Looking to finally get her life changing news story, journalist Carmen (Cindy Sampson – TV’s SUPERNATURAL, THE LAST KISS) along with her intern Sara (Meghan Heffern – CHLOE, THE FOG) and Carmen’s photographer boyfriend Marcus (Aaron Ashmore – FEAR ISLAND, TV’S WAREHOUSE 13) travel to a village in Poland where an American boy has gone missing without a trace. As they arrive in the village the trio are immediately meet with hostility from the locals. Not to be deterred they notice a strange fog in the sky above the surrounding woods and decide to investigate. Intrigued they head into the woods and find an unmoving wall of fog. Splitting up the group head into the mist, but that is where the horror really begins.
The only way I can really describe THE SHRINE is a mix between EVIL DEAD and THE LAST EXORCISM with a little bit of SUPERNATURAL but in to add a little flavor into the mix. FINALLY a decent horror film has come out on DVD and Blu-Ray this year; I was beginning to think it would never happen. THE SHRINE is just one of those hidden gems that seem to go straight to disk, and personally I think it is a shame. THE SHRINE has some much going for it; it is not only very well directed but for the first time in months I can actually say it was very VERY well written. The script works for a change and it even has something you don’t normally see anymore and that is an ending that actually makes sense! THANK GOD!
The cast of actors and actresses were well chosen. We have Cindy Sampson who will be best known as Lisa, Dean’s partner, in SUPERNATURAL season 6, who takes the lead role very well. Without spoiling the film, her role in the films closing acts was FANTASTIC and I’m am hoping we will see her more upcoming horror films in the future. The biggest applause has to be to director and writer Jon Knautz who has created a horror master class of sorts.
THE SHRINE is a perfect example of modern horror, if you are looking for a great watch that will chill you to the core then grab a copy of THE SHRINE straightaway....what are you waiting for?
Release date: 27th February 2012
Format: Blu-Ray & DVD
Running Time: 82 mins
R.R.P: (DVD) £12.99 (Blu-Ray) TBA
When Aspiring Journalist Fiona Wagner (Katheryn Winnick – SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER, AMUSEMENT) is dragged into the middle of a murder case she thinks it is the launch of her career. But when she begins getting messages from the killer it becomes clear that the killer is playing a twisted game. Making his victims choose their fates the killer begins killing the people who have done him wrong in the past.
I had that “who is this horror starlet” moment when seeing Katheryn Winnick, I remember seeing her in movies before but it just didn’t dawn on me until it clicked! She was the main girl is my guilty pleasure SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER. So with this we got off on a good footing. Now regular readers of Snakebite will properly have guessed by now that I love 90’s Slashers and torture films along the lines of SAW and THE LOVED ONES and with CHOOSE this is the mixture of films you get. If you take the feel of URBAN LEGEND and the edgy grit of Se7en you will have a horror baby in the form of this film.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is nowhere near a bad thing. I have been bombarded over the last year with some seriously bad slasher/gore films and with CHOOSE I was pleasantly surprised by the professional feel and look the film had. We have just enough gore and just enough cheese, which is a hard mixture to pull off (remember CHAIN LETTER?)
CHOOSE pulls out all the stops. We have some good acting and direction, and yeah maybe the script is like something from the old school teen slashers we all grew up with but that is all part of the films charm. My one bad point for the film is the awful ending, I guessed pretty early on who our killer was and the reveal seemed rushed to me as it tried to fill the gaps in a five minute time slot but I will, for once, let it slide as the rest of the film was such a joy to watch.
Release date: Out Now
Running Time: 100 mins
Amazon Price: (DVD) £7.99
Made back in 1994 and only just finding a release, this has to be one of the most pretentious, badly-made piles of bollocks I've seen for a long time that didn't have 'The Asylum presents...' at the start.
The recently buried bodies at a small Italian cemetery rise from their graves and attack the local cemetery keeper. He struggles with this and a failing and desperate love-lust thing. Then-- ah fuck it. It's shit and goes off the rails.
The acting is utter crap all round. It's like one of those early 1980s Israeli sex comedies, with bad ADR, shabby performances and glassy-eyed women littering the screen. The camera work is no better., with 'action' shots being blown by capturing the back of the filming motorbike in many shots, shadows of the crew and other rookie mistakes throughout.
The story is pure tripe. It plays like a film dissertation by a stoned idiot that clearly spent the entire semester at film school picking his bum and making models of Scooby Doo out of the resultant mess. Characters go through such an obvious 'change' as the film goes on that they might as well have the stage directions flash up on screen. That's be more subtle.
