BLU-RAY REVIEW: EVIL ED

By Nick Durham

1995’s Evil Ed is one of my favorite foreign horror films of the 90’s just based on the fact that it’s so damn ridiculous that if you’ve never seen it, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Making its way to our shores a few years after its initial release, Evil Ed is a Swedish horror/comedy hybrid that satires the harsh censoring that films were subjected to in Sweden from 1911 to 1996. Knowing this information helps going into Evil Ed, as it becomes much easier to appreciate what the filmmakers were going for here in terms of the sheer over the top carnage and screwball hilarity that follows.

The story of Evil Ed (not to be confused with Evil Ed from Fright Night) follows relatively conservative film editor Ed, who gets charged with cutting and editing the Loose Limbs slasher film series. After going through numerous scenes and cuts that feature copious amounts of blood, gore, dismemberment, nudity, and the voice of the great Bill Moseley (who is a hoot whenever his voice is overheard), Ed begins to slowly lose his mind. Eventually Ed goes on an ultra gory rampage, culminating in a showdown with film geek Nick along with the cops too. In between all that is plenty of zaniness, slapstickery, and plain old bloody fuckery to boot.

While Evil Ed on its surface may not appear to be anything too special, deep down this film is a gem. It’s well shot, well-directed, and the scenes of carnage and nastiness are well done as well, with some pretty good effects and makeup too. The English dubbing is hilarious to listen to, and only makes the film more enjoyable in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that the few times Bill Moseley’s voice shows up in scenes wherein Ed is working are worth the price of admission here alone. Even though the film kind of begins to fall apart in the beginning of its third act, Evil Ed is still a totally enjoyable horror hoot regardless.

Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of Evil Ed, dubbed the “Special ED-ition”, is a wonderful limited edition set. The first two discs of the set are the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the new 99-minute cut of the film, and features an introduction by writer/director Anders Jacobsson and editor Doc. There’s a long featurette that details the making of the film and the trials and tribulations associated with making a splatter film in a film industry that was ruled by censors, which is very interesting to watch. There’s also retrospectives on the careers of the filmmakers pre and post-Evil Ed; as well as deleted scenes, trailers, and a video on how this new cut of the film was assembled. The third disc of this set is a Blu-ray featuring the oringal 93-minute cut of the film, as well as a three-plus hour long documentary on the making of the film which is ridiculously in-depth and informative. This set is rounded out by the typical collectible booklet featuring new writings on the legacy of the film which have become standard issue for Arrow’s bigger-ticket Blu-ray sets as well. 

It goes without saying that Arrow’s Blu-ray release of Evil Ed is most definitely worth picking up. The film itself isn’t for everyone to be sure, but Arrow’s Blu-ray set is flat out wonderful. If you’re a fan of the film, it goes without saying that you should definitely pick this up, and if you’ve never seen Evil Ed before, there’s no better time to do so than now.

Rating: 4/5

 

BLU-RAY REVIEW: BRAIN DAMAGE

By Nick Durham

Frank Henenlotter has been one of my favorite directors seemingly forever now, and as much as I love his schlock classics Basket Case and FrankenhookerBrain Damage has always had a very special place in my heart. A gory allegory of drug addiction that was notoriously edited upon its original 1988 release, the film managed to gain a small following throughout the years, eventually leading to a fully uncut release and finding a new generation of fans. Arrow Video has given the film the long awaited Blu-ray treatment, and it’s certainly a sight to behold to say the least.

The story of Brain Damage revolves around Brian (Rick Herbst) who becomes the newest host for a brain eating parasite named Elmer (or Aylmer, voiced by the recently departed TV horror host John Zacherle). Elmer injects Brian with an LSD-esque fluid that brings him massive amounts of euphoria, while in return Brian supplies Elmer with a steady stream of victims. This causes Brian to become withdrawn from his girlfriend and brother in the process, and eventually leads to some horrific and disastrous results for everyone involved. 

