Friday, August 30, 2013

Guest Review: YOU'RE NEXT

Directed by Adam Wingard
94 mins.
In Theaters

You’re Next is, to put it simply, a spectacular film. I loved damn near every minute of it. This film isn’t necessarily “pop out of your seat”, “give you nightmares” scary so much as an edge of your seat, “who’s gonna get it next?” thrill ride. If you like suspense, action, terror with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure, this film’s for you.

Now I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll keep my synopsis extremely short. You’re Next centers around a family reunion in celebration of the parent’s wedding anniversary. All the kids come out to the family’s secluded mansion in the woods, each bringing their significant others. One in particular is the stunning and strong Erin (who is bound to be one of the most badass female protagonists captured on film). The family goes on to do normal family things all the while, unbeknownst to them, they are being stalked by someone in the shadows. Everything is fine until they start getting attacked out of nowhere by men in super creepy, all white animal masks, armed with various instruments of death (Your typical ax, crossbow, giant ass machete) and the family has to fight for their lives. That’s all I’m going to say about the story because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. 

This film perfectly captured the brutality and manic feel of Australian exploitation films from the 70’s and 80’s (Brian Trenchard Smith came to mind right away). Seriously, You’re Next is BRUTAL but as the film progresses that brutality becomes almost exciting, sort of like in action movies where you quietly (or not so quietly) say to yourself “awesome!”. That’s quite an accomplishment for any film if you ask me. Amidst all the brutality, there is a very calculated feel to it all. From the opening scene, that features a double murder, Adam Wingard (the director) lays down this feeling of unnerving terror that somehow sticks throughout the entirety of the film. As the movie kept going I still felt on edge.

There was only one thing that fell flat and that was that it was a bit predictable in terms of the plot at one point but it never really bothered me all too much because I was so swept up with what I was seeing on the screen. You’re Next can easily be compared to Sam Peckinpah’s home invasion classic Straw Dogs but I feel it has enough going for it that it makes it’s own mark in that subgenre. While we’re on the subject of comparing this to other films, this has the classic feel of a John Carpenter film (and I don’t make that comparison lightly). From the sense of danger around any corner to never knowing what’s going to happen next, this movie reeked of John Carpenter in the best way possible. 

I had seen some of Adam Wingard’s previous works (V/H/S 1 & 2 and The ABCs of Death) but this is a game changer for him. He is definitely someone to watch out for in the future. I haven’t felt this way about a movie since Ti West’s absolutely incredible film The House of the Devil in 2009 (which weirdly enough Ti West is in this film and both film’s have A.J. Bowen in them) and before that Neil Marshall’s The Descent in 2005. You’re Next did not hold back at any point. It was one hell of a ride that I honestly can’t wait to experience again.

-Thomas Reinert
Tom is a Horror / Exploitation film geek in Minneapolis, MN and friend of the site.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Matt and I discuss the films of the wicked crazy Nick Millard.

deathnurse_hose.jpg (400×309)

Check out our podcast at:

You can also subscribe via iTunes, search term All-Star VIdeo.

Or, you can just listen here:

-J. Moret


Directed by John Poliquin
95 mins. Color.
Netflix Streaming

If the plan all along was for Grave Encounters to set up the much more imaginative and creepy sequel, Grave Encounters 2, then the so-called Vicious Brothers are great. However, I don’t believe this is the case. I think they just got lucky. If you’ve read my previous review of Grave Encounters you know that I thought the film had a lot of potential but ultimately fell flat. Grave Encounters 2 on the other hand is something else entirely. Creepy, fun and full of great ideas, this sequel is a much better film overall.

