Bruce Campbell, his performance in MANIAC COP is a handful of years after he made his name in with horror fans with THE EVIL DEAD in ’81 and its “sequel” in ’87, nestled right before Campbell went on to make INTRUDER the following year. Interestingly enough, the film has that New York look and feel, even though I swear that I can see some palm trees off in the distance on some shots. The movie was filmed in sunny Los Angeles, CA, only, of which 3 days were filmed in New York City, NY.
The film’s plot revolves around an Officer Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar) a cop who is known for pushing the limits of police brutality to its max when taking down offenders. He is considered a “super-cop” of sorts and is responsible for making a multitude of busts, locking up plenty of bad guys, but one day he goes too far roughing up a scumbag and the powers that be lock him up for doing after he is put on trial. While in prison, as one can imagine, his life is in danger being locked up with all the bad guys Cordell locked up when on the streets and he is brutally murdered while taking a shower one day in prison, or so viewers think! The shower fight scene is pretty good because Z’Dar is a pretty big dude and he probably would do well portraying a convict in films in his 100+ movies that he has been in over the course of his career. The Chicago-born actor may not be the prettiest looking guy, but he sure was fit to play a mean son-of-a-bitch back in his day!
After Lt. McCrae finds out that the maniac cop is a member of the NYC police force, he has a better grip on how to find him, his motives, and take him out. Taking this bastard out is easier said than done, though. I mean, the guy gets shot at point-blank range a multitude of times and shows no slowing down. Think of Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees wearing a badge. As the cop and the stiletto-fashioned nightstick he uses to dispatch his victims slaughter more and more cops, as well as innocent folks- I am enjoying the film more and more. My only concern is that I felt that Lustig could have thrown in quite a bit more gore. Granted, the shower scene in which Z’Dar gets sliced up real bad, mostly on his face, looked awesome. The camera did not cut away from most of the stabs and slicing, making for a pretty gruesomely shot slasher scene. I can always enjoy more gore and blood in a film that is primarily built upon gore and blood. It is a slasher film about a maniac cop. I expect there to be an onslaught of violence and wanton bloodshed-anything less than that would be utter disappointment. There is just enough to satiate my appetite and meet the criteria I invoke upon myself when watching a violent horror film whose subject matter is a crazy cop killing innocents in a vengeful murder spree.
Frankly, I was hoping that Lustig would incorporate a gory head explosion like in MANIAC when Tom Savini got his head blown off. Aside from SCANNERS and DAWN OF THE DEAD, the head explosion executed by shotgun in MANIAC by Joe Spinell is one of the most memorable brain blasts that I have ever seen in a film. I always love a good cranial destructor scene!
Aside from Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Z’Dar (regulars in horror films), look out for some other well-known actors and faces in the film in some cameos and brief appearances. Sam Raimi, whom also filmed the St. Patrick’s Day parade scene before production began to show investors to secure some of the money to complete the film also has a cameo as a reporter. Jake LaMotta (famous boxer of which Scorsese’s RAGING BULL is based upon his life) has a cameo as a detective, as well as director William Lustig as a motel manager (one of the earlier scenes in the film), and Richard Roundtree (SHAFT) as Commissioner Pike. The coroner (Barry Brenner) was Lustig’s real-life doctor (his performance stunk and was noticeably awful!) and Jill Gatsby is Larry Cohen’s daughter and is killed in every one of his movies that she is in (how very morbid!).
In the end, I am happy to have finally viewed a cult classic that horror fans far and close revere as a must-see and classic slasher film, one of which has quite a few heavy hitters in the film industry in relation to the horror genre, of which I enjoyed. The funny one-liners, semi-witty and, at times, absurd lines of dialogue delivered by Atkins and Campbell make the film an enjoyable romp through the eighties where films merged comedy and violence (sometimes unintentionally) as if they were two peas in a pod.
