Archive for Scream Factory

FINAL EXAM (Scream Blu-ray) – It’s a Very Simple Formula

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 07/12/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

When it comes to horror, the class of 1981 holds a pretty prestigious place in the hearts and minds of the scary movie fan. Let me throw some names at you. Funhouse. The Prowler. The Howling. Friday the 13th Pt. 2. An American Werewolf in London. My Bloody Valentine. The Burning. Evil Dead. Halloween II. The Beyond. That’s a class that a run of the mill horror picture can get lost in. It’s a class in which a slasher movie can easily be forgotten or at least pushed aside in favor of some of the more memorable entries in that then en vogue subgenre. How do you stand apart when everyone has a knife, coeds and a masked killer? Go the other way altogether. The pitch of Final Exam released one of the greatest years in horror history is that it bucked some of the trends to find its own voice. Final Exam attempted to be different in a year of formula. Coca Cola vs. Pepsi right? Probably more like Pepsi vs. Crystal Pepsi. It went underground, hit VHS and then didn’t see DVD until the mid-2000’s when Scorpion Releasing took it off the most wanted list becoming a cult classic though still not nearly as recognized as some of the other titles from ’81. It was on the most wanted list because it had slowly been recognized for its innovation, for its humor and what one might call merit with the slasher subgenre. Scream Factory has taken it one step further and placed this moderately original slasher flick on to a handsome looking Blu-ray. For many this will be where their love affair with Final Exam begins.

Synopsis:

At Lanier College, the semester is almost over. Exam week is coming to a close when some upper classmen play a prank by staging a phony terrorist attack. But the next moment of excitement at the school won’t be a prank. And it’s something a lot more final than an exam. Students are falling prey to a knife-wielding maniac stalking the school, bent on making sure that for some, school is out…forever!
Trailer:

Final Exam takes its time to get going. While there’s a strong opening scene involving a very familiar face in a car with a young buck getting ready to make some bad decisions in the back seat, the rest of the movie is a mix of humor, moderately developed characters and scene setting. Don’t get me wrong, Final Exam isn’t a horror comedy per say though I think fans of Student Bodies would get a kick out of some of it’s obvious meta moments where the characters seem to be in on the gag. Developing characters in any way shape or form simply isn’t done in slasher films. Gore effects. Knife kills. Shower scenes. These things are developed in slasher films.

Final Exam features very little blood even though there’s a big ol’ butcher knife puncturing an array of victims. There’s as much blood in a fraternity prank as there is in the rest of the movie. In that same regard, Final Exam doesn’t hit a nude scene until an hour and fifteen minutes or so into the picture (but who’s counting). The hero isn’t clearly defined or at least I redefined who I thought it was not even certain at the end if I had picked the correct person. Also, the killer’s motive… let’s see if you can figure out (red herring alert). You see this guy plain as day, unmasked through nearly all the kill sequences. No makeup. Remember that list of movies we started off with. The class of 1981. Which movie among them featured un-monster based, unmasked killers?

When you watch this movie you see how the trends could have gone if Siskel and Ebert had their way. Admittedly they wouldn’t have enjoyed this picture very much either, but not because of the gratuitous violence and sex that seemed to torment them like time traveling Puritans in search of a witch to burn. There simply isn’t any gratuity (one nude scene does not gratuity make). Please don’t let that deter you because this is a very fun movie. Final Exam fills a gap laid by the entire horror movement during the early 198o’s and is well worth your time.

Keep your eyes peeled for a few horror posters on one of the main character’s walls. Tool Box Murders. Corpse Grinders. Diretor Jimmy Huston must’ve been a fan of the drive-in during the 70’s.

Onto the disc itself. The biggest surprise for Final Exam? No reversible cover art. Just a black page on the inside. On the front is the traditional poster. Extras include a trailer, interviews with assorted cast members who detail how they got involved with the project and in doing so seem to reveal that this picture wasn’t like the rest. There’s also a commentary track provide by cast members Joel Rice, Cecile Bagdadi and Sherry Willis-Burch. This differs from the Scorpion Releasing version. Note: 1080p Hi-Def 1.78:1 AR.Mono audio. It’s a good looking picture to be sure that really takes to Blu-ray nicely. This is very much in line with the quality of previous Scream Factory releases.

If you collect slasher pictures from the 80’s, your collection cannot be complete without Scream Factory’s release of Final Exam. Its look and feel are truly unique, is sure to go over well at parties and seems to become somewhat critical of its own genre, self reflective and openly asking for a more original horror pictures while still sticking to model slasher picture format.

