The Telephone Book

Production Year: 1971
Release Date: 05/07/2013
Studio: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1172

The Telephone Book is Vinegar Syndrome's latest foray into high-definition.  I can honestly say that every aspect of the film is a extremely offbeat and strange from the story all the way to the editing.  The film is about a young woman named Alice (Sarah Kennedy) who gets a very obscene phone call one morning.  Rather than being put off by the vulgarities she is turned on and soon becomes infatuated with the mysterious caller.

 The perverted man continues to call and Alice manages to talk an identity out of him.  "John Smith," is the big reveal, he also hints that he is in the Manhattan phone book.  Alice begins to search but you can probably imagine just how many John Smiths there would be in a directory, this manages to be a bit of a hunt.  Her search takes her all over the city and along the way she manages to run into all sorts of people, some nice, some strange, others dangerous.

The Grapes of Death

Production Year: 1978
Release Date: 04/23/2013
Studio: Kino-Lorber/Redemption
Collection Number: 1260

There's something in the water..Er..Wine, in this 1978 zombie flick about pesticide-infected wine that's turning all of France into rotting psychopaths.

Elizabeth (Marie-George Pascal) is traveling by train when she's attacked by a strange man with an even stranger skin condition.  Shaken and very scared she flees the train into the French countryside in hopes of finding help, what she finds are more of these strange tormented people who are slowly losing their minds.  Soon it seems that everyone in these small nearby villages are inflicted with the same problems.

To call myself knowledgeable of the work of Jean Rollin would be a flat out lie.  While I know of the director, I'm only mildly experienced in the man's work.  Rollin is a known auteur in the erotic vampire-romp category but he did manage to create a handful of more straightforward horror films which leads us directly to this 1978 film.

Deadly Blessing

Production Year: 1981
Release Date: 01/22/2013
Label: Scream Factory
Collection Number: 1315

Wes Craven directed nine films during the the 80's, these nine movies ranged from great to very questionable.  There's one thing eight of these films have in common however, they are all overshadowed by his flagship film A Nightmare on Elm Street.  It didn't matter if the movie came before or after 1984, ANOES changed things and to this day it's "that film" that ol' Wes is known for.  In someways maybe it's for the best people forget about "The Hills Have Eyes Part 2," or even "Shocker" (Yeah I said it, I don't like Shocker.)  But what about some of his other overlooked gems from that time period?  I absolutely love The Serpent and the Rainbow and the film I'm reviewing today, Deadly Blessing, is pretty damn good in it's own right.

Deadly Blessing centers around Martha (Maren Jensen), a woman who has just became sole owner of a farm thanks to her husband's mysterious and untimely death.  If being a lonely widow on a big farm wasn't enough, it just so happens that her recently deceased husband was also kin to a crazed Amish-like cult who go by the "Hittite."  Considering she's 'city folk,' and surely evil the Hittite clan would like nothing more than to get her off of that farm so they can reclaim it.  So it sure is a big coincidence when strange things start happening around the farm.  Lucky for Martha two of her old friends from the city have decided to join her while she copes with her loss.  Soon these coincidences get a bit more serious and things begin to spiral out of control.

Hatchet III trailer debut

In 2006 director Adam Green gave slasher fans a new icon to fawn over in the form of Victor Crowley.  Crowley, a deformed swamp-bound hillbilly intent on revenge terrorized a group sightseers.  The film had enough of the red stuff to appease most gorehounds and generally the horror audience was pretty accepting of the film.  Green would return to the swamp again with Hatchet II, a film that this time around would garner some criticism from the horror crowd.  While I enjoyed the first entry of the series, I honestly didn't care much for the second.  With the third's release date quickly approaching Dark Sky Films gives us a glimpse of the third entry with a full length trailer.  After the second film left me disappointed I'm not exactly eager to head back to the haunted swamps of Louisiana, but I'll certainly give the film a chance.

Judge for yourselves by clicking here to see the red band trailer for Hatchet III.

Is physical media dying?

A few weeks back it was announced that Lionsgate would be releasing an uncut version of The Texas Chainsaw 3D directly to Itunes.  While this might seem like nothing new there is one issue, it's the only way to see that version of the film, meaning the theatrical version is the only one available on the upcoming home video release.

