I have come to realize that I generally go to certain conventions just to shop. I catch up with old friends, go check out all the vendors, and look for cool new shirts, books, and movies. Occasionally there will be some (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…)
SHU-IZMZ has known of Dave Kosanke, head honcho of his very own zine entitled LIQUID CHEESE FANZINE, for quite some years now, but only just last year actually bothered to pick up an issue (ISSUE #33) at Flashback Weekend a few months ago when Dave was working at the Synapse Films booth selling dvds from Synapse, as well as his zine. After hanging with him at a mutual friend’s (Jon Kitley of KITLEY’S KRYPT) parties on Halloween and various horror peeps engagements, I felt it was high time I had let listeners (more…)
The title says it all, right? There is no need for a further description of Mladen Djordjevic’s THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG out on SYNAPSE Blu-Ray. A porno gang goes on the road, traveling via a candy-colored, Willy Wonka drug-induced paint job Vokswagen van and make abstract, neo-political, artistic porn films in front of paying peasants and farmers who find it humorously entertaining. A young porn director fucked (more…)
THOU SHALT NOT KILL…EXCEPT a.k.a. STRYKER’S WAR (1985) at one point was going to be named BLOODBATH, before STRYKER’S WAR, when the film’s first genesis was a Super 8 version that starred Bruce Campbell as the lead instead of the film’s eventual lead Brian Schulz. The film has many of the familiar faces from the Michigan group of filmmakers that included Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel, Timothy Patrick Quill, and another celebrity from Michigan (well, quasi-celebrity): a Mr. T impersonator that went around the state doing appearances and even advertising for the Michigan State Fair by the name of Robert Rickman. The film is packed with so much character, humor, violence, and even a bit of blood and gore.
A film that was pitched as being a movie about Marines vs. the Manson Family, is just that. A hippie-psycho cult led by the director of the EVIL DEAD trilogy and SPIDERMAN, Sam Raimi as Cult Leader, goes around the woods (more…)
For those of you that saw A SERBIAN FILM and were shocked, I have a feeling that Synapse’s release of THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG is going to leave one with a few emotional scars as well. Read further for the press release from Synapse Films about the Blu-ray/DVD release of another messed up film coming from the country that brought you A SERBIAN FILM!
SYNAPSE FILMS PRESENTS
MORE SLAVIC CRAZINESS ON DVD AND BLU-RAY!
THE LIFE AND DEATH
OF A PORNO GANG
Picks up where A SERBIAN FILM left off!
Two beautiful orphaned identical twins, Maria and Frieda Gellhorn (Playboy centerfold models Mary and Madeleine Collinson), move to the village of Karnstein to live with their uncle GustavWeil (played by Hammer horror favorite, Peter Cushing), a fanatical puritan and leader of the local witch-hunting “Brotherhood.” The village Count (Damien Thomas, Never Let Me Go), an evil (more…)
Here is the Easter Episode that I did, covering the films the Severin Films release of HORROR EXPRESS and Synapse Films release of INTRUDER! I had a lot of fun watching these films, especially the new print of HORROR EXPRESS because it looked so damn beautiful!
Downloadable link: http://www.mediafire.com/?8fkagq59je8gelo
The 6th episode is titled the EASTER EPISODE, only because this was the episode that I recorded and intended it to be aired on Easter Sunday. The episode has nothing to do with that silly holiday, but instead has to do with HORROR FILMS! That’s right, folks, I reviewed the new Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack release of HORROR EXPRESS put out by Severin Films. Hear what I have to say about the quality of the release, as well as the film itself. I also talk about the new Synapse release of INTRUDER, a slasher film that stars not only one Raimi, but two Raimi’s! Both Ted and Sam Raimi are in this film and the boys formerly of KNB EFX did the make-up and special effects. Here is the link to download the show. One can also tune in to COREOFDESTRUCTIONRADIO.COM to hear the show on Sundays. (more…)
Dolph Lundgren is blowing shit up in Joseph Zito’s explosive RED SCORPION, now on Blu-ray and DVD from Synapse Films!