Scream Factory’s Summer of Fear is almost here!

Order your copy today. Available. May 13th.

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NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – Count Kinski I Presume

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 07/11/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

When I was a kid I had this book called An Album of Modern Horror and in 2011 during the month of October I did a little write up about it. Check it out here: How to Make a Horror Fan. I took it out of the library in my little town and pretty much never returned it, and while I hadn’t seen many of the movies in the book at the time I knew that the images inside told stories of their own. Case in point: Nosferatu. Not the original Nosferatu mind you, the F.W. Murnau classic vampire picture that broker all the rules, copyrights and was nearly lost due to Stoker’s widow. Nope. We’re talking about the methodical, atmospheric, less terrifying and more melancholy with a hint of super creep Werner Herzog remake starring Klaus Kinski. Scream Factory is releasing the Blu-ray of the Herzog classic, the original Nosferatu having hit Blu-ray from Kino Classics this past year.

Synopsis: Dracula with liberties taken (I wrote that myself).

Real Synopsis from Scream Factory:

It is 1850 in the beautiful, perfectly-kept town of Wismar. Jonathan Harker is about to leave on a long journey over the Carpathian Mountains to finalize real estate arrangements with a wealthy nobleman. His wife, Lucy begs him not to go and is troubled by a strong premonition of danger.

Despite her warnings, Jonathan arrives four weeks later at a large, gloomy castle. Out of the mist appears a pale, wraith-like figure with a shaven head and deep-sunken eyes who identifies himself as Count Dracula. The events that transpire slowly convince Harker that he is in the presence of a vampyre. What he doesn’t know is the magnitude of danger he, his wife and his town are about to experience
Trailer:

This is a high quality Scream Factory transfer that look perfect preserving all the subtle strangeness that Herzog is known for and brought to Nosferatu upon its recreation. The picture delightfully includes film grain, has not been DNR’d to death, and feels crisp. Stereo Audio. 1080p 1.78:1 AR. The disc contains the trailer,commentary with Herzog and the classic making of feature. The cover features both black and alternate white versions of the traditional movie art. I had Nosferatu on VHS has a kid and the art looks identical. Both the English and German versions are on the disc which were shot at the same time and not simply dubbed. I prefer the German version because Kinski sounds better in German. It looks natural.

Onto the movie…

Actual Page Grab from An Album of Modern Horror

Herzog movies get their fair share of analysis. Fans of his work seems to tear apart his pictures and their various releases to the point of a sick degenerate disorder. That being said, I don’t want to pretend like a I’m one of them. I love Nosferatu, both the original and the remake. Herzog’s version feels sad. It makes me feel the utmost sympathy for a vampire who is doomed to live for all eternity save for some fortunate sunbathing accident. This is in direct contrast to every other version of Dracula I had ever known including the original Nosferatu, Browning’s Dracula or Hammers rendition to name a few. It’s offputting especially when I think of Klaus Kinski in the lead role, a force to be planned for like a Hurricane or Noreaster. The great vamp is a kitten looking for a little peace, love and a new abode. It almost makes you feel like Herzog wasted one of the greatest looks for a vamp on a melancholy post modern personal story about living forever rather than the angry Drac of Stoker and featured in previous films. The images of plague, rat infestation and coffins of the infected being carried out are truly the most terrifying part of the movie beyond the simply look of the Count.

The liberties that Herzog takes with the Dracula story are actually enjoyable, keeping the story fresh and adding a distinctly German spin on a rendition of the German adaptation of Stoker’s work. That Herzog includes plague, maintains the great switcheroo between Mina Harker and Lucy as well as sets the whole thing in Transylvania and Germany means you may not actually know how the whole thing is going to workout. What part does Van Helsing even play in the Herzog tale as opposed to the Murnau tale and in contrast to the Stoker version? It’s nice to know that after all these years of watching vampire movies you might not actually know how this one works out from the get go.

The images in An Album of Modern Horror still give me nightmares, and while viewing Nosferatu this go around I placed the image from the book over top of the still frame on the screen remembering what it was like to see Kinski. Bald. Stark White. With Rat Fangs. The Scream Factory release of Nosferatu will impress the Herzog fans; they’re hard ones to please from my experience. It is a beautifully preserved and transferred version of this classic adaptation of one of the most important films in German history. Herzog’s vision is unique and more contemporary, but it doesn’t loose its sense of importance to the horror genre.

Nosferatu releases May 20th. Order your copy now.

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EVILSPEAK (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – The Evil Doesn’t Just Speak. It SCREAMS!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 07/08/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

As part of a challenge to myself to see all of the movies on the Video Nasty list last year I had the absolute pleasure to enjoy Evilspeak for this first time. You guys know what the Video Nasty list is by now. It’s a shopping cart full of movies that were either prosecuted as being obscene or confiscated in the mid-80’s in the United Kingdom under the Video Recording Act of 1984. It was amended to include additional titles both formally and other titles would be confiscated even though they were not on the black list. While the reason I watched Evilspeak was because it was on the list, I was not altogether unfamiliar with it. The cover glared down at my from the shelves at Long Valley Video growing up, and though I didn’t get the chance to see it, I knew that I wanted to and badly. Scream Factory aligned with Code Red have given us an opportunity to see it on Blu-ray for the first time, the DVD release having previously been available through Code Red. If you are not familiar with Code Red I urge you to check out their product line. They put out some classic horror, action and Sci-Fi titles that are must buys, some Blu-ray and others on DVD. For today we’ll stick with the Scream Factory release of Evilspeak.

 

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

 

Life sucks for Stanley Coppersmith (Clint Howard, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School), a teenage outcast who’s bullied by everyone at a strict military academy. When Stanley discovers the crypt of a 16th Century Satanist beneath the chapel, he creates a computerized Black Mass that unleashes unholy revenge upon his tormentors. Now, all hell is about to break loose! Co-starring Joseph Cortese (American History X), Charles Tyner (Cool Hand Luke), R.G. Armstrong (Children of the Corn), Don Stark (That ‘70s Show), Lenny Montana (The Godfather), Richard Moll (House) and Haywood Nelson (What’s Happening), Evilspeak is not for the faint of heart.

 

 

I want you to think about 1981. Computers. Heavy Metal. Fraternity comedies. The movies that would prod the horror world created a frenzy of sequels, rip offs, copycats and out and out cash grabs, but for as for Evilspeak we are introduced to a truly unique picture that seems to play on major themes of late 70’s and early 80’s horror without being redundant. The major innovation in this particular release is the inclusion of a monochrome computer, rather archaic by our standards today, as the call to worship at the mighty hand of Esteban, the bringer of evil and super techno-murder. Hell, the alternate title for this release is The Computer Murders. It plays out movies that would follow shortly like Electric Dreams and Weird Science though both of those movies obviously have comedic intent. Further down the line we see a similar storyline in the early 90’s release of Brainscan. The heavy metal influence of Evilspeak isn’t necessarily apparent as our main character played by Clint Howard isn’t a metalhead looking for revenge against his peers, but he certainly embodies the same character structure as will be found in movies like Trick or Treat in about five years. Hey, the guys into evil and calling up strange old priests. He may not be playing records backward or wearing a leather jacket and studs, but the archetype is there. He wants revenge, nerd like even… a future member of Lambda Lambda Lambda.  Remember Scream Factory heads… Final Exam is also coming at you from Scream Factory, also an alumni of the Class of 1981.

 

Evilspeak is a gory good time with plenty of obscure or cult iconic favorites to keep the movie fresh. Richard Moll as Esteban, the Satanic Priest? Check. Luca Brasi aka Lenny Montana of Godfather fame with a handful of puppies for everyone! Stanley Coopersmith embodied by Clint Howard in a performance that is both eerie and endearing; it’s hard to believe you feel moments of real sympathy for Coopersmith before he realizes that the power he wields can be used to a most vulgar end. How about R.G. Armstrong? He’s featured in another Scream Factory release, The Beast Within, but I remember him best from his appearance in Friday the 13th The Series as evil Uncle Lewis who releases all the cursed objects into the world and beginning the hunt for Uncle Jack, Mickey and Ryan. If you can’t get into these performances, there are always a gang of man-eating hogs to keep you entertained.

