Puppet Master V

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I always thought Jeff Burr would’ve had more success within the genre, From A Whisper To A Scream was a solid anthology flick that I thought showed a lot of promise at what Burr had to offer.

Burr however just ended up helming a bunch of sequels such as Leatherface, Stepfather II, and Pumkinhead II. I’m fairly fond of those flicks especially Leatherface, but they were the last time he really got to work with any sort of budget or anything high profile.  Burr kinda got lost in the pre-Scream lull making a handful of forgettable low budget flicks that were typical of the period in horror.  Puppet Master 5 is another instance of Burr on sequel duty (he also directed Puppet Master 4).

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Penance

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There’s been quite a lot of found footage/shaky cam kinda flicks recently some good and some bad. I’ve personally enjoyed the recent crop of films such as [REC]Cloverfield and Diary Of The Dead. The subgenre was becoming a bit over saturated and tired for my liking but then along came Paranormal Activity which really impressed me and although a lot of people feel differently it also creeped the shit out me. Paranormal Activity showed me that there is still life within the subgenre so I went into Penance with an open mind.

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Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered Volume 1

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Lucio Fulci is a household name among horror fans thanks to a large body of work including classics of the genre such as The Beyond, New York Ripper, City Of The Living Dead and his biggest box office success Zombie. Fulci dabbled in several different genres including fantasy (Conquest) and comedy (Young Dracula) before finding his niche within the horror/thriller genre. Fulci received no love from the critics (the worth of his flicks often divides horror fans and is still debated to this day) and his work was often butchered by the censors. Lost in the shadows cast by Mario Bava and Dario Argento Fulci was relatively unknown in his home country but his films found great success with American audiences creating an army of die hard fans.

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Patrick

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Along with Brain De Palma Richard Franklin is a director who wears his Hitchcock influence on his sleeve, which depending on your point of view is either a good or bad thing. Personally I dig both these directors’ work watching their films more often than Hitch’s probably due to my love of all things trashy. Blasphemy I know but gimme Franklin’s sequel to Psycho or De Palma’s Dressed To Kill and Body Double over the master’s flicks any day. Feel free to kick my ass with hate mail.

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Dollman

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Albert Pyun dropped some great flicks on the laps of me and my fellow trash fiends including one of my favourite fantasy films The Sword and the Sorcerer. During the late 80s and early 90s he was at his peak with flicks like Cyborg, Bloodmatch and the completely underrated Kickboxer 2 (gimme this one over the original any day). This period of his career saw him team up with Charles Band and everyone’s favourite zero budget production company Full Moon to give us Dollman.

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Descendents

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Foreign horror films have certainly been enjoying a more prominent place in the spotlight in recent years with several countries showing they have the chops to slug it out with the US studios by producing some of the better horror flicks of the last 10 years. Spain really hit the ball out of the park for me with [REC] exceeding my expectations of it delivering yet a another dull found footage film. After enjoying [REC] so much I was pretty eager to see Descendents, hoping for something just as intense and original. Descendents kinda slipped off the radar for me for whatever reason but now that Monster Pictures have dropped a local release I finally got the chance to check Jorge Olguin’s 2008 film out. The film wasn’t in the same league as [REC] but I still found it a worthwhile watch for its different take on the zombie storyline.

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Demonic Toys

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Full Moon are notorious for their low budget “so bad it’s good” (and in some cases just unbelievably fucking shit) flicks and along with Troma they are the kings of this particular style of filmmaking… if you could call it that. There definitely are a lot of Full Moon’s flicks that basically smear shit across your screen and leave you feeling brain damaged but in some cases they get it right. Demonic Toys is one of the cases where Charles Band and company actually managed to pull together a pretty cool flick.

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Mark of the Beast

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Mark of the Beast is an odd, somewhat awkward movie.

It takes place in an unidentified area of (presumably) America where civilisation ends at the border of a great Forest populated by strange wild people who worship an odd monkey god. Two friends, Debbie (Debbie Rochon) and Strickland (Dick Boland) try to escort their very drunk, somewhat unpleasant companion Fleete (Phil Hall) back to his house through this Forest. Fleete drunkenly defaces an altar to the monkey god and is attacked by a silver leper who places a terrible curse on him. Debbie and Strickland are forced to take extreme action to try and save him.