I enjoyed MANIAC COP. I see where the film gets its cult appeal and I enjoyed the performances by Atkins and Campbell most, giving the movie’s body count of 19 and lack of more gore and violence a pass in my critique of the film. I am relieved to have finally seen this film, on Blu-ray no less, and with an abundance of extra features. The extras features on the Blu-ray include an interview with Robert Z’Dar, Tom Atkins, and a three-minute featurette with Danny Hicks. Also included is a motion still gallery, additional scenes filmed for the Japanese television version (add much more backstory and plot to the film involving the mayor), and trailers and tv spots (the Spanish tv spot is hilarious…well, because I don’t know Spanish and my Hispanic girlfriend was cracking up during it!)
Synapse Films are putting out a plethora of great ‘80s horror films restored on Blu-ray and dvd, of which many have either had shoddy releases on home video or just have been generally neglected. Don May, Jr., owner and operator of Synapse, is doing horror fans an incredible service and has been selecting some incredible choices to add to the Synapse Film catalog. SHU-IZMZ really looks forward to each and every release coming out!
INTRUDER work print?!?!?
ROMULUS, MI – November 8, 2011 – Synapse Films announces an ultraexclusive Special Edition INTRUDER Workprint “NIGHT CREW” DVD-R disc to the first 500 fans who purchase the INTRUDER Blu-ray/DVD Combo directly from www.synapse-films.com. This Special Edition disc is an individually burned DVD-R (not manufactured at a pressing plant) of the original workprint of INTRUDER (aka NIGHT CREW), containing additional scenes, different editing, and extended gore sequences that only appear in this singular edition. Presented in its original workprint state—non-anamorphic and with no final music or sound effects mix—and taken from the director’s sole personal VHS copy, you can even hear director Scott Spiegel giving off-camera direction to the actors in some scenes.
“We want to give fans of the film something unique to relive the days when the only way to see the original uncut version of INTRUDER was through grey-market videocassettes, so each disc will be individually burned for the customer, with a handwritten label and individually numbered from one to five hundred,” says Don May, Jr., President of Synapse Films. “Anyone who has already pre-ordered Synapse’s INTRUDER Blu-ray/DVD Combo will have the DVD-R shipped to them along with their order. Once the 500 DVD-R discs are gone… they are gone.”
If you’re a fan of this film, you owe it to yourself to head over to synapse-films.com and secure your own copy of INTRUDER along with this extremely limited ultraexclusive special edition DVD-R.
“… an impressively big-scale war epic …” – G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
Fall of the Last Empire
Jackie Chan, Li Bing Bing, Joan Chen and Jaycee Chan Star in the War Epic,
Debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD January 10
Bonus Materials Include Deleted Scenes,
Making-Of Featurette and Behind-the-Scenes Footage
PLANO, TEXAS. (October 24, 2011) – Legendary action star Jackie Chan (Rush Hour trilogy) marks the milestone of his 100th film with 1911, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD January 10 from Well Go USA Entertainment. From the walls of the Forbidden City to the battlefields of China, with no expense spared in production and no detail ignored in its quest for historical accuracy, making 1911 a true epic in every sense of the word. The film details a key moment in modern Chinese history—the fall of the Qing Dynasty—and the violent rebellion that brought it down. In addition to Chan (who also co-directed with cinematographer Zhang Li), the film also stars Li Bing Bing (Triple Tap), Winston Chao (The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman), Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Lust, Caution) and Jaycee Chan (Break-Up Club). The extensive bonus features include deleted scenes, interviews with Jackie Chan and Li Bing Bing, a making-of featurette and behind-the-scenes footage. 1911 will be available in a standard edition DVD for $24.98 SRP, in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack or Collector’s Edition DVD for $29.98 SRP and in a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition for $32.98 SRP.
With China split into warring factions and the starving citizens beginning to revolt, the ruling Qing court is building a powerful army to quash any rebellion. Revolutionary leader Huang Xing (Chan) decides he must act before the Qing army becomes too powerful … and leads an increasingly desperate series of violent uprisings against the powerful Qing court.
