Might as well keep the cannibal film review train going and talk about another new title coming out from the amazing folks over at Severin. This one is right up my alley in terms of overall fun and horror. Think of it as Indian Jones, meets a bunch of half-naked models and fights cannibals. Yeah that about sums it up. I’m talking of course about the 1985 cult classic Massacre in Dinosaur Valley.
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley follows the adventures of Kevin Hall. When we first meet him he is in Brazil looking for long lost dinosaur bones to sell to the highest bidder. He ends up hooking up with a doctor his daughter, two fashion models, and a crazed Vietnam vet and his equally crazy wife to head out to the fabled Dinosaur Valley. Their plane crashes in the deep dark jungle and they soon encounter terrors. Now this is where things not only pick up like any cannibal film, but there are twists in this one.
Our group are of course terrorized by the local cannibal tribe, but also an evil dictator who has a mine there and is using slaves to do his work of smuggling jewels. Throw in some alligators, piranhas, and quicksand and you not only have a gore drenched cannibal film, but you have an action adventure film as well. And did I mention the nudity? In fact This has more nudity than I have ever seen in a cannibal film. Its loaded with gore as well. And not of the cheap variety. It’s very well done and I put it right up there with the likes of Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust.
The gore is all here in glorious Blu-ray quality. The highlight, if you will is definitely the eating of ones entrails. So to recap. We have an Indiana Jones style adventure film with cannibals and other various jungle animals killing and eating people. What doesn’t scream amazing about that. Severin has once again done an amazing job with this film. I had seen it years ago but the print was terrible. Not any longer. Severin has restored this to perfection. Everything looks clean and bright. This is a beautiful transfer. Everything comes alive, and when we do have a dark scene it never suffers from the dreaded blue tint that can ruin a film. The score is great. Its upbeat and evil at the same time. It keeps the film moving along and it sounds great coming from your speakers. On top of all of this Severin has special features as well.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
I like Cannibal films. Sure there gross outs but there still fun to watch for the most part. Movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox are classics in the exploitation / horror community. Sure there are countless others but of course those are the two most famous. Now there is one out there that is actually very much under the radar. It’s an Indonesian cannibal movie, but filmed in the same style as the above mentioned Italian films of this nature. Its called Primitives aka Savage Terror. And one thing I can say, its sure different.
Primitives is about a group of students who decide its best to do their own research on a paper they ae writing about primitive culture and decide to head on out to the jungles and find a savage tribe to write about. That way they can have a great first hand account. Now of course we all know that’s a bad idea. They hop on a little raft, head down river, and after the raft crashes and they become separated, two of them are captured by the local tribe. They are identified as Cannibals, but there surprisingly not as savage as I am used to seeing in these films. They grunt a lot and wear paint but they are actually not all the vicious.
The kids are all captured even though Tommy (The main guy) knows Karate and tries valiantly to fight them off one by one. I say that because they do not just charge him and eat him. No they get locked up and we are lead to believe they are just being held until they can be mutilated an eaten by this group of painted cannibals. Hopefully their friends can find them and save them in time.
Problem is, nothing happens. Nothing. We get a bit of nudity like in all these pictures and a good amount of animals killing animals. Hell we get a great alligator kill scene but the cannibal scenes are really not like the other films. We see gore and killing but there mostly of, like I said, animal, and jungle trap variety. Don’t worry they spike trap scene is great. But there is an awful lot of nothing going on here. In fact there is a large chunk of the film where there is no dialogue at all. I mean it looks good, the plot is there, it just doesn’t really come together like a bloodbath I’m used to seeing in these films.
Severine has plucked this film out of obscurity and are releasing it on Blu-ray. I must say the transfer, like everything they do is spot on. It looks very well in every sense of the word. The outside scenes are bright and colorful never blurry or two grainy, and that’s very impressive given the budget and age of the negative. The audio is crisp and clear and sounds great. In fact one thing I will praise is the score used for this film. Its very haunting and it does help to add a bit of terror to the mood. And as its Severine it even has a nice amount of special features.
Overall 2.5 out of 5 Stars!
