3/31/2017

Horror Toys from NECA at Toy Fair 2017

As a horror fan and toy collector, I fucking love NECA. Going to their booth at Toy Fair is always a highlight. It was no different this year. Here are some of my favorite new and upcoming horror toys from them, that I saw at the event.

As you can see from the top picture, we are still getting lots of Predator toys. And, they look great, needless to say! With the 30 Anniversary of the first movie this year, there is no better time to get more Predator toys!!
Holy shit!! That stealth Predator rules!!
 
Arnold Schwarzengger fans rejoice! We are getting some cool Dutch figures!!

Of course, we are also getting some new Alien toys, too! It's only fair, right?!
 
Batman Vs. Joker Predator! Yes, this is a REAL, upcoming thing!!!

I have to be honest with you guys. I genuinely love Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I think it is a much better movie than Part 2, which I know most seem to prefer. It's much closer in tone to the first film and just fucking awesome. Anyways, I NEVER thought we would see a toy of THAT version of Leatherface (which might be the best looking one, or at least second best looking one). Low and behold NECA are giving us a 6 inch version! I NEED this in my life!

They a made a fucking Ashy Slashy puppet!! That is THE best thing EVER!!!!
Cause one can never have enough Godzilla toys. Actually, I am sad to say that I have none of NECA's Big G figure. Why? I don't, but I need to rectify that!

 Which of these NECA toys did you like? Let me know in the comments below!

3/28/2017

NIGHTMARES (1980) (Review)

Title: Nightmares
Director: John Lamond
Writers: Colin Eggelston, John Lamond
Cast: Jenny Neumann, Gary Sweet, Nina Landis, Max Phipps, John Micheal Howson
Year: 1980
Min: 90

When Cathy was a little girl she saw her mom screwing a man in bed. Later, she finds herself in the backseat of a car. Her mom is driving and making out with a dude. When the guy decides to run his hand up her leg, Cathy tries to stop him. This causes the car to crash. Mom goes flying through the windshield, and a shard of glass cuts her throat. Jump forward to her being an adult. She has changed her name to Helen (Jenny Neumann). Helen is now a stage actress and starring in a new play called Comedy of Blood. As an adult she is stunningly beautiful but also sexually repressed. It doesn't take long for people around her to start dying, all of them getting stabbed by shards of glass.
Nightmares is an interesting, Australian attempt at making a slasher film, at a point when the sub-genre was just beginning to bloom. It should not be confused with the 1983 American horror anthology of the same name. The movie is also known as Stage Fright, which means it also should not be confused with the Michele Soavi giallo of the same name, which came out some years later. Which is interesting and quite the coincidence to note, as the movie feels and looks like an amalgamate of the American stalk and slash flick and the Italian Giallo.
Co-writer director John Lammond has an interesting visual aesthetic for the film. There are some really odd shots, that combine with moments of style to making for an interesting looking movie. A particularly violent stalk and kill in the rain stands as one of the movie's most visually captivating moments. Sadly, the kills lack any real suspense, but are instead punctuated by bloody violence. The shards of glass cut through backs, slice a breast, thighs, etc. Aside, from good bits of bloodletting there is also some fairly graphic sex scenes and ample nudity, throw in for good measure.
Our gloved killer is never really seen, but the movie is unsure if it wants to keep the killer's identity a mystery or not. It seemingly tries to do both, as it tells who the killer is and pretends it is a mystery, at the same time! It's an odd choice, but one has to just go with it and enjoy it. At least, it makes for a different storytelling choice.
The film moves at a good enough pace. It's interesting and entertaining enough, that if you just go with it, you'll find yourself liking it. I, personally, got a real kick out of the ending. In a lesser movie it may have come off as feeling cheap. Here, it made me go, ''Ha! That's pretty cool''
It is also great that the characters aren't a bunch of horny, interchangeable teens but instead are adults. Sure, they have sex on the brain, too, but the age change of the characters is refreshing. The acting is competent from most of the cast. Most fun to watch is the absolutely gorgeous Jenny Neumann. She has this great, wild look throughout the movie, that I got a kick out of seeing her do. There is something genuinely likeable both of her portrayal of the character and the character, itself, even if it is a little over-the-top at times. It also helps that she is a breathtaking beauty. Too bad she quit acting later in the 80s, I would have loved to see her in more films.
Nightmares is good, if flawed fun. What it lacks in suspense or story telling decision making, it makes up for with its positive points. It's a good, albeit at times odd, film that takes inspiration from both American and Italian horror. Adding a good amount of blood and skin and a beautiful and likable lead in Nuemann; this under-seen Australian horror flick deserves a look. It is currently streaming on Shudder and available on DVD from Severin films.
 