Bonus Features Include:
§ On set interviews with Jackie Chan and Li Bing Bing
§ Making Of Featurette
§ Deleted Scenes
§ TV Spots and Trailers
§ Behind-the-Scenes Footage
1911 has a runtime of approximately 124 minutes and is rated R for “war violence.”
SOURCE: WELL GO USA
Hey guys and gals! Remember that HARDWARE Blu-ray contest I posted way back when? Well, October came up and I got all discombobulated with the season and all the horror movie marathons so pardon my lateness in posting the contest winner. First of all, there were not as many entries as I hoped for, but two of them took the time and effort to go the extra length and I feel are interesting enough to go ahead and post for readers to check out and read. So, here, first is the runner-up to the contest winner. He came in 2nd place and did a fantastic job on his entry.
My personal top ten list of cinema robots include:
Thanks to both of the finalists and all those that entered. Be sure to keep checking back at SHU-IZMZ for more Blu-ray and DVD giveaways! A big thanks to SEVERIN FILMS for being so cool as to supply some films from their catalog for this contest and upcoming contests!
BRING CAESAR HOME ON BLU-RAY
Evolution Becomes Revolution In The Critically-Acclaimed
Over $432 Million Worldwide Box Office Smash Arriving Globally
on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download in December
A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a battle unlike any other when RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES makes its worldwide debut on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on December 13th in North America and starting December 7th Internationally. From the Oscar-winning® visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of Avatar and Lord of the Rings comes revolutionary new ground – a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate.
James Franco (127 Hours) stars as Will Rodman, a neuroscientist living in San Francisco trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by testing on chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence. After a test subject’s baby, Caesar, is orphaned, Will decides to raise him at home on his own with his Alzheimer-stricken father (John Lithgow; “Dexter”). What begins simply as a continuation of his experiment quickly turns into a problem for Will, as Caesar is taken away from him and forced to live in a primate facility. As Caesar’s intelligence continues to grow, he begins to stake his claim as the leader of his new primate counterparts, which will ultimately lead to the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist), this special effects blockbuster features fantastic supporting performances from Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Brian Cox (Red), Tom Felton (Harry Potter films) and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) in a ground-breaking performance. The RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray is loaded with bonus material including deleted scenes, making-of featurettes commentaries and more.
Here is a detailed run-down of the special features and deleted scenes. Take note that some of the features and details to the Blu-ray disc may differ slightly from the domestic release in the States and the International release. I am sure they will contain most everything of what is listed below. If not, don’t hunt me down and kill me!
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray + Digital Copy (North America)
· Feature Film
· Deleted Scenes
o Alpha Gets Shot
o Will’s Meeting with Lab Assistants
o Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles
o Caesar Plays with Bicycle
o Caesar Questions His Identity
o Caesar Bites Off Neighbors Finger
o Will Ignores the Risks of an Airborne Mutated Virus
o Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie
o Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge
o Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba’s Attempted Revenge on Jacobs
o Caesar Pushes Helicopter
o Koba with Shotgun
· Pre-vis for The Future
· Capturing Caesar – Script to Screen
· Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis
· Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene
· A New Generation of Apes
· Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries
· Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
· Ape Facts
· Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Wyatt
· Audio Commentary by Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
· Character Concept Art Gallery
· Three Theatrical Trailers
I saw RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and really enjoyed the film on the big screen! I feel that the film is one that can be enjoyed with multiple viewings. I hope that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is kind enough to send me a screener for review and even some giveaways for the readers of SHU-IZMZ. If that happens, you all will be the first to know!
SYNAPSE FILMS PRESENTS
THIS CHRISTMAS, SYNAPSE FILMS HAS THE
Scott Spiegel’s infamous gore classic finally hits the aisles with a splatterific new HD Blu-ray transfer!