While Brain Damage‘s allegorical themes are easy to point out, the film offers its fair share of over the top comedic moments as well. Combined with some wonderful practical effects work and some really, really gnarly gore scenes, Brain Damage is an absolute blast. Two of the film’s most infamous scenes: the blowjob surprise and the brain-pulling scene, remain hilariously horrific and startlingly iconic to this day. The acting itself, outside of Rick Herbst as Rick and the wonderful John Zacherle as Elmer, is fairly pedestrian to be honest, but you’re not watching a Frank Henenlotter movie for the acting, so this isn’t too big a deal. That being said, there’s a surprising moment of poignancy in the film, namely when Brian realizes what he’s gotten himself into and attempts to “quit” Elmer cold turkey in a run down motel room as Elmer looks on, awaiting Brian to come crawling back when he can’t take the withdrawal any longer. As someone who has had their own addiction issues, I can say that this scene strikes a chord with me, and I honestly think this may be the most well-acted scene that Frank Henenlotter has ever crafted in his whole career. Were it not for Elmer sitting on a sink taunting Brian, you wouldn’t know this scene took place in a horror splatter film.

Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of Brain Damage improves on Synapse Films’ out of print DVD release from 2007, featuring a pretty good transfer. There’s a brand new commentary track from Henenlotter, as well as a new documentary on the film featuring a slew of interviews with Rick Herbst and various members of the film’s production. There’s a featurette starring FX artist and Elmer creator Gabe Bartalos, as well as other features detailing the film’s gory visual effects. There’s even more included here, including revisiting the film’s shooting locations, an interview with superfan Adam Skinner, a recorded Q&A session from 2016, and an animated short that includes John Zacharle’s final performance. There’s an assortment of even more features packed into this set as well; all of which makes this an absolute must own.

All in all, Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of Brain Damage is a must have. Like many of their best releases, this is of course a limited edition set, so you’d better get your hands on it while you still can. Whether you’re a long time fan of the film or have only heard about it through word of mouth and want to see what the fuss is about, now is your best time to set your sights on this flick.

Rating: 5/5

BLU-RAY/FILM REVIEW: WE ARE THE FLESH

By Nick Durham

You won’t see many films like the Mexico-based We Are the Flesh, and to be totally honest, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I went into this film not knowing much about the film’s plot or content, only hearing that it takes a supposedly new level into transgressive film-making. After viewing the film and taking the time to come up with a well thought out response to what I’ve witnessed, I’ve come to one solid conclusion:

This is some wild fucking shit.

Written and directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter, We Are the Flesh takes place in the aftermath of an unknown apocalypse. Siblings Lucio (Diego Gamaliel) and Fauna (Maria Evoli) have traversed the wasteland in search of food and shelter, and eventually come across the very strange Mariano (Noe Hernandez). Mariano lives in a run down building and appears to be doing some kind of work on an underground cavern, and he offers sanctuary to Lucio and Fauna…but at a very steep price. Boundaries are broken, taboos are smashed in the face, and some just plain old weird shit follows. I really don’t want to give much more than that away about the film, because regardless of my personal opinion on the film, I feel that you really should see this shit to believe it.

If I could compare anything to We Are the Flesh, it’d probably be compared to the works of Gaspar Noe. Noe’s films (Enter the VoidI Stand Alone, Irreversible, Love) often explore taboos, are visually stunning, sometimes feature unsimulated sex, make little sense, and occasionally disappear up Noe’s own asshole. We Are the Flesh does all of that in the span of its relatively brisk 79-minute run time. If anything, we should be thankful that Minter’s film does all this in less than an hour and a half, where as Noe’s films often take more than twice that long to do just that. It’s a psychedelic head trip that isn’t as psychedelic as one would hope, and whatever visceral thrills and images it offers up come off more as cheap shocks than anything as profound as the director believes he’s presenting. It’s pretentious, isn’t nearly as provocative or intelligent as it thinks it is, and any of the “artistic merit” that is attempted to be drummed up by the time we reach the film’s stinger of an ending comes off as being something crafted by a bargain basement David Lynch.

Arrow Video has brought We Are the Flesh to Blu-ray here in the States, and it features a small handful of extras. There’s interviews with the director and the three principal actors, as well as a video essay, trailer, still gallery, and two short films as well. Everyone involved here (based on their interviews) seems to believe that this film is the next big thing in arthouse cinematic buggery, which in itself is kind of interesting I guess. 

I really wanted to like We Are the Flesh, mostly because I actually do enjoy films like these that push and break barriers and go for shock value but defend doing so by labeling themselves as being an arthouse film, but I just couldn’t. The film has its share of critical acclaim, so maybe it’s just lost on me. I think you should give it a look regardless, mostly because you won’t see many films like these from anyone that isn’t Gaspar Noe and doesn’t run almost three fucking hours. That being said though, don’t expect anything profound in the least since this film is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.

Rating: 2/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: CREEPSHOW 2

By Nick Durham

George Romero and Stephen King’s 1982 collaboration Creepshow is a horror classic. It’s a super fun horror anthology with studio backing, big name actors, and wonderful effects work. The film became a pretty big hit upon release, so it wasn’t that baseless a conclusion that we’d eventually get a sequel. Well, we did in 1987, for better or worse. Creepshow 2 features less stories, less scares, and overall less fun than its predecessor, but for what it’s worth, it still manages to be a pretty fun ride; even if it manages to be painfully obviously inferior to the first film from it’s opening scene onwards.  Arrow Video has decided to give the film a super deluxe Blu-ray treatment, which is a sight to behold to say it lightly.

 

Creepshow 2 finds Romero and King taking a bit of a backseat compared to their roles with the first film, with longtime Romero cinematographer Michael Gornick taking over directing duties and Romero himself writing the screenplay with stories based on short King tales. We get three stories here: the fairly yawn-inducing Old Chief Wood’nhead which is a tale of revenge featuring George Kennedy, the pretty damn good The Raft (in fact, it’s probably the best segment here), and the concluding The Hitchhiker that is fairly memorable in itself. There were supposed to be two additional stories (to match the first film’s five segments) entitled Cat from Hell and Pinfall; both of which were cut due to the film’s budgetary constraints. Cat from Hell would end up getting filmed some time later by Romero himself for the Tales from the Darkside movie, while Pinfall never officially saw the light of day in film form. The film’s wraparound story is an animated (with a little live action) segment of a young kid named Billy encountering the Creeper himself (Tom Savini) and giving some local bullies their comeuppance.

 

As I already stated, Creepshow 2 is definitely an inferior sequel. The film as a whole just feels cheaper than the first film in terms of overall quality and content alike. That aside, it’s still super enjoyable for what it is, and has a very brisk pace and manages to make its own impact. The animated wrap around segment can be a bit of a chore to watch. There’s even a Stephen King cameo in The Hitchhiker, which in itself is a hoot.

 

Arrow’s Blu-ray release of Creepshow 2 features a bevy of special features. The film itself is restored in 2K HD and features the original uncompressed mono audio. There’s a commentary track from director Michael Gornick, and archival interviews with FX legends Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. There’s another interview segment with Berger discussing FX master (and his mentor) Rick Baker, and a handful of other behind the scenes features as well. There’s a handful of trailers for the film, and a booklet is included as well featuring new essays on the film. You have two options in purchasing the film, with either the standard edition Blu-ray release that comes with all this, or the super limited edition which includes all these features plus a comic book featuring an adaptation of the never-filmed Pinfall segment. Good luck finding this edition for a low price though. I had preordered mine through Amazon some time ago when it first became available, and I’m very glad I did.

 

Looking back on it, Creepshow 2 is a fun, if super flawed, sequel to a horror anthology classic. It isn’t perfect and is definitely inferior, but on its own the film is a pretty enjoyable ride. Arrow’s Blu-ray is definitely a must have for fans of the film, as this is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked and sounded. Pick up the limited edition if you can find it without having to sell your first born child (or do it anyway, kids are awful), but no matter which version you get, you’ll be happy with what you find here. Now maybe someday we’ll get that super deluxe edition of the original film that we’ve been chomping at the bit for over for years.

 

Rating: 4/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE DRILLER KILLER

By Nick Durham

Saying that director Abel Ferrara has had an odd career is saying it lightly. From his beginnings with making short films and even pornography, Ferrara would end up making a name for himself with gritty, unique, unflinching, and thought-provoking films like Ms. 45, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, The Addiction, and more. In the late 70s, Ferrara began filming a super low budget exploitation movie called The Driller Killer, and upon its 1979 release garnered a surprising amount of attention and even became one of the infamous “video nasties” in the United Kingdom. Besides being a true piece of cinematic trash (in a good way), The Driller Killer announced Abel Ferrara’s unique style to the world, and became a classic of 70s grindhouse exploitation cinema. Arrow Films has released the film in a super duper special edition Blu-ray, complete with a limited release steelbook to boot.

 

The plot of The Driller Killer revolves around an artist named Reno (played by Ferrara himself, going under Jimmy Laine) who lives in relative squalor with his girlfriend Carol and her lover Pamela. On the brink of getting booted out for not paying the rent, Reno’s troubles are exasperated by having to overhear the music of a shitty band that perform and practice nearby. With all the stress, noise, and hatred of the local derelicts, Reno’s grip on his sanity begins to fade; culminating in the purchase of a portable drill. Soon enough, Reno is slaughtering the local hobos and drunks, and that’s only the beginning of Reno’s rampage. 

 

Given Ferrara’s directing style and what all unfolds on screen, saying that The Driller Killer is an acquired taste is saying it lightly. That being said, for being a low budget exploitation film, there is some definite technical talent that is on display here. The film’s acting and dialogue are all over the place, and the film’s soundtrack will more than likely make your ears bleed (and possibly grate your nerves), but it offers a picture of late 70s New York City that is way grittier than any other film of the time period could hope to display. The film’s violent moments aren’t as plentiful as first-time viewers may hope, but when they occur, they get messy. It’s easy to see how The Driller Killer winded up being a video nasty.

 

Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of The Driller Killer is a sure-fire treat. The film is presented here in two different aspect ratios and is fully remastered, as well as keeping the film’s original mono audio. There’s a brand new commentary track by Abel Ferrara, and good fucking lord, you have to hear it to believe it. This is a guy that flat out doesn’t give a fuck about much and offers his unfiltered opinions and reflections on making the film, and it’s a definite breath of fresh air. In addition to that, there’s a brand new interview with Ferrara, as well as a video essay on his filmography. Ferrara’s full-length 2010 documentary Mulberry St. is included here as well, focusing on the New York location that has often played a central role in his films. The film’s trailer rounds out the supplements, with the physical extras being a collector’s booklet with some essay’s on the film, as well as the beautiful steelbook packaging. There were a handful of short films of Ferrara’s that were included on the old DVD releases of the film years back, and sadly those are nowhere to be seen here. Despite that though, this is the definitive home video release of the film to be sure.

 

For fans of The Driller Killer, this is the release of the film that deserves to be in your collection. Newcomers to the film may wonder what all the fuss is about upon initially viewing it, as it is definitely an acquired taste. That being said though, it’s also a classic of the grindhouse exploitation genre, and announced to the world the talent and unique voice of Abel Ferrara. Check this out. 

 

Rating: 4/5

 

BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE INITIATION

initiation

By Nick Durham

The Initiation is one of those 80s slasher flicks you don’t hear much about. Actually, I don’t remember hearing much, if at all, about this 1984 flick. There’s relatively good reason for that though; it’s fairly standard and doesn’t feature anything you haven’t already seen plenty of times already over the past three decades. Arrow Video has decided to release the film on Blu-ray for new viewers to discover, and that’s for better or worse as it turns out.

