Movie Review – Cut! (2015)

Cut!
Directed by David Rountree
Courtesy of Psycho Rock Productions
Release Date: February 24, 2015

cut

I could watch independent horror films all day if they were all made as well as CUT!. Granted, many indie films look great, however even many of those lack the same heart and soul as this film. CUT! is one of those flicks made by horror fans, for horror fans, which is a large part of what makes it so much fun. And while it’s not perfect, it’s still a hell of a movie and worthy of your attention.

If you are not familiar with CUT!, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Psycho Rock Productions:

In CUT! the apparent is never the truth as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a film by scaring people for real; however, when it goes too far and someone actually dies, the pair decide that killing for real on film is the only way to make a truly terrifying movie.

Suze Lanier-Bramlett co-stars in this movie as a follow-up to her smash hit, original cult classics The Hills Have Eyes 1 and 2. This is also a breakthrough performance for comedic actor David Banks, who won Best Leading Actor for his role as the eccentric serial killer Lane Hayes.

I went into this film knowing nothing about it, except for the excerpt from the press release I had received. As a result, I had no expectations and could therefore review it with no bias. I try to do this with every film I watch, however I usually know something about each title beforehand. Going into this one with no prior knowledge helped make this an even more positive entertainment experience.

CUT! is a low-budget feature, but you can’t tell just by looking at it. The production team does a fantastic job of using the money they have, and the result is a solid-looking piece of cinema. The sound is great, the lighting is tight, and the picture is a smooth HD image with great color. The film looks like a high-budget picture, which goes a long way in the indie film world.

The acting is pretty good, with director David Rountree and actor David Banks portraying the main characters. Both do a good job in their roles, and both are believable. I was pleasantly surprised to see Gabrielle Stone in the film; I enjoyed her performance in ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (click here to read my review of that one), and she gives another solid performance here. Likewise, screen vets Sam Scarber and Suze Lanier-Bramlett are always a pleasure to see onscreen, and they round out CUT!’s cast.

The special effects in CUT! are a big winner. The film focuses more on suspense and intensity, therefore we don’t get to see a whole lot of carnage; but what we do get to see looks good. There’s several scenes of bloodshed and a few bodies, and they all look great. I particularly like the close-up we get when the killer removes a large knife from one of his victims. It is a gruesome shot and looks very real.

My sole complaint about the film is how the storyline stumbles a bit in the middle. We ultimately get a satisfying payoff at the end (and I love the twist), however the middle of the story is a little shaky. A couple of things happen that made me raise my eyebrow in wonder, however they are minor and do not detract from the story that much. Still, I do feel it worth mentioning.

But otherwise, CUT! is a major win for me. I recommend this to any horror fan looking for an interesting take on the ‘slasher-flick’ premise. The film is available on DVD and VOD, so check it out today.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Castle Freak (1995)

Castle Freak
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Courtesy of Full Moon Features
Original Release Date: 1995
Blu-ray Release Date: August 20, 2013

castle freak

I continuously sing the praises of director Stuart Gordon, and I believe whole-heartedly they are well warranted. From RE-ANIMATOR to ROBOT JOX, from FORTRESS to DAGON, he is responsible for some of my favorite titles throughout the years. CASTLE FREAK is another addition to his horror canon, and it is an excellent example of how diverse Gordon’s mentality is. Part Drama, Part mystery, but all Horror, this film is a definite must-have for your horror library.

If you are not familiar with CASTLE FREAK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Full Moon Features:

Stuart Gordon takes you on a pulse pounding roller- coaster ride in Castle Freak… one of the most macabre thrillers you’ll ever experience. John Reilly (Jeffrey Combs – Re-Animator), Susan (Barbara Crampton – Young & The Restless) and their daughter come face to face with terror when they travel to Italy to move into a castle they have inherited. They soon discover it is haunted by a relentless blood- thirsty creature. When mutilated bodies start turning up, John must uncover the Reilly family’s dark secret to save his wife and child from the sadistic being.

Gordon’s Castle Freak is coming to Blu-ray for the first time and has been remastered with AMAZING Widescreen color correction, 5.1 surround sound, and an incredible amount of extras.

