Jul 23, 2013

Little Monsters (1989) and Munchies (1992)

I posted a few thoughts on the Sideshow’s Facebook page after watching these, but wanted to spew a bit more. I was a frequent watcher of the Wonder Years, and like many other kids, had a thing for Winnie Cooper (Wow, have you seen her lately?). It was a program I anticipated watching and really related to, but don’t think I stuck it out for all six seasons. I also remember watching the specials Howie Mandel did for HBO, with many laughs following the rubber glove trick, and the voice that would later become Bobby (the animated series). So, it’s kind of a surprise I never saw Little Monsters.

In watching it recently, I thought it was a pretty fun flick, kind of a Beetlejuice (1988)/Drop Dead Fred (1991) hybrid, even though DDF came out a couple years later. Several faces and mannerisms made by Mandel seemed to be influenced by Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice, so it makes me wonder if any of the same producers were on both films. Please enlighten me if you decide to dig deeper, as I'm too lazy to do the leg work.

As for Munchie, I actually ran across it after finding Munchies, a Ghoulies/Gremlins style flick, which I will be getting soon. Within the first minute or so, I knew the voice of Munchie sounded familiar, and sure enough, I pegged it as Dom Deloise before the opening credits confirmed it. And, while Loni Anderson isn't hard to look at, I wasn't aware that a young Jennifer Love Hewitt was the female (kid) lead. The animatronics of Munchie were almost Showbiz Pizza Band laughable, and while it was an okay flick, the stacks of "to watch" grow exponentially, so it’s not something I'm rushing to watch again. A side note: Showbiz Pizza blew circles around Chucky E. Cheese, and many of CEC’s band are former Showbiz characters with new costumes after CEC bought them out.

There was a follow-up in 1994 called Munchie Strikes Back, but the only one to return was Jamie McEnnan (the lead boy), which looks like only a bit part. It is worth noting, though, that Angus Scrimm has a part as Kronas and Fred Olen Ray (softcore extraordinaire) plays a band member, but it's probably not something I'm going to seek out.

So, when are we going to get an official release of the entire Wonder Years collection and a Blu-Ray of Drop Dead Fred? And, it's a shame that only Howie Mandel’s first HBO performance is available on DVD, which based off the reviews, is a far cry from what I remember. I’d love to see Shout Factory pick up all of these and do them justice, as they recently did with the Beetlejuice cartoon, and the Halloween Special later this Fall.

It's a short post, but let's take a walk down memory lane until the next one:

Jul 1, 2013

Savage Weekend (1979)-Cheezy Flicks

Scared woman in a white dress + psychotic looking hillbilly + running chainsaw = intro to Savage Weekend.

This is one of my first ventures into the company Cheezy Flicks. I’ve read several reviews on their releases over the years, both good and bad, but one thing’s for sure, they’re stuff is cheap, and sure do have appealing artwork.

The print used is in fullscreen, but quite clean, and looked pretty good upverted on my Blu-Ray player. CF has released this title before, but recently decided on a re-issue with new artwork (above). Why, I don’t know, as I really prefer the prior one (below) which was used on Paragon’s VHS release, but I’m sure there’s good reason, maybe a rights or licensing issue.

This title has also been released by Mill Creek Ent. in 2006, Synergy Entertainment in 2008 (same year as CF), Desert Island Films in 2011, on several multi-packs, and supposedly a 3-D version in 2012, so my guess is it’s a public domain title and fair game to anyone who wants to spend a little dough to release it.

The story revolves around a group of people who come to the countryside to relax, party, and help build a boat, and also a hillbilly handyman named Otis, played by William Sanderson, who went on to become a veteran TV actor with appearances in the Lonesome Dove’s, Newhart, Coach, Walker, Texas Ranger, and more recently, Deadwood and True Blood.

There’s quite a bit of sex and boobs on display, including a strip tease and a scene with a cow’s teat that’s meant to titillate. The killer’s mask is kind of a Leatherface (1974)/Michael Myers (1978) hybrid, and the storyline blends with other backwoods horror films of the era, but there’s not a lot of grue, other than a branding, a hanging, a spike impaling, and some chainsaw action, with which Otis isn’t always the culprit.