2.5 out of 4

3/27/2017

Toy Fair 2017- Funko


I attended Toy Fair last month on Feb. 18, 2017. As always I''ll post some of my favorite things that I saw. Let's start with my favorite toy company: Funko!

 ''Twin Peaks'' Pops!! This is definitely one of my favorite lines that I have seen added in recent memory.
Garbage Pail Kids Mystery Minis Series 2. I have three of them, so far. Need more!

They have a whole slew of awesome Rick and Morty stuff coming soon. I CAN'T wait!!!
 
It's Mr. Poopy Butthole!!! He's my favorite!!!

 More Mr. Poopy Butthole!!!!!!!
 I CANNOT wait for these Pops from ''Gravity Falls''!
 ''Westworld'' Pops!! I'm gonna broke as fuck!

The Stranger Things Pops are already out. Why don't I own any of these?! I mean seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?!
 
 

 The Winnie the Pooh Pops are also already out. There are a couple I need from this set.
 The Retro Video Game Mystery Minis rock! Even the packaging is varied!

 Oh my fucking God!! Ripley Rock Candy! I MUST have! By the way, the guy who showed us around at the booth, realized I was a horror fan (must have been my Freddy Kruger tee that I was wearing). He told me about this one almost immediately! 

Let's end this with two Keanu Reeves Pops that cover two spectrums of his career: John Wick (John Wick Chapter 2) and Ted (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure). I really NEED John Wick but have yet to see him at a store. Have you guys seen/ own him?

Which of these Pops are your favorites? Let me in the comments below.

3/26/2017

DIG TWO GRAVES (Review)

Title: Dig Two Graves
Director: Hunter Adams
Writers: Hunter Adams, Jeremy Philips
Cast: Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring, Rachel Drummond, Dean Evans
Year: 2014
Min: 85

In 1977, Jake (Samantha Isler) is haunted by the passing of her older brother, who died after jumping off a ravine and into water. Her family, especially her mother (Rachel Drummond), are also suffering from the tragic loss. One day, Jake runs into three mysterious men. They show her a trick with a rattlesnake that seems to die, only to come back to life. Their leader, Wyath (Troy Rutash), promises he can do the same for her brother. But, he demands a life for a life. She will need to push Willie (Gabriel Cain), a boy who is continuously picked on by bullies and has a crush on her, off of the same ravine. Can she kill an innocent boy to bring back her brother?
To reveal anymore of Dig Two Graves would be to ruin it. Suffice to say that as this excellent slow-burn movie unravels itself, as its dark secrets get revealed. It many times a quiet movie with moments that come and punch hard, when they hit. The film tells a tight and enthralling story that entices you and pulls you in slowly but surely. And, as each truth is revealed you feel it right down to your soul.

There is a lot of character development mixed in with the enriching exposition. This means the pacing is slow and building, but your patience of staying with it pays off immensely. By the time the climax came I was holding on to my seat in the theaters tightly, my heart racing and my eyes glued to what was transpiring on the screen.
The acting is phenomenal. Particularly when it comes to Ted (Silence of the Lambs) Levine and young Samantha Isler. Levine gives a deep and powerful performance as Jake's grandfather and the town's Sheriff Waterhouse. His loving relationship with Jake is the soul of the film. Isler is just incredible as Jake. She gives one of the finest performances from a young actor that I have seen in a genre piece in a many moon. Her character is the heart of the film, and she remains believable throughout. We take this horrifying journey with her and care for what she does and what happens to her.
Director Hunter Adams gives us one of the year's best looking films. He really knows how to use the countryside to it's fullest. There is some truly stunning cinematography even using crane shots, making it look more expensive than it actually did cost to make. He is also a master in his use of shadows. The movie is dark, very dark. Perhaps this might be a bit overdone at times. But, the truth is there is such a haunting and creepy feel to it; that one cannot fault him for his choice in doing this.
Dig Two Graves is a stunning, beautiful, and haunting horror film. The slow building plot unravels itself like one of the rattlesnakes, in the movie only to fully strike at the tense climax. The legendary Levine and newcomer Isler give flawless performances that help to further pull you. Gorgeous to look at, this is classy and smart horror for fans demanding high quality in their genre product. It is currently play at a very limited release and is coming to various streaming platforms, and eventually DVD. See it as soon as you can.
3.5 out 4 

3/22/2017

PREVENGE (Review)

Title: Prevenge
Writer/ director: Alice Lowe
Cast: Jo Hartley, Gemma Whelan, Alice Lowe, Kate Dickie, Tom Davis, Kayvan Novak
Year: 2016
Min: 88

Pregnant widow Ruth (Alice Lowe, who also wrote and directed the movie) is on a killing spree. She is spurned on by the voice of her unborn baby girl, who tells who to maim and why. She seduces and or tricks her victims to their bloody demises.
Alice Lowe makes her full length directorial debut with this darkly hilarious and wild horror comedy. The result is one of the most fun and righteously enjoyable genre flicks to come out of Britain in recent memory. Lowe manages to successfully merges jet black comedy and psychological/ serial killer horror and with great proficiency.

