Movie Review – Nightlight (2015)

Nightlight
Directed by Scott Beck & Bryan Woods
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: May 26, 2015

nightlight-dvd

If you’ve never trekked around in the woods at night with just a flashlight to guide you, then you are truly missing out on one of life’s simple but effective thrills. I’ve lived the majority of my life in the rural south, and I’ve been surrounded by wooded areas for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my friends and I would play a game called Midnight Hide-and-seek, which is very similar to the premise behind NIGHTLIGHT. As such, I can totally relate to the terror that a darkened forest can bring about. NIGHTLIGHT does an excellent job of fleshing out these mind-twisting nightmares. The film is a heck of a horror flick, and every fan of the genre will want to give it a look.

If you are not familiar with NIGHTLIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

For years, the Covington forest has been shrouded in mystery, with a dark past as a final destination for troubled youths. Undeterred by the news of a classmate who recently took his life in those woods, five teens journey into the forest for an evening of flashlight games and ghost stories. But their plans go awry when the friends awaken a demonic presence, an unseen evil that will seize upon their deepest fears-and plunge them into a nightmare of absolute terror.

After I finished the movie, I dug around on the Internet to see what other folks thought about it. To my surprise, many of the reviews I found were negative. Most viewers thought it was too gimmicky, and they didn’t enjoy the point-of-view in which it was shot. Others thought it just didn’t make it sense. I have to wonder if they watched the same film I did…? I love this film, and I plan on watching it again soon.

NIGHTLIGHT is shot well, however it is not your traditional found-footage style film. Instead, the entire movie is shot from the perspective of the main character’s flashlight. Yes, you read that correctly. We get to see things unfold as if a GoPro Camera had been stuck to Robin’s flashlight. The result is a clever and extremely effective POV that puts the viewer right into the thick of the intensity. This is especially noteworthy when the scares are involved. I will not divulge any of them, however I will confess I had to pause the movie and rewind it a couple of times to enjoy a couple of particular scenes over and over.

The acting is great, with the whole cast giving memorable (albeit stereotypical) performances. The main character, Robin, is played by Shelby Young, who fans of Anchor Bay’s THE MIDNIGHT GAME will remember as Rose. Young once again gives an enjoyable portrayal, this time as the uncool kid trying to hang out with the popular group. The rest of the cast is top notch as well, but I have to give a particular shout out to Chloe Bridges who plays the uppity bitch, Nia. Bridges would have fit right in with the cast of HEATHERS, and I commend her for her acting skills.

The special effects in NIGHTLIGHT are very nice, and I especially enjoy the creature costumes. I’m not giving anything away by mentioning them, but they are not what you would expect from a movie like this. They are beyond effective in raising the fright level of the flick, and I love how they are integrated into the film.

NIGHTLIGHT is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend it. This is not a rehashed version of BLAIR WITCH, nor is it your typical teens-in-the-woods scenario. It is a taut thriller full of jump-scares that will keep you on the edge of your sanity. The film is available now in a variety of formats, but try to watch it in surround-sound if you can…the ambient noises that surround you make a huge impact in the effectiveness of the frights. Give this film a chance, for sure.

MSB

Book Review – Vostok by Steve Alten

Vostok
by Steve Alten
Publisher: Rebel Press
Release Date: February 17, 2015

vostok

I purchased my first Steve Alten novel as a spur-of-the-moment decision in an airport. I had a three hour flight and needed to kill time, so I put my hands on THE LOCH. The cover looked intriguing and the plot was interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Before I realized what had happened, our plane was landing; the book yanked me in from the start, and three hours passed without my knowing. As a result, I tore through the book in two days. So when I heard VOSTOK was a sorta sequel to THE LOCH, I knew I had to read it.

Interestingly, I couldn’t tear through VOSTOK as fast as I did its predecessor. Why? There’s a couple of different reasons, which I will explain below. But even though I didn’t find it as engrossing as THE LOCH, this book is still an interesting read. And while it does have flaws, the tale is still entertaining.

If you are not familiar with VOSTOK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Rebel Press:

East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.

In this sequel to The Loch and prequel to the upcoming MEG 5: Nightstalkers, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten offers readers a crossover novel that combines characters from two of his most popular series.

