REVIEW – Slay Belles (Epic Pictures, 2018)

A trio of cosplay YouTubers who run a show called ‘Adventure Girls’ travel around America on the hunt for cool locations to shoot their videos and collect souvenirs along the way. Alexi (Kristina Klebe – Halloween 2007), Dahlia (Susan Slaughter – Oija House) and Sadie (Hannah Wagner – The Devils Carnival) are a sexy group of outgoing women seeking to shoot fun videos to push the popularity of their show. On their adventures they stumble across a deserted place called ‘Santaland’; which as you’d expect by the name is as festive as it comes. Littered with candy canes and sparkly decorations, ‘Santaland’ is a wonderland of Christmas but there are no residents around. They question why there is no one around and the reason very soon becomes evident when they bump into the evil Christmas monster Krampus who is more than excited (and hungry) by their presence. What started off as a fun adventure soon becomes a nightmare as they are chased around the park by an angry Krampus looking for its next victim. They instinctively try to run for their nearby vehicle but it is promptly towed away, leaving them stranded without any quick getaway. Desperate for help, they look for ways to get out and find a fat man with a long white beard, none other than Father Christmas himself, Santa. Santa (Barry Bostwick – The Rocky Horror Picture Show) takes the girls under his wing as he prepares a plan to apprehend the evil Krampus before more lives are lost. A battle of epic proportions commences as Santa takes on Krampus. There is so much going on that the carnage spills over, the police begin investigating disappearances and there is even a town drunk dressed as Santa who is held as a suspect. There is an abundance of ideas on display but they all fit together perfectly as the fun unfolds.

When it comes to low budget indie horror movies, less is always more. Practical effects are on show here alongside some CGI and it all looks great on screen. Slay Belles is clearly driven by a creative team who had a desire to do things differently but do things right. The movie is a laugh-a-minute fun horror comedy with a sack full of humorous gags throughout. Despite its relatively short run time of only 77 minutes, the film doesn’t cut any corners. If anything, the film feels short and concise with no filler which actually works to its advantage as there is never a dull moment. Slay Belles is literally a blast from the opening scene to the very end, you can tell the actors had a lot of fun making the film (it comes across strongly on screen) and the whole production oozes classic 80’s B movie aesthetics. Barry Bostwick is perfect in his role as Santa; he revels in every scene and really gives the film its edge, you could put across a claim that this is one of his best career performances. The production is slick in all areas from the way its shot to the water tight plot to the fantastic festive themed drum and bass soundtrack.

Slay Belles is an outstanding indie horror film with a lot of heart. There were throwbacks to many of my favourite movies including Critters (1986) and The Howling (1981) but Slay Belles is very much its own beast. Fun is always a big part of a Christmas films fundamentals and they’ve nailed the fun factor in copious amounts. Whether you’ve been good or bad this year, you should definitely check out Slay Belles, it’s a surprisingly nice present to open and enjoy.

Score: *****

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88 Films Press Release – The Best of 80’s Scream Queens

88 FILMS GETS SEXY AND SLEAZE WITH OUR ‘BEST OF 80’s SCREAM QUEENS’ COLLECTOR’S SET!!!

Get your raincoat on and pretend it is 1989 all over again as 88 Films brings the world’s greatest scream queens back to Blu-Ray for three of their flesh-flaunting adventures as part of a special edition set!!!

Available November 26th but shipping NOW from the 88 Films web site our latest release is THE BEST OF 80S SCREAM QUEENS!

It was the eighties, man…

And let’s make no mistake about it: when people think of VHS-era SCREAM QUEENS three names come to mind: Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens – the threesome of fear that sliced and seduced a generation of gore-hounds and whose greatest hits can finally be seen in HD from the schlock-lovers at 88 Films! For those unaware (and, really, we need to have some words) Quigley was the Playboy magazine pin-up turned icon of lung-power in such plasma spilling icons as SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985). Stevens, meanwhile, would also drop her dress for Playboy but really stood out thanks to meeting the dangerous end of a drill in SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982) prior to headlining such trashy terror totems as SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-A-RAMA (1988) and BAD GIRLS FROM MARS (1990). Finally, by far the most taboo-breaking of them all, Michelle Bauer began her celluloid stint as an XXX-rated raven-haired seductress in the hardcore cult classic CAFÉ FLESH (1982) before going legit with the likes of low budget wonders HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS (1988) and DR. ALIEN (1989).

Now, thanks to this charming and chilling collection, addicts of excessive violence, gratuitous nudity and breathtakingly B-level bloodshed can rock out to the likes of DEADLY EMBRACE (1989) which highlights AIRWOLF’s main man Jan-Michael Vincent as a hunky Beverly Hills husband with babes to spare. However, before long he is being stalked by a heartbroken high heeled pin-up and the result is both creepy and creatively nasty! This is Bauer and Quigley at their eighties big haired best – and the flesh and fear comes thick and fast as this unpredictably torrid pot-boiler unwinds its cheeky charms onscreen! Also included in this behemoth of a boxed set is NIGHTMARE SISTERS (1988), in which our frisky Scream Queen threesome are in fine form once again – yup, it is Quigley, Stevens and Bauer in their most magnum opus ever! This time around the eighties icons mutate into monstrous but marvellously sexy male-hunting mutants in this scantily budgeted (and scantily clad!) wonder that features ample flayed flesh and an equal enthusiasm towards sublime set-pieces of splatter movie madness! Finally comes a Quigley solo epic, MURDER WEAPON (1989) – a hard to forget frightener that also offers a number of laugh-out-loud moments of pre-SCREAM comedy-laceration, not to mention some truly demented scenes of slice ’em up insanity that may well leave a few viewers with their jaws on the floor. But what else would you expect from a motion picture mad enough to contain the legendary Eric Freeman (SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT PART 2) in a supporting role? In the style of

