Movie Review – Evil Souls (2016)

Evil Souls
Directed by Maurizio del Piccolo & Roberto del Piccolo
Courtesy of Midnight Releasing
Release Date: May 10, 2016

evil-souls_large_800

EVIL SOULS is one of those movies you have to watch a couple of times, just to make sure you didn’t miss something. I say this because I had to skip backwards a few times to put certain things together. And while this detracted from the movie as a whole, I have to confess I actually enjoyed the film for the most part, even despite the backtracking. EVIL SOULS is not a great film, but I still found it entertaining and worthwhile.

If you are not familiar with EVIL SOULS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Midnight Releasing:

Two childhood friends, Jess and Susan, awaken to find themselves chained in a cell after their sons have been kidnapped. They soon learn that the man who abducted them, Valentine, has terrifying intentions and a sadistic ritual to complete. Meanwhile, Father Albert finds clues to the plans for this diabolical ritual, decades in the making. As Valentine takes his two captives on a journey into pain, hatred, and violence, Father Albert begins his mission to rescue the women and children, before it is too late.

A movie like this is sometimes hard to review. The concept is sound, but the execution lacks a bit, and as a result, the movie itself suffers. Still, despite its flaws, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

EVIL SOULS is shot fairly well and looks good onscreen. The sound, however, lacks quite a bit. I had a very hard time hearing certain speakers (primarily Valentine). I had to keep changing the volume level on my surround sound, which got annoying pretty fast.

The acting in EVIL SOULS is fairly decent, with Peter Cosgrove giving a wickedly fun performance as Valentine. Despite some lame dialogue, Cosgrove has a lot of fun with his character, and it shows onscreen. The rest of the cast does a decent job, particularly Julian Boote, who plays Father Albert.

There are only a handful of special effects scenes we are given, but they look pretty sharp for the most part. There’s a smidge of gore, and it’s respectable. I like the dismembered torso shown towards the beginning; it is particularly gruesome and well done.

The story in EVIL SOULS is where I have the most problems. I was confused for most of the film as I struggled to understand what was going on and the correlation between the characters. As it concluded, I finally understood where the writer was trying to go, but the translation from page to screen didn’t quite work. A good horror/thriller will unveil key pieces to the plot at the right points, which leads the viewer on a journey. EVIL SOULS, unfortunately, never reveals what it needs to for the viewer to understand the happenings. As a result, the audience is left with many questions and few answers.

Still, despite its faults, I did enjoy EVIL SOULS. I’m not sure if I can heartily recommend it, but it is worth giving a shot, if you’re willing to overlook certain details. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Book Review – The Invasion by Brett McBean

The Invasion
by Brett McBean
Courtesy of Sinister Grin Press
Release Date: May 15, 2016

the invasion

Home invasions are one of the most terrifying concepts for me, in both real life and the horror genre. Our homes are supposed to be a place of safety and security, a place we can relax and get away from everyone and everything. So the idea of an intruder violating such a space is absolutely horrific.

Author Brett McBean taps into this primal feeling with his latest book, THE INVASION, which was released last month by Sinister Grin Press. Regardless of whether or not home invasions are something you worry about now, I guarantee you’ll be concerned after reading this book.

If you are not familiar with THE INVASION, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Sinister Grin Press:

It was supposed to be a quiet end to a long day: five close-knit family and friends settling in for some much-needed sleep after coming together for an early Christmas party. Instead, it’s the beginning of a shocking night of brutality when six intruders break into the sprawling residence of Debra Hillsboro, a middle-aged romance novelist with a fierce devotion to her loved ones and a strong kinship with her home of almost thirty years. Armed with smartphones and a modern brand of madness, the intruders – an internet-age cult disconnected from humanity and addicted to causing fear and mayhem – have come to the secluded property for one purpose: to terrorize, and ultimately kill, everyone inside all while filming their heinous crimes. Outnumbered and cut off from the outside world, the terrified occupants find themselves trapped in a fight for survival as a once place of safety is turned into a deadly maze of darkened rooms and forbidding hallways. On this sweltering summer night, they must somehow find a way to escape before the cult turns the beloved home into a house for the dead.