I never get tired of seeing Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton onscreen, especially when they are in the same film together. These two have been in several of Gordon’s films together, and their onscreen chemistry is evident from the start. They are truly a dynamic pair, and they play off each other perfectly.

CASTLE FREAK is shot well and looks great onscreen. I have to applaud the Full Moon team once again for the excellent color correction. I recently watched the film on DVD, and then watched it again on Blu-ray for this review. The difference is stunning. The Blu-ray is so much more vivid, and the images burst to life in HD.

The acting is superb, with iconic portrayals from both Combx and Crampton once again. Jessica Dollarhide does a great job as their daughter, Rebecca, while Jonathan Fuller rounds out the cast as the hideous Giorgio.

The creature effects in CASTLE FREAK are fantastic. The Freak looks horrific and gives the audience a fitting, grotesque antagonist to loathe. There’s a nice bit of gore as well, including a very believable scene where the Freak bites the nipple off a prostitute. I actually cringed at the scene because it was so well done.

CASTLE FREAK is another huge win for me and for Full Moon. If you’ve seen the movie before, you need to pick it up on Blu-ray to check out the amazing HD upgrade. And if this is your first time, get ready for a treat. In addition to the stunning picture and 5.1 surround sound, the Blu-ray comes with several extras, including:

* NEW: Castle ‘Speak’ interview with Stuart Gordon
* Lost William Shatner Interviews w/ Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Barbara Crampton
* Original Castle Freak VideoZone
* Full Moon Trailers

The film is available now, so check it out for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – Snuff 102 (2007)

Snuff 102
Directed by Mariano Peralta
Courtesy of Massacre Video
Original Release Date: 2007
Release Date: November 11, 2014

snuff 102

Last month, I reviewed a film titled GUT that dealt with a man’s descent into hell after watching a snuff film. As I mentioned in that review, the concept of snuff films has been around for a long time, but much debate still exists in regard to their authenticity. Director Mariana Peralta does not try to convince us SNUFF 102 is real, but instead spins a tale outside of the film while showing us the snuff video footage within it. This unique perspective makes SNUFF 102 a horrific and unforgettable journey into voyeurism hell.

If you are not familiar with SNUFF 102, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Massacre Video:

When a young journalist decides to investigate the macabre world of “snuff films”, the worst of destinations awaits her as she becomes the next on camera victim. Gagged, beaten and terrified; she will do anything to survive! Mariano Peralta’s controversial Argentinian gore film has been deemed one of the sickest and most depraved films ever made. What are the limits of screen violence? Is it moral to keep watching? You be the judge.

I have to confess: I was a bit squeamish going into this one. Given the film’s reputation for its brutality and gore, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was hoping for an entertaining experience, but I was honestly not prepared for what I was about to see. Many of the scenes in the film are hard to watch, and I had to look away a couple of times. This is a testament to the amazing talent of the production team; they do a stunning job in creating realism here.

SNUFF 102 is shot on low-budget cameras, which creates a grainy picture and an almost throwback feel to the film. I was put off with this at first, but quickly embraced this concept, as it actually lends credibility to the movie and the atmosphere it is trying to create. After a short while, I had no problems believing I was actually watching a snuff film (inside of the actual film). My sole complaint about this is that there are some scenes that are TOO grainy and dimly lit to be impactful.

The acting is really good, with the three tortured women giving outstanding performances as they endure unspeakable acts at their tormenter’s hands. I have never seen any of them prior to this film, but I would daresay they will do well with any future roles they procure.

The special effects in SNUFF 102 are ruthlessly good. Gore-hounds will certainly be satisfied with this one, as there’s plenty of carnage to go around. The three woman are tortured mercilessly and subjected to horrors that can barely be described. The special effects team is to be commended and praised for their efforts, as they create a hellish nightmare that will haunt your mind for many sleepless nights to come.

I do not want to say anything else, other than beware of this film if you are sensitive in any way. One of the women is pregnant, therefore the scenes with her are especially difficult to watch. But the whole concept behind the film is difficult. In addition to the torture, it addresses the concept of society’s view-for-fun mindset and how messed up this is making us.