 

With iconic Blu-ray cover in hand preserving one of the traditional posters for the release, the Scream Factory Blu-ray gives us something to feel powerfully evil about; the interior displays two different foreign representations of the same cover. The transfer is a 1080p HD supervised and approved by director Erick Weston who also provides the commentary track. Interviews include Joseph Cortese, Clint Howard, Hayward Nelson, Claude Early Jones, Richard Moll and Don Stark. I cannot stress enough that the interviews with Howard and Moll are reason enough to upgrade to this release if you’re not a quality hound. Moll is a riot, but his insight into the world of horror movies during the 80’s and acting is eye opening. Clint Howard is a consummate professional who deserves all the attention he’s been receiving in recent years due to a cult following that has embraced his perfectly planned awkward performances. He’s not Ron Howard’s brother. Ron Howard is HIS brother! This is a great looking disc, restored to pre-X rating built to test your Video Nasty Button.

 

You hear the rumor that Anton LaVey loved this little picture, and it’s important to remember that he also had a minor role in Devil’s Rain, another supernatural horror picture with a Satanic thread. That should be enough to get you on board. If you don’t want to take the head of the Church of Satan’s word for it, then maybe you’ll take mine. In the last year, we’ve seen two releases that feature Richard Moll as a bad guy in a horror movie (Night Train to Terror released by Vinegar Syndrome). Maybe it’s time to start your Moll collection to go along with your Howard collection. Hear EvilSpeak. Speak Evilspeak. See Evilspeak from Scream Factory

 

You can pick up Scream Factory’s release of Evilspeak NOW!

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SLEEPAWAY CAMP (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – You May Not Be Coming Home, But That Doesn’t Mean the Blu-ray Won’t.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 07/04/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

The real question on your mind should be, what is that damn song that Angela is humming ever so delicately, ever so romantically in the moonlight by the lakeside holding the one camper she’d let get close to her? Man, does that get in your head. Of course you know that’s not the only thing you’re going to get stuck in your head at the end of this feature (and we won’t tell you what else there is to remember if you don’t know). There’s actually so much to enjoy in Sleepaway Camp and not just the original Hiltzik classic. Whether it’s the strange choice of color that makes you feel uncomfortable, the simple but poignant score, the overacting, the underacting, the poorly drawn on mustache or maybe just the special effects creativity; believe it or not this movie actually gets under my skin.  The entire series has merit whether it be well executed horror comedy, filthy smut rehash or perhaps the worst of the worst sequels (that would be part IV). Of course there’s Return to Sleepaway Camp as well which is a world all it’s own. Scream Factory has started off the Summer of Fear with the most appropriate title to get you in the mood to be outdoors, in nature, watching your friends get eaten by fish or bees or boiling water.
Synopsis from Scream Factory:

After a terrible boating accident killed her family, shy Angela Baker (Felissa Rose, Return To Sleepaway Camp) went to live with her eccentric Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky.

This summer, Martha decides to send them both to Camp Arawak, a place to enjoy the great outdoors. Shortly after their arrival, a series of bizarre and violent “accidents” begin to claim the lives of various campers. Has a dark secret returned from the camp’s past…or will an unspeakable horror end the Summer season for all?

When I was a kid, my sister and boyfriend picked up Sleepaway Camp to watch with me. We had heard that it was shocking, but of course at that point there was no internet to spoil the movie for us. The ending left us shocked. My mother even more so. I hope the trauma has wiped her memory clean. From there a jumped to Sleepaway Camp II which became my favorite. I think at first it was just the VHS cover, but I would in no way say that SCII is a better movie or scarier than Sleepaway Camp. In fact Sleepaway Camp is actually a really scary movie once you get past some of the budgetary restraints and forced dialogue. Some of it just feels so damn real. The interviews mentioned that fans complain about the baseball scene that takes FOREVER. Well, it just felt like camp to me, and has some of the greatest insults and one-liners in the entire picture. Go back and watch it again now that you’re not waiting for boobies (skip to part two or three for numerous party hats).

I was amazed at how good this movie looked. I mean, I have an old DVD copy and a VHS copy of this movie, and I didn’t know that it could look this good. The colors so vibrant and the picture so perfectly clear. We’re about a movie that is as close to a 35mm print as you’re going to get, with well truly great sound. This is a new 2K scan of the original camera negative. The slip sleeve cover contains a disc with reversible artwork, one side is the newly commissioned artwork from the extremely talented Nathan Thomas Milliner that I think really captures the key moments form the film. The other side contains the traditional knife-in-shoe pic. Each disc, the DVD and Blu-ray features the traditional cover art feature.

