It’s Tuesday, and that means sites and stores will be full of new goodness to tickle your eyeballs with. So sit-back, relax, and take a look at what’s good enough to stick in the movie playing machine.
Usually we have a DG Pick of the Week. Sometimes we have two, never have we had three... until today. Severin Films is dropping a ménage à trois of parental horror this week. If you read our reviews you know we were huge fans of NIGHTMARES and BLOODY BIRTHDAY. We dug THE BABY but wanted to scrub our eyes with a steal brush when it was over. All three films should be picked up and we couldn't do just one, so all three are our DG Pick of the Week.
NIGHTMARES has been around in one form or another since 1980. I saw a heavily edited version in the late 80’s when it was called STAGE FRIGHT. This film has been plagued by censorship and title confusion since it was released but thanks to Severin Films, it is finally getting the release it deserves: Uncut and Uncensored.
John Lamond was known for cheap sexploitation films when he made NIGHTMARES. He got the idea after seeing HALLOWEEN, appreciating the way that film was made. Even before a script was complete he began asking for money, showing up to meetings with a script for THE EXORCIST, hoping nobody asked to take it home to read. He got the cash, a decent cast, and directed one of my favorite ozploitation slasher films around.
Jenny Neumann stars as Cathy who as a little girl woke up in the backseat of the car while mommy had fun-time with a stranger. Cathy freaked, mom zigged instead of zagged, and out the front window goes mom slicing her throat in the process. This doesn’t set Cathy up for a life of success but this is a horror film, she wasn’t going to have success anyway. Cathy changes her name to Helen and makes use of her insanity by becoming an actress in the local theater. Coincidentally, this is when members of the cast start turning up dead of stab wounds, usually after fornicating.
Quick note: If I am ever backstage getting it on with a hot actress (happens more than you think…..no it doesn’t), and I hear glass breaking, I don’t care if you are Halle Berry, I am zipping that shit up and bolting like an erection in a cold pool. But I digress…
NIGHTMARES isn’t a perfect film. The killer POV shots don’t work very well, the identity of the killer is revealed way too early, and some of the scenes in the film just don’t make a lot of sense. Still, this a no holds barred slasher film that is dirty, trashy fun full of the genre staples we all want: nakedness, pointy objects with fleshy points of entry, and blood by the gallons. NIGHTMARES finally got the release it deserved and this is why Severin Films is one of our favorite labels.
This is dropping from Severin Films on 6/28 (in addition to BLOODY BIRTHDAY and THE BABY). The full lists of features are below but I wanted to highlight the commentary on this disc. Mark Hartley of NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD joins Lamond to discuss this film and ozploitation in general. Hartley is not shy about letting Lamond know what works and what doesn’t work while also going into the historical perspective of ozploitation’s place in cinema. This is some of the best commentary I have heard in a while.
16:9 anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Audio Commentary by director John Lamond and NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD's Mark Hartley
"A Brief History of Slasher Films" featurette
John Lamond Trailer Reel
Additional trailers for BLOODY MOON, HORROR EXPRESS, and PSYCHOMANIA
Grab NIGHTMARES from TLA Cult here: http://bit.ly/iy96gp
HALLOWEEN has been one of my favorite films since the moment I first saw it in the mid 80’s. Michael Meyers defined horror; his slow and menacing walk, the way he just appeared in the background, but the most terrifying part of that film was Meyers as a kid in a clown outfit grabbing a knife and making staby-staby on his sister. The thought of that tapped danced all over my nightmares for a good couple weeks. BLOODY BIRTHDAY won’t give anybody nightmares, but it will provide some wicked laughs, some great kills, and one of the most famous nude scenes of all-time.
During a total eclipse, three children are born simultaneously and due to the eclipse they become stone cold killers. As their tenth birthday nears, they pick up guns, bow and arrows, and other tools of death to pick off their parents, teachers, and friends one by one. Important note for all the parents to-be out there: If you’re ever in the hospital giving birth during a solar eclipse, shoot that kid out of the baby popper and run like hell. If there are two other simultaneous births, see the previous note but now get out of dodge and move a few states over. Fucking terrible things will happen if you don’t take my advice. Once these little shits reach 10 they will find new ways to torture and kill you.