The pacing is quite good, as the plot and the actions are always moving forward, while still taking breaks to allow us to know and understand Lowe's character of Ruth. Even though she is clearly insane, we like her. The dialogue between her and her unborn daughter is priceless! At lot of the very funny humor comes from it. It also comes from the absurdity/ fucked-up moments that transpire in the movie. The audience I saw the film with and myself laughed a lot thanks to what was going on onscreen.
But, one also grimaces at the gore and violence which is realistically and well done.Throat slashings and stabbings abound, and the movie is not afraid to spill the grue. Also excellent is the editing. This is most notable in the scenes where Ruth's madness is taking over, as well as the aforementioned kills. Another notable aspect is the cool score, which, at times almost recalls something out of an Italian horror flick.
Aside, from Lowe's smart and quirky script and her excellent directing, a lot of credit has to be given to her acting. She plays such a fun and complex character, that it is easy to follow her to through all her madness. She is assisted by an all around equally excellent supporting cast.
Prevenge is a fun, smart, quirky, and bloody good time. It's always hard to make a good horror/ comedy much less one that is as solid as this film is. This movie sets Lowe a move making force worth keeping one's on. With this one flick, she is already light years ahead of many others! The fact that she wore three hats in it, only makes this more of a case of worthy admiration. It is currently playing at the IFC Center in NYC and will be coming to Shudder on March 24, 2017! See it, ASAP!

3.5 out of 4

3/21/2017

DEATH WISH II- Special Edition, Shout Factory (Blu-Ray Review)

Title: Death Wish II
Director: Michael Winner 
Writer: David Engelbach, Brain Garfield (characters)
Cast: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Vincent Gardina, J.D. Cannon, Anthony Franciosa, Ben Frank
Year: 1982
Min: 91 (unrated), 88 (R-rated)

Blu-ray released by: Shout Factory

Specs:  

Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 
Image

Resolution: 1080p Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Plot-Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) has moved on with with his life and is living in LA. He is dating radio reporter, Geri Nichols (Jill Ireland). His daughter Carol (this time played by pretty Robin Sherwood) has been going through therapy and finally seems to have begun to show some signs of recovery. Kersey takes both Geri and Carol to the fairground. He goes on line to get some ice cream and, then, a street gang picks Kersey's pocket. He catches up with one of them and roughs him up. But, that guy doesn't have his wallet. Kersey lets the scumbag go.
Soon there after, the gang breaks into Kersey's home, where they brutally gang-rape the maid, Rosario (Silvana Gallardo). When, Kersey finally gets home, he gets knocked out. They then kidnap Carol. One of the gang members take one final, brutal blow to the head of Rosario, leaving her dead and naked on the floor. Meanwhile, at their hideout, Carol gets raped by one of the gang members, while the others look on. After he is done, she runs and jumps out the window. Her body falls on a gate spike, impaling and killing her. Despite everything that has occured, Kersey gives no information to the cops and instead decides to go after the gang, himself, with his trusty gun.
Review- The sleaziest and nastiest of the Death Wish sequels, the second entry has long lived in infamy. It is also genuinely the best sequel in the series. A violent, taut revenge thriller that stands as the type of mainstream action film that would never be made today. An early hit for the legendary Cannon Films, it has become a cult classic and, now thanks to Shout Factory we can see it unrated finally. But, more on that later.


The acting is solid, although not much character development is given to the villains. We get what is need to further tell the story and that's it. As such, the bad guys are multi-ethnic gang members, who include among their ranks a young Laurence Fishburne. The main scumbag is Nirvana (Thomas C. Duffy), but all we need to know is that the bad guys are sick perverts and criminals. There is no redeeming them, and they simply need to die. 

Bronson is his genuine badass self, taking shit with great calm. He just does what he needs to, IE finding the gang and pumping lead into them. His interactions with Ireland's (his wife, at the time, who does a good job here) character of Geri adds some light moments to the grim film. Vincent Gardina returns in the role of Frank Ochoa, from the first film. He comes from NY to look for Kersey and gives some of the film's best laughs.
Returning director Winner shows some nice style with some good, fluid camera movement. The movie is a bit slow at times. But, it is more interested in being a captivating revenge thriller, than an all out action film, unlike the entries that followed. As mentioned before it also very sleazy and admit ably mean-spirited. The intense violence is upped considerably from the original which didn't really have any graphic blood-letting. 