The mask

There’s very little that’s memorable, but as a fan of the era, it’s cool (and laughable) to see the inspiration filmmakers borrow from other movies. Maybe pair this as a double feature with Rituals, so you won’t be so pissed off for the time spent. Not a great movie, but great artwork to accompany others in your collection, and just as misleading as many others were in the heyday of horror VHS, as video store owners smirked while stuffing your dollars in their pockets.

I’m not sure how long it lasts, but at the time of writing this, Cheezy Flicks has this on their site for 3.99, so it’s a cheap add for fans of this type of cinema, and maybe they have some copies of the old artwork left. Thanks to them for sending me a screener copy, and more reviews to come.

Apr 1, 2013

New Code Red DVD titles for Spring 2013...so far

Just wanted to feature the new Code Red titles that have been released so far this year. I won't bore you with the details and purchase info, as you can view that on their site, but the titles are Exorcism's Daughter (aka House of Insane Women) and Night of 1000 Cats, Swinging Sorority, The Possessed (aka Help Me...I'm Possessed) and Demon Witch Child, The Vampires Night Orgy and Dr. Jekyll vs. The Werewolf, and Seeds of Evil and Touch of Satan. I have yet to watch any of them, but if you know how CR titles come and go and magically disappear, you'd better snatch them up. Good thing is, they usually ship within a week.

Mar 19, 2013

Savage Vengeance (1992)

Fifteen years after gracing us with her presence in I Spit on Your Grave, Camille Keaton returned to the small screen to do Savage Vengeance, a low budget film written and directed by Donald Farmer (Demon Queen, Cannibal Hookers).

While getting some R&R by the waterside, four dudes see an opportunity to take what isn’t theirs, leaving Jennifer violated and humiliated. Five years later, we see her revenge through flashbacks, and a jaunt into the woods becomes another nightmare, as her friend gets raped and killed by a couple of creeps, and not much later, she's terrorized too.

As with many low budget films, the acting and dialog are horrible, and is often drowned out by the music, which is looped and tiresome. Not to mention, rape/revenge flicks come a dime a dozen, yet they're still a very popular subgenre, evident by the remake of I Spit on Your Grave in 2010, which tended to cater more toward the new horror watcher and fans of the SAW franchise. Not one I personally cared for, as it felt like a watered down version of the original, even with the more extreme torture scenes.

As for Savage Vengeance, it’s not a great movie either, but did bring a smirk with the misspelled title screen, and nice to see Camille’s upper assets still looking quite perky. The simulated rape scenes were quite laughable in that you can clearly see her pants are still on, buttoned, and zipped, so the dudes were really just air humping her jeans.

This was intended to be a sequel and often billed as ISOYG 2, but doesn’t compliment it the least bit. I’ve heard that Camille has denounced it, and she even went by the alias Vickie Lahl/Lehl/Kehl to act in it. But, it does remain a must-own for DIY/SOV completists.

Originally released by Magnum Video in 1992, then onto DVD in 2000 by Eden Pictures as part of their I Will Dance on Your Grave series, which is now out-of-print. But, within the last year, it was re-released on VHS by The Uneasy Archive, limited to 23 copies, plus an exclusive version given away on Freddy In Space, and now, Massacre Video will release their DVD, VHS, and DVD hardbox over the next month or so. The VHS is limited to 100 copies and available now.

Miss Keaton is still active in film, recently being in Toe Tag Picture’s Sella Turcica, and helping to promote it by making appearances at conventions and screenings. She also has a spot in Rob Zombie’s Lords of Salem, but according to IMDb, the scenes were deleted from the theatrical version, so we may have to wait to get a glimpse when it hits YouTube or video.

I got the honor of meeting her at Texas Frightmare one year, where I had her sign a picture for a friend. Mind you, it was one of the nudie pics from her table, and she was very nice, appreciative, and not the least bit bashful.

So, run over to the Massacre Video Facebook page to keep up-to-date on the latest Savage Vengeance happenings.

Mar 11, 2013

I Told You Not to Call the Police (2010)

I ran across this unposted blog from 2010 and decided to share.

