Monday, December 31

Strike Commando "In-Production" Trailer


Just ran across this unique and almost fake(?) trailer for Bruno Mattei's must-see Rambo-rip Strike Commando (1987) uploaded by OurManInHavana. Anyone have any info on this trailer?

Saturday, December 29

Random shot of Michelle Bauer


Snatched from eBay, preserved for "archival" purposes here...


Friday, December 28

Curse (Blood Sorcery / Xiong zhou) (1986) - Pan Asia Video Hong Kong VHS

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Yep, the back is a karaoke mixer advertisement...
A sickly man who can no longer perform in bed, bleeds profusely from his thigh, and envisions his noodles becoming bloody worms is admitted to the hospital after being found unconscious by a young doctor. Coming to, he tells a tale of being on leave as a war photographer in Vietnam in which he has a one night stand with a bar waitress. The girl's father finds out and demands he wed her upon returning from combat. The man agrees only, of course, to disappear which forces the father to befall an ancient curse upon him. A vengeful twist rears its head when the doctor's elderly father visits the ill man inquiring about the unusual story.

Maybe I don't get their appeal, but I've yet to see a cheap '80s "mystical gore" exploiter from Hong Kong that I care to watch more than once. Pang Ling's Curse, or by its better known title Blood Sorcery, is no different. It's just so bland, cheap, and packed with useless filler that its the definition of deflated expectations of zany Eastern goodness (i.e. - Mr. Vampire (1985), Magic of the Universe (1986), Lady Terminator (1989)). Despite some slimy shots involving worm infested wounds and cheeseball neon optical effects at the climax, the other eighty or so minutes is like a boring travelogue video set to a plot. It doesn't help that the picture quality is the pits and the English subtitles, full of terminally broken grammar, are either really hard to read or sliced off at the edges of the screen.

Monday, December 24

Demons 5: The Devil's Veil (1989) w/ English subs

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Here's a recent upload, not by me, of Lamberto Bava's very loose remake of his father's 1960 classic Mask of Satan (La maschera del demonio/Black Sunday). What makes this special is the uploader has graciously provided English subtitles by clicking on the closed captioning button. To my knowledge, this film was never given an English dub and even fan-subbed boots are scarce. So it's a treat to finally be able to see an English-friendly presentation after only seeing the Italian language Japanese VHS release.

Sunday, November 25

What ya gonna do, when you go to the flea market...

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...and Hulkamania runs wild on you for ten bucks!


Saturday, November 24

How to find two now out-of-print MGM Horror DVDs cheap...

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Once I think Big Lots is done with getting in surprisingly good titles at three (or a little more) bucks a pop, they always manage to pull in more. After striking out at the freezing outdoor flea markets, I traveled over to Big Lots and was plowed by the numerous stacks of discs I hadn't seen there previously. While picking through I noticed a shelf devoted to $7 multi-movie, single case collections from New Line, Fox, Warner, and MGM that have become popular via Wal Mart as of late.

I came across MGM's often seen Return of the Living Dead/Swamp Thing/Bucket of Blood/Frogs set several times, but then another MGM movie set pictured to right appeared that I've never come across. Definitely the better deal out of the two, but most awesomely the set includes William Wesley's underappreciated Scarecrows (1998) and MGM's new 2.35:1 widescreen transfer of Sometimes They Come Back (1991). The singular discs of the films from 2007 have gone out-of-print with collector prices inching ever higher. After only finding just one copy, I immediately figured a measly seven bucks was a steal just considering the $30-40+ ranges of the aforementioned films, but then at the register the set rang up for only $4.00! Can't beat that!

I also pictured Dominic Perez's Evil Things (2009) because afterward I trekked over to Best Buy and found Inception Media's DVD marked at $9.99 only to ring up for $4.99. I still feel bad about never reviewing it awhile back since the nifty "FBI-styled" DVD-R screener was terminally flaky in all of my players, so now at least I finally get to check it out at half price.