Alten has a huge imagination, which helps to make his work so much fun to read. I am going to have to dive into the MEG series. I am a huge shark fan, and an even bigger sea-monster fanatic, so this sounds like something right up my alley. As such, my love for water-based beasties is what prompted my interested in THE LOCH and therefore, VOSTOK.

VOSTOK is written well and flows at a decent pace for the most part. With that being said, the story shifts about three-fourths of the way through the book and jumps ahead seven years. The reader ultimately learns this is integral to the story, however I will admit it throws a loop at first.

The characters are vivid and real, both damaged and believable. I particularly like Zach’s brother-in-law, True. He is an oaf of a guy who can bed just about any woman he comes in contact with. But his personality is so rich, the reader can’t help but love him.

The story within VOSTOK is where my major concerns come into play. What starts off as an exploratory journey into the unknown soon becomes a quantum physics playground. Alten strays out of the story in some parts to explain, in-depth, certain postulations that are vital to the book’s conclusion. Some of these explanations border on religious fanaticism, it seems. These sections completely shut down the story for me, and I found myself struggling to return to the story.

Still, I have to confess VOSTOK is intriguing enough to warrant consideration. It is not a bad book at all…it just needs to remember what it is and not try to wander outside of its fictional premise. Otherwise, I say give it a look. The book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys
Directed by Charles Band
Courtesy of Full Moon Features
Original Year of Release: 1993
Blu-ray Release Date: May 5, 2015

dollman

The fine folks at Full Moon have created a legacy that spans several decades, and they have given sci-fi and horror fans many memorable titles to enjoy. I have seen numerous films from Full Moon’s massive library, however I am far from seeing them all. As such, there are many cult favorites that I have yet to experience. DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS is one of these titles. Combining three of the company’s franchises, this film is a crazy trek into pint-sized fun!

If you are not familiar with DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Full Moon:

The classic Full Moon film, now in dazzling high-definition for the first time!
When undercover cop Judith Grey (Tracy Scoggins, reprising her original role) discovers the murderous Demonic Toys have returned to the Toyland warehouse, she has only one thought in mind: destroy the hideous playthings at all costs. But she needs help. So she turns to the only man on Earth who can measure up to these toychest terrors-Brick Bardo aka Dollman (Tim Thomerson). Joined by his girlfriend, the equally diminutive Ginger (reduced to 11 inches in Bad Channels), futurecop Bardo teams with Judith to battle the mutant toys. Now Bardo must fight to save his life and his love as Baby Oopsie develops a large “crush” on the luscious Ginger…

This film contains characters from the DOLLMAN franchise, the DEMONIC TOYS series, and a stand alone film titled BAD CHANNELS. I have to confess I have not seen any of the films in the three franchises other than this one. But it has definitely given me the desire to do so. I am going to try and track them all down to enjoy individually.

DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS is shot well and looks amazing onscreen, but not just because of the HD transfer. The miniaturized sets and set-pieces are excellent. This was made back before CG was cheap, therefore the sets are all handmade. I am very impressed with how real they look, particularly those in the kitchen countertop scenes. You simply must see them to appreciate their realism.

The acting is perfect for this kind of film. I’ve mentioned before in my TRANCERS review that I always enjoy Tim Thomerson, and this time is no different. Joining him are Tracy Scoggins and Melissa Behr, who also do a great job. My favorite actor in this film, however, is the guy who does the voice for the evil Baby Oopsie, Frank Welker. His demonic dialogue is a perfect contrast to the semi-cute doll’s appearance, and his foul mouth made me laugh on more than one occasion.

This film won’t be for everyone, but DOLLMAN VS. DEMONIC TOYS is a major win for me, and I recommend it anyone who is already a fan of Full Moon or just curious about what they offer. In addition to the HD picture and great sound, the Blu-ray comes with additional features like:

-Audio commentary with star Tim Thomerson and director Charles Band
-Original VideoZone featurette
-Uncut behind-the-scenes footage from the Full Moon vault
-Classic Full Moon HD Trailers

You can purchase the Blu-ray at a variety of outlets, including Full Moon Direct.

