Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Sheaf article.

So it's been a while, actually a couple of months, since I've written or posted anything here. My bad, I know, I've just been way too busy and I was also without a computer for a while. Finally got my own, so we're back up and running. New reviews will be coming and news of shows as well as other goodies!

But first, check out this article that appeared in the most recent version of The Sheaf, the University of Saskatchewan newspaper! This is from Volume 100, Issue 1. Click on the image to see it in full and read all the gory details!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Midnight Madness begins!

The first ever Midnight Madness event is taking place on March 8th at the Broadway Theatre (715 Broadway Avenue) at midnight! Tickets are only $10 at the door and there are prizes! Bad Monster Films and Vagrancy Films (out of London, ON) are proud to present an original uncut 35mm film print of the 1973 cult masterpiece Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein! Bad Monster Films is bringing the 'reel' Grindhouse to town, and you all better attend! We're planning on making this a monthly event, so come out and help make Midnight Madness a success!

Synopsis: Udo Kier is the Baron Frankenstein, attempting to create a new race of humans out of body parts. He wants to mate his male creation to his female creation so he figures he needs the brain of a real lady's man. By mistake, he beheads a man about to enter a monastery to become a monk. The creature shows no interest in his female companion, but the Baron's sex starved wife shows interest in him.

Click on the poster to see it full-size.

bad monster films

Slaughter Hotel (1971)

Released by: Shriek Show
Release date: 05/24/2004
Running time: 95 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Region: Region 1, NTSC
MSRP: $17.99

Welcome to the Slaughter Hotel! A
psychiatric clinic where husbands leave their wives to be cured of either their suicidal tendencies, nymphomaniac urges, or murderous instincts. Or maybe a combination of all three... Soon enough a masked killer wearing a cape is knocking off the patients one-by-one. Will the patients find out whom is this masked killer before it's too late? Are the doctors of the clinic in on this? And will the police get there in time to solve the mystery before it is too late?

MOVIE: 1.5 out of 5.
Slaughter Hotel doesn't deliver the goods. As a giallo, it's a real disappointment. There's only 4 deaths (from what I remember) in the entire film, and it's drawn out quite a bit. There's very little story line, and the pacing of the movie is horrendous. This could have been easily trimmed down to a brisk 75-minutes, which the cut R-rated version was original at. I wonder if that version would have been any better? Probably not, especially because it would be 75-minutes of no gore and no nudity, which this movie needs to at least entertain. Not even a supporting role by the infamous Klaus Kinski as the doctor who may or may not be the killer can save this film. It's your typical Eurotrash, but of course it's not the good Eurotrash. There's boobs, there's blood, hell there's some softcore porn, but none of this can save this mess.

VIDEO: 3.5 out of 5.
Slaughter Hotel is presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The video presentation is anamorphic enhanced. The focus is a tad soft in some cases, and there is some noticeable grain and fading to the print, but considering Shriek Show's other presentations, this is above par for their standards. The cinematograpy is the only redeeming factor in this film, and the video presentation is adequate.

AUDIO: 1.5 out of 5.
Well, it's the original mono track, and it's fairly clear throughout the film. However, there is a complete scene about two-thirds through the film that is completely out of sync... And that scene lasts for a good 1-2 minutes. So other than that huge inconsistency, the audio isn't that bad for a film this old, but the audio that is out of sync should have been fixed. The audio score suffers greatly because of the major sound gaffe.

EXTRAS: 2 out of 5.
The only extras to be found on this disc are the original Italian theatrical trailer, a short interview with the director Fernando Di Leo (whom died shortly after the interview was filmed), an alternate 'clothed-version' of Rosalba Neri's solo bedroom scene, and a small still gallery of actresses Margaret Lee and Rosalba Neri. The best extra and the only thing worth watching on this disc, even over the movie itself, is the theatrical trailer. It's as if some acid-head were given the film,. paid in hits of acid, and advised to cut the trailer. There are more trippy visuals and effects in this trailer then there were hippies at Woodstock. Well, that's probably exaggerating, but none-the-less, it's a freaked-out trailer!

