Results tagged “Horror”

Phenomena (1985) Blu-ray Review: Argento at His Most Bewildering

Synapse Films releases Il Maestro's bizarre cult classic in three different forms, including the rare U.S. "Creepers" cut.
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One of Dario Argento's most eclectic contributions to the European horror movie boom of the 1980s, Phenomena is something like an Italian cinematic variation of paella with just a dash of LSD to enhance the flavor. Equal parts giallo, horror, and a lot of other interesting juicy bits of meat, the very strange story finds young Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino, daughter of an (unseen) American movie star. Sent to a prestigious Swiss boarding school whilst daddy dearest is off shooting a flick in the Philippines (presumably with Bruno Mattei), Jennifer soon discovers she has picked a rather cumbersome time

The Slayer (1982) Blu-ray Review: Marital Crisis Solved by Slayer

An idiosyncratic semi-slasher that barely got a theatrical release is finally on home video, uncut and restored.
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Achieving notoriety in the early '80s (at least across the pond) for being one of the Video Nasties, films legally challenged and sometimes prohibited from exhibition in the U.K., the American-made The Slayer is a slasher movie that does not quite want to be one. For certain, it has the overall structure of one: four people (two couples) go out to an isolated vacation spot, have personal tension, and then one by one are slaughtered in graphic ways. The murderer is a mystery, the deaths are gruesome and elaborate, with special make-up effects by an industry veteran. There's a final

The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975) Blu-ray Review: Deep Red Something

Sergio Martino's wild giallo/poliziotteschi/comedy hybrid is just as jaw-droppingly amazing as it sounds.
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An ordinary man of an artistic nature witnesses a brutal murder, only to meet a cast of kooky characters as he sets out to find the killer since the local police captain can't or won't do anything. Even if you've only ever seen one Italian giallo in your life, the aforementioned synopsis would go on to become one of the most conventional themes in an the otherwise unconventional subgenre. The motif is especially prominent in the early (and even later) works of Dario Argento, who changed both the face and style of filmmaking forever throughout the first half of the

Garagehouse Pictures to Screen 3D 35mm Print of Frankenstein's Bloody Terror

Paul Naschy's 1971 film to be presented theatrically in original 3D format for first time in nearly 50 years.
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Press Release: Garagehouse Pictures and Independent International Pictures announce new 35mm print of FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR in 3D available for theatrical bookings. Horror fans rejoice! One of the "holy grails" of cult cinema, presumed lost forever, has been unearthed and is heading back to the big screen for the first time in nearly fifty years. Garagehouse Pictures is proud to announce a newly struck 35mm print of FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR in 3D! The story behind FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR is legendary: in 1971, famed film producer Samuel Sherman's Independent International Pictures secured theatrical rights to distribute the Spanish werewolf movie MARK

Children of the Corn (1984) Blu-ray Review: Killer Kids Get Religion

'80s cult horror film based on a Stephen King short story gets seriously loaded Blu-ray release.
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Cult movies aren't the same as good movies. Good movies generally have decent production values, interesting stories and scripts, nuanced performances, and resonant themes. Cult movies can have any or all of the above, but can often dispense with most or even all of the markers of quality to create their cult moments. That weird scene, that creepy image, that one thing you couldn't believe you were seeing. Children of the Corn misses a lot of marks as a good movie, but it sure has more than its share of cult-making moments. The premise helps a lot - in the

Phantasm: 5 Movie DVD Collection Review: The NeverEnding Horror Story

Don Coscarelli's franchise has always reflected the times. Now, the time has come to repackage and re-release it. Again.
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Although I was routinely exposed to the few horror film franchises that existed within the world of film before movies like Scream started to pop up all over the place, there was always something about the Phantasm series which appealed to my youthful self. Perhaps it was the creepy, lawless atmosphere where the dreaded Tall Man (as played by the late Grammy-winning Angus Scrimm, in what would become his claim to filmic fame, be it for better or worse) and his otherworldly demonic dwarfed minions reigned over the living, usually to quite cataclysmic extents. Or the iconic flying silver spheres

The Mummy (2017) Blu-ray Review: The League of Rather Average Gentlemen

Tom Cruise teams up with visually-impaired paint-by-numbers artist Alex Kurtzman to bring us something as old as ancient Egypt itself.
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First off, make no mistake, Universal's latest attempt at rebranding one of their many legendary classic horror movie franchises is a very inferior film. It didn't necessarily need to be so, however. In fact, I dare say I had relatively high hopes the film would be at least halfway entertaining in a manner which didn't involve shaking one's head in disbelief every couple of minutes. Alas, the studio that brought us the legendary 1932 tale of undead romance starring Boris Karloff is now the same company responsible for a slew of increasingly ridiculous Fast and Furious movies, horrifically written Fifty

Phantasm: Five Movie DVD Collection Review: More Silver Balls Than a Tall Man Can Handle

Collecting the entire franchise together for the first time in one cheaply made box.
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Take a moment and conjure up some images of horror-movie icons. Likely you’re picturing Jason’s hockey mask, or Freddy Kreuger’s knife fingers. If you are a little older, you might envision Frankenstein’s Monster or Count Dracula. Younger, and you’re imagining the Scream mask or that creepy little puppet from the Saw movies. Think a little harder and eventually you’ll remember a shiny metal ball drilling into someone’s skull. Phantasm’s little ball of death might not be as iconic as some of the above monster’s but it's pretty close. Call it second-tier horror iconography. Made in 1979, Phantasm never drew the

Effects (1980) Blu-ray Review: The First Snuff Movie to Get Snuffed Out

The AGFA releases the previously lost flick bout an entirely different sort of in-house FX, co-starring and featuring make-up by Tom Savini.
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Following in the wake of their previous release, The Zodiac Killer, the American Genre Film Archive is back with another killer offering. Put together by a group of aspiring young talent in rural Pennsylvania ‒ all of whom had met whilst working under the guidance of the late great George A. Romero during the filming of Martin in 1978 ‒ Effects was one of the first features to both tackle the latest urban legend of the time: the rumored existence of the "snuff" film. Two years prior to Effects raising its meager $55,000 budget, the controversial subject of the snuff

The Creep Behind the Camera / The Creeping Terror Blu-ray Review: Creepshots, Redefined

Synapse Films releases a docudrama about one of cinema's most inept movies, along with a new 2K scan of the original creature feature.
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Sometimes, the most interesting aspect of a movie is its production history. Especially when the movie in question is something as legendarily awful as Vic Savage's 1964 magnum oopus, The Creeping Terror ‒ a film so bad, it makes even the worst Ed Wood flick seem like fine art by comparison. Indeed, the story behind the infamous black-and-white no-budget monster movie messterpiece has garnered the interest of several twisted minds throughout the years, most notably by the honorably dishonorable mentionings of said in two of Harry and Michael Medved's books, The Golden Turkey Awards (1980) and Son of Golden Turkey

Synapse Films Brings the Beloved '90s Cult Horror Comedy Popcorn to Blu-ray This October

A loving homage to ’50s/’60s B-movies.
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Press release: In the history of Synapse Films few titles have generated as much excitement as POPCORN, director Mark Herrier’s 1991 cult favorite that’s been one of the most in-demand genre films of the Blu-ray era. Unavailable for over a decade, POPCORN now comes to HD in a deliciously butter-topped Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD release that will have fans craving for refills! What could be scarier than an all-night “Horrorthon”? A group of film students finds out when they stage just such an event at an abandoned movie palace. In addition to the three features—MOSQUITO, THE ATTACK OF THE

The Slayer Blu-ray Review: Definitely Not Buffy

Obscure '80s horror has more in common with European films than your typical slasher flick, but never quite manages to terrify.
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Two overworked and over-stressed couples take off for a weekend retreat on a secluded island for a little rest, relaxation, and maybe a little fishing too. There’s Kay (Sarah Kendall), a surrealist artist who has been having nightmares about a sadistic killer, and her husband David, a doctor who tries to be supportive but is growing increasingly tired of her hysterical paranoia. Her brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) was the one who thought a vacation might do Kay some good. He brought along Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook), who can’t seem to do anything but complain. At first, nobody takes Kay’s delirium’s seriously,

The Zodiac Killer (1971) Blu-ray Review: Trap Them and Thrill Them

The American Film Genre Archive teams up with Something Weird Video to bring us a quintessential slice of sleazy '70s exploitation filmmaking, paired with a second, rarely-seen serial killer flick.
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Pop quiz, hotshot: How many films can you think of that were made to trap a serial killer? If you find yourself suddenly developing a headache at the mere notion of such a thing having ever taken place, it's probably time you checked out Tom Hanson's creepy low-budget exploitation flick from 1971, The Zodiac Killer. Cranked out on a whim and released less than three weeks after the infamous real life serial killer mailed what would prove to be the last letter for nearly three years, this very loose adaptation of one of the modern world's greatest unsolved mysteries was

Blackenstein (1973) Blu-ray Review: Withstanding the Tests of Taste and Time Alike

Severin Films and Vinegar Syndrome team up to bring us a certifiable guilty pleasure, which is probably most famous due to the unsolved murder of its creator.
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When it comes to connecting with a cult movie enthusiast, the mere mention of the blaxploitation genre can effectively inspire one's ticker to start pumpin' blood ‒ usually to the strains of a funky theme song we have come to adopt as our own over the years. For instance, if you so much as even say "Shaft" to me, you had best be prepared for my best Isaac Hayes impersonation. This also applies to the rarer horror subgenre of urban exploitation features, the best example of which would more than likely be AIP's lovably ridiculous (but still right on track)

Warlock Collection Blu-ray Review: Satan's Son Starts Franchise

Collects the three loosely connected movies in the Warlock series: one good, one weird, one dreadful.
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Like House II, Warlock was one of those movies that I remember seeing heavily advertised on television as a kid, and it occupied a place of real intrigue in my mind. I was too young to see it in the theater, and as it turns out (though I had no idea at the time) a shake-up at the production company meant that Warlock barely even saw a theatrical release. But the ads, with their canny use of "Carmina Burana" created a space of real menace in my consciousness. This new Blu-ray release, the Warlock Collection, brings all three movies (the

The Transfiguration DVD Review: A Boy Walks Home Alone at Night

A boy obsessed with vampires starts to act like one in this grim coming-of-age drama.
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Michael O’Shea’s feature film debut, The Transfiguration, is less of a movie about an actual vampire that stalks its prey, and more of a movie about a socially awkward boy who finds his escape from reality in stories about vampires. Of course, his obsession with vampires goes beyond just talking about them and debating with his new girlfriend about how things like Twilight and True Blood are not “realistic” portrayals of the vampire lore. Granted, he hasn’t even read Twilight, he tells her, but he doesn’t think vampires would ever really sparkle. He’s essentially the crazed fanboy, while she’s the

The Intruder (1975) Blu-ray Review: A Lost Regional Horror Film Comes Home to Slay

After 42 years of obscurity, the lost '70s proto-slasher ‒ complete with marquee value guest stars Mickey Rooney, Yvonne De Carlo, and Ted Cassidy ‒ finally gets a chance to see the night.
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Even after one viewing of Chris Robinson's 1975 regional horror flick The Intruder, you can roughly envision what would have befallen the film had it ever made it to cinemas. The frequent releases it would have seen on drive-in double feature programs throughout the rest of the decade, usually under a misleading alias coupled with an equally deceptive ad campaign. The inevitability of falling into the Public Domain, only to be released by every grey-market videocassette label in the '80s, wherein the names of the picture's marquee value stars ‒ Mickey Rooney, Ted Cassidy, and Yvonne De Carlo ‒ would

Beyond the Darkness (Buio Omega) Blu-ray Review: She's a Real Doll

Get stuffed as Severin Films proves a dynamic HD master can make even Joe D'Amato's most notorious schlocker look sharp and polished.
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Of all the Italian horror maestros whose various works I discovered and worshipped as a teenager in the analog era, none stood out quite like the great Aristide Massaccesi did. Best known by his more marketable anglicized alias Joe D'Amato, the late low-budget director/producer/writer/cinematographer/editor of sleazy European exploitation cinema cranked out nearly 200 directorial efforts alone throughout his wild ride on Earth before heading off to the world beyond in 1999. Fortunately, Joe left behind a wide and varied legacy for both the devout and the curious alike, with numerous contributions to every feasible film genre in existence, from westerns

Pulse Blu-ray Review: Loneliness is Hell

Japanese horror doesn't so much scare, but fills you with unnamed dread.
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Horror in the 1980s was all about the slasher - mindless monsters mutilating teenagers in desolate places. With Scream, released in 1996, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson stabbed the slasher in its cold, dead heart. Scream (and its numerous sequels and countless inspired-bys) satirized slasher films with a self-aware sarcastic mocking. Around this same time, Americans first began discovering (and then remaking) Asian horror in general and Japanese horror in specific. These films neither relied on blood-filled violence (though certainly Japan has its fair share of gore maestros - the films of Takashi Miike come immediately to mind)

Re-Animator Limited Edition Blu-ray Review: One of Horror's Truly Finest Films

Arrow pulls out all the stops for an all-time horror classic.
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The horror genre tends to get a really bad rap. Yes, I know that some movies of this rather reviled film category are cheesy, campy, over and under-acted. They may not cater to everyone, or match their movie tastes. However, this genre is one of the most influential in film history. Horror movies are not just blood and guts, they can go beyond that to reflect on how insane our society has become. They also deal with people who dare to play God and go against the nature of death. And director Stuart Gordon's incredible and legendary 1985 adaptation of
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