 

The plot of The Initiation doesn’t revolve around witchcraft or anything like that (which the film’s cover and frankly the title kind of convey), but instead focuses on young coed Kelly (Daphne Zuniga) who appears to have experienced some kind of trauma in her childhood that she doesn’t quite recall completely. To get to the bottom of this, Kelly comes under the care of a psychology grad student (James Read) that through various methods wants to help Kelly remember just what the hell happened, much to the chagrin of her mother (Vera Miles). In the middle of all this, a stealthy killer is on the loose, targeting everyone between Kelly’s father (genre stalwart Clu Gulager) and various members of Kelly’s sorority.

 

The Initiation isn’t a good film, in fact, it’s hardly memorable. There’s a lot of bits of confusion in terms of the film’s plot and twists, and there’s even quite a few unintentionally hilarious moments thrown in for good measure. The film’s big twist is such a hoot that you have to see it for yourself. The kill scenes are alright, and because this features a sorority, be ready for a healthy amount of 80s-era boob and even some beaver shots thrown in for good measure. Everyone loves 80s beaver am I right?

 

Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of The Initiation features the film with some great audio and video restoration. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering Arrow usually goes out of their way to present their releases the best they could possibly look and sound. In terms of special features, there’s a commentary track that includes a number of podcasters and critics, but literally no one involved with the film itself. There’s a couple interviews with people involved with the film, but sadly nothing from Daphne Zuniga, who was actually a surprising minor scream queen (this film, The Dorm That Dripped Blood, The Fly II) before finding mainstream success with Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs and Melrose Place in the 90s. I personally would have loved to hear her input in being in this thing, but alas, there’s nothing. The supplements are rounded out with the film’s trailer and a lone extended scene (with no sound) from the film’s party scene, which doesn’t really amount to much. This isn’t the most extras-laden Blu-ray Arrow has produced, but it least it looks and sounds good, so there’s that.

 

All in all, The Initiation is a forgotten slasher flick that may actually be better off being forgotten. You’ll surely see worse films of this type from this era, but you’ll definitely see more interesting ones as well. It’s worth checking out if you’ve never seen it, let alone heard of it, just don’t go in expecting anything totally worthwhile.

 

Rating: 2/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977)

hillshaveeye

By Nick Durham

Since Arrow Video loves taking my money with their spiffy special editions and limited edition sets, it should come as no surprise that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this deluxe super duper special edition of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes. Like they did with their deluxe sets of Society and Bride of Re-Animator; Arrow has packed a lot into this package, which helps make it a very worthwhile pickup, even if you already own that shoddy Blu-ray release of the film that came out a few years back.

 

I won’t say much about the story of The Hills Have Eyes because we all know it well enough by now: a family in the desert runs afoul of a family of inbred mutant cannibals, and they have to go to extreme measures to survive. The film has long been regarded as one of Wes Craven’s best films, and spawned a terrible sequel (which was helmed by Craven himself) and a surprisingly good remake in 2006 (which itself received a pretty terrible sequel). While not as overtly brutal as Craven’s previous, debut film Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes has its share of infamous, gnarly moments, and a fairly unforgiving tone that stands the test of time.

 

Arrow’s limited deluxe edition set of The Hills Have Eyes comes in a handsome box, which includes the film itself along with a foldout reversible poster, a handful of postcards featuring poster art from foreign releases of the film, and a limited edition booklet featuring new writings on the film. In terms of special features, there’s a couple brand new commentary tracks that feature actors Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Susan Lanier, and Martin Speer, along with a track featuring film academic Mikel J. Koven. There’s a commentary track from the old Anchor Bay DVD release featuring Craven and producer Peter Locke as well. There’s a retrospective documentary that features interviews with Craven, Berryman, Dee Wallace, and more, and brand new interviews with Speer and the film’s composer Don Peake. There’s never before seen outtakes, the film’s alternate ending, and a handful of theatrical trailers to boot. There’s also BD-ROM content where you can view the film’s original screenplay, which is kind of cool. Lastly, the film has been restored in 4K and looks and sounds amazing to say it lightly. The older Blu-ray release of this film looked like ass, and that’s being nice about it; this is the way The Hills Have Eyes should be seen.

