Review: FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

A look at Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson’s magnum macabre opus


FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! continues the tale of Mary Shelley’s titular creature, beginning in it’s “I am never what they expect..so I have also learned it is always best to give them what they expect. Give them what they want. A monster.

At the beginning of the graphic novel the creature is now living a content life as a part of the ‘freak’ portion of a travelling circus and carnival as… ‘The Frankenstein Monster’! Having found a family of sorts who accept people as they are, without preconditions and without questions he can afford to remember back to a time when things weren’t so idyllic. From that prologue, the creature’s thoughts travel back to it’s attempt to the end of Shelley’s novel.  Up in the arctic it tries to end it’s existence as it is haunted by it’s maker, Dr Frankenstein.  Relying on the frigid waters to do the deed,  but to no success.  It seems the creature is, like original sin, immortal.   When it is found and brought to a benevolent doctor’s isolated clinic it finds a peace, living in relative solitude but acceptance… at least for a while. Continue reading “Review: FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE! THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”

Blu-ray Review: Brian De Palma’s OBSESSION

One of Brian De Palma’s most underrated films is out now from Scream Factory

Maverick director Brian De Palma’s own obsession with Alfred Hitchcock is the farthest thing from a secret. In almost every one of De Palma’s films, the Master of Suspense is referenced and fetishized, from the basic PSYCHO meets REAR WINDOW structure of SISTERS, in which the male – as opposed to the female – lead is murdered graphically in the first reel and is witnessed by a nosy neighbor, to PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, where the PSYCHO shower scene is riffed -on, replacing a toilet-plunger with a knife, to CARRIE’s slow-burning, operatically suspenseful bucket-mount finale to DRESSED TO KILL, which amalgamates almost ALL of Hitchcock’s signature set-pieces into one over-sexed, kinky souffle.

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Contest: Win a HALLOWEEN Blu-ray Combo Pack!

Happy New Year from DELIRIUM Magazine! In honor of this fresh, frightful 2019, we’re offering our readers the chance to win a Blu-ray Combo Pack edition of David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN, the acclaimed direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 landmark of stylish stalk and slash, courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment!

HALLOWEEN is out now on Digital and Digital movie app MOVIES EVERYWHERE and hits 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD and On Demand on January 15, 2019. Hailed by critics as“a near perfect blend of craft, character growth and nostalgia” (Perri Nemiroff, Collider), HALLOWEEN takes place four decades after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) narrowly escaped the masked Michael Myers’brutal killing spree. Packed with bonus features including chilling deleted and extended scenes as well as special featurettes showing behind-the-scenes looks at creating the film, Halloween delivers spine-chilling, hair-raising intensity and thrills to both new and repeat viewers.

To win your copy of HALLOWEEN, email chris@fullmoonfeatures.com with the words “THE SHAPE” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body of the email. Winners will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Blu-ray Review: THE NIGHT STALKER

Dan Curtis’ classic TV horror movie gets the 4K treatment from Kino Lorber

The Seventies was a great decade for horror films. The genre was rocked with such hits as THE EXORCIST and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but some of the best horror could be found right at home on the television set. Producer Dan Curtis brought horror to daytime television with his hit show, DARK SHADOWS but in 1972, Curtis unleashed a vampire onto the streets of Las Vegas and introduced the world to one of horror’s unsung heroes… Carl Kolchak. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (CITY OF THE DEAD) and written by the legendary Richard Matheson (I AM LEGEND, THE TWILIGHT ZONE), THE NIGHT STALKER would turn out to be a huge and unexpected success.

When bodies drained of blood start littering the streets of Vegas, intrepid news reporter Carl Kolchak (played by the great Darren McGavin, A CHRISTMAS STORY) jumps on the case. It’s not long before Kolchak comes to the conclusion that a vampire is responsible for the grisly slayings. Naturally this doesn’t go over well with his editor (Simon Oakland) and the local police, who view Kolchak as not much more than an irritant and seem to completely ignore his vampire theory. Never one to be deterred, Kolchak assumes the mantle of an amateur vampire hunter and goes after the creature of the night. What follows is a lean, mean TV movie that would spawn a sequel, a TV series and would inspire many of today’s leading horror filmmakers.