The movie starts off with a montage of vloggers either ripping into or praising the hell out of the original movie on youtube. The last one to review the movie just so happens to be the main character of this film, a film student named Alex. After receiving a series of strange messages pertaining to his review to the first film (a “deleted” scene, missing persons notices for the “cast”, links to the history of the hospital, etc.) Alex begins to believe that Grave Encounters actually happened. He then decides that he’ll use his film student prowess to film a documentary about his fact finding mission to prove it was the real deal. He gets his film school buddies together along with some ladies and they go to “hunt for the truth”. They drive up to Canada to meet the person sending the extremely helpful random info aaaaaand it just so happens they will only meet at the hospital…  in the basement… at night. (I mean, come on, total set up. Amiright?) So they break in, set up cameras all around the hospital (they mostly seemed to put them in the same places as the first movie) and then head towards the basement to find the informant only to find he’s not there. What IS there, is a giant Ouija board. They play along and that’s where the fun begins. A spirit starts moving the cursor around, confirms that it is indeed the informant, let’s them know to “FILM EVERYTHING” and proceeds to throw every piece of furniture in the air. Then the kids run into the hospital. Now, up until this point of the movie (about 45 minutes in) I wasn’t exactly impressed by any of this. It seemed like your typical sequel to a middle of the road horror movie. The characters didn’t seem all that great and the illusion of this being another “real” movie had lost all of it’s effect right away when I recognized the main character Alex from a canadian TV show called Continuum. Also, the character of Alex is a complete unlikeable asshole, so really this movie didn’t have a whole lot going for it in my eyes until they ran into Lance Preston, but more on that in a minute...

Like any horror movie the kids run deeper into the haunted hospital only to bump into the security guard. Well he gives them the whole “You kids can’t be in here! This is private property” line and is about to walk them out when Alex says that he needs to get the cameras they left around the hospital. A couple creepy noises later and the guard disappears. The group then runs to gather cameras and thats when they start getting attacked. Compared to the first movie I felt the scares were a little more thought out. Some were more creepy and slow much like what I wanted with the first movie but they still relied heavily on the shock tactics prevalent in modern day horror.

A couple of deaths later, the group ESCAPES! They go back to a hotel room they rented, pack up all their stuff and try to hightail it outta there but unfortunately the Hospital has other plans. They run into a hotel elevator only to emerge back in the hospital. Thats when they run into Lance Preston! I must say I was extremely happy they brought this character back. Here, he’s a wild man, living off of rats and constantly running from the ghosts. He explains that he’s been living in the realm of the hospital for, by his count, nine years but in reality it’s only been a couple of years. Time moves faster in this haunted realm. He goes on to tell them that the hospital is constantly shifting, that’s why there are seemingly endless hallways, doors that disappear and maps that don’t make sense. All of these are cool, welcomed concepts but are not too original. What I like about all of this is that they made the Hospital it’s own character. The stupid black magic from the first movie brought the building to life. This is exactly what was needed for this sequel. It all reminded me of a Clive Barker story. What made it more of a Barker story was the inclusion of the mysterious red door. Preston says he’s figured out the patterns in the shifting and he’s been through every door except one: a blood red door, wrapped in chains, that is free standing and seemingly leads to nothing. It’s a fun concept. All of these pieces make this movie way more enjoyable than the first. It’s more playful and really goes all out on the ideas presented in the second half of the movie. The ending is pretty decent with only the last couple minutes being a bit of a letdown.

Grave Encounters 2 starts off slower than what I would’ve liked but the second half of the movie is a fun, creepy and ultimately enjoyable experience that I would recommend if you saw the first one. The inclusion of the character Lance Preston is extremely entertaining but the rest of the characters could be thrown off a cliff for all I care. I would say check it out if you’ve seen the first and if they make a third one in this series hopefully they will continue with this trend of improvement.

-Thomas Reinert
Tom is a horror / exploitation film geek extraordinaire in Minneapolis, MN and friend of the site

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER (aka La Setta)

Directed by Michele Soavi
125 mins.  Color.
VHS from Republic Pictures Home Video
Hippies love to hang out in the desert, shoot sling-shots and paint butterflies on boobs. Unfortunately for them, Rolling Stones quoting Damon isn't just a drifter, He's a psycho killer cult leader.

Mary loves to get groceries, but Trench-Coat Mafia interrupts and informs her she has "disobeyed."  He then follows her home and cuts her down.

Pickpockets love to pick pockets, but when they get to Trench-Coat Mafia's pocket, they find Mary's heart.  Unfortunately for Trench-Coat Mafia, this outs him and he is forced to commit suicide.

The villain from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (Joss Ackland aka De Nomolos) decides, "It's time.  It is time."

