Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pig (DVD Review) - Horizon Movies

Directed By: Henry Barrial
Written By: Henry Barrial
Starring: Rudolf Martin, Heather Ankeny, Keith Diamond
Color/90 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
A man wakes up in a desert, hooded, with his hands tied. He knows not where he is and his memory is wiped clean. The only clue he has to to go on is a sliver of paper with a name written on it. After being nursed back to health the clue leads the man to Los Angeles where his past begins to get pieced together. A name. A residence. An occupation. The problem is that none of this is at all familiar to the man, who learns alternate truths on a chance encounter with someone he used to know. Eventually he learns the actuality of his situation, or enough of it, but is there a way to help himself? Or does he even want to know the truth to his past? He is PIG.

PIG was written and directed by Henry Barrial and stars veteran actor Rudolf Martin. Barrial's direction and Martin's (along with the rest of the cast, who is on point) really allow PIG to be a believable trip through a man's journey of rediscovery. Barrial's script is good but the film ends abruptly and leaves things more open ended than I'd like. Considering the events that play out in the film the end isn't as open and shut as it may seem and I'd have liked to see more from it. The ending works but in my opinion it doesn't satisfy when the subplot is introduced. PIG is a puzzle worth your time worth your time however, and for a film based around the idea of "who are we without our memories?" it does a good job.

The Audio & Video
Horizon Movies gives PIG a nice looking 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that has strong clarity and detail. The scenes in the desert shine, and while there isn't much in the way of flashy visuals or special effects the transfer is strong. Audio is also strong, with a 2.0 stereo track, nothing Earth shattering here, just a good quality track. 

The Extras
Special Features on PIG include:
-Director's Commentary Track
-Deleted Scenes
-Kickstarter Pitch Video
-Lonely Boy Video
-Nashville Film Festival Video
-Nashville Film Festival Q&A
-Sci-Fi London Q&A

The Bottom Line
PIG deserves the accolades it has received. It is a tightly made thriller on an equally tight budget. It is not a perfect film and I would have liked a longer run time but as it stands it is an engaging film that will likely satisfy viewers. Recommended.

PIG is available HERE

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deep Roots / Starlet Nights (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Lisa Barr
Written By: Joseph Bardo
Starring: Jesse Chacan, Liz Renay, Lesllie Bovee, Candy Nichols
Color/157 Minutes/Rated X
Region FREE

The Films
This double feature of smut starts with DEEP ROOTS, the story of a youthful man named Billy who is curious to see what life is like outside of his Indian reservation even when his friend/girlfriend/love interest asks him not to go. Billy leaves for Hollywood and quickly finds life to be faster and the women to be easier. Billy's stay in Hollywood is a revolving door of women. He paints them, deflowers them, shares them and just has a great time riding his motorcycle when the ladies aren't riding him. Eventually Billy gets his fill of city life and returns home to the reservation where he's greeted with open arms by his admirer. DEEP ROOTS is simple smut. The narrative is thin and hardly exists but there are a few creative scenes sprinkled throughout.

STARLET NIGHTS is a bit more creative venture into the adult film world as it is a porno adaptation of Snow White... sort of. We have a character named Snow White, we have the mirror on the wall (who comes to life and fucks Snow White) and we have he poison apple... tainted with Love Potion #69. Sibling rivalry is the main theme here, as two daughter fight for the affection and respect of their father, and a career in Hollywood. There's a lot of sucking and fucking on the way to the top... or bottom... or behind. STARLET NIGHTS is a bit humorous, and plenty sexy enough to be an adored piece of 70s erotica and is without a doubt the highlight of this double feature.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome delivers both films in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratios, restored from 35mm archival prints and scanned in 2K. Each film has a strong color palette, and good detail level. DEEP ROOTS has some speckling and scratches throughout and a few moments where the frames jump a bit but overall it is a good presentation. STARLET is a cleaner print, with a bit less intrusive imperfections but they are still present and constant. The audio tracks are surprisingly clear, with no background noise on either film. Overall a very solid presentation for these smut films fom 1978.

The Extras
Bare boners... I mean bones. 

The Bottom Line
Some Indian loving and a fairy tale gone XXX... something for everyone? Maybe not. But there's a lot to enjoy in this pair of rescued vintage pornos from director Joseph Bardo under the pseudonym Lisa Barr. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Memory Of The Dead (DVD Review) - Artsploitation Films

Directed By: Valentin Javier Diment
Written By: Martin Blousson, Valentin Javier Diment, Nicanor Loreti, German Val
Starring: Horacia Acosta, Raquel Albeniz, Jimena Anganuzzi
Color/89 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
A group of friends gather in a country house to mourn the loss of their friend's husband. This service of remembrance turns evil very quickly as ghosts and demons from the pasts of those involved quickly turn up and begin wreaking bloody havoc all over the place. MEMORY OF THE DEAD is quite obviously heavily influenced by the films of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, along with paying serious homage to The Evil Dead. And by paying homage I do mean trying its absolute hardest to recreate a few shots from it. It's all good though, and MEMORY OF THE DEAD isn't trying to rip anything off, instead director Valentin Javier Diment takes his influences and uses them to create a rather crazy film. Packed with gore, sex and some wild prosthetics, MEMORY OF THE DEAD definitely has all the makings of a movie straight from the late 70s or 80s. Though instead of the masterpiece that is The Evil Dead or a classic Argento or Bava, MEMORY OF THE DEAD tries to be, instead of simply being. That said, MEMORY OF THE DEAD is a very entertaining horror flick that is sure to please genre fans.

The Audio & Video
Artsploitation Films brings MEMORY OF THE DEAD to DVD with a good looking disc. The disc looks rather good for skin tones and color. The main issue is that some dark scenes have compression issue and black levels aren't particularly deep. It isn't a major issue here and I won't make it sound worse than it is. Overall the disc looks fine in its 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. The audio side of things is very good, with the 5.1 surround sound Spanish track sounding full bodied and very clear. Everything from sound effects and dialogue come through loud and clear. Optional English subs are included.

The Extras
Bare bones.

The Bottom Line
MEMORY OF THE DEAD probably won't become a classic in it's own right but that doesn't take away the fact that it is a seriously entertaining horror film that will be sure to please all of the gore hounds. Go check it out!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Successive Slidings Of Pleasure (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Redemption

Directed By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Written By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Starring: Anicee Alvina, Olga Georges-Picot, Michael Lonsdale
Color/106 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A

The Film
A beautiful young woman is accused of stabbing her roommate to death and is locked up in a convent. While in the convent the woman uses her almost hypnotic sexuality to seduce everyone who enters her room, from the police to the clergymen as she tries to claim her innocence. The dreamlike days pass with more sexual encounters and recollections that may be memories or fantasy until her lawyer brings her back to the apartment to recreate the murder for the police and more skin is bared and more blood is shed.

SUCCESSIVE SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE is an obviously erotic, drama with a bit of crime, a bit of sleaze and quite a bit of artistic flare. There are some striking visuals and scenes that are almost surreal as director Alain Robbe-Grillet makes the viewer question what they feel is reality and what is in the twisted mind of our suspect. Solid performances all around, along with an appearance from Jean-Louis Trintignant, carry the film's writing, also done by Alain Robbe-Grillet, with success. This is a very satisfying viewing experience for something that has a little bit of everything from sex and skin, to art and sleaze.

The Audio & Video
Kino Redemption has done an outstanding job on this disc. The 1.66:1 widescreen transfer is gorgeous. Skin tones are natural and colors shine, especially the seemingly endless amounts of red which truly pop, without ever bleeding or burning too hot. The transfer retains a natural looking grain for the film which has come from very clean elements. There are very few instances of scratches or dirt. The French audio track, while a bit more simplistic than the visuals of the film come through loud and clear with no background noise to speak of. Optional English subtitles are included.

The Extras
Extras include:

- 33 minute interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet
- A trio of Robbe-Grillet trailers
- 2014 Promo short

The Bottom Line
For fans of Robbe-Grillet this disc is a must buy with its wonderful A/V quality and being a satisfying viewing experience. If you're new to the director but fans of Euro-sleaze or even Euro horror with an artful touch you'll most likely enjoy this piece of work as well. Highly recommended!


Monday, February 10, 2014

I Will Follow You Into The Dark (DVD Review) - Epic Pictures

Directed By: Mark Edwin Robinson
Written By: Mark Edwin Robinson
Starring: Mischa Barton, Ryan Eggold, Leah Pipes
Color/110 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
Sophia is a pretty young photographer who has just lost both of her parents within 6 months of each other. Everything she's believed in is now in question and she feels alone in the world. A chance meeting with a man named Adam (literally running into each other) opens the door into a relationship that Sophia is currently wary of, as everything she has loved died on her. She takes the chance and spends time with Adam, getting closer and closer to him. It is at this point when Sophia begins having strange dreams of ghosts and the like along with weird things occurring in her home such as chairs rocking on their own and family photos going missing.

One night while asleep with Adam in his apartment she wakes up to find Adam missing and blood stains throughout the apartment. She wakes his roommate, a woman named Astrid and they track the blood to the top floor of this supposedly haunted apartment building. They call the cops who upon arrivals discover no trace of Adam or the blood. Sophia calls her own roommate and his friend to help them discover what is going on and to find Adam. The hunt for Sophia's lover will take them deep into a place between life and death and Sophia will learn how far the man who loves her has gone to protect her and she will have to decide whether if living without him is worth living at all.

I've been thinking about what to write about I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK all day. While there is a cute little love story in there it is a rushed love story despite the films 110 minute runtime. The supernatural bits of the film are simply not interesting or scary. They're boring and really fail to advance the story much at all and do not equate to any sort of horror film. The performances from Mischa Barton and Ryan Eggold in the lead roles of Sophia and Adam are fine but there's really little that stands out about this film. If your significant other doesn't like horror films you could probably share this one with them and possibly get laid out of it, so I guess it has that going for it. 

The Audio & Video
Epic Pictures delivers I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK on DVD with an okay looking transfer. At best the picture quality is average and at worst, mainly in the darker scenes, the image suffers from compression issues and blocks up. The image quality overall is rather soft. The audio track is a 5.1 surround track and fairs better. It is stead and well mixed with sound effects, dialogue and score all complimenting each other.

The Extras
This disc features a behind-the-scenes featurette and deleted scenes.

The Bottom Line
If there is a supernatural film for Valentine's Day, this is it. I'd only suggest it as an attempt to get some action out of your girlfriend.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Trans-Europ-Express (Blu-ray Review) - Kino Redemption

Directed By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Written By: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Marie-France Pisier
Black & White/94 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A

The Film
Jean-Louis Trintignant stars in this neo-noir film that plays out almost as a parody and certainly a love letter to the Film Noir genre from director Alain Robbe-Grillet. While aboard a train from Paris to Antwerp a filmmaking team begins to work on the plot of an upcoming crime movie. As they come up with the details to the story we see it acted out as the main meat and potatoes of TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS (also the name of the movie within the movie). The story pertains to a drug smuggler named Elias (Trintignant) who is being seduced by a woman named Eva (Pisier) who may or may not be working for a rival drug ring. As the filmmaking team changes details around in their story, Elias' world becomes confusing with enemies becoming friends, friends becoming enemies, leads disappearing and seemingly everything he knows being turned on its head.

TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS is a well made thriller that could easily be seen as being to Film Noirs what Scream is to the slasher film. It's self-referential style pokes around at the genre while still playing out as a fulfilling enough crime tale. Alain Robbe-Grillet's direction is tight, with a bit of flare and a eye for visual appeal. Trintignant is fantastic in the lead role and is quickly becoming an actor who I greatly admire as I become more familiar with his work. Marie-France Pisier is lovely and easy on the eyes as Eva, who plays her seductress role to a T. She manages to tell a story with her eyes alone and the S&M moments are quite alluring. Robbe-Grillet manages to make TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS both sexy and enthralling while being a bit witty as well.

The Audio & Video
The Redemption Films line from Kino has released some great Blu-rays to date and TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS is yet another. The beautiful black and white cinematography looks natural and film-like, retaining a suitable amount of grain in the 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, taken from 35mm elements. Black levels are deep while white levels never get too hot. This is an exceptional looking disc. The French audio track is presented with English subtitles and is also great. There is no background noise or any other annoyances. It is a crisp and clean sounding track. 

The Extras
 The main extra on the disc is a 31 minute interview with the director. It accompanies a set of trailers for other Robbe-Grillet films and a newly created promotional short.

The Bottom Line
If you're a fan of the film noir, European cinema of the 60s or just good Blu-ray presentations you should absolutely grab TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Invoking (DVD Review) - Image

Directed By: Jeremy Berg
Written By:  Jeremy Berg, John Portanova
Starring: Trin Miller, Brandon Anthony, Andi Norris
Color/82 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
Sam has inherited a home and quite a bit of land in the rural town of Sader Ridge from her biological family that she doesn't remember. She travels to the property with 3 of her friends for a small getaway together before one goes on a 6 month European vacation. While there they encounter a strange young man that knows quite a bit about Sam and her family and claims to have been best friends with her. 

It doesn't take long for Sam's mind to start playing games with her as she has visions of her friends freaking the fuck out, acting violent and abusive towards each other and just being assholes. It seems that there is something dark in Sam's past and it is quickly moving in and taking a hold of her and that is bad news for her friends. 

THE INVOKING is a low budget psychological horror film from director Jeremy Berg. Excuse me for a second while I sum up my thoughts on this movie in five words... Fuck this piece of shit. Seriously. I have a deep respect for filmmakers even if I don't like their movie. While this movie wouldn't be an exception to this rule, it is an exceptionally annoying movie that took every bit of patience I had not to hit the eject button and say "fuck it". The story itself is simple enough and has been executed to some degree of success numerous times in the past but not here. Nope. We, the viewers, are subjected to incredible amounts of hammed up overacting (just wait for the scenes where the "tough/cool guy" friend acts out as Sam's abusive father... fucking hell). I honestly had to think about whether or not those moments were meant to be funny or disturbing. They were neither. The psychological horror moments were weak and boiled down to little more than a character acting out of sorts and then vanishing as soon as someone turned around. SPOOKY. 

The character of Eric, the creepy childhood friend, has the charisma of a log. I get it, he's supposed to be quiet and removed, but he fails to be that with any sort of believability. And besides the movie's obvious M. Night "WHAT A TWIST!" ending that we can see coming from a mile away is the character of Caitlin. Oh, Caitlin. FUCK. YOU. We'd all be better off had you taken your hipster, black framed Coke bottle glasses to Europe and been kidnapped and thrown in to a sex ring before this movie happened. Not even Liam Neeson would give a fuck. At least then we wouldn't have to hear your best friend in the movie whine about you leaving for six months the whole fucking time. Dear reader, I am dead serious in how deeply I loathe this character. Her personality is grating. GRATING. I have no idea what is going on inside her head that makes everything so simply quirky and neat and fantastic that she's so bubbly and excited about the most mundane bullshit. Everything doesn't need a little knee slapping quip. FUCK. 

It is possible that I may have missed something here. It's possible that this was a good movie and I'm just bitching about nothing. No it's not. The only thing this movie invoked was a headache and anger.

The Audio & Video
The DVD from Image looks fine. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is clean and has a natural look to it. The digital photography isn't stunning by any means but it definitely gets the job done and this disc does a fine job with it. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is much of the same- solid through and through.

The Extras
A couple of commentary tracks and a "Behind The Scenes" featurette manage to make this a pretty good disc as far as special features go. 

The Bottom Line
I've said all I have to say about this movie.