I like home invasion movies like THE STRANGERS and STRAW DOGS, but I wasn’t sure if a book could have the same impact as the visual horror of the films. My doubts were erased with THE INVASION. This tale is a visceral thriller that will make you triple-check your windows and doors at night before you go to bed.

THE INVASION is written well and flows at a nice, crisp pace. McBean does a great job of measuring out tension between the pages, and the result is a steady-paced, intense read.

The characters in THE INVASION are fleshed out well and believable. I particularly like Debra, as the main character. Despite the circumstances playing out in the book, she is still strong. The reader is given many glimpses inside her head, and I like how her mind works. I also like the villains, as well. They are perfect for this day and age. I am surprised we have not seen techno-psychos like these antagonists in real life headlines.

The plot is both feasible (for the most part) and chilling. I ran across only two scenes that didn’t strike a chord with me, but the rest are gut-wrenching and horrifying. The acts of violence these characters have to endure will make you cringe.

THE INVASION is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it. The book made me uneasy each time I read it at night, and a couple of times I left my bedroom to double-check locks and security lights…just in case. McBean paints a terrifying and realistic picture of brutality with this book, and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next. THE INVASION is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – The Wave (2016)

The Wave
Directed by Roar Uthaug
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: June 21, 2016

TheWave_RGB_3D_BDLenticularOCard

I’ve been a fan of natural disaster flicks ever since I was a kid. I think this stems from the fact my parents made me watch EARTHQUAKE at a young age. I was then subjected to other disaster films like THE TOWERING INFERNO and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. These old school classics are a lot of fun, and they have paved the way for newer favorites, such as 2012 and SAN ANDREAS. I recently had the pleasure of watching an excellent disaster film called THE WAVE. Just like its predecessors, this movie is a gut-wrenching look at what Mother Nature could potentially release upon civilization at any time. But whereas its brethren focus more on the disaster itself, THE WAVE uses the disaster as a backdrop and instead looks at the people it damages, both mentally and physically. The result is a gripping and powerful film that is rife with tension and terror.

If you are not familiar with THE WAVE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Magnolia Pictures:

Nestled in Norway’s Sunnmøre region, Geiranger is one of the most spectacular tourist draws on the planet. With the mountain Åkerneset overlooking the village — and constantly threatening to collapse into the fjord — it is also a place where cataclysm could strike at any moment. After putting in several years at Geiranger’s warning centre, geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) is moving on to a prestigious gig with an oil company. But the very day he’s about to drive his family to their new life in the city, Kristian senses something isn’t right. The substrata are shifting. No one wants to believe that this could be the big one, especially with tourist season at its peak, but when that mountain begins to crumble, every soul in Geiranger has ten minutes to get to high ground before a tsunami hits, consuming everything in its path.

Those ten minutes are some of the most nerve-rattling you’ll experience in any movie this year, but as The Wave continues the stakes only get higher. Ace director Roar Uthaug keeps things hurtling forward in a state of high anxiety until the very end. Giving Hollywood a run for its money, the film’s canvas is broad, its effects eerily realistic, and its scale immense. Here comes the flood.

It’s been a while since a film literally made me hold my breath because of its intensity. I did just that during the ten-minute countdown, as the wave makes its way to Geiranger. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I exhaled a long, ragged breath. The way the film sucks you in is almost intoxicating.

THE WAVE is shot very well and contains some of the most beautiful visuals of any film I’ve seen so far this year. The HD picture of the Blu-ray captures the scenery with vibrant detail, and the camerawork captures the breathtaking landscape for a truly mesmerizing onscreen image.

The acting is also very good. I have never heard of any of the cast, however they all do a fine job in their roles. Kristoffer Joner plays the lead, Kristian, and he is supported by Ane Dahl Torp, who portrays his wife, Idun (horror fans will recognize Dahl Torp as Sara from the awesome zombie flick, DEAD SNOW). I love the onscreen chemistry these two share, as it is very evident and believable. They are joined by a great cast that includes Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, and Fridtjov Saheim.

The special effects are excellent, and they help to enhance the intensity of the plot. I don’t think this film would be as powerful if the effects were not so good. Thanks to Dolby Atmos Sound Technology, the wave crashes to life in ear-shattering full surround sound, lending more credibility to the realism of the film.

THE WAVE is a huge win for me, and I highly recommend it. The film is from Norway, therefore be ready to read subtitles (I would steer clear of the English dubover…it’s not very good). But don’t worry: the subtitles do not take away from the film at all. Strap in for this one, and be ready to enjoy yourself.

MSB

Movie Review – Hotel Inferno (2016)

Hotel Inferno
Directed by Giulio de Santi
Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing and MVD Distribution
Release Date: June 28, 2016

HOTEL-INFERNO-key-art-new

I’m pretty sure this review is going to make a few readers roll their eyes, but they’ll just have to go with it. I’ll start off by stating up front: I loved HOTEL INFERNO. It is a blast, and it’s very entertaining. Not to mention it has loads of gore. What more can you ask from a horror movie?

The premise and the way the film is shot are going to dissuade a lot of people from watching it, but I recommend giving it a chance. Although, I will give this warning: if movies like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT or games like CALL OF DUTY make you motion-sick, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of this one. But you’re like me and can handle it, then you’re in for a real treat with HOTEL INFERNO.

If you are not familiar with HOTEL INFERNO, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing & MVD:

The World’s First POV action horror movie. Hitman Frank Zimosa is hired for a lucrative mission by a rich client. The objective: kill two people in a hotel. But this simple job soon becomes a nightmare as an army of insane henchmen and monsters are waiting for him, all under the control of an ancient and unstoppable demon – now Frank must fight his way out with any weapon he can get his hands on.

Now, with all of that being said, this is not a perfect film. In fact, it has some glaring flaws. But look past them, take the movie for what it is, and you’ll have a great time.

HOTEL INFERNO is shot well, particularly for being a first-person POV. This is not a found-footage film, but rather a real-time “see-it-as-it-happens” movie. I love this aspect, as it immerses you in the action. This is the very reason I love to play first-person POV video games; you get to experience the thrills as if you were right there.

The acting is so-so, not really spectacular, especially since the two main characters are basically voiceovers. We obviously never see the face of the protagonist, but we do get to hear him speak; and I have to say his voice isn’t very pleasant to hear. It sounds as if he can’t make up his mind as to which accent to use. The antagonist, however, does a great job despite not being seen, and I greatly enjoyed his performance.

The special effects in HOTEL INFERNO are fantastic. The creatures and henchmen look nasty and grotesque, and there’s buckets of gore to go around. Peter Jackson would be proud! Granted, a couple of the headshots look animated, but they are blended with practical effects, so the resulting carnage is stunningly good. My sole complaint about the effects is the lack of originality when it comes to the big, bad female demon/monster. She is very anti-climactic (I was expecting something monumentally huge and evil), and the sparks she spits look like fireworks. This isn’t a huge detraction for me, but I certainly feel it work mentioning.

The actual story is a bit choppy, and the viewer is forced to make a few deductions here and there that are never confirmed. I found it to be an interesting premise, but the execution lacks a bit. Some of the plot is hard to follow here and there, but the end pretty much ties everything together.

Despite its flaws, however, HOTEL INFERNO is a damn good time, and I loved almost every minute of it. I haven’t seen HARDCORE HENRY yet, but I would wager this film will top it in my book; I seriously doubt HH will have anywhere near the thrills or gore that HOTEL INFERNO does. I recommend this one, and I suggest you give it a look next week. It hits store shelves Tuesday, so make a note.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Schramm (1993)

Schramm
Directed by Jorg Buttgereit
Courtesy of Cult Epics
Original Year of Release: 1993
Blu-ray Release Date: April 12, 2016

schramm

The fine folks at Cult Epics keep hitting home runs with the movies they find to release on Blu-ray. I’m very impressed they’ve chosen several of Jorg Buttgereit’s titles, as most of them are quite controversial in nature. Buttgereit, if you didn’t already know, is the brainchild behind some of the most disturbing films of the 80s and 90s, including NEKROMANTIK and THE DEATH KING (click the titles to read my reviews of each). SCHRAMM is a lesser-known title from the director’s filmography, but it is a strong film that horror fans will definitely want to check out. And while not as shocking as his previous works, the film still packs quite a proverbial punch.

If you are not familiar with SCHRAMM, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Cult Epics

The story of a deranged serial killer from the director of Nekromantik. Lothar Schramm (Florian Koemer von Gustorf) is dying, face down in a pool of his own blood. Behind his closed eyes, fractured memories repeat themselves. He runs by the sea. He lusts after the whore (Nekromantik 2’s Monika M.) across the hall. He staggers through life uncertainly. He kills. Schramm is the story of the notorious Lipstick Killer Lothar Schramm’s last days on earth. Revealed in a series of tightly constructed flashbacks, the film offers an unflinching look into the mind of a serial killer. Uncompromising in its depictions of violence and perversion, Schramm is a poetic masterpiece of horror guaranteed to make you squirm.

Cult Epics presents Jorg Buttgereit s last directed horror feature SCHRAMM. Uncut, Uncensored in new High Definition and with new bonus features, including the early horror short films by Jorg Buttgereit.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with SCHRAMM. I’d heard of it, but the film doesn’t quite have the reputation as some of Buttgereit’s other work. Still, I found SCHRAMM very entertaining and disturbing, a wickedly fun glimpse into the mind of a madman.

SCHRAMM is shot well, in Buttgereit’s signature semi-monochromatic style. The HD transfer looks crisp for the most part; I ran into only a couple of scenes with grainy images. I imagine this stems from a lack of lighting during those scenes and not from shoddy camera equipment.

The acting is good, with Florian Koerner von Gustorf portraying the titular serial killer. Von Gustorf does a stunning job as a chilling loner who randomly kills people. Surprisingly, this is one of only three acting credits he has had in his career. He is joined by the beautiful Monica M., who fans will remember from the NEKROMANTIK series.

The special effects are gruesome and realistic for the most part. The sole exception is when blood is splattering on the wall during one of Schramm’s killings. The blood we see looks like red water; it is not thick at all, and looks more comical than anything. But the rest of the gore we get is good, particularly when Schramm is nailing his penis to the table. THAT is a gut-wrenching sight, and I had to turn away a time or two.

SCHRAMM is darkly fun and entertaining, and fans of surreal horror should enjoy it. I recommend giving it a look, especially on Blu-ray. The BR version includes some nice Special Features, such as:

• New Director’s Approved HD Transfer (taken from the original 16mm negative)
• Exclusive Introduction by Jorg Buttgereit
• Audio Commentary by Jorg Buttgereit and writer Franz Rodenkirchen
• Audio Commentary 2 by Actors Florian Koemer von Gustorf and Monika M.
• The Making of Schramm
• Still Photo Gallery
• JB HD Trailers
• Short film: Horror Heaven HD with optional Audio Commentary by Jorg Buttgereit
• Short film: Blutige Exzesse im Fuhrerbunker (Bloody Excess in the Leaders Bunker) HD
• Short film: Mein Papi (My Father)
• Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
• New DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround
• Collectible new Blu-ray Artwork

MSB

Blu-ray Movie(s) Review – Killer Dames

Killer Dames
The Night Evelyn Came Out From the Grave
–Directed by Emilio P. Miraglia
–Original Year of Release: 1971
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
–Directed by Emilio P. Miraglia
–Original Year of Release: 1972
Courtesy of Arrow Video & MVD Distribution
Blu-ray Set Release Date: May 24, 2016

killer dames

The giallo genre is a subset of horror that I’ve only recently discovered. I knew what it was, but I hadn’t had the pleasure of watching any of the films until just a year or so ago. It is a fascinating grouping of movies, though, that contain hybrids of several different genres. The two films in the KILLER DAMES film collection are giallo mysteries, and they are both exquisite examples of why I enjoy the genre so much. Chocked full of intrigue and horror, THE NIGHT EVEYLN CAME OUT FROM THE GRAVE and THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES are must-haves for your movie library!

If you are not familiar with KILLER DAMES, here is the product description courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD Distribution:

At the height of the Italian giallo boom in the early 1970s, scores of filmmakers turned their hand to crafting their own unique takes on these lurid murder-mystery thrillers. This limited edition double pack features two distinctive offerings by Emilio P. Miraglia, which meld twisty whodunit narratives with gothic chills.

In The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, troubled aristocrat Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen, Django the B*stard), haunted by the death of his first wife Evelyn, tries to move on by marrying the seductive Gladys (Marina Malfatti, All the Colours of the Dark). Marital bliss is short-lived, however, as various relatives meet untimely and gruesome deaths, prompting speculation that a vengeful Evelyn has risen from the grave…

Meanwhile, in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, an age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet, Milano Calibro 9) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) following the death of their grandfather Tobias (Rudolf Schündler, The Exorcist, Suspiria). Every hundred years, so the legend goes, the bloodthirsty Red Queen returns and claims seven fresh victims. Was Tobias just the first… and are Kitty and Franziska next?

With both films making their worldwide Blu-ray debuts in stunning new 2K restorations, there has never been a better time to explore these little-seen giallo gems!

Seems like I mention this often when I’m talking about Arrow Video and MVD Distribution, but I absolutely love the obscure titles they find to release. Not only do they add to my movie knowledge, but these titles are also vastly entertaining.

Both films in the KILLER DAMES set are shot well and look great onscreen. The 2K restorations look stunning, and therefore the picture quality ranks up there with some of the best refurbishments I’ve seen. Likewise, the sound quality is great as well. Both films rocked on my surround sound.

The films themselves are interesting and fun to watch. I never got bored, and I found myself enthralled with both stories. For being 40+ years old, the mystery in each movie is engaging and kept me guessing.

My favorite film of the two has to be THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE. This one made me reevaluate my assumptions as to who the killer was several times. And the ending has a couple of nice twists I didn’t see coming. At the end, when the credits rolled, I sat there with a grin on myself. It is truly a satisfying movie experience.

KILLER DAMES is an excellent set, and I highly recommend adding it to your movie collection. In addition to some great vintage giallo horror, you’ll get a nice dose of intrigue and even a hint of some decent gore. This set is available now, so make a note. KILLER DAMES also boasts some great extra features, including:

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
• Limited Edition box set (3000 copies) containing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
• Brand new 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
• Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray Discs)
• Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
• Limited Edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by James Blackford, Kat Ellinger, Leonard Jacobs and Rachael Nisbet
THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE
• New audio commentary by Troy Howarth
• Exclusive introduction by actress Erika Blanc
• Writer Stephen Thrower on The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
• The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave exclusive interview with Erika Blanc
• The Whip and the Body archival interview with Erika Blanc
• Still Rising from the Grave archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi
• Original Italian and US theatrical trailers
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES
• New audio commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman
• Writer Stephen Thrower on The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
• Archival introduction by production/costume designer Lorenzo Baraldi
• Dead à Porter archival interview with Lorenzo Baraldi
• Rounding Up the Usual Suspects archival interview with actor Marino Masé
• If I Met Emilio Miraglia Today archival featurette with Erika Blanc, Lorenzo Baraldi and Marino Masé
• My Favourite… Films archival interview with actress Barbara Bouchet
• Alternative opening
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Lurking Fear (1994)

Lurking Fear
Directed by C. Courtney Joyner
Courtesy of Full Moon Features
Original Year of Release: 1994
Blu-ray Release Date: June 15, 2016

lurking fear

If a project has ‘Lovecraft’ attached to it, you can bet I’ll be chomping at the bit to check it out. Unfortunately, just having the word associated with something doesn’t make it Lovecraftian in nature. Several film adaptations of Lovecraft’s work have taken lengthy liberties with the source material, and the resulting products come out as something vastly different than the author’s intentions.

Such is the case with LURKING FEAR, a 1994 Full Moon film that is releasing on Blu-ray tomorrow. And while the film is fun for the most part, I don’t think it should be listed in Lovecraft’s filmography. But if you take it for what it is (a nonsensical creature-feature), you might just enjoy yourself.

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

The town of Leffert’s Corners has been plagued by unearthly beings for decades, and now there is only a few people left, including the local priest and a woman traumatized by the death of her sister. But when John Martense turns up to claim his illicit family fortune, with bad guys in pursuit, the last stand had become a lot more complicated…. What everyone is not aware of are the humanoid creatures lurking underneath the holy grounds! Based on the writings of H P Lovecraft.
Special Features: – Audio commentary with director Courtney Joyner – Original VideoZone – Deleted Scenes Reel – Full Moon trailers

I will confess I am disappointed with how far away from the original story the film goes. Lovecraft’s short is a vivid and imaginative jaunt into terror. This film version, however, comes across more like something Sam Raimi might have made back in the 80s.

LURKING FEAR looks great onscreen, thanks to a nice HD transfer. The picture is crisp for the most part (some of the darker scenes look a bit grainy), and the surround sound projects nicely through the speakers.

The acting in LURKING FEAR is pretty good, although a couple of performances stand out. I loved Ashley Laurence as Cathryn. She will always be Kirsty from the HELLRAISER series to me, but seeing her in this role gave me a newfound sense of her talent. Also, Jeffrey Combs once again shines, this time as an alcoholic, nicotine-fueled doctor. Combs has a knack for making his characters larger-than-life, and this role is no different.

The special effects look pretty good overall, but some could have been better. The creature effects are slick and scary, and I have to tip my hat to the creature designer(s); the bulging eyes on the beast’s face make a striking focal point. There’s not much gore, but what we do get looks nice and fresh.

On the downside for LURKING FEAR, the storyline is choppy, and several explanations are missing. I will not mention specifics, as I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say there are gaping holes in certain aspects of the plot.

If you can look past that, then you’re in for a pretty fun time. LURKING FEAR is not an excellent film, but it’s still entertaining and offers plenty of reasons to own it. The Blu-ray hits store shelves tomorrow, so make a note.

MSB

Movie Review – Gridlocked (2016)

Gridlocked
Directed by Allan Ungar
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Release Date: June 14, 2016

gridlocked-blu-ray-cover-92

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into GRIDLOCKED, but I definitely had high expectations. The film boasts an interesting cast, and several of the reviews I read made it sound like a high-intensity action film. So, the bar was raised pretty high when I sat down to watch the film. I’m very happy to report my expectations were met and then exceeded with this movie, and I can’t wait to see what director Allan Ungar does next.

If you are not familiar with GRIDLOCKED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Magnet Releasing:

Former NYPD SWAT leader David Hendrix (Dominic Purcell) has failed to receive medical clearance after taking a bullet on the job. As if things couldn’t get any worse, he’s forced to babysit Brody Walker (Cody Hackman), a hard partying celebrity that’s been sent on a mandatory ride-along as part of his probation. But all of that changes when a police training facility comes under attack by a team of ruthless mercenaries led by the mysterious Korver (Stephen Lang). Now Hendrix and Walker must band together with the remaining survivors to fight back and stay alive.

I love good action flicks, particularly those with intense gun-battles. GRIDLOCKED definitely delivers in this area, but it also contains a slick storyline that will keep you enthralled until the end.

GRIDLOCKED is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears high, and the HD quality of the picture is very appealing to the eye. Likewise, the sound is crisp, and I greatly enjoyed the film in surround sound.

The acting is quite good, and I must confess I wasn’t sure if Dominic Purcell could pull off a lead role like this. Thankfully, he does a great job. I enjoy seeing him in the lead, and I hope to see him in more of the same in the future. Purcell is joined by a great cast that includes Cody Hackman, Stephen Lang, Vinnie Jones, and Saul Rubinek.

GRIDLOCKED does not contain many special effects, other than the firefights. Those look great, though, and they offer an energetic foray into fun. And when the action has subsided for a moment, the plot progresses at a nice pace. As a result, the film offers a great viewing experience overall.

GRIDLOCKED is a win for me, and I recommend giving it a look. It hits store shelves tomorrow, so make a note.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Sorceress (1995)

Sorceress
Directed by Jim Wynorski
Courtesy of Synapse Films & CAV Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1995
Blu-ray Release Date: Jun 14, 2016

sorceress

Director Jim Wynorski is responsible for several “guilty pleasure” films I’ve enjoyed over the years. These are films you don’t want to tell people you like, and the titles include CHOPPING MALL, DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR, and GILA!. The fine folks at Synapse Films and CAV Distribution found another title to add to my list: SORCERESS. I’d never heard of the film before, but I have to admit it’s an obscure gem. Chocked full of witchcraft and nudity, this is a film you won’t soon forget!

If you are not familiar with SORCERESS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Synapse Films and CAV Distribution:

Larry Barnes (Larry Poindexter) is on the fast track to a partnership in a prestigious law firm, and his sexy witch wife Erica (Julie Strain, HEAVY METAL 2000) will do anything to keep her husband happy. But Erica makes a fatal mistake when she tries to kill Larry’s main competition for the partnership, Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert, GALAXY OF TERROR). With Howard now crippled for life from Erica’s dark magic, his wife Amelia (Linda Blair, THE EXORCIST) plots her revenge. Using witchcraft and a mystical medallion, Amelia tries to destroy everyone and everything in Larry’s life!

All the pleasures of the flesh and malevolence of black magic collide in this newly remastered and uncensored version of Jim Wynorski’s SORCERESS (aka TEMPTRESS). Presented for the first time ever from a new 2K scan of the original uncut film element, this release features additional footage and additional nudity removed from the original release.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you: this is not really a horror film. It’s more like a revenge-flick (un)dressed like a horror-thriller. But regardless, it’s still a lot of fun. Just don’t go into it expecting a serious movie. It’s very tongue-in-check, particularly because it feels like something Cinemax would show after the kids go to bed.

SORCERESS looks good onscreen, particularly for being 20 years old. The HD restoration for the Blu-ray looks great, and the sound quality is nice as well.

The acting is mediocre, but it really doesn’t have to be good to enjoy the film; the “scenery” makes up for the lack of talent. Granted, better acting might have lent more seriousness to the subject matter, but I’m not sure if it would have made a difference to the movie as whole. This isn’t really a negative for me, but I imagine many viewers will want more substance.

The story is intriguing (albeit a bit weak), and it kept my attention for the duration of the film. Interestingly, despite the movie’s intentions, there’s not much tension in the air. This is probably due in part to the massive amount of flesh that is shown in every other scene. I’m not complaining, but I will confess it certainly distracts from the storyline. Thankfully, it’s not a detraction from the film.

SORCERESS is a big win for me, and I recommend giving it a look. Obviously, you might want to hire a sitter or at least make sure the kids are in bed before you start it. But the film offers a lot of fun, and it might even spice up a marriage or two. It hits store shelves next week, so make a note.

MSB