Here's a list of some of the more "interesting" discs seen or picked up at Big Lots:
  • The Lost Boys (single disc), Lost Boys: The Tribe, Lost Boys: The Thirst (all $3)
  • Candyman (SE), Return of the Vampire (1944), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) (all $3)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 2-5, Freddy's Dead (New Line's basic releases) (all $3)
  • Jason Goes to Hell (Unrated, $5), Jason X ($5), Freddy vs. Jason (2-DVD, $3) (all three in strange ultra slim cases)
  • Wrestlemaniac, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest II (Unrated Director's Cut) (both $3)
  • Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre (Unrated), Driftwood (2006), Perfect Creature (2007) (all $3)
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (again, strange ultra slim case, $3)
  • Raw Feed Horror Collection (Rest Stop Unrated, Sublime Unrated, Believers) ($5)
  • Warner Urban Action Set: Black Belt Jones/Black Samson/Hot Potato/Three the Hard Way ($7)
  • AC/DC - Let There Be Rock (1977) ($3) 
  • Rapid Fire (1992) (2011 Fox re-issue) ($5)

Sunday, November 18

Dark Sky's Trilogy of Terror in Wal Mart's $5 Dump Bin

Just a heads up, I'm unsure what the deal is nationwide, but I spotted the SE of Trilogy of Terror on top of my local Wal Mart's five buck DVD mountain. Didn't find any of other Dark Sky titles despite digging...       


Saturday, November 10

Saturday, November 3

Tuesday, October 30

Some quick thoughts on Slaughter Tales (2012)

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In this truly homemade shot-on-video feature in honor of truly homemade shot-on-video features, a teenager gets more than bargained for when he pops in a stolen tape of a crappy horror anthology into his VCR. Let's just say he should have heeded the words of the bathtub ghost...

In the realm of Horror Film theory (a field I just made up), there resides two extremes of the genre. On one frayed end rests enigmatic, yet exceptionally well-crafted "mindfucks" that might have an overall meaning totally outside of the cinematic category they're pegged into out of convenience. Then there's the opposite end that certainly belong to the genre, but are of such humble means that most casual fans and undoubtedly "outsiders" are guaranteed to quickly cast off as nearly unwatchable. Both are acquired tastes usually aided greatly by a deeper knowledge and understanding of horror films in order to dig out qualities to appreciate.

Johnny Dickie's debut feature, Slaughter Tales, certainly belongs in the latter. Despite being friends on Facebook with Dickie for some time now, when judged by most standards his horror anthology about a boy and his VCR is awful in almost every aspect. That's to say if someone blindly walked into this, it would be hard to imagine an experience without squirming with lingering disinterest while checking the time. It's as cheap and one-man-band as SOV horror flicks can possibly get.

But you know what? That's perfectly fine and it would be a shame for anyone to throw pure venom at what Dickie has achieved here. Slaughter Tales is the literal embodiment of what many a young horror fanatic daydreams while whittling away time in English class or doing homework. Although instead of confining their dreams to at best paper doodles or short stories they never share, the now fifteen-year-old Dickie shot for the moon by embarking on an real ninety minute feature in an effort to both pay tribute to and join the ranks of the craptastic shot-on-video horror indies he loves. That right there deserves huge fucking credit, totally irrespective of the quality of the movie.

As for Slaughter Tales itself, it's best viewed as a sandbox of ideas that tick off all the usual gory obsessions of a young fan. There's some Raimi-eqse shots, sly nods to slasher icons, and an armor-masked killer that invades reality resembling Karl the Butcher from Andreas Schnaas' Violent Shit series. All wrapped in DIY claymation and repeated runs to the grocery store for bottles of Karo syrup and food coloring. The most vital aspect this effort nails is narrative coherency. It seems almost a staple for shot-on-video horrors to have passages that make next to no sense at all, but the anthology structure is held up and, even with some dragging, at no time is there any muddling confusion. Dickie also injects a welcoming self-deprecating sense of humor in little reminders that he's aware how truly bad the movie is.

So while it might be more of an experiment than something to recommend, it's just hard to pan this one outright when there's so much obvious passion and creativity on display. Especially from a member of an age group you'd more expect to be wasting the hours in front of a game console than employing his love of horror to create his very own piece of it. For that, Johnny Dickie's Slaughter Tales deserves recognition simply for the mere fact of its existence when considering its maker and the resources behind it. The movie is available in both DVD and special DVD/VHS combo forms direct from Briarwood Entertainment right here.