Extras include several commentaries with Felissa Rose (Angela) and Johnathan Tierston (new), one with Robert Hiltzik, Felissa Rose and Jeff Hayes (the guy behind the greatest Sleepaway Camp site every created). There’s an interview reel with full discussions by all the important folks in the movie that is absolutely fantastic put together by Justin Beahm of Fango fame. Truly if you need an excuse to pick this disc up and the updated transfer and cool cover art isn’t enough, this feature is the thing that should get you. There’s a Sleepaway Camp Scrapbook, film by Jeff Hayes (Judy) which must be watched to be believed… which I’m afraid isn’t entirely a good thing in this case.

I was raised on summer camp horror. Beyond Sleepaway Camp and its sequels, I think that Summer Camp Nightmare is fantastic. There’s the obvious movies like Friday the 13th and its sequels or The Burning, but I never get the feeling of being at camp like the original Sleepaway Camp. The sense of dread is completely realistic even if the acting is less than real, and it’s balanced with humor to keep you entertained while you’re trying to figure out who the killer could possibly be. You’ll think you know. You’ll be right and wrong at the same time. Sleepaway Camp as released by Scream Factory might just be the feel good hit of the Summer of Fear. It’s sure to shock you even if you know exactly what’s going to happen. You can never prepare for THAT! Do yourself a favor and make Sleepaway Camp part of the your pre-campfire tradition. Hey, at least if you don’t come home, you’ll have seen the movie can say it told-you-so.

For a complete look at the entire Sleepaway Camp series join me and Jeff Konopka on Dead Air’s retrospective series for Sleepaway Camp HERE.

Sleepaway Camp is available May 27th. Order now!

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House in the Alley (Scream Factory DVD) – Baby’s Got … an Axe?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 06/30/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

The Summer of Fear is here for Scream Factory fans. May has seen some pretty strong releases featuring Evilspeak, Final Exam, Herzog’s Nosferatu and a super collectible edition of Sleepaway Camp. While that may seem like a great big buffet of horror goodness, there’s another DVD that’s popping out of their golden womb this month, House in the Alley. While you may not have heard of House in the Alley it actually is a strong, newer release from the Factory straight out of Vietnam where it had some significant success. Sometimes it’s important to support a label’s popular releases, the ones that we grew up on. House in the Alley may be a newer feature releasing in 2012, but it has all the hallmarks of mysterious, subdued, baby horror with moments to creep you out and moments to disturb.

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

A young couple, settling into their new life in their spacious home, loses their newborn to a miscarriage. After the tragedy, Thao is inconsolable and won’t let her baby’s body leave the house. She soon begins suffering from terrifying visions and she slowly begins to lose her sanity. Her husband, Thanh, soon begins experiencing strange things around their home and when his wife turns on him, he must race to uncover the secrets of the house in the alley before they both lose their sanity…and their lives


Tragedy in childbirth has given … well… birth to some of our favorite horror features. There are movies as popular as Rosemary’s Baby or It’s Alive and of course then there are features like Inside that just test the boundaries of horror. While House in the Alley begins as a somber, sad movie that features the loss of a child, it quickly evolves into a frenzied state of panic with supernatural twists and turns that wreak havoc with your sense of reality and narrative. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an avant-garde ghost picture. It’s really more of a psychological supernatural thriller. Watch a woman go inconsolably mad at the loss of her child and then watch a house or a visitor to the house or her own mind dissolve her sense of reality methodically. It is in the female lead’s performance that the most angst and pain can be felt while being heavily supported by a strong leading man who conveys sympathy and genuine concern. It is very easy for me to put myself into our protagonist’s shoes having had a baby girl in the last two years.

This is a DVD release from Scream Factory. It looks good, but does not feature extras. Scream Factory often creates its own motives for releasing lesser known features. In this case a very successful picture from Vietnam with horror base needed a release on American soil to bring it’s power to the states.

While I compare it in genre to Rosemary’s Baby, please understand that this production isn’t quite on the same plane as a big Hollywood feature produced by William Castle and it isn’t about the anti-christ or pregnancy a la Satan. It’s pacing is flawed at times, running slow and often the chaos is disjointing and a little confusing. The supernatural elements do fit in with many of familiar tropes and aesthetics from Asian Horror of the mid-thousands. Fans of baby horror, J-Horror and Asian supernatural thrillers need apply.