Bruno Mattei, the man behind countless Exploitation films like Emmanuelle’s Revenge, Hell of the Living Dead, and Women’s Prison Massacre made many classic films throughout his career. One of those was the 1995 classic Cruel Jaws aka Jaws 5. It was made from new footage of course as well as some footage from Deep Blood, and Great White. It was a heck of a film to say the least when it was released back on VHS. Countless DVD and Blu-ray collections were planned but because of the use of other film footage it never came about. Well that’s all about to change as the amazing folks over at Severin.
Cruel Jaws takes place at a water attraction park where Dag Sorenson works, Dag by the way looks almost identical to Hulk Hogan. Dag has fallen on hard times. He was in an accident that cost his wife her life. His daughter has many issues, and because his water park isn’t doing that great he’s about to get evicted for not being able to pay rent. There is a subplot involving the mob and Dag’s shady landlord but that really isn’t important. What’s important is a giant Tiger Shark that was subjected to military experiments and trained to kill has escaped and is not heading to Hampton Bay.
Now much like in Jaws the local Sheriff, Francis Berger knows this is bad news and wants all the beaches closed down for safety. But the Samuel Lewis, Dag’s landlord and all around slimy guy wants everything open for business to make money, as the town survives on tourist’s. Francis decides its up to him to stop this giant shark from eating his town so he enlists the help of Dag, and a local shark expert named Bill to save the day.
First off they call it a Tiger Shark, but its clear they are using footage of a Great White. The story is basically Jaws only out of order. In fact you can tell there is some Jaws footage used in this. The characters are corny as hell, and the side plots with the mob serve no point, but guess what? It doesn’t matter because this film is fun as hell. Its better than Jaws 2, 3 and 4 easily. The film knows what it is and embraces it. Over the top kills, with a nice amount of blood, nudity, campy dialogue, its all there and it works. I personally love it, and have seen it several times over the years. I was beyond excite to see the fine folks at Severin release this. And they did a great job.
The transfer is immaculate. Its an outdoors film that looks great. Everything is bright and crisp. The night scenes are dark, in fact some of them look like the people are just shadows. That’s not the transfer fault, that’s how poor the lighting was on the original filming. But I must point out that the dark scenes still look like that but a bit clearer. They do not have any of the blue tint that can plague those scenes. The audio is great. I love the score in this film and it sounds fantastic coming through the surround sound. On top of that its even got special features.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
Synapse Films, a company known for there outstanding horror and exploitation releases is sure putting out some great long lost comedies as of late. A while back they did a stunning job on a favorite of mine, Hot Dog: The Movie and now they are treating us to another great comedy film entitled Suckers. The film came out back in 2001 and I will be honest in saying I had never seen it, or for that matter even heard of it so I was anxious to give it a watch.
Suckers is comedy starring Louis Mandylor as Bobby DeLuca. He owes money to some really bad loan sharks and needs to get his hands on some cash to pay them back fast. His wife (Lori Loughlin) sees an ad for a used car salesman and tells him to apply for the job. He does, and he gets it. He works for Reggie (Daniel Benzali) the most ruthless car salesman out there. In fact in the opening we see one of the salesmen actually get more than the car is worth from an unsuspecting couple but then gets screamed at for not up selling them on new floor mats as well. Reggie wants his team to take as much money from these customers as they can. He takes Bobby under his wing (sort of) and trains him in the art of scamming customers, something Bobby is a bit uncomfortable doing.
Reggie then decides to really up the game and start a contest. A cash prize for whoever can close the most deals in a month. Bobby goes all out as this would net him enough cash to pay off his debts. The problem arises however when the loan sharks find out where he is working. This film is hilarious. Drugs, sex, gambling, you name it. This team of car salesmen do it all. Benzali absolutely steals not only every scene he is in, but the entire film as well. He plays Reggie as a complete scumbag and its hilarious to watch him. It also makes you wonder about buying a new car. Be prepared for a very dark ending as well.
Shot on 35mm Synapse has done an amazing job on this transfer. It’s set outside mostly and the colors are perfect. Everything is crisp and clear. It all pops on the small screen. The audio is great as well. Never muffled for a second. This is a very clean transfer and Synapse even included special features. One of them is actually a “Bonus Double Feature” as you get the film Six Days In Roswell.
