Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Batman Ninja


Director - Junpei Mizusaki (Zoo)
Starring - Roger Craig Smith (The Powerpuff Girls, The Son of Bigfoot), Fred Tatasciore (Team America: World Police, Supernatural), and Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Rhett and Link's Buddy System)
Release Date - 2018
Genre - Action/Adventure
Tagline - "East meets West in this spectacular all new anime Batman movie!"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

    I'm not much on anime.  I do enjoy the two Vampire Hunter D films but that is the extent of my anime viewing.  Most of you know that I recently found interest in the DC animated films and I've been lucky enough to review a few of them lately.  Not long ago I got wind of a new animated film, Batman Ninja.  I read the synopsis for it and it sounded fucking awesome.  I had no idea it was originally an anime but I still requested it.  Closer to launch images and trailers started to appear online.  I was a little skeptical at first but now I'm glad I stuck with it.  This was the most fun I'd had with a movie in a long, long time.

     the film follows Batman and several of Gotham's villains as they are teleported to Feudal Japan thanks to Gorilla Grodd's time traveling machine.  Batman arrives two years after everyone else and with that time they each took over a specific territory.  Joker has plans of taking over all of Japan but Gorilla Grodd has been using all the villains as pawns for an even bigger plan that could be the end of all mankind if Batman, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Nightwing doesn't stop him.
     I'm still relatively new to the DC animated universe but I know that they fuckin kill it with their releases.  All the other film's I've seen to date were fantastic but none were nowhere near as fucking epic as Batman Ninja.  I felt like a kid again watching milestone chapters in my favorite shows growing up Beavis and Butthead Do America and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.  I found myself sliding off the couch and sitting in the floor like a kid again watching the film in amazement.  The voice acting in this one is probably my least favorite out of the film's I've seen so far.  It is leagues above Christian Slater in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay but that's not saying much.  The voice acting is very unenergetic and boring for the most part.  They have no emotional range and create no atmosphere unlike most of the other animated films I had seen.  The story for this one took me back to my youth.  I was born in the mid 80s and grew up in the 90s so I lived the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  When their live action films was announced I flipped my shit like most of the other kids my age but by the time the third film rolled around people were sick of it.  Not me and I loved the third film in the series.  Seeing the turtles in a halfshell taken back in time was amazing.  I got that same excitement seeing Batman and other Gotham locals find themselves in Japan was fucking awesome.  It was a huge reach with the story but that is what I like about it.  They could have kept it safe and just cashed in on the name alone with a mediocre film but they went above that to deliver an unforgettable story and when you think you've seen it all with the film the movie changes it up.  We go from one absurd moment to another and then, boom!  We find ourselves in the middle of a sentai showdown Batman style.  This was the moment that left me geeking out.  I loved how the story is so far out there.  Sure, there is plot holes and inconsistencies but its a fucking billionaire that fights crime in high-tech tights.  You learn to live with it.  Finally, the animation for this one is not your typical animation style seen in the U.S. or the western world.  They style is much different but works very well for the film.  Overall, Batman Ninja may not be for everyone but it was for me.  I fucking loved it.  The story was not something I was expecting and brought together so many things from my childhood.  Check this out and soon!




Monday, June 18, 2018

The Devil Incarnate


Director - Paul Naschy (The Night of the Executioner, The Beast and the Magic Sword)
Starring - Paul Naschy, Sara Lezana (Gunfight at Red Sands, Mortal Sin), and David Rocha (Killing of the Dolls, You Are a Traitor and I'll Kill You)
Release Date - 1979
Genre - Horror
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     A few days ago I sat down and had a Mondo Macabro marathon where I worked through four films they had sent me to review.  Sadly, life got away from me and my reviews had to take the back seat for a few weeks.  In the last few days I reviewed Spider, The Fox with the Velvet Tail, and The Blood Spattered Bride.  All three were amazing films but The Fox with the Velvet Tail was fantastic.  Easily my favorite Mondo release to date.  I wanted to finish the marathon out with another Paul Naschy flick I had yet to see.  This 1979 tale, El Caminante, aka The Devil Incarnate, looked fucking awesome and I couldn't wait to check it out.  Thank you Mondo for sending it my way!
     The film follows a traveler who could possibly be the devil himself who wonders the countryside robbing, killing, and raping.  He encounters several travelers who he swindles and several women who falls prey to his love making.  He eventually encounters a young man who he takes under his wing.  The two continue on their journey and eventually land a spot in a brothel where they win the affection of the whores but the way of mankind has a funny way of showing its dark side and the traveler finds it the hard way.
     I've seen some truly amazing Paul Naschy films and then I've seen some horrible movies that I was shocked Naschy agreed to be apart of.  Many fans of Naschy had reached out to me or commented on other Naschy reviews I posted to tell me to check out El Caminante.  I could never find a decent copy for a decent price but once Mondo announced a released I was excited.  The acting in this one is great.  The supporting cast does a solid job in their performance.  Some outdid others but that doesn't mean some is bad.  It simply means others were more dedicated than others.  The real star here is once again Paul Naschy.  Naschy absolutely kills it and delivers a damn near bone chilling performance at times.  At others his character is rather over the top and ambitious.  I really enjoyed his character and I can see why so many told me to review this one.  The story for this one was simple and pretty straight forward.  I'm not the brightest star in the sky so overcomplicated movies typically go over my head.  Lucky for me this one was well written, flowed well, and didn't over complicate things.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen deaths that are very lackluster.  They have minimal special effects.  Sadly, the deaths take the back seat in this one.  Overall, The Devil Incarnate is a fantastic film and a must for any Naschy fan.  Check out the release from Mondo Macabro.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Play Dead


Director - Peter Wittman (Ellie)
Starring - Yvonne DeCarlo (The Munsters, Cellar Dweller), Stephanie Dunnam (Silent Rage, Silk Stalkings), and David Cullinane (Superboy, Best Friends)
Release Date - 1983
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "A raging madness unleashed to kill!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     My Mondo Macabro marathon is now behind me.  I rapid fired through four Mondo films along with a few others in an attempt to get myself out of the hole I dug myself.  After my wife had our third child I found myself not motivated that week.  I spent time with my family and skipped writing for the most part but now I'm back and ready to knock out some reviews...after this week's Tromatic Thursday.  I decided it was time to stop sitting on the Toxie's Blood Bank box set and start watching some of the movies in it.  I started out with Mommy's Epitaph last week and followed that up with the 1983 film Play Dead starring The Munster's Yvonne DeCarlo.
     The film follows Hestre (DeCarlo) who recently lost her sister.  The pair had become estranged several decades earlier when the love of her life left Hester for her sister.  Now she is dead, along with her husband, but their children still live and this pisses Hester off.  Now she plans on removing her niece and nephew from this plane of existence with a little help from magic and her dog Greta.

   



     Honestly, like most Troma films, I had no idea where this film was going to take me.  Most Troma films are outrageous with unforgettable characters and more humor than you can laugh at.  Play Dead was not one of those films.  In fact, it was rather serious with some horror cliché tossed in here and there.  The acting in this one is solid but there was plenty of room for improvement.  Most of the cast gives the film their all and it shows.  The cast does a decent job at creating genuine characters that you may encounter in your day to day life.  Sadly, the same cannot be said about legend Yvonne DeCarlo.   Her performance feels forced and a few scenes she is very overdramatic.  The story for this one fits well for the time period.  The Satanic Panic was in full swing so we saw hundreds of films play on that but none had Lilly Munster doing black magic to have a dog kill kids.  This film is very unique in that aspect.  Sure, there was other movies where a dog from hell killed people but this one put a fun spin on it.  The writing is smooth for the most part but there was a few dry scenes.  Finally, the film has several on screen deaths but they are very underwhelming and easily forgettable.  In fact, the death are so lame that I've already forgot most of them.  Overall, Play Dead is a fun early 80s flick that may not be memorable but it still entertains.  Check it out.




