Friday, January 15, 2021

Joint Security Area (2000)


Director: Park Chan-wook

Notable Cast: Lee Yeong-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho, Kim Tae-woo, Shin Ha-kyun, Herbert Ulrich, Christoph Hofrichter

 

Park Chan-wook has become synonymous with the bright streak of artistic talent coming out of South Korea since the mid-90s. Even though Bong Joon-ho is the one that might be a more household name since he swept his Oscars last year, it was Park Chan-wook that was previously the name to know when it came bold cinema from the market. What makes the director’s career so interesting is that he has increasingly moved further from the mainstream with his films, despite attempts to break out in the international market with English language films like Stoker. And while his third film, Joint Security Area, might be one of his most mainstream ones, it’s a flick that doesn’t shy away from the style and themes that made Park Chan-wook such an iconic artist. With its most recent Blu Ray release, it was only the perfect time to revisit the dark military thriller to see if the film holds up.

 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Castle Freak (2020)


Directed by: Tate Steinsiek

Notable cast: Clair Catherine, Kika Magalhães, Jake Horowitz. Genti Kame

 

*Editor's Note: Blood Brothers and its writers do not condone nor support the atocities that Cinestate allowed and promoted under their banner in the treatment of their staff. Their predatory actions are disturbing. We asked the author of this article to review the film on its own merits to fulfill requests we had from readers to cover this film. However, this film is produced by Cinestate and all of our readers should be aware of their actions. Here is a link to the original article from The Daily Beast concerning this issue: THE DAILY BEAST CINESTATE ARTICLE.  Thank you. 


There are few names in horror that stand as tall as Stuart Gordon. Even if you don’t know his name, his unimpeachable legacy, including most famously Re-Animator, left a mark on the genre I hold so dearly as one of the few who successfully managed to film any adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s work, much less to any acclaim critically or by the masses. One of his most oddball films, which he infamously took on after seeing a concept poster in the Full Moon offices and was loosely inspired by the Lovecraft story The Outsider - deep emphasis on “loosely,” and the infamous edict by producer Charles Band that it contains “a castle, a freak, and a low budget.” Released to little fanfare, and being a controversial at best cult classic, Castle Freak in many ways is exactly the kind of film that is ripe for a remake. And remade it has been.

 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival: Smiley Face Killers (2020)


Directed by: Tim Hunter

Notable cast: Ronen Rubinstein, Mia Serafino, Amadeus Serafini, Crispin Glover

 

From the nineties through the early aughts there were a series of drownings of young men throughout the Midwest, and upon noticing a pattern of smiley face graffiti accompanying these tragic deaths, a few law enforcement experts, including two detectives, put forward a theory that these were serial murders. This has been shot down and ridiculed by the crime-fighting community writ large, but the basic idea of this inspired this thriller from director Tim Hunter and the mind of writer Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho). If you’re familiar with Ellis’ work, broadly, a good portion of this movie feels very in line with his vision of the world. Young, upper-middle-class men and their many social struggles. His characters are, almost by definition, hard to relate to, which makes for a tough sell in what is ostensibly a slasher movie or, at the very least, a film styled as one.

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

No Franchise Fatigue Podcast: Ring in the New Year! (January 2021) [Ring Franchise Part III]


Hear Matt and Sean defend a film with a 7% Rotten Tomatoes score! Cower beneath the exploding hair of a spin-off! And then listen to them... wait, is that a magic well in Matt's backyard? Matt and Sean spent New Years watching cursed video tapes, and now, almost seven days later, it's time to discuss the final four Ring movies (for now) in what Matt lovingly calls “The Sadako Phase." Let's 'Ring in the New Year' with our third episode capping off the well of Sadako films. 









Max Cloud (2020)


Director: Martin Owen

Notable Cast: Scott Adkins, Franz Drameh, John Hannah, Lashana Lynch, Elliot James Langridge, Isabelle Allen, Sally Collett, Sam Hazeldine, Tommy Flanagan, Jason Maza, Andi Osho

Also known as: The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud

 

It only makes sense that there would be a boom of video game movies in the aftermath of two very successful Jumanji sequels. Of course, by ‘video game movies,’ I mean movies that inherently involve deconstructing video game tropes and are not directly based on video game IP. And by that, I mean films that feel more like Jumanji 2 and 3, but aren’t Gamer, an underrated gem of a film that deserves a bit more credit, but I digress. This is where Max Cloud presses starts and joins the fray. In essence, this little can do low-budget film takes the same basic idea as the last couple of Jumanji films and then gives it a decidedly fun intergalactic beat-em-up spin. Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the Scott Adkins casting, I’m not sure this would have made my list to watch. Yet the pleasant surprise of the film being a delightfully entertaining experience was a bonus and for those looking for a fun way to burn 90 minutes, look no further than Max Cloud and his rowdy band of intergalactic ass-kickers.

 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection - The Naked Zoo (1970) and Mako: Jaws of Death (1976)


Although I don’t claim to be a particular fan of the microbudget horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of this era – as I am most certainly reminded regularly from my reviews on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films here on the site, part of me was excited to dig into this latest box set dedicated to the strange works of director William Grefe. All of these films were new to me and each disc of the set will be covered in a series of articles here on the site – which reviews the films on each disc. So, hop in your swamp boat with me, buckle in, and let’s take a dive into the works of Grefe in this gorgeous new release from Arrow Video, He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection!

Here is disc three: The Naked Zoo and Mako: Jaws of Death.






Tuesday, December 29, 2020

NFF Presents For Your Lists Only: We Wish You A Scary Christmas - Top 2020 Horror (December 2020)


Matt and Sean run down the best horror and horror adjacent movies of the year! Of course, arguments ensue because it's the holidays and family must fight. Hear Matt butcher a Crypt Keeper voice! Will Sean try to give Matt a stroke with one of his choices? Not to mention, they debate if the year 2020 is actually the best horror film of the year. Tune in!






Sunday, December 20, 2020

Pitch Black (2000)


Director: David Twohy

Notable Cast: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, John Moore, Simon Burke

 

Vin Diesel’s career has certainly had its ups and downs and, quite frankly, most of his key franchises feel like roller coasters of quality as they careen around attempting to find their footing. One of those happens to be the Riddick series which saw itself soar so high, the sun melted its wings, and it quickly crashed to the ground to become a passion project series for the divisive actor. It’s origins in Pitch Black, the little-film-that-could, are still impressive though. It’s a tight, ambitious, and effective piece of science fiction horror that still holds up. The latest 4K release of the film, courtesy of our friends at Arrow Video, is a welcome upgrade to the previous Blu Ray in my collection that sports not only a slew of the various original and new features, but a gorgeous transfer that maximizes one of the key aspects of its visual style.

 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

NFF Presents Good, Bad, Weird, Wild: Here Comes Santa Claus...RUN! [Bad Santa Films] (December 2020)


Some Santas have rosy red cheeks and big bellies that jiggle like jelly… others shoot innocent people on garbage day and play curling (the devil’s sport). Guess which ones Sean and Matt are discussing?

Do you wanna hear Matt and Sean agree for once? How about if we both choose a film for the 'bad' category that has a die-hard cult following? Is curling really Satan's sport? What are the origins of holiday horror? To find out, you have to tune in! Check out our episode on Bad Santas!








Thursday, December 10, 2020

No Franchise Fatigue: Leo Getz An NFF Holiday Special! (December 2020) [Lethal Weapon]


Matt and Sean spend the twelve days of Christmas talking about the action classic franchise, Lethal Weapon. Topics include Richard Donner, Mel Gibson doing some Tom Cruise running, sharks on boats, Matt has an existential crisis trying to research Lethal Weapon 4, and Sean attempts to explain who the actor is that plays a random thug in an armored car. 







Monday, December 7, 2020

The Deeper You Dig (2019)


Directors: John Adams, Toby Poser

Notable Cast: John Adams, Toby Poser, Zelda Adams, Shawn Wilson, Joan Poser

 

One of the great problems to have when attending a film festival is that often a person can burn themselves out watching new films. As I said, a great problem. During my time at the Telluride Horror Show in 2019, I was privy to see The Deeper You Dig, an ambitious little indie horror flick made on a shoestring budget by, in essence, one family. Between the burnout and the lack of sleep, I didn’t feel fully comfortable at the time doing a full review for the film. Fortunately, the wait to see it again wasn’t long. Our good friends over at Arrow Video picked up the film for distribution and with the snazzy new Blu Ray in tow, I was ready to dig deeper into The Deeper You Dig.

 

Yea, I’m glad I waited to review this with fresh eyes.

 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection - The Hooked Generation (1968) and The Psychedelic Priest (1971)


Although I don’t claim to be a particular fan of the microbudget horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of this era – as I am most certainly reminded regularly from my reviews on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films here on the site, but part of me was excited to dig into this latest box set dedicated to the strange works of director William Grefe. All of these films were new to me and each disc of the set will be covered in a series of articles here on the site – which reviews the films on each disc. So, hop in your swamp boat with me, buckle in, and let’s take a dive into the works of Grefe in this gorgeous new release from Arrow Video, He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection!


Here is disc two: The Hooked Generation and The Psychedelic Priest.

 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Warning from Space (1956)


Director: Koji Shima

Notable Cast: Keizo Kawasaki, Toyomi Karita, Bin Yagisawa, Shozo Nanbu, Bontaro Miake, Mieko Nagai

 

It’s no secret that WWII changed cinema and how audiences reacted to it. There are a small mountain of books, articles, and authors that really dig into the boom of creature features and science fiction that erupted throughout the 1950s and 1960s, so that will not be the intention of this review to explore those facets beyond this introduction. It is a trend and approach to genre filmmaking that becomes important to this article, focused on the film Warning from Space, the 1956 Japanese science fiction romp from Daiei Studios. 

 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

No Franchise Fatigue: Candyman'd Yams! (November 2020) [Candyman Franchise]


After a small mental health hiatus (the editor drove across the country! Literally East to West!!) we squeak into the end of November with a sweet treat! The Candyman franchise.








Friday, November 27, 2020

He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection - Sting of Death (1966) and Death Curse of Tartu (1966)


Although I don’t claim to be a particular fan of the microbudget horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of this era – as I am most certainly reminded regularly from my reviews on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films here on the site, but part of me was excited to dig into this latest box set dedicated to the strange works of director William Grefe. All of these films were new to me and each disc of the set will be covered in a series of articles here on the site – which reviews the films on each disc. So, hop in your swamp boat with me, buckle in, and let’s take a dive into the works of Grefe in this gorgeous new release from Arrow Video, He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection!

Here is disc one: Sting of Death and Death Curse of Tartu.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Graveyards of Honor: Graveyard of Honor (1975) and Graveyard of Honor (2002)


Two of the most iconic genre directors to ever come out of Japan are Kinji Fukasaku and Takashi Miike. If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you’ll notice that these are two are often discussed and that’s because of two reasons. Firstly, so much of their material is getting brand new English friendly releases from various distribution companies and we like to support these companies along with discussing cult icons. Secondly, they are incredible directors and deserve to have their lengthy careers discussed. For this review, both directors will be discussed because Arrow Video recently put out the Graveyards of Honor boxset that features Fukasaku’s 1970s original and Miike’s 00s remake. Both are classics in their own regard and hopefully, if you haven’t already purchased this set – then this double feature article will prompt a few people to pick it up. It’s a wildly nihilistic and extremely effective dual piece of cinematic genre bliss.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Burst City (1982)


Director: Gakuryu Ishii – under the name Sogo Ishii

Notable Cast: Michiro Endo, Kansai Eto, Shigeru Izumiya, Akaji Maro, Takanori Jinnai

 

After the release of the Shinya Tsukamoto set by Arrow Video earlier this year, the announcement of the upcoming Blu Ray release of the cult and underground Burst City was compelling. It’s a film I’ve heard referred to a handful of times as one of the most punk pieces of cinema to exist not to mention an early cornerstone of cyberpunk. Although this statement wholly rings true, the punk attitude of the film is also the reason why it’s a film that will only have its established cult audience and not reach individuals beyond that. It’s abrasive, in all the ways one might expect, but its inconsistency of tone and meandering narrative hardly work to drive the more compelling aspects. The energy can be infectious and the audacity of its rebel spirit to dutifully expressed in the style, but Burst City is not nearly the iconic underground work it’s often labeled as in cinema.

 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Lake Michigan Monster (2018)


Director: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews

Notable Cast: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beluah Peters, Daniel Long, Wayne Tews

 

Absurdist humor is one of those genres that has largely died out in feature-length film, particularly of the mainstream variety. Occasionally, one will seep through the cracks in indie cinema, but rarely does it find legs with a larger audience and garners a wide release – even on home video. Yet, Arrow Video have graced us with a wide Blu Ray release of Lake Michigan Monster, a film perpetually on the edge of falling from absurdist to pure horrifying surrealism. With style to spare, this little low budget creature feature has such an often perplexingly intense energy that it’s hard not to just join in on the sprint to whatever next level of insanity that the film is spiraling toward.

 

As with so much comedy that leans towards nonsense, Lake Michigan Monster is a film that can be hard to follow if an audience to dedicated to ‘Understanding’ what is going on in the film. It’s a film best taken like the tiny kayak that our protagonists utilize to wade out 6 feet into Lake Michigan to hunt the beast – a launching pad for a descent into madness on plans that have no logic.

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

NFF Presents For Your Lists Only: Body Horror Month (October 2020)


Producer's Note: Life stuff, both on personal and national scales, has been in the way of editing the episodes as of recently.

A new series is tough, as I define music and the visual look of youtube versions for each new show and that process takes longer than you might think (thus us changing themes a couple of times already)... But! I need to catch up on releases because one episode into the new theme months was maybe not the best time for the world to fall apart. (Facepalm) so it's in that spirit that I'm kicking out Pilot Season, two "alpha" versions of two new shows... forgive the lack of music and zazz... but there will be better versions re-uploaded in the future. -- Sean


Nonetheless, here is the latest episode of NFF Presents - For Your Lists Only, part of the new Season 2 roster, and our hosts, Sean and Matt, tackle their top five 80s body horror practical effects. Enjoy. 


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Come Play (2020)


Director: Jacob Chase

Notable Cast: Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr, Winslow Fegley, Jayden Marine, Gavin MacIver-Wright

 

One of the more perplexing things that has happened since the re-opening of theaters after the pandemic started was that the films that are getting released truly feel dumped onto screens. Most of the bigger titles have shifted out to 2021 or later and what’s left is a hodgepodge of various genre titles that have been given approximately zero real marketing. Studios and producers are terrified to spend any more money on these titles. This leaves some decent films high and dry to cling onto life in a theatrical setting that might be appropriately labeled as a cinematic graveyard.

 

Come Play falls squarely into this category. In the grand aspect of horror released in 2020, it lands firmly in the middle of the pack, but it’s a decent film that deserves better than the desolate wasteland of attention it has received thus far. Come Play is a Babadook’d spin on Lights Out, if one were to boil it down, but even in that simplistic comparison the film works. With some decent atmospheric scares, a fascinating monster design, and a sold dose of familial heart in its plot, Come Play is a horror flick that may not ultimately be one of the best of the year, but it does work.