From Lawrence Bender, the producer of
Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION
and RESERVOIR DOGS, and the classic FROM DUSK TILL DAWN!
Scott Spiegel’s INTRUDER presented uncut for the first time in beautiful high-definition in a DVD/Blu-ray combo!
It’s 10 pm and the employees of Michigan’s Walnut Lake Supermarket are in for a really bad night. The place is shutting its doors for good, and the night crew has a long shift ahead of them… longer than they think! The lovely check-out girl has a deranged ex-boyfriend, the store’s phone lines are cut and the employees start dying in the most stomach-churning ways imaginable (courtesy of Academy Award®-winning KNB EFX Group). A deranged killer is on the loose in the grocery store! Can anyone stop this murderous intruder?
Synapse Films is proud to present Scott Spiegel’s INTRUDER, the “holy grail” of extreme gore cinema, in an all-new 2K high-definition transfer of the original uncut, uncensored version. Sam Raimi (director of THE EVIL DEAD and SPIDER-MAN trilogies) and Renée Estevez (TV’s THE WEST WING) star in this blood-drenched cult film classic that critics call “a gorgeous low-budget shocker that has long been one of the best kept secrets of the genre scene” (Alan Simpson, Sex Gore Mutants). Be sure to look for Bruce Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD, TV’s BURN NOTICE) in a cameo role.
Special Features and Disc Info:
Audio Commentary with Director Scott Spiegel and
Producer Lawrence Bender
“Slashed Prices: “The Making of INTRUDER” featurette, including interviews with Spiegel, Bender, the KNB EFX team, actors Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Elizabeth Cox, Danny Hicks and others
Never-before-seen extended murder sequences from the original workprint
Outtakes from NIGHT CREW short film
Interview featurette with filmmaker/fan Vincent Pereira on INTRUDER
and GOREZONE magazine
Cast Audition Tapes
Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
Director: Scott Spiegel
Starring: Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Elizabeth Cox, Danny Hicks
Run Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2011
Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
Format: DVD/Blu-ray Combo
Price: $29.95SOURCE: SYNAPSE FILMS
So folks, Synapse Films is releasing FRANKENHOOKER out on Blu-ray disc November 8th of this year. I really enjoyed this film and own the dvd version of the film. James Lorinz is great in it, but I am anxious to view the special features on the brd (blu-ray disc) and to see the movie in high-def! The more movies out on Blu-ray, the better. Be on the lookout for a review of FRANKENHOOKER in the not-to0-distant future. Here are the specs for new edition of the film:
SRP: 24.95 UPC#: 654930313497
Run Time: 85 Minutes English language Color
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1 DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround
Production year: 1990
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Stars: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Louise Lasser, Jennifer Delora
From Frank Henenlotter, the creator of the BASKET CASE trilogy and BRAIN DAMAGE, comes FRANKENHOOKER, a gory horror-comedy twist on the Frankenstein legend. When Jeffrey Franken’s fiancee is chopped to pieces by the blades of a remote-controlled lawnmower, he uses his dubious medical knowledge to try to bring her back to life. He reassembles his beloved Elizabeth using the body parts of New York City’s finest prostitutes, and resurrects her during a heavy lightning storm. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, his dear Elizabeth’s brain is scrambled and she runs amok on 42nd Street, turning tricks and bringing high-voltage death to her customers! Synapse Films is proud to present the uncut version of FRANKENHOOKER in an all-new 2K high-definition transfer created from original vault materials and digitally re-mastered 5.1 surround sound!