You can order House in the Alley now. Releases May 27th

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The Monkey’s Paw (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – WW Jacobs Comes to Chiller Films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 06/28/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

The word on the street is that Scream Factory fans, in general, are not thrilled with some of the Chiller films releases that occasionally find their way through the cult horror maze onto Blu-ray with a heroes welcome whether deserved or not. I have found a couple that I personally enjoy, but none has garnered quite the sense of dread as the Monkey’s Paw solely based on word of mouth. Now I am familiar with the tale of the Monkey’s Paw. You make three wishes on the paw, and they come true but maybe not the way you had planned. My favorite retelling of this story is in the Amicus Tales from the Crypt rendition from 1972 in the tale Wish You Were Here followed by Wishmaster which loosely follows a similar arc.  When I was a kid I used to take out W.W. Jacobs books at the library, the author of the original story around which so many tales have been spun to various moral ends. Does Brett Simmons version of this classic cautionary tale stay true enough to the original story while exploring new ground?

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

After Jake Tilton (C.J.Thomason, Sutures) acquires a mystical monkey’s paw talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, he finds his world turned upside-down after his first two wishes result in his malevolent coworker, Tony Cobb (Stephen Lang, Avatar), being resurrected from the dead. When Cobb pressures Jake into using the final wish to reunite Cobb with his son, his intimidation quickly escalates into relentless murder: forcing Jake to outwit his psychotic friend and save his remaining loved ones. Also starring Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, Nurse 3D), Charles S. Dutton (Legion), Michelle Pierce (NCIS) and Daniel Hugh Kelley (Cujo), The Monkey’s Paw is adapted from the renowned short story by W.W. Jacobs, and picks up where the short story left off.

I expected to dislike The Monkey’s Paw, but actually, I didn’t. I rather enjoyed the story which was familiar and yet had had a bayou makeover. Any time a group of blue collar workers sit around a bar, bitch about their boss and drink Abita, I’m game. I think I actually lived that movie for awhile. While it may not be the cult classic film of my childhood and certainly doesn’t hold up to a retelling of Monkey’s Paw a la Amicus, it holds its own and manages to find its way to the end of the movie with some lighthearted moments, some clever and enjoyable violence and a bad guy that really fit the bill. Stephen Lang is a born bad guy and plays the undead friend of our protagonist well with great care taken to feel as real as possible.
I don’t want you to think that I am unaware of The Monkey’s Paw’s flaws as well. Some of the acting is completely overdone and melodramatic, it lacks enough gore or violence and doesn’t take advantage of a truly magnificent industrial press in a more visual sense. The music is tired. The end, is obvious, and while this may seem like enough to kill a movie, we must remember that this is the horror genre; horror folk forgive nearly anything for an evil lead worth watching.
The disc itself looks pretty good though you can tell that the production was on a rather low budget. Extras include an audio commentary with the director, cinematographer and lead actor, CJ Thomason (monkey paw owner… good guy). There’s a behind the scenes piece and the obligatory trailer. The outside cover features a great big monkey paw and the reverse is a still from the movie. 1080p HD HD 5.1 audio. 1.78:1 AR.  Remember that this is a newly produced movie so it looks proper in this higher definition without the threat of an atrocious transfer.
You may be hearing some overtly negative things about The Monkey’s Paw, but I’m going to say give it a shot. It may feel slightly watered down, but the story is one with which you are familiar and the movie isn’t boring. It holds it’s own. Sure I’d love to see some truly gritty shit on screen or maybe a few more wishes than we get in  the picture, but at least it doesn’t cop out and try to play Wishmaster when it really could. Scream Factory’s relationship with Chiller continues to interest me creating opportunities to see a movie that I might not otherwise care about. I’d love to know what you guys think. Any merit to The Monkey’s Paw?
You can preorder The Monkey’s Paw now. The Summer of Fear continues with this interesting selection from Scream Factory. Available June 17th.

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Ravenous (Scream Factory Blu-ray) – Of Hunger and Of Gore

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 06/26/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy TERROR of  DOCTERROR.COM will be joining us as a resident guest writer for an undetermined amount of time. Be prepared to have your eyes written shut with the pre-history and post-apocalypse of HORROR. Give him a like over on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