International built-as-hell action star Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables, Rocky IV) is Lt. Nikolai Rachenko, a Soviet Special Forces “killing machine,” assigned to infiltrate an African rebel uprising and assassinate their anti-Communist leader. Taken into custody and tortured after the mission fails, he stages a harrowing prison escape. Befriended by an African bushman while on the run, Nikolai discovers he was fighting on the wrong side of this violent conflict all along. Nikolai finds the rebel army once more but, this time, he’s on their side and wages bloody war against his former comrades!
This action-packed controversial cult classic is now available from Synapse Films in a brand-new 2K high-definition transfer of the uncensored version, containing footage never before seen in the U.S. Featuring amazing performances from Dolph Lundgren, M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner, Blood Simple) and the late Brion James (Blade Runner, Southern Comfort), RED SCORPION contains bloody, blasting special effects from (more…)
SYNAPSE FILMS UPDATE!
THOU SHALT NOT KILL… EXCEPT on BRD+DVD Combo 4/10/2012
Synapse receives *Best Classic DVD* Nomination in the 10th Annual Rondo Hatton Awards!
I love Japanese films, especially horror films from their country because they contain so many bizarre elements and usually have some fun gore and scenes within them. I mean, RINGU and JUON are two of my creepiest favs and TOKYO GORE POLICE and MACHINE GIRL are so much fun. Not to mention two of my favorite directors is Takashi Miike are Akira Kurosawa. So, I have high hopes for GUROZUKA to entertain me, if only nominally. I also am looking forward to all the extra goodies that SYNAPSE FILMS usually offers on their Blu-rays and DVDS!
Label: Synapse Films
Streets: 1/10/2012 SRP: 24.95
Run Time: 85 Minutes English language Color
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo All Regions
Production year: 2005
Director: Yoichi Nishiyama
Stars: Keiko Saito, Yuko Kurosawa, Yukari Fukui, Nozomi Ando, Yoko Mitsuya
Language: In Japanese – Subtitled In English
A fun getaway turns into a journey to Hell for some teenage girls visiting an isolated house to rehearse and perform a play for their private movie club. Taking the trip with an adult chaperone, the girls learn a previous club member supposedly went missing in the house, and another insane! Shortly after they arrive, a mysterious videotape is found with footage of a violent killer wearing a Japanese “deigan” mask. Is this footage real or fake? Soon, their food and equipment disappears and one of the girls is haunted by ghostly visions of the masked demon. Someone or something is in the house, and gruesome death awaits those who cannot escape! Synapse Films is proud to present Yoichi Nishiyama’s GUROZUKA, a stylized horror film in the tradition of SCREAM and genre-bending Japanese classic, THE RING!
Bonus Features: The Making Of Gurozuka Featurette, Original Trailer.
SOURCE: SYNAPSE FILMS
What defines a slasher film?
I guess that the term can be loosely applied to a great deal of horror films that involve a maniac running around slashing victims apart with various “sharp” tools of carnage-such as machetes, butcher knives, chainsaws, axes, etc… Some might say that a slasher film also has to have 80% of the cast being killed off required to be female and at various times to have their breasts, bush, and buttocks exposed for a titillating effect to male viewers and females that dig women. The killer generally has to be masked or at least his or her face hidden from view of the camera and be human-no supernatural murdering allowed in a slasher film. Finally, most decent slasher films will begin by showing a flashback of some sorts. Friday the 13th (1980) did it. Halloween (1978) did it (even though it was made two years before the ’80s). My Bloody Valentine (1981) had a flashback. Terror Train (1980) had a flashback, too. Even The Burning (1982) did it. Almost all five of these films are slasher films from the ’80s, some classics, some just fun flicks that horror fans worldwide adore. The three aforementioned films I love the most are Friday the 13th and Halloween which any film buff and individual who does not live in a cave knows of. Some other slasher films from the early ’80s include Prom Night (1980), New Year’s Evil (1980), Happy Birthday to Me (1981), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and so on and so forth.