The Blood Spattered Bride


Director - Vincente Aranda (Mad Love, The Naked Eye)
Starring - Simon Andreu (Die Another Day, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Maribel Martin (The Holy Innocents, Roots of Evil), and Alexandra Bastedo (Batman Begins, The Agatha Christie Hour)
Release Date - 1972
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "When the honeymoon was over the terror began"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
           Here we go with more Mondo!  As I slowly work my way out of these backed up reviews I decided to hold myself a little Mondo marathon.  After watching Spider and the fantastic The Fox with a Velvet Tail I decided to go with The Blood Spattered Bride.  The first two in my marathon were new to me but The Blood Spattered Bride is one I had actually heard about.  In fact, I owned a copy of the film on DVD from Blue Underground.  I never actually got around to watching it but I still knew of it somewhat. I want to thank Mondo for sending this one my way to check out.  I really enjoyed it!
     The film follows a married couple on their wedding night who venture to the husband's castle to live with his servants.  Things don't start out well for the newlyweds when she is raped in the hotel room while he parks the car.  Things go even darker when he starts beating her and forcibly makes her have sex in public.  This changes when she learns about the history of his ancestry and a woman who poisoned her husband.  Later he finds a nude woman on the beach buried in the sand.  Soon the two women are found kissing at night and sleeping in a coffin in the basement making everyone believe they are lesbian vampires.  Soon blood starts to flow when their true intentions are revealed.
       I never had the opportunity to see the film but I was under the impression it was a completely different film than what we got.  The movie we do get is something I was not expecting and does not reflect the title that well in my opinion.  The acting in this one is solid but I do struggle at times with the casting.  The two female stars of the film just don't fit their characters.  I could not see them as the character they are portraying which made most of the scenes feel awkward.  The supporting cast is solid but there is several scenes where there is no conviction to their dialogue.  They just spit their words out and move on.  No consistency at all.  I really liked the story for this one even though I feel the title is misleading.  I was expecting a black widow type story where a bride kills her husbands on their wedding night.  Instead, we get a rather unique tale centered around a family plagued by murderous women.  This was a solid story.  It did struggle with pacing issues but was well written.  Finally, the film does have some blood.  No gore and minimal effects but it does have blood.  Overall, The Blood Spattered Bride is a great addition to any horror fan's collection.  The film has some great atmosphere and a fun story.  Check it out.

    
     

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Fox with the Velvet Tail


Director - Jose Maria Forque (Whom God Forgives, The Magician)
Starring - Analia Gade (One Billion for a Blonde, Exorcism's Daughter), Jean Sorel (The Origin of Violence, Speaking of the Devil), and Rosanna Yanni (Fangs of the Living Dead, The Amazons)
Release Date - 1971
Genre - Romance/Thriller
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     A few days ago I planned on starting a Mondo Macabro movie marathon.  I fell way behind on my reviews and wanted to knock out the Mondo's I had waiting.  After watching Spider I planned on moving to the next one in the stack but I was asked to check out the finished film from Chris Moore and found one I had left in my car my accident a very long time ago.  after Checking those out it was time to move to the next Mondo film I had waiting, The Fox with the Velvet Tail.  This fantastic film was a new one to me but after watching it I feel like this is one that is extremely underrated.  Once again I want to thank Mondo for sending this one my way!
     The film follows a wealthy woman who is leaving her husband for a man she met two months prior while her husband was out of the country for business.  She is the happiest she has been in years and loves him dearly but strange things start to occur.  While driving her brakes go out and then while scuba diving the tank runs out of air.  Soon their dog turns up dead and they suspect her ex of trying to kill her but one night she learns about everything.  Her ex and current lover are working together to kill her but this conspiracy spirals out of control and she gets the upper hand.

     I was expecting a giallo like film but this romantic thriller held my attention like no other.  The film was brilliantly written, acted, and the cinematography is fantastic.  The acting in this one is one of the better acted films that Mondo has released.  The women in this film are as beautiful as they are talented.  Analia Gade is the obvious star of the film.  Her deadly beauty and on screen talent is unmatched in the film.  Her performance makes the film as enjoyable as it is.  The supporting cast may not touch Gade but they still deliver top notch performances as well.  As I type out my review I am wondering why I have never heard anyone mention this film before the release?  The cast is damn near perfect.  The story for this one reminds me a lot of Strangers on a Train but with some major differences.  The adulterous wife leaving her husband for someone else that is actually working with her husband was what reminded me of Strangers on a Train but the twist comes when the wife actually discovers the plan and works it to her favor.  This was a fun story that worked very well.  Finally, this isn't a bloody flick for those of you with a taste for blood.  The film is very story driven and character heavy so you have to invest your time into actually paying attention.  Overall, The Fox with the Velvet Tail is a fantastic film.  I wish I would have seen this one sooner.  Thank you Mondo for releasing this underappreciated classic.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Mohawk