Bonus Features: Audio Commentary with Director Frank Henenlotter and Make-Up Effects Designer Gabe Bartalos, “A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth” – Patty Mullen Featurette, “A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects of FRANKENHOOKER” – Featurette, “Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers FRANKENHOOKER“- Featurette, Jennifer Delora’s FRANKENHOOKER PHOTO SCRAPBOOK, Theatrical Trailer
Everyone that knows me has come to the conclusion that I am a huge fan of revenge flicks and vigilante films. There are so many instances of injustice, wrongs, and people getting the short end of the stick in life-whether it is getting screwed over in court by the justice system, or a criminal that has engaged in criminal activity against one and gets off Scott-free because of a law enforcement mishap or technicality. I mean, bullshit happens everyday, if not every minute, to someone somewhere in the world and it can get extremely frustrating. I read the news online and in the newspaper every day and it really blows my mind to how much injustice is meted out daily. I guess at this point in my life, I really shouldn’t be surprised and just be pessimistic about it all terrible things going on all over the world-crime, rape, murder, torture, etc…It really all adds up and if festers in one’s mind it can piss off one and influence their mood, or their day, at least.
This is where films come in to one’s life. They are a poor man’s therapy. They are for me. James Glickenhaus’ THE EXTERMINATOR is 104 minutes of free therapy, unless you paid for the film or rented it. The film is your standard exploitation action flick about a Vietnam Vet whose buddy (also a veteran of Vietnam) is beaten savagely by street thugs in a gang and is left paralyzed. The buddy in the hospital, Michael Jefferson (Steve James, To Live and Die in L.A., American Ninja), is visited by his buddy John Eastland (Robert Ginty, Maniac Killer, Exterminator 2) and after talking to his wife and kids and seeing their obvious pain of seeing their father and husband crippled, Michael decides to dedicate his life to finding the thugs that ruined his best friend’s life and enact a nasty revenge. I love the premise for the film. It is pure and simple. Good guy turns into a relentless bad guy by breaking the law and giving his best friend justice. Is it really justice? I don’t know. The bad guys are going to pay dearly for messing up Michael’s life and viewers get to sit back and enjoy the violent ride.
The film quickly unloads the action on to the viewers, with Michael (Steve James) beating the crap out of what seem to be Puerto Rican gang members in New York (how do I know they are Puerto Rican? I think they are because there are Puerto Rican flags stitched on some of their t-shirts and vests!) breaking open a locker at a loading dock and stealing cases of beer. As the thugs are loading their car’s trunk up, well-built, African American, tough-guy Michael (James) walks up to find his friend and ‘Nam comrade John (Ginty) getting his butt kicked in and about to get knifed by the three hoodlums.
Michael beats the shit out of the thugs, knocking them out and “cleaning up” the area, and then go grab a beer. The next morning Michael is jumped and mugged. The thugs broke his neck with a steel chain and stuck a 3-pronged hook-like weapon into his back. This all occurs the next morning. After all this, the next scene shows John telling Michael’s wife her husband is paralyzed and will never walk again. The transition is extremely quick, if one notices a transition at all as it occurs so suddenly, and soon thereafter John has a thug with a member of the gang responsible for the attack and the botched beer robbery, Ghetto Ghouls, tied up in an abandoned building. After finding out where the gang hangs out, John heads over there with an M-16 rifle and lets the whores they were dancing with leave and shoots one, killing him, and ties up the other two and leaves them dumped in the basement of a building and leaving them to the rats. Before all of this, here is an excerpt of some nice “racy” dialogue. The scene reminds me of the racist stereotypes and feelings that were written into the script of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
“I’m sorry about this morning, alright, we didn’t hurt you. Shit man, that guy was just a nigger!”-gang member
“That nigger was my best friend, motherfucker!”-John (Ginty)
Exchanges of dialogue such as this have exploitation written all over it and really show how much times have changed. I mean, now in movies, most racist stereotypes apply to “spics” AND “niggers”. It seems only “crackers” were exempt from the put down of the races in films, even in independent flicks. Aside from the racism in the dialogue to more accurately portray the filth of NYC at the time, there are some very visually stunning shots of New York before 9/11 and one gets to see the Twin Towers before they were taken down by terrorists in 2001. I was pretty impressed that the budget of the film allowed for aerial helicopter shots, in some great length, to be filmed for an indie action flick.
