Monday, February 29, 2016


Directed By: Richard Kanter
Written By: Richard Kanter, Harold Lime
Starring: Serena, Lesllie Bovee, John Leslie
Color/76 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: February 23, 2016

The Film
An ancient alchemist developed a talisman with a special power that its owner will experience their ultimate sexual fantasy. The catch is that you can only use it once and then it must be passed along to someone else.

Things start out with a sexually frustrated wealthy woman who allows herself to be forcefully ravaged by the landscaping crew, the powerful politician who finally gets to nail his sexy mistress and a gym coach who gets it on with his students and much more.

SENSUAL ENCOUNTERS OF EVERY KIND is a perfect title for this lovely piece of smut. There's seemingly endless skin, a bit of taboo and some purely breath taking scenes with some of adult film's most recognizable faces. This sexy romp doesn't stick around too long but while it's here it is like a whirlwind of ancient sexual dreams coming true.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome deliver this piece of sexploitation on DVD with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer scanned in a new 2K scan from the original negative that looks quite good for the vast majority of the duration. There's a couple instances of damage to the source material in the forms of tears and scratches but they are towards the end of the film and only happen a few times for a total of a couple seconds worth of screen time. The rest of the film looks quite good, with a clean look with just minor speckling and a warm natural color palette and strong detail for a standard definition release. The mono Dolby Digital track is crisp and clear free of any distortions or background noise. It's not much more than a standard mix job but it gets the point across perfectly. There's no need to tamper with it or try to create a false surround mix.

The Extras
The lone extra is an audio interview with actor Jon Martin.

The Bottom Line
SENSUAL ENCOUNTERS OF EVERY KIND is a fun one, it may not have the lasting impressions of raunchier or more outlandish adult films but the scenes included here are seriously good stuff.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

HOLE (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing

Directed By: Joaquin Montalvan
Written By: Eunice Font, Joaquin Montalvan
Starring: Paul E. Respass, Jim Barile, Randall Barnes
Color/94 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: November 24, 2015

The Film
Ed Kunkle has recently been released from prison against his own wishes and is now a suspect in the disappearance of several women from his area. He has started a relationship with a woman damaged by the tragic death of her infant son who has no idea of the demons that haunt Ed or the secrets he hides in the shed out back.

HOLE is a noitcably low budget indie horror picture from 2010, finally given a home on DVD by Wild Eye Releasing in 2015. It features ideas that don't fully pan out, stilted acting, and too much (and totally unnecessary) slow motion photography during some of the more graphic violence scenes. It is flawed at best, imperfect and amatuerish at worst. The real film falls somewhere in the middle of those extremes.

The film has a rawness about it that makes it a more interesting watch than it would be as a polished product. It's gritty and dirty in a way that reminds me of a low budget Rob Zombie flick. And I mean that in a good way. The editing leaves the film feeling a bit disjointed, but it has a personality to it that is undeniable, even if that personality isn't wildly original.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing gives HOLE a nice home on DVD with a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The color palette is often cold and saturated on purpose and the disc reflects that nicely. The movie was obviously filmed on less than professional level gear so the transfer is only going to look so sharp - luckily it does look good. It has a raw quality that matches the film itself. The image is clean and handles black levels decently as there is some light compression and artifacting issues. The audio sounds as good as you would hope given the low budget production. The levels have a good mix and dialogue never gets lost amongst the music. There's no distortions or audible annoyances to speak of.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with the Director
-Making Of Documentary
-Ed's Journals

The Bottom Line
If you're digging for something new, something outside what the studios are throwing at you on a weekly basis and want to give a low budget picture a chance HOLE has a certain quality to it that allows it to rise above its shortcomings and be an interesting watch with plenty of violence.

HOLE is available HERE

Thursday, February 25, 2016

PIECES (Blu-ray Review) - Grindhouse Releasing

Spain, USA/1982
Directed By: Juan Piquer Simon
Written By: Dick Randall, Joe D'Amato
Starring: Christopher George, Linda Day George, Edmund Purdom
Color/89 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: March 1, 2016
2x Blu-ray/CD/Replica Jigsaw Puzzle (First 3,000 copies only)

The Film
In the 1940s a young boy is caught putting together a nudie jigsaw puzzle by his mother who comes down hard on him. The boy responds by attacking his mother with an axe and dismembering her body with a hacksaw. Fast forward 40 years and there's a murderer on the loose at a local college and they're using a chainsaw to murder and maim their victims.

PIECES is a gloriously exploitatative piece of horror from director J.P. Simon who takes a more is more approach. More gore, more nudity and more red herrings. Simon's direction is competent but not very flashy. It doesn't need to be as he lets the murder set pieces and special effects be the glitz and glamor of the movie. Oh and the nudity, did I mention the nudity?

The cast has a surprising amount of recognizable names from Edmund Purdom to Paul L. Smith. Purdom and Smith give a couple of the better performances of the movie as you'd expect but much of the rest of the cast hams it up and overacts to comedic delight. The dialogue in the script is clunky at times but that leads way to some classic scenes such as the "Bastard!" scene.