Sunday, October 14

My Compelling Argument Against the Robocop Remake...

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Hollywood: What are your Prime Directives? 
G.I. BatIronJoeCop-Man: Serve the mainstream cattle audience trust, disservice the original, uphold the box office.

Saturday, October 13

Some screenshots from the rare U.S. DVD of Home Sweet Home (1980)

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Here's a budget DVD released back in 2006 by an outfit called "Hollywood Entertainment" that flew under the radar. Nettie Peña's 1980 slasher is really only known for two things. Before there was enough chatter after Eli Roth's Thanksgiving trailer in Grindhouse (2007) for the video market to crank out a couple junky holiday-themed horror flicks, Home Sweet Home (aka Slasher in the House) was only example in the genre that actually took place on the day gullets are stuffed with turkey and mashed potatoes.

Who began the mayhem in such of a time of excess and family tension around the dinner table? An escaped mental patient raging on PCP played by the musclebound Jake Steinfeld. The voice and physique behind Body by Jake weight loss programs and fitness equipment. Other than those aspects, this stuffy outing from the early '80s slasher boom isn't as bad as the IMDB 3.5/10 suggests, but its drift into obscurity is probably due to its extremely formulaic delivery. Still, I've watched it a few times over the years since finding the old VHS.

I found this out-of-print DVD at a yard sale this morning and almost didn't pick it up since the terrible cover looks nothing like the original Media Home Entertainment VHS box (seen here at VHSCollector.com). The presentation here is very similar to that old murky tape release, but doesn't have any of the usual VHS-related defects. This slightly better picture quality might indicate the actual film-to-video master tape Media used for their 1985 release being used for this disc. There's some interlacing, compression artifacts, and a few instances of the entire picture becoming "digitally corrupted" for a split-second. The stereo track is on par with the VHS and there's zero extras (not even chapter stops).



Sunday, October 7

Friday, October 5

Necropolis (Necropolis: City of the Dead) (1987) - 1987 Vestron Video International Japan VHS

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It's a shame the various promotional posters and video covers are so much better than actually sitting through this meek programmer. A young witch (LeeAnn Baker) in the 17th century is condemned to death during a sacrificial ritual and screams she cannot die. We flash to present day witnessing her decked in leather and mascara killing mortals through mind persuasion to gather souls to resurrect her undead minions. About the coolest thing in this whole venture is how she grows a triple set of racks to provides her zombies slimy soul ectoplasm by nipple (she goes topless several times, but this feeding method is a large chest mold). Otherwise; the blood/gore quota is virtually non-existent, there's far too much time spent ambling through its simple set-up, and the concluding twist involving a young couple onto the witch's evil doings is one you've already seen over-and-over.

Wednesday, October 3

Follow-up: Reflecting Skin quietly appears on DVD

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To be upfront, I didn't care much for this one. For a film that tells a story of intimate tragedy through the prism of a young boy's fanciful perception, in which a widowed English woman becomes a vampire who appears responsible for a series of murders in the child's mind, there's just too many whimsical touches in its depiction of the "real" world to convey the raw emotions its characters endure. The sell of the harsh reality of life is difficult to accept when reality distractingly looks like Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. This aspect also dampens the impact of the boy's inevitably doomed fantasies which The Reflecting Skin hangs its rather trite climax on. David Lynch nailed a similar "seething perversion under an idyllic facade" aesthetic to much better effect several years prior with Blue Velvet.

Despite my feelings, this admittedly beautifully shot film desires way better than the terrible treatment given here by Echo Bridge. The source is obviously an old video master cropped to full screen with poor detail, print flecks, and constant sprocket flutter (incessant vertical "bouncing" to the picture). The presentation is hurt further by terrible compression, rampant interlace combing, and a strange anomaly that pops up randomly that turns segments of the picture in "blurred blobs" with surrounding areas unaffected. The color is often the best thing going, but the cumulative effect of the other problems drags down that benefit. The Dolby 2.0 audio is also problematic with dialogue often sounding too low and the score too high. Although this issue does eventually even out along the film's duration. Zero supplements with ten completely unlabeled and "unpictured" chapter stops. Here's a little DVD comparison between several other prior (and superior) releases from "Terror Obsura". (the screen caps at the link contain spoilers)


Sunday, September 30

Whoever is responsible for this giant debacle deserves to be shitcanned...

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But I didn't buy this disc anyway, because I still firmly believe in what I posted here about this whole Twilight Time/Sony LE bullshit...and now this...

 

Philip Ridley's The Reflecting Skin quietly appears on U.S. DVD...

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Well, if there's one benefit of the partnership between Miramax and Echo Bridge, it's that previously neglected titles have been suddenly landing in Wal Mart's dump bins with regularity. I actually found these discs at a flea market this morning from a guy who had crates of brand new Echo Bridge discs, that looked tagged for sale at WM, for two bucks a pop. I've been very curious to finally see the film after long hearing the lamenting of its fans that it seemed destined to never receive a re-release in North America. If it's like other EB Miramax discs, it'll be an average anamorphic widescreen presentation with zero extras. I'll be watching it tonight and will report back with thoughts and screenshots.              

Thursday, September 6

Two Recent Autographed Poster Grabs...

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Thursday, August 23

Crazy Japanese zombie gore explosion finds its way into Wal Mart's dump bin...

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Just a heads up, while at a local Wal Mart yesterday perusing the $5 DVD dump bin, I came across Well Go's disc of Yoshihiro Nishimura's Helldriver (2010). I figured it might be a mistake, considering the release isn't even a year old, but soon other copies were seen shuffled in among the pile of bacteria-laded plastic. I haven't seen any of these recent Nikkatsu-backed wild undead gorefests yet, even the famed Tokyo Gore Police, so I figured $5 was worth the risk.

It also appears MGM through TGG Direct have repackaged at least some Vincent Price titles as double-features that were too only five bucks. Along with the disc below (didn't have From a Whisper yet), I spotted The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and Tales of Terror (1962) together. There's probably others, but judging by the somewhat vague back covers, TGG has made no effort to make the transfers that weren't presented as such on the old discs anamorphically enhanced for widescreen displays.

Monday, August 20

VHSPS finally says you bet your ass this is for real!

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Awhile ago I noticed the good guys over at the VHS Preservation Society had Roger Watkin's cruelly defaced classic Last House on Dead End Street in their catalog. Already owning Barrel's now out-of-print DVD set and several import discs, I ordered it with the expectation the source of the DVD-R would be the extremely scarce Sun Video VHS. Unfortunately the copy was identical to Barrel's feature disc so I shot over a kind e-mail detailing my disappointment. They responded with an apology and offer of a free title of my choosing to which I never followed up on since the quick apology sufficed.

To get brutally honest, despite their name, the outfit is really just another in the long line of roguish rare flick suppliers that have existed almost as long as consumers had a means of viewing home video. Yet still using a DVD rip while bearing such a name just seemed to negate their admirable gimmick. However, there are understandable hurtles to providing a copy of the actual North American VHS.

First, the Sun Video carton is simply hard-as-fucking-hell to find. Unless you essentially hit the Powerball of tape collecting or know someone, prices online tend soar beyond the long defunct McKinley denomination. Then there's the matter of several different versions of the film coming from Sun Video with only one being fully uncut. The distributor didn't denote this anywhere on the box or cassette, so even if you get incredibly lucky, there's a better chance the copy is censor scissored than not.

Well, several weeks ago I received word that VHSPS rectified the situation by finally upgrading by "downgrading" to the genuine uncut Sun Video. And boy, does the presentation look like vintage analog shit of the highest half inch order. Nearly every problem that can arise from the format rears its ugly head along with a multitude of crazy print issues. Scratch and fleck damage frolics constantly across the frame always threatening to totally eradicate the picture. Some scenes which should have black shadows instead burn with electric green hues. The lo-fi sound quality resembles an ancient vinyl that was flung along asphalt and then left out in the sun.

Seeing Dead End Street the way it was experienced for decades really puts Barrel's herculean digital effort into perspective, but it also brings back the infamy the film conjured. In this greasy light, it's easier to see how seemingly no one could figure out who were behind the film and believe the wild rumors of Mexican drug cartels being responsible for "real" murders depicted. So I must extend thanks to VHSPS for living up to their name and making an important piece of this notorious piece of filth's history more readily available to those without hefty bank accounts to throw at the actual original VHS. Any fan of the film needs to have this disc sitting next to their Barrel set or if you're uninitiated, prepare for one hell of a trip.