And, that is the first ten minutes of the film.

Michele Soavi is the brilliant auteur behind The Church and Cemetery Man.  He shares the ability of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento of keeping things crazy fun and intriguing, without having the plot be too much of a bother.

However, where The Church has the crazy style of a Giallo placed in Don't Look Now territory, The Devil's Daughter is like Rosemary's Baby meets The Beyond.  Soavi's film unfolds slowly, allowing the story and characters room to develop.

I love cults.  Pretty much in any context, they are extremely fascinating.  The human mind can be so easily manipulated, and cults make for a great frame of reference.  They also make for great horror villains.  Because they could so easily be us, or our neighbors, or our family.


Miriam is driving and enjoying her life when De Nomolos ends up in the road.  She almost hits him and feels pretty bad about it, so she offers to let him rest at her place while he recovers.  De Nomolos is a pretty annoying psychic dude who proclaims, "religion helps you die."  He has a mysterious box with some creepy bugs that crawl into Miraim's mouth while she is sleeping, causing her to dream about a big naked guy tied up in a tree.  What follows is a really neat yet mysterious dream sequence involving a giant bed sheet and bird pecking at her neck.

When Miriam awakens, she finds De Nomolos pretending to have a heart attack.  She goes for help, and De Nomolos goes to the basement to find a secret door, which leads to a giant man-hole cover.  He removes it, and throws a flaming paper bag down there.

Miriam returns with the doctor, who apparently hates rabbits.  Did I mention that Miriam has a rabbit?  Well, the doctor hates it, and then pronounces De Nomolos dead when he arrives.  Paramedics arrive, even though no one called them.  Seems mysterious, doesn't it?

Miriam goes looking for the rabbit, whose name is Rabbit, but she doesn't find it because it has gone upstairs to watch television.  Yep.  Miriam finds an Asian woman downstairs instead.  The woman speaks in broken English and runs away.

The next day in class, one of Miriam's students draws the bug that De Nomolos put in her mouth.  She then finds out that the bug is extremely old, and has been extinct for millenia.  They were known for crawling into people's brains and laying eggs, eventually killing the person by all the babies eating their brain.  Then, Miriam's friend gets possessed by a handkerchief...

I'll leave it there, as it is obviously apparent that there is just so much going on, it doesn't make sense to go beat by beat.  I'll just say, the crazy doesn't calm down.

lasetta1.jpg (450×240)
If you're ever the target of a satanic cult, just take a bath and relax.

The Evaluation:
Soavi is an underrated talent from Italian horror.  He and Lamberto Bava both just came onto the scene a little late.  But, I think in some ways that gave them the freedom to be super crazy.  Soavi has the ability to create these very little memorable scenes.  For instance, there is a scene after Miriam's friend is possessed when she goes to a truck stop to get some action.  She pulls one of the truckers into a trailer, presumably with plans of murdering him.  When his friends come into the truck, what they find instead is the trucker stabbing the woman repeatedly.  Behind him is a piano, which he repeatedly leans against and causes a sort of eerie accidental song to play while trying to deliver dialogue.  It's both unsettling and humorous at the same time.  And, the moment is never mentioned again.

Soavi manages to keep the crazy coming, and at the same time be engaging and mysterious.  I wouldn't say he brings it all together in the end (how could you?), but being along for the ride is a joy.

Heaven Help You:
  • Dig out that old silver cross necklace and rosary beads
  • Cover your face with a handkerchief for a bit
  • Braised Rabbit served over rice
The Goods: 
You don't really have a lot of options.  There are a few European copies and bootlegs, but cost-wise, your best option is VHS.  You can generally find it used on Amazon or Ebay for under $10.  No trailers or anything cool, just the film.

-J. Moret

Monday, August 19, 2013


grave-encounters-Smaller.jpg (1548×1968)

Directed by The Vicious Brothers
92 mins.
Netflix Streaming

Grave Encounters is a movie that can easily be lost in the fold. One of dozens of horror movies made within the last couple of years that use the whole POV handy cam, found footage gimmick. There are some movies that use this gimmick to great effect. Paranormal Activity, REC, the V/H/S series to name a few. Does this flick stand up to the quality of those I just mentioned? Well... in a word, no. However it had a lot of potential and thats what I want to talk about. And, I mostly just want to get to Grave Encounters 2.