You shouldn't tune in to PIECES for a subtle, atmospheric horror film with a tight script and strong performances, you should tune into PIECES for a glorious exercise in excess. There's a reason PIECES is a classic example of drive-in era horror and was a staple of the seedy grindhouse theaters on and around 42nd Street in New York City and that is because PIECES not only approves of the type of things a mother who would force you to burn a nudie jigsaw puzzle forbids but it relishes those dirty things and even encourages you to dabble in them. I love PIECES a little bit more with each subsequent viewing.

The Audio & Video
Grindhouse Releasing nails the 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on PIECES with a brand new 4K scan from the original camera negative, maintaining the original aspect ratio. Colors are vibrant with deep crimson reds that pop just a bit to lush greens. Skin tones are fleshy and natural without a hint of waxiness. Detail level is nearly off the charts from textures to surfaces and especially in facial closeups with facial hair and skin details. The picture is crystal clear, it's immediately evident that there was significant effort into making sure the print is squeaky clean. There's no DNR or edge enhancement to speak of and PIECES has never sparkled like this.

The new DTS-HD Master Audio mix is exceptional with sparkling clarity. The mix gives a strong boost to the soundtrack that manages to slice through the various screaming and chainsaw buzzing of the film and become complimentary without ever fighting for the foreground. There's no background noise or imperfections such as crackling or popping. PIECES looks and sounds like perfection.

The Extras
Disc 1:
-Audio Commentary With Star Jack Taylor
-Music Re-Score By Umberto
-The Vine Theater Experience
-Still Galleries
-Liner Notes

Disc 2:
-42nd Street Memories: The Rise And Fall Of America's Most Notorious Block - A feature length documentary on the mecca of exploitation film
-Interview With Producer Steve Minasian
-Interview With Paul Smith
-Interview with Director Juan Piquer Simon
-Bios and Filmographies
-Grindhouse Releasing Prevues
-Production Credits

A CD soundtrack is also included along with a replica jigsaw puzzle to the first 3,000 copies.

The Bottom Line
Grindhouse Releasing has become synonymous with delivering the most beautiful looking and sounding releases that the cult film market has ever seen and they always pack them with special features. They seem to outdo themselves with each release these days adding something special to the mix of superb A/V to make the fans scramble with excitement. All hail Grindhouse Releasing! PIECES is an essential part of your horror Blu-ray collection.

PIECES is available HERE

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

E.N.D. (DVD Review) - One 7 Movies

Directed By: Luca Alessandro, Allegra Bernardoni, Domiziano Cristopharo, Federico Greco
Written By: Luca Alessandro, Allegra Bernardoni, Domiziano Cristopharo, Federico Greco, Roberto Papi, Antonio Tentori
Starring: Regina Orioli, Antonio Bilo Canella, Francesco Sannicandro
Color/85 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: February 9, 2016

The Film
Day 0:  The Outbreak starts from a batch of bad cocaine
Day 1466: Italy is in ruins as the epidemic is only getting worse.
Day 2333: There are humans and there are monsters and there isn't a lot of difference between the two.

E.N.D is a quasi-anthology horror film taking place in three different periods of a zombie outbreak caused by bad cocaine. The 80s would have been hell with this coke. The first entry takes place inside a funeral home just at the start of the outbreak. Dull describes this entry fairly well. A miss opportunity at funeral home hijinx the night after the mortician held a party with his friends there.

Follow that up with the fight for survival as an American soldier and pregnant woman board themselves up in a wooded cabin as the zombies chase them and try to break in the woman gives birth leading to an interesting finale. Some action and suspense make this one a mildly entertaining chapter.

And finally after over six years of the outbreak the zombies have evolved into a communicating, functioning group of monsters, making their extinction by humans that much more difficult. The most interesting chapter of the bunch if not significantly flawed in various areas. Easily the most action and gore packed section of the movie.

E.N.D. isn't great. There are a lot of slow spots that just drag out to nothing, the effects are cheap and the CGI is awful. There's also some practical effects that look good and zombie makeup that is a throwback to the 70s and 80s reminding me in particular of the ghouls from Oasis of the Zombies and Zombie Lake. The acting, like the rest of the production is amateurish, and clunky. I appreciated it for being a coherent film with an interesting take on an increasingly dried up, dull and lazy subgenre.

The Audio & Video
E.N.D. finds its way to DVD courtesy of One 7 Movies with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The digital photography looks okay, with a soft but clean image quality. The PQ is middle of the road, nothing great but not notably poor either. The 2.0 Italian language audio features optional English subtitles. The audio is mixed well and is reasonably full bodied. Levels are steady and there's no distortions or hiccups in the audio. The English subtitles are timed well and read fine but any time there is a break in dialogue the subtitles of the last word spoken hangs on the screen until someone else speaks. It's not very distracting once you realize it is going to happen every single time, and sometimes that break lasts several minutes but it is a lazy over sight.

The Extras
-Interview with writer Antonio Tentori
-Backstage Footage
-Photo Gallery

The Bottom Line
Recommended for zombie superfans only.