The bird in this, Anna something, sticks true to Italian horror cinema and whips her gravity-defying jugs out within 20 minutes of the film starting. Even this can't save the film though. I found myself reaching for the fast forward button so many times that I had to throw the remote across the room just to make sure I sat through it all.
If you're brave/bored/dead enough to make it towards the end, you'll be rewarded with one of the cackiest endings in cinema history.
Martin Scorcese called this "one of the most exciting films in Italian horror cinema of the 1990s."
I call it "A big stinking cloud of eggy bum-guff."
audio commentary by director Michele Soavi and writer Gianni Romoli; exclusive booklet of Alan Jones’ personal on-set memoir; trailers; photo gallery; English and Italian (with English subtitles) audio options.
Release date: 27th February 2012
Running Time: 103 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99
Coming to Blu-Ray Double-Play this March is DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS. This is the third part of the hugely popular series of HAMMER HORROR to star Christopher Lee as the world’s most prolific vampire.
Ten years after the events of HORROR OF DRACULA, a group of English travelers - Charles Kent (Francis Matthews – THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN), his brother Alan (Charles Tingwell – TV’s NEIGHBORS, INNOCENCE) and their wives Diana (Suzan Farmer- RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK, THE SCARLET BLADE and Helen (Barbara Shelley – VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT) find themselves at Dracula’s castle after a coach driver refuses to take them into Karlsbad. Taken to the castle in a horse drawn carriage the group are welcomed by the counts menacing servant Klove, who serves them dinner and makes up their rooms for them. However once the sun sets Kloves evil plot to resurrect his fallen master gets underway.
Over the last year I have been visiting the old hammer horror films in an attempt to learn to legendary horror films of yesteryear, this also fits in well with the Blu-Ray releases from Studio Canal who have yet another year of brilliant Hammer films coming out. DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS is just one of those films you can’t hate. This is a classic, and with the screen icon Christopher Lee reprising his role as the count I felt I have been treated to a well directed films with suspense, a thing I think we are missing in modern cinema. The acting was very British and very Hammer, which is a good thing. I was very happy to see my favorite Hammer diva Suzan Farmer (If you look at my review of THE SCARLET BLADE I say more or less the same lovely words about her) an actress who is the image of beauty.
If you say you love vampire films but haven’t seen DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS then this is a must have for your collection. This film has all the suspense and action you would expect from this series of films and will show the TWILIGHT fans out there what a REAL vampire looks like.
Extras: Audio commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews and Barbara Shelley / World of Hammer episode “Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee” / Back To Black: The Making of Dracula Prince of Darkness / Super 8mm behind the scenes footage / Restoration comparison / Trailer / Double bill trailer / Original USA Titles / Original Print UK Theatrical titles
Release date: 5th March 2012
Format: Blu-Ray Double-Play
Running Time: 90 mins
RRP Price: (Blu-Ray Double-Play) £22.99
The film kicks off with James Eaves’ THE RIPPER, a short about a psychopathic serial killer who tortures young women only to be taught a brutal lesson. Although not as good as his previous film BANE, THE RIPPER has a cheesy horror feel to it and you can tell through the low budget look that the film is in a way poking fun at the genre slightly.
The second part of this threesome is the humorous STITCH GIRL, directed by Alan Ronald ('Jesus vs the Messiah') which is a throwback to the old universal monster movies. Eleanor James (WEBKAM, FOREST OF THE DAMNED 2) plays a Franken-girl created by Madame Raven to please a client with a specific set of needs.
And our final part is directed by Pat Higgins ('KillerKiller', 'Hellbride', 'TrashHouse') titled Vice Day which is a brutal mix of blood and nudity which would be great for horror fans who are into the lower budget films.
My overall thoughts on the film? Well I wasn’t a huge lover of it but I am not the biggest lover of micro-budget horror as a whole. The films are well directed and the story lines to work but unless you are a fan of films like FOREST OF THE DAMNED or the works of the three directors then you may be a little disappointed. Gore and breasts is what this film has so if you are into that kind of horror then this is a choice to consider.
These are, at the end of the day, well written and well directed but it is my feeling about the budget of the film which knocks down the rating for me.
From three of Britain's lesser known indie horror directors comes Bordello Death Tales, a trilogy of films set around Madame Raven’s mysterious Bordello.
From Legendary Italian Cult Horror director Dario Argento, comes this fully remastered 40th anniversary edition of FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET.
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET is the story of rock drummer Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon – CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER) notices he is constantly being followed by a strange man dressed in black. Deciding enough is enough he follows his stalker to an abandoned theatre, where the confrontation turns into accidental murder when Tobias stabs the man in black. But he is not alone. From the upper level of the theatre a puppet masked stranger is taking photos of the whole fatal situation. The next day Tobias receives the dead man’s ID card in the post. Assuming it has been sent by his new masked stalker , he becomes concerned that the masked man has left no blackmail demands. Roberto’s fear and paranoia increase, and the mystery deepens, when his and his wife Nina’s (Mimsy Farmer – BLACK CAT, MORE) housemaid is found murdered in a local park and it becomes obvious that an intruder has had access to their apartment.
This is my first taste Argento’s work and when speaking to my fellow horror fans, normally during Film4 FrightFest, I have always been told that he is the go to guy for Italian horror. Even though i found myself getting bored half way through, due to the film dragging on a little, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET was actually a worth watch. I watched this English Dubbed (yes I know what a very bad idea) however I would suggest you watch it in the original Italian language. The acting may seem a bit wooden by today’s standards but i found it fitting to the era of cinema and the general feel you got from the more cult horror films from that era. The build up to the reveal was well put together. I for one thought i knew who the killer was until we are given the curve ball.
Some of the deaths are a bit laughable but it didn’t really bother me that much as this kind of slasher style horror is meant to have a touch of comedy to it am I right?
Overall FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET is a worthwhile watch. A tad slow mid way with so cringe moments of acting but it is great to final see this film reach the light of day.
- Introduction to the film by Luigi Cozzi.
- New, exclusive and extensive recent interview on the making of Four Flies On Grey Velvet with writer and assistant director Luigi Cozzi.
- Original English audio remastered in HD exclusively for this Shameless release from the original magnetic soundtrack and available for the first time since the film’s original theatrical opening in the 1970s.
- Shameless re-build edit of the complete version of the film including four inserts of previously missing footage known amongst Argento fans as the legendary “missing forty seconds” (the inserts are in Standard-Definition quality). The Blu-ray will allow for seamless branching of the four inserts giving viewers two versions of the film: one all HD without the re-inserted scenes and one longer version including the inserts.
- Restoration of all individual damaged frames, most notably with respect to the removal of the black diagonal frame line (caused by the film jumping the high speed camera gate) in the final car crash sequence.
- Optional Italian audio version in HD with English subtitles.
- Italian and English trailers.
- Alternate English opening and closing credits.
- Shameless Trailer Park (Blu-ray only).
Release date: Out Now
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
Running Time: 99 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99 (Blu-Ray) £24.99
Set before the events of the original John Carpenter film of the same, THE THING is set at an Antarctic research site where a team of Norwegian and American scientists have uncovered an alien spacecraft which has been trapped under the ice for 100,000 years. However the most shocking discovery is the alien creature they find encased in a coffin of ice. The Creature is taken to the base where Graduate Student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead – SCOTT PILGRAM VS THE WORLD, DIE HARD 4.0) and lead scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen – SEASON OF THE WITCH, HITMAN) get ready to undertake an autopsy to find out more about it, but the creature isn’t as dead as they first thought. While the team celebrate the life-changing find the frozen beast escapes, taking host of anyone it comes in contact with and replacing the team with evil replicas.
Sound familiar? That because it is more or less the same story we saw in the original. Okay maybe it is a bit early to start comparing the two films as there are obviously differences between the two.
If THE THING was handed to the public as a brand new film i think i may have enjoyed it better. I found the creatures a tad over CGI’d for my liking and personally would have rather had the great effects from the original BUT in this era of CGI and effects it was obvious that this is what we would get. Saying that THE THING has its fair share of gore and violence and will keep most horror fans watching.
It is nice to see the events prior to the original and it even, in a way, explained the events of the previous film. The acting I can’t complain about, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a good lead character throughout and the feel of cabin fever style fear from the rest of the cast added a nice level of tension. Direction was good but as a lover of the original I still feel that a lot if the scenes are way too much alike for my liking.
If you are looking for some evening entertainment with friends or a partner then sure this is good film to choose and i can assume that a lot of my younger readers may not have seen the original film and this is where the negative comes in. If you are a fan of the original, even though this is a good watch, you may be left with the same feeling of déjà vu as I did but it is still worth a watch.
Release date: 26th March 2012
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
Running Time: 98 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £19.99 (Blu-Ray) £24.99
The Thing (2011) and The Thing (1982) Boxset
Release date 26th March 2012
DVD boxset £22.99