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Dead End Drive-In

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Brian Trenchard-Smith began his career in the mid ‘70s with the low budget action films Kung Fu Killers and The Man from Hong Kong, he later went on to direct such underrated classics as Turkey Shoot, Night of the Demons 2 and of course, Dead End Drive-In.

It’s 1990, the stock market has crashed, inflation and unemployment are at an all-time high and the streets are run by violent, hotrod-driving punks known as Car Boys… basically everything’s gone to shit in Australia. Continue reading

Bordello of Blood

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Most fans of late 80s horror are familiar with the HBO anthology series Tales From the Crypt and its host the Cryptkeeper. The show was arguably one of the best of its kind and it enjoyed a successful run unlike its attempts to crossover to the big screen with Demon Knight and Bordello Of Blood.

I never really got why Demon Knight got so ragged on by critics, I thought it was a blast and one of the best horror films of the 90s. Totally killer soundtrack too that really made things blow up for the band Filter with the prominent use of their tune “Hey Man Nice Shot”. Demon Knight had a poor run at the box office and as I mentioned was totally savaged by the majority of critics so it’s kinda surprising Bordello Of Blood got the green light. I guess Scream made horror flicks a more viable commodity so Universal decided to take the plunge hoping it would pay off (it didn’t). Although Bordello Of Blood isn’t nearly as good as Demon Knight it’s still a great example of a flick not taking itself to seriously and being a totally entertaining piece of junk food for the brain.

Former Baywatch star Erika Eleniak is on the hunt for her missing rebellious brother Corey Feldman who has fell into the clutches of some bloodsuckers using a whorehouse as a lure for potential prey. Feldman really injects some laughs into the flick and plays the over the top part with glee. Dude’s no Edgar Frog in this one but it’s easily one of his better roles since his 80s heyday.

Those viewers expecting Eleniak to bare some flesh like in her role in Under Siege will be disappointed as she plays the role of a squeaky clean prudish Christian. Perhaps this was her downfall as I don’t remember her being in anything big budget after this outing. Eleniak’s character Katherine enlists in the help of a private eye Rafe Guttman (comedian Dennis Miller) to help her find her wayward brother. If you’re a fan of Denis Miller’s stand-up comedy this film is well worth your time as it’s filled with his trademark style of humour.

Bordello Of Blood sets its target on religion and is at the butt of most of it’ humour. Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon tears it up as a totally overblown psycho evangelist Rev Jimmy Current who has awoken the vampire queen Lilith (Angie Everhart) to rid the world of the sinners and lowlifes who frequent the brothel. Current is able to control Lilith because he is in possession of the vial of blood from Demon Knight but of course the good Reverend is tricked out of the vial and all hell breaks loose. It’s up to the trio to put an end to Lilith and the vampires and set things right.

Plenty of gore and tongue in cheek humour make this a great watch and essential viewing for those with a taste for the cheesier side of cinema.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer which most people will more than likely miss because they will switch off before the credits finish rolling. There’s no mention of it on the cover and once again this is another Umbrella release with no menu. These guys should seriously sort it out because the quality of their releases is slipping with the recent half assed repackages.

I have no idea why the iconic Tales from the Crypt logo has been replace with some shitty free Halloween fonts on the cover but it looks awful and tacky. Beyond Entertainment has definitely stolen Umbrella’s crown when it comes to local releases of cult flicks with their all round tidier releases with a cheap price tag (and wow they even treat you to a menu!). Your money will be better spent tracking down a copy of the R1 Tales from the Crypt double feature disc which has a better edition of the film plus its predecessor Demon Knight.

A fun film anyway that is perhaps more worthy of a rental than a purchase due to it being a disappointing shoddy release. Another disc from Umbrella that I’d advise holding off buying to it hits the clearance bin.

Available on R4 DVD from Umbrella Entertainment.