MSB

LeglessCorpse Films presents DEIMOSIMINE!!

DEIMOSIMINE is a creature-feature in the works at LeglessCorpse.com and produced by LeglessCorpse Films. Featuring practical effects, it will be directed by Chad Armstrong, written by Andrew Thompson, and produced by Ray Scanlon, with makeup and creature FX by Ryan Nicholson (Gutterballs, Gutterballs 2, Collar, Dead Nude Girls).

“We are taking our love of horror films, creature features, slasher films, and practical effects and enveloping them into this balls out, tour-de-force horror flick!” says the Director. He also states about the current Indiegogo campaign, “we are making this film for the fans, I know you hear that a lot, but if you look at the prices of the perks, you certainly can see what we mean. It will take more contributions to make the film happen, but the fans are getting more for their dough.”

This is certainly true. With just $1.00 donation, you can get a thank you credit in the film. For $2.00, you get to watch the entire finished film before ANYONE else, via an online screening link. They also have some great custom perks like having your name ON the actual DVD cover art, or Blu-Ray art, all for the price of a new release DVD or Blu-Ray.

Deimosiene

ABOUT THE FILM

Cindy is a twenty-something girl who has had a rough life. She believes that her wealthy mother killed her father and got away with it. After years of running from this horrible past, she turned finally to heroin to cope with her painful memories.

In reality truly caring for her daughter but being emotionally unable to reach out to her child as she should, Cindy’s mother uses her obscene wealth to find a way to get her daughter the treatment she feels she needs; a radical, experimental treatment: DEIMOSIMINE; a drug that causes an addict to experience powerfully negative emotional reactions to the drugs they crave. Theoretically, the patient will not want to go back to those dark places that the reaction of the DEIMOSIMINE creates in their minds, and thus stop using.

An unforeseen factor, however, causes Cindy to have a different reaction to the drug than is anticipated, and the results are a bloody and horrific journey into misunderstood madness.

Believing she’s begun the road to recovery, Cindy will find herself enveloped in the subconscious horror that the drug creates in her psyche; a world of demons, evil, blood, and death. Despite her efforts and those of they who support her, she will find herself a slave to the drug, and the demented terrors of the world that it shows to her. The tragedy of a soul brought to such heinous destruction of the undeserving will be showcased as her perception brings bloody vengeance on the perceived threats to herself and society.

“The film will consist of monsters, demons, on screen blood-baths, and crazy set pieces. This is surely going to be a fun film. We hope everyone in the group enjoys the production ride and helps us get this bat-shit crazy film made.”

I’m super-excited about this, and I can’t wait to see the finished product! Do you want to help these intrepid filmmakers get their project going? Click on the link below to visit their Indiegogo page and pledge your desired amount. But don’t wait! The sooner they reach their goal, the sooner they can get to work.

DEIMOSIMINE Indiegogo Page

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Madman (1981)

Madman
Directed by Joe Giannone
Courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome & CAV Distributing
Original Year of Release: 1981
Blu-ray Release Date: May 26, 2015

madman

I never get tired of watching old-school horror, especially slashers from the Golden Age of Slasher Films. MADMAN is one of those films I had heard about but never got the chance to see. The fine folks at CAV Distributing partnered up with Vinegar Syndrome and gave the film a nice HD upgrade before releasing it on Blu-ray. The result is an excellent film that offers an entertaining horror experience from yesteryear.

If you are not familiar with MADMAN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome:

Years ago, Madman Marz violently murdered his family only to escape into the woods before his execution could be completed. Legend has it that anyone who calls his name can summon him back to continue his bloody rampage. But teenage Richie, away at camp, doesn’t believe the old legend and calls his name. As night falls, strange things start happening at at camp and soon Madman Marz is back, axe in hand, to finish the killing spree he started decades ago. One of the true classics of 80’s slasher cinema, Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents MADMAN on Blu-ray for the first time, newly restored in 4K from the camera negative!

I love the tagline for the film: “They thought they were alone.” It just screams ominous. And for its time period, way back in ’81, I’ll bet this was a perfect draw for horror fans.