This flick starts off with some jack ass producer telling the audience that the following “footage” is unedited and is 100% REAL. Yeah, sure. He explains that he was the producer of a TV show called... wait for it.... GRAVE ENCOUNTERS! The show is about a group of ghost hunters who go around looking for ghosts in haunted places. Turn on SyFy and you’ll see what I mean. According to the producer, this show was made long before all of those other crappy ghost hunting shows. After this completely cliche and uninspired opening sequence, the “final episode” of Grave Encounters begins. Up until this point I was thinking to myself, “Great, I’m about to waste ANOTHER hour and a half of my life watching a total crapfest.” What I got was about 45 minutes of great build up with TONS of potential but I was ultimately disappointed by the lack of subtlety of the scares and the totally predictable ending.

The main actor Sean Rogerson is SOOOOO fucking convincing as douche bag ghost hunter Lance Preston, its remarkable. I mean, seriously, he’s the main reason I kept watching this flick. He delivers his douche-y lines with such precision that you aaaaaalmost believe that this could poooossibly be a real show. The rest of the actors are nothing spectacular but keep the story going well enough. Oh yeah, I forgot to explain the rest of the story. Here it goes: these ghost hunters go to an abandoned mental hospital that is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the world. After doing a couple of interviews, the team finds out that the hospital used to be run by a surgeon who did a bunch of crazy experiments on the patients and is considered to be evil or something. Anyways, they lock themselves in for the night to try and find some ghosts. The tension during this part is great. It feels exactly like one of those cheap SyFy shows. They keep egging on the spirits to “show them a sign” and its all fun and games until the ghosts start moving things and attacking the ghost hunters. The group tries to escape only to find that the exits keep changing and only lead to more hallways. The idea that they present here is that the ghosts don’t want them to leave so keep moving the walls around. What really worked here is the atmosphere. Mental hospitals + night vision = creepy. That’s just a given. The dizzying nature of the endless hallways and the constant running up and down the floors kept me on the edge. I was intrigued as to where the filmmakers were going to take the rest of the story. 

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Well, things of course escalate even more and the ghosts start physically manifesting. I think at this point the movie goes really down hill. The ghosts look dumb and the movie loses any sort of tension it was trying to build. There wasn’t any hint of subtlety to the ghosts. They were more blood thirsty monsters rather than evil specters. What makes a good haunting movie is the slow tension. The slower, the better I say. Some good examples that come to mind are Insidious, Kairo (Pulse), Ju-On (to be honest, the Japanese really know their shit when it comes to subtle scares) and The Orphanage. By the end, what I got from this movie was more of a 2001 Thir13en Ghosts/1999 House on Haunted Hill vibe. More shocks than scares and unfortunately the shocks were a bit tame. 

If you’re running low on horror movies to watch on Netflix, this one ain’t bad. It’s not great but its not too bad. If anything, watch it so that you can watch it’s sequel, the aptly named, Grave Encounters 2, which presents a more imaginative, enjoyable and creepy experience than this first outing but I’ll explain more of that in it’s own review.

-Tom Reinert
Tom is a horror / exploitation film geek extraordinaire in Minneapolis, MN and friend of the site

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Director: Charles B. Pierce
SCREAM Factory! - 2013 Blu-Ray release

Many times, the best inspiration for horror, is real life. Terrible acts are perpetrated by terrible people every second of every day. Without the despicable acts of serial killer Ed Gein, we would not have THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Without the terror carried out by Charles Manson and the Manson family, Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, O.J. Simpson, The Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, etc. The world would be without hundreds entertaining of books and movies.

That's the interesting thing about the True Crime genre. It's human nature to be entertained by the death and suffering of other people. Reading stories or watching movies about actual events is generally more exciting. It's not like some paranoid, schizoid in a cabin in Maine is writing off the wall crap about a dude that has a curse placed on him and gets skinny. . . or a dude that bites monkeys. . . or the end of the world. True Crime is real horror. Psychological profiling, suffering families, police procedure. True Crime is a genre that can go in many different directions depending on perspective or expertise of the person presenting the information.