SNUFF 102 is a win for me, but make sure you can stomach its contents before you give it a look. It is definitely not for everyone, but it’s an amazing piece of cinema if you can make it through. The 2-Disc Special Edition contains much more than just the film; the Special Features include:

* Reversible GORE Cover
* Spanish Language With Removable English Subtitles
* Audio Commentary With Director Mariano Peralta
* Extensive Cast Interviews
* Interview With Director Mariano Peralta
* Bits And Pieces Making Of Featurette
* Deleted Scenes
* Stills Gallery
* Trailers For Upcoming Massacre Video Releases

The film is available now if you want to check it out.

MSB

Movie Review – Dark Mountain (2015)

Dark Mountain
Directed by Tara Anaise
Courtesy of MVD Entertainment
Release Date: December 16, 2014

dark mountain

While many horror fans are growing tired of the found footage genre, I still find it entertaining for the most part. Granted, there are tons of titles out there now in a wide variety of horror subgenres…however, I still believe many of them have merit when they strive to be more than just a simple BLAIR WITCH PROJECT rehash. DARK MOUNTAIN is a recent release found footage film from the fine folks at MVD, and while it is not perfect, it is still an entertaining jaunt into familiar territory.

If you are not familiar with DARK MOUNTAIN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of MVD Entertainment:

Somewhere deep within Arizona’s Superstition Mountains lies the most famous lost gold mine in the world–the Lost Dutchman Mine. Its estimated worth is around 200 million dollars. Since the turn of the twentieth century, thousands of people have scoured the mountains in search of it, hundreds have lost their lives in the process, but not one has returned with an ounce of gold. Legend has it the mine is cursed. In March of 2011, three Los Angeles filmmakers set out to find the mine and document their entire search. They never made it out of the Superstitions. Eight months later, their camera and cell phones were recovered along the western edge of LaBarge Canyon. No sign of the filmmakers themselves has been found to date. Dark Mountain is the chilling reconstruction of their last days. Inspired by actual events.

I was intrigued by this film from the start, primarily because I’m a big fan of historical mysteries, especially those dealing with treasure. Nothing piques my imagination more than trying to discern the circumstances around missing gold or lost civilizations. Thus, this film is right up my alley.

DARK MOUNTAIN is shot in standard first-person POV, just as most found footage films are. In this regard, the film introduces nothing new. Some of the scenes are calm and steady, while other shots are shaky and almost too chaotic to make out what’s happening. I can handle both, although a steadier camera goes a long way in my book.

The acting is ok, above average for films like this, however I will say there are no real standout performances. The cast is likable enough for the most part, yet we never get enough of their backstory to be fully invested with them. This isn’t necessarily a negative, as the movie is just fine without knowing where they come from…but I do feel it worth mentioning.

DARK MOUNTAIN really doesn’t have many special effects of note, but we do get some blood and some interesting lighting effects (I will not say more about the lighting effects because they are an integral part of the story later on). Like BLAIR WITCH, the story is the focus here, not gore or fx.

And speaking of the story, DARK MOUNTAIN does have an interesting premise. After all, who hasn’t fantasized about finding treasure at one point or another? Not to mention the thrill of discovery. There are several factors that play in here, and they are all basically primal in nature. This is a big part of what makes the film work for me.

But even though it’s a fun film, DARK MOUNTAIN does have some flaws. First and foremost is how much it feels like BLAIR WITCH. The way its filmed, the set up of the plot, and even the characters (one pushy, strong-headed girl and her two male cohorts). It all screams TBWP. Again, this is not necessarily a flaw to me, but I know it will turn off many horror viewers immediately.

Also, I don’t like the lack of resolution or explanation at the end. I’m pretty sure I know where the filmmaker was trying to go…however it’s never fully fleshed out enough to make it there. Vague endings don’t usually ruin a movie for me, as long as they are calculated and well done; unfortunately, it does not work here for me.