Director - Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here)
Starring - Kaniehtiio Horn (Hemlock Grove, Immortals), Ezra Buzzington (Fight Club, The Hills Have Eyes), and Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks, Chained)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Action/Horror
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I have a lot of ground to cover to dig myself out of the whole I created.  The death of my laptop and the birth of my daughter has put a strain on my time.  I returned to work after taking a week off but when I return home I now have three children that want attention from Daddy.  I also have a wife that is recovering from the procedure so I have to help with Mommy duties until she is ready to rule the roost so to speak.  I recently started on a Mondo Macabro marathon when I tossed in the 1991 Russian horror film Spider.  As I prepared for the giallo The Fox with the Velvet Tail I was reminded by my wife that the film Mohawk had arrived for review.  I dropped the ball with this release and left it in the car for several weeks.  Now was the perfect time to check it out before I got balls deep in erotic horror from Mondo.

     The film takes place in America during the War of 1812.  American settlers have sparked a war with the British forcing the Native Americans to pick sides.  One tribe, the Mohawks, tried to remain neutral but a British diplomat and solider falls in love with a female Mohawk warrior.  He convinces her lover to join the side of the British.  At night he burns a camp and kills most of the soldiers leaving behind seven pissed off soldiers are now tearing through the wilderness in search of them.
     I was expecting a violent and bloody film in the same line as Bone Tomahawk but was not greeted with such a film.  The film was still a great watch but the ferocity was not there.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  The film's top performances belonged to Kaniehtiio Horn and Ezra Buzzington.  Horn delivered one hell of a performance that was amazing to watch.  It was physically demanding and she does a stellar job.  Buzzington's performance is nothing short of intense.  I loved to hate his character and he did a fantastic job bringing it to life.  The story for this one is not consistent but still goes the distance.   The first half of the film does a great job at establishing the story and creating backstories for the characters.  Once the action starts we enter a rather bland story that lacks the action and suspense that the film was going for.  The kills and fights were rather boring and the story starts moving at a snails pace.  Finally, the film has several deaths but most take place off screen.  The effects that we get are top notch but the kills are lackluster and easily forgettable.  Overall, Mohawk is a solid effort.  It has a great cast and a solid story but will, sadly, be forgotten with time.  Check it out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Triggered