E.N.D is available HERE

Monday, February 22, 2016

THE BEES (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

USA, Mexico/1978
Directed By: Alfredo Zacharias
Written By: Alfredo Zacharias
Starring: John Saxon, Angel Tompkins, John Carradine
Color/92 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Blu-ray, DVD

The Film
Corporations have smuggled highly deadly bees from South America to the US to profit from their royal jelly and honey despite the obvious dangers to the ecosystem and human life. And to make matters worse common techniques to subdue and exterminate bees don't seem to be working.

THE BEES is drive-in fare through and through. It's cheaply made, features a major disaster caused by bugs or animals and features a cast including John Saxon and John Carradine amongst its stars. Writer and director Alfredo Zacharias creates this B-movie (I'm being very generous calling it a B-movie... more like C or D) that has so many plot twists that you'll eventually stop trying to follow along. There's also as many plot holes as there are plot twists so there's no chance a coherent movie.

There's also no chance at a flowing rhythm to the movie as the majority of the film is just one scene after another with nothing at all connecting them until we get back to our main characters who are talking about one of the many plot points. This gives the film a very choppy and all over the place feel.

To the film's credit there's absolutely no shortage of killer bee action. I don't think there's more than a single five minute stretch where swarms of bees aren't attacking someone or something. Of course there's no real bloodshed or graphic violence but it's entertaining nevertheless and really saves the movie making it mildly entertaining.

THE BEES is too long and tries to fit 100 pounds of crap into a 10 pound bag. Luckily they managed to fit the same amount of killer bee fun into the same bag so that it isn't all bad.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome's 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer comes from a new 2K scan and restoration taken from the 35mm IP and frequently looks quite good. The staged set pieces with our stars are sharp and highly detailed with good color representation. Surfaces and textures reveal their detail and depth nicely. Facial closeups reveal a natural skintone with no waxiness. The transfer is worse in scenes that show the swarms of bees as these are generally dirtier, and expose a bit of damage while being overly grainy. The DTS-HD Master Audio track features a mono mix that sounds crisp and clear. There's no buzz or hiss in the delivery and there's no background noise. VinSyn took the original audio mix and made it sound beautiful on Blu-ray.

The Extras
-Video Interview With Writer/Director Alfredo Zacharias
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Reversible Cover Art

The Bottom Line
I can't call myself a fan of the movie but Vinegar Syndrome gives THE BEES a nicer presentation than perhaps it is deserving of. That's just what they do and I applaud their efforts.

THE BEES is available HERE

Friday, February 19, 2016

ROBIN'S NEST/BELLA Peekarama Double Feature (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

USA/1979, 1980
Directed By: Victor Bertini, Alexander Kubelka
Starring: Arcadia Lake, Eric Edwards, Tracey Adams
Color/166 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 19, 2015

The Films
In ROBINS NEST, Robin and Alan are on the verge of separating less than a year after getting married. Their sexual chemistry is gone and the sight of each other seems to bring out the worst in them. Each of them reconnect with old friends who have some ideas in mind in how to get their lust and sexual craving satisfied and perhaps it will bring them back together.

I feel that ROBINS NEST ran a bit long and could have easily been a more slickly paced feature at around 70 minutes. Even at 80 minutes the film drags a bit but there's plenty of action from straight to lesbian and some call girls to keep you entertained. That is before the big finale that makes your efforts worthwhile when Alan gets to scream "I just fucked my own wife!?". Yes Alan, you sure did. ROBIN'S NEST is a middle of the pack runner that doesn't set itself apart.

BELLA is a bit more interesting straight out of the gate as we get to see the sexual romps and drama of Bella and her family including but certainly not limited to blackmailing your mother's lover to have sex with you, kidnapping and forced sex at gun point. Yeah, BELLA goes there when she wants someone to herself. She's tight and young and will tell you she's not a child and then show you for proof.

Again running a bit longer than I think is ideal for the picture BELLA has a few slow moments but is otherwise filled with incredibly sleazy, sexy and entertaining moments. Tracey Adams is ultra desirable as the titular character going far enough to threaten her mother until they come to a great compromise that satisfies them both and takes things to the land of taboo. BELLA is a wild ride that you'll enjoy in all the right ways.

The Audio & Video
This double feature DVD from Vinegar Syndrome features similar technical specs for both features including 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and Dolby Digital mono audio tracks. The audio tracks are both in nice condition with very little background noise or imperfections such as popping or crackling. They sound very good overall with a crisp quality and steady levels. The 16x9 transfers have good color, marred only by light speckling of dust and a single moment of heavier scratch damage. Detail is solid for a standard definition release and these films likely haven't looked this good since they were originally filmed.

The Extras
-Video Interview with filmmaker Carter Stevens
-Original theatrical trailer for BELLA

The Bottom Line
This isn't my favorite release in VinSyn's Peekarama collection but there's plenty of entertainment to be had. Come for BELLA and get the bonus of ROBIN'S NEST.

ROBINS NEST/BELLA Peekarama double feature is available HERE

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PRETTY PEACHES Trilogy (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

USA/1978,1987, 1989
Directed By: Alex De Renzy
Starring: Desiree Cousteau, Joey Silvera, John Leslie
Color/267 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: January 19, 2015

The Films
I was first introduced to the PRETTY PEACHES series back in 2014 when Vinegar Syndrome released the first film on Blu-ray and the sequels on a double feature DVD. I immediately fell in love with these slickly made, sex filled comedic adult romps that fill you with laughter perhaps even more than they do with lust. That is perhaps what struck me the most - these are far more than just skin flicks or pornos. These are genuinely well written and well made pieces of exploitation art.

The acting including performances across the series from adult legends Ron Jeremy, Jamie Gillis, Tracey Adams and Desiree Cousteau all of whom are better actors than just being able to produce a boner or some tits on screen. And there talent isn't wasted by a director that doesn't know how to use them or make a picture as there's a reason Alex De Renzy directed just short of 200 films over the course of his career that spanned three decades. The man knew how to make a movie entertaining and he knew how to make it good.

After revisiting this series it isn't surprising but it is welcoming to find that these films hold up on multiple viewings, even when I remember what's around the next turn. The PRETTY PEACHES films have stuck with me visually in my mind stronger than most other adult films I've seen in my life and those memories didn't cheapen my second viewing experience of these classics. If anything it confirmed the fact to myself that I am a genuine fan of these films and not a casual viewer satisfied with seeing them once and moving on. I think this trilogy has earned those fans and they should be proud of enjoying such an oddly quirky, sleazy yet silly taboo fest filled with beautiful women and wild wieners.

The original reviews for the PRETTY PEACHES films can be found HERE and HERE

The Audio & Video
The first disc of this double Blu-ray set is the original PRETTY PEACHES which uses the same transfer as the original limited edition BD released by Vinegar Syndrome back in 2014. The 16x9 transfer has a nice sharp quality that lends itself to strong detail levels and healthy and natural skintones. The image is only marred by light speckling and scratches that don't distract. The Mono DTS-HD Master audio sounds just as it did on the previous release - crisp, steady and clean. There's no distortions or background noise to bother you. Simply put a fantastic job making the original audio mix sound as good as it can.

Disc 2 is the double feature of parts 2 and 3 and is an impressive upgrade over the DVD release from May of 2014. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen uses what seems to be the same HD Master but finally in full HD glory. There's a thin layer of grain/digital noise that is more noticeable in dark scenes but isn't distracting. It looks more natural than artificial anyhow. Detail level is ramped up quite a bit on everything from surfaces to hair while colors vivid without looking artificially pumped up. Part 3 has more damage to the print with scratches and speckling but it still looks quite a bit better than the DVD despite a few moments of frame wobbling.

Both films are similarly successful with their HD Mono tracks being free of audible annoyances or damage. They're clear and pleasing to the ear without any fluctuations in the volume level.

The Extras
Disc 1 is bare bones, failing to port over an archive interview with director Alex De Renzy and a video interview with historian Ted Mcilvenna along with a selection of trailers for various De Renzy films. This keeps that original limited edition Blu-ray release special for its bonus content.

Disc 2 carries over the original trailer for PRETTY PEACHES 2, that being the lone extra included on either release.

The Bottom Line
Each entry into the PEACHES series offers up something a little different but they're all high quality smut that have earned their cemented status as adult classics. There's no better way to see these sex flicks than this set and though this set is light on special features it is still highly recommended.

PRETTY PEACHES triple feature is available HERE

Monday, February 15, 2016

RED KROKODIL (DVD Review) - One 7 Movies

Directed By: Domiziano Cristopharo
Written By: Francesco Scardone
Starring: Brock Madson, Valerio Cassa, Viktor Karam
Color/88 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: February 9, 2016 

The Film
RED KROKODIL is a film you won't soon forget. It will stay with you long after it shakes you and makes you sick to your stomach. It has little in the way of traditional story progression and there's really only a single character. The man we follow as he lives in a filthy apartment, with a mattress made of straw, as he walks around in soiled and torn underwear or nothing at all and spends his time either injecting the dangerous home made street drug Red Krokodil or suffering from the effects of it. His body is covered in old bandages from where his skin has become infected and rotted as a result of the drug. 

We see the man's delusions, hallucinations and hear his various monologues of his existence. We see him leave his apartment, at least in his mind, to explore nature. We see him attempt to drown himself in a toilet. He bleeds. He injects. He hugs his stuffed crocodile from when he was a child. He sleeps. He's miserable and wants to die. He wants to be clean. He injects. He may find peace.

RED KROKODIL can be looked at on the surface level at taken it as an anti-drug warning and it would work perfectly. It can also be looked at as a metaphor for countless other damaging relationships we find ourselves in a daily routine with. RED KROKODIL is powerful and moving and sickening. It is uncomfortable and is not fun. It's small scale and giant in scope. RED KROKODIL deals with the cold, harsh side of life presented in a cycle of substance abuse but the message applies to any countless number of life's less savory things. This film is skillfully made with love. 

The Audio & Video
One 7 Movies gives RED KROKODIL a nice DVD presentation with an anamorphic 16x9 widescreen transfer. The image quality is good and features an intentionally gray heavy color palette. The picture quality is sharp and crystal clear with no damage. The English audio is handled with a 2.0 stereo mix and features optional English and French subtitles. The audio which is heavier on the music score than it is on speaking with just fleeting monologues throughout is good. There's no distortions or background noise and the mix is stable and complimentary between both channels. 

