S.L.U.G. Zombies

A few days back I went to Toys R Us to waste some time, sure enough I left the store with a little less money than I came in with.  I didn't go too crazy luckily, what I bought was cheap; but don't let that word fool you, they're still pretty damn cool.

When I see the company Jakks Pacific all I'm reminded off was the somewhat bland wrestling toys I was obsessed with as a kid.  I guess they've branched out a bit though because while at TRU I saw they were making not only MIB 3 toys, but also these little guys.

These are called "S.L.U.G. Zombies" and they're very reminiscent to (zombiefied) Monsters in My Pocket.  I loved MIMP as a kid, so I couldn't resist.  I decided to go with the pack that contained the ghoul bursting out of what could very well be a drum of Trioxin.  Also included was a rotting pharaoh and a decaying postman.  S.L.U.G. Zombies are available in a few different packs, single, three pack, and a coffin shaped 12 pack.  Also available is a carrying case which includes a few glow in the dark characters.

Now I realize some collectors might write these guys off.  Sure, they're a bit nostalgic, sure they're certainly geared towards kids, but take a look at this character poster...Not only are they releasing a ton of these guys, but a lot of them you might recognize.  Not only do we get a few zombified celebs but we also get S.L.U.G. versions of Ash, Charles Bronson, and Dirty Harry among a ton of others.

I personally cannot wait to pick up more of these! 

Sorry about my near-month absence.  Being the manager for a small business can be a real pain sometimes.  Anytime we're short handed or someone quits I have to cover shifts and/or train new employees.  Such is life.  Anyhow, I'm working on some new reviews which will be up over the next few days.  Next week I'll have some Texas Frightmare Weekend coverage alone with a look at some new posters and memorabilia I've picked up over the last month.

The Scarlet Worm

The Scarlet Worm
Production Year: 2011

Release Date: 04/24/2012
Collection Number: 1042

Print is an aging outlaw.  He has strong religious beliefs...One might say he's artistic..He'll also kill you if you've wronged his boss.  The Scarlet Worm is a great modern western.  I can't believe I'm actually using those last three words together in the same sentence.  The film is about the aforementioned hired gun taking on a new job at a local brothel.  It seems that the owner has been doing illegal abortions on the "whores" behind closed doors. It's a very gritty film and the violence really shines during some of the later gunfights.  Lots of squibs, lots of red stuff.  The directing is very sharp, particularly in those few scenes cutting back and forth to various characters dodging bullets or meeting their demise.

The acting and delivery of the dialogue is also pretty good with the exception of one of the "whores" who's accent just seemed a tad bit forced.  Aaron Stielstra is very convincing in his role and does a great job with the character of Print.  You might also recognize a few familiars if you're big on the ol' Italian westerns.

The abortion angle was an interesting one to say the least, 'specially living here in good old Oklahoma where that subject has been a hot button as of late.  It's certainly original which is something I imagine is hard to do these days considering they've only been making westerns since the dawn of film.

The film is presented in widescreen with a 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track.  Round out the audio are two commentaries with the writer and the actors/producers.  Also included is a featurette and a few trailers.  There's also a blu-ray available that I wouldn't mind getting my hands on.

So to sum it up.  Scarlet Worm is a great take on an old genre...If you've been having western withdrawals give it a shot.

Zone 261

Today I happened upon a little viral advertisment for an upcoming swedish film called Zone 261.  As soon as the video finished I knew I had to get on here and spread the word.

It's not a zombie film in the typical sense, though it certainly deals with the undead.  The video had a nice mix of horror, action, and suspense offering a little taste of what's to come.  Everything can be found here.

The website also has a nice behind the scenes video showing how they blended practical effects with CGI. A lot of filmmakers are going this route now-a-days.  I'm not the biggest supporter of CGI, but when it's used right it can be an amazing tool to make a sub-par effect look top notch.

It seems like a lot of the original and note worthy modern horror is coming from overseas I think it's time the American filmmakers up their game.

Zone 261 should make it's way stateside sometime in late 2012.

American Werewolf in London Blu-ray

Today I decided to revisit one of my favorite werewolf flicks An American Werewolf in London.