MADMAN is shot well and looks good onscreen. The HD transfer is great and the sound quality is top notch. I am impressed with how crisp the picture looks for the most part; there are a couple of dark scenes that project a grainy image, but I would imagine that is due to the source material. Thankfully, they don’t detract from the film at all.

The acting in MADMAN is pretty good as well. Granted, I doubt any members of the cast won any awards for their performances, but at least they weren’t painful to watch. I particularly like Paul Ehlers, who portrayed Madman Marz. He is a towering presence onscreen, and he plays the villain with relished enthusiasm.

There’s a few gory deaths in the film, however many of them happen offscreen. The gore we do get to see is pretty well done, but you can certainly tell it is dated. The blood is a bit too bright and thin to be realistic, although I’ll bet it looked great back in the day.

I loved MADMAN, and I highly recommend it. Any horror fans looking for a nostalgic trek back into the early 80s will definitely want to check this out. It’s a fun romp into slasher territory, and it’s worth every minute of it. The film hits store shelves tomorrow.

MSB

Movie Review – The Vatican Exorcisms (2015)

The Vatican Exorcisms
Directed by Joe Marino
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: May 19, 2015

vatican-exorcisms

I’ll say one thing for certain about THE VATICAN EXORCISMS: the DVD artwork looks great and is a compelling draw to watch the movie. The imagery is beyond creepy, and it invokes dread from the get go. But even though the cover promotes the film well, the actual movie is a bit lacking. It starts off with a fairly decent (albeit very familiar) concept, but the audience is left wanting much more after the credits roll. Still, the film is slightly entertaining, even if it is because of the hokey possession-acting.

If you are not familiar with THE VATICAN EXORCISMS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:

Black masses, orgies, and possession: The horrifying story that the church tried to bury. Hoping to expose a shocking scandal inside the Vatican, a documentary filmmaker travels to Rome to interview several key witnesses but finds himself unearthing something far more sinister. Delving deeper he becomes dangerously close to exposing a much darker reality of corruption and demonic forces. As he is drawn further into the satanic underworld, he soon discovers that sometimes the truth is best kept hidden.

The idea of the Vatican concealing many dark secrets is not a new one, however it is fascinating to ponder. Several films have been made in regard to this concept over the years, however they all seem to fall short for some reason. Maybe it’s the lack of factual evidence, or maybe it’s because the films never fully flesh out the supposed ‘findings’…I’m not sure. But the idea is certainly ripe for a horror film.

THE VATICAN EXORCISMS is shot in standard ‘found-footage’ style and brings nothing new to the table in that regard. Many of the scenes are very shaky but nothing that should make the viewer nauseous. The shooting locations look great, however, as the film was shot on location in Italy.

The acting is decent, with director Joe Marino in the lead. Although he does a good job for the most part, some of his supporting cast is lacking. The one that sticks out most in my mind is the last possessed victim, who contorts his body in a variety of ways. Although the idea is a good one, this guy doesn’t really pull it off very well. You can tell he’s double-jointed from the start, and the novelty (i.e. gruesomeness) is lost on the audience immediately. This is technically a minor complaint, but I feel it needs to be mentioned.

The actual storyline of THE VATICAN EXORCISMS is where I find the most problems. It starts off fairly strong, but then quickly degrades. The film never really decides what it wants to be (Vatican cover-up thriller…possession horror…psychological horror?) or where it wants to go. As a result, it feels thrown-together, a mish-mash of scenes that might possibly be scary…if presented in the right context.

As much as it pains me to say this (because I love a good possession movie, and I love Anchor Bay), I can’t recommend THE VATICAN EXORCISMS. That is, unless you are completely unfamiliar with possession movies or the found-footage genre; that’s probably the only way you’d enjoy this one. The film hits store shelves next week, in case you want to take a look.

MSB

Book Review – Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Strategy Guide

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Strategy Guide
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Paizo Publishing

PZO1128_500

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing The Monster Codex for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, a nice compendium of beasties that will cause every Character they meet to quake in their boots. Now, the fine folks at Paizo have released a new guide to help flesh out these Characters and bring them to life. The PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: STRATEGY GUIDE is a Must Have for new players, but vets to the game might want to snag this one as well. A perfect companion to the Core Rulebook, this tome will also be a welcome addition for both GMs and players alike.