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Blu-ray Review: DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS

Scream Factory re-releases the classic Terrence Fisher vampire film on Blu-ray

There’s a vibrancy, urgency and sense of danger about the early Hammer Gothics, especially the ones helmed by the great Terrence Fisher. The studio laid out their stylistic, thematic mission statement with Fisher’s full-color, full-blooded revisits of the Universal monster warhorses – 1957’s THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and 1958’s HORROR OF DRACULA, respectively – and kept that momentum up, offering more violent, sexually aware, sophisticated and lurid horror movies, a majority of them blasted onto screens in astonishing color. The look and feel of these films (and naturally, the chord they struck with audiences) birthed the later Roger Corman Poe Gothics and the early Italian Gothics of the 1960s, but there’s really nothing quite like those startling, bouncy, signature Hammer romps…

By the time HORROR OF DRACULA’s Christopher Lee returned to the cape with Fisher at the helm in 1966’s DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS, the worm was already turning with both Hammer and the world of horror cinema in general and thus the picture has perpetually felt a bit late-from-the-gate, a bit trapped between worlds. Fisher had already proved he could make a Dracula picture without Lee (and without Dracula for that matter) with 1960’s thundering BRIDES OF DRACULA (still this writer’s fave of the Hammer Dracula cycle) but revisiting the franchise with the actor, who by now was an international horror movie superstar, was enough of an event that DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS was a huge hit for the studio and kept Lee in costume for the next 7 years. And while DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS pales in comparison to HORROR (and suffers from the lack of Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing save for an opening flashback of HORROR’s spastic ending), it’s still an atmospheric, stylish affair and sees Fisher directing with vigor. And Lee, despite playing the part totally mute (according to him because he hated the dialogue, though others have insisted the part was written as such), reminds us why he’s the screen’s definitive Count Dracula.

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Album Review: REIGN OF VENGEANCE – The Final Aeon For All Humans

Metal band’s recent release is a concept album from hell

Arizona-based metal band REIGN OF VENGEANCE has been pumping out ear-bleeding heaviness for well over a decade and their most recent EP “The Final Aeon For All Humans” just might be their most blistering release to date, the apex of what they can do sonically and thematically. Definitely fueled by both heavy metal history as well as heavy classic rock and darker classical music tempered with what feels like a very cinematic atmosphere and armed with soul-shredding vocal attacks (from frontman Marshall Beck), the disc kicks into gear with the politically-oriented track “Fuck the Recession: Kill Those Who Caused It”, a dark, massive song that also comes equipped with a rich, operatic quality. That eloquent bit of metal is chased with the opulent “Amassing Towards the Truth”, which is just as anthemic as the opener and “The Grande Hectacomb” is another brutal, atmospheric and again, cinematic track and it may be the best song on an album full of great, challenging material.

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Blu-ray Review: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

Canadian 80’s Cult Classic is Superior to its Many Slasher Peers

One of the signature horror films produced by legendary Canadian studio and distributor Cinepix, J. Lee Thompson’s 1981 shocker HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME often gets lumped into the post-FRIDAY THE 13th slasher cesspool but it’s much more than that. Cinepix creative braintrust John Dunning had first found fame in the genre via his “discovery” of David Cronenberg, with he and his partner Andre Link producing both of DC’s first features, SHIVERS and RABID. But Cinepix also co-financed and distributed a wealth of horror and dark fantasy films, including Harry Kumel’s 1971 vampire masterpiece DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS and the notorious ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS. These guys knew the market and when HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13th yielded big box office takes, Dunning and Link put together both this film and George Mihalka’s beloved East Coast killer thriller MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Now, VALENTINE is more of a straight-ahead masked-killer/body-count film, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME plays more like a giallo, with its convoluted mystery and its black-gloved murderer. Both films were distributed by major studios, but BIRTHDAY – the sleazier and more disturbing of the pair – escaped virtually uncut while VALENTINE was famously gutted by the MPAA and Paramount Pictures to secure its R rating.

If we’re comparing the two, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME is the superior picture and that’s because of its director (Thompson was a veteran Hollywood filmmaker whose credits included CAPE FEAR) and for the fact that the story and script are totally loopy.  Dunning hired ILSA scribe John Saxton to come up with this tawdry tale, in which LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE starlet Melissa Sue Anderson appears as high school student Virginia, one of the elite rich-kids who hang=out together, wear grey and black striped scarves and call themselves “The Top 10”. Among that lot are Canadian cult film icons Lesleh Donaldson and Lisa Langlois, the former who is offed quickly and gruesomely in the first reel and the latter who was SUPPOSED to be axed (literally) but, in the final edit, ends up sticking around for the duration of the picture. Anyway, Virginia is having troubles, as she escaped a care-wreck that killed her mom years earlier and now is prone to blackouts and select amnesia. As her pals begin getting systematically slaughtered at the hands of a glove-wearing killer, their corpses mysteriously vanishing, Virginia begins to suspect that she might be to blame. And Thompson makes us believe this too. But IS she? The psychodrama climaxes in one of the truly great and batshit wacky finales in 80’s horror history, at Virginia’s bloody 18th birthday party. Meanwhile THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE icon Glenn Ford looks on, presumably three-sheets to the wind.