Director - Chris Moore (Perversion, Blessed Are the Children)
Starring - Meredith Mohler (Queen Dracula, The Farmer), Jesse Dalton, and Sam Furman (Bayou Ghost Story, Don't Kill It)
Release Date - 2018
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Find your safe space"
Format - Streaming (online screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I like horror films that are unique.  While most are wetting themselves over the next big "underground" horror movie which is usually torture porn I wait patiently for the next film that offers me something different.  Hell, I even like movies that deliver something I've seen before but painted a different shade.  Several years ago I crossed paths with Chris Moore.  He sent over his first film.  I checked it out but I have to be honest and say I wasn't a fan.  A year or so passed and I came across his Youtube channel Confessions of a Horror Baby.  Holy fuck.  I loved the energy, the excitement, and how it related to the genre I love.  Not long after he sent over word of his next film Blessed Are the Children.  I absolutely loved it.  When he announced his follow up film Triggered I knew exactly where this was going.  I followed the project closely and when I asked me to check it out I was more than excited.  I say excited because its offensive to say I had a boner.  Thanks Chris for reaching out to me to see the film!
     The film follows Callee who is pansexual and nonbinary.  Callee has dedicated her life to stop racism, bigotry, gender norms, and sexual harassment.  She is a social justice warrior through and through but her effort faces a roadblock when a serial killer has returned to her sleepy town after disappearing in 1989.  When a fight with a popular girl goes south she accidentally kills her and uses the attacks by the serial killer as cover.  She stages a crime scene and paints herself a victim along with her best friend who happens to be gay.  When the news breaks that they survived the attack they become local celebrities and her friend catches the eye of the football star and the two secretly become a couple but the real killer does not like being toyed with and sets their sights on the two.  Callee wants to stage another attack to gain more fame but he wants out which sends Callee over the edge.  She tries to kill him but the real killer reveals themselves.
     This film could have went so many different ways but I can see Moore's love for made for television murder mysteries and obscure 80s slashers took root.  The film takes several horror clichés and tosses them into 2018.  Triggered may not be that original but it does give us more than your standard torture porn or post Walking Dead zombie soap opera.  The acting in this is fucking fantastic.  When it comes to indie horror this is the best acted film I have seen this year.  Jesse Dalton nails his performance.  His emotional range carries through the screen and the viewer becomes enthralled with his character.  With that being said, the real star of the show is Meredoth Mohler who plays Callee.  Her social justice cause and self-righteousness just gets under your skin.  You truly want to slap her with a sock full of rocks which is intentional.  She brings her character to life and is perfect.  Also, the noise she makes when she gets stabbed will bring a grown man to his knees...  The story for this one combines many elements with horror from keyboard warriors and struggling 80s b-movie scream queens struggling with their age, to slashers like Slumber Party Massacre.  In fact, this film reminded me a lot of Slumber Party Massacre.  The story is written very well.  I loved the characters' backstory and the pacing in the film.  Most of the dialogue is solid as well but a few scenes were a little weird to but this is expected with any indie production.  Finally, the film does have some blood.  The kills are rather bland with minimal special effects.  Honestly, the kills are irrelevant to the film.  People continue to watch this film to find out who the killer is and what happens to Callee.  That shows how well this film is put together.  Overall, Triggered is the tongue in cheek horror film that delivers on the horror while poking fun at the people who think they are changing the world when all they are really doing is turning people off to their cause.  The current political climate needed a movie like this and is essential viewing for any indie horror fan in 2018.   This clever film will not disappoint so check it out.

    

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mommy's Epitaph


Director - Joseph Merhi (The Newlydeads, The Killing Game)
Starring - Natasha Pavlovich (Space Warriors, Silk Stalkings), Delores Nascar (Repo Jake, Emperor of the Bronx), and Jimmy Williams (Cockfighter, Ex-Cop)
Release Date - 1987
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The family that slays together stays together"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):

     I have so many Troma films I have to work my way through.  Starting Tromatic Thursday was a great way to check out Troma flicks without interrupting my review schedule.  Since I started this weekly look at Troma I've checked out some awesome films.  Sadly, there has been a few duds scattered throughout as well.  Two weeks ago I checked out Wizards of the Demon Sword and was a little disappointed with what I saw.  I had high hopes for the film once I learned it was directed by Fred Olen Ray.  This week I decided it was time to crack open the Toxie's Blood Bank.  The first film I pulled from the set was the 1987 flick Mommy's Epitaph aka Epitaph.  This was a first time watch for me and I have to say that I enjoyed it.
     The film follows a family that has to move from town to town because the matriarch has a dark obsession with murdering men and claiming rape.  The father of the family tries to clean up her messes but their daughter has had enough.  She is constantly starting over and this time she refuses to move because she has a boyfriend.  One night the mother figure kills the father who was the glue that held the family together.  Now the family is falling apart following his death and she has no one to stop her from killing freely.

   



      A few years ago I watched the movies in the tin Toxie's Top Ten.  Some were fun while others were huge wastes of time.  I know the odds are the same in this set so I didn't know what to expect.  What I got was actually a straight forward little horror film that reminded me a lot of those made for television movies from the time frame.  The acting in this one is laughable at times while other times it is almost embarrassing.  The cast is really into their performances which creates some fun scenes but they lack direction.  It almost feels as if they are stage actors and struggle to find their footing in front of the camera.  The story for this one is fun for what it is.  The budget does restraint it but it is still a very enjoyable story.  The story flow is a little off but the overall story is fun and well written.  Finally, this film is a bloody one.  Not much in the way of gore but the blood flows freely here.  The kills are simple but work for the story using very minimal practical effects.  Overall, Mommy's Epitaph is one of those films that isn't special but is still a fun watch.  You may not remember watching it a few weeks from now but you will still enjoy yourself.  Check it out.