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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DELIRIUM #21 Cover Reveal: Guest Edited by Ama Lea!

LA based artist and filmmaker serves as the EIC of this special ’90s tribute issue

Since its first issue, DELIRIUM co-founder Chris Alexander has been the editor of DELIRIUM magazine, curating the content and covers. But for our 21st issue, Alexander brought on frequent collaborator Ama Lea, the photographer, designer, artist and filmmaker who has long been creating conceptual covers for the magazine, most recently with our Dario Argento and David Cronenberg issues and before that, with our celebrated Barbara Crampton cover. And even before that, the pair collaborated on many award-nominated covers for FANGORIA magazine, during Alexander’s tenure as EIC.

For this special issue dedicated to ’90s horror films and culture, Lea knocks it out of the park, jamming every page with affectionate, intelligent features and beautiful art. You’re going to lose your brains over this one, readers…

Have a look at the vibrant and camp-centric cover below and stay tuned, as the mag goes on sale NEXT WEEK!

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DELIRIUM – Our 20th terrifying issue!

SUBSPECIES, Joe Dante, Phil Fondacaro and more!

Our titanic 20th issue is a full-blown loveletter to Full Moon’s classic vampire franchise SUBSPECIES, the beloved series of shockers whose long-awaited fifth entry – SUBSPECIES V: BLOODRISE- will go to camera this year in Albania as part of our much-hyped DEADLY TEN feature film project.

Here in this issue, DELIRIUM sits down with veteran director Ted Nicolaou and Radu himself, actor Anders Hove for a massive 8 page interview covering all four official SUBSPECIES films in detail, as well as teasing news about the upcoming BLOODRISE.

And as a sidebar, we talk to Radu’s leading lady Denice Duff, who returns to the fold with Ted and Anders for the new film as well. And further on the classic Full Moon tip, managing editor Michael Gingold chats up the legendary actor Phil Fondacaro about his stories career in everything from TROLL to THE CREEPS to LAND OF THE DEAD.

Elsewhere, you’ll find in-depth articles on the Clint Howard culinary creeper ICE CREAM MAN, the nightmarish Spanish shocker WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? and so much more!

DEADLY TEN features HALLOWEED NIGHT and NECROPOLIS: LEGION now in production

Full Moon’s DEADLY TEN project is now LIVE!

Full Moon Features has started principal photography on two of their feature films in their DEADLY TEN anthology as of June 11, 2019.  The DEADLY TEN is Full Moon’s highly anticipated initiative that sees the studio producing ten original feature films, and live-streaming these productions free for fans at DeadlyTen.com. The site will also feature pre-production videos, FX tutorials and casting sessions for each movie that fans can access 24 hours a day. The DEADLY TENanthology will premiere exclusively on Full Moon Features streaming channels.

HALLOWEED NIGHT: MEET THE WEEDJIES is the inaugural feature film in the DEADLY TEN series with director Danny Draven (REEL EVIL) taking the helm of the ganja-filled take of Charles Band cult classic GHOULIES. The wacky, weed-choked comedy creeper features a motely crew including Full Moon/Empire Pictures legendary actress Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR), The Howard Stern Show’s Richard Christy and Medicated Pete, comedian Ester Goldberg, EVIL BONG franchise veteran Mindy Robinson, Playboy superstar Bridget Marquardt, and internet film critic Shawn “Cool Duder” Phillips. HALLOWEED NIGHT was written by Shane Bitterling and produced by Charles Band. Lensing will take place in the city of sin itself, Las Vegas, starting on June 11, 2019.

Immediately following production of HALLOWEED NIGHT, Full Moon will start lensing filmmaker and former FANGORIA magazine editor Chris Alexander’s NECROPOLIS: LEGION.  Gothic, brooding and bloody, the film is a surreal, Eurotrash-tinted companion film to the classic 1986 Band-produced Empire Pictures exploitation film. The film features a demonic vampire witch named Eva (Ali Chappell) who drinks blood through her breasts, while possessing a young writer (Augie Duke) doing research on her story. Production will take place in Canada starting on June 22, 2019.

All inquiring minds and curious eyes are welcome as DeadlyTen.com live-streams the entire production process of both these films, uncensored.

Sign up for FREE today at DEADLY TEN!

 

Blu-ray Review: EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE

Joe D’Amato’s Eurotrash melodrama is as nasty as it gets

Even among the skeezy depths of Joe D’Amato’s cinematic oeuvre, his 1975 sex thriller EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE is a jaw dropper. The director made his share of unofficial sequels to the popular Silvia Kristel-starring erotic EMMANUELLE movies, most starring the lovely Laura Gemser, but this trashterpiece (also known as EMANUELLE’S REVENGE) is among the best and is almost as cheerfully vulgar than his crown-jewel of vileness, the disturbing 1977 entry EMANUELLE IN AMERICA. Echoing the plot of the decade-and-change later Lucio Fulci softcore drama THE DEVIL’S HONEY, EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE wallows in perversion to tell its operatically extreme tale of vengeance and sexual humiliation and though D’Amato’s lens captures ample upset, the entire thing is just so damned entertaining and groovy (Joe Dynamo’s funk soul score is a marvel) that you can’t help but kinda love it.

D’Amato regular George Eastman (the monster-man in ANTHROPOPHAGUS and ABSURD and the lead stud in EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD) stars as Carlo a preening svengali-esque hustler brute who toils on the back-end of the entertainment business, grafting gigs and delighting in the exploitation and degradation of his lover, the sweet-natured and fragile Francoise (Patrizia Gori). As the film opens, Carlo subjects the girl to one blow too many and she jumps in front of a train.  Enter Francoise’s sister Emanuelle ( in this incarnation played by SALON KITTY’s Rosemarie Lindt), who traces the sad tale of her sister’s decline via letters, with each despicable incident leeringly illustrated by D’Amato for the audience’s outrage and titillation. Soon, Emanuelle hatches a plot to seduce, trap and torture the bastard, locking him in a room armed with a two-way mirror, drugging him and subjecting him to endless images of her getting off with a succession of lovers, both male and female.

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