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Blu-ray Review: ZOMBIE 4K Restoration

In 1968, the late, great director George A. Romero shocked the world with his film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and turned zombies into the modern nightmare we now know. That film, along with its sequels, pretty much set a new standard for how zombies would be portrayed on film, television and anywhere else. Then in 1979, Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci (THE BEYOND, MANHATTAN BABY) decided to make his first horror film and for my money, one of the most disturbing zombie movies ever committed to celluloid.  ZOMBIE (aka ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and ZOMBI 2) is pretty much the definitive Italian zombie movie. It followed the success of Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and was released in Italy (where it was called ZOMBI) as a sequel to that film, while in the United States, it became a quintessential grindhouse movie.

The zombie action kicks in when a mysterious and abandoned boat sails into the New York harbor. Upon investigation, two police officers soon learn the boat isn’t abandoned and are attacked by a gruesome, bloated zombie leaving one of the officers “dead” by the zombie’s bite… yes, we all know what’s gonna eventually happen. The owner of the boat is soon identified and is missing. Luckily his daughter (played by Tisa Farrow) is found, who teams up with a journalist (played by Ian McCulloch, CONTAMINATION) and an adventurous couple before setting off to a mysterious island in hopes of learning what has happened to her father. The highlight of their journey is probably one of the most outrageous sequences you’ll find in any zombie movie… and that sequence is the infamous zombie vs shark underwater fight (this scene alone is worth the price of admission!) Once they reach the island, they meet a scientist (played by Richard Johnson) who fills them in on the horrible proceedings plaguing the island. Now with all that exposition out of the way, Fulci unleashes his horde of zombies upon our cast of characters and the audience can sit back and enjoy that trademark Fulci violence… which there’s plenty of.

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Blu-ray Review: The CRITTERS Collection

Scream Factory Shines a Loving Light on this Fascinating Film Series

In the wake of Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg’s cheeky 1984 monster kid romp GREMLINS, all sorts of savvy producers plotted their own little mean beastie flick, from Charles Band’s GHOULIES to Roger Corman’s MUNCHIE to Stephen Herek’s CRITTERS, And while many of the others have merits (and GHOULIES spun off into an amusing franchise of its own), only CRITTERS seemed to really hit with both critics and audiences, becoming a minor hit and launching three more films that actually carried over narrative arcs and characters. Collected here on this sturdy Blu-ray set from Scream Factory you’ll find all four of the official CRITTERS epics and while some are better than others, all of them serve as lively showcases for their central baddies, the quill-shooting, toothy furballs known galactically as “The Krites”.

Herek’s original 1986 flick is a major dose of country bumpkin fun, as the critters invade the small farming community of Grover’s Bend (a nod to WAR OF THE WORLD’s Grover’s Mill) and set forth to eat everything and everyone they can. Only scrappy kid Brad Brown (Scott Grimes) and his charming, slow-witted pal Charlie (Don Opper) are wise to what’s happening, that is until it’s too late and the lethal tumbleweeds overtake their house. First they eat poor old Billy Zane and then force the house’s matriarch (a somewhat wasted Dee Wallace) to wield a shotgun and protect her brood. Meanwhile, a pair of alien bounty hunters (one played by Terrence Mann, the other – who cannot settle on a human face – occasionally played by Opper) have come to do what they do best: kill Krites.

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THE PRIMEVALS: Legendary “Lost” Movie Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Iconic FX artist David Allen’s final film set for competition in 2019

The year was 1994. Full Moon founder Charles Band and legendary stop-motion animation effects artist David Allen set out to make what would be the biggest and most ambitious Full Moon movie to date–a long in development passion project of Allen’s that he directed  in Romania and the Italian Alps with a large cast and larger than life sets.

Band and Allen planned for a long post-production period in which Allen would create hundreds of intricately designed and animated effects shots. But when Allen fell ill and passed away in 1999, the highly anticipated film sat unfinished, with Full Moon fans all over the world wondering if they would ever be able to see Allen’s now-mythical magnum opus.

Finally, after decades in the vault, Full Moon is launching a campaign to release David Allen’s THE PRIMEVALS and today, Full Moon launched an Indiegogo campaign today to fulfill David’s vision and bring this larger-than-life-retro-sci-fi epic to lustrous life. With so much of the film shot and so many fans waiting for decades to see it, the campaign’s aim is to finally make that possible.

When released, THE PRIMEVALS Special Edition Blu-ray set will feature two alternate edits of the film. The first will be the new, completed cut overseen by producer Charles Band. The second will be the “director’s cut”– faithfully assembled as David Allen intended and containing special animated storyboards representing the unrealized shots from THE PRIMEVALS. Both films will make for a fascinating comparative study, creating the definitive THE PRIMEVALS experience.  A third disc will premiere a feature-length THE PRIMEVALS documentary from Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures loaded with never before available behind the scenes and archival footage from the many years of this film’s amazing journey.

To investigate and donate to THE PRIMEVALS campaign check out the Ingiegogo page here. And check out the official trailer/promo reel below!