This is most evident in this unrated cut. For years US fans have heard about this longer and more graphic unrated cut. To earn an R-rating in the US three scenes were cut down. The first two are the very nasty rape scenes, including a longer take on Rosario's nude, dead body. Yes, the rapes are, indeed, worse and harder to look at in the unrated version, than they ever were before. Also, Carol's gory implement is slightly longer and in more looming detail. 
Picture- This is definitely an upgrade from the earlier MGM Blu-ray release. There is still a decent amount of grain, but there isn't anyway you were gonna fully get rid of that. The improvement comes in form of the excellent colors. They are more lively than before and detail is excellent. This is the best this movie will ever look and as such stands as a superb picture transfer of an 80s exploitation, action film.

Sound The stereo sound is good. Dialogue sounds clear and isn't drowned out by other sounds. Jimmy Page's soundtrack (in case you don't know he did the film's cool score) and the action scenes sound aggressive enough to give it a little extra kick in the ass.

ExtrasYou have the option of watching Death Wish II in either the R version or the aforementioned unrated cut. For many Death Wish that might have been enough reason to buy this Blu-ray, but Shout Factory again deliver the goods in the extra feature department.

As, it also has brand new running commentary over the unrated version by the author of Bronson's Loose!: The Making of the Death Wish Films, Paul Talbot. He really knows what he is talking about and gives fans a plethora of interesting and fascinating facts. He talks about the ratings problems, what was cut from the R, about the cast, etc. He talks about everything you want to know about the movie. This is a definite must listen for fans of the film, franchise, and Bronson, himself.

It also has the film's theatrical trailer and TV spot, the later of which is not mentioned in the back of the packing but is included. 

On top of all of this, it also has a reversible cover, that features two different movie posters of the film.

Final Thoughts- Death Wish II might just be the sleaziest and dirtiest entry in a mainstream action franchise ever. It's also violent, badass, and holds your interest throughout. The best of the sequels in the series, it is finally given a US unrated release. And, it is a stellar one at that. Featuring the best picture it ever had, or likely ever will with a good sound quality, it hits the marks in the aesthetic aspect of the disc. There isn't a whole shit load of extras, but what there is excellent in nature. For Bronson and Death Wish fans this Blu-ray as an absolute must have!

Movie: 4 out of 5
Picture: 4
Sound: 3
Extras: 3.5

3/20/2017

King Kong Movies, Ranked from Worst to Best

Two Fridays ago, saw the release of the latest King Kong movie, Kong: Skull Island. The movie ties into the Monster Universe that began with the last American Godzilla movie. It opened up to killer numbers. But, it is only the latest entry of one of the oldest monster franchises in cinema. Kong was very important to me  growing. Like Godzilla, he and his movies were essential to me growing up as a horror and monster fan. The following list ranks all of the official King Kong movies (IE no Kong rip-offs here), from the very worst to the best. So sit back an enjoy the giant monkey monster action!

ALL REVIEWS OUT OF 4 MONKEYS:

8. King Kong Lives- This sequel to the '76 remake is, quite frankly, one of the worst giant monster movies ever made. It is brain numbingly stupid and lame.
If you have ever wanted to see romance between two giant apes, this is the monkey turd for you!

After, falling off the World Trade Center, Kong somehow fucking survived. He has been in a coma for a decade. Linda Hamilton plays the doc who gives him a giant robot heart. He also gets a transfusion from the blood of a lady Kong, who he falls in love with. And, the evil and very stupid military want him dead.
 
 King Kong gets bloody and fucked up, in this one.
If that sounds bad, well it is. And, just wait till we find out that Lady Kong is knocked up! Featuring awful scenes where he romances her and uneven FX, it's the fucking pits. It does have a hilarious scene where Kong graphically rips an evil hilly-billy in two and swallows another one, though. That's worth something right?
Humans, especially evil ones, are yummy and nutritious!

1/2 a MONKEY

7. King Kong Vs. Godzilla- A return to the monster mashes of Universal Pictures of yore like, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf-Man, this is a decent enough flick, even if does not deliver as much of the goods as you may want it to.
Kong tries to get the King of the Monsters to eat his veggies.
The first color appearance of both beasts, the Big-G plays the baddie, with Kong as the hero. He's made much bigger here, to be able to battle Godzilla. They meet once earlier in the film, but the real battle is at the film's climax. And, it is pretty damn awesome! Too bad the rest of it somewhat of a snooze and the Kong suit is kinda lame.