The Extras
-Deleted scenes
-Ending With Alternate Music Track
-Test FX For End Scene
-Trailers and Teaser 
-Photo Gallery

The Bottom Line
RED KROKODIL isn't the movie to sit down with pizza and a beer for a relaxing night of movie watching. There's a powerful message here that is open to personal interpretation and what you take the film for is exactly what it is. Recommended.

RED KROKODIL is available HERE

Friday, February 12, 2016

HIGHWAY TO HELL (Blu-ray Review) - Kino

Directed By: Ate De Jong
Written By: Brian Helgleand
Starring: Chad Lowe, Kristy Swanson, Patrick Bergin
Color/94 Minutes/R
Region A
Release Date: February 2, 2016

The Film
Charlie and Rachel are on their way to elope in Las Vegas when they turn down an old back road and are pulled over by Hellcop who quickly tosses Rachel into the back of his car and takes her down the secret highway to Hell. Charlie chases behind him, willing to deal with everything Hell will throw at him, desperate to rescue his girl before it's too late.

HIGHWAY TO HELL was shelved for a year after filming completed before it was unceremoniously given a limited theatrical release and then dumped on to home video in 1992 where it would gain some traction and become a minor cult classic and for good reason. There's a zany energy to the film that reminds me of a 2nd rate Beetlejuice in ways (and I mean that in an absolutely positive way), with weird background characters and bizarre monsters and set pieces.

The film relies on its comedy to succeed and it is genuinely funny. There's plenty of horror as well but not to the point where we forget it is a comedy. To top it off there's a bit of real romance that keeps us fully invested in the characters and the outcome of the film. Without getting sappy it's heartfelt and touching at the right moments.

While the setting of Hell is little more than some set pieces along a desert highway in Phoenix, Arizona the secluded desert look works in a simplistic way. The special effects add a touch of excitement from Hellcop's face which is full of carvings of various biblical words and phrases to his literal handcuffs that are made from disembodied hands linked together and may be my favorite thing about the entire movie. The effects are practical and add to that campy, fun vibe the entire movie carries.

HIGHWAY TO HELL has its flaws. It's far from perfect and is smaller scale than perhaps it deserves to be. It's full of notable names from Ben and Jerry Stiller, Ben hadn't broke big yet and was fairly stupid in his ad-libbing to CJ Graham of Friday The 13th Part 6 fame as Hellcop and even Gilbert Gottfried as Hitler. Some of these little cameos and small bits are worth a chuckle but many are throw away. The road trip/chase style of the film ends up in a few go-nowhere pit stops along the way that don't progress the story along. But despite the flaws the film didn't deserve to be shelved for a year, it's quite an entertaining piece of horror comedy that will only grow more popular as the years go by and it doesn't feel terribly dated 25 years later which is a good sign of things to come. HIGHWAY TO HELL has been unfairly overlooked and underrated.

The Audio & Video
HIGHWAY TO HELL receives its high definition home video debut as a part of the Kino Studio Classics line and results are excellent. The anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 transfer is sharp and has great color reproduction making that stretch of Arizona desert feel hot and sweaty while skin tones are fleshy and natural. There's no signs of waxy digital noise reduction or edge enhancement. Detail levels are great showing the scarred and burned look of Hellcop's face to the dried and decaying flesh of various souls trapped in Hell. The DTS HD audio is crystal clear with no crackling, popping or other background noises. The levels are steady and stable with an overall crispness that is pleasing to the ear.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with Director Ate De Jong
-Interview with SFX Make-up Artist Steve Johnson
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Animated Montage of Images

The Bottom Line
Horror, comedy and love - the recipe for success. HIGHWAY TO HELL feels like a mix of Beetlejuice, Mad Max and Robocop as directed by Satan. It's goofy, fun and campy and it's calling your name.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

STAR VIRGIN (DVD Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Howard Ziehm
Written By: Humphry Knipe
Starring: Kari Klark, Hillary Summers, Mike Ranger
Color and Black & White/78 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: December 15, 2015

The Film
After Earth and humanity are left destroyed the only human left is Star Virgin, a beautiful young woman living out life on a space ship with her robot keeper Mentor. She begs Mentor to teach her about sex and eventually the robot gives in leading to a series of vignettes showing various sexual encounters that get young Star Virgin all hot and bothered as they progress and lead to her own self discovery of a super nova going "pop".

Director Howard Ziehm was no stranger to intergalactic smut, having directed Flesh Gordon five years prior to STAR VIRGIN and he'd go on to direct the Flesh Gordon sequel as well. STAR VIRGIN spends only a fraction of its actual runtime in space with Star wearing skimpy space outfits made of sparkly sequin and little else until she eventually disrobes entirely while listening to the stories that Mentor is telling her. Mentor looks like a soda cooler with a fire blanket duct taped to him. Rosie The Robot he is not, but he still manages to be a faithful companion to Star and is comical.