Six Days in Roswell if a fake documentary that is absolutely hysterical. Director Richard Kronfeld (from Trekkies) has one goal in life. TO be abducted by aliens. In fact he dreams about it on a nightly basis. Problem is he lives in Minnesota and people there just don’t get abducted very often. So after thinking it over he decides to rent a car and head out to the main source of aliens on earth, Roswell New Mexico. He makes it there all right, just in time for the 50th anniversary party for the fabled alien spaceship crash. I cant really say much more because I would be giving away all the jokes. But trust me when I say this is hilarious. The alien fanatics are certainly easy to poke fun of, and this film does just that. Trust me when I say it’s a laugh riot from beginning to end.
This is a fantastic Blu-ray, and yes before I forget there are other special features included as well.
· Audio commentary with writer/director Roger Nygard, writer/actor Joe Yannetty, cinematographer Nathan Hope, actor/composer Jimmie Wood and composer JJ Holiday
· Deleted scenes, raw takes and original trailer
· Also included on the Blu-ray of SUCKERS is a Bonus Double Feature 1080p presentation of an all-new 4K restoration of SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL with its own set of Special Features:
· Reversible Cover for SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL
· All-new English 5.1 surround sound remix
· Audio commentary with producer/editor Roger Nygard, director Timothy B. Johnson, and star Rich Kronfeld
· The Making of SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL
· Original trailer
If you want a great laugh pick this fantastic double feature up right away. Both films are absolute comedic gold, and I promise you will have a laugh filled evening. Here hoping Synapse pumps out a few more of these gems.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
The Vestron Video Collection keeps rolling along. So far every release under this banner has been excellent. In fact I cannot stress enough as to how well these are handled. From quality in the video and audio to the special features these things are great. I can only hope more of them come out. This particular one is a bit different. It’s a family film that was embraced by the horror crowd. The 1989 comedy cult classic Little Monsters starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel.
Little Monsters stars Savage as Brian Stevenson an 11 year old who has just moved to a new town with his family. When we meet Brian he is always being blamed for everything that goes wrong around the house. His bike left in the driveway (which his dad runs over) freezer left open, melted ice cream, nothing major, just lots and lots of little things. Brian truly has done none of these and is quick to blame his little brother Eric. Eric has a theory that it’s a monster that lives under his bed. As everyone, including Brian laughs this off Brian agrees to spend the night in Eric’s room to prove monsters are not real. Problem is Brian keeps hearing mysterious noises and cant make it through the night.
After being laughed at for being scared of a “monster” Brian again goes to spend the night in Eric’s room, only this time he sets up traps. Pretty family friendly trap I may add. Essentially he rigs the legs of the bed to collapse when triggered by a sting attached to some Doritos. The trap does work and Brain catches a blue monster maned Maurice (Howie Mandel). Turns out Maurice is pretty cool. Brain quickly befriends him, and Maurice takes Brian under Eric’s bed to show him where all the monsters live. Its an entire world connected by vast staircases that lead to children’s beds. No adults, games, fast food, everything fun. The monsters go out at night and pull various pranks on humans, and at times scare them in the process for fun. Brian and Maurice become such good friends that Brian starts going with him on these prank trips at night.
Everything is going fine until Brian goes with a group of monsters who plan on scarring a baby. Brian objects to this and turns of the lights in the room to stop them. See when the lights come on the monsters turn into a pile of cloths. The problem is when the light hits Brian he shrinks a bit. Turns out Brian is slowly turning into a monster. In fact all the monsters are former children who have been turned. When Brian removes the legs from the beds and no longer goes with Maurice his little brother Eric is kidnaped by a monster named Snik to lure Brian back to their world to finish turning him into a monster. Brian gathers his friends and goes there in an attempt to save Eric.
This is a great film. It’s a family film for sure. Funny, well-acted, and just all around timeless. Howie Mandel is amazing as the goofy monster Maurice, and Fred Savage is fantastic in his role as well. This is just a good film from top to bottom. The monster makeup is extremely well done. Think of Nightbreed for kids. In fact the monsters are all done so well that this film was embraced by horror fans early on and over the years has developed a huge cult following. That’s where Vestron Comes in
Lionsgate has released this under their Vestron Video Collection banner and it is stunning. This is a fantastic transfer that really shows off how well done these monster are. The effects look fantastic on this print. Everything just pops and comes to life. It almost feels real. The audio is amazing as well and you really feel part of the monster world when having this bellow out of your surround sound. Plus its loaded with special features.