Now we come to The Dorm that Dripped Blood, a film that came out in 1981 (also titled Pranks and Death Dorm), that stole one of its titles from another film entitled The House that Dripped Blood (1971). I personally think Death Dorm has the nicest ring to it and would have gone with that title. The directing duo of Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Osbrow, who also went on to direct together The Power (1984) and The Kindred (1987), two films which I have yet to view. Our story in The Dorm that Dripped Blood starts out with a flashback murder…I think. I am not sure who is murdered in the opening scene and what part it played in the film (unless I am missing something glaringly obvious), but it did have a nice gore effect in which a young man’s hand is sliced down the middle in between two fingers. This effect was done quite effectively by Makeup FX creator Matthew Mungle, fresh out of the famous Joe Blasco make-up school. Not even a minute into the film and there already is a grisly murder. I thought the film was on to a glorious start.
As our film progresses, viewers learn that a college dormitory has been closed down and a group of students have volunteered, or been picked (not sure which) to help get the building in order so the new owners can renovate it. Their duties include clearing out 100s of desks, kitchen supplies, beds, and all furniture. All of which has to be done in two weeks so the buyers can than destroy the building and build something else there. Joanne Murray (Laurie Lapinski), Craig (Stephen Sachs), Brian (David Snow), Patti (Pamela Holland), and Debbie (Daphne Zuniga) have all decided to stay to clean up the dorm during the college’s Christmas Break. As things progress and the group starts cleaning up, trouble has already surfaced. Debbie (Zuniga) finds out that her parents are coming to pick her up for break and that leaves Joanne in charge of one less individual to help her get things cleaned up. If that is not enough, a local vagrant or drifter by the name of John Hemmit (Woody Roll) has been seen hanging around the empty dorm, possibly living there, and he is giving everyone the creeps.
When people start getting killed off, one by one, everyone seems to think that the creepy Hemmit is at the source of all the grisly murders. The film slowly turns into a standard slasher film minus any sort of nudity whatsoever and no masked killer. Every scene in which someone dies in some pretty bloody scenarios by the killer is without ever seeing the killer- only his or her hands are shown. The high points in this film was the wonderfully creepy and eerie soundtrack written by Christopher Young. In watching the special features, one learns that this was one of the first soundtracks he ever created. I think he did a wonderful job. At times, I was reminded of the music from the ever-popular Friday the 13th films, but there were only slight similarities. One can only make a violin produce so many original sounds.
Some of the death scenes in The Dorm that Dripped Blood were very fun, such as a dude’s head getting drilled from behind, blood gushing out instantly or the scene where a victims gets slashed with a large machete right in the shoulder area, blood reminiscent of the color and consistency that H.G. Lewis used in his Blood Trilogy that was very red and almost resembled some red paint. I also really thought one scene where a man was beaten on the head with a baseball bat full of large spikes and nails sticking out of it. The scene does not cut away as the spiked bat wails upon the head, denting and bludgeoning the face with each strike. The scene put a very twisted grin across my face. I enjoyed that little piece of gore that was well-executed (pardon the pun) by FX artist Matthew Mungle. For this film being one of his first features he was given the chance to work on, I think he did a very fine job. He did such a fine job that after the film was released it was considered a Video Nasty by the U.K. and was banned.
With the release of The Dorm that Dripped Blood onto a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack by Synapse Films, this is the first time that the film has been out in any format completely uncut. This version of the film, formerly entitled Death Dorm, is a transfer created from the only existing 35mm answer print of the original “Director’s Cut”. This is the version of the film thought to have been lost for thirty years. This version contains additional scenes, extended gore sequences, and a different sound mix. The blu-ray disc is a high-definition 1080p widescreen presentation with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono audio and a DTS-HD MA isolated music track. At times, the picture has a grainy look to it, but that is due to the fact of the original print it was taken from. This all adds to the vintage look and feel this forgotten slasher film with major sequences of gore totally removed from it finally restored to its completeness for fans of the slasher genre to get all hot and bothered over.
As with many slasher films, there is a nice little twist at the end of the film-one of which I did not see coming. The special features on the disc include a commentary by directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter, interviews with composer Christopher Young and Make-Up FX Creator Matthew Mungle (won an Oscar for Best Makeup in Dracula), an isolated music track, and original theatrical trailers. One might notice that this film is actress Daphne Zuniga’s (Spaceballs, The Fly II) screen debut. Overall, I was very entertained with the film and very excited to find out how much gore and bloodshed was restored to this underrated slasher film, lost amongst all the other well-known and larger budgeted slasher flicks of the ’80s. The House that Dripped Blood may not be the finest example of an 80’s slasher flick, but it is definitely one to be remembered as part of the genre.