Why am I such a sucker? It’s because I continue to buy Bill Zebub’s films. I guess it’s my unquenchable curiosity, or mere stupidty, but in the last few years, I’ve purchased pretty much all of his new ones (and resold some), and also gotten a few of the older ones at horror conventions, where I think he was peddling them 4 for $30, which I obliged. Much like newer Jess Franco films, you can guarantee a loose storyline, loose women, and tons of lingering boob and bush shots. Simply put, Bill's movies are made for perverts by a pervert (dang, I guess I just outted myself again). Not all of his roster of chicks (strippers, groupies, etc) are great looking, but don't seem the least bit bashful to bare it, which is why they got the gig.

Let me give you a little bit of history on Bill and I. I made the mistake of having my girlfriend sit in on a screening of Zombiechrist at Cinema Wasteland last year. Needless to say, she wasn’t the least bit impressed, and seemed rather disgusted most of the time. Plus, it didn’t help that it was late at night in a packed room with a bunch of drunks, who saw no fault in yelling at the screen. Sure, that’s commonplace at a convention, but rudities like “Yeah, give it to her” and “F*** the bitch!,” are rude in most settings outside of 42nd Street theatres. But, the more I watched, the more I was torn, as I wanted to walk out because I could see her discomfort, but I also wanted to stay. So, being the caring boyfriend I am, we stayed. I know, I know, what an asshole I am, but needless to say, I won’t happen again, as I'll be attending the convention alone this year, where Bill's supposed to unleash his 46th feature, Rap Sucks.

His latest feature, I Told You Not to Call the Police, is pretty much typical Bill, minus the blasphemous religious dialog and intended humor we've gotten from the others I've seen. Once again, the chicks can’t act, and awkwardly go through the motions, but still end up baring it all. Now, I’m not saying that Bill’s films don’t carry any jerk merits, but they’re usually once overs, then easily forgotten.

The highlight of the disc is the bonus feature, Assmonster, which is the sheer essence of how and why Bill’s guerilla films are made. All the humor is in this one, but Bill kept it to "tops off" only. He must not have had as much influence as he has today in making the panties drop.

Stuff I Watched: A Thousand Cuts, Girls Against Boys, Demon Queen, Junk Films, American Fetish, Bunny Game, and Blood Beach

It's been quite a while since I've posted, so I can only hope that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and not fungus, as the Barenaked Ladies would say. While I've bought and watched quite a bit over the last few months, I haven't really felt compelled to talk about them at length. So, as I've done in the past, this is more of a video round-up, giving my brief thoughts on several movies, in hopes of steering your time and hard earned bucks in the right direction.

A Thousand Cuts--what a snoozefest. Luckily, I had a free Redbox rental, but sadly, I wasted it on this. Another movie that became background viewing while on the internet and I remember very little about.

Girls Against Boys--I didn’t have very high expectations for this, but it was a decent flick. Nothing really new as far as premise, but executed well enough to keep my attention, and the geisha scene was kind of creepy. Something I’d pick up if found on the cheap.

Demon Queen--while I’m sure Massacre Video used the best possible film source for the transfer, a lot of the picture was dark and sometimes muddy. This is the first and very obscure shot-on-video movie from 1985-86 by Donald Farmer, who also did Savage Vengeance (also being re-released by Massacre Video) and Cannibal Hookers. The biggest mystique around Demon Queen is that for such a forgettable movie, original VHS versions would sell for hundreds on Ebay. There’s nothing great about this movie, but for fans of DIY cinema, it’ll complement their SOV collection, with some blood and boobs to boot.

Junk Films--Oh, Junk Films, I wanted you to trump anything I’d seen before, and put the beloved Orozco the Embalmer to shame. I hoped you’d make me queasy and hang my head in shame, then feel compelled to hide you when others came around. But, rather than make we scream like a little girl, I got bored, and thought I was just watching another Traces of Death or Death Scenes rip off. Sadly, A&E’s Death Detectives: The LA County Coroner brought more (demented) pleasure.

While there are some interesting scenes, and the limited hardbox from Massacre Video is totally badass, the contents didn’t live up to the hype. What you’ll see are several accident scenes from India and Thailand, with bashed-in heads, loose organs, and blood trails. There’s also suicide, a few death rituals, and cremated remains, but much worse can be seen on the internet.