Wednesday, August 15

New Day of the Dead Blu-ray arriving in Japan...

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It's doubtful, but maybe this Blu-ray, debuting September 4th from Happinet Pictures, will rectify the underwhelming picture quality of both the prior Anchor Bay/Starz and Arrow Video Blu-rays. The tech specs and supplements (mostly) seem to match the Starz BD which might be an ominous sign...
  • 1.85:1 1080p Widescreen (101 Minute Uncut Version)
  • English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & Dolby Surround 2.0 (w/ optional Japanese subtitles)
  • Dual-layer 50GB BD
  • Limited Edition "Special Outer Case" designed by Yoshiki Takahashi and twenty page booklet
  • Audio Commentary with director/writer George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Lori Cardille, and Cletus Anderson (w/ optional Japanese subtitles)
  • The Many Days of Day of the Dead Documentary
  • Gateway Commerce Center Promotional Video
  • 3 Theatrical Trailers & 3 TV Spots
  • "Fast Film Facts" Trivia Track
  • Photo Gallery

Tuesday, August 14

C'mon people, you're wasting big money on dirt mall finds...

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Don't get me wrong, I'm not against buying tapes online or paying substantially for true quality, but the increasing prevalence of total auction blowouts such as these on beat-up junk is baffling. Some tapes are beginning to be harder to find; however, it's still not that hard to hunt down great pieces in much better shape for much cheaper. Either these are shady bid bumping by the sellers or dumb pride driving bidders into wars over tapes I'd have a tough time spending a fraction of these ridiculous prices on. I hope the winners find that it was worth it somehow...




Monday, July 30

Seriously...? Makers of this "Mr. Hush" dreck?

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This is the kind of shit that totally turns me off and I know I'm never watching this junk...

Sunday, July 8

Old Comic Book Price Guides are Hilarious...

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Definitely not the norm for BoGD, and I don't seriously collect comics myself, but I thought you guys would still get a kick out of the incredibly low values quoted in Hal L. Cohen's Official Guide to Comic Books published in 1974. How times have changed! All values are for "mint" condition...
  • ACTION COMICS #1: $1,600
  • ACTION COMICS #7: $300
  • ALL-AMERICAN COMICS #16: $170
  • AMAZING FANTASY #15: $42.50 (whut?)
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1: $45
  • BATMAN #1: $850
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #1: $350
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #1: $250
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #27: $1,000
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #29: $200
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #1: $80
  • HUMAN TORCH #2: $185
  • INCREDIBLE HULK #1: $40
  • JUMBO COMICS #1: $275
  • MARVEL COMICS #1: $800
  • MORE FUN COMICS #52: $450
  • SHOWCASE #4: $50 
  • SUPERMAN #1: $750
  • TALES OF SUSPENSE #39: $25
  • X-MEN #1: $15
  • WHIZ COMICS #1: $1000
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Saturday, July 7

New Video: Some Tips on Collecting Japanese VHS Tapes

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Redneck Zombies (1987) - 1988 TCC Video Japan VHS

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Hard won but dammit, I absolutely love this piece of shot on video junk!

Wednesday, June 27

Happy Birthday to Me (1981) - 1982 RCA Columbia Pictures International Video

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One of my most wanted Japanese tapes checked off the list! 

Saturday, June 23

Sunday, June 3

And I never win anything!

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Nice little birthday weekend surprise being #72!

Monday, May 28

Once Upon a Time in the West's "Missing" Snippets

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I just uploaded some clips from the Italian version of Sergio Leone's western masterpiece, Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West). What makes this version special is a healthy number of either totally new, extended, or alternate shots from Paramount's "International Version" DVD and Blu-ray. Unfortunately the last one, depicting broken harmonica notes playing over Frank stumbling instead of silence after the climatic showdown, was blocked by MovieClips. All eight others can be viewed with descriptions about what's different through this playlist.

Sunday, May 27

Absolutely Crazy $40 Horror/Cult Mag Thrift Store Score!

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Someone dumped a box of awesome off at the Salvation Army!

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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