Still, I will not dismiss DARK MOUNTAIN as an unwatchable film. On the contrary, actually. It’s a well-made picture overall, and it’s entertaining if you like found footage films. I enjoyed it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes the genre. The film is available now if you want to check it out.

MSB

Book Review – Pray for Darkness by James Michael Rice

Pray for Darkness
by James Michael Rice
Publisher: (self-published)
Release Date: November 19, 2014

pray for darkness

The thrill of the unknown is a big part of what makes reading horror so much fun. Whether its the unknown thing lurking around our closet, people disappearing from a specific location for an unknown reason, or even undiscovered horrors just waiting to be found, this fear of not knowing is a primal instinct, deeply rooted in our brains. Author James Michael Rice exploits this fear with his latest novel, PRAY FOR DARKNESS. And while the concept of his story might sound simple, there’s much more going on than what might appear on the surface.

If you are not familiar with PRAY FOR DARKNESS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of

The Amazon Jungle. Early explorers called it the Green Hell, and for good reason. Consisting of more than a billion acres of untamed wilderness, the Amazon is a place of fragile beauty… and unspeakable danger. When Ben Sawyer and his friends embark on an adventure tour in a remote section of the jungle, they plan on having the trip of a lifetime. But when their riverboat captain is murdered, leaving them stranded, their dream vacation rapidly tailspins into a nightmarish battle for survival. Something sinister has been watching them, stalking them under cover of darkness. Something that will not allow them to leave the jungle alive…

I love stories that are based in places like the Amazon. This is based partly on the fact I’ve never been there myself, and partly because there’s so much about places like it that we still don’t understand. Locations like this can remind us as a species that we might not necessarily know all that we think we do.

PRAY FOR DARKNESS is written well and flows at a smooth pace for the most part. The beginning starts off a bit slow for me, but it doesn’t take long before the pace picks up and things start to happen. And when the crap hits the proverbial fan, the book takes off with a boom and never lets up.

The characters are believable and fleshed out to the point of realism. I’m glad to see typical stereotypes in stories like this, as they actually tend to add a level of credibility to the story. Seems like horror books and movies with certain archetypes in them are more enjoyable to me for some reason. Maybe its because some of the more asinine characters eventually get their just desserts.

The storyline of PRAY FOR DARKNESS is inventive and original, a nice trek into the darkness of mankind’s limited understanding of planet Earth. I will not divulge anything that is not mentioned in the synopsis, so as not to ruin the surprise, but I will state I love concepts like this. Rice is a talented and imaginative storyteller, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

PRAY FOR DARKNESS is a great book, and I recommend giving it a look. With a riveting plot and inventive concepts, this is one novel horror fans will want to snatch up soon. It is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – No Tears For the Dead (2015)

No Tears For the Dead
Directed by Jeong-Beom Lee
Courtesy of CJ Entertainment
Release Date: February 17, 2015

no tears

When a movie can boast its “action scenes rival THE RAID 2”, you should stop what you’re doing and watch it immediately. THE RAID and THE RAID 2 are two epic films with some amazing fight choreography, so any movie that can come close to what they offer is a must-see. NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD is the latest release from director Jeong-Beom Lee, and while it does not offer as much fighting as THE RAID franchise, the film offers the same quality of action and much more. This movie in itself is epic, primarily because it is an emotional drama that is laced with intense action and brutal realism.

If you are not familiar with NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of CJ Entertainment:

Abandoned by his mother shortly after immigrating to America, Gon is raised by the mafia and grows up to become a cold-blooded hit man. Though usually flawless in taking out his targets, Gon makes a terrible mistake of killing an innocent young girl. A flood of guilt takes over his life and the situation becomes worse when his boss assigns him the job of killing the young girl’s mother. Gon’s new target, Mogyeong, is a risk manager at an investment firm and has buried herself in work to bury her grief. She is completely unaware of her role at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy. Finally, she meets the man who wants to tell her the truth behind the death of her child.

I am really impressed with how much emotion is in this film. The cast does an amazing job of conveying the guilt and agony they are experiencing to the audience, which makes this movie very immersive. I was spellbound just as much by the emotional suffering as the intense action sequences.

NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD is shot very well and looks great from a visual perspective. The cinematography is very well done, especially when it comes to the fight scenes. Too many times, cinematographers try to do too much, which makes the fighting choppy and hard to follow; not so, here. These are fluid and well-framed, making the action very enjoyable to watch.

As mentioned above, the cast is phenomenal, with Dong-gun Jang portraying Gon and Min-hee Kim as Mogyeong. Both give stellar performances, and both deserve the equivalent of Oscars, in my opinion. I hope to see both onscreen in future titles.

The fighting in NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD is intense and lethal. Granted, there’s not as many fight scenes as a RAID film, however there are plenty enough here to satisfy action fanatics of all ranks. And the action we get is well-done and entertaining. From fist-fights to gun battles, the blood splatters and the blows land as the cast wages war on each other.

NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD is an excellent film, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good time. The English dub-over is solid in case you don’t feel like reading subtitles, and the HD of the Blu-ray is superb. Give this a look the next time you’re in the mood for a drama with some kick. I doubt you will regret it.

MSB

Movie Review – Fear Clinic (2015)

Fear Clinic
Directed by Robert Hall
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: February 10, 2015

fear-clinic

I had the pleasure of meeting actor Robert Englund a couple of years ago, and I have to say, he is a real class act. Aside from being a brilliant actor and a horror icon, he is a heck of a nice guy and very down to earth. Therefore, when I heard he was teaming up with another horror legend, Robert Hall, for FEAR CLINIC, the film instantly became a must-see for me. Hall’s LAID TO REST series is one of my favorite horror franchises, so to see him team up with Englund a.k.a. Freddy Krueger, made my mouth water. And just like I knew they would, Hall and Englund deliver a first rate horror flick, chocked full of intensity and scares.

If you are not familiar with FEAR CLINIC, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:

Co-written by Hall and Aaron Drane, the film is based on the critically acclaimed and fan favorite 2009 FEARnet.com series. When trauma-induced phobias begin to re-emerge in five survivors a year after their horrifying tragedy, they return to the “Fear Clinic,” hoping to find the answers they need to get cured.

Dr. Andover (Robert Englund), a fear doctor who runs the clinic, uses his “Fear Chamber” to animate their fears in the form of terrifying hallucinations. However, the good doctor soon begins to suspect that something more sinister may be at work, something that yearns to be more than just an hallucination…

First off, this film is not what I was expecting. It’s dark and visceral, with a plot that is surprising and inventive. I was literally enthralled from the start, and I was riveted throughout the whole thing. I can’t remember the last time I was this engrossed in a horror flick.

FEAR CLINIC is shot well and looks great onscreen. The cinematography does an excellent job of helping to capture the desolate atmosphere of the clinic. The ambient sounds also add volumes to the air of eeriness. These combined make for a truly chilling movie experience.

As expected, the acting is perfect. Englund gives a mesmerizing performance as Dr. Andover, while Thomas Dekker (another one of my favorite horror actors) stuns as Blake, a disabled young man suffering from a gunshot wound. The rest of the cast is stellar as well, and I have to give special props to Fiona Dourif, the daughter of screen legend Brad Dourif; she does a masterful job as Sara. I hope to see much more of her onscreen in the future.

Also, the special effects in FEAR CLINIC are great as well. There’s some CG, which looks pretty good, but the practical effects are always the winners for me. I particularly like the look and design of the Fear Chamber. This thing is terrifying by itself, with it’s face-like view plate and formidable design. Whoever thought this thing up deserves an award!

FEAR CLINIC is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it to every fan of horror. It’s got just about everything a horror fan would want: unique plot, inventive special effects, and gruesome deaths. Horror flicks don’t get much better than this. It is available now, so give it a look.

MSB

Book Review – The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe

The Silence of Ghosts
by Jonathan Aycliffe
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Silence-of-Ghosts-the-9781597805544

I am very happy to state ghost stories can still be entertaining. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure a tale about haunting spirits could still be fun, given the amount of horror that is published and produced every day…but author Jonathan Aycliffe shows us ghosts are still worth reading with THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS, his most recent offering published by Night Shade Books. And although the book doesn’t bring anything new to the table in regard to these bodiless specters, this is still a rousing and thrilling story that fans of horror will love.

