Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jan 29, 2008 - New horror out on DVD today

There's a fair amount of new horror to go through today, so I'll just get to it...

I'll start with the big-budget flop, "The Invasion". Chances are that you're aware that this is a remake of the 1956 classic, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", which was based on the novel, "The Body Snatchers" and ended up spawning many a remake and rip-off, from the 1978 version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to 1993's "Body Snatchers". The original novel and, subsequently, the 1956 version are truely good (I actually like the 1978 version, as well), but this version is a true cluster-F. Produced by Joel Silver, written by Dave Kajganich and initially directed by Oliver Hirschbiegl (real names, I swear), Warner Bros. later hired James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) to shoot scenes rewritten by the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix)... any time shit this happens, you know you have an unmitigated disaster on your hands. In this case, that stands true. It cost $65Million to make and only made $39Million worldwide...

The wait is over... finally, the long awaited sequel to Steve Miner's, "Lake Placid" comes out. "Lake Placid 2" was originally made for TV, starring John Schneider of "The Dukes of Hazzard" fame and was produced by Sony Pictures and the Sci Fi Channel. It aired as a Sci Fi original movie on April 28, 2007 and... I don't know, no one saw it. What you see here, available on DVD today, is the unrated edition... which means they added nudity.

Judging by the cover art, you may pass off "Deadly End" as a rip-off of "Rest Stop" or "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End", but if you did, you'd be missing out. "Deadly End" was originally called "Neighborhood Watch", written and directed by Graeme Whifler and completed in 2005. One of the writers of "Dr. Giggles", Whifler spent the bulk of his career directing music videos and "Deadly End" marks his feature-length directorial debut. It was in tons of film festivals throughout 2006 and has finally been picked up for distribution with this alternate title. Morbid and disturbing, the film is about Adrien, who has a dark obsession with poison and self-mutilation and within the walls of his rancid home, hides pure madness.

"The Unknown Trilogy" is written, directed and stars Sal Mazzotta, who's a consumate independent filmmaker. He's played bit parts in lots of big time movies, such as "Twelve Monkeys" and "Fallen", but since 1998, he's been concentrating on independent filmmaking. "The Unknown Trilogy" might not be for die-hard horror fans, as it's more of a thriller than anything else, but I like to promote it because Sal looks like a true indie kind of guy. "The Unknown Trilogy" - 'Somewhere between the boundaries of life and death, lays the darkest places in the human heart. In these dimly lit recesses crouch fears older than mankind itself. Yet only by visiting this netherworld from time to time can we hope to unearth what lurks just beyond the grasp of our imaginations. The Unknown Trilogy dares to navigate these shadowy passages in three chilling tales that will make you glad you decided to come along for the ride...' sounds pretty heavy-handed.

I'll bet you didn't know there was a "Punk Rock Holocaust 1", did you? Well, here's "Punk Rock Holocaust 2". Doug Sakmann wrote it, directed it, produced it, acts in it, was the cinematographer, as well as the editor. Now THAT is a true indie filmmaker, but where would you learn to do all that? That's right, Sakmann comes from the world of Troma films, thus the cameo by Lloyd Kaufman as Satan. "Punk Rock Holocaust 2" is about a slasher running loose during the Vans Warped tour and it's everything that you'd expect from a graduate of the school of Troma, plus you get some kick-ass music from the tour.

"Aftermath/Genesis" are two short films from director Nacho Cerda from Spain, who shoots his movies with no dialogue, using classical music to enhance elaborate camera movements. It's actually suspected that Cerda made the famous sequence "The Roswell Alien Autopsy" because it has many similarities to the short included here, "Aftermath".

I can't find much out about "1942", except that it's distributed under the Tartan Asia Extreme label, which comes out with all the J-Horror films that the crappier North American ones are based on, such as "The Eye" and "Ringu", but they also come out with one's that just couldn't or wouldn't be remade, like "Oldboy" and "A Tale of Two Sisters".

You have to commend Justin Channell, writer and director of "Die and Let Live". At only 20 years old, he's written and directed three feature films. At 15, he founded The Mini-Cinema Film Festival, at 17, he raised most of the budget for his first feature film, "Raising The Stakes" by pocketing money from a trip to Disney and he's currently the webmaster for the Troma fan site, Tromatized! Influenced by Troma and shooting on an ultra-low budget, you should already know what you're getting, but... come on, if you're ever going to support indie film, this is a film to pick up.

"Greenhouse Gore Two-Fer" is actually two old films brought to you from Subversive Cinema, "The Gardener", originally called "Seeds of Evil" in 1975 and "The Freakmaker", originally called "The Mutations" in 1974. "The Mutations" is a so-called horror classic about a guy who turns students into man-eating plants and "Seeds of Evil" is about a gardener who sleeps with rich women then poisons them with plants. More interesting would be the documentary short called, "The Distribution of Low Budget Films or The Gardener's Seeds of Evil Killed My Million Dollar Dream" from 1980, which is about the struggles that James Kay had when distributing "Seeds of Evil". I'd love to get my hands on that...

There's a slew of other old films being rereleased for the first time on DVD, most notably: "The Val Lewton Horror Collection with Martin Scorses Presents Val Lewton Documentary", which may be worth seeing just for the documentary. The rest of them just look like cash-grabs, but I do like the title, "Barn of the Naked Dead". Here's the rest of what's available: "42nd Street Forever Vol. 3: Exploitation Explosion", "Tragic Ceremony", "Eugenie de Sade", "Ants/Tarnantulas", "Euro Trash: Triple Feature"

New on DVD today:

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