THE INVOKING is available HERE

Friday, February 7, 2014

Haunter (Blu-ray Review) - IFC

Directed By: Vincenzo Natali
Written By: Brian King
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden
Color/97 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A

The Film
Abigail Breslin stars as Lisa, a high school aged girl who lives with her very average family in 1985. Lisa becomes aware that she and her family are dead and living out the same routine day after day. Lisa grows tired of the monotonous afterlife until she realizes she has a bigger purpose- To protect the current occupants from facing the same fate that has plagued this house for decades. 

HAUNTER is sort of a reversal on the typical haunted house. Our main character is dead from the start and dealing with the fact she contacts the living to protect them from the horrors that live within the walls of the house she once actually lived in. It isn't difficult to see where the story is going and the repetition of Lisa's family gets a bit tedious. The horror elements of the film are tame and stripped down to the point where I felt like this was an elongated episode of the 90s Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid Of The Dark?. 

The cast was pretty good, lead by Breslin. Somehow this movie avoided terrible amounts of hammed up over acting. The special effects made up for it with corny CGI overlays and jerky movements. The film managed to create a bit of creepy atmosphere outside of the house but overall HAUNTER plays out rather plainly and feels like there was potential for something better in an otherwise uninteresting affair. 

The Audio & Video
IFC gives HAUNTER a spiffy Blu-ray presentation. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation has strong detail, from fabrics to the face of a clock or the cover of a book. Skin tones are natural, and colors look strong, from brighter tones to eery washed out grays. There is no noticeable edge enhancement or excessive DNR. The DTS HD 5.1 audio track is powerful. The various clings, clangs and bangs around the house are boisterous and the mix is well done with the proper amount of dialogue and music encompassing the track. 

The Extras
Special features include:

-Commentary track with the director
-Commentary track with the writer
-Behind the scenes featurette
-HAUNTER: The Complete Storyboards with Vincenzo Natali

The Bottom Line
HAUNTER was a toned down version of a film I'd be interested in watching. Everything about it seemed like an edited version of a more powerful film.

HAUNTER is available HERE

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Banshee Chapter (DVD Review) - XLrator Media

Directed By: Blair Erickson
Written By: Blair Erickson, Daniel Healy
Starring: Katia Winter, Michael McMillian, Ted Levine
Color/87 Minutes/Rated R
Region 1

The Film
I think it would be best to review BANSHEE CHAPTER with as little detail as possible. Anna is a young journalist searching for her friend that went missing. Anna's friend had been experimenting with mind altering drugs developed by the government. Soon Anna finds herself neck deep in a situation she didn't want to be in with mind altering drugs, government conspiracies and a strange radio transmission. Anna's search for her friend will quickly become a fight for her own sanity. 

There. BANSHEE CHAPTER's plot without giving anything away. I think going into this film knowing as little actual detail as possible is crucial for your enjoyment. BANSHEE CHAPTER plays out as a creepy episode of The X-Files, without Mulder or Scully. Some of the flashing visual images are incredibly creepy and the scenes of medical testing is almost disturbing. 

Somehow, the film didn't click with me, not completely anyhow. Too much of the film feels like padding to me. The script would have benefited from a slower pace, drawing things out a bit a more. There are some truly suspenseful moments but it seems like the characters breeze passed them once they're over. This story almost begs for them to slow down and suffer a bit more. Everything falls into place too easily which hurts how disturbing of a movie watching experience this could be. That said, BANSHEE CHAPTER is a pretty original film that isn't horribly executed. It is handled competently from top to bottom and it is a solid film. It is disappointing that it wasn't something more. 

The Audio & Video
BANSHEE CHAPTER arrives on DVD from XLrator Media with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. The picture is relatively strong with a clear image throughout. The film was shot in Stereoscopic 3D but I never noticed it and it isn't presented in 3D on this DVD. The audio track is fine, with the mix being strong and well done so that the important sound effects of the radio transmission can be heard along with dialogue and soundtrack. 

The Extras
 A four part "Making Of" documentary is the main special feature, along with a trailer for the film.

The Bottom Line
BANSHEE CHAPTER seems like building block for something bigger and better to me. As it is there is still enough to be worth watching. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (Blu-ray Review) - Kino

Directed By: John S. Robertson
Written By: Clara S. Beranger
Starring: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Color Tinted/79 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A

The Film
The classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson gets adapted for the silver screen in this silent era classic from director John S. Robertson starring John Barrymore. Dr. Jekyll (Barrymore) is a brilliant, handsome young man dedicated to serving others whether in his laboratory or helping the less fortunate in his free clinic. Dr. Carew (Hurst), the father of his fiancee Millicent (Mansfield), teases and taunts Jekyll about not experiencing the more pleasurable and sensual side of life, asking the young doctor ""In devoting yourself to others, Jekyll, aren't you neglecting the development of your own life?" Jekyll takes this to heart and begins experimenting with the idea that each person is actually comprised of 2 beings, one of which we largely suppress but he feels it may be possible to keep the soul clean while living out two very different existences at any given time. 

Jekyll's drug works, transforming him into a nasty looking, twisted version of a man, with long, stringy hair, an elongated, sunken face and finger nails that would make any witch cringe in disgust. This is Mr. Hyde. Jekyll informed his caretaker to give Mr. Hyde full use of the house as he pleases and Hyde uses it as a place to hide from the people he disgusts, attacks and the police who want to capture this hideous beast of a man. Jekyll's own life is falling apart as Hyde is taking more and more control over his being. Millicent sinks into a depression wondering why her lover has seemingly abandoned her, and Dr. Carew is concerned for Jekyll's safety as he vanishes for days on end. It is when the drug that Jekyll needs to reverse the transformation into Hyde is depleted all across London that Jekyll locks himself away fearing that Hyde may appear at any moment, and when Millicent comes to check on him and Hyde rears his ugly head that Jekyll finds enough of his prior self within to end his own life before he hurts the woman he loves. 

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE  is a very well made silent horror film, lead by an excellent performance from John Barrymore in the dual titular roles. His wise, soft and caring nature as Jekyll plays perfectly with his devious, slithering and menacing mannerisms as the grotesque Hyde. There have been uglier portrayals of Hyde in film but the simplicity found within this early adaptation really works well. Early on in the Hyde transformations there wasn't even makeup used for the Hyde effects, just Barrymore manipulating and contorting his face. The set pieces are good, with foggy London streets playing a big part, along with the lab and a music club. For anyone looking for early horror classics or really well done silent films DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE is definitely worth a look.

The Audio & Video
Kino delivers DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE on Blu-ray with a 1.33:1 full frame transfer sourced from 35mm archival elements maintaining the films original aspect ratio. The picture looks quite good for a film nearly a century old with clarity and detail being quite strong. The color tints look very pretty for the various settings and while the picture is full of speckling and scratches the picture quality overall is in good condition. For those who have seen Kino's release of Nosferatu on Blu-ray, JEKYLL AND HYDE has a bit better PQ in my opinion. The score to the film is the only sound of course, and was performed by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. The track is crisp and clear with no notable disturbances.

The Extras
 This disc is loaded with awesome extras which include:

-Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1912 Thanhouser Version) - Early short film adaptation of the story that played in nickelodeons.
-Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (Rival 1920 Version) - A 15 minute cut of another adaptation from 1920
-Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pride - A 1925 slapstick parody starring Stan Laurel
-"The Transformation Scene" - A rare 1909 audio recording

The Bottom Line
The excellent job Kino did on the film's presentation is enough reason to check this disc out but the awesome extras that help tie the history of this story's early film adaptations together is just as big a reason.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Frankenstein Created Woman (Blu-ray Review) - Millennium Entertainment

Directed By: Terence Fisher
Written By: John Elder
Starring: Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Thorley Walters
Color/92 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A

The Film
Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) is on a mission to conquer the inevitability of death. After killing his body for an hour and reviving himself with the help of his assitant, Frankenstein discovers that the soul doesn't leave the body at the instant death occurs. To celebrate his discovery he sends young Hans to get a bottle of champagne. While at the tavern Hans' love Christina, a scarred and disfigured young woman with a beautiful heart, is harrassed by the local group of entitled rich kids who are on their daddy's power trip. A fight ensues and eventually Hans is accused of a murder he didn't commit. Sentenced to death at the guillotine, the same fate his father faced before his own eyes as a child, Hans dies. Overcome with grief, Christina drowns herself.

