A destination dedicated to providing news, reviews, fan art, and comments about cartoons and horror movies from the '80s and '90s.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MIA on DVD - THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER

Michele Soavi's THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER (aka La setta, The Sect, or Demons 4) is a hardly seen film from one of Italy's greatest directors. Not only was the film readily UNavailable on VHS, it still hasn't seen the light of day on DVD. Produced and Co-Written by Dario Argento (Soavi's protege), The Sect is a surreal satanic thriller in the vein of Rosemary's Baby with an artsy edge.


I haven't seen the film in a number of years, so it's hard to remember many details about it. I do remember it being slightly confusing. It's definitely a film that needs to be watched a few times to get the full meaning behind it.

The film stars Kelly Curtis (older sister of Jamie Lee Curtis) as Miriam Kreisl, a young school teacher who almost runs over an old man with a box and takes him in. It's no accident that the old man has come into her life, and it quickly becomes apparent that he has plans for her, plans that involve a permanent future with the Satanic cult (IMDB).

I have to admit, the film wasn't a particular favourite of mine, however, Soavi is by far one of the most underrated directors and one of my favourite. He hasn't made a horror film since Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man), which is a real shame. At the very least it would be great to be able to have all of his films on DVD. It's a surprise that a company like Anchor Bay (who released three of his other films - Cemetery Man, The Church and Stage Fright, hasn't picked up this film for distribution. Since we didn't get much on the other three DVD releases, I'm not expecting a whole lot for a DVD release of The Devil's Daughter. The movie, a good transfer and maybe the trailer would suffice at this point. Not much artwork is really available for the DVD. Here's what I could find...




I'm not a huge fan of either artwork. But since the Kelly Curtis image seems to be the most used, they might as well use it. Here's cover art from a bootleg DVD that looks pretty cool:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD Blu-ray Review


Lucio Fulci's CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD is must watch for any zombie fan. The film doesn't fit into any of the classic zombie templates and stands out in horror movie history as truly being original and kind of weird. COTLD is NOT my favourite of Fulci's unofficial "Gates of Hell" movies, but it certainly is enjoyable.


The movie begins with the suicide of Father William Thomas. This suicide opens one of the 'gates of hell' unleashing the dead to the sleepy town of Dunwich. In New York, a group of psychics have tapped into this suicide during a seance and one of them, Mary (Fulci regular Catriona MacColl) dies of utter fright. The NYPD launch on all out investigation in to what caused Mary's (MacColl) death. Luckily investigative reporter Peter Bell (Christopher George) is on the case and stumbles upon Mary's gravesite. Just as her body is to be buried, she comes back to life and Peter saves her. The two embark on a quest to find out what happened in Dunwich and try to get there in time to close the portal to hell. Unlucky for them, they have to take on a horde of Dunwich zombies to save the day.

Many may know the film from its original US alternate title, THE GATES OF HELL - a title I prefer much more. COTLD is very surreal and contains some amazing gore set-pieces. It also features some really absurd moments, which I'm sure will leave you scratching your head (like the ending)...but it wouldn't be an Italian horror film without them. Other notable aspects of the film are the great cast of Italian movie superstars (MacColl, Christopher George, Michele Soavi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice & even Fulci himself makes an appearance), music by Fabio Frizzi and make-up FX by the brilliant Gino De Rossi.


The film is probably known best for its crazy ass gore scenes as I mentioned above. Some notable scenes include: intestine puking scene, drill bit to the head, brain ripping/scalping (x2 or maybe 3) and stomach/crotch hole punching. These scenes really do make the movie THAT much better. The production designer also has to be commended. The film really has this eerie feel to it, like the town of Dunwich only exists in dreams. It's hard to explain...you should probably just see the movie.