NEW*Audio Commentary with Jarret Gahan, Editor-in-Chief ofCultofMonster.com
*NEW*Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer David Newman
*NEW*“Call Him Maurice”–An Interview with Actor Howie Mandel
*NEW*“Beneath the Bed”–An Interview with Producer Andrew Licht
*NEW*“Monsters Big & Small”–An Interview with Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short
*NEW*Vintage Interviews with Actors Fred Savage, Ben Savage, Special Makeup Effects Creator Robert Short, and Director Richard Alan Greenberg
“Making Maurice”–Vintage Footage of Howie Mandel’s Makeup Transformation
Vintage EPK & VHS Promo
Just as fun today as it was years ago Little Monsters is not only a fun film for families and children, it’s a great film for fans of horror as well. A simple film guaranteed to make you smile. I highly recommend picking this one up for your collection.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
2002 was a big year for horror films. Dog Soldiers, Fear Dot Com, Resident Evil, and countless others came out during a quick resurgence. Although it was nice to have lots of horror back on the big screen a lot of these films came and went, and were never mentioned again. A very slight few developed cult followings and have stayed popular through the years. One of those was Ghost Ship which came out about a week before Halloween, the best time to open a horror film in my opinion. Featuring a good cast, a cool story, great special effects, and a nice budget for a horror film Ghost Ship performed well at the box office, and maintains its cult following to this day.
Ghost Ship opens hot, with one of the best openings in any horror film. It starts in 1962 and wee a group of passengers on a cruise ship all dancing and having a good time. One of the passengers is a girl named Katie. She’s much younger than everyone else and just sitting alone. The captain asks her to dance and she is having a nice time until we see a hand hit a spool lever. This sends a wire cord flying at everyone killing the entire group. Heads going off, bodies cut in half, the works. A total bloodbath from start to finish. Kate is unharmed as she is small and the wire passed right over her.
We cut to 40 years later and a salvage crew out in the ocean finds the long lost ship and decides to board it and claim it as their property. They discover the ship holds multiple boxes each containing gold bars. Unfortunately for them the ship is haunted and not only do a few of the crew perish as a result but the ship they used to board the “Ghost Ship” (which is actually called the Antonia Graza) explodes. The crew has no other choice but to try and repair the Graza and escape with the gold. Problem is the ship has many ghosts who begin to torment the salvage crew causing them to go mad an murder each other. See it turns out members of the Graza crew murdered the passengers, and the rest of the crew in order to obtain the gold. However they went crazy and began killing each other as well. Its revealed this all happened because of Jack Ferriman, an evil spirit who makes people commit sins so he can send them to hell.
This is a cool film with a very original story. Its well-acted and well made. The special effect are fantastic. The opening wire massacre scene is one of the best kill scenes in horror films. The pacing is very tight as well as the chemistry between all the actors. The film is short by todays standards, running barley 90min which is good as it fly’s right by. As all these films did back then it features a twist ending that’s sure to please.
Scream Factory has released this in a nice collectors series set with fantastic new cover art. As with all their releases the video and audio are second to none. The picture is crisp and vibrant. Everything comes alive, and as the film is mostly dark it great to see how it doesn’t suffer from that dreaded blue tint that some of these restorations have. Scream Factory has this down to a science and this one is no exception. The audio is great and the score sounds amazing coming out of your surround sound. And as its Scream Factory it even loaded with special features.
· NEW This Isn’t Real – An Interview With Actor Isaiah Washington
· NEW Dark Castle At Sea – An Interview With Producer Gil Adler
· NEW Every Body On Board – An Interview With Makeup Effects Supervisor Jason Baird
· NEW Audio Commentary With Director Steve Beck
· Max On Set: Ghost Ship Featurette
· Visual Effects Featurette
· A Closer Look At The Gore Featurette
· Designing The Ghost Ship Featurette
· Secrets Of The Antonia Graza Clips
· Mudvayne “Not Falling” Music Video
· Theatrical Trailer
This is a really good horror movie that’s not to be missed. It hold up well and is just as good today as it was almost 18 years ago. If you have never seen it it’s definitely one to check out. Good story, good gore, and good jump scares make this a must have for your collection.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brother for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
I have always said how much I love the Arrowverse, or whatever its going to be called now that Arrow is gone. Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, all great shows. But there is own that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that is Legends of Tomorrow. Legends is the ultimate “fun” show. What started off as a superhero ensemble (which it was fantastic at) slowly morphed its’s way into a situation comedy. Sure all the superhero tropes are there. Villain of the week, big bad that lasts the season, the fact they are superheroes on a time machine. Yes all of those elements hold true. However the Legends deal with all of this stuff on a humor note, that is just downright funny and fun at the same time.