 

It’s great to see a classic like The Hills Have Eyes getting a treatment like this. I used to consider this film dreadfully underrated back in the day because not many ever talked about it until it received its remake. It still doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves in my opinion, but to me this has always been one of Craven’s best works, and deserves your time and attention. Pick this set up while you can, you won’t regret it.

 

Rating: 5/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: DEAD END DRIVE-IN

dead-end-drive-in-blu-ray-review

By Nick Durham

Dead End Drive-In is one of those films that has a title you’ve no doubt heard or seen before but probably know next to nothing about. It’s an ozploitation (think of it as Australian exploitation) would-be post-apocalyptic epic that features some ingenious set-pieces, spectacular stunts, and a pumping soundtrack that is a pure blast to watch, even if some of its more glaring flaws outshine its low budget ingenuity. This film often gets categorized as a horror film, even though it technically really isn’t, but the slight horror elements it does offer, combined with its more action-oriented flavor and even a slight hint of social commentary, make it worth watching for the first time or revisiting, especially now that it’s been given the Blu-ray treatment from Arrow.

 

Much like its fellow Australian brethren in the Mad Max series, Dead End Drive-In takes place in a post-apocalyptic near future (the mid-90s to be exact, this film was made in 1986) where the global economy has gone to shit, the world is in chaos, and Australia is barely clinging to law and order. We’re introduced to a guy named Crabs who is planning on taking his hot girlfriend Carmen to the local drive-in for a night of sexual escapades and watching trash (and if that’s not every horror fan’s dream, I don’t know what is). Unbeknownst to them, the drive-in is actually a concentration camp for the unemployed and undesirable; some of whom have set up their own community and are fed a steady diet of exploitation garbage on the big screen (including this film’s director’s other relatively well-known film Turkey Shoot) while seeds of unrest and racial prejudice are sewn among the denizens of this would-be prison.

 

Dead End Drive-In does a lot of things really fucking well despite its budget limitations. Its aesthetic is adorably 80s and has so much undeniable charm that you can’t help but love its look. Not to mention that the film’s soundtrack is absolutely wonderful and everything about how it looks and sounds is pure candy to the senses. That being said, where the film suffers is from the fact that while it has a very intriguing and original premise, it doesn’t do too much with it other than the slight bouts of social commentary in a decaying world. This isn’t helped by the fact that nearly every character in this film is a total douche bag we care little for, and we’re never invested that much in what happens to them. That aside, there’s still plenty to admire about the film, although it’s mainly for what it accomplishes from a technical standpoint given its low budget nature.

 

Arrow’s Blu-ray release of Dead End Drive-In doesn’t pack in as many features as a majority of their releases as of late, but what they do include here is worthwhile. There’s an audio commentary from director Brian Trenchard-Smith which is really informative and very interesting. There’s also a vintage documentary feature by Trenchard-Smith on Australian stuntmen (brilliant stuff) as well as a hysterical “public service” film focusing on a man with a serious smoking habit and how he doesn’t mix well with a hospital. There’s a gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff, and the film’s trailer is included here as well. That’s it for the special features, but there is a cool booklet included, and the film’s video presentation is vibrant and this is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked.

 

While Dead End Drive-In doesn’t have that same kind of lasting appeal as other ozploitation classics like Mad Max or Road Games, it does have a place in history as being better than the sum of its parts. Arrow’s Blu-ray release is a worthy enough pick-up for fans of the film that want to experience it in high definition, as long as you find it a good price that is. Flaws aside, the film holds its ground as being an enjoyable diversion that has a lot of heart and technical prowess. That makes it worth checking out alone.

 

Rating: 3.5/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: MICROWAVE MASSACRE

microwavemass

By Nick Durham

Microwave Massacre is fucking garbage…and I mean that with love. This is a film that is so glorious in its badness that it must be seen to be believed. Badness aside, it’s almost innocent in its blatantly tongue-in-cheek awfulness and hilarity. This is a film that knows exactly what it is, and it revels in it. You have to respect that at least a little bit. No one in this film plays it straight, and it’s all the better for it because of that. It’s made a bit of a name for itself over the past few decades as glorious garbage, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Arrow Video has decided to grace us with a Blu-ray release of the film, which I’m not sure if many people were asking for, but here we are.