"They call me Tater Salad."

THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (TTTDS) is based on the  unsolved case of the Texarkana Phantom Killer. Back in the spring of 1946, Texarkana was just like any medium sized American city: trying to readjust after World War II. According to witness accounts, the Phantom Killer wore a white hood over his head. He attacked eight people and killed five. He used a .32 caliber pistol to take the lives of young couples in "lover's lane" areas. The killer shares many similarities with the infamous Zodiac killer.


TTTDS was directed by Charles B. Pierce. Pierce is best known for the 1972 docudrama THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK about swamp monster that lurks in an Arkansas swamps. Apparently it's a terrible movie, but was hugely successful on the grindhouse and drive-in circuit. It was made for $100,000 and made roughly $20,000,000.

With such success with the docudrama style film, a True Crime story seems like a slam dunk for Pierce. TTTDS features a narrator describing the events that occur. At times, the camera is acting as an observer while at other times, the film moves like a narrative movie.

The plot of the film centers around Texas Ranger J.D. Morales and Sheriff Deputy Norman Ramsey in the hunting for the killer. The plot is as basic as it gets for a crime story. Bad guy does bad things. Good guys try to find him.

While TTTDS is an hugely entertaining film, it is obvious that the story told is an extremely loose representation of the events that actually occurred. There are several funny scenes in the film. Director Charles Pierce plays a cop clumsy and dumb enough that would make the Keystone Kops second guess their shtick. In the real life events, a saxophone was found at one of the murder scenes. It was later found the instrument belonged to the victim. Pierce and company took this piece of information. They changed the saxophone into a trombone with a knife on the slide, and created one of the most bizarre and "what the hell" moments I have ever seen.

"Powerful Drivist"
While being a fairly goofy movie, TTTDS is also somehow effective as a horror film. Many of the confrontations between the killer and his victims are brutal, violent, and for the most part, pretty realistic. There is no over-the-top gore. Much of the violence is suggested and just enough is shown to show why the citizens of Texarkana feared being out after sundown.

With prior knowledge of what the film is based on TTTDS is not what I expected. But the departure from my expectations is certainly what makes me feel this is a special film. True Crime can be dry and a plot focusing on police procedure is usually pretty dry. Charles B. Pierce made a film with a brisk and exciting pace, and marries suspenseful and funny scenes in a fashion that makes a great popcorn flick. If you like your True Crime, "True" you likely will not like the way this movie unfolds, however, you will still likely be entertained.


The Scream Factory release is a nice release. I may be wrong about this, but I believe this film was only released a handful of times on VHS and never released on region 1 DVD.

The HD transfer is very good. The original film elements were apparently lost for many years so the must have been pretty well kept, wherever they were. . . The release also includes Charles B. Pierce's follow up film, THE EVICTORS as a bonus feature. An unrelated feature film as a special feature? It makes no sense, but it's pretty cool. THE EVICTORS is a pretty mediocre movie, but it's worth checking out. You may like it more than I did.

The disc also includes an audio commentary with Historian Jim Presely (Author and Texarkana native). He provides a lot of information about how the events of the film contrast with the real murders and essentially spends the most of the commentary debunking the film. However, he does it with facts and the perspective of a native of the town. It's an enjoyable track.

One gripe I have every Scream! Factory release I have seen is that the interviews always seem to be on the short side and seem severely edited. Interviews on the disc include Actor Andrew Prine and Actress Dawn Wells (yes, Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island is in this movie). There is also an essay by Writer Brian Albright. But it's on the disc and I'm not reading an essay off my TV. If a paper copy was included, i'd read it.

Overall, the commentary is good, but I feel that the rest of the features are a little skimpy. I'm a special features whore. The features on this disc fall just short of good in my opinion, just because I have a sneaking suspicion that more than half of the interviews ended up on the cutting room floor and the essay isn't on paper. I'm not sure The Evictors counts as a special feature. It's a nice throw in as I'm sure the movie would never be released otherwise.