BLOODY BIRTHDAY is a smart film. Sure, we have seen the killer kid idea before, but it has never been this fun. It doesn’t go for straight horror; instead it appreciates the humor of the situation while also having a cast of kids that could slaughter THE GOONIES in a heartbeat. They are the kids you just don’t want to fuck with. These kids could take on a dream team of Charlie from FIRESTARTER, Gage from PET SEMETARY, and Damien from THE OMEN and still own all kinds of ass. Writer/director Ed Hunt and his screenplay partner Barry Pearson put together a film that knows exactly what it is and what it wants to do: kill some people, show some boobs, and unleash three hell-spawns on the world. Now, who hasn’t been there before?
BLOODY BIRTHDAY is being released by Severin Films on 6/28
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1
• Audio Interview with director Ed Hunt (51:10)
• Don't Eat the Cake: Interview with Actress Lori Lethin (16:9; 9:50)
• A Brief History of Slasher Films featurette (16:9; 15:11)
• Trailers for THE BABY, BLOODY MOON, NIGHTMARES, and HORROR EXPRESS
Grab this from TLA Cult here: http://bit.ly/jR9thG
Poe took a look at THE BABY last week. Here is his review:
Sitting and watching THE BABY for the first time was a bit of a surreal experience for me. Few films have flooded me with so many conflicting emotions. In the course of 84 minutes I was horrified, confused, repulsed, and in the end a bit shell shocked. Exploitation films are meant to manipulate their audiences with disturbing images and subject matter. THE BABY goes one step beyond with its underlying tones of incest and sadism, leaving you to feel like you need a hot shower afterwards. It's that feeling that horror fans crave, making THE BABY a must see.
The story follows social worker Ann Gentry, played by innocent eyed Anjanette Comer, and her experiences with the Wadsworths, a family that could give the cannibal clan from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE a run for their money as the sickest family in film history. First we have Mama Wadsworth, played with slow burn menace by screen veteran Ruth Roman, best know for her role in Alfred Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. Next we have her pair of attractive yet "I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole" daughters played by Marianna Hill and Susanne Zenor. And then there is the character of Baby, a twenty year old man who has remained diaper-clad, still sleeps in a crib, sucks on a bottle and has the mental capabilities of a two year old. Played by television actor David Mooney, Baby simultaneously repulses and tugs at the heart strings. It's an inspired and often overlooked performance. Ann's realization that Baby's development is being held hostage by the family for their own perverted reasons and her fight to make things right ends in a bloody showdown that lifts the film into solid horror territory. It all ends with a twist that will leave viewers slack jawed.
Journeyman director Ted Post didn't want to make this film. He generally worked on straightforward adventure fair and seemed an odd choice to helm this freak show of a movie. It took a years worth of convincing from writer Abe Polsky to get him to agree to make the picture. Post's unobtrusive directing style ends up benefiting a film that didn't require clever camera shots to captivate (or disgust) its audience. Particularly effective is his handling of the family's individual relationships with Baby. Post layers the film with a subtle sexual undertone that never gets too graphic minus a very disturbing scene with a babysitter.
THE BABY is a true oddity. It's strange subject matter and disturbing performances keep you watching even when you feel like taking that aforementioned shower midway through. The film provides a one of a kind viewing experience that is impossible to forget and its status as a cult classic is well deserved. Guessing Hollywood will never remake this one, though if they do, here's to hoping that Biel, Alba, Fox and Stone are cast in the key roles. Time for another shower.
16:9 anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen transfer
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio
•Audio Interview with director Ted Post
•Audio Interview with actor David Manzy
•Other Severin Films Trailers
Grab this from TLA Cult here: http://bit.ly/l7KlY7
Make sure you pick up NIGHTMARES, BLOODY BIRTHDAY, and THE BABY from Severin Films, trust us. Here's a look at everything else dropping that we have in our crosshairs.
After Severin Films, Blue Underground is our favorite label. William Lustig (MANIAC COP 1 & 2) has done a great job of finding titles that deserve an audience, like THE NESTING.
THE NESTING has a vintage feel to it. It does what horror films should do and even though it uses familiar plot devices, it is totally original. We haven't had a chance to pick through this release yet but we are anxious to jump on it.
Grab this from TLA Cult here: http://bit.ly/m9FLuK
It's zombies Vs. cannibals in a mediocre genre mash-up from the producer of ZOMBI II. This was actually released at some point as ZOMBI III, and it easily could have been a sequel. While it has some creative kills and cool moments, it just doesn't have the consistent "what the fuck?" that ZOMBI II has.
Grab this from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/j6gHdD
Next week is slow due to the 4th of July holiday, but there is still some heavy stuff dropping like: 13 ASSASSINS, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, and BLOODLUST ZOMBIES (with Alexis Texas).
Here's to good watching this week... Salute!
See you on forty deuce,