This has certainly caused a bit of an uproar in not just the horror community but also the home video community, as depending on the success of this promotion this could become more and more prevalent.  Streaming is the way of the future according to most higher-ups, but I think most of us assumed this would be a very distant future.   Which brings us to the issue of this release, while this certainly isn't eliminating the physical copy of the film it is making it necessary to make a streaming purchase in order to see the unrated version.  Let's face it, horror fans want to see the unrated cut.  It's hearkens back to the very first exclusive combo blu-ray/dvd releases.  If you want this film "you must upgrade."  Don't get me wrong, I had no issues with it as by the time they came around I was a big blu-ray supporter.  With that said though, I don't like the idea of those who are not having to buy into it just to get the DVD.

So is this the beginning of the end?  In short, no.  While this is an issue on message boards and a few facebook pages I think the general populous will have no idea what's going on with this release.  I think this is one studio testing the water.  Even if it is the start of a trend it will not kill physical media right away, in fact I think it will take a long time before your average person is comfortable forking over hard earned money for the promise of lifetime ownership in the form of a download.  What happens when the rights expire?  Your computer crashes?  These are just a few small points in a sea of bigger issues.  When it does happen though, it will certainly be a gradual thing.

Another thing to consider is this new VHS trend.   It's not just a bunch of dudes in their basement with a stack of VCR's.  A lot of bigger labels are hopping on board, the newest being Severin with their release of The Manson Family.  Most people thought VHS to be dead, hell maybe it did die, but it has certainly been resurrected and I think it just goes to show that many staples of home video will still linger far beyond their supposed point of expiration.

Streaming is the way of the future.  It might not be our future but it's certainly theirs.  It's the direction that all of these big companies want to go.  It's not as messy and it will save them money, it's eventually going to happen in some form.  But it won't be the death of physical media, there is always going to be a yearning for it.  Some people will hop on board with streaming, but it will be a very long time before the manufacturers quit churning out little shinny discs to put on our shelves.

The Lords of Salem

Even though I did not care for his last two outings I've always felt Rob Zombie was a good director.  Halloween and (especially) Halloween 2 suffered in the dialogue department while the latter just had a bit of an inane story.  Visually though, the guy know's what he's doing and occasionally he does pump out a very good movie (Devil's Rejects, anyone?)  When the first trailer for his newest effort was revealed I was a bit surprised, while it certainly featured some of the insanity the guy is known for the preview seemed to show a different style.  Gone were some of his more hectic filming techniques seemingly replaced by a much more composed style.

The film opens strong with a coven of witches in a blasphemous ceremony, the head witch Margaret (Meg Foster) leads the pack by disrobing, chanting, and dancing as a ritual begins.  It's a very eerie visual and I have to say that Meg Foster plays one of the creepiest witches I've seen in a very long time.  Present day kicks in and we're introduced to Heidi (Sherri Moon Zombie) a former drug-addict turned radio DJ who lives in Salem, Massachusetts.  Heidi is one part of a shock-jock radio trio (made up of a few horror regulars) who regularly interview famed Salem residents.  One night after work Heidi receives a mysterious package in the form of an unlabeled Record by a band that goes by "The Lords."

The Lords of Salem Giveaway!

Early this morning saw the release of Rob Zombie's newest film "The Lords of Salem."  Starz/Anchor Bay has been nice enough to give Cannibal Reviews a slew of stuff to give away to promote the release.

So before we move onto the rules of the contest, I want to direct everyone over to this page where you can see if the film is showing in a theater near you.

So, onto the rules!  We'll keep it simple, if you'd like one entry into the contest all you have to do is leave a comment down below telling me you'd like to enter the contest.  Be sure your current email is linked up with your profile that way I can get a hold of the winner.

If you'd like to earn three entries into this contest leave a comment, and also click the button over to your right that says "Join this site."  Then be sure to make note of that in your comment.

Onto the loot.  Starz/Anchor Bay really hooked me up.  You'll be getting three double sided posters, three lenticular luggage tags, and one bright night light.

Cool enough?  The contest will run until May 2nd, I'll notify the winner that evening.  That's nearly 2 weeks to enter so get to it!

Also for good measure, The Lords of Salem is out now!

What I'd like to see Scream Factory do with The Amityville Horror trilogy.

So our beloved Scream Factory happens to be working on their very first box set which will be made up of the first three Amityville Horror films.

I'm a total nerd when it comes to any sort of special edition box set.  Over the years I've collected everything from zombie heads to Lament configurations to Coffins.  I love getting a series of films grouped together in one release, the gimmicky box is just the icing on the cake really.  Toss in a couple of set-exclusive features and you've found yourself in "MUST OWN" territory.

Now I'm not sure what Scream Factory is planning at this point, but it's safe to say that these three films are in the hands of a fan friendly company.  If we were to judge based on past releases it's probably safe to assume new interviews, featurettes, and commentaries are a certainty.

