Friday, October 21, 2016

Remembering Ted V. Mikels: THE ASTRO ZOMBIES (Review)

Director: Ted V. Mikels

Cast: John Carradine, Tura Satana, Rafael Campos

KL Studio Classics / Region A / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen (1080p) / DTS-HD stereo / 91 minutes

Disk Extras: Audio Commentary by Writer/Producer/Director Ted V. Mikels | RiffTrax® Commentary by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett / Audio Commentary by Horror Cinema Historian Chris Alexander / Original Theatrical Trailer



Ted V. Mikels is a name that really only hardcore horror fans know. Outside of the die-hards, Mikels has pretty much flown under the radar, probably due to his films being both very, very low budget and for the most part, pretty bad. Neither of which, especially the latter, turns me off as a lover of entertaining cinema, no matter "good", "bad" or cheap. Some of Mikel's most well known flicks stick in your brain because of the sensational and exploitative titles like Dr. Sex, The Black Klansman, The Corpse Grinders, Ten Violent Women and my favorite, Blood Orgy of the She-Devils. But if pressed to pick out the one that most people have probably heard of, it would be The Astro-Zombies or just plain Astro Zombies. I mean, if The Misfits wrote a song about it, it has to be pretty badass, right?

Monday, October 10, 2016


Director: Erica Benedikty

Cast: John Rubick, Tina Dumoulin, Lyon Tenbroeck

Intervision / All Region / Unrated / 1.33:1 fullscreen / English stereo / 81 minutes

Extras: Audio commentary by writer/director Erica Benedikty, moderated by Paul Corupe ( and Peter Kuplowsky (Laser Blast Film Society) / Director Erica Benedikty's first feature-length movie, BACK IN BLACK / The Making of PHOBE: A documentary on the creation of the film and it's continuing legacy / Q&A with cast and crew following home town screening in St. Catharines, Ontario / Original FX shots from 1995 broadcast version of PHOBE
Outtakes / Gribble Hell Performs Phobe Theme



Erica Benedikty's no-budget sci-fi action flick Phobe: The Xenophobic Experiments started out as her student project that borrowed from The Terminator, Aliens and most obviously, Predator. It was about 6 minutes long and was shot on Super 8mm film. Wanting to flesh out the lead character "Dapp", a feature-length script was written making Phobe a horror and science fiction hybrid, the former to help get funding (of around $500,000) for the project. But when the investor fell through, Benedikty trimmed down some of the flashier scenes and went the community TV route and returned her movie to the originally intended sci-fi roots. With a team of volunteers, she got the movie made with an official budget of $250. Adding in the time and equipment that was donated, she estimates the actual budget at around $5k-$10k.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Britt Nichols is the DAUGHTER OF DRACULA (Review)

aka La fille de Dracula

Director: Jess Franco

Cast: Britt Nichols, Anne Libert, Alberto Dalbés, Daniel White, Howard Vernon, Jess Franco, Fernando Bilbao

Redemption Films / Region A / Unrated / 2.35:1 widescreen (1080p) / French with optional English subtitles / 82 minutes

Extras: Audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas, Alternate "safe" footage (less sexually explicit), Original theatrical trailer



Official Synopsis
When the nude body of a murdered woman washes onto the beach, a police inspector (Alberto Dalbés) and a reporter (Fernando Bilbao) focus their attention on the castle of Count Max Karlstein (composer Daniel White) and his niece (Britt Nichols), a beautiful woman who appears to be wrestling with an ancestral curse.
In the early 1970s, inspired by the Hammer House of Horror, Spanish horror and exploitation icon Jess Franco set out to put his own spin on Bram Stoker's monstrous bloodsucker. Sheridan LeFanu's "Carmilla", which was also the source material used for Hammer's "Karnstein Trilogy" (aka the lesbian vampire trilogy - The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil), was also a huge influence on Franco's creation Daughter of Dracula. Those films were filled with heaving breasts, nudity and surprising violence, unfortunately Franco's film doesn't live up to those classics.
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