Blu-ray Review: WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS’ DORMITORY

Severin unearths the original European release of this savage little drive-in classic

A grubby, public domain eyesore for years, Paolo Heusch’s WEREWOLF IN A GIRLS’ DORMITORY has always held a certain fascination among Eurohorror fans. Even in its awkward US edit, complete with that awesomely tacky title and goofball garage-rock theme song “The Ghoul in School”, this German/Italian co-production is an eerie anomaly, a hybrid mad science-meets-Gothic horror melodrama filled with mood, atmosphere and bursts of savage violence.

Now, Severin Films have tracked down a print of the original Italian release titled LYCANTHROPUS (great name for a band!), given it a 2K scan and presented it here on Blu-ray, totally uncut and in both Italian and the pretty decent English dub. The result is a revelation, a stylish, shadowy, monochromatic mystery with the screen’s weirdest werewolf and a lush, spooky score by composer Armando Trovajoli, which the company has awesomely delivered on an accompanying CD.

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Blu-ray Review: KILLER CROCODILE

Severin Films continue their quest to drop delicious versions of every ’80s Fabrizio De Angelis with KILLER CROCODILE, a gory, gory and  ludicrous romp from the waning days of European exploitation boom.

Directing under the nom de plume Larry Ludman, De Angelis’ muscular, late-out-of the-gate JAWS rip-off (co-penned by frequent collaborator Dardano Sacdhetti) opens just like that game-changing aqua-shock adventure, with a giggling girl swimming and some dude half-assed strumming on a guitar before BLAMMO a beast attacks. Instead of a toothy great white, we get a google-eyed crocodile puppet built by the brilliant Gianetto De Rossi, a crusty and cool life-size monster that drags the dame all over the joint, her arm looking like a fin while the red stuff pools up and Riz Ortalani’s warmed over (but still rather awesome) John Williams=esque score slices away in the background. It’s a shamelessly derivative but still lively and stylish set-up that states plainly that what we’re about to watch has been done before and better.

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NECROPOLIS: LEGION Posters Revealed!

The 2nd DEADLY TEN Feature Gets a Sexy R-Rated Poster

The second cinematic experiment coming out of the DEADLY TEN feature film project is getting prepped for release! Chris Alexander’s dark, surreal and gory head-trip NECROPOLIS: LEGION will have its sneak peek premiere on the Full Moon Features channel and app on 11/29, followed by a released on Full Moon’s Amazon channels in the U.S., UK and Germany on 12/02.

Get ready to see the evil, demonic vampire witch Eva (Ali Chappell) bite and bleed her way back from the grave to devour writer Lisa (Augie Duke) and do battle with “Good Witch” Zia (Lynn Lowry) later this month. And to whet your weird whistle, we’re premiering the SHOCKING new official poster – one with lashing tongues! – for NECROPOLIS: LEGION, designed by the great Ryan Brookhart.

Check out the TWO official posters below!

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Blu-ray Review: FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC

Often maligned adaptation of the classic novel is a brooding Gothic horror drama

V.C. Andrews tawdry Gothic horror novel FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC was an instant hit with readers upon release in 1979, especially teens who thrilled to the taboo aspects of the tale and point of entry narrative of its young leading character, Cathy Dollanganger. So popular – and controversial – was the tome that it spawned a series of sequels, many of which have been penned long after Andrews passed in the mid-1980s.

A film adaptation was tossed around for years but didn’t materialize until 1987, when BLOOD BEACH director Jeffrey Bloom took over the project from Wes Craven. The resulting film soft-balled the explicitly sexual (and faithful to the book) approach Craven had intended to take and was dismissed by hardcore fans as being a neutered impression of a shattering tale. But time has been kind to Bloom’s FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, and while this writer has never read the book, taken as a stand-alone shock-drama and a dark memoir, it’s a fine, often disturbing and artfully depressing experience. Its central themes of incest and greed and family derangement are still here and if anything, their suggestion, rather than their explicit realizations, make the movie that much more effective, accentuating macabre mood and doom over shocks.