Season 5 finds the Legends without Zari (for a while anyway) after the ripple they caused in Season 4. She has now been replaced in the timeline by her brother Behrad with no one the wiser. Gary is now working as John Constantine’s apprentice, and in the beginning Ava is now leading the team, as Legends starts after the events of the Crisis Crossover. This season we have a big bad, who then becomes another big bad. It was actually very fun the way they set it up. If you recall at the end of the Fourth season Astra resurrected a group of evil figures from history from hell in an attempt to destroy Constantine, whom she blames the death of her mother on. The Legends must travel through time to battle Bugsy Siegel, Marie Antoinette, Genghis Khan and more. As the Legends hop through time battling these villains Constantine, who has been cursed with lung cancer from Astra makes a deal to get the “Loom of Fate” to bring Astra’s mother back to life.
This turn of events sets up the main storyline of the season. It is revealed that Charlie is actually Clotho, one of the Sister of Fate and separated the loom and went into hiding so the world could have free will. This leads the Legends to be forced to stop the Sisters from getting it back and taking over the world. Along the way they must travel back to the 80’s to fight a serial killer on prom night. Battle it out in drinking games at a frat house to stop Dionysus. Stop Shakespeare from making Romeo and Juliet a superhero story, battle a zombie apocalypse and much more. Oh and because of the fact Mic has sex with his old high school sweetheart in the past we get to meet his brand new daughter in the present. As fun as all this is there is one sad piece to share.
Season 5 is the final season for Ray Parker, who Brandon Routh has done an amazing job playing for not only all 5 Legends Seasons, but from his beginning on Arrow as well. Ray marries Nora Dark, with the blessings from her father and the two leave the show to begin their life together. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time watching Ray and Nate say their good byes and plan their final mission together. Brandon Routh does go out with a bang however, as during the Crisis crossover he gets to play Superman, bringing back to life the performance he gave back in 2006 in Superman Returns. Once again he turns in a solid performance. He also gives a great comic performance as only he can in the 6th episode, Mr. Parkers Cul-De-Sac, which is a takeoff of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Brondon Routh leaving will be a blow for the show, but I have faith the Legends can keep the fun going. The cliffhanger ending of Season 5 sets up a lot of great possibilities. And did I mention the final battle takes place to “Thong Song” yes, that song. You have to just watch it.
The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic. Nothing really needs to be said about the quality of Warner Brothers releases. They look and sound amazing from top to bottom, and Legends is no exception. In fact I prefer to watch these on Blu-ray as not only is this a binge worthy show, but it also benefits from the quality of these releases. The video makes the comic book story come to life, and who doesn’t want the Tong Song blaring from your speaker. Plus not only do you get special features, you get the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover on one disc. Now I didn’t mention crisis as much in this review as Legends first episode is the conclusion, and the storyline takes place after the events have already happened. But to recap let’s talk about crisis.
Crisis features all of the heroes from all the shows, this year join together to Stop the Anti Monitor from destroying all the earths. This was the most well done crossover event ever, and that’s saying a lot. I would rank this higher than any superhero film in terms of depth and story. Following a set up from the very first episode of the Flash (We see the newspaper saying he will die in Crisis) and culminating from the end of last year’s Elseworlds crossover we are witness to an event that will never happen again. In fact the creators themselves even said they would have to scale back the yearly crossovers as they could not see how to top this. We witness our earths heroes team with the Monitor to try and defeat the Anti Monitor who is going through all the multiverse’s destroying everything in his path in his goal to destroy all of humanity. Arrow, Team Flash, Batwoman, The Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lighting, and Supergirl all come together to travel through the different earths to stop him. Brandon Routh plays the iconic Superman from the movies (Earth 96)we see Burt Ward aka Robin, Kevin Conroy as Earth 99 Batman, and countless others. We even get the DC Streaming shows acknowledged like Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing. This was an action packed monumental crossover the likes of which have never been done before. And it all works. It also brings about the death of Oliver Queen putting an end to the Arrow show that started it all.