Radley Metzger, hailed as “one of the pioneers of American adult cinema“, brings us an S&M-themed art house film, The Image, that pushes the boundaries of decency and plunges viewers neck-deep into a sordid world of perversion, voyeurism, and deep, dark fantasies. Wait, some of you readers out there may be thinking this is some of what SHU-IZMZ is all about: perversion, voyeurism, and deep, dark fantasies. Just throw in gore, horror, and sleaze and one has just summed up the core ideals and goals of this website. All of this is true. The very talented Radley Metzger just propels the creativity of his films to an unfounded level within erotic films that carefully border between hardcore porn and softcore porn.
As I said in my review of Metzger’s Score, there is a great deal of taboo subjects of a sexual nature explored in Metzger’s films. In Score (see review), bi-sexuality was the topic of choice (mixed in was the “swinger” lifestyle of having multiple partners in sex shared with one’s significant other) and with The Image (put out on Blu-ray by Synapse films), Metzger explores S&M and does so in a very intriguing and roundabout sort of way. The film is based on the classic novel “L’Image” by Catherine Robbe-Grillet (under the pseudonym of Jean de Berg).
The Image starts out with a party in which Jean (Carl Parker, The Score) is attending. At the party, Jean happens to set his gaze upon the very beautiful Anne (Rebecca Brooke as Mary Mendum, Laura’s Toys, Misty), who happens to be a sex slave to his friend, Claire (Marilyn Roberts, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Skateboard). When Jean voices his interest in the lovely Anne, Claire decides that the two should meet and the rest of the film is scene after scene of Claire imposing sexual degradation showing off her extreme domination of Anne for Jean’s benefit, as well as her own.
Normally, I would be only interested in this film for the sole fact that there is a great deal of nudity, both male and female full-frontal, as well as some very kinky scenes of voyeurism but Radley Metzger, as he did with Score, adds a bit of class and artful expression to his films I am finding out. As much as I can get bored easily with erotic stories with their banal plots and story lines (see my reviews for several of the Emanuelle films), Metzger’s films always cease to amaze me with his unique spin and twist on how he makes films. Interestingly enough, my opinion of Metzger’s films varies vastly with another very well-known critic (also from Chicagoland area by the name of Roger Ebert) who loathes most, if not all of his films. In fact, I am currently in the process of reading one of his books which is comprised of only movies he deems to have sucked. Also, by no means am I insinuating that I, Shu, is anywhere on the same level of writing, critiquing, and knowledge of film as the esteemed Roger Ebert is- I am just stating that I have much better taste in films sometimes!
Metzger manages to use a very sexy sounding and catchy theme song- “Image” written by British composer Brian Bennett (first gaining notoriety as drummer of the band The Shadows)- almost every time Jean (whose character is also narrating the whole film and at times adds a certain cheesy element to the whole affair) is privy to Anne getting aroused sexually each time Claire publicly commands her to do sexually explicit acts for her and Jean’s pleasure. Anne, as described by Claire, is a young model that is owned by her and gives Claire much pleasure. For the most part, this is absolutely true. In fact, the whole plot of the film really just revolves around Claire showing off Anne’s blonde, fluffy, bush (she never wears panties) to Jean and then either punishing her physically (which gives Anne great pleasure) for taking some sort of pleasure in the act or allowing her to be sexually violated by Jean or by Claire. The film really is just a piece of adult filmmaking history, created around the Golden Age of Porn in the mid-70’s by a ground-breaking director responsible for such classic sex-themed features , hard-core and soft-core films, such as Therese and Isabelle (1968), Carmen, Baby (1967), and Camille 2000 (1969)-all of which were shot in Europe- as well as The Lickerish Quartet (1970), Little Mother (1972), and Score (1974). Metzger also learned to adapt to the current trends in the United States once hard-core films came to dominate the U. S. adult film market. This started to occur after the success of Deep Throat (1972). Some of the very explicit features Metzger directed under the pseudonym “Henry Paris” included the films The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1975), Naked Came the Stranger (1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976), and Barbara Broadcast (1977).