I realize the blu-ray is a few years old now, but to this day I'm still impressed with the treatment this film was given, especially by a major studio.

An American Werewolf in London is probably the best Werewolf flick since Lon Chaney Jr originally transformed under the full moon. The film itself is surprisingly almost 30 years old now, with the new transfer though, it looks great!

As an avid DVD buyer my transition to the Blu-ray media was slow at first starting with new titles and slowly working my way back to the older catalog titles.  Things are a lot different now, it's amazing how inexpensive some of these blu-rays are.  Suffice to say, AWIL is definitely a title worth double dipping for.

The first time I saw this film was when it was originally released on DVD back in the late 90's . I instantly fell in love with the movie. Everything about it was perfect, the humor, the scares, the sfx, the amazing soundtrack. It's very rare to find a movie that so perfectly combines horror and comedy, a film with characters you truly care for. This is a movie that sticks with you, one of the better horror comedies, one of the best werewolf films.

It's refreshing to see a company go into an older film without DNR'ing the shit out of it.  It's got a few soft moments, especially in the beginning, but as the film progresses so does the transfer.  Where the transfer might fall short however, the audio certainly soars.  The film has never sounded better! 

The extras for the most part were transfered over from the original 2001 DVD, but the best extra comes in the form of a feature length documentary called "Beware the Moon." The documentary covers everything from conception, to filming, to the somewhat negative reception it got when it was originally released.  This documentary is easily worth the price of the blu-ray...This is something that could have easily been a stand alone release.

It's a pity more movies don't get the kind of treatment.

Buy this disc immediately!

Massacre Video plans to unleash Orozco the Embalmer this month!

I recently checked up on Massacre Video to see if they have any new releases planned, turns out they have not one but two releases that will be up for pre-order today!

If you were like me and missed out on the limited 555 set, than you should definitely get your ass over to their store by noon EST and order a copy.

Orozco The Embalmer is a very graphic documentary about an embalmer in a (very) impoverished town.  The camera doesn't shy way once and some might not be able to handle the content. 

The dvd is loaded too!
Original Spanish Audio
-Removable English Subtitles
-Words with the Director
-Extensive stills gallery with over 140 photos
-Reversible "gore" cover
-Fold out poster

Limited Editions
-Orozco the Embalmer Large Hardbox(Limited to 100 copies, two covers "gore" cover and "tame" cover. Hand numbered to 100 each

Also being released today will be limited VHS editions of Orozco and Bloodsuckers From Outer Space.

So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to Massacre Video!

The Horror Movie Empire fiasco

So back in late December I forked over my hard earned money for a handful of Blue Underground titles.  The website www.horrormovieempire.com was having a sale on all of the BU titles with free shipping.  The prices were dirt cheap, $7 per DVD, $10 for Blu-ray.  News of this sale hit like a wildfire, eventually even Blue Underground (though they now deny it) tweeted about it.

The site was iffy, but the prices were hard to beat.  It didn't help that a number of former customers vouched for Demetrios.  So I, like many of you, took the plunge.  Now, two months later, and I've yet to receive a thing.

What I did get is excuse after excuse.  Promise after promise.  It's either about to get shipped, or awaiting one more movie from a vendor.  That was when he actually responded to me.  Now he's ignoring me.  It's too late to file a claim with my bank so I'm just stuck waiting for my movies or a refund, and let's be honest, I'm more likely to get a tugger from Megan Fox than to get either of those.

I dropped almost $100 on the site, but there's plenty of people who spent more.  So if you're reading this and you're one of the many victims this is what you can do.

1. Follow this link over to the Illinoise Attorney General's fraud division and file a complaint.  

2. Email, tweet, complain, complain, complain.  The more people that see this the less likely they are to do business with him.  His twitterfacebook, and email.

3.  Demetrios will be at a number of upcoming horror cons.  He's already said that if you're order hasn't been fulfilled by March's Horror Hound convention to just approach his table for your full order and a full refund.  He will be at the Texas Frightmare Weekend, and I certainly plan on talking to him.

The way things look now, there's a good chance many of us will never see a refund or our order.  The horror community is a tight knit group however, and this situation will not go unnoticed.  The BU sale might have put HME "on the map" per say, but his bad business ethic will certainly cripple the site to an extent.

Rare Four Flies newspaper adverts.

Scored this from Red Shirt Picture's Michael Felsher!

When Paramount originally released Four Flies they compiled these advertisements and sent them out to newspapers to choose which they wanted to have in their paper.  This is an original sheet, not a repo.  Pretty neat little piece of Argento history.

Now as to where I've been.  I was recently promoted to Manager of my store, because of this I've had very little free time, not only was I being trained, I was also training a new employee.  If that wasn't enough, I was involved in a minor car accident so I'm having to work on getting my car fixed around my new schedule.

Anyhow, I'll be updating normally now.  Check out my www.youtube.com/users/hellachrisok for more stuff.

Midnight (Arrow Video)

Production year:  1982
Release date:  09/05/2011
Collection number: 863

I am infatuated with films about Occultism, devil worship, and possession.  I generally will watch anything involving those said things.  Somehow Midnight has evaded me throughout the years, that is until tonight.

Midnight is a film penned by John Russo who is one of the creative minds behind the classic Night of the Living Dead.  Russo is also responsible for the atrocity known as Children of the Living Dead....Let's just hope Children was a fluke.

Midnight is set up like a lot of slasher films from that era, a group of teens shockingly finds themselves being stalked by a backwoods family.  You'd think kids would quit going into the woods after all of these movies, but no.  Anyhow, I'm not sure what to think of Midnight.  It's got a lot going for it, satanists, hillbillies, and bad acting.  I still feel as if it falls flat.

Is it entertaining?  Yes.  But I feel it's one of those movies that most are either going to enjoy or despise.  I think if you were to line up all of the films Russo has been involved with this would fall somewhere between Satan Claws and Children of the Living Dead.  I realize that last statement isn't going to make some of you rush out to see it so I'll leave you with this, if you're a fan of the 80's slasher craze, it's wort checking out.

If you find the film flawed, the extras Arrow has gathered might make up for it.

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster 
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower, author of ‘Nightmare USA’.
- UNCUT and on DVD for the first time in the UK 
- Presented in the original Full Frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio
- Original Mono Audio
- Introduction by star John Amplas
- Vampires, Rednecks and Zombies: The Fear Career of John Amplas
- Midnight at Your Door: The Shocking Sacrifices of John Russo
- Trailer 
- Easter Egg 

Horror bargains for 1-15-12

It's nice to save a little money, so here are a few ways to save while expanding your collection.

-FYE/Suncoast are having a buy one get one 50% off sale on used and new blu-rays, dvds.

-Hastings is having a buy one get one for a dollar sale on all used dvds and blu-rays.

-Amazon UK still has a number of arrow titles priced at £8.99 and under!

-Best Buy currently has the blu-ray double feature of ANOES 1 & 2 on sale for 9.99.

That's it for this week!

Dawn of the Dead (Arrow video)

Dawn of the Dead
Production year: 1978
Release date: 10/19/2009
Collection number: 689

If you were to ask horror fans what the best zombie film ever made was a majority of them would sight Dawn of the Dead as being the apex in the undead subgenre.  While the film might not be my favorite of Romero's dead movies, it's certainly one of the if not the best written, directed, and produced.

Everything about this movie works, from the music to the dialogue.  There's literally not one bad thing I can say about this film.  With that said there's also nothing new I can add to the hundreds upon thousands of reviews already out there.  So I won't go into details, if you're reading this blog you've already seen it.  In the rare chance that you haven't, quit wasting time and go buy it.

This amazing edition contains: 3 discs / 4 sleeve art options / double-sided fold-out poster 
and For Every Night there is a Dawn collectors booklet 
BLU-RAY CONTAINS: Theatrical Cut in High Definition 
EXTRA: Commentary 1 with George A. Romero, Tom Savini and Chris Romero  
Commentary 2 with Richard P. Rubinstein - Document of the Dead 
Document of the Dead: The Lost Interview and Deleted Scenes - Fan of the Dead
DVD CONTAINS: Director's Cut 
EXTRA: The Dead Will Walk documentary
DVD CONTAINS: Argento Cut 
EXTRAS: Publicity Vault containing: US and German Trailers, 
TV and Radio Spots, Reviews, Giallo Trailers - Scream Greats

Like a few of the titles we've talked about this week, there are better transfers out there.  As far as the entire package goes, nothing really beats this release.

The arrow collection

Today's post is going to be a bit short since I've got a pretty busy day ahead of me.  I apologize, but hopefully this link makes up for it.  Amazon UK currently has the Arrow Dario Argento Neo Giallo Collection on sale for  £5.79!  (This deal ended soon after this was posted.)  This is a great deal!  After further inspection there are a handful of other titles that are on sale as well.  This is a great way to start your collection, I'll be placing my order now.

I'll leave you with a look at my collection. 

Upcoming Arrow titles for 2012

Every year Arrow releases a handful of titles in their Arrow Collection line of films, today we're taking a look at their upcoming releases for 2012.

The Lundgren classic Red Scorpion is getting dropped on 02/06/12!
On 03/05/12 and 03/09/12 they're releasing two war classics.

Who Dares Wins
- Reversible sleeve with 4 poster options
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet
- High Definition Presentation of the film
- Audio commentary
- The Making of Who Dares Wins
- The Last of the Gentleman Producers
- Original Trailer
- More special features to be announced!

The Wild Geese
- Reversible sleeve with 4 poster options
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster 
- Collector’s booklet
- High Definition Presentation of the film
- Audio commentary 
- World Premiere Newsreel Footage
- Original Trailer
- More special features to be announced!

Deadly Spawn will Invade the DVD market on 03/19/12.  This is one loaded disc!
Digitally remastered windowboxed transfer in the original full frame aspect ratio
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Craig Kraaken
Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
Collector s booklet
Two Audio commentaries
A Comic-style prequel
Alternate opening sequence with new effects and credits
In the Workshop of S/FX Director John Dods
A selection of archive TV interviews
Stills gallery
Outtake Reel
Audition Tapes
Original Theatrical Trailer

The much anticipated Demons and Demons 2 will be released on 04/02/12 and 04/09/12

Not much is known about these releases but they will each include a new sequel in comic form.

Arrow will also be giving their past House by the Cemetery release the blu-ray treatment, expect more news on this and an exact release date sometime soon.

City of the Living Dead (Arrow Video)

City of the Living Dead
Production year: 1980
Release date: 05/24/2010
Collection number: 688

City of the Living Dead is my favorite Fulci film.  I know some of you praise the Beyond in all it's violent glory, but I have always preferred The Gates of Hell to The Seven Doors of Death.

I can remember the first time I heard the name Lucio Fulci, I happened to stumble upon a review of Zombie on the House of Horrors website.  After seeing that I knew I had to have it, I bribed my mom into a trip to the local Suncoast and found a copy of it on VHS.  I probably spent 2 months of hard earned change on the thing but it was more than worth it.  By the time the credits were rolling across the screen my mind was made up, I had to own every movie this crazy bastard had made.

My next Foray into Fulci was the film we're discussing tonight City of the Living Dead.  The movie opens with a priest hanging himself.  Yeah, no joke.  This act is essentially the beginning of the end for the small town of Dunwich which just so happens to rest upon the gates of hell (which also happens to be one of the many alternative titles for the film!)  Many miles away we're introduced to a clairvoyant woman who envisions the suicide and dies instantly.  The poor woman, played by Fulci veteran  Catriona MacColl, eventually comes back to life only to find she has been buried alive.  Keep in mind I haven't spoiled the movie for you as all of this happens within the first 15 minutes of the movie!  She is saved by an eager reporter (Christopher George) and together they travel to Dunwich in hopes to close the gates of hell and stop the dead from rising!

The movie is non stop and has something for everyone, it's rich with atmosphere and has great performances from MacColl, George, Radice, and a handful of other actors you'll surely recognize if you're a fan of Italian cinema.  Fulci does a great job with the movie, effects from Gino De Rossi and a score from Fabio Frizzi tie everything together.

Zombie is usually a film I suggest to people who are looking to get into Italian horror, I feel it is the more accessible of Fulci's movies.  City of the Living Dead however is almost fanciful with it's atmosphere, loose plot, and disappearing zombies.  Was this done on purpose, or were the filmmakers just cutting corners?  The answer to that question depends on whom you speak with.

Like every Arrow release this set is loaded!
 - 4 sleeve art options
- Double-sided foldout poster
- ‘Fulci of the Living Dead’ collector’s booklet
- Set of 6 original poster art postcards
- Theatrical Cut in Stunning High Defenition
- 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound and Stereo Audio
- Original Theatrical trailer
- Dame of the Dead
- Live from the Glasgow Theatre
- The Many Lives And Deaths of Giovanni Lombardo Radice
- Penning Some Paura - Dardano Sacchetti Remembers COTLD
- The Audio Recollections of Giovanni Lombardo Radice
- Audio Commentary with Catriona Macoll and Jay Slater
- Profondo Luigi - A Colleague’s Memories of Lucio Fulgi
- Fulci’s Daughter - Memories of the Italian Gore Meastro
- Carlo of the Living Dead - Surviving Fulci Fear
- Fulci in the House: The Italian Master of Splatter
- Gallery of the Living Dead

Even with all of that, this release does have a few downfalls.  The first issue isn't really a fault of the company, but I feel I must point it out to anyone who is considering buying this set.  The extras are all encoded in PAL which means while the feature film might work fine on your player, the extras will not.  The other issue is with the transfer, while it is damn good Blue Underground's high def presentation is superior.  This will be a turn off to those who want the best looking representation of the film.  BU's release also has different extras.  There's an easy solution however, buy both.  I did, but then again, this is one of my favorite films we're talking about.

 In closing, City of the Living Dead is an experience like no other.  Few could helm a horror picture quite like Fulci.  That's not to say the man didn't release some stinkers, but when he was on top of his game few could beat him.  This film is a gut spewing maggot hurling classic.

Martin (Arrow Video)

Production year: 1976

Release date: 06/21/10
Collection number: 891

Arrow week continues tonight with the Romero favorite Martin.  This is a film I haven't seen in years so I was more than happy to revisit it tonight.  Arrow's release of the film is easily the best available and even includes an Italian cut of the film titled "Wampyr."  I'll get more into the Italian cut later on as I'd like to focus primarily on the theatrical cut.

Martin is an interesting film.  It centers around a man who believes himself to be an 84 year old vampire.  He stalks women, he drinks blood, he confesses his crimes to an old radio show.  Martin moves in with his elderly cousin in hopes to curb his blood lust, though it proves to be somewhat unsuccessful.  Like a lot of Romero's older movies it's very complex.  It's a horror film, though it's also a study on a deranged young man.  Is he a vampire or is he just psychotic?  This question is ultimately left up to the viewer.

Though not a typical vamp film it's definitely more interesting than some that were released during this time period.  It's often overshadowed by Romero's other films and while it might have a hard time living up to Night of the Living Dead I consider it one that is not to be missed.

Included in the set
- 4 sleeve art options
- Double-sided fold-out poster
- Exclusive Collector’s Booklet
- Set of 6 original poster art postcards
- Theatrical Cut in 5.1 and Stereo sound
plus choice of 4:3 and 16:9 presentations
- Original Theatrical trailer
- Wampyr: The Italian Cut  featuring legendary Goblin Score
- European Romero Documentary
- The audio recollections of Romero, Savini, Gornick and Rubinstein
- ‘Making Martin’:A recounting documentary
- Original TV and Radio Spots
- Martin Photo Album 

I'm sure some of you are curious about how the Italian versions stacks up against the US cut.  There's not a whole lot of difference honestly, the film is cut a little different with some of the beginning train scenes appearing later in the film.  The most noticeable difference is the score, Goblin also provides the music this time around.   As far as superiority goes, I lean towards the US cut, I love Goblin but I really enjoy the subtlety of the music in the US version better.  Their score just seems...Out of place.