OVERALL: 1.5 out of 5.
Avoid this one. It's a sorry excuse for a giallo, and even fails at being entertaining Eurotrash. My advise is to watch the trippy trailer for Slaughter Hotel on YouTube, and then be on your way.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Curtains (1983)

Released by: Vestron Video
Release date: Unknown
Running time: 90 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Format: VHS, NTSC
MSRP: Out of print.

Curtains is one of the few Canadian 80's slashers to have graced the silver screen. Other such films in the Canadian slasher canon include Black Christmas and Rituals, among others. I recently snagged a copy of Curtains off ebay, as Curtains has yet to see the light of day on DVD. It's been a good 10 years since DVDs first hit the market, and there are still a ton of forgotten and hard-to-find titles that we'd all yet love to see on DVD officially. And I know a lot of horror fans have been waiting paitently for Curtains. I'd heard a lot about the movie off of various forums and decided to give it a spin, since I'm both a fan of horror and a Canadian, so I had to see what all the good word was about.

Curtains is story of six girls who are auditioning for the part of Audra, the title role in famed director Jonathan Stryker's next picture. One of the women was originally guaranteed the role after she spent a stint in a mental institution to get into character but Mr. Stryker just left her there and decided to invite six more women to try out for the part. Jonathan invites the ladies to his home in the country for a couple days, creating a group audition over the span of the days to find out who will be perfect for the role. It's not going to be easy, since the ladies will be duking it out with each other, and also try to escape a mysterious killer in a mask who is knocking off the competition one at a time. Who will survive the audition? Who's the killer in the mask? And whom will the curtain finally fall upon?

Well, after finally watching Curtains, I can say I was disappointed. The movie wasn't as good as I had heard and I found it to be slow at times and the twist ending I could see a mile away. The acting wasn't spectacular and there's not a whole lot of slasher violence to make it a true slasher. If you're curious, check it out. If you want to add it to your collection to complete you slashers section, go ahead. But personally, I'd say avoid this one. Watch Black Christmas again instead.

MOVIE: 2 out of 5.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hatchet (2006)

Released by: Starz Home Entertainment
Release date: 12/18/2007
Running time: 84 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Region: Region 1, NTSC
MSRP: $19.99

Hailed as "the next icon of horror" by Harry Knowles from, Hatchet is self-described as a throwback to the 80's American slasher movies. So what does Harry exactly mean by 'icon of horror'? Well, with Friday the 13th you have Jason Vorhees. With The Burning you have Cropsy. And with Madman you have Madman Marz. What do all these movies have in common? Well, they all take place somewhere in the woods, such as at camp, and they all involve some disfigured brute terrorizing everyone who comes to their side of the woods. And that's exactly what Hatchet has and recreates; an out-for-blood disfigured brute terrorizing folks in his neck of the woods! Hatchet's "icon of horror" is Victor Crowley (played by Jason-himself, Kane Hodder), whom was struck in the face with a hatchet by his father who was trying to rescue him from the burning cabin. Rumored to have died, so begins the legend of Victor Crowley. With Hatchet replace the woods with the swaps of Louisiana and you got yourself an old school American slasher flick, complete with blood, boobs, blood, scares, and even more blood!

Some odd years later, a group of pals/buddies/friends (whatever you want to call them) hit up Mardi Gras in New Orleans to party, get drunk, see some tities, and more importantly to get female-troubles off the mind of Ben (Joel David Moore). Ben is not wanting to party anymore so he convinces his pal Marcus (Deon Richmond) to go on a haunted swamp tour. Joining them on the tour are a old traveling couple, a man with a camera and two ladies who are making a Girls Gone Wild-esque video called Bayou Beavers, and Marybeth (Tamara Feldman) whom has got a grudge against something. So they venture off into the swamp waters and get pontoon-wrecked after running into a rock under the water. So they all must jump ship and wander through the swamps back to civilization. But before that adventure begins, Marybeth tells the truth of why she is out there, and the truth of Victor Crowley. And just so conveniently they have made it to land-ho just where Victor Crowley's humble abode resides.
Hatchet from here on out is you're typical 80's camp slasher, with inventive kills, great gags, scares, and the most important ingredient that Hatchet delivers in spades is the blood and gore!