The real body of the film is made up by a handful of vignettes depicting everything from a 1950s high school version of The Garden Of Eden with forbidden fruits being rubbed, smashed, inserted and eaten from just about everywhere. Fruit salad, anyone? You'll never look at canned peaches the same way again! Then we move on to other segments including an injured quarterback getting fucked back into the game by cheerleaders. Nothing says concussion protocol like a little three way action with sexy cheerleaders! Roger Goodell and the NFL could learn something from this. There's a pay for sex group session with more vibrators than your local XXX video shop has in stock, and my personal favorite, an encounter set in Transylvania in which Dracula and his Richard Nixon mask wearing sidekick drug a man and proceed to rape his wife all in the style of the silent film era. Of course when hubby wakes up and breaks up the party to save his wife she's all sorts of upset that she didn't get to cum! This one gives old Dick Nixon an entirely new meaning.

STAR VIRGIN is as campy and funny as it is sexy. The production is low rent and better off for it. I love the energy that the film has and how genuinely funny it all manages to be without ever letting the audience laugh AT the picture instead of with the picture. STAR VIRGIN is great fucking fun for the whole family! Well, maybe not the whole family.

The Audio & Video
STAR VIRGIN is brought to DVD by Vinegar Syndrome with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks pretty good. The picture quality is on the soft side more often than not but that is a product of how Howard Ziehm produced the film. There's some speckling and scratches left on the print that weren't restored and honestly there's no need for them to be. The damage left on the print is negligible and doesn't distract the viewer but does seem to add a bit to the overall vibe of the film just a bit. The English mono audio track has a bit of crackling at the very opening of the picture but that quickly disappears and there's little to no other distortions to mention. The track does just fine handling the dialogue and music without getting overwhelmed. It may not be a dynamic mix but it does the job nicely and it's nice to retain the film's original audio mix.

The Extras
An audio commentary track with director Howard Ziehm is the lone extra.

The Bottom Line
Adult film fans should take note of STAR VIRGIN because if you haven't seen STAR VIRGIN you haven't one of the most genuinely entertaining X rated films I've ever laid eyes on.

STAR VIRGIN is available HERE

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

THE LAST HOUSE (DVD Review) - Wild Eye Releasing

Directed By: Sean Cain
Written By: Wes Laurie
Starring: Ezra Buzzington, Jason Mewes, Joanna Angel
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: November 24, 2015

The Film
A trio of escaped mental patients lure some call girls to a Hollywood mansion for some sexual and Satanic fun but the boyfriend of one of the girls will try to stop their nasty plans before he loses his love forever.

THE LAST HOUSE is a low budget, sexually charged, horror thriller filled with notable names to fans of the genre. From Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) to Jason Mewes (Mallrats) and adult film star Joanna Angel, it is Ezra Buzzington (Rob Zombie's Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes) that shines as the head psycho. It is Buzzington's performance that is what you need to see in THE LAST HOUSE. He is believably chilling, leaving your skin with a trail of goosebumps.

THE LAST HOUSE is violent and bloody, a little bit sexy even if that area is a bit understated for how big of a role it plays in the film and a bit twisted from start to finish. Come for the horror, stay for Ezra Buzzington. Keeping the review short is best for this film. I wasn't a big fan of the whole thing, I found it to be convoluted and long in the tooth, trying to be too many things without being great at any one of them but I have to repeat that Ezra Buzzington is spectacular and his performance alone makes the film worth watching.

The Audio & Video
Wild Eye Releasing gives THE LAST HOUSE a nice DVD presentation with an anamorphic widescreen transfer with deep black levels and a crisp and clean picture quality. Colors and skin tones are natural and are pleasing to the eye overall. The stereo audio is clear, free of any distortions or background noise. It's a nice mix between the dialogue and music.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with the Director
-Deleted Scenes
-Cinemayhem Interview with the Director
-Gorezone UK Premiere

The Bottom Line
This isn't the best film you're going to watch this year, or even this month. It is heavily flawed but I just loved Buzzington's performance enough to warrant a recommendation.

THE LAST HOUSE is available HERE

Friday, February 5, 2016

LUTHER THE GEEK (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Carlton J. Albright
Written By: Carlton J. Albright
Starring: Edward Terry, Joan Roth, Stacy Haiduk
Color/80 Minutes/Not Rated
Region Free
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Blu-ray, DVD

The Film
As a young boy Luther sees a carnival sideshow act of a "geek", a down on his luck beggar that attracts crowds by biting the heads off of live chickens in exchange for booze. Luther curiously tastes the chicken blood that has splattered across the stage and instantly develops a taste for it. Years have gone by and Luther is up for parole after a long history of violent crimes and he's developed a taste for human blood. Immediately upon his release he attacks a person with his set of metal teeth he has fashioned for himself and hides out at a secluded farm house terrorizing the three inhabitants and playing a game of cat and mouse with the local sheriff.

LUTHER THE GEEK was originally picked up for distribution by Quest Entertainment but never got the release it deserved and largely languished in VHS obscurity until Troma released it on DVD in 2005. I had never heard much chatter about the film so when the opportunity came up to review this Blu-ray I was intrigued to finally see it. Simply put, I wasn't totally ready for what I was in for.