DEADLY FRIEND and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER star Kristy Swanson stars as Cathy, who tells the tale looking back as adult. When her beloved father is killed, her mom Corrine (Victoria Tennant) whisks Cathy, her brother Chris and their two 5-year old siblings Carrie and Cory to her family estate. There, the long disinherited Corrine intends to win back her father’s love and allows the children’s domineering, monstrous grandmother (Louise Fletcher, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST) to lock the kids in a secret bedroom and attic, keeping them a secret from the dying patriarch until Corrine can get back into the will. Almost immediately the children are tortured by their evil Granny and eventually, after months then years, totally forgotten by their mother. The children become prisoners, coming of age and suffering humiliation and tragedy until they devise a plan to escape.

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Blu-ray Review: BEYOND THE DOOR III

Italian horror sorta-sequel is a weird and gory shocker

The BEYOND THE DOOR franchise is amusing because, well, it aint a franchise at all, really. The 1974 original film – a shameless and amazing Eurotrash ripoff of THE EXORCIST – was produced and co-directed by legendary exploitation helmer Ovidio G. Assonitis (TENTACLES) and it famously ran afoul of the Warner Bros. legal team for its copycat chutzpah. That picture is a juicy, wet and groovy bit of pastaland sleaze and its modest downmarket success led to a sequel that was not a sequel. Then, in the early ’80s, Mario Bava’s final masterpiece SHOCK was retitiled BEYOND THE DOOR II, though naturally it had absolutely nothing to do with its namesake predecessor, save for a possession angle to the story.

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Blu-ray Review: TWO EVIL EYES

Blue Underground releases a deluxe edition 3-disc set of an Argento/Romero classic

One of the great things about the horror genre is it’s always been a ripe playground for crossovers and team-ups… in front of the camera and behind.  One such team-up came in 1990 with the film, TWO EVIL EYES.  Originally conceived as a four-part anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories to be directed by horror masters, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero and Dario Argento… it later transformed into a two-part anthology film helmed by Romero and Argento.  Of course, we can’t forget the final horror legend brought onboard to handle the film’s gruesome effects, the one and only, Tom Savini.  Unfortunately, even this trio of horror titans couldn’t help TWO EVIL EYES from becoming a dud at the box office and languishing on video store shelves.

TWO EVIL EYES opens with Romero’s segment, The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdmear, which is a solid little slice of horror that feels and plays like a great Twilight Zone episode written by Richard Matheson.  Adrienne Barbeau (THE FOG and SWAMP THING) stars as a conniving wife to a dying millionaire.  With the help of her husband’s doctor (and her secret lover), they put forth a devious plot to swindle the dying man of his fortune.  With the aid of hypnotic therapy, the two begin their scheme only to find that it will lead to a shocking ending involving the undead and an appearance from genre favorite, Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN 3 & NIGHT OF THE CREEPS).

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WEEDJIES! HALLOWEED NIGHT Gets a Groovy New Trailer!

The first DEADLY TEN feature premieres on October 21st

It’s FINALLY here! Full Moon is stoked and toked to present the OFFICIAL trailer for Danny Draven’s hotly anticipated Halloween horror comedy WEEDJIES! HALLOWEED NIGHT, the first film from the DEADLY TEN cinema series! Those of you who have followed the live production and ensuing post-production video updates surrounding Draven’s magnum weird weed opus are no doubt jonesing for this footage-packed preview and we PROMISE you, it does NOT disappoint! Click the poster above to peruse the wacky, stylish and hilarious trailer now! Share it! Like it! Love it! And watch the FULL FEATURE premiering EXCLUSIVELY on Full Moon Features and Full Moon’s Amazon channel on October 21st!

WEEDJIES! is a wacky, weed-choked comedy creeper that nods its slimy, skunky head to the Empire Pictures classic GHOULIES and features a motley crew in the cast including The Howard Stern Show’s Richard Christy and Medicated Pete, comedian Ester Goldberg, Instagram model Misty Mason, EVIL BONG franchise veteran Mindy Robinson, Playboy superstar Bridget Marquardt and internet film critic Shawn “Cool Duder” Phillips and many more, all running afoul of FX wizard Tom Devlin’s baked beasts “The Weedjies”. WEEDJIES! was written by Shane Bitterling and produced by Charles Band.

