April 2009 Horror DVD and Blu-ray List.


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April 7th

I was hoping this new release of DOG SOLDIERS would make me finally own a Neil Marshal film as I’m a sucker for ‘Steelbook Packaging’, but I’ll hold out for the Blu-ray in May.  Also coming from England is Magnet Releasing’s DVD drop of DONKEY PUNCH.  Despite getting a lot of coverage on genre sites, including yet another mention right this second, DONKEY PUNCH is not a horror movie by any stretch.  It may even be a farther stretch to say it is a good movie.  It stretches thin before long, but, hey, how can you not talk about a movie about conflict on a yacht after a girl is accidentally killed by the titular sex act?

My most anticipated title of the week is VINYAN from THE ORDEAL (review) director Fabrice Du Welz.  VINYAN received mixed reviews across outlets, but that’s not enough to hold me back from it.  THE ORDEAL was, understandably, a divisive film itself, though hopefully I’ll once again land in Du Welz’s corner.

Rounding out the month are several straight-to-DVD titles I know nothing of: DISTURBED, HOUSE, BLED, DARK SECRETS, and THE DEATH FACTORY BLOODLETTING (Holy Trying Title, Batman!).

Only Blu this week is FINAL DESTINATION.  Considering my original DVD of the franchise starter went AWOL years ago, I may just pick this up.


April 14th

Ah, a spacer week.  SPLINTER (review) could have been a magnificent Indie, instead I find it a frustrating watch.  It has great energy and a nice hook, but it has fallen victim to the unfortunate mindset that shaky cam is scary – and SPLINTER takes shaky cam to whole new levels at nearly every moment that it should be rock steady.  Enough people love the flick, though, that you may want to consider it a rental.  It is also the only horror title this week out on Blu.

A trio of late ’80s flicks gang together this week under the banner of ‘The Lost Collection'; MY BEST FRIEND’S A VAMPIRE, REPOSSESSED, SLAUGHTER HIGH.  Also out is SUMMER SCHOOL, which is not a remake of the 1987 flick starring cinema’s greatest Leatherface fans which I taped off HBO as a kid and watched obsessively and that would have fit in perfectly with this Lost Collection business.

Ending out the week is THE TELLING, which stars a bunch of Playboy models and will be exactly what you expect: nice cleavage, terrible acting.


April 21st

LAID TO REST scored the Fangoria cover recently, which is either a quality endorsement or a sign that Fango had nothing better in the publicity stills department.  Whatever the case, it’s one of the more interesting titles of the month.  Hopefully buzz proves true and LAID TO REST is more than a low-budget slasher.

The most interesting title of April, however, is J. T. Petty’s THE BURROWERS.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about this period piece horror most easily reduced to TREMORS as a Western.  Nevermind that TREMORS 4 was, well, TREMORS as a Western.  I’ll be putting in my pre-order once I finish this list.

Filling out the straight-to-DVDs of the week is SAM’S LAKE followed by the 70’s flick I DISMEMBER MAMA, neither of which I know anything about.  I have, however, seen GHOST TRAIN.  Not this R1 US release, mind you, but the original Japanese film is nothing special.

Filling out the catalog reissues is a sweet looking HELLRAISER box set.  I wish the whole package was available on Blu, but it looks like only the first will be.  Also on Blu-ray is THE ARRIVAL, a strictly mediocre movie that I loved as a kid.  May pick it up out of pure nostalgia.

Oh, and for the BSG fans out there willing to give it a shot, the pilot for CAPRICA is out on DVD this week as well.  I was a huge BSG fan (still am even after the lackluster finale), but I’m rather indifferent to the prospect of this new series.  Thanks to a generous friend, though, I actually have this DVD sitting on my desk right now.  I might give it a watch this week and report back if people are interested.  The series itself won’t even air until next year, I believe, so there isn’t exactly a rush to get through it.


April 28th

Huh, just noticed it took four weeks for us to get the only major studio horror title of April; the DVD and BRD release of THE UNINVITED.  I missed this in theaters.  Well, missed it in so much as I never bothered to see it.  I’ll review it on Blu, though.  The original TALE OF TWO SISTERS was, despite being a logic mess, was incredibly effective.  Unfortunately we all know how the studio system works.