The last time I watched Ravenous I was working at Blockbuster Video. It was 1999, and DVD was becoming the hip new thing. We were prepping customers for what they might see on a disc everything from features, to packaging differences to those “black bars” that nobody could get their Mylar tape heads around. I watched Ravenous on a tape in order to prep for it’s upcoming release. This was after Trainspotting had made a great impact on my life and welcomed me into the drug world of Irvine Welsh. That’s where I first saw Robert Carlyle’s furious anger and glad to say it was not the last place I would enjoy his acting. He made me laugh, but there was some real power to his accent and scream and fury. Now I knew that his role in Ravenous wouldn’t exactly be humorous, but I don’t think I could have expected the wholesome cannibal goodness that was about to befall me. Also keep in mind that while I had seen Cannibal Ferox at a rather young age, but wasn’t altogether familiar with much of the existing cannibal cinema beyond Silence of the Lambs or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Let’s say that I’ve seen a bit since first enjoying Ravenous. I’ve seen just how far cannibal movies can go. I’ve seen their limitations, and Ravenous seems to have actually broken some of the boundaries set forth by Euro-Cannibal pictures of the 70’s and 80’s finding a new way to tell a tale of hungry folks in the wild, picking apart men as if they were straight from the deli counter. Scream Factory has chosen to release a movie about eating people that is a pretty-gory as a Deodato film or a Lenzi carnage-buster, but it is also a movie filled with intellectual stamina, fine acting and amazing cinemascapes that bring to life a period in American history through hungry eyes.  And of course it has some really cool gore.

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

It’s a recipe for nonstop action and excitement when the inhabitants of an isolated military outpost go up against a marauding band of cannibals in a deadly struggle for survival! Ever watchful of the enemies who might literally tear them apart, the uneasy alliance of soldiers must fight brutal elements of the Sierra Nevada wilderness – as well as their own murderous instincts to stay alive. Directed by Antonia Bird (Priest), this white-knuckle thriller stars Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3, Prometheus), Robert Carlyle (Once Upon A Time) and David Arquette (Scream 4).

Ravenous is a movie of palate. It suggests that hunger knows no bounds, and that pushed to their limit, men will eat each other without moral culpability or apprehension. The concept of gaining the strength from eating of human flesh of a man you kill is nothing new, but it’s corralled into a unique tale during American expansion into the West. The common tale of folks getting stuck up in a mountain snow bound seems to be at least moderately popular not withstanding tales of the Donner Party. What makes Ravenous successful is that it is a tale of one man’s journey into the wilderness into isolation away from the world of man who is then confronted by the world that is the wilderness in the form of a man, gone wild, cannibal, power hungry. Unlike cannibal features in the Italian cycle, the focus isn’t on cruelty to animals or native struggle against imperialism. Ravenous doesn’t focus on gratuity though it is a visceral, gory experience balancing human gore with various food stuffs to emphasize disgust. This is highly effective and, in fact, moderately nauseating to even me.

What isn’t immediately obvious about a movie called Ravenous that features human flesh on the menu with great splatter and spill, is that it is also quite funny, intentionally so. Director Antonio Bird decided to make a movie about very serious stuff that doesn’t take itself so seriously as to think itself above its audience. Yes, the concept are traditional and philosophical, but even the Mona Lisa had to take a dump. It’s this comedic timing and presence that can turn a gory moment into a moment to cheer at the screen. That’s not to say that the picture is without startling moments that can be quite frightening where the tension builds and the survival will surely be of the fittest. The loser is on the menu. There’s a reason this cast was put together with actors who can do both serious roles and have excellent comic timing. David Arquette wasn’t just cast in Ravenous because he could play a cop in a Wes Craven movie.

The Scream Factory release is an HD transfer 1080p AR: 2.35:1, DTS HD 5.1 audio. Of course it’s a significant upgrade to the edition I once watched on tape, but it looks excellent. The screen seems divided into three colors. Gory reds. Shadows of deep black and white boisterous contrasty snow. It’s a superior product that looks amazing. Similarly excellent are the special features. With deleted scenes, TV spots, Still galleries, Costume design and production design as well as three commentary tracks, you’re bound to get a finer appreciate for the intent of the filmmakers. The release comes with two variations of cover art.

Ravenous is a highly effective, thought-provoking work of cannibal greatness that looks vibrant and feels raunchy. When was the last time you laughed so hard you puked? Maybe Ravenous will give you the opportunity to answer that question and all while having one Hell of a good time. Let me leave you with a word of advice: Think twice about eating a rare steak and watching Ravenous if your intent is to ever enjoy steak again. This is a potent release from Scream Factory with enjoyable modern gore that still carries with it a certain sense of almost surreal ooze that makes eating a person seem almost appetizing; an excellent edition to the Summer of Fear lineup.

You can order Ravenous now. Available June 3rd. Buy hungry!

REPOSTED FROM DOCTERROR.COM

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