It serves as a good companion piece to Orozco (same director/photographer) and is worth having to complete your gross-out collection, but I know there’s much more Asian underground shock just waiting to be discovered.

Limited Hardboxes from Massacre Video

American Fetish--this is a pretty tame look at the industry, following the story of a son exploring a murder and his father’s fetish films. It felt like a Cinemax After Dark movie, which come a dime a dozen and get little attention other than when T&A flash on the screen.

Bunny Game--If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was a Lucifer Valentine film, which much like his films, became tedious. What is it with bunny-titled movies and BJs? Brown Bunny had a full-on BJ and so does Bunny Games. Cocaine + prostitution + torture, sexual perversion and head shaving + lots of screaming = Bunny Games. Watch for sheer curiosity, then follow it up with your favorite comedy.

Blood Beach--I’m really surprised this hasn’t been released on DVD here in the states, seeing that it has John Saxon and Burt Young. This was my first viewing, and yeah, it’s not a great film, but does have a kick-ass poster and tagline (Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…you can't get to it.). This probably ran on late-night TV and was a big hit, but when lumping it with all the other horror films of the time, it’s pretty forgettable (other than the title). So, what’s taking people out on the beach? Is it a sandshark? A tremor? Someone living in an underground bunker? I won’t ruin it for ya, but I will say, the reveal wasn’t worth the wait. I’m sure it’ll be released in the future, but if you can’t wait, there are plenty of bootlegs running around, and you might even score this alternate artwork.

So, I'll try not to be such a stranger, and if you have any suggestions on what you'd like for me to review, please let me know. Don't forget, we do have a Facebook page, and thanks for reading!

Nov 12, 2012

Scorpion Releasing and a few notes on Synapse Films for 2013

Scorpion Releasing (owned and ran by Walter Olsen, brother of William Olsen of Code Red) has made a name for itself over the last couple of years by releasing titles that have never seen the light of day on Region 1 DVD, re-releasing others with new widescreen and HD transfers (and added bonus features), and giving us some that were originally slated for his brother's company. Some of the more notable ones for this year were Mortuary, The Carpenter, Humongous, and The Day After Halloween, but their catalog isn’t just limited to horror and sci-fi.

Much like my big applause post for Scream Factory, I wanted to compile a list of Scorpion titles that are anticipated to hit in the remaining months of 2012 and thru 2013. Of course, not all of the artwork has been determined, so movie posters/VHS artwork has been provided for your viewing pleasure.

Death Ship (1980)
-out now on DVD, Blu-Ray available Dec 18th

Georgia, Georgia (1972)
-out now, Diana Sands and Dirk Benedict

Baby Sister (1983)
-out now, a made-for-TV movie with Phoebe Cates

Fantasist (1986)
-out Nov 19th, Moira Harris and Timothy Bottoms

Grizzly (1976) Blu-Ray
-March 2013

Day of the Animals (1977) Blu-Ray
-slated for May 2013

Human Experiments (1979)
-Linda Haynes and Geoffrey Lewis

Ed and His Dead Mother (1993)
-Steve Buscemi

The Power (1984)

Celia: Child of Terror (1989)

Alley Cat (1984)

Angels Brigade (1989)

Monster Club (1980)

Tower of Evil (1972) aka Beyond the Fog aka Horror on Snape Island

The Return (1980)
-Cybill Shepherd

The Farmer (1977)

Again, I’ll update this as I hear new things, but feel free to join their fan-ran Facebook page (no official one has been opened yet), which provides new release info and a chance to discuss your favorites and future wants.

And, since I can't deny my love for Synapse Films and the great things they bring, they recently mentioned 2013 Blu-Ray plans for Hands of the Ripper (1971), Countess Dracula (1971), The Violent Shit Collection (Andreas Schnaas 1989-2010), McBain (1991), The Odd Angry Shot (1979), Slaughter of the Innocents (1993), and Thundercrack (1975).

Tis another great year for independent film companies, so thankfully I don't have to clog up my brain with more over-produced, over-CGIed superhero movies!!

And, for tid-bits to tide you over in between posts, check out the Sideshow Facebook page.