Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things: Strange Relatives

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Review by: Rich Rattlesnake

Director: Thomas Casey

Cast: Abe Zwick, Wayne Crawford, Don Craig

Vinegar Syndrome / All Region / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen / English mono / 95 minutes

Extras: Commentary track with cult filmmaker David DeCoteau (rapidheart.com) and film historian Nathaniel Thompson (mondo-digital.com)

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When you hear a title like Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things, you would be forgiven in thinking this is probably a film that belongs to the psycho-biddy (or hag horror) genre of films that includes such classics as What Ever Happened To Baby Jane and William Castle's insanely underrated Strait-Jacket. What you probably won't expect is a bizarro film that feels like the bastard love child of Andy Milligan and John Waters. Well, boys and girls. I'm here to tell you that's exactly what you get with this completely insane little gem.  Vinegar Syndrome truly are the most interesting genre label out there right now. While the majority of their releases are adult films, they also churn out releases of some of the more obscure horror and exploitation titles out there.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Student Bodies: An Unfunny Heavy Breather

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Director: Mickey Rose

Cast: Kristen Riter, Matthew Goldsby, Jerry Belson

Olive Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen (1080p) / English mono / 86 minutes

Extras: NONE

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Before Tucker & Dale made rednecks funny, James Gunn's Slither grossed you out and even before Wes Craven deconstructed the slasher sub-genre with 1996's Scream, Mickey Rose's Student Bodies was satirizing horror movies. He didn't do it in the smirky, wink-and-nod kinda way that some do or the intelligent, darkly humorous way films like Behind the Mask: The Rise of Lesley Vernon and A Cabin in the Woods did, but it took the goofy David Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun) approach; out-and-out fucking goofiness. Silly one-liners, absurd puns, bizarre characters. Student Bodies did that shit 20 years before the Scary Movie franchise made its first bazillion dollars. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Sender: Psycho Psychic

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Director: Roger Christian

Cast: Kathryn Harrold, Zeljko Ivanek, Shirley Knight

Olive Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen (1080p) / English mono / 92 minutes

Extras: None

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You may not recognize the name Roger Christian but he has worked on one of, if not THE, biggest movie franchise ever; the Star Wars saga. He won an Academy Award for set decoration on A New Hope in 1977 (he was also nominated for his art direction on Ridley Scott's Alien in 1979) and was hand picked by Lucas to be the second unit director on both Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace. Between The Empire Strikes Back and his work on Jedi, he would direct a couple of short films ("Black Angel" and "The Dollar Bottom", the latter won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film) and his first full-length feature, a psychological horror called The Sender, that was loved by critics and was nominated for Best Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cub: Monster Slasher

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Review by: Rich Rattlesnake

Director: Jonas Governs

Cast: Maurice Luijten, Titus De Voogdt, Stef Aerts, Evelien Bosmans, Jan Hammenecker

Artsploitation Films / Region A / Unrated / 2.35:1 widescreen (1080p) / 5.1 Dolby Digital / Dutch, French, and Flemish with English subtitles / 85 minutes

Extras: Deleted scenes / SFX reel / Short film / Music video / Trailers

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The horror scene is a very dangerous and beautiful thing. As far back as the silent era, there was something defiantly strange, beautifully macabre about the genre. Over the years, it has evolved and devolved, often serving as the ultimate time capsule of its generation. There's an almost punk rock, 'do whatever the fuck we want' attitude with horror directors. You don't have to be great to win my affections. Just be interesting. Artsploitation Films is the one boutique label right now that truly sets out to turn its viewers on to some of the most unique genre films from all over the world. Ever since they first hit the scene with Gandu (still maybe my favorite Artsploitation release, and a film that still remains terribly underrated), I have been in love with the films they put out, and the absolute care they put into each release. They're still young to the game, but they have already made a huge impact.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Bite: Blade is a Pussy

Director: Joel D. Wynkoop

Cast: Joel D. Wynkoop, Gustavo Perez, M. Catherine Holseybrook, Frank Burns II, Noel Maree, Karen M. Thomas, Mark Nash

Cult Movie Mania / Region 1 / Unrated / 1.33:1 fullscreen / English Mono / 78 minutes

Extras: Joel D. Wynkoop interview / Wynkoop Super-8 movies / Trailers

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Joel D. Wynkoop has been called the King of B-Movies by many. I would like to add to his pedigree by also making him the King of Tampa Low-Budget Cinema. He has more than 100 acting credits on his resume. He seems to be in every-fucking-thing that has ever slithered from the Bay Area underground. Think of him as a whiter, poorer version of Samuel L. Jackson with martial arts skills. He started his movie career in 1985 with Twisted Illusions, a horror anthology he co-wrote and directed with Tim Ritter (Wicked Games, Killing Spree), a collaboration that would continue for decades. His roles have varied from the comical to the maniacal and everything in between, sometimes in the same character. I once heard him sing the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show theme a cappella, I shit you negative. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mondo Macabro: Perverted Greek Killers

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Review by: Rich Rattlesnake

Director: Dacosta Carayan

Cast (Tango): Larry Daniels,Dorothy Moore, Vagelis Voulgaridis Cast (Wife): Larry Daniels, Dorothy Moore, Vagelis Seilinos

Mondo Macabro / Region 1 / Unrated / 1.33:1 fullscreen / Greek or English Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles / 87 minutes (Tango) 94 minutes (Wife)

Extras (for both DVDs): Extensive production notes / Interview with producer / Documentary on Greek Cult Cinema / Mondo Macabro previews Additional Info (for both DVDs: Brand new transfer from film negative / Uncut Version / Newly created optional subtitles

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Mondo Macabro, those maestros of exploitation, have decided there's no better time than now to dig into the vaults of Greek cinema. Those of you who have seen the works of Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Alps) know that the folks in Greece pull no punches when it comes to films that deal with the strange and the grotesque. Naturally, I was beyond curious to see what sort of treasures the fine folks at Mondo Macabro had uncovered. Volume 1 in this collection is Tango of Perversion, a very nasty little flick. Joachim, played with nutty perfection by Vagelis Voulgaridis, is a man who loves to watch. Stathis (Larry Daniels in full sleaze mode) is a man who loves drugs and loves women.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Avon Triple Feature: Sadists, Dominance and Dirty Daughters

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Director: Phil Prince

Cast(s): Nicole Bernard, Victoria Sands, David Christopher, Martin Patton

Vinegar Syndrome / All Region / XXX / 1.33:1 fullscreen / English mono / 38, 37, 42 minutes

Additional Info: Scanned and restored in 2k from ultra-rare 16mm archival elements

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The Avon Theaters group in Times Square; Avon 7, Avon 42nd, Avon-on-Love and the headquarters The Venus during the porn heyday was owned by Chelly Wilson and specialized in producing and showing some of the roughest XXX flicks around. "After porn became legal in the '70s, someone realized there was a huge market for more extreme stuff," says '42nd Street Pete' Chiarella, Times Square and grindhouse theater historian. "Avon Films hired certain directors to shoot films with S&M, B&D, abduction, rape and torture themes. Shaun Costello, Joe Davian, and Phil Prince were the top directors". These "mini-cinemas" and their filmmakers are legendary even today due to their lives in front of and behind the camera and the scummy playground these theaters provided for scumbags, derelicts, prostitutes and drug dealers.
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