NAIL GUN MASSACRE (1985) this darkly comic marathon of macabre ideas is finally restored for its 88 Films debut! Directed by the legendary Z-movie expert David DeCoteau and with each nostalgic pot-boiler packed with an enthusiastic fondness for breast-baring babes and skull-bashing set pieces – 88 Films is proud to introduce our finest compendium of carnage yet, a Scream Queen celebration that is dying to be experienced! It can only be THE BEST OF 80S SCREAM QUEENS!

TECHNICAL SPECS

* Region Code: B

* Picture Format: HD 1080p 1.78:1

* Audio Format: DTS-HD MA Mono

* Language: English

* Subtitles: English

* Certification: 18

* Running Time: 82 / 81 / 84 Mins Approx.

* Discs: 2

 

Purchase Link: https://88-films.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-best-of-80s-scream-queens-blu-ray?variant=14023246118954

88 FILMS PRESS RELEASE – RATS (1984)

88 FILMS BRINGS BRUNO MATTEI’S POST-APOCALYPTIC NATURE-RUN-AMOK FRIGHTENER RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR TO BLU RAY!

On 12th November, 88 Films gives one of the late, great Bruno Mattei’s most enduring shockers a special edition to chew into!

Was there a wilder and wackier helmer of extreme Italian exploitation madness than the late Bruno Mattei? The jack-of-all-trades journeyman genre-hopper indulged in some of the key trends of the Italian trash-boom, from the walking dead to Nazisploitation and from softcore skin-flaunting femmes to end-of-the-Earth meltdown movies. At 88 Films, we love him for his classic video nasty ZOMBIE CREEPING FLESH (1980), which we were proud to present in a restored and remastered HD edition just two years ago. We also admire his outrageous antics on such sleaze-ball icons as SS GIRLS (1977), THE OTHER HELL (1981), which gave us rampaging nuns, and the evocatively titled WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE (1983). Yet, all of these psychotronic trendsetters seem positively lightweight compared to Mattei’s rental shop mainstay RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR!

Unleashed in 1984, RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR was an immediate cult cause celebre – and it is not hard to see why! Whilst the titular tormenters are presented by the truck load, and gnaw their way into the flesh of many an innocent bystander, this is a Cold War-era film set 225 years after our world has been brought to a standstill by a nuclear war. The few survivors that remain scavenge for food and resources in what is left of their surroundings – only now, they also have to deal with a pack of hyperactive and horrifically motivated rodents, seeking to create the upper-hand in a new food chain! Packed full of gory surprises, a revelatory finale and some sublime set pieces, RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR has been restored in HD, uncut and uncensored, offering those with nostalgia for their long-gone rental hub a chance to revisit one of the finest Italian fear-flicks of its era! Led by a cast that includes such Italian gore legends as Ottaviano Dell’Acqua (ZOMBIE FLESH-EATERS), Geretta Geretta (DEMONS) and Massimo Vanni (ZOMBI 3), 88 Films is delighted by this great new special edition of a timeless pot-boiler that packs-in babes, blood and blisteringly evil four-legged flesh-chompers!

In addition to a sublime new remaster, 88 Films also offers audiences some intriguing special edition features for this insane nightmare opus – including, for the early birds, a fold-out poster featuring the original American theatrical art for RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR! As well as a slipcover and limited edition booklet, this five star edition contains newly filmed interviews and a chance to watch Mattei’s masterpiece in English or Italian (with option subtitles). Full specs are contained below!

SPECIAL FEATURES

* Limited Edition Gloss O-Card slipcase [First Print Run Only]

* Limited Edition Interview with Geretta Geretta booklet by Dr Calum Waddell [First Print Run Only]

* Limited Edition 150gsm Fold-out poster [First Print Run Only]

* Remastered HD Transfer

* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation

* Uncompressed Original English Audio

* Uncompressed Alternative Italian Audio

* Newly translated English Subtitles fort he Italian Audio

* NEW Interview with Stuntmen and leads Massimo Vanni and Ottaviano Dell’Acqua

* NEW Interview with composer Luigi Ceccarelli

* Theatrical Trailer

* Reversible Sleeve with Italian title

TECHNICAL SPECS

* Region Code: B

* Audio: LPCM Stereo

* Picture: 1080p HD 1.85:1

* Runtime: 96 mins approx

* Language: English & Italian

* Subtitles: English

 

Purchase Link: https://88-films.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/rats-night-of-terror-the-italian-collection-46?variant=13973555380266

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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Facebook /In2ruders
Twitter @in2ruders

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

 

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