This film had all the potential in the world to be a hicksploitation horror gem. I think they even had the freedom to take a campy approach to it or stick with the more serious tone that the film tries to achieve. It could have worked both ways but as it is LUTHER just moves too slow. Once we arrive at the farmhouse the movie slows pretty badly with a couple chase scenes with Luther and the mom and then the daughter and her boyfriend. There are a couple well done special effects moments as a result of Luther's metal chompers leaving plenty of mangled flesh and blood but I feel the the farm house arrives too quickly. Instead if we had another couple of moments of Luther on the run and having violent run ins with some locals before reaching the final location it would have spiced things up enough that the deliberately paced scenes at the farmhouse would have felt more tense and not as drawn out.

There is one thing that sets LUTHER THE GEEK apart from similar films and it is Luther himself. No, it isn't just his metal teeth that look like dollar store costume hillbilly teeth that make your lips bulge out but it is Luther's clucking. Yes, clucking. Luther doesn't talk, he just clucks like a chicken for whatever reason. The movie has a decidedly serious tone, an ominous score and a pace that tells the audience that things are scary and dreadful, not to be taken lightly or with a dose of laughter. Then Luther starts clucking away and it's weirdly hilarious. As any grown man clucking like a chicken would be.

I don't think the clucking takes away from the film, if anything it probably adds to the absurdity of the character as I'm sure the filmmakers hoped it would. I couldn't speak of the clucking... no, I couldn't speak of this film at all without discussing the bizarre ending that I sat staring at the screen in silence of for a moment trying to comprehend just exactly what the fuck it was that I saw. If you don't want the end to spoiled at all I'm officially making the rest of this section a spoiler alert so feel free to skip ahead...

The ending takes an amazing twisted and oddly uncomfortable turn when Luther and the sheriff have a shootout in the barn that houses the chickens and he kills the sheriff. The mother who had come to help the officer lies in shock in the barn until morning when Luther goes to make his escape and sees the woman sitting there in shock. He moves in for a bite until she comes to and starts clucking at Luther who is briefly taken aback. He clucks back and the pair begins communicating in clucking which leads to Luther proudly strutting around the barn like a rooster, crowing loudly until the woman pulls out her rifle and shoots Luther in the chest. That would make for an interesting enough ending if the credits rolled but they don't roll until the woman has a cry session... a clucking cry session. Yes, the woman cry clucks after killing the murderer. What. The. Fuck.

LUTHER THE GEEK was right there. It had the chance to be something great. And while it certainly is a memorable film that won't be erased from my mind anytime soon I think the film itself comes up a bit short on. It's passable but it just squeaks by.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome's latest license from Troma is another outstanding job. The new 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a new 2K scan from the original 35mm negative and has a warm and filmic look to it with a healthy grain structure. The image has been cleaned up a bit but there's a bit of speckling still remaining throughout. This keeps in line with the natural film look of the transfer. Colors are naturally a bit on the softer side but the blood reds are a beautiful shade of crimson. Detail level is very good particularly in closeups of surfaces and textures. The DTS-HD Master Mono Audio track is crisp and clear with no traces of background noise or damage such as popping or crackling. The levels are stable and mixed well between the dialogue and score.

The Extras
-Audio Commentary With Director Carlton J. Albright
-Video Interview With Actor Jerome Clarke
-Video Interview With The Director
-Video Introduction With The Director
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Reversible Cover Art
-All Previous Troma DVD Features Including: Interviews with Carlton Albright and Will Albright and Carlton Albright's thoughts on several key scenes

The Bottom Line
This release is an easy recommendation given the fantastic A/V presentation and the bounty of special features.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ALL HALLOW'S EVE 2 (DVD Review) - Image/RLJ Entertainment

Directed By: Jesse Baget, Elias Benavidez, Andres Borghi, Jay Holben, Mike Kochansky, The Kondelik Brothers, Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan, Ryan Patch, Marc Roussel
Written By: Various
Starring: Landon Ackerman, April Adamson, Ali Adatia
Color/91 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: February 2, 2016

The Film
A mysterious masked man leaves a VHS tape at the stairs of a young woman and when she puts it in her VCR (of course she has a VCR!) she finds that it holds several short films...

Jack Attack- Jack gets to carve his first pumpkin with his favorite babysitter but after eating some roasted seeds from the pumpkin Elizabeth notices something beginning to grow inside of Jack's stomach and then her own. - Enjoyable seasonal piece with a bit of well done and  believable stop motion animation. This was a nice choice to start the film off strong.

The Last Halloween - Four trick or treaters end up in the home of a paranoid doomsday prepper and we see their exploits - This particular chapter didn't do much for me at all, and the ending was much too over the top.

The Offering - A father and son drive deep into the woods to make a ritual offering to an unseen creature but forget an important part of the offering. - This entry is predictable but simple and effective. It has just enough substance and doesn't run long or feel padded in any way.

Descent - A woman gets stuck on an elevator with a man she believes murdered her friend. - Another predictable one but this one feels all too familiar and redundant.