Granted, there are some elements to The Image that I found to be somewhat annoying (such as Carl Parker’s narrating a good portion of the film or the manner in which scenes or segments were broken up via scene or chapter titles edited as if the movie were a play of some sorts), but overall, the cinematography (René Lefèvre), sexually explicit scenes of S&M involving whips, chains, public humiliation and voyeurism, and acting felt as if those in the film really were getting turned on by all this sordid imagery and sexual acts-and maybe they were!
One of my favorite scenes in the film, for there are a few of them, is when Claire takes Anne and Jean to a famous rose garden. Once there, Claire informs Jean that Anne gets wet when she fingers the inner petals of a rose. I found the scene’s imagery to resemble the finger of the lips of the vagina and believe Metzger filmed the scene as he did to mirror my thoughts. The scene is so highly erotic, yet harmless looking upon first sighting. I found it very unique in the manner in which Metzger directs the actor and actresses in The Image for this particular scene. The sexual tension is so thick in this scene that one can cut it with a knife. Metzger does a fine job of filming very tense scenes, cutting the camera back and forth between close-ups of Anne (Brooke), back to Jean (Parker) for his reaction which usually involves him licking his lips in anticipation of getting some action from Anne, and then back to Claire (Roberts) whom is deriving great pleasure in the whole affair. It is scenes such as this one that made the film far more interesting and unique than I thought it ever could be.
I may have found this film to be entertaining for other reasons than were intended by Metzger, but I can’t say that for sure. I saw the film to be just as humorous as it was erotic, primarily in how Metzger takes scenes of voyeurism that could easily be along the plot-lines of a XXX feature that is just broken up by scenes of hard-core fucking mixed in with some atrociously delivered lines of dialogue, but because the film has a certain classiness to it by having actors instead of adult film cast whose expertise is in the act of sex and not delivering award-winning performances in the area of acting. I found Metzger’s The Image to be seriously exploring the topics of sadism and masochism as well as keeping me amused on a humorous level only those that know me personally can understand, if even then.
For instance, the scene in which Jean and Anne go out alone (minus the company of Claire) to shop for lingerie for Anne. Jean tells Anne to try out the lingerie he has picked out for her, which happens to be crotchless. He lets the sales clerk (Valerie Marron as Yvette Hiver) know that he wants one in the shape of (makes upside down triangle shape with his hands) so as not to cover the beauty. At this moment, I began to laugh uproariously. Was that reaction intended by the director? I probably don’t think so but that is the reaction that I got out of the scene and for me it was a positive one. I really can’t say if I would have even reacted differently had I seen the film back in the mid-70’s as a man in his 30’s. Whose to say, maybe I still would have had the same reaction. I can’t say I understand how individuals derive pleasure from pain, as evidenced in many of the S&M scenes involving Anne getting whipped by Claire, but to each his, or her, own. These scenes were not extremely graphic so if one can get by them, they do not encompass a large portion of the film. The scene continues on as Anne is directed to orally pleasure the sales clerk while the sales clerk orally pleases Jean. It was, to say the least, one hot scene and more along the lines of what one would encounter in the world of XXX films and there always somewhat skeptical views of reality.
As for the extra features on the beautiful new high-definition restoration of The Image, created directly from the 35mm camera negative, boasts a 1.85:1 ratio, a remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack, the original 2.0 mono soundtrack, isolated music and effects track, the director’s filmography, liner notes, and English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired. As for special features go, I was sort of disappointed. I wanted a director’s commentary by Radley Metzger himself, or at least some sort of behind the scenes footage and interview with Metzger. I am a big fan of director commentaries and/or interviews with cast and crew. I will say that the print looks exquisite on Blu-ray and in high-definition. I know that there already is an older box set release with Metzger’s films on dvd and I think that the collector’s will want to update their Metzger collection with the new crop of Blu-rays that Metzger’s films are coming out on.
The Image explores the subject of S&M in a way that only Radley Metzger can explore it. If anything, Metzger’s The Image is a part of adult cinema history and would add to anyone’s adult film or erotica collection. For beautiful cinematography in a film whose scenes and camera shots seem to be filmed each as a separate photograph, The Image is as beautiful as it is ugly.