 Baron Frankenstein sees this as a perfect opportunity for a new experiment. He gathers the bodies and manages to revive Christina, only now she is beautiful. She also has no memory of who she is. That is until Hans' voice pops into her head and takes control of her body for revenge on the men that framed him for murder. Baron Frankenstein has transferred Hans' soul into Christina's body and Christina is leaving a bloody trail across the town.

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN is the fourth film Hammer's series of films based around the Frankenstein character. This film is different in that previous entries dealt with the physical body while FCW revolves more around the metaphysical  aspects of life and death. There are a few gory moments in the film, at least gory by 60s British horror standards. From the opening ominous shot of the guillotine to the closing murder sequences FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN is a well acted (no surprise) and well directed (again, no surprise) piece of suspenseful crime and horror.

The Audio & Video
It is clear that Millennium Entertainment just plain gets how to present vintage horror films on Blu-ray. FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN looks excellent on Blu-ray, with a natural, film like feel. The 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is clean but maintains a light grain structure so that we know we're watching a movie. Skin tones are natural, and don't suffer from DNR or waxy textures. Colors are proper for the naturally overcast look of the film. The 2.0 stereo mix is excellent- full bodied and clear of any background noise. A great A/V job top to bottom.

The Extras
If the excellent job on the technical side of things wasn't enough, the disc features a healthy dose of extas:
 -Audio commentary with actors Robert Morris and Derek Fowlds and English film critic Jonathan Rigby
-2 episodes of "World Of Hammer" documentary series
- "Hammer Glamour" - a new documentary
-Stills Gallery
-A set of reproduction lobby cards 

Millennium Entertainment has made a set of the original lobby cards for FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN downloadable, and they're available HERE 


The Bottom Line 
Few things in the world of cinema get me as excited as the Hammer logo. Few things about the Blu-ray format get me as excited as the Hammer logo in HD. This release of FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN is a 5 star job that is deserving of a spot on your movie shelf. Go buy it and support Hammer films on Blu-ray!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Sex Hunter: 1980 (DVD Review) - Impulse Pictures

Directed By: Toshiharu Ikeda
Written By: Masahiro Kakefuda
Starring: Erina Miyai, Ayako Oota, Teruo Matsuyama
Color/68 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
A young ballet dancer named Miki is accepted into a very exclusive private dance school. Miki is looking to further her dance abilities as well as get back with her boyfriend. Miki quickly realizes that this dance academy is run by sick and sadistic instructors that force all sorts of depraved and violent sexual acts upon the students. The students are little more than a stash of living sexual toys at their disposal.

SEX HUNTER :1980 is one of the nastiest and perhaps the most exploitative films in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection. It is so nasty that the studio told the director to tone it down for his next film. It's a simple film but if you're looking for a movie that is going to make you squirm and feel dirty, SEX HUNTER: 1980 just might do the trick.

The Audio & Video
SEX HUNTER: 1980 arrives on DVD from Impulse Pictures. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a quality transfer overall. The film features a hazy quality to the photograph which limits how great the DVD can look but it is a clean print in good condition. The 2.0 mono track is in the film's native Japanese with optional English subtitles and sounds good. No background noise to interfere with the dialogue or music and overall this is another nice disc from Impulse. 


The Extras
The lone extras are liner notes and a trailer for the film.

The Bottom Line
The Nikkatsu Erotic Film Collection has reached number 20! Impulse Pictures is closing in on 2 years worth of releases in this line of DVDs and they keep showing that there is plenty more worthwhile films to bring to the masses. SEX HUNTER:1980 might just be the most deplorable one yet... and I love it.

SEX HUNTER: 1980 is available HERE