M Is For Masochist - A short originally shot as an entrant to be part of the ABC's Of Death series that wasn't chosen. A carnival game soaked in blood, as Bill Oberst Jr (we couldn't have this movie without him!) is the barking carny promising prizes if you can draw enough blood from the victim on a spinning wheel. - I loved the idea of this, I love Bill Oberst Jr as the carny but this one needs to be realized as a bigger idea. There's something great here but it needs more meat on its bones.

A Boy's Life - A young boy is afraid of the monster hiding in his bedroom and tries at length to get his mom to believe him. - The only thing I'm afraid of is that I'll have to watch this short again. It is overly drawn out, boring as shit and really hurts the overall momentum of the film.

Mr. Tricker's Treats - The best decorated house in the neighborhood isn't going to the store for his Halloween props - Blink and you'll miss it. This one had potential to go somewhere, anywhere, but there was just not enough time to develop any sort of story or characters.

Alexia - On the anniversary of his girlfriend's death a man decides it is time to move on and delete her social media profile but something or someone won't let him delete it and is communicating with him through her profile. - I hope you're at least moderate in reading Spanish because all the communication is done via texting in Spanish except for a couple lines spoken in Spanish at the end. If you know basic Spanish you should at least be able to follow along. There's been several films like this released in the last couple of years and this one is about as successful as the rest - it's okay. Not the strongest choice to end on but a decent entry overall.

Eight stories plus the wraparound that is mostly inconsequential aside from giving a reason to be seeing these short films and we're left with similar results to many other horror anthologies with this many chapters. There's some good, some bad and it's mostly uneven but ALL HALLOW'S EVE 2 has enough worthwhile to give this one a look even if some of the better chapters leave you wanting much more.

The Audio &amp Video
Image/RLJ Entertainment deliver a nice looking DVD with an anamorphic widescreen presentation that features a clean and crisp picture. Colors and detail are good from short to short and there's only sporadic instances of black levels suffering from light compression issues. The audio features a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound mix that is even across all levels and allows the dialogue and music to compliment each other nicely. There's no background noise or damage evident. The small amount of Spanish spoken in the last chapter featured no subtitles.

The Extras
Not a one, not a single special feature.

The Bottom Line
Where I found the first All Hallow's Eve to be underwhelming at best, closer to total shit if we're being perfectly honest, I think the sequel picks up the pieces and ends up being an entertaining horror anthology that you can watch all year round.

ALL HALLOW'S EVE 2 is available HERE

Monday, February 1, 2016

CORRUPTION (Blu-ray Review) - Vinegar Syndrome

Directed By: Roger Watkins
Written By: Roger Watkins
Starring: Jamie Gillis, Tiffany Clark, Bobby Astyr
Color/79 Minutes/Not RAted
Region FREE
Release Date: December 15, 2015

The Film
Williams is a man obsessed with success and power but owes a debt to a person he may not be able to repay. His girlfriend's sister is thrown in a carnal, perverted world, and everyone else around him seems to not be able to help him as they give in to their erotic desires or have their own personal greed in mind.

Adult film legend Jamie Gillis stars in this color coded, fetishized kink-fest that will leave the viewer mesmerized, uncomfortable and astounded all at the same time. There's rough spots of rape and treachery, S&M, hardcore sex and Bobby Astyr playing a New York tough guy like Bobby Astyr does.

Roger Watkins builds this dream like world, filled with nightmarish sexual scenarios that all becomes a bit of a morality tale based around  greed and lust for power and sex. Watkins direction is fantastic and he gets a pair of great performances out of Gillis and Astyr as half brothers and as a piece of smut he gets some hot and steamy action with Vanessa Del Rio being a gorgeous mistress along with plenty of other various scenarios that will at times leave the audience squirming.

Filled with beautiful visuals, CORRUPTION belongs alongside arthouse midnight movies as much as it does in the rear viewing booths of a porn shop. It borders on being a minor masterpiece of smut and exploitation and will definitely leave an impression on you.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome's 2K restoration on CORRUPTION is stunning. The film has a light grain structure giving it a healthy film look. Colors are bright and vivid and have a bit of pop to them. Black levels are deep and inky with no artifacting or compression issues. Details level is high and skin tones are fleshy and natural with no signs of waxiness from excessive DNR. The HD audio is crisp and crystal clear. There's no audible annoyances or background noise. Dialgoue and music are mixed very well so they're complimentary to each other and are never lost among the mix.

The Extras
-"Through The Lens" - Interview with cinematographer Larry Revene
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Artwork Gallery
-LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET Easter Egg - An unrestored but fully HD uncut presentation of Roger Watkins' infamous LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET exploitation horror film! Until Vinegar Syndrome releases their fully restored and cleaned up Blu-ray of LHODES this is worth the price of admission alone!

The Bottom Line
I was more excited to get this release for the Easter egg of LAST HOUSE ON DEAD STREET than I was for the actual titular feature but CORRUPTION, while a totally different film in nature, stands on its own and is fantastic. Purchase this Blu-ray for either film but you'll quickly find out that you have two special films on your hands and one is in exceptional condition while the other is a suitable placeholder for the inevitable better release. Essential viewing!

CORRUPTION is available HERE