MOVIE: 3.5 out of 5.
Hatchet doesn't wimp out and gives us exactly what we want! You get to see an old lady get he head opened up like a Pez dispenser. You get to see a woman's jaw sanded off with a gas-powered belt sander and then she's impaled on a shovel slowly! You get limbs torn off, heads are rolling, tities are being let loose, and to top it off Hatchet starts out as a comedy. Now a lot of people have complained about this factor, as the first 20+ minutes of the movie is set up as a comedy. But I think it works for the film as it tricks the audience into getting to know these characters and liking them, and then when you finally see Victor Crowley you've forgotten it was a horror movie and then you shit your pants cause you just jumped five feet out of you chair. This DVD contains the unrated version which has some additional gore and blood that was omitted from the film in it's theatrical release. Hatchet is a pretty good homage to the bygone 80's slasher film, and I hope it opens up a newer audience to revisit the original camp-slasher classics.

VIDEO: 4 out of 5.
Hatchet is presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The video presentation is anamorphic enhanced and looks very good. A lot of the movie takes place at night, but it's never too dark that you can't see anything and everything that is supposed to be seen is visible. Overall, a crisp, clean picture.

AUDIO: 4 out of 5.
You get two choices for audio on this DVD. Dolby Surround 5.1 and Dolby Surround 2.0. Both tracks come out sounding loud and clear. No issues with the audio that I could hear.

EXTRAS: 4 out of 5.
There's quite a bit of extras on this disc. A great and informative commentary track from the cast and crew. Quite a few featurettes on the making of Hatchet and how the movie started. It's great to see that this idea was birthed when the director was only 8-years old and he finally brought it to the screen. One of the most surprising, and interesting features is A Twisted Tale which tells the story of how Twisted Sister's front man Dee Snider had an indirect effect on the making of Hatchet. Also, if you have a Future Shop or Best Buy store located near you, there's an in-store deal where Hatchet comes with a bonus disc containing the theatrical cut of the movie!

- Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Will Barratt, and Actors Tamara Feldman, Joel David Moore, and Deon Richmond
- The Making of Hatchet (Featurette)
- Meeting Victor Crowely (Featurette)
- Guts & Gore (Featurette)
- Anatomy of a Kill (Featurette)
- A Twisted Tale (Featurette)
- Gag Reel
- Trailer

OVERALL: 3.5 out of 5.
Hatchet is a fun flick. It's by no means the greatest horror movie, but it's an enjoyable throwback to the movies I have fond memories of watching on VHS ages ago. And I can't wait for Victor Crowley to return! Bring on the blood! So grab a bowl of popcorn, a couple of drinks, and enjoy the revisited 80's slasher mayhem!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Evil Ed (1996)

Released by: Unapix
Release date: 09/24/1996
Running time: 93 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Format: VHS, NTSC
MSRP: Out of print.

It's a no brainer, Evil Ed offers gore and gags, but not a whole lot of coherent story, so you can just switch your brain off while watching the movie. Evil Ed is a low budget Swedish horror film from, well, Sweden of course and is the story of Edward. Ed's an editor who gets transferred to work at European Pictures' Horror and Gore department where he has been assigned the position of editing the Loose Limbs series of films. Forced to watch hours upon hours of exploitive horror footage, Ed starts seeing visions of killings and weird creatures occupying the refrigerator. Soon enough his wife gets worried and she takes her daughter to visit him at work. Bad idea.

At this point, Ed has gone bonkers and he kills his family. Cops show up and Ed is sent to an insane asylum. He escapes, kidnaps a girl, and her boyfriend comes to the rescue. That's pretty much the entire movie.

So now I bet you think I just ruined it. Well, maybe, but it's still worth tracking down a copy because of the gore and the ending. Evil Ed has the best splatterific shotgun-to-the-hand-and-then-the-arm-and-then-the-chest-and-finally-the-top-of the head-exploding kill scene. Yes, it's long winded, but it has to be seen to be believed! Evil Ed is not a great movie, or really even a good movie for that matter, but it's worth at least one viewing, and just watching the last scene alone on loop is worth the price of admission.