Martin is an interesting film, while it might not be Romero's best it's very far from his worst.  It's only real downfall was being sandwiched between the release of George's two biggest films.  Because of this it's often overlooked.  Arrow did a great job with their "Immortal Edition" and it is completely worth importing.

Battle Royale (Arrow Video)

Arrow week begins today!  Each day we will be looking at a different Arrow Video release!

Battle Royale
Production year:  2000
Release date: 12/13/2010
Collection number: 697

I wouldn't get around to seeing this much praised film until I received this blu-ray early last year.  There's no use in lying, I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to Asian cinema.  Sure, I've seen the classics...Enter the Dragon, Shogun Assassin, Gojira, but over the years I've been so engrossed with the Italian pictures I just haven't had the time to dedicate to that facet of film (something I plan on changing.)
 This set offers two versions of the film:  Theatrical and the Director's cut.  I personally prefer the theatrical version as I feel it's more tightly edited.  The director's cut offers up a few more scenes to give a little more life to some of the characters along with more gore thanks to some shoddy CGI.

The film opens with a piece of music called Dies Irae, which is very fitting as the follow 90 minutes is extremely intense.  The story breaks down like this:  In the near future teenagers are becoming more corrupt and harder to control.  The Government's solution?  Send a randomly selected HS class to a secluded island and make them fight until only one remains.  

Once it kicks off the movie rarely slows down with it's visual assault on the audience.  Suffice to say this is one I highly recommend.

Now that I've given the film my highest recommendation how does the discs themselves stack up?  Well as much as I love arrow, I'll be honest here, this isn't a set you'll break out to show off your newest home theater set up.  While the film sounds great and the two cuts of the film along with the bonus material will give you hours of entertainment, the high definition transfer leaves a little to be desired.  That's not to say Arrow didn't try, it's very possible they didn't have a lot to work with.  I guess will see once Anchor Bay gets around to releasing their version of the film later this year.

So I'm sure you're wondering what's included in this set?




That's not even including the poster, art cards, booklets...I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

This set is still available directly through arrow.  It is limited and a little pricey.  As mentioned earlier Anchor Bay is scheduled to release the film later this year in a deluxe box set as well, though you'd be hard pressed to beat Arrow's definitive BR set.

TCM Extreme edition: Fright-Rags exclusive

Every year FRIGHT-RAGS releases multiple limited edition tees, some are limited to a certain number, others are only available for a day or so.  Most tend to sell out.

I've been lucky enough to aquire a few of these t-shirts throughout the years, today we'll be taking a look at their TCM package.

The package was available in two styles: Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  This is where my problem started.  Depending on the time of day I might prefer one film over the other.  The stark look and realism of the first, the over-the-top zaniness and humor of the sequel.  It's a tough fucking decision. I eventually decided on the second since I liked the design a tad better.

Fright-Rags always throws in extras unique to the film, from signed posters to a vial of water from the original Crystal Lake.  This time was no exception.  Also included was a poster, sticker, a few cards, and best of all a canister containing dirt from the original TCM filming location.

Per usual (and most importantly) the shirt is of the highest quality.  The design is bright and vivid, the material of the shirt is extremely soft.

At 50 dollars it might be more than some are willing to spend on a shirt and a few bonuses.  As a horror fanatic and a collector I find these packages hard to pass up.

Elvira ThillerVideo promo posters

Today we'll be taking a look at two awesome (and seldom seen) video posters.

In the mid 80's Thrillervideo teamed up with Elvira to release a handful of films on VHS.  Most of their releases were hosted by said horror hostess, however they did release a number of titles without her.
(A full list can be found here)

Earlier I mentioned these were seldom seen, while a few google searches turned up some similar advertisements, these two in particular were no where to be found.  I have a number of video posters that have turned up similar results, if you have any info about these posters please comment!

Onto the first poster, this one is actually double-sided with one side being a poster and the other an advertisement for upcoming VHS releases.  This poster is 11" x 27" and printed on a thick glossy paper.

The next poster is single sided and slightly larger at 11" x 28"

The VHS horror boom of the 80's didn't just bring forth cool flicks, we were also spoiled with tons of cool advertisements and random promotional material.  This is just one small example of a number of items I have.  I'll certainly be showing more in future updates!