 

Jackie Vernon (best known for voicing Frosty the Snowman in that classic animated holiday special) plays Donald; a construction worker who has grown tired of eating his wife’s “gourmet cooking”. Her cooking has gotten all the worse for Donald since she’s gotten a massive, new, and spiffy microwave; which proceeds to help drive Donald mad. With his wife now dead, what’s a guy to do? Hack up her corpse, eat the remains, and take home random prostitutes and do the same of course! That’s about it for what little exists of a plot of Microwave Massacre; as it mixes elements of cannibal flick, comedy, and even a little soft-core porno here and there. What the fuck am I watching again?

 

Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release is pretty good. The film has been given a brand new 2K restoration (this is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked) and it sounds great as well. There’s a new commentary track featuring writer/producer Craig Muckler which is interesting enough, and there’s also a featurette that has interviews and input from Muckler along with director Wayne Berwick among others. The first pressings of Microwave Massacre include a collectable booklet featuring an essay from Stephen Thrower, which is pretty cool. A DVD version of the film is included here as well; rounding out a pretty solid package. I personally would have liked a few more features included, but the fact that we have Microwave Massacre on Blu-ray for a new generation to celebrate its badness is pretty special in itself, right? RIGHT?!?!?! Oh, it’s just me that thinks that? That’s fine, I’m used to being the smartest guy in the room.

 

All in all, Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release of Microwave Massacre is a pretty good treatment of one of the most hilariously awful films you’re likely to see. If you’ve ever wanted to check it out, now’s your chance. Pick yourself up a six pack, order a pizza, kick back, and give this piece of shit a shot.

 

Rating: 3/5

BLU-RAY REVIEW: BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964)

bloodlace

By Nick Durham

Often considered the grand-daddy of the giallo film, Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace has finally been released in an amazing special edition from Arrow Video here on our shores. That picture above this review? That’s my own personal copy of the long-awaited Limited Steelbook Edition of the film that I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for almost a year after its original release date went up in the air (look close enough and you can see my reflection on the Steelbook, because I do not take pictures well). It’s here now finally though, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

 

The story of Blood and Black Lace revolves around a fashion house, whose models start being taken out one by one by a masked killer that appears to be searching for a diary containing evidence of the shady and scandalous things going on with everyone therein. It’s simple, but very effective, mostly thanks to the acting, cinematography, and genuine surprises that unfold. Believe it or not, Blood and Black Lace was released to critical and commercial disappointment in 1964. Over the decades, the film would grow to be appreciated as a classic of the genre and one of Bava’s best films, and would go on to birth a host of imitators and inspire many mainstream American directors as well.

 

Blu-ray wise, Blood and Black Lace features a commentary from Bava and giallo expert Tim Lucas, as well as an hour long documentary/retrospective featuring contributions from Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava among others. There’s also an alternate US opening title sequence included here, as well as a host of other documentaries, interviews, and the film’s trailer. The Steelbook case itself is beautiful, and it looks damn good on my shelf too. As for the film’s picture quality, it looks more lush and vibrant than ever before, and the sound is superb to boot. Once again, Arrow has outdone themselves with this release.

 

It goes without saying that you should go get your hands on this Limited Steelbook Edition of Blood and Black Lace while you can. If you can’t, there is a standard packaging version of the film (also from Arrow Video) available that contains all the aforementioned special features, as well as the film on DVD packed in with the Blu-ray. No matter which edition you go with, you’ll walk away satisfied with what all is offered here. It’s hard to believe that this film wasn’t exactly applauded upon its original release, but thankfully now it has the appreciation it deserves, and it’s ready to be discovered by a whole new generation of viewers. 

 

Rating: 5/5