When I first saw that there was 30 new horror movies out today, I got a bit excited... what wonders were in store for me this week? Well, it turns out that it was just a lot of useless rereleases and double-packs. Not only that, some of the double-packs don't even make sense. "Ice Cream Man / The Amityville Horror 4: The Evil Escapes"? Isn't that kind of like a "Regarding Henry / What about Bob?" double-pack? I don't get it... granted, "Ice Cream Man" stars Clint Howard in the title role and... I liked it, but only because I went through a stage where I couldn't get enough Clint Howard. Now that I think about it, I'd buy a Clint Howard 10-pack. It could have "Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 & 5", "Carnosaur", "Infested", "Ice Cream Man" and... Okay, enough. Here's this week's new, notable horror DVD releases.
The big movie of the week is definitely "The Mist", which I thought was one of the best films of 2007. It was written and directed by Frank Darabont, who also did two other Stephen King adaptations, "The Green Mile" and "The Shawshank Redemption". Looking through his resume, "The Mist" is by far the darkest thing that Darabont has done... It stars Thomas Jane, who you might remember as The Punisher from the 2004 version, but he's been in lots of stuff, including David Arquette's "The Tripper" from 2006. I don't know what else to tell you, but that you should see it. It was awesome... and I can't believe that it only made $25Million at the box office, bringing it in at number 95 on the box office gross list for 2007, right on top of "The Reaping" and right below "Nancy Drew". My bet is that "The Mist" gets a big run on DVD, it's really worth checking out...
I've already covered "Them (a.k.a. Ils)", so I'll just cut and paste some of what I already wrote. Usually, I'd just gloss over this and not bother, but... It turns out that it's actually a pretty good film and I wrote up that I wouldn't watch it because it's in French. So, I take it back. Check it out... It's about a couple who have recently moved to this rural part of Romania and are awakened in the middle of the night by a series of disturbing noises. They investigate, only to find their car being stolen. Attempts to report the crime to the local police are unsuccessful and soon the couple realizes that the mysterious figures have returned... and are trying to enter their house. It's been well received internationally, has been called "77 minutes of gloriously maintained tension" and now "the film that terrified Europe has come to America".
"April Fool's Day" is a remake of the 1986 classic of the same name. This one is written and directed by Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, otherwise known as 'The Butcher Brothers'. I'm not sure why they have that alter-ego, but I'm pretty sure that it's self proclaimed. In any case, their first feature film was "The Hamiltons", which won the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Malibu International Film Festival, was selected for the '8 Films to Die For' festival and was, subsequently, picked up and released by Lionsgate in 2006. After a career in music video's, a big break and sucess with "The Hamilton's", they go on to remake "April Fool's Day" as a straight-to-DVD release.
"Fingerprints" actually won Harry Basil the best feature award at the New York City Horror Film Festival. It was filmed over a couple months in 2006 and the story is based around that urban legend out of San Antonio where a school bus of children were all killed in a terrible train accident and if you stop your car in neutral on the tracks where the accident happened, the ghosts of the children will push it to a safe area. You know the one? Anyhow, the movie centers around a teenage girl who just finished rehab and moves in with her sister, when the two of them investigate mysterious happenings occuring around town that could be connected to the legend. Harry Basil has actually had a crazy career and I talked a bit about it when I was discussing one of his other films, "Soul's Midnight". Originally a comedian, he's been doing various horror films lately, which is crazy. Any guy who can direct both "Funky Monkey", which is about a super-ninja, secret agent football star chimp AND "Soul's Midnight", which is about a vampire cult seeking to resurrect their leader, is alright in my books. Actually, he's better than alright... that's f'ing genius and it's the definition of a diverse career.
I can't believe "Shrooms" is just coming out on DVD now, it feels like forever ago that I watched it. Either way, it's a great horror film... and, of course, the subject matter, as well as the way the film's put together, should entertain the viewers. It's about a group of American backpackers, who are constantly high, and their Irish guide who are stalked by a serial killer while out in the woods looking for, well... shrooms. It was written by Pearse Elliot and directed by Paddy Breathnach and it won Paddy best director honors, as well as best film honors, at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
Don't get too excited about the title, "The Living and the Dead" is not a zombie film... However, it is a shocking and grotesque film about family dysfunction, so it's got that going for it, which is nice. It's about a desperated husband, who leaves his bedridden wife alone with their son James, who happens to be a schizophrenic man-child. In a horrific fit of dementia, James abandons his medication, locks the doors, and plays nurse. As his ability to distinguish morbid fantasy from reality decays, he plunges into a mental labyrinth so violent and deranged, none of them may survive it. It's written and directed by Simon Rumley, who won a best director award for it at the Austin Fantastic Fest, as well as a new visions award at Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival. It was done on a fairly low-budget by Simon Rumley, who got the idea from watching his own mother dying of cancer and the maddening cycles of hope, helplessness, anxiety and guilt that families experience while dealing with organized health care.
I almost skipped over "The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine", until I realized that it's actually an unrated version of 2003's "Garden of Love" by Olaf Ittenbach under a new title. There's only two things you need to know about this film. (1) It's basically a goofy, German, splatter-fest about a girl who's haunted by her father, a musician who died, along with a bunch of his friends, a few years earlier. (2) Olaf Ittenbach is a buddy of Uwe Boll's, worked on a bunch of his films and mainly concentrates on special effects. So, with that, you should know exactly what you're getting when you get this film...
Last, but not least, "The Undertow" was written and directed by Jeremy Wallace, who happens to be a V.P. in charge of production, distribution and marketing at Wicked Pixel Cinema, which distributed "Deadwood Park", "Savage Harvest 2: October Blood", among a few other indie horror's. It's a low-budget slasher film about six friends who stumble upon an old town with a deadly secret... which is a seven foot-tall homicidal maniac who's sole purpose in life is to rid the town of strangers in the most violent manner his mangled mind can dream up. F yeah....
New on DVD today: