Saturday, January 2, 2016

End of the Year Notes (2015 edition) By Jules Brudek, STICKY BOXES This year turned out the gory goods with a ton of great horror film offerings. As a horror fan, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly frightened. Horror film audiences saw the shift from “Found Footage” Indies and haunted Blumhouses to genre-bending, genre-expanding, films like BONE TOMAHAWK and IT FOLLOWS. The unprecedented variety of horror movies that graced the big and small screens this year was impressive. I enjoyed nearly every horror film in some way because I looked for the silver lining in each film. What can I say? Horror is my passion. Critics and moviegoers alike encouraged the value of the comedy horror FINAL GIRLS or cursed the screen after a late showing of KNOCK KNOCK, “Where’s the blood, Eli?” What a triumphant year in the life of a horror film addict and staunch supporter. PG-13? Bring it on! Sequels? Sure, why not! Every time a horror film goes to the screen, regardless of the pitfalls, it is time indeed to celebrate! Look how far we’ve come! Looking back at such an imaginative year, I had trouble narrowing my list down to five horror films. The following list of horror films defined the genre or pushed the genre into courageous, new territory, making it possible for horrific future explorations. Enjoy! 5. KRAMPUS Michael Dougherty, the writer and director of Trick ‘r Treat (2007), co-wrote and directed this holiday horror. Now, as a lover of all things Christmas evil, I have to admit I loved the film before I even saw it. Of course, die-hard fans of the authentic Austrian/ Germanic folklore will be disappointed because Krampus (2015) fails to adhere to the mythological figure’s pre-Christian origins. However, if you can overlook that misstep, you are in for some twisted holiday cheer because Krampus delivers a fun satire about our greedy, judgmental culture. Also, it’s a family adventure and nothing says family like the holidays. Let’s be honest. If your family contained as many different personalities as mine, it would be outrageous for everyone to get along. Krampus reminds us that tolerance is the only way to love. Final thoughts: KRAMPUS equals NO BABES. Yeah, that’s one way to get your film a PG-13 rating - get rid of the only sexually active female in the first ten minutes and save yourself from having to objectify her sexually. This is family fun and sadly, that means: no hotties in this horror. 4. MAGGIE Although this was the perfect drama, horror fans are likely the only ones that will truly understand Maggie. Admittedly, the brooding contemplative drama about familial responsibility disguised as a zombie flick isn’t for everyone. Unexpectedly, I found it to be an authentic piece of art with an enriching message. Critics have characterized Maggie as too slow and/ or boring. Tonally, it does appear slow moving, but only as an artistic choice to build tension skillfully until the climatic final act. I guess some folks can’t be bothered. Final thoughts: True, I was skeptical about Arnold playing a stoic farmer, but he pulled it off. I just melted with this softer, gentler Arnie. 3. THE GREEN INFERNO Say all you will about cannibal films but we need them. I need them. Welcome back. Thank you Eli Roth! See this after a big dinner!
Final thoughts: I could have done without the silly pot scene. As someone who has smoked a lot of bud, I find it hard to believe the entire tribe got high enough for mental impairment on that tiny supply. And who gets high the first time anyway? Dumb. 2. GOODNIGHT MOMMY Foreign films are great because they dance a razor’s edge of the mysteriously unfilmable. Visuals can be felt and sounds can be tasted. Foreign films ask, “What are you feeling?” as opposed to, “What are you thinking?” You’d know exactly what I mean if you saw Goodnight Mommy, an Austria film that knows how vaulerable we feel when we can’t see someone’s face.
Final Thoughts: If I fell asleep tonight and dreamt about The Twilight Zone’s episode “The eye of the beholder” and Brian 
De Palma’s Sisters, the mash-up would explode into Goodnight Mommy. And that’s an amazing thing! Disturbingly brilliant!

1. IT FOLLOWS Everyone has an opinion on this film. When I describe to people I relate it to a bad case of HIPSTER HERPES. Honestly, I hope I don’t catch it. Final Thoughts: The pool scene alone will make you lose your shit!

Thoughts on Tarantino:Hateful Eight Retitled: It’s DECAF A long, boring film about Coffee. If I had written it, Damergue would have fought Marquis to the finish with no talk of Blow Jobs. She would claim victory, but only by a hair. Once she escapes the cabin into the blizzard, (The need for 70mm would be apparent with this sequence, trust me) she comes face to face with a wounded, near dead, John Ruth. Their fight scene would result in her death, finally. John Ruth would die clutching the “Lincoln letter” and he’d die knowing it wasn’t a forgery, after all. Worst horror films of the year: THE VISIT If you are going to enter the world of found footage, your story’s premise must be (at least) believable. So many story elements hinge on our belief that what we are seeing is, in fact, real. If the filmmaker fails to set up a realistic premise in the first act, the film derails. Now, I can believe a lot of stuff. I can buy a lot of bullshit. BUT a mother letting her kids go to her estranged parents home without speaking to them ONCE, I cannot do it. No way! She never got them all on Skype? She didn’t make sure? Yeah right! M. Night, you must not be a parent. SINISTER 2 I wanted to love this film so badly because I loved the concept and the execution of the first film. I was pulling for the goofy cop and the family he’s protecting but I just couldn’t fully get onboard because the story was all over the place. It was like a Lifetime movie about child abuse fused with the sadistic killings from SAW. I think only Clive Barker could have pulled it off properly. Yikes!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Poltergeist review by Vincent Daemon

Before we get into the review I want to wish all the loyal readers a Happy Holidays and a special shout out to blog writers Vincent Daemon, Jules Brudek and William O'Donnell whose constant support makes this blog possible with their unique cinematic points of view. And a big announcement coming soon. With that enjoy the review!

POLTERGEIST
Year: 2015
Director: Gil Keenan
Review by: Vincent Daemon

By all rights, I knew what I was getting myself into. And I knew it wasn’t going to be any good. But this bad? In fact, bad isn’t even the right word. Atrocious. Yes, that fits perfectly. However, it was one of those dullard post-Holiday nights where there is nothing but fucking sports on the tube, nothing to do, and no money to go get a lil altered. Nope, stuck in the house, couldn’t decide what to watch, then curiosity finally struck the cat. And the after effects left me indeed feeling like a special part of my childhood had been ripped out of me and set aflame before my very eyes, killing that same curious cat. Shit, when the best thing about a movie is the poorly done cover of a classic punk song *(“T.V. Set,” originally by THE CRAMPS, I have no clue who did this version, and don’t care), that rolls through a portion of the credits, it just makes you sick that they couldn’t even use the original song. Why’s it ALL gotta be bad rehash? *(I wonder if this is how all the STAR WARS fanatics felt toward the last 3 films, and will most likely feel over the next 3 as well.)

What we get is a 101 minute rehash of the original *(and aspects of POLTERGEIST 2 thrown in for no reason whatsoever) that would make a five year old laugh. The original is one of my favorite films, to this day retaining certain elements that still keep it creepy to me on a nostalgic level. Sam Rockwell *(a man who admittedly loathes children) plays the father, and the family has just moved into some kind of dream home, yet suffering some kind of rich person financial strife. The house itself has none of the strange ambience it had, even in the daylight shots, of the original. Craig T. Nelson originally played the father, convincingly and of the times. Sam Rockwell’s portrayal comes off as, well, a man who loathes his children. Horribly miscast, he just kind of funny-faces his way through the film.

The whole storm scene, with the grabby tree, is rendered not only entirely neutered of the tenderness of the *(absent from this film) “lightning count scene,” but also the sheer terror of the monstrous oak tree attack - - - here it’s the world’s softest fern tree attacking the children and whisping against the house. Oh, and the children - - - yeah, all their names have been changed. WTF? That’s just as offensive as changing the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’S “Leatherface”/Bubba’s name into Thomas Hewlett for that shitheap reboot - - - and makes about as much sense. “Carol Ann” is supposed to be “Carol Ann,” damnit, not “Madison” - - - who the fukk is “Madison”? And the boy, “Clifford”? They couldn’t have made the family more dislikeable if they tried.

And in the first ten minutes they are aware of the fact the housing development is built on top of a “removed” cemetery - - - and have no problem with this! The teenage daughter, named “Kendra” keeps fukking around with her computer, taking the film momentarily into that “First Person” niche of current filmmaking. The paranormal idiots that show up to try and fix everything the first time are completely inept - - - and of all scenes, what they did with my personal favorite from the original - - - the maggot-steak and subsequent hallucinated face-tearing - - - are nowhere to be found, replaced by a lame drill gag that never pays off. And instead of bringing in some kind of oh, say, creepy-ish ZELDA RUBINSTEIN-esque *(though she’s truly irreplaceable) medium, they bring in some “John Edwards/Edgar Cayce” type late-night paranormal internet show host - - - who happens to be the lead scientists ex, which ends the film on a seriously angering, neck-hackle raising note. After the terrible cover, of corpse.

And that’s pretty much what we’re looking at here, a film that makes constant allusions *(sometimes for no reason whatsoever, like Sam Rockwell’s sudden vomiting of a slithering leech thing into the sink, seen for merely seconds, as opposed to Craig T. Nelson’s tequila-worm nightmare from POLTERGEIST 2, again no payoff, unlike that forever branded series of nightmare inducing visuals Craig T. endured) to the first film/series, with nary a moment of originality nor fright, nor even fun, to be had, Which is not unexpected.

Hollywood’s been pulling the wool over our eyes since celluloids inception in various ways. We’re at that point where it’s all superheroes, remakes, and reboots, ever since Abbot & Costello met Dracula and the HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN *(both of which I love, incidentally) collapsed in on themselves in a fiery tumult of retrospective embarrassment, unfortunately, the real gems being found only after sifting through the piles of shit and half-realized nostalgia out there to find the real gold *(fukk, I’d be happy with bronze half the time).

The film in general seems forced, and far overindulged in all the wrong aspects *(do we really need not one insipid looking clown, but the whole fukking brigade as well?) - - - and the end is just a blithering, blathering mess that I’m not going to even bother going into. I’ll tell you this, however, I never want to hear the words “This House Is Clean” uttered again for as long as I live. Avoid the curiosity, save your feline self a life, and avoid this insulting remake altogether.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Goodnight Mommy: Innocent fun and games? Spoiler Free.

Title: Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh,Ich seh)
Year:2015
Directed By:
Written By:

**As always this review is Spoiler Free***

Creepy children in horror is a long standing tradition not only in America but all over the world. There is something in those angelic faces that can often be misleading. I put hype aside and went into this film knowing virtually nothing about it.

After a horrible accident a mother undergoes cosmetic surgery and must take care of her identical twins Lukas and Elisa while recovering from the psychical and mental strain. She is also going through a separation from her husband. To make matters worse her appearance is rather shocking as her face is wrapped in bandages. As the children try and coup their behavior becomes increasingly more strange.

Getting tired of horror movies about bratty annoying teenagers in painfully predictable situations, only to die but who cares because they are terrible anyways? Well your in luck because "Goodnight Mommy" is a refreshingly new take on the old "creepy kid" troupes. Like Takashi Miike brilliant 1999 film "Audition"it is a film that slowly builds during which time it explores real characters and character development all the while ratcheting up the tension until its almost unbearable.I was impressed by the writing and how only little by little do you find out whats going on, even throwing a Hitchcockian Macguffin in for good measure. This is a nice change of pace from the typical smash you over the head with exposition and serves to keep the audience both guessing and in suspense. It also has some interesting symbolism and subtext that makes the film a must in repeat viewings. One theme the film explores is the idea of doubles. Besides the obvious one of the twin boys there are numerous times when pairs of things come into play and use of reflection shots.




Another things that serves this film well is the inventive camera work and wonderfully moody cinematography which at times is beautiful and other times dark and foreboding. A lack of a soundtrack gives the film a more stark reality and its a bold choice. Speaking of reality the film is grounded in it but also playfully sways into the realm of the surreal without going to over the board.  But you might be asking yourself, is it gory?  After a nice slow tension filled build up fans of gritty violence do get what they`ve come for, sort of. Its not ultra gory however I feel it works in the films favor. What is so effective about the gore is its not done in a cartoonish way but is kept unflinchingly real, to the point of being hard to watch.


Unlike other movies the splatter isn't used to justify the movie and that may disappoint "gore fans" And dont get me wrong i love a good mindless gut fest but the movies that actually get under my skin are the more psychologically driven.  Seriously why is this film hated by some? Not only is it ballsy with its pacing and harrowing subject matter, its also fresh, original and creepy as hell. I kept the plot short for a reason, its good to go into this movie totally blank and avoid the jaded "horror buffs". Easily in my best top films of 2015.













Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sticky Boxes Xmas Edition by Jules Brudek

Sticky Boxes: XMAS EDITION By Jules Brudek

A column about cult and horror movies ONLY available on VHS
 I named the column “Sticky Boxes” because that's what I touched everyday working at a video store in the nineties. 

Sweaty handed customers returned their rental tapes encased in gooey grime. Habitually, I would check them back in, wipe them off and re-stock. Humorous note: The bigger the babe's boobs on the cover art, the stickier the VHS box upon return. Each week, I will review a forgotten cult or horror video never released on DVD or Blu-ray.

I will review two from 1972. Please enjoy tonight’s “Christmas” Sticky Boxes:


 Home for the Holidays (1972) 
November 28th, 1972 ABC “Movie of the Week” Starring Sally Field, Julie Harris & Jessica Walter Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Produced by Aaron Spelling
Available on VHS from Starmaker Entertainment
Never officially released on DVD or Blu-ray

"Shut the door. That woman has ears that can hear sunshine.“ 

If Clue, the board game, was played with four unstable sisters and an anti-social stepmother you’d be half way to describing the soap opera Christmas horror movie, Home for the Holidays. Not to be confused with the dramedy, Home for the Holidays (1995), starring Holly Hunter, this film won’t make you projectile vomit your egg nog into your VCR.

It begins, when Alex Morgan, the eldest and codependent daughter of a dying millionaire, summons her three estranged sisters to their father's estate on Christmas Eve. Their father, Benjiman Morgan, Oscar award winning character actor, Walter Brennan, has a special message for his four daughters. From his bed, he tells them to kill his impassive second wife, played by Julie Harris, because she is slowly poisoning him to death. The bedside meeting is adjourned and the four sisters deliberate in hysteria.

A campy hoot that John Waters would die to revamp!



The guileless, youngest daughter, Christine Morgan, played by Sally Field, fights to restore balance by keeping her sisters from considering murder. But then, people start dying and Christine must stay alive to discover the real identity of the killer. As the bodies pile up, Christine takes to the woods and comes within inches of being killed by a mysterious rain slicker-clad stalker. Is it really her unassuming stepmother? Is there any truth behind her father’s accusation? What can Sally Field do in a “Movie of the Week?” Why didn’t anyone eat their scrumptious looking Christmas dinner? To find out all the juicy answers and to see why this film deserves a reboot from a director that could truly milk those disingenuous sentimental moments for comic gold, please get a copy of Home for the Holidays on VHS or watch it now on youtube.

If you think Friday the 13th (1980) was the first horror film to use a maniacal woman murderer in a yellow rain slicker hunting down young adults in the woods? Try again. Eight years before Friday the 13th (1980) and To All a Good Night (1980), ABC's “Movie of the Week,” Home for the Holidays, began the slasher tradition of women brutalizing their victims in the woods with complete abandon. Sadly, this made for TV movie has little blood shed to offer however, the clashing personalities, corny 70s dialogue and the audacious twists will make up for it!

I give this movie and its VHS presentation: Four sticky gloops out of five.





 Dead of Night: The Exorcism (1972) 
 AKA Night Of the Exorcist
TV Movie for BBC2 Starring Anna Cropper and Edward Petherbridge Directed by Don Taylor
Available on PAL VHS from Cougar Video
Also available on Region 2 DVD (UK) 

“It takes twenty minutes for a hanged man to die.” 

Here’s a cruel idea: Put on a seemingly harmless TV Movie and scare your unwitting family to death during the holidays.

Here’s how. This glum, British, made for TV Movie, haunts me to this day. Rarely, does a horror film resonate so deeply that it scares me into better behavior. And that is exactly how it got under this jaded horror fan’s skin. Ultimately, all good Christmas movies should put the fear of God in you. Right? Hmmm. Hopefully, I can explain.

Deceptively scary as hell! 

The story begins almost like a one act play or chamber piece. A sparse one room set, four friends and a Christmas dinner about to begin. A year ago, a wife, Rachel, played by Anna Cropper and her wealthy husband, Edmund, played by Edward Petherbridge, purchased an abandoned cottage in the countryside with plans for renovating it. Now, a year has passed and the cottage is refurbished with all the updated goodies a vacation home needs. Later, they invite another swanky couple to share in a relaxing Christmas holiday vacation. (Brits say, “Holiday,” Yanks say, “Vacation,” so I put the two together. VoilĂ ) 

After being lured into a false sense of simplicity, the film changes tone. Suddenly, while both couples ready dinner, meanwhile, sport debating politics and philosophy, the power goes out. As the dinner transitions from slightly eerie to macabre, each person experiences a different sensory disturbance. Rachel is affected first. Sitting down at the piano, she begins playing a strange tune unknown to her. Edmund tastes blood in his otherwise normal wine glass. At first, the other couple thinks they are being pranked with a sadistic joke, then, they too, experience some of their own frights.

The film culminates with Rachel’s body being possessed by the spirit of a woman who starved to death many years ago in the same cottage. The woman uses Rachel to communicate her plans to avenge those who wronged her and her family. She seeks justice for her husband’s wrongful execution which led her family to starvation. Without food or the means to make money, she watched her children die helplessly while the wealthy families responsible for her husband’s death enjoyed a festive and abundant Christmas. Her unbearable wails continue: “Whilst my husband laid dead and my children were crying for food, I thought this can never be forgiven. No circumstance, no degree of self interest, not even ignorance could excuse this feasting and dancing whilst on the same planet, in the same village, people are starving!” 

As the film hunches somberly to its finale, another shocking horror is revealed. The ending is worth the wait! Watch for yourself and you will understand why it penetrated my soul.

Merry Christmas United Kingdom! I guess us Americans never had the guts to make Christmas “bloody” devastating!

 I give this movie and its VHS presentation: Four sticky gloops out of five.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Burt Pages: The Mommie Dearest Dairy Written By Rutanya Alda: Carol Ann's Final Word


I`ve always been mesmerized by the film "Mommie Dearest". While everyone was traced by Joan Crawford in all her movie star monster greatness it was the character Carol Ann who I found the most compelling. She is the anchor for Joans extreme maniac highs and lows. She's also her loyal best friend, someone who will take care of you when your passed out drunk or when you need a deadly weapon to do a little midnight gardening.

 Bringing her to life is the lovely and talented Rutanya Alda.


In the final gripping scene the adult Christina Crawford (Diane Scarwid) is comforted with the fact that Joan left her and her brother  nothing in the will. Her brother Christopher says with a sad smirk "As usual, she has the last word" to which she replies "Does she?" which foreshadows the writing of "Mommie Dearest"  a book that was the first of its kind, blowing the lid off of a huge movie star and pealing back the "perfect" Hollywood image. Later Bettie Davis's daughter followed suite with a equally shocking tell all book. The film based on the book was notoriously troubled with being over budget and its star Faye Dunaway being difficult to work with, causing many hurt feelings and in one case leave the production totally.  Ironically the last line of the film can be applied to Faye's co-star Rutanya Alda who played the thankless Carol Ann, Joan's assistant. Like the real Christine Crawford she gets the final word in her wonderfully delicious book which is a diary she kept during production. The first chapter introduces us to Rutanya Alda as a person, telling her story of coming to America as a child, the horrible abuse she suffered and how she uses this pain to create wonderfully real and deep characters. Alda pulls no punches and tells many colorful details about her start in films as well as off screen flings. I found this part of the book interesting, humorous and at times heartbreaking. The second section is the diary itself. Everything you wanted to know behind the scenes of this cult classic is detailed. It explores the diva star Faye as well as director Frank Perry and co-stars Diane and Mara (Young and adult Christina) You also get a peak into her troubles with husband Richard Bright (The Godfather) who struggled with substance abuse until his passing. She provides the daily record of her life at the time of filming with updated antidotes. As a fan of both her work and the movie I found it a enjoyable read. Finally after the diary ends we get an update on life for Rutanya post Mommie Dearest, including how she discovered its major fan base due to its unintentional camp value. Through out the book Rutanya does not come off as bitter or mean about her time as Carol Ann but remains objective and truthful about her experience making a now cult classic movie. My only complaint is when I was finished I wanted to read more. I would love to read another book about all her amazing experiences. After all this is the woman that was in such classics as "The Deer Hunter" and genre favorites like "Christmas Evil" "When a Strange Calls" and "Amityville Horror II", "The Stuff" etc I mean how cool would it be to have a book choked full of amazing antidotes and stories of such great films. Fingers crossed. One thing is sure, this book is a lot of fun and any film buff will find it a must read. As with the real life Joan Crawford this book peaks in perfection and should be on any movie lovers shelf, but plus dont put it on a wire hanger... You know what`ll happen.






Monday, November 9, 2015

Gunnar Hansen: The Passing of a Horror Icon.


Every generation has their iconic movie monsters, for kids in the 1940s 1950s and 1960s they had Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. We had Gunnar Hansen.


The year was 1974 and the America was going through many social changes and political upheaval. People would pick up the paper and read about Watergate,Patty Hearst and and a gas shortage. It was also the year "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was unleashed on movie goers. Audiences were shocked at the presents of this towering man wearing human flesh as a mask and jumped when they heard the mighty roar of a power tool he wielded. In the films final frames, as Leatherface does his chainsaw dance in the glow of the setting sun few film patrons knew they had just witnessed the birth of the first modern horror icon. Under that frightening mask of skin (Or in this case rubber) was Mr. Gunnar Hansen who stood an imposing 6 feet four inches.

The Man Behind the Mask: 
Gunnar Hansen was born March 4th 1947 in Reykjavik, Iceland which is the Capital, known for its mountains, sweeping landscapes and booming nightlife. At age five his family had moved to the United States, settling in Maine. Hansen was a bright student with high marks in both Mathematics and English and would later attended the University of Texas. Fresh out of college his first job was in the computer field but his true passion was writing. He had been published in several magazines and tried his hand at screen writing. Fate it seems would have something totally different in store for the hulking actor. Gunnar had met Tobe Hooper a bright young man looking to make his mark in cinema and he was looking for his villain, a leather skin wearing brute who has a fetish for killing and power tools.  After a successful interview he would don the now iconic leather mask and apron and the film would roll on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Though he utters no actual dialogue he along with Hooper created a language all his own and helped add layers to the character. It was a hot and grueling shoot but nobody could predict that they were going to make film history and literally change the face of horror films forever.

Life after "Chainsaw" 
Work was few and far between after filming wrapped.Later that year he starred in "The Demon Lover" in 1977 and only one film in the 80s, the now cult film "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" However it was the late 80s he would see a resurgence in popularity and worked steady in the 90s and continuing for the rest of his career. One thing about Gunnar was despite playing big bad brutes he was in reality a very kind and thoughtful man who very much enjoyed meeting and talking to his fans at various conventions such as Chiller, Monster Mania, Cinema Wasteland etc. Film maker Jeff Burr was in pre production on the third Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre III for New Line. He wanted Gunnar to reprise the role that made him famous. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr.Burr and he had this say regarding Gunnar
"Basically in a sense I felt obligated to Gunnar. I had met him and he had not been in number two and I felt I should offer it to him. So I offered it to Gunnar and I thought it would increase awareness of this movie and I thought since the title was Leather and having the quote unquote real Leatherface would be a perfect marriage. But unfortunately he wanted more money than what New Line was willing to pay and what he wanted wasn't out of line as all it was absolutely a fair figure. So once Gunnar was out of the picture" 


Strangely enough in 2003 he was asked to make a cameo in the remake of "Texas Chainsaw" but declined because he felt it was a classic not to be remade. In 2007 he starred in "Brutal Massacre: A Comedy" and he got to show off his skills in breaking people up, this time not with a chainsaw but with his comedic timing. He dove into the role with much madcap gusto and steals every scene hes in. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Ironically one of his finale film roles was in "Texas Chainsaw 3d" in 2013. It seems that his career had come full circle.

I woke up yesterday morning and was shocked to read on my news feed that Gunnar Hansen has passed away at only 68 years old. To many fans it was not just merely an actor who died but a larger than life iconic movie monster, there Karloff or Lugosi. Not long after his agent confirmed the tragic news an out pour from fans flooded social media, sharing stories and pictures. It is just further proof of how this man touched so many lives. Truly its a huge lose, not only was he a talented guy but was very generous with his fans, something that is sadly becoming rare these days. I`d like to share my own experience.

Meeting Gunnar: Like so many other horror fans this movie made such a huge impression on me and I knew what I saw was something very special.  Over a decade ago I had the extreme pleasure of attending "Cinema Wastelands Chainsaw 30th Reunion" It was the first time coming face to face with the very imposing Gunnar. Being fairly new to conventions and a long time fan I`m not ashamed to admit i was a little bit nervous. I had in my hands a poster (replica because I was a poor High School Student) and my 18" Leatherface figure (McFarland) which was a Christmas present from my parents (and the coolest gift I`ve ever received) I approached him and to my delight he had a huge smile and said "Hello" As a dork I said how much I loved him in Texas Chainsaw which was something he heard all day i`m sure, but he was very humble and said Thanks and he enjoyed seeing the figure and told some behind the scene stories. Later on I got to meet Paul Partin, Robert A Burns, Marilyn Burns who all sadly passed away untimely. Looking back it remains bitter sweet but out of all the conventions I would later attend it remains my favorite.




Famed horror artist Jason Edmiston whose art can be seen on posters, blu releases and Neca toys gave Gorehound Mike's blog this exclusive quote:


"Gunnar Hansen's portrayal of Leatherface was terrifying and nuanced. Despite never revealing his full face, you got the clear impression that he was a disturbed, confused baby inside the body of a giant killing machine. Simple minded, but extremely loyal to his maniacal family members. All of this was evident despite never speaking a word of actual dialog."


Senior Writer at Blumhouse.com Gregory Burkart had this to say to Gorehound Mike's
I've had the honor of sharing Gunnar's company a few times over the past 20 years, and each time I learned something amazing. My favorite was a Weekend of Horrors back in the mid-'90s -- he was very tired and I didn't want to take up his time, but we got to talking about Viking history, and you could see him light up with enthusiasm. That's my lasting image of him, as a wise and sharing person.


Before Michael Myers stalked babysitters in Haddonfield and Jason donned his famous hockey mask, the gentle giant Gunnar terrified millions of people and made a huge impression on many including this humble film journalist. Gunnar Hansen may be gone but his legacy he left us will live on in celluloid form. Also he will remain alive in the treasured memories of the people he worked with and the many fans that was lucky enough to meet the man behind the mask.


R.I.P March 4th 1947- November 7th-2015

A Special Thank you to Jason and Gregory for taking time to share your thoughts with us. 







Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blood Splattered Blood: Army of Darkness: One Blu to rule them all?


Title: Army of Darkness
Release Date: 10/27/15
Company: Shout Factory (Scream Factory)


Most fans were really really excited when Scream Factory announced they were going to do a deluxe edition of the cult horror favorite "Army of Darkness" It also comes hot on the heals of the new series "Ash Vs the Evil Dead" on Starz. Some fans however were less than thrilled, wondering if this blu would be the one edition to own. Seeing how I held off on buying a blu of AOD i was more than just alittle happy when I received my copy. I`m going to break down all three discs.

*Please note* Not going to list the differences in footage however this website breaks it down nicely.

http://www.bookofthedead.ws/website/army_of_darkness_different_versions.html

Disc One: Theatrical Cut : 81 Minutes

Picture:Aside from a slight issue with a 2 or 3 seconds of footage missing (followed by a slight syn problem. SF already addressed this and is issuing replacement discs this month) the picture is amazing. Done using a 4k scan the picture is crisp and clear with faces looking natural and thankfully not looking either too dark or washed out. Its also an vast improvement from the previous "Screwhead Edition"

Sound: Theatrical Cut features a 2.0 and a wonderful 5.1 track. With a movie that has so many great sound effects (swords clashing, bones breaking etc) the 5.1 mix really brings the movie alive. It also greatly enhances the wonderful score.

Special Features: The real gem on disc one (indeed the entire boxset) is Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness a feature length documentary produced for this set. The interviewees are lively with great stories and of course there is a loads of  material such as behind the scenes footage,stills and story boards. Sadly Sam Raimi was missing but his brother Ted was on hand instead. Its wonderfully made and a must watch. Also included is the alternative ending and deleted scenes not featured in this or the directors cut which includes commentary. Rounding out this disc is trailers, tv spots and U.S video promos.

Disc Two: Directors Cut Runtime 96 minutes
I had first seen the directors cut from "Anchor Bay" VHS which featured alternative artwork in a clamshell box. This was my early collecting days and the packaging and the idea of seeing a totally new cut of the film was pretty exciting.The release was flawed however with the new footage looking terrible. I also learned this  edition omits one scene (Bad Ash ripping off Shelia's dress) totally.

Picture: The additional scenes are nicely restored and fits in perfectly with the rest of the footage, and as much as I love Anchor Bay (mainly oldschool AB)  its a huge improvement over there release.

Sound: As in the first disc the 5.1 audio track is very nice with crisp clear dialogue and effects.

Special Features: This cut of the film is the only one with a feature length audio commentary. Fans hoping for a new commentary will be disappointed as its from a previous release. I`m perfectly ok with that because its such a well done commentary with wonderful back and forth with star Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi as well as brother Ivan. In fact i`d even go as far as to say this is in my top commentary tracks period. Rounding out this disc is some behind the scenes footage (some seen in the documentary) as well as vintage featurette. Sadly nothing new on this disc.

Disc Three: International Cut and TV Cut

Picture: As with the first two discs the International cut looks great,using a 4k scan. Its great to finally have this rarely seen cut of the film and in my opinion the real gem in this release. The TV cut is presented in its standard pan and scan tv format.

Sound: As with the first two discs the film sounds great in a newly mixed 5.1 track.

Special Features: The third and final disc features more tv spots as well as some great rarely seen stills. I was disappointed with the lack of content but as i said above just having this cut of the film is great.

Overall: Army of Darkness fans get out your boomsticks and celebrate because this release is the one you`ve been waiting for. Not only is there a wealth of material it features four different cuts, newly restored. Its great to have them in one sweet package. Complaints are lack of any new content aside from the documentary. A cast commentary would have been nice. Even a new interview with Sam R. Picture and Audio across the board are great with only some minor flaws. Is it the one blu to rule them all? I`d say without a doubt yes. So shop smart, dont be a primitive screw head and buy this release. Its most certainly going to make my best blu release of 2015.