If you are not familiar with the PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: STRATEGY GUIDE, here is the book’s synopsis courtesy of Paizo Publishing:

Unlock the secrets of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! Learn to improve your play and master the game with the Pathfinder RPG: Strategy Guide! This user-friendly, step-by-step, illustrated strategy guide offers invaluable advice on how to create a character – from the formation of a concept to selecting the best options to breath life into them. This comprehensive guide also includes rules for advancing your character from humble beginnings to the heights of power.

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to make their characters “meatier”. Not in the sense of beefing them up physically, but for making them more realistic. The guide gives insight on basic character construction and then takes the reader step-by-step to how they can make their creations more powerful. Those players who are already familiar with RPGs will probably want to bypass this first section, but the information is valuable nonetheless.

Veteran players will definitely want to visit the Playing the Game section, however. Regardless of how many months or years you’ve been traipsing through the Pathfinder world, chances are you don’t know everything. This section of the book breaks down basic gameplay and then looks at more advanced options.

One of my favorite aspects of this guide is the Tips for Better Gaming section. It’s fairly easy to sit down, roll up a character, and then jump into a game…but it’s another thing entirely if you make it a group effort and work together. This Tips section gives vital information on how to make the most of your gaming experience and how to make the journey fun for all.

The PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: STRATEGY GUIDE is another welcome addition to the Paizo gaming platform, and I recommend giving it a look. It is available now.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne
Directed by Walerian Borowczyk
Courtesy of Arrow Films & MVD Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 1981
Blu-ray Release Date: May 12, 2015

STRANGE_CASE_JEKYLL_2D_BD

When it comes to surreal and bizarre films, they just don’t get much more so than THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE. I’d never heard of this film prior to getting the press release, but it’s a cult classic from what I understand. Granted, it will not appeal to everyone…but if you’re in the mood for something ‘trippy’, that will both shock and entertain you, then this is the film to see.

If you are not familiar with THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of MVD Entertainment:

It’s the engagement party for brilliant young Dr Henry Jekyll (Udo Kier) and his fiancé, the beautiful Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro), attended by various pillars of Victorian society, including the astonishing Patrick Magee in one of his final roles. But when people are found raped and murdered outside and ultimately inside the house, it becomes clear that a madman has broken in to disrupt the festivities – but who is he? And why does Dr Jekyll keep sneaking off to his laboratory? We know the answer, of course, but Walerian Borowczyk’s visually stunning adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s much-filmed tale is crammed with wildly imaginative and outrageously perverse touches characteristic of the man who scandalized audiences with Immoral Tales and The Beast, not least the explicitly sexualized nature of Mr Hyde’s primal urges.

Cinema is full of interpretations and adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark classic, however I will wager you’ve never seen one like this. On the other hand, fans of director Walerian Borowczyk will quickly recognize his distinct style and themes.

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE is shot well and visually resembles a fever-dream of epic proportions. The picture purposely has a slight haze around the edges in some scenes, which gives the viewer the feeling of watching a dream. This is a clever way of creating atmosphere for the film, and it forces the audience to engage with the story.

The acting is very good, with Udo Kier playing the lead and Marina Pierro portraying his fiancé. The pair have a natural chemistry onscreen, which makes the occasion being celebrated in the film more believable. Likewise, Gerard Zalcberg does an amazing (albeit disturbing) job as Mr. Hyde; I had no problem believing he was the sexually-voracious alter-ego of Kier’s Jekyll.

But the story and the bizarre things that occur around it are the big winners here. So much is going on within the house, it’s sometimes difficult to take it all in. One of my particular favorite pieces of weirdness occurs when the General looks out the window to try and track down the elusive Mr. Hyde, but winds up shooting the carriage driver by accident. The General turns to the coach’s owner and simply says, “Misfortune follows misfortune. Madame, I have murdered your chauffeur. My humblest apologies.” He then moves on like nothing ever happened! This type of craziness is aloof throughout the film, and it makes for a very interesting 90 minutes.