Once again Legends stands head and shoulders above all other Superhero shows. Action packed and hilarious. Its still my favorite of all the Arrowverse shows and this season was an absolute blast. Pick this one up right away.
Overall 4.5 out of 5 Stars!
From 1981-1992 the name Vestron Video was synonymous with the home video market. Every one loved the Vestron Video releases. Countless horror titles came out that quickly became cult classics. Films like Chopping Mall, and Waxwork became VHS tapes that people waiting in line hoping to see returned so they could go home and watch them. Sadly Vestron went bankrupt, but the fine folks at Lionsgate have started remastering and re-releasing these films on Blu-ray as of late under their Vestron Video Collectors Series Line. Loaded with extras, and new artwork these releases became a collectors dream. Today is review is for the 19th release of this series, the David Cronenberg cult classic Shivers.
Dr. Emil Hobbes and his partner Rollo Linksy have been working on creating a parasite that when implanted into someone, can begin functioning as a human organ. In the beginning we see Hobbes slice open a woman’s stomach and dump some type of acid in her stomach. When he’s done he simply slits his throat. We soon meet Nick who goes to visit Annabelle (the murdered girl)and finds her dead body. That, complied with the fact Nick has stomach pains makes him leave the office to go home for the day. Unfortunately he throws up once he get to his apartment complex and pukes out a parasite that was living in his stomach. It slithers away and quickly attaches itself to a new host.
If this was not weird enough we cut to across town where we meet Roger St. Luc. Roger is a Doctor at a local clinic and just happens to be seeing one of Annabelle’s (the girl murdered by Hobbes in the beginning) lovers. He’s not only got stomach cramps like Nic, but he has a burning STD as well, in fact Roger has been seeing a lot of STD cases as of late. After a bit of good old fashioned detective work Rogers finds out that Annabelle was Dr. Hobbes guinea pig. She had been housing the parasite he was working on. Turns out said parasite was made up aphrodisiac’s and venereal disease. He knew Annabelle was essentially a tramp and by having her spread it around he could begin to turn the world into one big orgy. And seeing how Nick threw the parasite (it looks like a slimy penis) up and it found its way to the apartment buildings resident cleaning lady to live things pick up fast.
Our lovely cleaning woman attacks and rapes a delivery boy, who then goes after a mother and daughter, who them go after the complex’s security guard. One after another using their deadly tongue kisses to spread this evil Horney parasite. Eventually overtaking the apartment complex one by one. Can Roger, who is not in the heart of the sex epidemic stop the evil sex parasite? You will have to watch to find out.
This is one hell of a fun film, and clearly the original Alien did copies some aspects of this. From the great ending, to just the general insanity this is a must watch. Its definitely different, and I can honestly say, having seen it years ago that it is still a fun film. A nice amount of blood for the gore fans, and a great story for horror and exploitation fans as well. As I said Lionsgate has released this as part of the Vestron Collection, and it looks great. The picture looks the best it ever has. Everything is crisp and clear. All the colors look amazing and they are never done to blue during the darker scenes. The audio is fantastic as well. It bellows out of your surround sound and really brings the film to life. It’s even loaded with special features as well.
·*NEW*Audio Commentary with Writer-Director David Cronenbergand Co-Producer DonCarmody
·*NEW*“Mind Over Matter”–An Interview with Writer-Director David Cronenberg
·*NEW*“Good Night Nurse”–An Interview with Actress Lynn Lowry
·*NEW*“Outside and Within”–An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator JoeBlasco
·*NEW*“Celebrating Cinépix”–An Interview with Greg Dunning
·Archival 1998 David Cronenberg Interview
·Still Gallery with Optional Archival Audio Interview with Executive Producer John Dunning
I highly recommend picking this one up and adding it to your collection. It’s a great film that’s sure to get a rise out of you, no pun intended. In fact Roger Ebert even said in his original review “It scares and shocks us because it’s so cleverly made.” Pick this one up today.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!
"Shoot”, that means an unplanned, unscripted occurrence in terms of professional wrestling, aka “Real”. The term “Work” means anything planned to happen, “Fake” Why am I telling you this? Because this review is for the new documentary Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro. For those who don’t know Vampiro his real name is Ian Hodgkinson. He is a professional wrestler who rose to fame in Mexico and to some extent here in the states in WCW during the famed Monday Night Wars. He still wrestles on occasion but mainly acts in either a booking (setting up matches aka screenwriter) or commentator. This documentary focuses on his wrestling life but primarily on his relationship with his young daughter. Think the movie The Wrestler, only parts of it are real. Yes, parts.
This doc starts out great. We see Vampiro working in the backstage capacity at the AAA TripleMania 25 event. One of the best events in wresting history in my opinion. For wrestling fans this is gold, as it is real, and if you are familiar it was an event littered with issues. We see Vamp worrying that Johnny Mundo is starting his promo to soon, and little stuff like that. But we also see him dealing with bigger issues. A drunken wrestler (Jeff Jarrett) flinging tortillas into the crowd, and getting into verbal altercations backstage. Another wrestler injuring an opponent on purpose (Sexy Starr, a favorite of mine) and more. It’s a very great look behind the curtain of the world of wrestling.
We learn about Vampiro’s background (Which has been debated for years) growing up in Canada and traveling to Mexico where he incorporated the log hair, tattooed, punk look and became a Lucha Libre icon. For many years he was one of the largest stars in Mexican wrestling, right behind Konnan. He became very popular with the ladies as well, offering a new look they had not seen before. He traveled back to the states in the late 90’s and worked for Ted Turner’s WCW company during the height of wrestling popularity. Bringing his unique look and style as well as incorporating the punk band The Misfits, and later the rap group ICP into his gimmick. He was a top tier guy, but never made it to full main event status there. When they folded he travel back to Mexico and found a home as a commentator for what was, in my opinion, the greatest wrestling promotion ever Lucha Underground.
Vampiro became a teacher, a mentor, and more to many of this generations younger wrestlers. He also over the course of these years has suffered countless injuries. Riddled with arthritis, multiple concussions, Vampiro has essential, weather he likes to admit it or not become and old man at the age of 53. Aside from taking a toll on his body, its taken a toll on his personal life as well, and that’s where this doc comes to life.
Vamp has a daughter named Dasha. As professional wrestlers travel all of the time he was not around as much when she was growing up. Now as a young woman he is trying to reconnect, rebuild past relationship issues with her. They don’t have a bad relationship, there is just a great deal that was absent. Vamp is a single dad now and spending all the time he can with her. Its very touching to say the least. Say what you want about Vamp, and believe me a lot of wrestlers have nothing good to say, something this doc leaves out, but he’s a hell of a dad. Its not fake or put on for the camera, its real, and it’s the heart of this story. Watching Vamp tell her how he doesn’t like to physically wrestle anymore but still does as its what he knows is a very touching scene. In fact all of the scenes with the two are fantastic. See Vampiro’s story is not a cautionary tale, but it is depressing. Here is a guy who gave his body and mind to a sport he loves and now both are not in great shape, but he continues to do it. He shares all of this with her and its actually very heartwarming. As a parent I can relate to Vampiro. He is walking the line of being not only a father, but a friend as well to his daughter. A line that is a tough one to walk, but it can be done. And he is doing it perfectly. Making up for lost time, and building on the future. It’s a great story that would have been fine stand alone.
The wrestling element is here, well because Vampiro is a wrestler, and wrestling fans are going to be the core audience. But if your not a fan. Never watched, don’t know who Vamp is, this is still a very good story about a man doing right for and by his daughter. My only criticism is the pacing. The doc jumps all over the place, with very little continuity in between. The open of all the craziness at TripleMania open the documentary hot, but it would have really been during the last act of the film to really send everything home. Some wrestling fans may be mad that this is one sided, as Vampiro has provided some interesting “Shoot” interviews over the years, and this does not really touch on some of his more “interesting” stories, nor does it talk to the people who dislike Vampiro and blame him for bad things in their career. To give you an example of how influential he was in his heyday, I have read multiple autobiography’s of wrestlers, and they worked in Mexico or WCW during the late 90’s Vamp always gets at least 5 pages devoted to him. No this is more of a story of a man and his daughter reconnecting with wrestling as a backdrop. Its being compared to the movie The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke for good reason. I can tell you that Nail in the Coffin is better. Watch it as soon as your able to.
Overall 4 out a 5 Stars!
