Ah, October, the perfect month for me to resurrect the Horror DVD Guide in its olden format. No more calendar, just a breakdown like the days of yore.
Ya know, even with all of the Halloween happiness, I’m not too blown away by the horror DVD releases over the next few weeks. The new Ghost House Underground label dominates the landscape, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. I’m all for more distribution, but outside of a few worthy titles, quality seems to be sparse.
I tracked down about 34 titles, few of which I can say with any confidence may be found on my shelf come November. Not exactly a killer month of must have DVDs, but at least the Netflix account should be getting a bit more active.
FACES OF DEATH is one of those movies that really doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation. I know what it is, you know what it is. You’ve either seen the faux snuff film or you haven’t, and if you haven’t seen it already, there isn’t much of a reason to seek it out now.
I’ve not seen THE DEVIL’S CHAIR, whose plot description of a mental hospital and a strange device within it is none too inspiring, but if you are a regular reader of Twitch Film, then you’ve heard of its filmmakers Adam Mason and Simon Boyes, who are also responsible for 2006’s BROKEN and this year’s unreleased BLOOD RIVER. They have a podcast up at Twitch from time to time and the trust worthy boys over there deem them champions of horror, so having seen none of the three titles mentioned, I’ll pass the vouching buck to them.
Continuing the trend of movies I haven’t seen is WICKED LAKE, JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD, JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER, and FEAST 2: SLOPPY SECONDS. Will Goss has given me a strict thumbs down on JOY RIDE 2 (a non-surprise) and moderate happy thoughts on JACK BROOKS and FEAST 2. I’m sure I’ll get to the latter at some point, but there isn’t much of a rush on this end.
STUCK is a film I’ve been looking forward to for some time now. Not so much a horror film as it is a telling of a real world incidence of true horror, of the woman who hit a man with her car, drove home and left him lodged for days. Stuart Gordon directs, which is the only thing that has me interested in such a detestable story.
Oh, and I’m not going to track down pictures of each, but special editions of PSYCHO, VERTIGO and TOUCH OF EVIL drop today, as well.
If you thought Anchor Bay wouldn’t put out a new HALLOWEEN collection you must be pretty green to the genre. This time it is a 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set.
Lionsgate picked up DANCE OF THE DEAD, which by all Internet accounts was well deserving of a theatrical release and proceeded to hold it straight to DVD. From buzz alone, this is one of my more anticipated releases of the month.
Wedged in between all the important releases are all the ones I have either never heard of or have no opinion of, but they are almost all released under the new Ghost House Pictures/Lionsgate team up for indies called Ghost House Underground: ROOM 205, BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD, THE LAST HOUSE IN THE WOODS (seriously, people? That’s the only title you could come up with?), TRACKMAN, SWEET SIXTEEN, DEADLY GAME. There may be a hidden gem in there somewhere.
On the 14th America finally gets DARK FLOORS, the Finnish horror film starring costumed rockers Lordi. Lordi cracks me up, so I’ll definitely check out DARK FLOORS, but foreign buzz hasn’t been too positive. On the other hand, I have heard good things about THE SUBSTITUTE, an alien- take-over-teachers flick from Denmark that has been playing well to festival crowds of late. Completing the trifecta of foreign intrigue is the Region 1 DVD release of TOKYO GORE POLICE, which if you haven’t seen the trailer, is guaranteed to be absurd. I’ve been burned by Japanese absurdity in the past though (THE GIRLS REBEL FORCE OF COMPETITIVE SWIMMERS still makes my skin crawl, but in no positive way), so I’m weary of TOKYO GORE POLICE. But, like those damned SWIMMERS, I love the cover so I won’t be able to stay away from this one for too long.
Rounding out the week is a film I’m eager to pick up legitimately stateside (for some reason, Russia keeps getting this series well before us): NO MAN’S LAND: RISE OF THE REEKER. REEKER (review) was a flawed film, sure, but I dug it and I dug the sequel even more. David Payne is a relatively unknown quantity in the genre field, but for my money he’s got the best straight-to-DVD franchise on the market. RISE OF THE REEKER is a whole lot of fun, has a great cast and avoids much of the doldrums the first had. It stars Michael Muhney, which for any fan of “VERONICA MARS” will be reason enough for you to at least mark this down as a rental, and continues the desert bound wanderings of people being stalked in the twilight between this life and an afterlife.
Sticking with the theme of movies no one asked for, on this day in the year 2008 you’ll be able to plunk down money on ANACONDA 3: THE OFFSPRING, which not only has John Rhys-Davies, but also has David Hasselhoff. I think I just talked you out of $20.
If you didn’t catch THE STRANGERS (review) at a theater, I implore you to do so at home. Bryan Bertino’s home invasion film may lack depth, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most commercially successful horror films in years. Bertino doesn’t bank on tons of gore or torture, just tried and true fear delivery, which I admire even despite the film’s soggy final sequence.
ZOMBIE STRIPPERS does not work for me. I have no problem admitting that I walked away from it after what felt like the third consecutive strip dance. When I asked friends who stuck it out if I missed anything, I recall hearing something about ping pong balls and a stripper who spun on a pole so fast it made a tornado. If that and an anorexic looking Jenna Jameson sounds like your kind of bag, have a blast.
I feel like POULTRYGEIST has been lingering on the outskirts of release for years now. I got a press release several months ago from PETA regarding POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD commending the film. I never published it because I disagree adamantly with much of PETA’s agenda, but I couldn’t help but be impressed that an undead Troma film would be taken up by any activist group let alone PETA.
Speaking of press releases, I’ve been getting quite a few from the firm behind DEAD SPACE, the forthcoming multi-platform survival horror video game. Independent of any releases they’ve sent me, as a gamer I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Lionsgate is releasing DOWNFALL, a feature length animated prequel to the game’s plot line. It looks great, the game looks great and you can expect reviews of both when they release at the end of the month.
And on to all the other films I’ve never heard of, cannot vouch for and probably will never see: PIECES, 13 HOURS IN A WAREHOUSE, PATRICK, STRANGE BEHAVIOR, DARK FORCES, THIRST, SHIVER, SYNGENOR, QUENCH.