If you are not familiar with THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Night Shade Books:

Dominic Lancaster hoped to prove himself to his family by excelling in the Navy during World War II. Instead he is wounded while serving as a gunner, and loses his leg. Still recovering from his wounds and the trauma of his amputation when the Blitz begins, Dominic finds himself shuffled off to the countryside by his family, along with his partially deaf sister, Octavia. The crumbling family estate on the shores of Ullswater is an old, much-neglected place that doesn’t seem to promise much in the way of happiness or recovery.

Something more than a friendship begins to flourish between Dominic and his nurse Rose in the late autumn of that English countryside, as he struggles to come to terms with his new life as an amputee. Another thing that seems to be flourishing is Octavia’s hearing. As winter descends, sinister forces seem to be materializing around Octavia, who is hearing voices of children. After seeing things that no one else can see and hearing things that no one else can hear, Octavia is afflicted with a sickness that cannot be explained. With Octavia’s help, Dominic sets out to find the truth behind the voices that have haunted his sister. In doing so, he uncovers an even older, darker evil that threatens not only Octavia, but Rose and himself.

Jonathan Aycliffe delivers a disturbingly tense ghost story set in the middle of World War II during England’s darkest hour, demonstrating that some fears are timeless…

I didn’t realize Jonathan Aycliffe was actually a pen name for writer Denis MacEoin. I’ve never read anything by either name, however I found this interesting while researching Aycliffe for this review. I always wonder what the motivation is for pen names, whether it be anonymity or simply entertainment.

THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS is written well and flows at a smooth pace. The main story is presented in diary form, which intensifies the suspense as it becomes more personal. I like how Aycliffe achieves a heightened state of intensity by using this form.

The characters are well-rounded and believable. None are stereotypical, however each individual is interesting and fleshed out to the point of realism. I felt a particular connection to Dominic on a personal level, as I have been the “black sheep” of my own family at one point in time. This deepened my immersion into the story and allowed me to have a more emotional reading experience.

THE SILENCE OF GHOSTS is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good, solid ghost story. As I mentioned above, it doesn’t present anything new or unexplored about ghosts, but it’s fun and full of energy. The book is available now, so give it a shot.

MSB

Documentary Review – Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, part 2

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, part 2
Directed by Jake West
Courtesy of Severin Films and CAV Distributing Corporation
Release Date: February 10, 2015

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I have to confess, to my shame, that I didn’t know what Video Nasties were until I watched this documentary. I had heard the term over the years but always assumed it was related to porn or something of that nature. Imagine my surprise to learn the truth behind this term. I had no idea the lengths to which the British government went to try and stamp out indecency in film. Which is one major reason the VIDEO NASTIES series from Severin Films and CAV Distribution is a must-have for film buffs of any country. VIDEO NASTIES, PART 2 continues this in-depth excursion into one of the world’s most notorious cases of censorship.

If you are not familiar with VIDEO NASTIES, PART 2, here is the synopsis courtesy of Severin Films:

Prepare to be corrupted and depraved once more by the sequel to the definitive guide to the Video Nasties phenomenon – the most extraordinary and scandalous era in the history of British film. For the first time ever on DVD, all 82 films that fell foul of the Director of Public Prosecutions “Section 3” list are trailer-featured with specially filmed intros for each title, alongside director Jake West’s brand new documentary – VIDEO NASTIES: DRACONIAN DAYS.

DISC 1: Video Nasties: Draconian Days

The critically acclaimed follow-up documentary to VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP AND VIDEOTAPE from director Jake West and producer Marc Morris who continue to uncover the shocking story of home entertainment following the introduction of the 1984 Video Recordings Act. The UK was plunged into a new Dark Age of the most restrictive censorship, where the horror movie became the bloody eviscerated victim of continuing dread created by self-aggrandizing moral guardians, and the film charts the consequences of this, including subversive social culture that sprung up around it. With fascinating interviews and more jaw dropping archive footage, get ready to reflect and rejoice on the passing of a turbulent time.

DISC 2/3: The Section 3 List

Original trailers for all 82 titles that were designated under “Section 3” of the Obscene Publications Act by the Director of Public Prosecutions. These titles were liable for seizure and forfeiture by the police, removed from sale or hire and then destroyed; although they were not ultimately prosecuted. This amazing list was discovered whilst researching legal paperwork for the original VIDEO NASTIES: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE and finally clears up why so many additional titles were historically considered to be “Video Nasties”. Titles include: Blood Lust, Brutes and Savages, Cannibals, Dead Kids, Deep Red, Death Weekend, Demented, Eaten Alive, Headless Eyes, Hell Prison, Love Butcher, Mark of the Devil, Massacre Mansion, Savage Terror, Scream for Vengeance, Suicide Cult, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Xtro and Zombie Holocaust.

I love the fact this documentary series is the brainchild of director Jake West. In addition to many successful documentaries, West is responsible for some top notch horror films as well, including EVIL ALIENS and DOGHOUSE. West is a talented filmmaker, and I hope he has a long career in the industry.

VIDEO NASTIES, PART 2 is shot well and looks great onscreen. It is filmed in a standard documentary style, with most of the information presented via interviews. I love this aspect of the documentary, as it makes the data more personal. Too many times, documentaries are bogged down with too much narration. Thankfully, that is not the case here.

Probably my favorite part of the VIDEO NASTIES series is the trailers for the Video Nasties are included on a separate disc, and each title has an analysis along with it. This lets you see a little bit about why the title was put on the list in the first place. It also gives you a nice trip down nostalgia-lane.

The VIDEO NASTIES series is a major win for me, and I highly recommend giving it a look. Informative and entertaining, this documentary will open your eyes to place in history you might not have known existed. And if you were already aware, I’ll bet there is info in here you might have missed. Regardless, add this series to your library today. It is available now.

MSB

Movie Review – Brotherhood of Blades (2015)

Brotherhood of Blades
Directed by Yang Lu
Courtesy of Well Go USA
Release Date: February 10, 2015

brotherhood

When I first got the press release for BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES, I knew instantly I wanted to see it based on the title alone. I mean, how can you not be interested in a film with a title like that? It just screams “Watch me!” I’m glad I gave it a look because this film is an epic historical drama with an intriguing storyline and excellent fight scenes. If you’re a fan of of movies like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, then you will want to check this one out soon.

If you are not familiar with BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:

Lu, Shen Lian, and Yichuan. Three sworn brothers, and deadly Jinyiwei – Secret Police of the Imperial Guard. The new Emperor’s first mission – find and annihilate the corrupt fugitive Eunuch Wei and his followers. But one mistake reveals the truth – the three men are pawns in a deadly game, unleashing a chain of secrets, conspiracies, and lethal consequences.

I knew I was going to like this film from the start. It contains a gripping story with believable characters and intense action. But it is also a compelling period piece that shows the value of honor and how family is not defined by blood. In short, the film is epic in scope and vision, as well as execution.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES is shot well and looks great onscreen. The cinematography is a big part of what makes this movie so excellent from a visual standpoint. It also helps convey the importance of key scenes and adds to the intensity of the battles.

The acting is superb as well. The actors who portray the Jinyiwei each do an outstanding job and bring their characters to life with vivid detail. Their emotional performances lend a huge amount of credibility to the onscreen drama and set the tone for the film as a whole. I particularly enjoyed Chen Chang’s portrayal of Shen Lian, the main character. Chang is a great fighter, but he’s also a true actor, which makes the movie even better.

The battle sequences in BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES are also amazing. There’s martial-arts action, but it’s not the wire-work-filled displays that modern day audiences are used to; this is not a bad thing, as I love those kinds of movies as well. But the lack of over-exaggerated fight scenes makes this movie even more believable.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES is a huge win for me and I highly recommend it. The film is available now in a variety of formats. Be sure and check it out on Blu-ray, so you can enjoy the superior picture quality and HD sound. You won’t regret it.

MSB