The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for Review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ahh Supergirl, what started off as a so so show on the CBS Network became a great show on the CW. Taking the classic DC comic character and incorporating her into the “Arrowverse” was a stroke of genius. Her character is the perfect fit, and most always one of the main focal points of the annual crossovers. The addition of Lex Luthor was amazing, as well as the incorporation of Martian Manhunter, Moon-El, Lena Luthor and more. Once the show hit the CW more and more of the comic book elements became a focal point and the show to off like a bird, no pun intended. Supergirl was heavily involved in this years Crisis Crossover (more on that later) and season 5 was another good season.
Season 5 of Supergirl, much like the rest of the Arrowverse shows this year was actually split into two parts. The first half dealing with events before the Crisis Crossover and a main villain, then the remaining episodes starting after the life changing events of Crisis. Supergirl started out this year with a lot of focus on J’onn J’onzz aka The Martian Manhunter. We find out the J’onn’s memories were actually altered regarding the Martian Civil War and his battles with Malefic, his brother. Malefic is unable to kill J’onn because of the psychic connection they both possess. So Lena Luthor, Lex’s half sister agrees to help Malefic accomplish this but of course it’s a double cross as she merely wants to harness his powers for herself, and destroy Supergirl as she knows her secret identity. As this is transpiring we are not only introduced to the usual villain of the week but to the first big bad, Leviathan. Leviathan is essentially an alien terrorist organization that sends in villains of the week to battle Supergirl. The first half of the season does come to a conclusion as the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover begins. I will cover that a bit later.
After Crisis Supergirl’s Earth has merged with Earth 1 placing her in the same earth as the rest of the Arrowverse. Its also resurrected Lex Luthor who is now a hero and founder of the DEO, Department of Extra-Normal Operations. The group that was set up to protect Earth against alien forces and Supergirl is now one of his employees. The thing is, only Supergirl and J’onn have their pre-crisis memories so they must now adjust to this new world. The problem for the second half is Lex regains his pre-Crisis memories and begins working with the forces of Leviathan to destroy Supergirl.
Due to the current Pandemic Supergirl ended early this year like the rest of the shows. Her ending did not suffer as much as the Flash’s did (His was left to much up in the air) so you get somewhat of an ending to this years season. It stopped production and aired 19 episodes as opposed to the regular 22, so some ends are still left a bit to lose even for a cliffhanger, but that was not the fault of the show or network. Other than that this was another great season. Bringing in Mxyzptlk, Toyman, Breathtaker and more. It was a strong season that had a great backstory involving Supergirl and Lena. And of course it had the amazing Crisis Crossover that changed the course of not only this show, but the entire Arrowverse as well.
Warner Brothers has released this on Blu-ray and like all there shows the video and audio transfer is impeccable. The picture quality is amazing, and it really makes this show look like a comic book coming to life. The audio is fantastic as well. Supergirl is the “Loudest” of the shows and this sounds great coming from your surround sound. All the explosions, and of course Supergirl’s flying scenes sound amazing and really help to bring this to life. Now on top of that you also get a bonus disc which is of course the Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover.
All of the heroes from all the shows, this year join together to Stop the Anti Monitor from destroying all the earths. This was the most well done crossover event ever, and that’s saying a lot. I would rank this higher than any superhero film in terms of depth and story. Following a set up from the very first episode of the Flash (We see the newspaper saying he will die in Crisis) and culminating from the end of last year’s Elseworlds crossover we are witness to an event that will never happen again. In fact the creators themselves even said they would have to scale back the yearly crossovers as they could not see how to top this. We witness our earths heroes team with the Monitor to try and defeat the Anti Monitor who is going through all the multiverse’s destroying everything in his path in his goal to destroy all of humanity. Supergirl, Arrow, Team Flash, Batwoman, The Legends of Tomorrow, and even Black Lighting, all come together to travel through the different earths to stop him. Brandon Routh plays the iconic Superman from the movies (Earth 96)we see Burt Ward aka Robin, Kevin Conroy as Earth 99 Batman, and countless others. We even get the DC Streaming shows acknowledged like Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing. This was an action packed monumental crossover the likes of which have never been done before. And it all works. Plus it incorporates Supergirl into the Same Earth as the rest of our heroes.
Supergirl is a show that has really evolved and gets more fun to watch every year. The effects are state of the art, as is the acting. If you’re a fan you will no doubt want to own this set. If you have never watched Supergirl this is a really good starting point as things changed after the Crisis. Pick this on up for your collection now.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!