And get ready because once WEEDJIES! hits, we’ll be prepping the next DEADLY TEN flick for release, Chris Alexander’s dark-as-pitch paean to possession and perversity, NECROPOLIS: LEGION, featuring a score by the one and only Richard Band (RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND) and starring Lynn Lowry (David Cronenberg’s SHIVERS). NECROPOLIS: LEGION premieres on November 18th on Full Moon Features and Full Moon’s Amazon channel! Visit www.DeadlyTen.com for more on all 10 films in the D10 slate!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqRUGHFJ2GU

Blu-ray Review: KILLER NUN

Anita Ekberg screws the scenery in this awesomely outrageous shocker

In the annals of the unsavory subgenre known as “nunsploitation’, director Giulio Berruti’s late-from-the-gate shocker KILLER NUN stands tall, a truly nasty piece of work that has so much fun reveling in bad behavior that it’s a grim joy to behold. And that can’t be said for many of the post-THE DEVILS “nunsploitation” ilk, as they’re often depressing, claustrophobic affairs. Now back on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video, hardcore fans and newly minted habit-horror-hounds alike can go another round with this psycho-horror classic and marvel at its delightful tawdriness.

The movie stars Fellini favorite Anita Ekberg (LA DOLCE VITA) – here, well into middle-age but still a goddamned knockout – as the deranged Sister Gertrude, a woman whose religion-fueled madness has caught up with her. Respected by her peers (and, in the case of some of her fellow nuns, lusted over), Gertrude is deeply, profoundly mentally ill and after tormenting weaker souls around her, begins self-medicating her increasingly disturbed condition with heroin addiction, serial sex with both fellow sisters and male strangers and eventually, wholesale murder.

Apparently based on a real case of convent carnage, KILLER NUN is most assuredly trash, but what beautifully crass trash it is. Ekberg dives deep into the role, making Gertrude a manic marvel, veering between the most jaw-dropping atrocities and yet tempering the character with empathy, pathos and remorse. This woman is sick and sculpted by her surroundings and is seemingly unable to stop her free-fall from happening. She’s a pathetic creation. But one doesn’t really watch KILLER NUN for its wrenching drama. No, the true pleasures to be found here are gleefully grotesque and often hilariously cruel. My favorite is the unforgettable sequence where Gertrude screams at an elderly woman for taking out her dentures at the table then proceeds to grab the old lady’s teeth and stomp them to dust while laughing maniacally. As the woman recoils in shock, Gertrude snaps out of her derangement and apologizes. Hours later, the poor gummy granny dies of a heart attack! Nasty? Sure. Tasteless. You bet. But scenes like this (and there are plenty of them) are SO outrageous that Berruti is inviting us to laugh. And we do. Well, at least some of us will.

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Blu-ray Review: TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN

 

Exploitation drama favors character and theme over explicit shocks

It’s arguable that the greatest sorts of exploration films dial back their visually explicit shocks in favor of the power of suggestion. The most obvious example might be PSYCHO, with its skillfully edited shower scene making us think we see more than we do. But that’s not particularly fair, as PSYCHO was made by a major filmmaker and studio and released during a period where nudity, sex and extreme bloodshed were simply not on the mainstream menu. But later, the same Gein-centric source material was mined for THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, a 1973 release that was produced at a time when all manner of gushy thing was allowed and accepted on screen. And yet, CHAIN SAW, one of the most brutal and notorious pictures of its kind in the world, refused to show too much either, using sound and suggestion and style to to turn stomachs and smack its audience senseless. Other films, like 1971’s BLOOD AND LACE, 1973’s THE BABY et al also proved ample sleazy and upsetting while teetering between PG and R and using theme and tone to their advantage.

Which brings us to 1972’s harrowing and hideous and unforgettable trash sorta-classic TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN, now widely available via a splendid, feature-packed Blu-ray release from Arrow Video, a restored 2K visual upgrade from the long out-of-print Something Weird Video DVD release, where it was paired with the icky and awesome THE TOY BOX. The film is as perverse and seedy as they come, telling the tale of the emotionally disturbed young woman Jamie (a fascinating one-shot turn from Marcia Forbes), who we first meet masturbating in bed to one of her many stuffed animals as she breathlessly chants “daddy, daddy”, a sweaty session interrupted by her braying mother, who chastises her and accuses her of being “just like her father”. Seems Jamie’s dad was a cad who tom-catted around and eventually bailed on the family, leaving the vulgar mother to smother her only child. Though MIA, Jamie’s pop has continued to send her toys, which she keeps littered around her room and whose presence have contributed to her bizarre, sexually stunted, childlike state of mind, where she yearns for daddy’s love while yearning for other more carnal pleasures.

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