Blue Underground released the movie onto Blu-ray for the first time a month ago on May 25th. It took me a while to find the time to sit down and watch it in one sitting - and I'm glad I did. BU did a fantastic job with this release. The sound and picture quality far exceeded my expectations. Check out all of the screen caps at blu-ray.com or dvdbeaver.com for an idea of how good it looks. The only negative comment I have is that the picture quality is so clear now that some of the gore scenes look more fake then they ever have before. For years I didn't realize it was a dummy's head puking up the intestines. It always looked so real to me that I thought the girl really did throw up as much as what is seen on screen.

Special Features
Blue Underground really left no stone unturned when it came to this release. For those of you who already own the DVD Anchor Bay released a few years back, this is definitely worth the upgrade for special features alone.

The Making of City of the Living Dead (32 min)
A short and sweet doc that goes over all the important aspects of the film (make-up, design, locations, actors). It even includes interviews with Michele Soavi! Any doc with Soavi in it, is amazing in my books. Gino De Rossi explains how they did a few of the special FX sequences - gut puking scene, maggot scene, blood eyes, etc. My only complaint is that I wish they included some more behind-the-scenes footage...that is if there is any more that exists.

Acting Among the Living Dead - Interview with Star Catriona MacColl (11 min)
Catriona MacColl explains how she got the job working on COTLD, her thoughts on the script and her relationship with Fulci and Christopher George. A good interview for those that are fans of the actress.

Entering the Gates of Hell - Interview with Star Giovanni Lombardo Radice (10 min)
Interviews with Radice are always fun to watch. He's not one of the biggest fans of these movies, so its funny to hear his anecdotes about making a film like COTLD. I especially like how he says that the script made absolutely no sense when he read it. Unfortunately, by this point you kind of get bored hearing about Fulci and his crazy antics on set. That leads us to...

Memories of the Maestro - Lucio Fulci (21 min)
Maybe it's because I've seen so many docs about Fulci, including the fantastic PAURA DVD, but I think I've heard enough about his abusiveness on set. He was a cranky old man...move on. The coolest thing about this featurette is they managed to interview most of the cast and crew from COTLD. It's fun to see what the cast looks like today.

Marketing of the Living Dead (13 min)
Probably my favourite special feature on the disc. Blue Underground has compiled all of the promo, poster, DVD, and VHS artwork into one side scrolling video. I haven't seen a compilation like this before on another DVD or Blu-ray. I hope they continue to display the promotional artwork like this on future releases.

Also included are some trailers and radio spots for the film - all in HD.

Arrow Video in the UK also released the film on Blu-ray recently. I haven't seen the Arrow release but it does seem to contain quite a few more extras. The video presentation is slightly different than Blue Underground's even though they both went in on the transfer together. For those of you who are die-hard fans of the film, you'll probably want both releases. If you can only afford one release and you must have all of the extras, I'd go with the Arrow release. But if you're a casual fan like myself, I highly recommend you pick up the Blue Underground release. And for all of you out there who haven't seen this film, I recommend you give it a rent before purchasing. It is definitely for acquired tastes and gore-hounds only.

*All screen grabs "borrowed" from dvdbeaver.com. Check out blu-ray.com and dvdbeaver.com for more details on the video and audio presentation of City of the Living Dead.

ARTWORK FACE OFF

There are 8 different styles of artwork used for City of the Living Dead. All of which would make a great cover...well, maybe minus the Pakistani artwork.

North American Blue Underground Artwork / International Artwork (UK, Italy)

French Artwork

German Artwork

Alternate Italian Artwork

Pakistani Artwork

Thai Artwork

Original North American VHS/Theatrical Artwork
Also used on the Anchor Bay initial DVD release.

NEW Arrow Video Artwork

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the original North American artwork. I think that is the case for most American fans of the film. Hell, they've even made masks of the eyeball-missing zombie. Since the artwork has already been featured on the Anchor Bay DVD, it's good to get something new. However, I think in the end Arrow Video wins because not only do they feature brand new kick ass artwork, they also added 3 other artwork options for you to choose from when displaying on your shelf. On top of that they've included post-card sized poster images for all of the other artwork and a collectible booklet. One question though...what the hell is with the yellow, blue, green, purple & red below each image on all of Arrow Video's releases?