It is this very system that helps forecast why S. DARKO won’t be anything to get worked up over.  Someone has to make money off of DONNIE DARKO, though, and this is the result.  To be honest I don’t even know if this is a sequel or a prequel and I don’t care enough to look it up. As Goss points out, S. DARKO was bumped to May.

Plenty has been said of MARTYRS so I merely point you once again to my review.

Unknown quantities of the week: THE SHE-BEAST, THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS, PSYCHOS IN LOVE, ONE EYED MONSTER (Uh, Ron Jeremy and Amber Benson?).  Rounding out the month is WHILE SHE WAS OUT, a solid dame-in-distress flick definitely worth checking out from the library.

Oh, and JCVD comes out as well.  Obviously not horror, but I feel like if you’re the kind of person who reads this site, so you’ve probably heard tale of JVCD elsewhere.  I wish it had a more vibrant color palette, but that may be my biggest complaint.  Definitely worth a looksee, would make a terrific double bill with THE WRESTLER (out April 21).

JCVD and THE UNINVITED are also the only two genre friendly Blu-rays of the week.


Netflixing The Month:

  1. THE BURROWERS
  2. VINYAN
  3. LAID TO REST
  4. SLAUGHTER HIGH
  5. THE UNINVITED
  6. WHILE SHE WAS OUT
  7. MARTYRS
  8. SPLINTER

Review: SPLINTER


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Directed by Toby Wilkins, 2008
Written by Kai Barry, Ian Shorr


SPLINTER is the most frustrating horror film of 2008.  Kair Barry and Ian Shorr’s script has interesting material, but it is Toby Wilkins direction of said sequences that makes SPLINTER borderline intolerable.

I love independent horror.  I love the resourcefulness of filmmakers who ebb the constraints of budget or talent with well intentioned imagination.  Toby Wilkins is not of this ilk.  The visual effects specialist turned director is either from a planet without tripods or has a crippling phobia of any structure that can hold a camera in place for more than three blinks of an eye.  Things start off well enough, but once the story of a parasite that transforms its host into a heat sinking lump of flesh gains momentum any traditional appreciation for cinematography goes out the window.

SPLINTER devolves into a production that looks like a home brew YouTube film.  High fluorescent lighting with steady shots wider than mid level rarer than unobtainium.  And that’s just for dialog.  When action goes down, of which their is admittedly a satisfactory amount of, SPLINTER devolves in to a 16 year old’s YouTube video on its fourth red bull filmed by an epileptic camera man with Tourette syndrome in the midst of a full on seizure having looked through the eye piece and seen the motion blurs of nonsense intended to cover up the shortcomings of visual effects post and practical.  It is mind numbing in the worst way, mind numbing because it doesn’t have to be this way.

SPLINTER wouldn’t be so numbing without the promise hidden in the motion blur.  The frustration is induced by an earnest desire to see the script done right.  Sure Barry and Shorr’s treatment wears its THE THING wet dream aspirations on its blurry sleeve, but that’s acceptable because pseduo-bipedal amalgamations of once humans are never a bad thing.  Well, except when filmed during what looks like an earthquake on the surface of a planet being devoured by a black hole at 9000 frames per second.

Horror 2008, a Retrospective: Part 4, October to December


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Not much to say other than enjoy Part Four of Horror’s Not Dead’s 2008 Retrospective.  Wasn’t a bad year, but now that all the major titles are in it, it wasn’t, as I like to say, good sex.

Part 1: January to March.
Part 2: April to June.
Part 3: July to September.
Part 4: October to December.
Part 5: Events.
Part 6: Awards. (coming)

Last Week in Horror, September 21st to the 28th


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Last Week in Horror I realized that the studio horror future is looking grim.  No, not talking quality, talking quantity.  I haven’t come across a new, full trailer for a theatrical studio picture in weeks now.  I’m sure that will change in October as, THE WOLFMAN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, and, well, a million other remakes will probably all have their trailers attached to SAW V.

Anyways, on to the tidbits.




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