TTTDS is a great, little talked about movie with a lot of charm. I'd recommend picking it up and watching it before the 2014 remake comes out and destroys the perception and reputation of it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Directed by Ngai Choi Lam
78 mins.  Color.
Universe Laser & Video Co. DVD

It should first be noted that Ngai Choi Lam is completely insane.  Lovably insane, but insane all the same.

He is probably best known for his ultra-violent Kung Fu prison film, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.  Which, if you haven't checked out, I can't recommend it enough.  A dude gets strangled by his own entrails.

Anyway, Lam also put together The Cat (Lao Mao), which is about an alien cat who saves the world from a giant dragon.  And, it is as fun as it sounds.

The Seventh Curse is in the vein of an Indiana Jones Kung Fu spectacular.  I guess the movie that felt the most similar in the emotion I felt during watching it was maybe Beastmaster and Operation:Condor as one movie?  It's just so unconventional and enjoyable.

The Rundown:
So, it starts in a rich dude's study, as they drink brandy and discuss drinking brandy.  (you can see that image on the cover).

It then cuts to a desperate hostage situation, where a swat team is stuck outside of a large building.  A hostage needs medical attention and the terrorists ask for a doctor (Yueng Chueng-Ha).  Meanwhile, SWAT members are also ninjas and rappel into the building.  The mayhem is pretty great, and feels pretty reminiscent of John Woo.  (as does most Hong Kong action cinema of the late 1980s).  Lots of slow-motion, shooting, throwing barrels, guns firing and people getting kicked in the chest.

In the midst of all this, a reporter has snuck into the action, dressed as a nurse.  She then follows the doctor to a pool-side cocktail party for some reason or other, and then pushes a waiter into the pool, yelling, "Idiot!"  The doctor is shocked to find a naked woman back at his house, and cool soap opera music plays.  Then, he gets attacked by a guy in a multi-colored vest, and they ruin all of his glass coffee tables.

Apparently, this guy just wanted to deliver a message that the doctor needs to go to Thailand, because his ghost spell is about to relapse.  So, naturally, he goes to see Chow Yun Fat, and then we get the whole story, in weird flashback vision.

The doctor stabs a walking skeleton in the mouth with a big knife to save a lady he has the hots for. She was being sacrificed to the Old Ancestor. Out of it comes a giant alien-predator-dragon deal, and it's kind of upset.

The Priest in charge of the sacrifice kind of looks like Johnny Depp as Tonto.  And, by that, I mean not good.  Anyway, he puts a bunch of worms on the doctor's friend, and he sort of... explodes.  The doctor escapes, but has the worms in him, so he's naturally worried about exploding.  He finds the lady he has the hots for, and she gets naked, cuts her boob and pulls something out of it, that she then puts in the doctor's mouth.

That all happens in the first thirty minutes.  What I'm really trying to get across here is that this movie is crazy.  Every moment something crazier than the last happens.

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"Did that just come out of your boob?"
The Evaluation:
Ngai Choi Lam set out to make his own Indiana Jones movie.  What came out is one of the wildest things I've ever seen.  At the brisk pace it moves, it must have been a challenge not to lose the audience.  And, if I hadn't been acquainted with Lam before this, I may have been shocked.  Instead, it felt like coming back to a friend who I had missed.  The action is impressive (and often out of nowhere), the acting seems as though the only direction was, "look confused," and the violence is funny (for instance a henchmen is shot by a giant shotgun and then while still in the air is hit by an arrow).  There seems to be no limitation to Lam's imagination.  He seems to know exactly what he wants and does it fast.  I would say that his films are absolutely perfect for what they are.  If you want non-stop excitement and being surprised at every turn, you can do no better than The Seventh Curse.

Set Yourself Up:
  • Eat a bowl of cherries that have been sitting in cranberry sauce.  
  • Cook up a big steak, and use a machete to serve.
  • Bathe in a boiling tub of blood from black sheep, oxen, snakes, pigs, dogs, cats, eagles and lizards.
The Goods:
The DVD is presented in widescreen 4:3, most likely a 2:35 print made to fit a bubble tv.  No special features to speak of, but the film is special enough.  Unfortunately, you'll probably need to spend a minimum of $20 to buy it used on Amazon or Ebay, as it's been out of print forever.  The VHS goes for about $40.  That being said, I don't see this one getting re-released any time soon.