However what about the box these discs come in?  Wouldn't it be nice to get something extremely cool and visually interesting to "house" these three films in.  So with an abundant amount of free time and Microsoft's crude Paint application I threw this together.

Yeah yeah, it's not the prettiest thing in the world but I think it conveys my point, something to the liking of this, a 3d house, would look flippin' awesome.

It might be unlikely, I mean aside from the cool Walking Dead sets Anchor Bay has released you'll find yourself having to import the truly cool box sets, but a fan can dream right?

Diamond Select's The Mummy action figure

As if Jack-O-Lanterns, Haunted Houses, and hayrides weren't enough Diamond Select has introduced a new Fall tradition for all the horror nuts out there.  I don't know about you guys but I start doing the fall countdown before Summer is even halfway through, I can't wait for all the Halloween season offers and now I've got one more thing to look forward to in the form of Diamond Select's Universal Monsters line.  Today we'll be taking a look at their Imhotep figure which is arguably one of the best this line has to offer.

Universal Monster Wallets

As horror fans we're certainly lucky to be living in this age of highly detailed toys, DVD's, and the internet.  Everything is literally right at our fingertips.  Companies like Diamond, Moebius, and Sideshow put out tons of things relating to the monsters of yesteryear.  While there is definitely a resurgence of sorts in the monster department, there's still just something so cool about the items from the 50's and 60's.  While we are spoiled now I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to experience some of these items first hand back when they were originally produced.

While I love the obvious items such as posters, lobby cards, and model kits, I also really like the more odd'n'ends stuff.  Recently I came across images of four wallets that were sold through the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine back in the early 60's.  I just couldn't get over how cool they were and I knew I had to write about them on here.

10 underrated horror films streaming on netflix

The Girl Next Door is a very brutal take on a Jack Ketchum book about a young girl who's held captive by a crazed family.  This one's got enough sick shit to please even the most seasoned exploitation veteran.

Hey guys!  I've just been informed that Cannibal Reviews is going to be getting a bunch of "Lords of Salem" swag sometime early next week!  Once the stuff is in hand I'll post a few pics and give everyone details on how you can win.

Next up I've got an AWESOME trailer for the upcoming flick for James Demonaco's "The Purge."

The film hits theaters May 31st.  With that said, the next two month's worth of movie releases is going to rape my wallet.

Company Spotlight: MGM Midnite Movies

One of my earliest DVD collecting memories took place in 2002 when MGM released Deranged/Motel Hell, Last House on the Left, and Return of the Living Dead all on the same day.  That's right, August 27th was serious business for us horror-nerds.

The first title was part of the MGM Midnite Movies line, a series of DVD's dedicated to all things horror, camp, and cult.  While the extras were a bit on the bleak side I was impressed by the overall package, pairing one of my favorites from Joe Bob Briggs' Monstervision with a seldom talked about Gein inspired film(sportin' the tag line "Pretty Sally Mae Died a very unnatural Death, but the worst hasn't happened to her yet!")  The packaging was nice, the price was even better.  DVD's still weren't cheap in 2002 but with this purchase I was only really paying around $7 per movie.  There were more Midnite Movie releases out there and I knew I had to get my hands on them!

Blu-ray & DVD releases 04/09/13

This week is certainly better than the last with Criterion and Vinegar Syndrome ruling the lot.

Bad Kids Go to Hell (Phase 4 Films)
Crush (Millennium)
Dead Ball (Well Go USA)
Expiration (Grand Entertainment Group)
Father's Day (Troma) *Re-release*
Gate of Hell (Criterion)
Infected (Screen Media)
Massage Parlor Murders (Vinegar Syndrome)
Naked Lunch (Criterion)
Woochi: Demon Slayer (Shout Factory)

The pick of the week is Criterion's blu-ray release of David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.

The Suckers / The Love Garden

Production Year: 1971/1972
Release Date: 04/09/2013
Label: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1319

Last week I talked a bit about the company Vinegar Syndrome and reviewed their release of Massage Parlor Murders.  The Blu-ray is officially out as of today along with two "Drive-In" Double Features gracing us with a handful of seldom seen sexploitation flicks.  Today we'll be taking a look at the set featuring The Suckers and The Love Garden.

I kicked off this afternoon's matinee with The Suckers.  With the promise of a good hunt a group of well-to-do people along with a few hired models make their way to a very fancy mansion out in the middle of no where.  The mansion is home to none other than a very established big game hunter by the name of Vandermeer (Vincent Stevens) whom also seems to be a bit on the eccentric side.  During the evening's festivities a few of the couples manage to engage in some near explicit softcore sex while others discuss Vandermeer and how something "just isn't right about this whole set up."  The next morning Vandermeer and his armed lackeys take the group out into the wild and announces that this hunt does not involve lions, tigers, or bears but the guests themselves.  Yes, this is a sleazy take on the classic "The Most dangerous Game."

The Oh Lantern Family

Halloween was always serious business when I was growing up.  I was very lucky in that I had a family who felt the same way.  I've got a lot of great memories stored away from those past years but one thing always bugged me about one of those earliest memories.  My Grandmother had given me a few gifts, the first was a small plastic haunted house.  It was semi featureless and had a speaker built into it, when you pressed a button it would play a handful of Halloween sound effects.  The other was even cooler, a foam pumpkin with a very horrified expression on it's somewhat humanoid looking face.

I'd always wondered what happened to those two items, I'm guessing they were eventually tossed in a box and sold for a few quarters at a garage sale.  While I'd love to re-buy them, things aren't always that simple, the haunted house was likely put out buy some small company and most of my google searches have turned up zilch.  But a few years ago I discovered a website called "The Gallery of Monster Toys."  Yeah, it seems I had finally died and reached Nirvana.  This website displayed everything monster-toy related from as early as the 60's to the more recent stuff put out in the 80's and 90's.  Sure enough while I was browsing the site I saw a very familiar face and now I had a name to go along with it.

Feeling a bit like Columbo I began to google and soon I had a slew of information at my fingertips.

The Oh Lantern Family was created FX artist Todd Masters.  Todd's resume was pretty loaded too, everything from Night of the Creeps to (the more recent) Slither.  I guess at some point in the later part of the 80's work  had dried up so he created these small pumpkins with various human faces and sent them to a handful of studio heads in order to get his foot in the door.  What he got was a bunch of people clamoring for more of these pumpkins and it wasn't long before he was manufacturing the things.

The Oh Lantern Family would hang around for a few seasons before various legal issues would shut production down.  I guess all good things must come to an end, it's a real pity though because compared to a lot of related Halloween decor of that time period, these pumpkins really stood out.  Hell, compared to the stuff most companies have managed to churn out recently, these little foam guys stand out.  With 2012 being their 25 anniversary it's really surprising someone hasn't came along and gave the line the resurgence it so rightfully deserves.  You would think some company out there would be willing to breathe a little life into such a clever product, but the news is bleak and it's looking like that's very unlikely.  It's too bad, as of today a recent google search has proven that the line is more popular than ever.  Back when I first started looking into this line there weren't very many pages dedicated to the Oh Lantern Family, now we've got all that and more (a facebook group for example.)

So if you want to obtain these critters your best bet is ebay, I've had a saved search for the line for a few years now, not a whole lot pops up.  When they do they tend to go for a bit of change.  It seems like when I've got full pockets there's nothing, yet every time I'm having to count quarters a few manage to make their way onto the auction circuit.  Go figure.  Anyhow I've got high hopes that one of these days I'll stumble onto a few of these at one of my various flea-market hunts, until then I'll hang on to my memories.

Massage Parlor Murders

Production Year: 1974
Release Date: 04/09/13
Label: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1321

What did I just watch?  Prostitutes, car chases, a weird man in a leotard doing a dance number?  How has this sleazy slice of cinema managed to avoid me all of these years?

I guess it might have a little something to do with the fact that is wasn't exactly readily available to the home video market until this great 2013 release.  Vinegar Syndrome is certainly making a name for themselves, while a few labels seem to be stuck in re-release mode Vinegar Syndrome has made it their forte to give the Blu-ray and DVD market a handful of rarely seen and forgotten films.  Believe it or not the DVD has been around for over 15 years now.  In 15 years with hundreds of thousands of films released, there are still numerous titles that have yet to make the jump.  Some are are stuck in VHS purgatory while some haven't even had a home media release.  After all these years, it's certainly refreshing when an older film makes the jump, especially when it's jump from obscurity lands it onto a nice high def release.

Evil Dead / Evil Dead 2 Book of the Dead collection

Today we're going to take a trip back in time and take a look at what's arguably Anchor Bay's best genre-themed release.

It started way back in 2002 Anchor Bay began promoting the ultimate Evil Dead DVD, a disc housed in an actual Naturum De Montum (roughly translated "book of the dead") The advertisement ran in most of the major horror publications.  Two major things set this apart from the past few releases.  The most obvious, the packaging, the second being the inclusion of the rough "Within The Woods" short which was originally created to fund the feature length film.  Shortly before the set was to be release Anchor Bay begrudgingly pulled the plug on that highly touted feature, much to the dismay of fans.  Still to this day we have yet to see an official release of Within the Woods, why?  It was never really made clear, some unmentionable
legal issue stopped the releasing of the short dead in it's tracks.

Then & Now: Evil Dead trilogy edition

Evil Dead week continues on Cannibal reviews!  One of my most popular posts on the site was the Scream Queen edition of "Then and Now" so I thought what better way to quick off the remake's opening day then to give the original trilogy a similar treatment.  Hope you guys enjoy this one!

Sam Raimi (Director)

Evil Dead 2 custom display (Neca)

Last year NECA released two series of figures I dreamed about as a kid.  A property most of us thought would never get translated into plastic.  Of coarse I am referring to their Evil Dead 2 line of action figures.  The line consisted of two series.  Series one featuring Deadite Ash and Farewell to Arms Ash, along with series 2 which contained Henrietta and Hero Ash.  Each figure included a bunch of movie related accessories from the possessed dear head to Linda's lopped off head.  It really was a dream come true for us horror nerds, and as soon as I opened the first package I knew I had to make some sort of diorama to display these things in.

I did just that, off and on over the last year I've been working on this thing.  I've used everything from cardboard to Popsicle sticks to sculpy   While it's still not complete, it iss kinda-sorta getting there.  I recently ordered a few more things for it, so I guess it will be one of those things that is always a "WIP."

Book of the Dead trailer

Here's a rarity!  Something I'd heard of but not actually seen until a few weeks ago.  So if you're knowledgeable in all things Evil Dead than you likely know that before it was called "The Evil Dead" it was titled "The Book of the Dead."  One thing I didn't learn until recently though, is that they had actually edited together a trailer with that title.

So there you have it, "The Book of the Dead." 

Blu-ray & DVD releases 04/02/13

A bit of a slow week this time around...

13 Eerie (Entertainment One)
The Baytown Outlaws (Phase One Films)
D4 (VCI)
Earth's Final Hours (Starz/Anchor Bay)
Stitches (Dark Sky Films)
Tormented (Well Go USA)

...And the pick of the week is Don Coscarelli's John Dies at the End!

The Evil Dead invades...A log ride?

Evil Dead week continues today with something very cool.

I'm sure most of you have heard of Knott's Berry Farm, well every October the theme park transforms into "Knott's Scary Farm" to kick off the Halloween season.  A lot of theme parks have similar motifs, Universal Studios for instance, has their "Halloween Horror Nights."

Universal Studios always has some pretty cool themed haunts, everything from Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the Walking Dead.  One thing they do not have, however, is an Evil Dead themed Log ride.  This is where Knott's Berry Farm reigns supreme.

In 2012 to coincide with the upcoming remake their Log Ride took on an Evil Dead transformation.  While it does have a few elements from the 2013 version, a lot of what I saw in the below video was definitely derived from the original film.  I'm extremely jealous of anyone who got a chance to see this in person.  Anyhow, enough babbling, check out the video below!

Diamond Select's The Munsters Series 3

While I'm a big fan of the show, I managed to miss the first two series of the line (which can be procured here & here) a mistake I will certainly be rectifying in the future.  Series 3 is due out this fall and looks to be one of the best lines of the series so far.

Evil Dead (2013)

I'm sure a lot of you were just as curious as I was about this film and how it differs from the much loved original.  I was lucky enough to check out a screening earlier last week and below I've posted my thoughts.  I was careful not to reveal too much, so the review is free of any major spoilers.

The story takes the formula of the Evil Dead and runs with it.  There's no Ash, no Cheryl, this time a whole new cast also means a new group of 20 somethings.  This time rather than an idyllic cabin vacation the group is returning to a family owned home to help a long time friend beat her drug addiction cold turkey.  The friend in question is Mia who is joined (reluctantly) by her brother David and three childhood friends.  There is some character development along the way which is always nice in a horror movie, it's made clear that there are some grudges held between David and the group as he abandoned Mia years prior when he moved away.  Mia was left to take care of their ill mother and the bond hasn't been the same since.

Soon it's revealed that poor Mia's addiction has became so bad that the only chance she has is to be away from civilization and far away from any dealers.  The friends make a pact to keep her there no matter what she might say or do.  Mia's withdrawals kick in and that's what gets the ball rolling.  Eventually the group will find the cellar which leads to the discovery of everyone's favorite skin bound book.