LOGO
  • ,,

    “AMERICAN MARY” (Movie Review)

    [This review was initially published in September 2012, it is reposted below in light of the film’s theatrical and VOD release.]

    Full Disclosure: This writer was not a fan of the Twisted Twins’ maiden cinematic voyage, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. Made on a budget by Vancouver’s Jen and Sylvia Soska, the cheapie action comedy is scrappy and full of indie energy but is also shrill, choked with gratuitous, numbing profanity and–outside of the twins themselves—generally poor performances. But what did appeal was the maverick way the sisters managed to push their product using social media, forums and general upbeat fan-friendly enthusiasm to build a legacy as not only burgeoning filmmakers, but masters of entrepreneurial business sense, whipping up a mass frenzy about their next project, something called AMERICAN MARY….

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “BLACK SABBATH” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Anthology horror films are a tricky beast to pull off and more often remembered for their inconsistency than anything else. Normally only about half of the shorts in an anthology are strong if you’re lucky, although there are a few exceptions. The big one is Mario Bava’s BLACK SABBATH, a strong contender for the director’s finest outing combining everything the filmmaker did right in his early 60s groundbreaking days and tossing in one of the great late Boris Karloff performances for good measure. Sadly, the movie has never been particularly easy to track down, constantly going in and out of print and available in two distinct cuts that are surprisingly different. Well, the good news is that the good folks at Arrow Films narrowed their laser sights onto BLACK SABBATH as part of their current commitment to bring Bava to HD, and now all may drool over the disc in horror geek delight. Given that the film is not only one of the maestro’s best, but one of his prettiest “horror in Technicolor” achievements, this disc is practically guaranteed to make eyeballs bleed in the best possible sense.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “DEXTER: THE SEVENTH SEASON” (DVD Review)

    Stabbing its way onto shelves this week, all wrapped in plastic and ready for purchase (sadly, with no special features of any kind save for the pilot episode of the new series RAY DONOVAN) is the seventh season of DEXTER, the mainstream-yet-still cult Showtime TV sensation that needs no introduction and yet–oddly –is rarely charted in the pages of FANGORIA, nor mentioned much here on our sister site. Much of that is due to timing and the fact that DEXTER veers between thriller and soap opera, with a dash of Ian Fleming on occasion and isn’t viewed exclusively as a horror property, which is silly considering the level of violence and the fact that, y’know horror fans tend to love it.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “THE GHOSTKEEPERS” (Movie Review)

    Last year, writer-director Anthony D.P. Mann released TERROR OF DRACULA, a painstakingly respectful enactment of Bram Stoker’s often-bowdlerized and bastardized 1897 novel. TERROR perfectly captured the restrained pacing and hazy photography of a BBC production from decades past, and the result felt like something that might have aired stateside on public television around Halloween—a powerful fount of nostalgia for some, this reviewer included. With follow-up THE GHOSTKEEPERS set for release this year, Mann’s challenge was to try and carve out a similar impression, only now with his own original material and in a modern setting.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    George A. Romero’s “KNIGHTRIDERS” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    The man who gave the world the modern flesh-munching zombie will always be remembered as a horror maestro, but one of George Romero’s finest efforts from his underground Pittsburgh days was made with no intention of giving audiences the willies (well, except for the sight of Tom Savini in a speedo). KNIGHTRIDERS comes between DAWN OF THE DEAD and CREEPSHOW in the director’s career and features roles for many of his stock company of the time like Savini, Ken Foree, and John Amplas (MARTIN). It’s an odd story involving Renaissance fair knights who joust on motorcycles, and yet it just might be Romero’s most personal movie of the period. Midst the weird world of contemporary King Arthur honor comes a story about artistic integrity amongst a group of outsider artists. It’s a pretty blatant exploration of Romero’s fears of abandoning his merry band of low budget horror movie mirth-makers for Hollywood and signaled the beginning of the end of his early career. KNIGHTRIDERS is an essential slice of Romero magic from his golden period and now that the good folks at Arrow have gone and released it in one of their marquee Blu-ray sets, there’s never been a better time to catch up with this sadly forgotten cult classic.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “ERIK: PORTRAIT OF A LIVING CORPSE”: A Valentine to THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Movie Review)

    Ryan Bijan freely admits that ERIK: PORTRAIT OF A LIVING CORPSE is a student film.

    And indeed it is. Like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland did in those grand old MGM movies of long ago, writer/director Bijan and his friends got together and put on a show. Clocking in at about an hour, ERIK is a well put together labor of love.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “TORTURE CHAMBER” (Movie Review)

    Horror is a base genre in many respects, as it taps into our anxieties about what’s beyond the door for us all, about death and what–if anything–lies beyond. Shame then, that most genre movies get bogged down in pedestrian plotting, exasperating exposition and trivial twists. The greatest horror films are not steered by their scripts; rather, they are works of sensual alchemy. Martin Scorsese once said of Bava’s work–and I’m paraphrasing–that “Bava made films that bypass your brain and go right to your gut.” Indeed his films, and many of the great works of European horror, trade in visceral imagery and sound design to bring their nightmares to grand fruition. And if you’ve ever had a really juicy, heart squeezing, body sweating, wake-up-screaming-and-pull-the-covers-up-close nightmare, you’ll know that plot, character and dialogue aren’t what gets blasted forever onto your psyche. What strikes you and what sticks with you can’t even find articulation for, it just is.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “THALE” (DVD/Blu-ray Review)

    THALE is a lovely film, epitomized by its titular creature, which is a gorgeous one indeed. Written and directed by Aleksander Nordaas and based on Norwegian folk tales of cow-tailed temptresses called Huldra, THALE (on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo from XLrator Media) takes a classic-monsters approach to its story, evoking empathy for the sheltered, experimented-on beauty (Silje Reinåmo) as well as the best-friend duo who discover her.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “DOCTOR MABUSE”: Ansel Faraj and the Return of German Expressionism (Movie Review)

    FANGORIA #322 featured my interview with Ansel Faraj, the young writer/director of the new thriller/noir film DOCTOR MABUSE. The no-budgeter, literally shot in the filmmaker’s backyard, attracted a good deal of attention due to the  casting of three major players from the classic horror-themed soap opera DARK SHADOWS.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    “BARON BLOOD” (Blu-ray Review, Arrow Films)

    Boutique British Blu-ray label Arrow have been very kind to lovers of Italian horror over the last few years, serving up heaping helpings of Fulci and Argento in pristine region-free HD packages. In 2013 they’ve finally turned their attention to the maestro who started it all: Mario Bava. After cranking out a definitive BLACK SUNDAY disc, the company has moved onto to some of his later, campier efforts. The latest Bava Blu-ray from the company is BARON BLOOD, a late inning horror hit for the director that’s been swallowed up by obscurity. It might not be the director’s greatest effort, but is certainly something of interest to Bava-hounds for its inspired no-budget gothic carnage.

    Read more »
Back to Top