Still, this is a right of passage for any monster lover. I do think the intended American remake could easily improve on it. If they don't fuck it u, of course.

2 MONKEYS

6. King Kong (1976)- The '76 version is sometimes unjustly maligned. Honestly, it's pretty decent. It is just wholly uneven. Some of the FX are terrible, others are awesome. The acting ranges from crap to good. One wishes Kong would fight more monsters, but he does have a rousing and bloody fight with a giant snake. Speaking of bloody, Kong's demise is righteously gory and actually emotional.

 
Man, that giant snake gets fucked up!
Probably the bloodiest of all the Kong deaths.

Jessica Lange is, arguably, the most beautiful of all of Kong's love interests. Sadly, this is her worst performance, ever. I don't know if this is really on the bright side, but she got kicked out of another boat cause she wouldn't watch Deep Throat with them. Maybe she wasn't a Linda Lovelace fan? Speaking of sexual stuff, she shows off more skin than any of the other Kong babes and is overall, a more sexual flicks than the other ones. That just adds to the humor and fun, I feel. And, the overall weird/ WTF feel to it all.
 
 Kong has excellent tastes in ladies!

2 1/2 MONKEYS

5. King Kong Escapes- The second and last Toho Kong flick, has him battling Mechani-Kong, his evil robot double. Thanks to a better pace than the King Kong Vs. Godzilla, I find this one more enjoyable. It is sometimes over looked. But, with a decent Universal Blu-ray release from a few years ago. It really shouldn't be.

Kong does look awful in this movie, though. As in, he looks cheap and really silly. But, hey he also fights Gorosaurus who would go on to appear in the fan favorite Destroy All Monsters!


3 MONKEYS

4. Son of Kong- Unlike the darker and more serious original, this one is pretty far from being a horror movie. It ain't great as that classic, but there is a certain charm to it. 


Monster always had Son of movies (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Blob, Gozilla), so why not Kong? A much better go around than the next time he would have offspring (see, or wait, DON'T see King Kong Lives), this one is sometimes forgotten. But, honestly it is very much worth your time. I can also see some of you ranking this one much higher, and I would be very understanding, if that is the case.



3 MONKEYS

 

3. King Kong (2005)- From a technical standpoint, Peter Jackson's take on Kong is superior than the movies up and until this point, on the list. Well, expect for some of the CGI, as it some is great (the battle with the T-Rexes is wild!), others not so much (that brontosaurs stampede sucks!).

 
The cast is pretty good, especially memorable is the beautiful Naomi Watts. Her relationship with Kong is touching. It is also clear that Jackson loves the original. Dead Alive fans will love the monkey reference in this movie. But... it is waaaaaay too long (the fact that there is a longer cut is insane!). And, some of the movie hasn't aged that well. I never feel like revisting this one, as it is never as great as it was on that first viewing in the movies.


3 MONKEYS (4 if you see it for the first time, in the movies)

2. Kong: Skull Island- Is this a better movie than Jackson's flick? No. But, it is more fun, and I can see myself watching this one a lot when I get it on Blu-ray. It's also more fun than the last American Godzilla flick (which I did like, BTW). The only real problem I have is that human characters suck. They are not very interesting. But, you will wanna see the bad ones die. 
Thankfully the pacing is fast and the FX are great. The monsters battles are violent and push the PG-13 rating, something that should be done more often. Shit, there is even an violent homage Cannibal Holocaust! My fellow, horror fans, let me know if you caught it! It should be noted that this is the first time that Kong does not fall in love. Even, though Brie Larson is a babe, he ain't interested in her that way. Maybe, when he battles Godzilla, next time, he will find his new blonde love?
 Don't, even of Kong doesn't love in that way, I do!
3 MONKEYS

1. King Kong (1933)- Well, you knew this one would top the list. It is a fucking given, as this one of the greatest movies ever made. The FX still hold up. Rotten Tomatoes has it ranked as the greatest horror movie of all time.

It is really the only one in the franchise that is a true horror movie. The B&W cinematography adds a starkness and creepy feel to the exciting and scary dinosaur and monster attacks battles. Included among the scarier images is Kong eating and trampling natives, something that was cut from some releases many, many years ago. And, the beautiful Fay Wray is the greatest of all of Kong's love interests. All hail her, for she is horror's first scream queen!! Long story short the original King Kong is a perfect, masterpiece!

4 MONKEYS! (of course!)

Your rankings may well be different than mine. Let me know in the comments below, if they are! Or let me know if you totally agree with me.