Friday, June 25, 2010

FAN ART FRIDAY - Thomas Bonvillain

I stumbled upon Thomas Bonvillain's artwork when I was putting together last week's Fan Art Friday for the Toxic Avenger. He doesn't have a ton of fan art, but what he does have is awesome. I LOVE his Troll 2 artwork! I hope to see more horror fan art from him in the future. Click here to check out some of his original creations.

Maniac Cop

Candyman

Jeff Goldblum - The Fly

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Cartoon Intro - C.O.P.S.


Not to be confused with the Fox reality series COPS that has run for years and years, C.O.P.S. (Central Organization of Police Specialists) is an awesome cartoon from the 80s and one of the many cartoons released by DiC Entertainment. I'm sure any kid who grew up in the 80s had seen this show before. The intro music is very memorable and so is the tag line - "Fighting crime in a future time". I've probably said this before about other intros, but this is hands down one of the best. Shout Factory has been releasing the series on DVD. In 2006 they released the 1st volume and only a couple of months ago they released volume 2. No word yet on when the final volume will be released.

C.O.P.S. Cartoon Intro


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

News, HH#24, RM #102 & The Exorcist on Blu-ray

I'm now in LA for the next 6 weeks so it may be a little more difficult to post updates and news. I'll continue to post Cartoon Intros and Fan Art Friday's, but everything else may continue to be very sporadic. I have a ton of reviews and MIA on DVD entries to post. I should have time in the next few weeks to post some of them. Until then, here's some news...

Horror Hound Issue #24

Horror Hound released images of their upcoming July issue on horrorbid.com. Looks like they will have a huge Friday the 13th retrospective. Fans of the series should pick this issue up because their retrospectives are sometimes better than any commentary or making-of on a DVD. Also, for fans of MIA on DVD, this issue features a list of 100 movies not currently available on DVD.

Rue Morgue Issue #102
Rue Morgue also released a cover image for their next issue. While I loved [rec]2 when I saw it at TIFF '09, this cover is just kind of ugly.

The Exorcist Blu-ray - Coming October 5, 2010
I think it is finally time to buy The Exorcist on disc. For years I've contemplated buying the movie on DVD, but kept waiting for the right time and the best package. This definitely looks like the best release so far! Check out the special features listed below (thanks to blu-ray.com). Let's just hope Friedkin didn't fuck up the transfer on this one. I know this one isn't from the 80s or 90s, but I just couldn't resist.

Disc 1: - Extended Director's Cut (2000) plus Special Features

  • Commentary by William Friedkin
  • Raising Hell: Filming the Exorcist – set footage produced and photographed by Owen Roizman, camera and makeup tests, and interviews with director William Friedkin, actress Linda Blair, author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty and Owen Roizman (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
  • The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now – Featuring a tour of the iconic locations where the film was shot (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
  • Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist – with director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty discussing the different versions of the film and featuring outtakes from the film (new; Blu-ray exclusive)
  • Trailers, TV spots & radio spots from the film's 2000 release
Disc 2 - Theatrical Cut (1973) plus Special Features

  • Introduction by William Friedkin
  • Commentaries:

    • William Friedkin
    • William Peter Blatty with Special Sound Effects Tests
  • The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist [1998 BBC documentary]
  • Additional interviews with William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty:

    • The Original Cut
    • Stairway to Heaven
    • The Final Reckoning
  • Original ending
  • Sketches & storyboards
  • Trailers & TV spots from the 1973 version

Friday, June 18, 2010

FAN ART FRIDAY - TOXIC AVENGER/CRUSADERS

I figured since I posted the Toxic Crusaders intro yesterday, today would be a good day to show you all of the amazing Toxic Avenger and Toxic Crusaders art I have found. Some of it is quite awesome.

Toxic Avenger Fan Art



by danfelixca - he was commissioned by Troma to design this for a proposed Toxic Avenger 5






by SAGG

by Jamie Biggs and Lawnz






















Toxic Crusaders Fan Art



by MikeBock






by SAGG