Warner Brothers Halloween Blu-ray Giveaway


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Hello Horrophiles,

Horror’s Not Dead and Warner Brothers are teaming up to bring you a fiendishly fun prize pack just in time for Halloween. We’re giving away not one, not two, but four horror Blu-rays. First, Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the 1960s TV series Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eva Green. If that’s not enough, we also have the extreme-tourism-gone-wrong-horror-film Chernobyl Diaries. Still not enough? Damn, you’re greedy. Ok then, we also have Blu-rays of two of the early films based on the Dark Shadows series: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.

That should be plenty to keep your Halloween season filled to the brim with creeps ans shrieks. So how do you win? Simple!

In the comment section below, we want you to create a new trick-or-treat candy based on your favorite monster, slasher, or psycho. What would it be called? What candy components would make up this sinister snack? The best creation will will. You have until 10/30.

Get crackin’ boys and ghouls!

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Living Dead Girl’ (1982)


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Some unscrupulous schlubs decide to dispose of some toxic garbage in the catacombs of an abandoned Valmont chateau and quickly meet their horrifying fates at the hands of Catherine Valmont, the zombie in the title of Jean Rollin’s 1982 effort The Living Dead Girl. It’s a gory opener, playing against the film’s gore-soaked resolution like a bloody bookend. The Living Dead Girl was my first Jean Rollin film. I watched it on a whim on Netflix one day, familiar with the director’s reputation for French “lesbian vampire” films, and was taken aback by how much I enjoyed the movie. Since then, I’ve watched what I could through Netflix and through the release of Kino-Lorber’s Redemption series of Blu-rays (ten of the seventeen releases in the Redemption line are Jean Rollin films). If you were looking to explore Rollin’s work, The Living Dead Girl is a great start.

The film is about Catherine Valmont’s (Francoise Blanchard) relationship with her best friend and lover Helene (Marina Pierro). A blood oath promise that they made as children is Rollin’s thin explanation of Catherine’s resurrection, but what he’s really getting at with their story is the way we allow ourselves to become trapped within co-dependent relationships. The undead Catherine needs fresh blood to stay alive, and Helene drops any moral regards to sustain her lover. She leads people to the Valmont estate so that Catherine can feed, and once Catherine becomes fully aware of the unholy abomination she has become, Catherine begs for a death that Helene will simply not allow.

Blu-ray Review: ‘Two Orphan Vampires’ (1997)


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I have to admit – I was a little worried about Two Orphan Vampires. I’d never seen a Jean Rollin film from the 1990s and I imagined something with synthesized saxophone music and lots of softcore lesbian sex. Rollin wears this mantle from cinephiles as the king of lesbian vampire sexploitation, but I’d never really found that title fitting when examining his work. It’s mostly artsy, with only the briefest flirtations with sleaze. “Maybe this is the one,” I thought, picturing this later effort as something that would be right at home on Cinemax in 1997.

Well, Two Orphan Vampires is definitely not that. It’s unmistakably a Jean Rollin film, with its dual lead female roles and midnight jaunts through graveyards and train stations. Aside from the score (unimpressive noodling around with a synthesizer), it would be hard to pin a year to the film. It looks, sounds, feels, and tastes, for better or worse, like Jean Rollin.

There’s actually a pretty cool gimmick at the heart of Two Orphan Vampires, one that I’d like to see explored within a stronger narrative, in which the titular vampires (Alexandra Pic and Isabelle Teboul) are blind during the day but have full vision at night. They’re taken in by a doctor who thinks he may have a cure for their blindness, unaware of the secret they share. He doesn’t realize they’re leaving the house every night to feed and generally get into trouble.

Blu-ray Reviews: Redemption Presents the Original ‘Burke & Hare’ and Cushing in ‘The Blood Beast Terror’


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It’s a good time to be a Blu-ray collectin’ horror fan. Almost all of the classics of modern horror have gotten solid high-def releases, while classics and curiosities continue to get released in a steady stream that reminds me of the heyday of DVD and companies like Anchor Bay. Kino-Lorber has really stepped up their game with the Redemption line, which I’ve praised before, most recently with the release of the forgotten Marquis De Sade adaptation Justine. The movies are unusual, the special features are robust when offered, and the picture quality of these films is taken from the best possible sources (some fare better than others).

There’s not a real unifying element in the Redemption line, other than the films’ European origins, and I appreciate their grab bag nature. Eight of the fourteen current releases are Jean Rollin films, but there’s also trash like The Virgin Witch and underrated chillers like The Asphyx. Burke and Hare (1972) and The Blood Beast Terror (1968) have only a director in common, Vernon Sewell, but they still feel right at home with the Redemption branding. Both have been forgotten by time, and both are worth viewing by curious horror fans.

‘Marquis De Sade’s Justine’ Blu-ray Review: A Gut-Punch of the Most Hateful Variety


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I can’t speak for how faithful this adaptation of Marquis De Sade’s Justine (aka Cruel Passion) is, but if it doesn’t stick directly to the text, I have to imagine it sticks to the author’s intent (the best it can, that is, without being pornographic). Under the direction of Chris Boger, and the lens of Coen Brothers stalwart Roger Deakins, Justine is an erotically-charged, bleak little number about a girl (Koo Stark, supposedly playing a pre-teen, though she’s obviously and thankfully in her 20′s) who clings desperately to her innocence while ricocheting from scene to scene where that chastity is put to the test in harrowing ways.

The film doesn’t skimp on the depravity, featuring rape, necrophilia, mother-son incest and more, but before you draw the conclusion that this is some despicable sleaze-fest, it really isn’t. Boger, perhaps limited by the censors, picks his battles, and when he does, he always chooses sexual frankness over outright titillation. Many things are discussed or implied without being directly shown. There’s not much nudity in here for an “erotic” film from the 1970′s, and Boger chooses to construct the entire film as little episodes of trouble for Justine, building up to its nihilistic, tough-as-nails conclusion.

Blu Review: Maniac Cop (1988)


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If you haven’t seen William Lustig’s seminal undead law enforcement horror film from 1988, part of me wants to beat you over the head with a nightstick. But a larger part of me, the part that isn’t currently being indicted in several states, is envious that you now have the ability to see it for the first time via Synapse Film’s stunning Blu-ray release. For years, Maniac Cop languished in limbo between VHS and DVD. What few DVD releases were available during this dark time were just a half-step above complete bootlegs. But then, in 2006, Synapse Films gave us the only loving-treated, passable release of Maniac Cop and there was much rejoicing. Now, Synapse has just released the first ever (at least in the U.S.) Blu-ray edition of the film and we couldn’t wait to read you its rights…because it actually doesn’t have many wrongs.




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