MOVIE: 2.5 out of 5.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Basket Case (1981)

Released by: Something Weird Video
Release date: 07/17/2001
Running time: 91 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Region: Region 1, NTSC
MSRP: $9.99

Since this is the first movie review up on the Bad Monster Films blog, I decided to make it a fitting one. So why not review a movie involving a bad monster! So what's in the basket you ask? Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case is a charming story of brotherly love... well, I guess not in your traditional sense. It's more of a sick and twisted, sleazy, gory, exploitation cult story of brotherly love. Release back in 1981 on the seedy 42nd Street theater screens, this grindhouse classic is the story of Duane Bradley (Kevin van Hentenryck) and his brother Belial. They aren't your typical brothers since 20-year old Duane carries around his twin brother Belial in a wicker basket. You see, Belial is a monstrous living growth that used to be attached to Duane's right side. These Siamese twins were separated against their will at the hands of a couple of doctors who were called in secretly to do the dirty deed. Big mistake.

So now some years later Duane makes a trip with his wicker basket at hand from upstate New York to the Big Apple. He pulls out a roll of 20's and stays at the by-the-hour flea bag Hotel Broslin located in Manhattan. Here Duane and his basket will stay until they've carried out their plans for revenge on the doctors involved with splitting the two apart with a razor-sharp scalpel.

Along the way of exacting sweet vengeance, Duane falls for the receptionist at the office of one of the mad doctors. So Duane leaves Belial all alone in the seedy hotel while he goes on a date with Sharon (Terri Susan Smith). Since they are Siamese twins and all, Belial can feel what Duane feels and he does not like the fact that Duane has found a love interest and is betraying him to spend time with her. So Belial ransacks the room causing quite the commotion and eventually murders one of the tenants. Now the cops are on Duane's case.

Will the cops catch on to Duane's secret? Will Duane and Belial exact their revenge on the mad doctors using claws, scalpels, and a buzz-saw-on-a-wagon contraption? WIll Sharon find out what's in the basket before it's too late? Will the Bradley's check out on time? Find out in Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case!

MOVIE: 5 out of 5.
Basket Case is a sleazy cult horror classic! One of my all time favorite movies, and a definite guilty pleasure. I remember renting the VHS from 49 Cent Video when I was a wee lad and smiling with insane glee from the first frame to the last minute. An inventive and demented script featuring some great gags and some brutal stop-motion animation make this a must-see. Plus, Kevin van Hentenryck's gravity-defying curly 'fro would make David Hasselhoff jealous! That thing must be seen to be believed! All that hair has gotta weigh at least 10 pounds! There's plenty of gore and inventive deaths that will keep all the gore-hounds at bay. And heck, the acting isn't even that atrocious! And how can you go wrong when there is a scene involving a latex-puppet of a deformed Siamese twin growth raping his brother's new girlfriend?! You just can't. If you're a little bit sick and twisted and you are looking for something else to rent than what's on the shelves, track down a copy of Basket Case and pop it in!

VIDEO: 4 out of 5.
There's some grain here and there, but with the remasterd picture from an original negative this is the best Basket Case has probably ever looked. Basket Case is released in it's original aspect ration of 1.33:1.

AUDIO: 4 out of 5.
The mono audio track sounds clear as can be. I could not find any issues with the audio track what-so-ever.

EXTRAS: 4 out of 5.
This is the 20th Anniversery Edition DVD of Basket Case so there better be some extras! And there sure is!

- Commentary with Director Frank Henenlotter, Producer Edgar Ievins, and Actress Beverly Bonner
- Theatrical Trailer, 2 TV Spots, and 2 Radio Spots
- Outtakes and Behind-The-Scenes Footage
- Video Short: In Search of the Hotel Broslin
- Art Gallery and Behind-The-Scenes Photos
- 2 Radio Interviews with Actress Terri Susan Smith
- Clips from "Beverly Bonner's Laugh Track" Cable TV Show

OVERALL: 5 out of 5.
That's right, a solid 5 out of 5. What can I say, I love this movie. Great flick, great DVD, lots of extras, and it's dirt cheap! What are you waiting for, add it to your collection NOW! Check out the trailer below.