Although it’s not traditional horror, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MISS OSBOURNE is still a big win for me. I plan on watching it again soon, simply to see if I missed anything. This Blu-ray release features a slew of extras that include:

* Brand new 2K restoration, scanned from the original camera negative and supervised by cinematographer Noel Very
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film, released on both formats for the first time ever
* English and French soundtracks in LPCM 1.0
* Optional English and English SDH subtitles
* Introduction by critic and long-term Borowczyk fan Michael Brooke
* Audio commentary featuring archival interviews with Walerian Borowczyk, Udo Kier, Marina Pierro and producer Robert Kuperberg, and new interviews with cinematographer Noël Véry, editor Khadicha Bariha, assistant Michael Levy and writer / director Noël
* Interview with Marina Pierro
* Himorogi (2012), a short film by Marina and Alessio Pierro, made in homage to Borowczyk
* Interview with artist and filmmaker Alessio Pierro
* Video essay by Adrian Martin and Cristina Alvarez Lopez
* Eyes That Listen, a featurette on Borowczyk’s collaborations with electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani
* Returning to Melies: Borowczyk and Early Cinema, a featurette by Daniel Bird
* Reversible sleeve with artwork based on Borowczyk’s own poster design
* Booklet with new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and archive materials, illustrated with rare stills

The film released last week, so check it out!

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Evil Eye (1963)

Evil Eye
(aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much)
Directed by Mario Bava
Courtesy of Kino Lorber
Original Release Year: 1963
Blu-ray Release Date: May 19, 2015

evil eye

When discussions about iconic directors of the horror genre arise, several big names should always come up: Lucio Fulci, George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, and many others…and of course, Mario Bava. If you are unfamiliar with Bava or his works, you still owe him a great deal of thanks; he is considered by many (and I would wager most) horror aficionados to be the godfather of the slasher film. He pioneered the Italian ‘giallo’ films, which were basically murder-mysteries that often contained horror elements as well as a nice dose of eroticism. These giallo films were the precursors to modern-day slashers. EVIL EYE is one of his earliest giallos, and although it is in black-and-white, it is still a powerful and influential film.

If you are not familiar with EVIL EYE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Kino Lorber:

While vacationing in Italy, a young woman with a passion for crime fiction (Letí­cia Román) witnesses a brutal murder. With the help of a handsome young doctor (John Saxon), she launches her own investigation and uncovers a series of crimes known as the ‘Alphabet Murders,’ only to realize that she may be next on the killer’s list. This Kino Classics edition includes both the original Italian-language version (The Girl Who Knew Too Much) as well as the American cut (Evil Eye, featuring a score by Les Baxter and alternate footage). The last of Bava’s features to be shot in black-and-white, Evil Eye is considered one of the earliest gialli, and opened the door for Bava to indulge in a more violent and provocative flavor of films.

I have to confess I didn’t realize EVIL EYE was a giallo until I got the press info for this Blu-ray release. Because it’s one of the first, it’s rather tame when compared to later giallos. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good. Horror fans and thriller watchers both should enjoy this non-colored gem.

EVIL EYE is shot well and looks great onscreen, especially when you consider its time period. Bava’s films have a unique cinematic style, in that they use light and shadow exceptionally well, even better than many modern day films. This aspect is clearly evident in the film, and it heightens both the tension and the terror.

The acting is great, with Leticia Roman playing the lead of Nora, and John Saxon portraying her love interest, Dr. Bassi. Both do a fantastic job, however Valentina Cortese steals the show as Laura Craven-Torrani. Her performance is both charming and terrifying, the perfect character study for a film like this.

The Blu-ray transfer of EVIL EYE looks great, however there are a couple of transitions that cause the picture to ‘wobble’ every now and then. This is not overly distracting, but it is noticeable. The picture clarity is excellent, however, and there’s practically no graininess anywhere. Likewise, the sound is top notch as well.

EVIL EYE is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone not experienced with Bava’s work. This is a great film to start your journey with, and it’s a title every horror fan owes it to themselves to own. The Blu-ray offers two versions: the U.S. release, which was titled EVIL EYE, and the European version, which was released as THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. Regardless of which one you watch, you’re sure to appreciate the impact this film had on our much beloved modern horror genre. This Blu-ray hits store shelves next week, so make a note.

MSB