The opening sequence in which both Michael and John are fighting in Vietnam had some impressive explosions and scenes of war, including the beheading of a U. S. soldier by a Vietnamese soldier. The gore in this sequence was decent, probably one of the scenes trimmed by the MPAA in the films’ original release. There are some other decent scenes of gore, if only briefly, in which a pervert is burned to death for providing under-age boys for sex (by kidnapping them) and beating up and torturing a hooker who would not agree to screw a young boy for another sick individual’s enjoyment and pleasure. The film has some dry spells in it though, as many scenes are shot with no soundtrack or music during them and can get pretty stale to watch sometimes. By no means is the acting going to win any awards for the performances, but the detective played by Christopher George was the most solid piece of acting on the screen. George, playing the role of Detective James Dalton, added a bit of credibility to the film with his scenes. Coupled with the lovely Samantha Eggar who played Dr. Megan Stewart, I think their performances were some of the only saving graces the film had. I believe the lead, Robert Ginty, was lacking any type of screen presence and charisma when acting. I just felt he was awkward to watch and his performance kind of stale. I don’t think it hurt the film too much because the film is an exploitative action flick that most are watching because of the violence, not the award-winning performances.
The film continues along with the crooked politicians, mob boss, and police all trying to get the city rid of the “Exterminator”. Ginty continues walking around town and running into crime and filth, trying to solve all the problems that New York’s streets possess. I do not know if there really is any sort of message besides the detective trying to solve the murders and crimes of the vigilante is also a Vietnam Vet, but just one that conforms to society’s norms and laws, while John Eastland has taken the law into his own hands, but that may be part of it. I sat through the film just thinking it may have been slightly better if there was more violence and gore in the film. There is some nudity, but its not too much and one pair of tits are scarred by burn marks all over them–not exactly a turn on.
Overall, I was a little bit more than mildly amused by the film. It was not the most action-packed or well-written film to portray a vigilante exacting revenge for his hospitalized comrade and friend (I thought the Death Wish films were done far better!), but it is not the worst way to spend a couple of hours. I can definitely see this film doing well at a grindhouse theater, though. The film has more elements in it that I found myself laughing at, then being shocked or appalled over. Maybe that was the whole point, to find some humor within the elements of shock, violence, and horror.
As with many films, the extra features on the disc can sometimes be a saving grace to a film that just did not live up to one’s expectations. That is the case here. Synapse Films’ Blu-Ray+Dvd Combo Pack comes with a wonderful commentary by director James Glickenhaus, in which he informs the audience quite a bit about the time of the filming (noting the Twin Towers shot in the film and how pre-9/11 it was far easier to rent a chopper and fly around the city shooting aerial shots) and that the helicopter used in the film was the very one that crashed and killed actor Vic Morrow a few years later. In fact, they shot the whole Vietnam sequence in the very same sound stage that Morrow died in during the filming of Twilight Zone.
This version of THE EXTERMINATOR is the original director’s cut containing more gore and violence, contains a newly restored original stereo soundtrack mix, and the theatrical trailer and television spots. I really think what I liked most about this film was the fantastic cover art for the movie in which a muscular man is shown holding a flamethrower, with fire and explosions in the background along with a helicopter flying. As a kid, I had always wanted to see this film and now after having seen it, I can’t say whether I would be TOO impressed with what I would have witnessed, even as a young chap.
I enjoyed the movie, but wished there was more violence, gore, and some soundtrack to help the movie move along nicer. I think the lack of cheesy music hurts the film. The movie is not an epic masterpiece, so why not throw some hilarious music as background noise to liven things up a little bit.
