Thursday, December 24, 2015

You Better Watch Out for the Christmas Evil

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aka You Better Watch Out

Director: Lewis Jackson

Cast: Brandon Maggart, Dianne Hull, Jeffrey DeMunne

Vinegar Syndrome / All Region / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen / DTS-HD master audio mono / 94 minutes

EXTRAS: Commentary track with Lewis Jackson / Commentary track with Lewis Jackson & Brandon Maggart / Commentary track with Lewis Jackson & John Waters / Archival video interviews with Lewis Jackson & Brandon Maggart / Original theatrical trailer / Deleted scenes & screen tests / Storyboards & comment cards gallery

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Little Harry, his brother and mother are sitting on the stairs, surreptitiously watching Santa come down the chimney, consume some cookies and milk and finally deliver some presents. The boys are tucked away in bed when Harry decides to get up and check downstairs again. To his horrific surprise, he finds "Santa" making out with mommy. Jump ahead 40 years and Harry has an unhealthy affinity for Christmas (natch), so much so that he works at a toy factory, where he just got a promotion to supervisor, no longer working the assembly line. You get the feeling that Harry isn't really in complete harmony with reality as he does things that make you think that maybe he believes he's actually Santa Claus.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Joe Spinell is a Fanatic in The Last Horror Film

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aka Fanatic

Director: David Winters

Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Judd Hamilton, Devin Goldenberg, David Winters

Troma Team Video / All Region Blu-ray / Rated R / 16x9 widescreen / Mono / English / 87 minutes

EXTRAS: The return of one of Troma's most beloved characters, Dolphin-Man / New intro by Lloyd Kaufman / Audio commentary / Highlights from the 2015 Tromadance Film Festival. / Mr. Robbie (A shortfilm by Buddy Giovinazzo (Combat Shock) starring Joe Spinell) / A full episode of Troma's latest web-series "Kabukiman's Cocktail Corner" starring Paul Booth

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Any self-respecting "reviewer" can't properly analyze or scrutinize a movie starring Joe Spinell without mentioning his most famous role as "Frank Zito" in the seminal grindhouse slasher classic Maniac. In that most infamous of roles, Spinell portrayed one of the most disgustingly sick killers of all time, and he did it well. He just has the look of a greasy, filthy scumbag who would rape you and throw you in the river after he chopped you up into little pieces. What a lot of horror fans don't know is that he had a bit part in The Godfather, a recurring role in the first two Rocky movies and also appeared in some capacity in 50+ other movies. But let's be realistic... he IS that grimy psycho killer we know and love from Maniac and he revisits the role (kinda) here in The Last Horror Film.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shock 'em Dead with your Killer Workout

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Director Mark Freed directed exactly two movies; Shock 'em Dead from 1991 and Lovers and Liars aka Criminal Desire in 1998. Both of these were pretty much late-night cable TV fodder, buried in the Skin-a-Max block of B-Movies. They both also share the common theme of actors who were in career limbo; some continuing a comeback and others hanging on for dear life. Lovers and Liars stars "Bud Bundy" (David Faustino) and Mr. Kung-Fu himself, David Carradine (I'll let you decide which category they fall under). But the far more interesting story is of the infamous Tracy Lords, star of Shock 'em Dead and a woman who literally grew up in the adult film industry from the mid to late '80s. But after getting a mainstream break into TV via the show "Wiseguy", she would get her "legit" film debut in Jim Wynorski's Not of This Earth in 1988.

Three years, a few movies and a John Waters classic later, she took her smoldering good looks to the set of Freed's rock 'n roll horror, Shock 'em Dead. Okay, so it's the early '90s and music still has an '80s hangover. So the rock 'n roll featured in Shock 'em Dead is full-on hair metal complete with lots of hairspray, big riffs and a heavy helping of cheese.  Managed by Lindsay (Lords), the up-and-coming band "Spastique Kolon" is on the hunt for a lead guitar player that will put them over the edge and get them a record deal. But everyone they try out ranges from mundane to just terrible, including nerdy pizza maker Martin. But when Martin is mocked out of the audition, he turns to the mysterious local voodoo lady to make a deal to literally sell his soul for rock 'n roll. He awakens in his new mansion surrounded by hot chicks, and he can wail on the six-stringed axe. But you know as well as I that deals with the Devil never come without consequences and the new rock star in town learns it the hard way; by being forced to murder to stay alive.
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