HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: TERROR ESPAÑOL: THE [REC] FILMS REVISITED!


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TERROR ESPAÑOL: THE [REC] FILMS REVISITED!

Having recently treated myself to the awesome Scream Factory box set of this four film Spanish horror series, from Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, I decided to revisit my reviews for each film in this chilling series…

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[REC] (2007)

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One of the best of the post Blair Witch found footage horror movies, this Spanish fright flick starts out quietly and slowly builds the tension until a truly nerve racking final act. The film starts quietly as a pretty reporter, Angela (Manuela Velasco) for a news team is documenting the activities of a Barcelona fire dept. She and her camera man, whose perspective we are following, go along with them on a routine call at an old apartment building involving and elderly woman. Soon they realize that something is very wrong as the old woman violently attacks them and one by one the occupants are turning vicious and homicidal and the group falls under siege. Worse yet, the authorities have arrived and sealed them all inside the building with the increasing numbers of ‘infected” sealed in with them and a few remaining unaffected tenants.

Using the first person camera style to draw you in, the viewer takes the perspective of Angela’s camera man and you’re along for the ride. Directors and writers, Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza really know how to turn the screws and use the found footage format to maximum effect. Their are some really tense and violent scenes once the story gets going and you are right in the middle of it through the camera’s eye as they decide to keep documenting what is happening around them. The final scenes are done in the dark with night vision and will give you the appropriate nightmares. A top notch and quite nerve wracking horror from Spain.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) scared Señoritas!

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This is the best trailer I could find. It doesn’t have subtitles, not that it needs them, but, the film does…

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[REC] 2 (2009)

 

Sequel to the Spanish chiller [REC] picks up right where the original left off with a SWAT team escorting a health dept. official into the sealed tenement. This enables the intensity and chills to start almost immediately, where as the original took time to build the story and tension. And not only are we treated to more nail biting horror as in the first film, but some new twists to the story really crank up the goose bump factor as the ‘infection’ may have a far more horrifying origin. Add to that some foolishly inquisitive teens who find a way into the building and become trapped inside with the police and the murderous zombies and the makers of the original [REC] once again put the audience through the ringer.

A sequel that manages to continue the story and up the ante at the same time. Watch for some fun cameos from some of the first flick’s characters as zombies and a sinister surprise at the climax. Another scary treat from writers and director’s Jaume Balaguer and Paco Plaza.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) scared Señoritas!

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[REC] 3: GENESIS (2012)

Since I posted about the first 2 films in this series in a recent Saturday Night Double Feature… check it out here… I thought I’d give the third flick a shout out…

I am a huge fan of the [REC] films, they are among my favorite horrors of recent years so, I was very much looking forward to this latest installment…and while it is the weakest of the series so far, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a bloody good time. First off, [REC] 3: Genesis has the best excuse for found footage yet…a zombie outbreak at a wedding where the wedding videographer captures the horrific events, but the film also abandons the format when logic dictates the videographer no longer films and then becomes more of a routine zombie flick. That is the film’s weakness, that it is more of a generic zombie movie then the first two especially when it changes to a more straightforward format. The film is also much lighter in tone then the first two installments, as well, as it tells the story of a wedding occurring at the same time as the tenement outbreak, where guests and relatives start turning into demon possessed zombies. A lighter tone and a change of format doesn’t mean a fan of this series or of zombie flicks won’t enjoy the fun and carnage [REC] 3 throws our way. Director Paco Plaza seems to have wanted to have a little more fun with this chapter and as long as his loyal audience accepts that, they can join in the gore soaked amusements too. The cast seem to be in on the fun and while they take their parts serious enough, there is also a quick wink to let us know that we’re lightening things up a bit this time round. Pretty lead Leticia Dolera as the blood spattered, chainsaw wielding bride, Clara especially seems to have a good time going from frightened future Mrs. to zombie killing Bridezilla. Top notch gore once again punctuate the film as with the previous two installments. Again, lesser of the three, but still blood soaked fun!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) chainsaw brides!

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[REC] 4: APOCALYPSE (2014)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

After the fun but lighter toned [REC] 3: Genesis directed by series co-creator Paco Plaza, this Spanish horror franchise returns to it’s more serious roots and brings back original chapter heroine Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) for it’s supposed conclusion. The story picks up where [REC] 2 left off with Angela being rescued from the tenement by a team of armed soldiers and finding herself in “quarantine” on a large ship at sea housing a few other survivors, including an old woman (María Alfonsa Rosso) from the wedding in [REC] 3. The ship is filled with soldiers and scientists who claim to be testing the survivors for the lethal virus before releasing them. Unknown to the survivors and crew, though, the paramilitary team is also experimenting on an antivirus and to do that, they need the infected to test it on. When one of there test subjects is freed, the zombie plague begins to spread through the ship, which is isolated at sea, and now the lives of everyone are threatened by zombies and self-destruct protocols alike.

This final(?) installment is directed by series co-creator Jaume Balagueró, who co-wrote with Manu Diez and completely jettisons the found footage format that was used for the first two films and part of the third. The film also underplays the religious overtones while returning to a darker and more intense tone after the more playful third film. Balagueró definitely gives the proceedings some nice atmosphere and cinematographer Pablo Rosso adds to that with taking full advantage of the claustrophobic old ship it’s set on. The film never quite reaches the nail-biting intensity of the first two films, but Balagueró does gives us a very exciting and suspenseful third act when the infestation is in full swing and our survivors are fighting the undead and each other. The film is also quite gory in the series tradition and the only thing that is somewhat disappointing is that it never feels like a climactic chapter, but just another installment. It never felt like it was a conclusion, or that it truly wrapped things up for the remaining characters…or the infestation for that matter. By downplaying the religious aspects of the zombie outbreak, it removes the need for a deeper explanation to what was initially a demon caused viral possession. Now it is just a virus that can be isolated and stopped once the host parasite is found and destroyed. It does take away a bit of the creepiness derived from the fact that the zombies were caused and guided by a malevolent demonic intelligence. There is only a brief moment where a character that hosts the parasite talks as if possessed, but it is brief and leads nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, the film still delivers a very entertaining and bloody 90 minutes and there is a very effective score by Amau Bataller to accent the action…of which there is plenty. It’s just the film never gives the viewer the closure they need to bid farewell to this franchise, if it truly is the end. We needed something stronger and something that felt more final.

The cast are all very good, from sexy heroine Manulela Velasco who can get just as vicious as any zombie when she needs to. Paco Manzanedo is a solid hero as Guzmán, the soldier that saves Angela from the tenement and earns himself a voyage on the ship/lab. Héctor Colomé is appropriately slimy and intense as Dr. Ricarte, who has been following this outbreak from it’s inception and seems to have his own agenda. As for the supporting players, all do solid work whether good guy, bad guy, human or zombie and having a strong cast goes far in making this as good as it is.

Overall, I liked [REC] 4 very much, but was just slightly disappointed that it chose to side-step some of the more interesting religious aspects of the initial story developed over the first three films. By doing away with the found footage formula, it both freshens it up and takes away one of the more unique aspects of the series and now it’s a routine zombie flick, though a very good one. As a conclusion, it didn’t have the weight and finality that once expects from a final chapter, but overall, it is a suspenseful and gory good time. Maybe not a completely worthy finale, but a very solid and entertaining installment in an overall quality horror series and a return to form after the lighter third chapter.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) outboard motors.

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COOL STUFF: THE HILLS RUN RED (2009) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

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THE HILLS RUN RED (2009) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

 

The Hills Run Red (2009) (full review HERE) is a bloody…and very 80s…slasher flick that was sadly overlooked when first released directly to DVD on 9/29/2009. It has since gained a strong and loyal cult following and now, thanks to the great folks at Scream Factory, is getting the treatment and respect it deserves!

 

As for the disc itself….

The high definition transfer of this cult favorite looks really good and wonderfully complements Ilan Rosenberg’s cinematography, as well as, the film’s unsettling visual design. The flick is presented in the original 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The colors are bright and vibrant and the images are sharp. The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and should satisfy any home theater enthusiasts, as well as, it’s intended audience.

 

Now on to the extras….

There are some very extensive and informative extras on this disc! The special edition contains all the extras from the original DVD release, including the audio commentary and the It’s Not Real Until You Shoot It: MakingThe Hills Run Red feature.

The new stuff is bountiful. We get two new audio commentaries featuring director Dave Parker, podcaster Patrick Bromley and fan favorite filmmakers Joe Lynch and Adam Green. We get a bunch of video interviews. They start off with an in-depth look at the creation of it’s score from composer Frederik Wiedmann. We get extensive interviews with executive producer Erik Olsen, director Dave Parker and writer David J. Schow. These interviews give some great insight into the production, especially detailing Warner Brothers enthusiastically green-lighting the film after reading the script, then backtracking once they saw the first cut. This explains the short runtime and why the film was dumped unceremoniously on DVD. We get a day in the shooting of the film with, Friday the 13th, June 2008. We get a look at improve scenes shot by the cast for the character filmed segments in The Hills Are Alive…With The Sound Of Improv. The next batch of new featurettes appear to be put together from unreleased interview and behind the scenes footage during the production. These include separate documentaries each on William Sadler’s portrayal of Wilson Wyler Concannon, as well as, Janet Montgomery, Sophie Monk, Alex Wyndham and Tad Hilgenbrink playing their respective roles. After the cast, there are on-set interviews with producer Robert Meyer Burnett and production designer Antonello Rubino. Also be aware, there is a lot of unused footage from the film peppered throughout all these featurettes and a nice production scrapbook that is the icing on the new extras cake. All in all, this is a whooping selection of extras to delight the film’s fans that make this modestly priced special edition well worth the purchase.

 

The Hills Run Red (2009) may not have gotten the attention or box office release it deserved, but the folks at Scream Factory have finally given this fan favorite slasher the respect it’s due. The film looks great and there are some very extensive and informative extras involving many facets of the film’s production. If you are a fan of this film, this disc is almost certainly what you have been waiting for!

-MonsterZero NJ

COOL STUFF: THE BLOB (1988) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

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THE BLOB (1988) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

 

The Blob (1988) (full review HERE) is an 80s remake of the 1958 classic, that sadly underperformed at the box office when it was released on August 5, 1988. The film has gained a strong cult following all these years later and is finally getting the respect it deserves. No more evidence of this is Scream Factory’s recent collector’s edition, which gives this fun flick the proper treatment.

 

As for the disc itself….

The transfer of this 80s monster movie is great and the print looks fantastic. The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and as it is over three decades old, there is some grain in the picture, but that is to be expected at this point. The colors are bright and vibrant, which makes the gelatinous creature all the more effective as a colorful beastie it is. The sound is in HD DTS 5.1 or DTS 2.0 and makes this action/sci-fi/horror really come alive, as the sound design on the film is already very strong. Once again Scream Factory gives a film the royal treatment all films deserve and if you are a fan of this flick, the technical presentation is reason alone to have this.

 

Now on to the extras….

The extras included are generous and features some fun stuff. For starters, there is an extensive two-part interview with Chuck Russell. In the first part he describes his journey into being a filmmaker, from his early days with Roger Corman, working on Hell Night, to his directorial debut on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. In the second part, Russell goes into extensive detail on filming this 1988 remake. A great interview! Other interviews include, production designer Craig Stearns, FX man Chris Gilman, cinematographer Mark Irwin, FX man Peter Abrahamson, FX man Mark Setrakian, SPFX expert Tony Gardner and cast members, Candy Clark, Jeffrey DeMunn, Donovan Leitch and Bill Mosley. That’s a lot of personal insight into the making of this film! Be advised though, the box art also lists an interview with star Ricky Paull Goldin, but it does not appear with the extras. There is also some new commentary on the film, with Russell, Mark Irwin and Tony Gardner with a second solo commentary track featuring star Shawnee Smith. Scream Factory has also included a previous commentary with Chuck Russell and producer Ryan Turek. Rounding out the extras are some behind the scenes footage and, of course, the traditional theatrical trailer, TV spot and still gallery.

 

The Blob (1988) was sadly a box office disappointment when first released. A shame, as this is a fun, energetic and chilling monster movie with a lot of inventive filmmaking done to bring it’s creature to life. Today, the film has finally been recognized by genre fans and now has a well-deserved cult following. Thanks to Scream Factory, that following finally has a great way to enjoy it. Highly recommended!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

COOL STUFF: HELL NIGHT SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY!

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HELL NIGHT (1981) Blu-Ray

Hell Night is a fun 1981 slasher that finds a group of college pledges spending the night in a haunted house as part of their initiation (Full Review HERE). It’s a good representation of the type of horror movie made back during that era and now with the added nostalgia, it’s aged very well. Scream Factory has resurrected this long sought after and unavailable flick and given it their star treatment. It comes in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack and with a host of extras

As for the feature…

The picture is a 4K remaster from a 35mm print and is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, preserving the film’s theatrical dimensions. There is some grain in the picture and a few lines here and there, but for a low budget film over 35 years-old, this is a great looking disc. The colors are vibrant and the picture has some nice contrast, especially in the shadow filled night scenes. The sound is in DTS-HD mono and it sounds just fine. Again, this low budget flick is from 1981, so don’t expect 7.1 surround sound. The menus are simple, fun and easy to navigate, which is the usual for Scream Factory’s releases. Overall a nice restoration of a cult classic and it brought memories back, having seen it during it’s theatrical run in a theater.

Now on to the extras…

The extras consist of some wonderful new interviews with cast and crew, who are all too happy to talk about this sometimes overlooked movie. We have interviews with star Linda Blair, leading man Peter Barton, producer Bruce Cohn Curtis and writer Randy Feldman. We then get some fun one on one conversations between actors Vince Van Patten and Suki Goodwin and then Kevin Brophy and Jenny Neumann. We also get a look at the design of the film and an examination of the death scenes with various crew members and a return to the original location. Follow that up with the usual trailers, TV spots, radio spots and photo gallery and you have a really fun and informative disc giving a low budget cult classic the respect it deserves!

As a film that has nostalgic resonance with me, I can’t express how great it is to see this little flick get such royal treatment! The disc arrives from Scream Factory on 1/2/18!

-MonsterZero NJ

HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: JACKALS (2017)

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JACKALS (2017)

Jackals opens in 1983 with a chilling murder of a family in the middle of the night. The film then switches to the kidnaping of a young man, Justin (Ben Sullivan) by two masked individuals. We find out they are actually Ben’s father, Andrew (Johnathon Schaech) and ex-Marine, Jimmy (Stephen Dorff). We also learn that Justin is involved with a cult and his family has abducted him to a remote cabin for Jimmy to deprogram him. But as horror fans we know remote cabins in the woods are never a safe place and soon they are surrounded by masked cultists who want Justin back and his family all dead.

Flick is written by Jared Rivet and directed effectively by Kevin Greutert (Jessabelle). The plot may be a mix of things we’ve seen before like The Strangers, Faults and You’re Next, but it works well enough. There are some chilling scenes and some intensity, especially when the cultists surround the cabin and begin their efforts to get in. There is also some brutal violence and director Greutert does give it some atmospheric visuals to support the night-set story. The film falters a bit in a few aspects. First off, the Powell Family remain far too calm and organized when the cultists make their presence known. They quickly arm themselves, make weapons and seem quite ready to defend the cabin as if they’ve done this before. Have they? Did we miss something? Did Jimmy conduct a family boot camp just in case? Also, the cultists seem like they are a large group, yet constantly attack the cabin one or two at a time, instead of rushing the cabin all at once and overrunning it…which would end the movie very quickly. That and the whole animal masked killers thing is starting to get old and is far less effective since many films have used this trope in recent years. Still the film does entertain and there are some effective moments alongside the familiar ones.

The cast are all fine enough. The vets like Schaech, Dorff and Deborah Kara Unger take the material seriously and try their best to add some dramatic intensity. Ben Sullivan is creepy as Justin and the dynamic of being a brainwashed cultist is conveyed well enough to make the story work. We also have Nick Roux and Chelsea Ricketts as Justin’s jerk brother and girlfriend/baby momma, respectively and as the cultists are masked and silent, we never really get to know any of them. Cultist “Fox Girl” (Alyssa Julya Smith) had nice abs, but that’s as far as the character development went with her.

Overall, this was a decent enough horror/thriller to pass the time and there were some effective and brutally violent scenes to punctuate the story. There visual style of director Greutert added some atmosphere and the veteran cast took the material seriously. There were some story flaws, questions and a lot of familiarity which kept this from being a real nail-biter or more original, but you could do far worse for a night on the couch with a brew or two.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 hatchets, a common weapon for jackal masked cultists.

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COOL STUFF: SLITHER SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY!

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SLITHER (2006) Blu-Ray

Slither is a fun and delightfully gory horror/comedy from Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, that is sadly overlooked and underrated…until now! Once again the awesome folks at Scream Factory have given a flick the respect and treatment it deserves with this new special edition. This title in particular has always been a personal favorite and this disc was obviously anxiously awaited. Let’s find out if it delivered…

On a technical level the film image is clear and sharp with some nice contrast, while maintaining the original color palette that Gunn filmed it in. The flesh tones, both human and in-human being the most vibrant colors aside from the gore. The movie is presented in the original 1.85.1 aspect ratio, preserving the film’s original dimensions. The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with alternate 2.0 DTS-HD for those without home theater sound systems. The original extras from the DVD are presented in the video format ratio of 1:33:1 that they were filmed in. Remember it was 2006 and the TVs those extras were made for still came in the square format.

Now on to the extensive extras which make this disc so worth having!…

Scream Factory has added some new features in addition to including all the fun extras from the initial DVD release. We get new commentary from James Gunn with Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, aside from the original commentary with Gunn and actor Nathan Fillion. We also get new interviews with both writer/director Gunn and actor Gregg Henry and it is interesting to hear Gunn reminisce about the flick now that he’s had such success with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. From there we get deleted and extended scenes with optional James Gunn commentary. We get a step by step of some of the film’s visual FX. We get a fun tour of the set with actor Nathon Fillion, followed by an amusing profile of his character Bill Pardy. There’s a documentary from the original release called The Sick Minds And Slimy Days Of Slither. One of the FX crew humorously gives us a fake blood recipe in Brewing The Blood. There is another FX documentary about how the slimy critters were brought to life and a short video diary with Troma creator Lloyd Kaufman on set for a cameo, which sadly was cut from the final print. The extras wrap up with a fun gag reel and the original theatrical trailer. A nice batch of extras for a movie only now starting to get the notice it deserves.

This is a personal favorite and a flick that is finally finding an audience after being overlooked upon initial release. It’s a fun horror/sci-fi flick that pays homage to many of it’s influences, yet not without having it’s own identity. (my full review HERE) If you’re a fan of the film, it’s a must have disc. If you are just discovering James Gunn through his Guardian’s movies, than this is definitely an item you may want to check out. Another great disc from Scream Factory.

-MonsterZero NJ

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COOL STUFF: SCREAM FACTORY’S SPECIAL EDITION OF JOHN CARPENTER’S “THE THING” LOOKS AWESOME!

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The awesome folks at Scream Factory will be releasing a special edition of John Carpenter’s classic The Thing on 9/20/16 and here is a description, direct from Scream Factory themselves, of all the special extras this great sounding disc is going to have!…

 

** THE THING! DETAILS + SITE EXCLUSIVE OFFER!**

We’re beyond excited to present our plans today for John Carpenter’s iconic and ground-breaking remake of THE THING. Lots of information to report this morning so please read the status update all the way through!

Official street date for the 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is 9/20/16

List of extras and specs at this time are as follows:

• NEW 2K scan of the Inter-positive supervised and approved by director of photography Dean Cundey
• NEW 4.1 created from the original 70MM Six Track Dolby Stereo soundtrack
• NEW Audio Commentary with director of photography Dean Cundey
• NEW The Men of Outpost 31 – interviews with Keith David, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney and more…
• NEW Assembling and Assimilation – an interview with editor Todd Ramsay
• NEW Behind the Chameleon – interviews with visual effects artists Peter Kuran and Susan Turner, special make-up effects artist Rob Burman and Brian Wade and more….
• NEW Sounds from the Cold – interviews with supervising sound editor David Lewis Yewdall and special sound effects designer Alan Howarth
• NEW Between the Lines – an interview with novelization author Alan Dean Foster
• Audio Commentary by director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell
• John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape – a documentary on the making of THE THING featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, special effects make-up designer Rob Bottin, legendary matte artist Albert Whitlock plus members of the cast and crew (80 minutes – SD)
• Outtakes (5 minutes – SD)
• Vintage featurettes from the electronic press kit featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Rob Bottin (12 minutes – SD)
• Vintage featurettes – The Making of a Chilling Tale and The Making of THE THING (1982 – 14 minutes – SD)
• Vintage Product Reel – contains a promotional condensed version of the film with additional footage not in the film (19 minutes – SD)
• Vintage Behind-the-Scenes footage (2 minutes – SD)
• Annotated Production Archive – Production Art and Storyboards, Location Scouting, Special Make-up Effects, Post Production (48 minutes – SD)
• Network TV Broadcast version of THE THING (92 minutes – SD)
• Teaser Trailer & Theatrical Trailers (U.S. and German Trailer)
• TV spots & Radio Spots
• Still Gallery (behind-the-scenes photos, posters and lobby cards)

1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/1982/Approximate Feature Running Time: +/- 109 minutes/English Subtitles/Special Features Are Not Rated. Region A (U.S. and Canada)

We still have a few more extras in the pipeline and will report them in the future when they have been confirmed.

Avid fans of the film will want to take note of two exclusive offers on the release—which are only available at www.shoutfactory.com while supplies last:

STANDARD OFFER
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from artist Paul Shipper
– Product will be shipped two weeks earlier than National Street date of September 20th
Pre-order @ https://www.shoutfactory.com/…/the-thing-collector-s-edition

DELUXE OFFER (Limited to 1,500 orders only – pictured below)
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from Paul Shipper
– Product will be shipped three weeks earlier than National Street date of September 20
– Receive a second slipcover—made exclusively for this promotion and newly-designed from artist Nat Marsh
– Receive a second 18” x 24” poster of the newly designed art from Nat Marsh
Pre-order @ https://www.shoutfactory.com/…/the-thing-deluxe-limited-edi…

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Source: Scream Factory/Shout Factory

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BITE (2015)

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BITE (2015)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Flick starts out with three pretty friends Casey (Elma Begovic), Jill (Annette Wozniak) and Kristen (Denise Yuen) traveling to a tropical island to celebrate Casey’s engagement. The girls are coerced into to going to a secluded spot deep in the jungle by a stranger and while in this little spot of paradise, Casey is bitten by something while swimming in a pool of water. Once home, as Casey starts to have cold feet about her wedding, she starts to feel sick and thinks the bite is infected. But each day Casey appears sicker and starts to change physically. Worse still, she discovers she’s pregnant…but with what?

Basically this is a female version of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, but with the female lead there is an the added caveat that she is also pregnant. As directed by Chad Archibald from a script by Jayme Laforest, it is still an effective little movie despite the obvious comparisons with Cronenberg’s classic. The film has similar elements, as Casey starts to physically degenerate like loosing her hair and pulling her own nails off. She also can spit corrosive digestive fluids like Brundle-Fly and uses it against people who piss her off like he did. It still works well enough, especially as Casey starts turning her apartment into a nest/nursery with thousands of gelatinous eggs all over the floor, walls and ceiling with Casey herself starting to look like some slimy otherworldly creature. We feel for her and even if we didn’t, Archibald, gives the film a very unsettling look and atmosphere and it is consistently grotesque without going too over-the-top. And that’s where it really works, as this touch of restraint keeps it from getting laughably disgusting and instead remains effectively disturbing. There are some flaws. Casey, even in her more creature-like form, has a jealous spat with Jill over attention towards her fiancé Jared (Jordan Grey). It’s a tad silly and obviously doesn’t bode well for Jill, though does lead to the violent final confrontation between Jared and insectiod future wife. Also, as numerous characters remark about the smell coming from Casey’s apartment, why aren’t the authorities ever called? For a low budget film, though, the make-up effects are well done. Not up to Chris Walas’ standards on The Fly but still very effective. Keeping most of the action confined to Casey’s apartment also serves the budget and works in putting us in there with the gruesomely transforming woman on a more personal level.

A small cast and they are all pretty good for fairly unknowns. Elma Begovic does really well as Casey and is actually stronger once in make-up and having to wade around in thousands of slimy eggs. She’s fairly likable as the uncertain fiancé to start, but seems to really rise to the challenge of acting out this grotesque situation that gets increasingly worse. A real trooper considering all she does. Wozniak plays the scheming bitch part well as Jill and Denise Yuen’s Kristen is solid as the more compassionate and caring of Casey’s two friends. Finally, Jordan Grey rounds out as the workaholic Jared, who is a bit too involved in his own life to notice something is really wrong with Casey…until it’s too late. An efficient cast to help make the flick work.

Despite the glaring similarity to David Cronenberg’s classic The Fly this film still remains an effective little horror. Director Chad Archibald, whose story Laforest’s script is based on, keeps the film creepy and icky enough to make it still work. He gets help from a solid performance from his leading lady, who rises to the challenge of acting from under prosthetics and slime for most of the movie. The film has atmosphere and is solid on a production level for a low budget film with high aspirations. Derivative…yes, but still effective and entertaining.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 slimy eggs

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COOL STUFF: THE HALLOW on BLU-RAY

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THE HALLOW (2015) Blu-Ray

The Hallow is an atmospheric and spooky Irish horror (see full review here) that has arrived on blu-ray from the awesome folks at Scream Factory, as part of their partnership with IFC Midnight…a partnership that has been yielding some great discs!

As for the disc itself…

The picture is gorgeous, the colors vibrant and really presents the visual style of director Corin Hardy and the wonderful cinematography of Martijn Van Broekhuizen, perfectly. The disc is presented in the original 2.35.1 widescreen aspect ratio, preserving the filmmakers’ vision. The sound is in 5.1 DTS and there is an alternate 2.0 track for those without the home theater set-up.

Now on to the extensive extras which make this disc even more worth having!…

The extras start out with a wonderful 50 minute documentary Surviving The Fairytale: Making The Hallow, which is a chronicle of the making of the film from story development, casting and even the training of the creature performers. It uses interviews with the director, cast and crew, with on-set footage to detail the film’s journey starting with Corin Hardy’s story and his decision to use practical make-up effects and prosthetics to portray the fairy creatures and the actual making of those creature FX for the screen. We then travel with Hardy and crew to the Galway, Ireland locations as the film begins production. Here we get to see all facets of how this dark fantasy was created, from staging FX sequences, to Hardy directing the actors in their scenes. It’s extensive and fun. We then go to post production to see the film start to come together and then on to it’s initial test screenings and finally it’s premiere at Sundance. It is a very enjoyable and thorough look at the making of the film, made by the filmmakers themselves with as much heart as they put into their film. You really get a sense of the passion that went into this project by all involved. We also get three ‘making of’ features derived from the documentary and then finish up with director’s storyboards, some illustrations from the Celtic  Book Of Invasions, which is featured in and influenced the film, as well as, Corin Hardy’s sketchbook and creature concepts. There is also an audio track with Corin Hardy commentary, too. It’s over 75 minutes of extras and if you love the filmmaking process, simply enjoy this movie, or both, these are a host of extras you’ll want to have!

I really enjoyed this movie and agree with star Joseph Mawle that the more you watch it, the more you see. It’s a very charming and yet spooky dark fantasy from a filmmaker to watch and Scream Factory has delivered it on a beautiful disc with a host of must-have extras…which has become their forte.

-MonsterZero NJ

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