In the end, I found that I enjoyed the move for what it’s worth, which just may not be too much. Vigilante John Eastland has got nothing on vigilante Paul Kersey, though, except for one of the best one-liners I have ever heard in a film before:
When the CIA has a brief exchange with Det. James Dalton in which they suggest that the vigilante may be the work of a political power or foreign power, Dalton tells the agent what he thinks:
“I think you have to take a shit because it’s coming out of your mouth instead of your asshole.”
On that epic quote, I end this review and encourage film buffs to check out the new print on brd/dvd if they get a chance to. Fans of exploitation and grindhouse movies will be sure to be satisfied with Glickenhaus’ vigilante flick, even if it does not live up to my favorite vigilante film of all time, Deathwish.
Label: Synapse Films
Streets: 10/11/11 SRP: 24.95
Run Time: 87 Minutes
In English Color Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
All Regions DTS 6.1 Surround Sound
Director: William Lustig
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Robert Z’dar, William Smith, Richard Roundtree
Production year: 1987
Innocent people are brutally killed on the streets of New York by a uniformed police officer. A young cop, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell, TV’s BURN NOTICE and The EVIL DEAD Trilogy) finds himself marked as the chief suspect after his wife is murdered. As Lieutenant Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins, DRIVE ANGRY and LETHAL WEAPON) investigates, the death toll rises and he suspects a mysterious police cover-up. This “maniac” cop must be stopped, but it might not be so easy. He seems inhuman, and ready to take on the entire police force, hell-bent on revenge! Restored and remastered from original vault materials by Synapse Films, MANIAC COP looks and sounds better than ever in this brand-new 2011 high-definition transfer, featuring newly remixed DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound! Long considered a classic of the horror genre, MANIAC COP was written and produced by Larry Cohen (IT’S ALIVE, PHONE BOOTH) and directed by William Lustig (MANIAC, VIGILANTE)
Bonus Features include Maniac Cop Memories Featurette, Out the Window – Interview with Tom Atkins, Three Minutes with Danny Hicks Featurette, Motion Still Gallery, Additional Japanese TV Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots, Spanish Radio Spot.
SOUTH OF HEAVEN
Label: Synapse Films
Run Time: 97 Minutes
In English Color Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1
Region 0 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Director: J.L. Vara
Stars: Shea Whigham, Diora Baird, Jon Gries, Thomas Jay Ryan, Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
Production year: 2008
A FILM THAT DEFIES THE GENRE AS WELL AS EXPECTATIONS, SOUTH OF HEAVEN IS A BOLD ANTI-HERO ORIGIN STORY STEEPED WITH ATMOSPHERE AND ULTRA-VIOLENCE! When Roy Coop finished his stint in the Navy, he only had two things on his mind: seeing his brother Dale, and writing the great American novel. What he gets, however, is the homecoming from Hell! A pair of violent vaudevillians (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE’s Jon Gries, and Thomas Jay Ryan) mistake him for his brother, looking to collect on a debt he didn’t know he owed. Eight fingers later, Roy is burnt to a crisp, forged by fire into a new man. Roy is dead. Nobody is born. Now it’s Nobody’s turn to have his wicked revenge, and to save his brother before it’s too late. Wrapped in bandages and ready for blood, Nobody is determined to kill those that gets in his way, even the murdering masochist named Mad Dog Mantee (Shea Whigham, MACHETE and HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE). Dodging bullets and dodging dames, Nobody meets the nasty ne’er-do-wells Lily (Diora Baird, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING) and Veronica (Elina Lowensohn, SCHINDLER’S LIST). In this wonderful neo-film-noir, violence and vengeance are sure to meet in a little town they call… South of Heaven.
Bonus Features include Three Audio Commentaries, Three Short Films from Director J.L. Vara
SYNAPSE FILMS PRESENTS
JAMES GLICKENHAUS’ FLAMETHROWING
THE MAN THEY PUSHED TOO FAR IS COMING FOR YOU—IN HI-DEF!
THE EXPLOITATION REVENGE CLASSIC BURNS ONTO BLU-RAY IN A
NEWLY REMASTERED UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT!