-J. Moret

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: CEMETERY SISTERS (aka Sisters of No Mercy)

Directed by Nick Millard
61 mins.  4:3 aspect ratio.
25th Anniversary Limited DVD from Slasher Video

Nick Millard's films are bad.  I don't mean that they're un-likeable, just... Bad.  Matt has reviewed Death Nurse and Death Nurse II, which you should check out, as it will give you some insight as to the type of films Millard is known for.

Where the Death Nurse series will break your soul in half by being insane, Cemetery Sisters is more logically put together and not near as much of a mess.  In that way, it's much easier to watch, and the acting stands out so much more.  I would say the film is maybe 40% padding, where Death Nurse felt like 80%.

This is the type of film that really challenges the notion of loving something ironically.  Sure, it's terribly made and super goofy.  But, there is something super charming about Millard's lack of inhibition.  But, this one separates casual lovers of "bad movies" to the true admirers.

The whole thing feels so improvised and on the spot.  His stuff is completely without formula.  There is no sense of direction or pre-determination.  It all feels spontaneous. In that, it's exciting in it's own way.  And, we get more re-used footage from Criminally Insane, which feels hilariously out of place.

The Rundown:
A sweet little car with JUST MARRIED duct-taped to the side of it pulls up to the Death Nurse house.    Inside, Leslie (she's the one with the massive cleaver in the background) makes her new husband (played by Nick Millard) tell her he loves her and then Joan (short-haired on with the bloody knife) comes running out of nowhere to STAB HIM TO DEATH!  She proceeds to stab him probably about 45 times.  It takes a really long time, causing Leslie to ask, "Did you have to stab him so often?"  Not sure often is the correct word in that situation...

They then use a sweet calculator with a printer, you know the kind, in their home office to calculate how much money they will make off of the dearly departed husband.

Joan sharpens her knives for about two minutes.  Then, they head to Las Vegas for Joan's wedding to another rich jerk.  Leslie asks to get out of the car to take a pee, and then STABS THE JERK TO DEATH!

Leslie puts out an ad in the paper and Joan makes a video for a dating company of some kind.

Then, Leslie is in Vegas again, this time with a frat guy who wears a nice sweater.  The next morning Leslie brings him breakfast in bed.  She calls him, "boy."  Unsure if that's his name or if she doesn't know it.  The eggs look pretty gross.  They're purple, sort of.  Then Joan STABS HIM TO DEATH!

You can see where this is going.  You probably want to know why they're doing this.  Well, Their father was the owner of a mortuary and all of their friends were dead people.  They want to be morticians, just like their father.  So, they are killing a lot of men so they can open up their own.

Things get complicated when Auntie Lust (Irmgard Millard, who was also producer of the film aka Louise from Death Nurse!) comes to visit them and they need to dispose of a body.  How will they accomplish such a feat?  At the same time, Joan is out with scum-stache man for dinner, and Auntie makes a lot of strange sexual comments.

This, baby, is a .357 Magnum
The Evaluation:
This is one of the more enjoyable "bad" films I've seen in awhile.  Filmed at Millard's house in San Francisco during the same year he did Death Nurse II, it feels like you're a part of the intimate group.  The sisters are played by real-life sisters Joan and Leslie Simon, and their on-screen presence is pretty charismatic.  Millard refers to the movie as a "black comedy," and it does succeed on that level extremely well.  I certainly laughed a lot.

Set Yourself Up:
  • Prepare breakfast food.  Two eggs, over-easy.  Toast.  Bacon.  And use a giant cleaver to cut the bacon.
  • I think a nice sweater or flannel shirt is appropriate
The Goods;
Slasher Video is top notch with all of their releases.  Something like this film probably has very little to draw from and yet he puts together some really nice special features.  You get a commentary (which is great), a new short from Nick Millard called Death Sisters (which is really something), a Q & A, photo gallery, trailer and hidden features.  For any real lover of the obscure, this is definitely one to pick up.

