Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970, Blu-ray Review)

Cotton Comes to Harlem Blu-rayDirector: Ossie Davis

Cast: Godfrey Cambridg, Raymond St. Jacques, Redd Foxx, Calvin Lockhart, Cleavon Little

Kino Lorber / Region A / Rated R / 1.85:1 Widescreen / English DTS Stereo / 97 minutes

Extras: None

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I haven’t written a lot about blaxploitation film on Cinesploitation for the simple fact that I haven’t seen much of the genre, but I have read a lot about it and have a rudimentary knowledge. General consensus is that either Richard Roundtree as Shaft or Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song by Melvin Van Peebles was the start of blaxploitation, but both of those were from 1971. A year earlier in 1970 there was They Call Me Mister Tibbs! starring Sidney Poitier, and what I consider to be the first of the genre; Cotton Comes to Harlem by Ossie Davis who would go to direct another blaxploitation classic, Gordon’s War, starring the badassery of a young Paul Winfield. Continue reading

Found (2012, DVD Review)

Found DVDDirector: Scott Schirmer

Cast: Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck, Phyllis Munro, Louie Lawless, Alex Kogin, Shane Beasley

XLrator Media / Region 1 / Unrated / 2.40:1 widescreen / Dolby Digital stereo / 103 minutes

Extras: Full, uncut version of “Headless” / Full, uncut version of “Deep Dwellers” / Commentary with director Scott Schirmer and author Todd Rigney

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A year or so ago there was a DVD movie that was highly sought after and greatly prized in the collecting community. It was going for quite a bit of money and everyone who could procure one seemed intensely happy with their purchase. That movie was Scott Schirmer’s Found, a film that I had never heard of up to that point. The scuttlebutt was that Found was one of those special films that bring something different and chilling to an over-saturated and stale indie horror genre. That rare DVD was distributed independently but now, a year later, XLrator Media has picked up Schirmer’s movie to open it up to a wider audience who will, no doubt, clamber to see and own this modern horror classic. Continue reading

Varsity Blood (2014, DVD Review)

Varsity Blood DVDDirector: Jake Helgren

Cast: : Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Debbie Rochon, Natalie Peyton, Blair Jackson

Image Entertainment / Region 1 / Unrated / Widescreen 1.78:1 / English Dolby Digital 5.1 / 87 minutes

Extras: None

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This is one of those situations where I’m kind of sad the slasher genre isn’t dead. Many fans have given their final eulogies and buried hack and stab fare for good. When it comes to films like Varsity Blood, I’d probably be the first to show up to the cemetery and throw a shovel full of dirt over our beloved genre’s coffin. Where to start with Varsity Blood? The cover is very deceptive. I was hoping we’d see a stack of dumb jocks impaled on something very sharp. That would be worth the cover price alone. Well, we don’t. Continue reading

Prom Night (1980, Blu-ray Review)

Prom Night Blu-rayDirector: Paul Lynch

Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens

Synapse Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen / DTS-HD English 5.1 and the original 2.0 mono / 93 minutes

Extras: Audio Commentary With Director Paul Lynch And Screenwriter William Gray / THE HORRORS OF HAMILTON HIGH: The Making Of Prom Night Featurette / Collection Of Additional Scenes Added For Television Broadcast / Never-Before-Seen Outtakes From Prom Night [Exclusive to Blu-ray] / Motion Still Gallery [Exclusive To Blu-ray] / Original Theatrical Trailer & Television Spots

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Canadian horror films really got some legs with filmmaker Bob Clark in the mid-1970s. His films Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973), Deathdream (1974) and especially Black Christmas (1974) are regarded as classic horror and the latter is an iconic slasher flick beloved by most horror fans. The early ’80s would bring in more Canadian hack and slash fare with classics like The Burning, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine and two films starring Jamie Lee Curtis, who was a couple of years famous from her role in John Carpenter’s Halloween; Terror Train and the more well-known Prom Night. Continue reading

Hell of the Living Dead / Rats (Blu-ray Double Feature)

Hell of the Living Dead / Rats: Night of Terror Blu-rayDirector: Bruno Mattei

Casts: (Hell) Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay / (Rats) Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Geretta Geretta, Massimo Vanni

Blue Underground / All Region / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen / DTS-HD mono / (Hell) 99 minutes, (Rats) 97 minutes

Extras: “Bonded By Blood” – Interviews with Co-Writer/Co-Director Claudio Fragasso and Stars Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Ottaviano DellAcqua & Massimo Vanni / “Hell Rats Of The Living Dead” – Interview with Director Bruno Mattei / Theatrical Trailers / Poster & Still Galleries

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