Christopher George, Robert Ginty, and Samantha Eggar star in THE EXTERMINATOR, James Glickenhaus’ explosive story of Vietnam vet John Eastland (Ginty), a man who launches a bloody vendetta against the New York underworld when his best friend is brutally beaten by a vicious street gang. Eastland becomes a vigilante hero to the public, but to police The Exterminator is a psychopath capable of dangerously undermining an entire government administration.
Synapse Films is proud to present THE EXTERMINATOR in its more violent and gory Director’s Cut, lovingly restored in high-definition from original vault materials. One of the most cold-blooded and controversial revenge films
ever made, this is “a sick example of the almost unbelievable descent into gruesome savagery in American movies.” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
• The Original Director’s Cut Featuring More Gore and Violence
• The Newly Discovered Original Stereo Soundtrack Mix
• Audio Commentary by Director James Glickenhaus
• Theatrical Trailer and Television Spots (HD)
Director: James Glickenhaus
Starring: Christopher George, Robert Ginty, and Samantha Eggar
Run Time: 104 minutes
Release Date: Sept 13, 2011
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1)
Formats: Blu-ray and DVD
Region: Blu-ray and DVD: All Regions
Price: Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $29.95
SOURCE: Synapse Films
Remember Jackie Chan, folks? He used to be, maybe still is, one of my fonder Martial Arts and physical comedic actors in HK Cinema. I used to really be into him, back about 20 years ago, but I feel that once RUMBLE IN THE BRONX came out, my interest in his films started to wane and wear off. I guess he just got so popular and when his films started to throw in Internationally known actors and actresses, his films no longer had that foreign HK look and feel to them anymore. RUSH HOUR just about killed it for me (not to say that the film was a terrible film, but it just was an average comedy with some cool action sequences in it). I believe this will be close to Chan’s 100th film, with 1911 being Chan’s 100th film. That is quite an achievement, especially for an actor/stuntman whose physical comedy has been so intense, almost taking his life on more than one occasion due to all the dangerous feats he attempts and usually succeeds in performing. Look for 1911 from Well Go USA. They have acquired distribution rights for that, as well. Read all about that HERE.
“Jackie Chan’s best film in years.” – TwitchFilm
“Plenty of action, crazy stunts, excellent martial arts, and comedy.” – eFilmCritic.com
Audience Award Winner – New York Film Festival
Audience Award Winner – Valencia Film Festival
LITTLE BIG SOLDIER
International Superstar Jackie Chan and Leehom Wang
Star in the Year’s Funniest Action Comedy
Debuting on Blu-ray™/DVD Combo Pack and DVD August 23
PLANO, TEXAS. (July 21, 2011) – Legendary martial arts star Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid, Rush Hour trilogy) is the writer, producer and star of the comic martial arts extravaganza Little Big Soldier, debuting on Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack and DVD August 23 from Well Go USA. Chan co-stars with Leehom Wang (Lust, Caution) as a peasant soldier in ancient China who kidnaps a young enemy, then escorts him home in hopes of collecting a reward. The extensive bonus features include two featurettes and a Jackie Chan music video. Little Big Soldier will be available in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack for $29.98 SRP and on DVD for $24.98 SRP.
Set in the war period in China between 476 BC – 221 BC, the story between a soldier (Jackie Chan) and a general (Wang Leehom) from opposing states (Liang and Wei) and very much opposing views on the war and world. A painful yet comical journey commences when the soldier decides to abduct the downtrodden general and bring him back to his state in the high hopes of collecting a reward. When the unlikely duo are confronted by danger, they quickly learn that they must join forces in order to survive.
Bonus Features Include:
§ Behind the Scenes Featurette
§ Making of Featurette
§ Jackie Chan Music Video
Little Big Soldier has a runtime of approximately 96 minutes and is not rated.
SOURCE: WELL GO USA