REVIEW – In2ruders (2018) – Trailblazer

In2ruders is a new 23 minute psychological horror / thriller short film by award winning filmmaker Naeem Mahmood which shows the dark side of the music industry. Starring a mixed cast of recognizable celebrities including models Caprice and Ricki Hall, actors Megan Burns (28 Days Later) and Samuel Anderson (Doctor Who) and Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley; In2ruders shows a dark and twisted depiction of the music business.

An independent musician battles against a music company (NWR) who are trying to tie her down on a contract and own her ‘soul’. The corporation lead by the sexy yet sinister CEO (Caprice) will stop at nothing to get what they want, no matter how much mental and physical abuse they need to dish out in the process. The NWR are determined to stalk, blackmail, capture and torture their victims until they sign their life away on the dotted line. The artist tries her best to hide from the NWR but they eventually get their hands on her and put her through unimaginable torment. It is all very ‘real’, the violence is very convincing and hard to watch at times but it does a great job of emphasising the struggle of remaining ‘independent’.

This short film is very honest, direct, and hard hitting right from the offset. It shows some aspects of the glitz and glory of fame but focuses mainly on presenting another side which hasn’t really been exposed to us in such brutality. On paper, at first glance the casting may look like a mishmash of ‘known faces’ but they all work extremely well in this film and it gives the film a feeling of authenticity given their first hand experience of working in showbiz. There are strong performances from the whole cast, however Caprice in particular puts in a standout performance as the villain, one which may land her more similar roles in the future. While the movie is far fetched in its concepts, there seems to be a high degree of truthful insight into what actually goes on in real life. This is the type of film that the music industry doesn’t want you to see, but you owe it to yourself to see another side of what actually goes on albeit it acts as a metaphor. At only 23 minutes, you still feel like you are watching an uncut movie as nothing is watered down or taken out with the exploitation scenes being pro-longed and full-on.

There is no doubt that In2ruders is a very thought provoking film with a lot of great ideas, despite its short length it does more than enough to raise questions in your mind and as its delivery is concise. There is no filler to be found here, the film shows the scarring effects of corporate greed and power on creative artists who are desperate for money and fame but do not want to ‘sell their soul’. In2ruders shows how quickly a dream can transform into a nightmare. The soundtrack by Bloom Twins (produced by Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran) is solid and fits in well with the slick presentation and complements the superb use of lighting.

In2ruders, despite its low budget, is a slick and stylish film which draws in a lot of influences and experimental camera techniques to provide a distinctly unique psychological thriller which will drop your jaw to the floor. The film is shot like a movie and a music video all rolled into one, it weaves in and out of its own consciousness and it is as distressing as it is mesmerising. The production values are high and it has the look and feel of a big budget release with no flaws. This is a brave portrayal of what goes on behind the glitz and glamour of the music industry and shows the horrors within. In a world where freedom of speech is controlled by the media, this is ‘gold’.

***** (5/5)

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Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQegaBBcnr8

 

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REVIEW – The Predator (2018) – 20th Century Fox

It’s been 8 years since the god awful Predators (2010) wasted our time, many people (including myself) had almost given up hope of seeing another great Predator film. After much disappointment with every franchise related release since the first two movies, our patience was running thin. Despite its huge legacy built from Predator 1 (1987) & Predator 2 (1990), this iconic franchise had lost its way and the Aliens Vs Predator cross-over series pretty much ripped the spine out of it. Now, 31 years after the original movie, The Predator is back with a bang, directed by Shane Black (The Iron Man 3) with a mega $88m budget and a decent cast including actors from Logan and Moonlight. The big question hanging over the film was could it bring the franchise back to life?

A sniper witnesses a space craft fall from the sky during one of his missions. He investigates the crash to find cargo and parts of a protective suit (and mask) belonging to The Predator. He decides to take some of the equipment for safe-keep as evidence to back up his story to the authorities by sending a package to his own house. The army discovers the alien ship and one of the Predators, which they hold captive for observation but quickly realise there are armour parts missing and their ‘guest’ is more than they can handle. The sniper, ex Army Ranger Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is arrested and shoved into a truck with other Army dropouts. The Predator breaks free and all hell breaks loose, while all the commotion is going on Quinn and the rest of the ex Soldiers decide they need to break free to escape before they are hunted by a ‘space alien’. What follows is a large scale chase involving the army, a Predator, and the runaway fugitives. Meanwhile, Quinn’s son Rory accidentally triggers the lethal hunters (Predators) return to earth while playing around with the equipment his father retrieved.

There are 3 things which made the first two Predator films timeless classics; action, humour and plenty of testosterone. The Predator (2018) tries tirelessly to bring back the good times and build on the foundations which made the franchise so great. There is plenty of action; with thrilling chases, over the top gun fights, and satisfyingly grotesque deaths. There is plenty of humour, with more ‘your mum’ jokes than you could ever want and plenty of in-jokes; however don’t expect any Arnie one liners. The only thing the film is lacking is testosterone, those steroid pumped hand shakes and amped up fights are relatively tame compared to what you are used to. Sure, there are some satisfying battles and tense encounters but it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. The Predator looks great despite being constructed entirely by CGI. The hunter viciously smashes through building, vehicles and civilians with ease but just doesn’t seem as ‘dangerous’ as you’d expect when it comes to hunting down and hurting the main survivors. It seems pretty obvious who will die and who will live, which takes away a lot of the suspense. With that said, The Predator is a sum of its parts, although it is by no means a perfect movie, it is a very good movie as there is more to like than dislike. The acting is great and the locations are more varied than ever before. There are amazing explosions (which are well worth witnessing in 4DX) with some nice throwbacks to the early films too with some neatly placed ‘easter eggs’. The series takes an interesting turn by introducing the concept of ‘evolution’ as the scientists discover that The Predator is actively seeking the ‘best’ of the human race to for its ‘trophy kills’ and to devour to improve its own genetics. This is a really smart direction for the series as it begins to shed more light on why The Predator acts the way it does. The movie has several twists in its story to back up the on screen action and it’s very well structured for the most part until the later sequences. Unfortunately, the ending seemed rushed and a bit of a letdown as the movie was already home and dry, but it could spark a new direction in the sequel with a concept which has not yet been explored before. There is plenty of potential for the series to grow again.

The Predator is a really enjoyable film and is a much needed (and worthy) addition to its library. It is a good feeling to watch a Predator movie and get excited about what is happening; this felt like a distant memory due to the awful cash-in releases we were served in recent years. While the Alien series is on a decline, The Predator may be on the rise again and this may spark better sequels with the right team involved. If you are a huge fan of the first two films, I’d strongly advise giving this film a chance but make sure you approach it with an open mind and try now to compare it to the first two films. It is always hard for fans to disassociate the new from the old, but The Predator works well at complementing the series without repeating the good work of Predator 1 & 2 and is a nice modern spin on the source material. The Predator has evolved and it will be interesting to see where it goes and what it does next…

****

REVIEW – The Nun (2018) – Warner Bros

After months of build-up, grim teaser trailers and banned pop-up advertisements, the fifth instalment in the Conjuring Universe hits the big screen and intends to give you nightmares. Following the strange death of a young nun in Romania, the Vatican sends a priest and a Catholic novice on a mission to investigate the strange events surrounding her death and find out if there is a demonic presence involved. Upon arrival, they visit a local man called Frenchie who discovered the nun dead while transporting supplies to the Abbey. The nun had jumped through a window and hanged herself for no known reason. The movie follows their journey through the haunted Abbey and its surroundings as they try to uncover the truth. The Nun is a psychological horror which tries a modern spin on its influences. There are clear throwbacks to The Exorcist (1973), The Omen (1976), Evil Dead (1981) and even City of the Living Dead (1980); however there are plenty of new tricks up their sleeve. The movie intends to unsettle you from the offset, the jump scares may not be churned out on every scene like you would expect but you are constantly on edge when seeing dark rooms and shadows. Sometimes there will be long periods of walking around with nothing bad happening, then two or three jump scares are thrown at you in quick succession. It is very much like walking the streets late at night, you become overly aware of your surroundings and your mind begins to play tricks on you. You begin to see things if you spend too much time in the dark, this is exactly the case when watching this movie. The Nun has one of the creepiest atmospheres you will find in a modern horror these days. It makes good use of lighting (or lack of) and plenty of cinematic tricks to make the experience as unnerving as possible. As the Priest and novice explore the Abbey you genuinely fear what lies ahead, there is so much trickery on display here that even when you see thing it isn’t always what you think it is. Reality weaves into illusion and vice versa. Another aspect of the production The Nun does tremendously well with is its sound, the movie replaces a soundtrack with minimalistic noises and spends a lot of its time using silence to line up jump scares and make you feel uneasy. Sometimes less is more, and The Nun definitely uses sound to exploit fear. As the film progresses, the demonic forces become stronger and things become more and more surreal. In particular, the catacombs scene was a stand out due to its use of disturbing imagery and shadows. One thing worth noting is that The Nun (much like the other Conjuring movies) has a high emphasis on CGI effects which can give it an artificial look at times, but the effects never hamper the experience. While The Nun is a very scary film, it is not a very violent film. The movie carries a very light 15 certificate and it has only achieved this by keeping the levels of gore at an acceptable level, there are some brutal scenes but for the most part the build up to the scares carries more weight than what actually happens. There are times where I thought The Nun held back on going balls to the wall in fear of being upgraded to an 18 rating, but it does a great job of building up tension and suspense. The Nun also tries to stay within the confines of the Conjuring universe and follow a similar style to the other movies in its series; however I would go as far as saying this is possibly the strongest so far. The plot is water tight, while it doesn’t leave a lot of room for discussion afterwards, the story unfolds at a consistent pace and there are no gaps. There aren’t many twists but plenty of developments to keep you on the edge of your seat. The Nun felt like a thrill ride through a haunted house and has all of those elements nailed down to a tee. I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Nun as it more than delivered on its promises. It provides us with an un-relentless, tension filled scare fest which delivered what Hereditary tried (and unfortunately failed) to achieve. The Nun has more than earned its place in the Conjuring universe but also works well as a standalone film. If you have never watched The Conjuring or Annabelle movies, they are not by any means a prerequisite for The Nun but they will help you to learn the folklore of the series if you are interested. If you are scared of the dark, you will be even more scared of The Nun.

*****

REVIEW – UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB (2018) – UNIVERSAL PICTURES

Unfriended Dark Web is the stand-alone sequel to Unfriended (2014) and is a found footage horror movie based on social media. This is the directorial debut of Stephen Susco who is best known for writing for The Grudge, The Grudge 2 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. The movie is produced by Jason Blum (Get Out, The Purge, and Happy Death Day) and Timur Bekmanbetov (Night Watch, Day Watch, and Wanted).

Matias (Colin Woodell) acquires a new laptop which he finds in the lost property in an internet café after noticing it had been sitting unclaimed for several weeks. The previous owner of the laptop ‘Norah C IV’ has left his Facebook account log in details saved and Matias logs in occasionally out of curiosity and receives messages from random people while chatting to girls. Matias has a deaf girlfriend (Amaya) and he tries to develop an app called Papaya which hears him speak and posts his words on screen to make it easier for them to communicate as his sign language skills are lacking. Amaya gets upset with Matias during a video call as she’s frustrated with him as the app only makes it easier for her to understand him but doesn’t make it easier for him to understand her. Amaya hangs up, Matias logs out of Norah C IV’s Facebook account but keeps receiving messages from a user called Erica who becomes more and more aggressive. Matias joins a group Skype call with 5 friends to play Cards of Humanity together in a ‘game night’. After the laptop keeps restarting itself, Matias becomes increasingly frustrated and seeks help from his tech friend Damon who advises him to clear his drive, upon doing so he realises there is a hidden folder in the hard-drive laptop which contains videos and a program called ‘The River’. From then onwards, things get very dark and messed up. Matias realises that the laptop he stole holds secrets which someone is very intent on protecting at any cost.

The movie is part of a new breed of modern horror films which try to draw on the dangers of technology in our every day life. Much like the original, Dark Web is shown entirely from the perspective of a computer screen which creates the illusion that what you are watching is happening in real life. This is backed up by convincing (yet uninspiring) acting which keeps the tension alive while Dark Web unleashes its shocks and thrills. There is something sinister about watching people going about their every day business online and then seeing them cyber bullied, blackmailed and murdered, it really does strike a chord inside which many modern horror movies struggle to get close to. The movie constantly made me think of my own online security and while the events which happen are very extreme and exaggerated for cinematic effect, it does still play with your mind and play on your own paranoid thoughts and insecurities. The movie covers a lot of online technology and concepts which are present in real life, from hidden IP programs to crypto-currency. It reminds us that that the dark web is all around us and always watching what we do.

Dark Web may be the stand-alone sequel to Unfriended but it follows a very similar path in its delivery and plays many of the same tricks you will have experienced before. This is both a positive and a negative for the film; while it remains consistent to the original it does lack the bravery to push things ‘out of the box’ and it can be quite repetitive at times. You could argue that it is almost a carbon copy of the original but with a few tweaks and different characters, but it is a decent follow-up to an innovative idea which the original pulled off so well. I wish the sequel spent less time with the ‘tomfoolery’ in the opening third and went straight for the jugular. While the movie is well paced and acts out as if the characters are unaware something bad is on the horizon, it wastes a lot of valuable time, leaving a lot of plot developments to be crammed in near the end. The build up to the ending is intense and exciting all the way to its climax reveal. The movie is very predictable but there is enough brutality here to keep you feeling on edge.

We’ve been spoiled with great theatrical horror releases so far in 2018, while Unfriended Dark Web doesn’t quite find itself in the ‘top tier’ it does make a very strong statement. The movie stands out from the pack as it is its own monster, there is no other movie out this year at cinemas which has a similar style so it is riding its own niche per say. It is smartly written and thought provoking due to how close it is to our own reality. As the Unfriended movies have been stand-alone stories, there is plenty of life in the franchise and I can see a prolonged series of releases over the coming years until its idea becomes jaded.

Score: 3 / 5

88 FILMS PRESS RELEASE – FRIGHTMARE (1983)

WAKE IN FRIGHT WITH THE LATEST 88 FILMS SLASHER CLASSIC BLU RAY!

SCARED? You will be as FRIGHTMARE hits UK home video for the first time since the era of VHS on 10th September. And this chilling story of resurrected supernatural murder has never looked better!

Also known as THE HORROR STAR, the 1983 cult creeper FRIGHTMARE was a beloved video rental favourite that might even be seen to anticipate the more supernatural direction that the genre would go in with the following year’s A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET! Perhaps even an influence on the better known blockbuster FRIGHT NIGHT, this tightly-paced and well-directed gem introduces us to a late night horror star who is long past his peak and about to meet the Grim Reaper – for real rather than ‘for reel’! But you cannot keep a embittered old genre star down and, sure enough, when some fanboy teens decide to disturb the deceased celebrity’s grave he opts to rise up… with a vengeance!

FRIGHTMARE was the fear-film that gave audiences postmodern shocks long before Wes Craven gave us his game-changing SCREAM in 1996. An underrated and underseen gem, the film highlights a notable supporting performance from the great Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR) and character great Chuck Mitchell (PORKY’S) as well as assured direction from Norman Thaddeus Vane (who also worked on the X-rated cult favourite DRACULA SUCKS). With a dash of pitch black humour, and a literate script, as well as characters that you actually want to see make the end credits with their limbs still intact, FRIGHTMARE was a revelation to slasher fans back in 1983. Far removed from so many of the opportunistic cheap and cheerless slice and dicers that were still rushing out to theatres and video shelves as the mid-eighties approached, FRIGHTMARE is a unique blend of student-slaughtering and old dark house thrills – mixed up in a malevolent and unpredictably nasty narrative!

Kicking-off with some heady laughs and genre references, FRIGHTMARE boasts more changes of tone and identity than Madonna, and it has aged at least as well as the ‘Material Girl’ too! Take our word for it, this is one of the most stylish and sublime of all the eighties slice and dice horror-pack and 88 Films is thrilled to present FRIGHTMARE as part of its Slasher Classics collection in a jam-packed edition. Numbered as number ‘38’, FRIGHTMARE is proof positive of the ambitions of this line – resurrecting the brave indie-shockers from the past for a new generation to enjoy and an older one to reappreciate. The disc hits UK shelves on Monday, September 10th but early birds can get their order direct from 88 Films NOW – with a very limited slipcase reserved for the first 300 orders only!!!!

SPECIAL FEATURES

* Limited Edition Booklet notes by Film journalists Dave Wain and Matty Budrewicz

* All new 2K Scan and Restoration from 35mm Camera Negative

* Bobo’s Confession – An Interview with Scott Thomson

* New Interview with Cinematographer Joel King

* Archival Audio Interview with Director Norman Thaddeus Vane (Played over the Film)

* Audio Commentary with David Del Valle and David DeCoteau

* Audio Commentary by the Slasher Loving Podcast, The Hysteria Continues

* Audio Commentary by Film Journalists, Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer from Mondo Digital

* Original Theatrical Trailer

* Stills Gallery

* Optional English SDH Subtitles

* Reversible Cover Artwork

TECHNICAL SPECS

* Region Code: B

* Picture Format: HD 1.78:1

* Audio Format: DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono

* Language: English

* Subtitles: English

* Certification: 18

* Running Time: 87 Mins Approx

 

Purchase Link:

Frightmare – Slasher Classics Collection 38

REVIEW – The Meg (2018) – Warner Bros

The Meg is the latest big budget shark blockbuster (or mock-buster) to hit our shores. There has been a lot of hype and talk about this movie after the over the top trailer went viral on the internet. The trailer hinted at a movie which doesn’t take itself seriously and instead focuses on high-octane action with a hint of horror. In recent years, we’ve seen the release of many serious shark movies (Open Water franchise) and ‘silly’ / bad shark movies (Ghost Shark, Sharknado, Shark Attack et al); the big question over The Meg is where it sits in this ocean.

A group of scientists based at a state of the art ‘billion dollar’ station are investigating whether there is life below what is believed to be the ‘sea bed’. They believe that there are actually depths below the surface which have been undiscovered. During their deep-sea investigation they not only discover that their theory is right, but they also discover there is a 75 foot long prehistoric ‘Megalodon’ hungry shark swimming around. As you’d expect, things take a turn for the worse and there is an accident when a ‘large object’ hits the ‘Mano One’ submersible causing it to lose radio contact and leaving the crew stranded in no mans land. The scientists end up stuck and need someone to rescue them. The man for the job is Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) who had carried out the same rescue mission 5 years earlier which resulted in the loss of life for one of the crew members. After a few beers and finding out his ex wife is one of the scientists who is trapped under water, he decides to accept the dangerous mission and travels to the station to help them out. I’ll be honest; the plot really failed to keep me interested from early on and it was a struggle to ‘want’ to follow the movie further however I powered through and persevered. Anyway, Jonas tries to save the crew again and then realises he has not only brought the crew back to the surface but he’s agitated The Meg and now they are been hunted by a 75 ft shark in open water. The investor who has funded the whole sea expedition, Jack Morris (played by Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight Schrute from the American version of The Office) now has a dilemma whether to try catch and preserve the prehistoric shark and risk more potential casualties or cut his losses and try to kill the shark.

Despite its ‘mega’ $130m-$178m budget, the movie itself is very bland and uneventful for the most part. Warner Bros collaborated with a Far East Asian production company so tried to cater for both the Western and Asian market, but in doing this the movie tries to play it too ‘safe’ and nothing really escalates beyond a few ‘scraps’ and ‘situations’. This is one of the issues with an American-Chinese co-production, the markets are totally different and it’s impossible to make a movie which fits into both. Despite a few humorous exchanges at the beginning, the movie is fairly serious and ‘drab’ for the most part which is a real shame. Also, despite being marketed as a horror movie, there are no scares to be found here which is a real disappointment. Watching The Meg is like watching a James Bond film in the sense that you know the lead can survive anything thrown at him so he is really just going through the motions. This is a ‘PG Horror’ (12), you won’t find any gore or brutal death scenes here; it is ‘watered’ down for mass appeal. For a shark movie to have merely a few drops of blood it’s really lacklustre to say the least. There are barely any deaths too, which is odd for a shark movie. While I wasn’t expecting a gore fest, I expected a lot of limbs being thrown around the screen but this just wasn’t on show. For a movie which relies so much on CGI over practical effects, the CGI shark looks ridiculous, you know you have an issue when rubber sharks look more realistic than ‘The Meg’, given the budget they had at their disposal I’m flabbergasted that they couldn’t design a more ‘menacing’ shark when many shark films have done a much better job on a shoe-string budget.

The biggest issue with The Meg is there really isn’t enough to care about. With the exception of Jason Statham (who always puts in a good shift) and Rainn Wilson who tries to provide some much needed laughs, the acting of the rest of the cast is pretty mundane and uninspiring. They even try to throw in a ‘love story’ angle but you sense no real passion or emotion, you could argue that the CGI shark has better character development than any of the cast here. The plot tries too hard to cater for all audiences, to the point where people who ‘actually’ like shark movies feel left out. There were a lot of cool ideas in the film which weren’t fully explored due to the overpowering desire to retain a ‘12’ certificate. With that said, The Meg is a fun movie at times; there is nothing hate-worthy here it’s just not in the same ball park as the better films released before it. The Meg is not as good as Deep Blue Sea (1999) which was made using less than half the budget but with a far better cast and story. The best way to make a good shark movie is to go all out silly or keep it super serious. The Meg tries to do both at the same time but without the ‘substance’ and it feel’s like a rushed production intent on making money over memories. The Meg tries to do Jaws in reverse but ends up drowning itself in its own lack of creativity and ambition.

Score: 2 / 5

REVIEW – Attack of The Adult Babies (2017) – Nucleus Films – Bluray

Attack of the Adult Babies is an original British horror comedy directed by Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn, Bait). We’ve been treated to a lot of incredible British horror comedies in the last decade or so; including Shaun of the Dead (2004), Severance (2006) and Doghouse (2009) to name a few. However, it’s been a good few years since we had an original release which stands out from the pack. With uncertainty over Brexit looming over the nation, we desperately needed something to take our mind off it and make us smile again; Attack of the Adult Babies has arrived at the best time to do just that.

After being held hostage by an impromptu attack from a couple of sketchy imposters, three family members are forced to break into a remote country house to try to steal secret documents. Upon arrival, what they find is a ‘mad house’ environment where grown men are dressed up as babies and taken care of by kinky nurses attending to all of their infantile needs. The environment is perverse beyond your wildest imagination and as funny as it is unsettling. The family try to blend into the surroundings but are dragged into more bizarre situations as they begin to realise that there is more to the house than just nappy wearing men, there is a dark secret. The movie takes influence from classic B movies while also dropping references to classic horrors which shaped the landscape of what we know today. I can honestly say; I’ve never been more intrigued to watch a movie based on its trailer, but I’ve also never been more gripped when actually watching a movie. The movie has so many twists and turns in its plot, you really don’t know where it is going and what will happen next. There is a bridge between comedy and horror which the movie crosses back and forth, when the adult babies start mutating and battling everyone it gets very interesting and ridiculous in equal measure. It’s been a long time since I watched a movie which made me laugh so much but genuinely care about the characters at the same time, everything is so well put together that it sucks you in for the whole journey and it is pulsating throughout. As the movie progresses, it gets funnier, more repulsive and the gore ramps up at a fast pace. There is never a dull moment in Attack of the Adult Babies; it is like a thrill ride that you never want to end. While the movie does pride itself in being disgusting, it knows where the line is and never pushes far enough to be beyond acceptable. There are a lot of political and social themes loosely touched on in the movie but is down to the perception of the viewer how they perceive them, the movie is very smartly written in that regard as it leaves you with an after thought.

From an acting perspective, the casting works really well and helps to deliver many laughs and shocks. Kurtis Lowe’s feature film debut is highly impressive, he puts in a standout performance; hopefully we get to see more of him in the horror scene over the coming years. It is also a delight to see Laurence R Harvey (Human Centipede 2 & 3, ABC’s of Death 2) back on screen again, this time in a comedy role and he is hilarious and it really shows he can do any style of character really well. The movie is shot tremendously well; it certainly doesn’t look low budget in its production values. Later on in the movie, there are drone shots which gave me goose bumps as they are so incredibly scenic and paired up with a moving musical score it is a sight to behold.

From watching Attack of the Adult Babies, it was more fun than I can put it into words. The movie is really a breath of fresh air to horror fans; it tries new things and smashes it out of the park. It is so common to finish watching a movie and instantly compare it to something you’ve seen before, however this movie is so unique that it crafts its own style which is so different to everything else released before it. After my first viewing, I instantly wanted to watch it again incase I’d missed anything and also because I wanted to repeat the experience (and what an amazing experience it is). Sometimes you watch something special that you know you’ll be talking about for years to come, Attack of the Adult Babies is one of those movies. It left me wanting more and I hope this is the first of many movies in this series as it has the potential to grow into an institution in British horror.

Score: 5 / 5

REVIEW – Cannibal Ferox (1981) – Shameless – Bluray

After years of waiting, the chains have been removed from Cannibal Ferox and it has been unleashed as close to uncut as you will get. The movie has struggled to get the exposure it deserves since the very moment it was cruelly blacklisted on the ‘video nasty’ list, here in the UK its had an underground following among cult horror fans but many people who have heard of its name have never had the chance to see the movie. Well, thankfully times have changed and Shameless took on the brave task of giving the movie a full 2K restoration and giving it a modern release in bluray format.

The story is about an academic who ventures deep into the Amazon jungle with her party to investigate the myths around local traditions. As expected, it is not a relaxing exotic holiday by any stretch of the imagination. They bump into junkie villain Mike (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) who takes it upon himself to abuse the local inhabitants. As you’d expect, the locals turn on them very quickly and seek revenge after he mercilessly kills one of their own. What follows is an un-relentless onslaught of torture, mutilations, murder and cannibalism. Cannibal Ferox is a movie made with the intention to shock, there is nothing soft to see here, it is brutal throughout and as barbaric as its title suggests. If you are easily shocked or offended, there is a lot here to rile you up, however if you look past the brutality and judge the movie on its merits you will find its beauty lies in its delivery. For an Italian cannibal movie, all the right boxes are ticked here; the soundtrack is incredible, superb acting, the practical effects are incredibly realistic, there are stacks of violence and nudity, and everything else you’d expect to see. Cannibal Ferox has some of the best practical effects you will ever see, from the head slice from a vice to the meat hook suspension by nipples (it’s going to make you want to look away). If you have seen Eaten Alive (1980), this was director Umberto Lenzi’s next cannibal movie released a year later and delivers more than just a repeat of his previous work. It’s almost as if he took stock and looked for ways to delve even further into cannibalism and it shows. There is a fine line between good and evil in the movie and the plot makes you switch back on forth based on how it progresses. While the rest of the hostages are guilty by association with Mike, they are still at fault for pressing their Western values on the jungle locals and looking down on them. You could raise a case to sympathise with the cannibals, they were going about their own business without harming anyone until outsiders arrived and caused conflict with their community. The movie raises a lot of questions about the struggle for control and power in society and how people’s curiosities can lead to disasters.

In terms of the restoration itself, this has clearly been a frame by frame overhaul using the 16mm film stock. The movie looks visually stunning in 2K and has come a long way from the old grainy dark green print we were used to previously. It really does look like a brand new movie; you can appreciate the surroundings more as everything is visible and crystal clear. If you want to see clear examples of the differences, on the extras there is a before and after restoration comparison and it is remarkable how much it has improved. However, the real highlight of the extra content is the last ever interview with the late Umberto Lenzi. The interview goes into a great level of detail around how the stunts were performed and if you are interested in special effects this is ‘gold’.

Shameless had warned fans that the only cuts or trims in the content related to animal cruelty. I can safely say that this move was a great success and it actually makes the movie a lot more enjoyable to watch. It is easy to tell where the cuts are but they are the scenes which add no value to the film and are not missed. We’ve been spoiled this year by Shameless, following on from the excellent restoration of The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) they have delivered another stellar release which will please fans who have been crying out for a new Cannibal Ferox release for decades. If you have never seen this movie before, be brave and take the plunge, you may just like it and if you don’t there is a ‘vomit bag’ provided in the case anyway. If you are a fan of the movie already then this is the best way to see it. The most violent film ever made has become one of the most beautiful restorations ever made.

Score: 5 / 5

OLD REVIEW – HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (WRITTEN 11/11/2011)

The sequel to what is regarded as one of the most shocking & original horror movies of recent years surpasses everyone’s expectations. In The Human Centipede: First Sequence, the stand-out performance came from Dieter Laser who starred as the evil Dr Heiter. Without him, the film may have ended up as a failure as the acting from the other characters was so poor (as a result of being a low-budget production).

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence sees unknown British actor Laurence R. Harvey take on the role of a new villain named Martin. In a movie where he does not speak, his actions and presence on screen are vital. Martin is an overweight, mentally ill middle aged man who is still living with his mother. He becomes obsessed with the The Human Centipede: First Sequence movie and watches it repeatedly while he works as a security guard in a underground parking garage. He has been disturbed by the sexual abuse he suffered from his father & physical abuse from his mother during his youth. This sets the traits for a man on the verge of breaking point as he hates his life and fails to connect with other people.

 

The movie shows a harsh reality of mental illness and how people can become infatuated with movies to block out everything that is happening around them. At face value, this is a movie designed to shock people and disturb your thoughts, but below that there is deep meaning. A mentally ill man has been abused by his parents and does not know the difference between right and wrong and he has been taunted by society for looking different. Martin tries to recreate the work of Dr Heiter despite having no medical background. He becomes a sadist who inflicts pain on the victims he locks in a rented warehouse. Without providing any more spoilers regarding the plot, this is a decent horror movie which will surprise people who felt the original movie was a letdown. Watch this movie & judge it on its own merits and try not to compare it to the original. The director (Tom Six) has pushed the film beyond the original in terms of both story & gore. I enjoyed watching this movie as this is what horror movies should be about, it should be scary and thought provoking. This movie worked very well in black and white, there is one moment where more colour is shown on screen (however you will need to watch it yourself to find out more!). Tom Six has written and directed another underground classic which should again achieve cult status among fans of the first film. There are moments where the viewer has to imagine what is happening on screen, and then has to take in the bloody aftermath shown on screen. The only thing that holds this movie back is the fact there is no character development among his victims. We know how Martin found them, but their background is never fully explored. They created a great character in Martin, but there is no opportunity for the other actors to shine on screen. These are minor drawbacks and don’t prevent this movie from being great.

 

Ignore what the media say and judge the movie for yourself. I still feel it is a disgrace that this film was banned from cinemas in the UK, however as directors push for more onscreen violence and gore; I sadly cant see this changing any time soon for upcoming horror movies. Regardless, this is a movie you wont want to miss.     

 

Score: 4 / 5    

88 FILMS PRESS RELEASE – EYEBALL (1975) – 27/08

88 Films Pays Tribute to the Late Great Umberto Lenzi with a Mega-Edition of his All-Time Terror Classic EYEBALL!

On general release from August 27th but shipping from the 88 Films website SOON is one of the grand guignol greats of giallo horror!

Long since regarded as an underrated name among the top tier Italian terror directors, Umberto Lenzi sadly left us just one year ago. As such, we at 88 Films have been preparing the ultimate edition of what is widely regarded as his most mesmerising horror hit – the 1975 stalk ‘n’ slash shocker EYEBALL! In this eerie bout of blood-splashed brilliance, a tour bus visiting some especially scenic Spanish resorts encounters a series of gruesome goings-on when one-by-one various tourists begin to lose their peepers to a red-gloved (yes, not a black-gloved!) slaughterer. It is difficult to predict how this rollercoaster ride of knife-play plasma-spilling fear will conclude but one thing is for sure… no one has seen EYEBALL looking better than in this amazing new 2k scan which comes as a packed (and we mean PACKED) limited special edition.

Never before seen in the UK, this spectacular 88 Films debut of EYEBALL will surely, finally, give Lenzi his standing as one of the finest fright-makers to ever step on a sanguine-caked movie set. Priced at the frankly astonishing bargain price of £15.99, EYEBALL is available for pre-order from 88 Films NOW and comes accompanied by a new 85 minute long documentary, ALL EYES ON LENZI: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE ITALIAN EXPLOITATION TITAN – which contains not just unseen Lenzi interview footage and an entire breakdown of the late, great exploitation-helmer’s phenomenal celluloid musings but is an official selection of the SITGES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2018! In addition, this outrageously enthusiastic package includes and additional chat with the actress Martine Brochard whose credits include the likes of THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS and many other greats of the Rome-based gore-game. As well as original trailers and an audio commentary from Justin Kerswell and the Hysteria Continues team, fans can look forward to an extensive booklet that charts and horror highs and bullet-ridden police ballets of the one and only Umberto Lenzi!

(Also live on the 88 Films site as of today are SURF NAZIS MUST DIE and the VHS-era masterpiece of creepy creature feature mayhem DEADTIME STORIES! Both attesting to the dedication that the label takes to resurrecting and revamping some of the most demanded exploitation and B-movie horror of yesteryear! We, as always, appreciate your support and encouragement!)

SPECIAL FEATURES

* Brand New 2K Transfer of the Film restored and regraded from original elements •

* ALL EYES ON LENZI: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE ITALIAN EXPLOITATION TITAN – Brand new feature length documentary (80 minutes) detailing the work and legacy of Rome’s most prolific grindhouse nightmare-maker. Features never-before-seen interview footage with Lenzi himself and comments from critics John Martin, Manlio Gomarasca and Rachael Nisbet, academics Calum Waddell and Mikel Koven, actors Danilo Mattei and Giovanni Lombardo Radice and director and writer Scooter McCrae!! •

* Eyeballs on Martine Brochard: 2018 Interview with Actress Martine Brochard •

* Eyeball Locations Featurette •

* Audio Commentary by the Hysteria Continues

* Eyeball Trailers

* Reversible sleeve featuring alternative artwork

* 4 original “Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro” lobby card reproductions

* Limited edition booklet featuring All About Umberto: an extensive and intricate 6000 word look back at the work of an Italian genre-bending legend… by Calum Waddell

* Additional booklet copy – Cats and Eyeballs: An interview with Umberto Lenzi by Eugenio Ercolani

Purchase link:

Eyeball – The Italian Collection 45