- J. Moret

For some reason, the trailer for Cemetery Sisters won't imbed here...  But, here's the link:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: THREE GIANT MEN (aka The Turkish Spider-Man vs Captain Turkish America & Santo aka 3 Dev Adam)

Directed by T. Fikret Ucak
81 Glorious Minutes, Technicolor
Bootleg DVD

Okay, Turkey, you win.  I thought the weirdest, and best, bizarro cinema in the world would probably come out of Italy, Japan or the States.  But, I was wrong.  Turkey makes the craziest, most non-sensical masterpieces on the planet.

Perfect example, Three Giant Men.  It is also notoriously known as Turkish Spider-Man vs. Captain Turkish America & Santo.  The two aforementioned characters are well known Marvel superheroes and Santo is a pro-wrestler from Mexico.  Pro-wrestlers are a bit like superheroes in Mexico.  It's not the same heel / face dichotomy we have in the States.  They are masked men who are leaders in the community.

Anyway, Spider-Man is a gang leader from the far East, who is moving into Turkish mob territory and killing off the mafia, while saying things like, "Die, Mafia!"  He steals antiques and sells them to American millionaires for millions of dollars!

Let me take a step back, first Spider-Man first buries a woman in a bikini in the sand on a beach and then runs over her head with a boat propeller.  Which seems reasonable.

Some lady who works for the Turkish government is trying to get information on the goings on, when she is kidnapped and brought to an undisclosed location.  Captain Turkish America is called upon to take on the notorious villain.  He shows up, breaks through a cardboard door and proceeds to punch everyone out.

Santo, meanwhile, is investigating something or other, and shoves tons of trash down his pants before getting caught by Mr. X from Streets of Rage 2.  Before Mr. X can remove his mask, however, Santo punches him out and then is seemingly magically transported to a gym, where he works over a bunch of henchmen.  Suplexing four or five of them in a row.

Spider-Man has big plans, and no masked avengers will get in the way of that.  So, he goes to some rich lady's house and murders her with her spray extender in the shower, before stealing her priceless antiques, of course.

Cue super goofy music and lots of scenes that mean nothing to me.  That guy from Parks & Rec with the big mustache pushes guys around and pretends he has a gun in his pocket, some lady in red is followed, a guy sweeps the street for about two minutes...

Spider-Man rigs up a pretty sweet clear tube that he attaches to a guys face.  He then puts in some adorable gerbils on the other end and they proceed to eat that guy's eyes.

There is a stripper who has a hard time ripping through a screen, then Captain America and Santo fight a bunch of hoodlums in a mannequin warehouse.

There's a lot more fighting.  Julia (I don't know who that is) switches places with a Greek stripper, there's fighting, a really weird sex scene with Spider-Man which cuts to the faces of old man dolls for a moment, more fighting, and it's all good.

3-dev-adam001.jpg (1039×771)
The Evaluation:
Watching this may be the most confusing yet hypnotic movie experience I've had in a long time.  I've really never seen anything quite like it.  The images of Spider-Man and Captain America are so iconic that I kept putting those characters into those roles,  I can see how, if you had never read any comics and were just going by the look of the costumes that you would make Spider-Man a villain, but being as how the character is so well-known, it still seems a strange choice.  At the same time, the story is so hard to follow and the dialogue is so funny that I stayed entertained for the entirety.  The whole experience made me curious to learn more about it.  I feel like it was probably a production of two or even three films that were just randomly cut together to make a feature.  Maybe they had some costumes that they felt they needed to use, and just put in the Marvel characters.  Either way, it's gems like this one that make hunting for the obscure truly a treat.

Set Yourself Up:

  • Play jarring music that changes randomly to get yourself off balance.  That way you can be on the confused emotional wavelength of the film.
  • Two Whiskeys.  Bottles.  For yourself.
  • Paisley.
The Goods:
The bootleg is a super mess.  It starts with the subtitles in Turkish or something, then there is an awkward switch.  There are big cuts and times that the video cuts out.  But, all the better, if you ask me.  This isn't Brief Encounter, and perfection isn't the point, so the experience is richer the stranger it is.  The art on the front is also an odd choice.  I would've preferred something a little cooler, but I'm just happy to own it.

-J. Moret
And, in case you need a taste: