Severin Films is a distributor I always keep an eye on. They always do a fantastic job restoring the films they release and loading them up with special features. They dig deep to find funky flicks that more often than not have been forgotten by most. Canadian film Cathy’s Curse is one such film. Languishing on budget releases and multi-movie megapacks sourced from muddy VHS tapes, fans of the film can finally see what the movie was meant to look like thanks to this new Blu release.
Cathy’s Curse is about the Gimbles, family of three that move into the father’s ancestral estate. The wife has recently had a nervous breakdown and so time away from the hustle and bustle of the city in the calm country is meant to be a soothing balm on her shattered nerves. That is until their daughter Cathy starts acting creepy and bizarre things start happening in the house. Is it Cathy? Or is it the Gimble house that is the source of the terror? Will anyone make it out alive?
I know this Omen/Exorcist rip-off has plenty of fans. I know it’s reputation has survived it’s terrible releases but for me, it just didn’t work. The film felt too threadbare and slight. Sure, spooky stuff happens but it all feels very chaste and not very scary. Perhaps in the 70’s it was really freaky, i don’t know. Maybe i’m too jaded but most of the scary scenes had me shrugging my shoulders. I had a hard time paying attention to the movie, I found myself lost in thought and having to re-focus on the movie. That’s not a good sign. I had a hard time caring about the characters or being frightened by Cathy. I should point out though that scary kid flicks do very little for me in general, even the bigger names in the genre. I just don’t find kids scary in any way. Annoying, sure. But scary? Not so much. Fans of the creepy kid genre may find more to chew on here, but for me it was forgettable. Nothing about the movie jumped out at me. None of the actors, the modest effects, the vibe, the direction, the music, none of it. It felt like a flick put together with a modest budget with modest expectations at the box office. Again, this movie has fans, I’m just not one of them. It doesn’t stink, it’s just not memorable.
Severin did a great job restoring the movie however. I know for a fact it has always suffered from terrible releases so this new polished presentation will probably be colossal for fans of the film. Special features include two cuts of the film, cast interviews, audio commentary and a trailer for the film.
If you dig creepy kids or Canadian films, Cathy’s Curse might be for you. To me it was bland, workmanlike, and unmemorable.
Intervision has built up a reputation for finding all manner of unique, trashy, and little seen genre cinema. From their gore-tastic release of The Burning Moon, to their low-fi WTF film Things, to their sexploitation flicks, they have unearthed some very interesting and entertaining films. They also gave a proper release to shot-on-video horror film Sledgehammer on a very early release from the company. Intervision has gone back to the well of low-budget, shot-on-video horror with their double feature Dream Stalker (1991) & Death by Love (1990).
Dream Stalker is about a young woman and her love for her dirt bike riding boyfriend. She loves to see him compete and he loves her dearly. An unfortunate dirt bike-related accident kills said boyfriend and now his lady love is crushed. She’s also having freaking dreams where she see’s her mutilated boyfriend killing people. Or are they just dreams? The people she sees murdered by her boyfriend end up being dead at the end of her violent dreams. Is it her boyfriend back from the grave or are her dreams homicidal?
Of the two films this is the better flick. It features some low-rent but fun make-up effects, bad acting, worse music, and it blatantly rips off Nightmare on Elm Street only without all that pesky budget, talent, and cohesive plot. On paper this seems like it would be a great film to watch with friends for a bad movie night. It has all of the hallmarks of a good bad flick but for me, it didn’t pan out that way. The movie just didn’t grab me and instead i had trouble sitting through it. The movie lacked anything bonkers or extreme. It also lacked the poor directorial/script decisions that often make regional films so much fun to watch with friends. Honestly the movie is pretty middle of the road. It’s adept enough that it doesn’t have any really silly moments, but too conservative to push it over the top. That being said it’s a solid flick for viewers that love SOV flicks, just don’t expect anything bizarre or memorable. It’s a journeyman horror flick that does what it sets out to do and does so frugally and competently. It doesn’t suck, but it doesn’t wow either.
Death By Love is about a guy who loves to make really bad sculptures of naked ladies and get paid the big bucks to do it. He’s suave, muscled, rich, and every woman he meets wants to get into his pants. All is not what it seems when he leaves a string of ladies behind him, murdered. Is he the killer? Or is there a psycho killer on his trail, killing all the women whom he sleeps with?
Death By Love also sounds like a perfect film for friends, on paper at least. The sculptor who every lady wants to bump uglies with is the director of the film. He also wrote and produced the movie. Vanity flicks like this are often chock full of fun (check out Road to Revenge for arguably the best vanity laugh fest out there). It isn’t though. The movie moves slowly and we get plenty of footage of the director humping in the movie but the murders are weak, the pacing slow, and the dialogue unimaginative. It’s a total stroke fest for the director for sure but it just feels bland. Again everything feels very workman like and for lack of a better word: beige. The scenery is beige, his hair is beige, the buildings are beige, and the vibe of this movie is beige. Not bombastic, over the top, or incompetent enough to have much fun with. It’s just there, like an uncle’s somewhat interesting but ultimately time wasting stories.
I was hoping these would both be fantastic flicks as Intervision usually delivers the goods, but for me, they’re both misses. If you are a SOV enthusiast then these are probably solid flicks, for the rest of us dabblers in the world of SOV, these flicks aren’t essential.
Takashi Miike is a devisive director. He’s spent his very prolific career cranking out hyper violent cheap yakuza films, bizarre and often highly disgusting personal films, dramas, a musical, family fantasy films, and high class respectable art cinema. He’s had a varied career to say the list. Best known for Audition, Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins, and The Great Yokai War, Shinjuku Triad Society is an early effort. Though that’s relative when it comes to Miike. He may have only been making films for 4 years at this point, but Shinjuku Triad Society is his 13th film. To date he’s made 100 films and is still going strong. It’s an ugly film that gives a glimpse of the depravity he would be known for in the late 90’s and early 00’s.
Shinjuku Triad Society is about the invasion of criminal elements from Taiwan. They’ve come to make money any way they can in Japan including drug dealing, prostitution, assassination, and organ harvesting. Kiriya is a detective in Japan. He’s the son of a Japanese man orphaned in China during the war. He’s a “half breed” and can speak mandarin. This means he gets crap from Japanese people and Chinese, but he’s a good person to investigate the Triad activities due to his ability to understand both Chinese and Japanese culture and language. His younger brother Yoshihito is training to become a lawyer when he works with Wang, a psycho gang leader, as his defense attorney. Turned on to the criminal world he vanishes into the underground of dark dealings. Kiriya has one mission: investigate Wang so he can bring him down and bring his brother home, away from the criminal world.
Shinkjuku Triad Society is bleak. It features brief flourishes of the sadism seen in Miike’s later work. I won’t spoil it for you but there’s some Miike style carnage sprinkled throughout the film. The movie also features several homosexual characters who act up on their orientation graphically in the film. Again, is this commentary or just Miike pushing buttons in ’95? Miike seems to love making his audience feel uncomfortable and outraged so that could be the case here or perhaps he was trying, in a ham fisted way, to comment on homosexuality. The film doesn’t flow or wrap up as one might expect. The film meanders as we meet a variety of degenerate characters who work for the gangs doing their dirty work. From a plotting standpoint the film doesn’t hit the “sweet spots” we’ve come to expect from gangster films. This itself is frustrating for the viewer as it seems like Miike is withholding on the genre staples to avoid following convention as well as once again, pushing the audience’s buttons.
Visually the film looks great. Shot on film, it gives a rare peek into Japan and Taiwan during that era. Arrow, who never skimps on restoration, has done a great job with this film. It looks great and i highly doubt it’s ever looked better or will ever look better.
Overall Shinjuku Triad Society is an interesting early effort that beings to show the future promise of Miike. It’s dreary, grimy, and shocking, even now. While not a perfect film, for Miike fans, it’s a solid film in a rather patchy filmography. If you’re new to Miike’s films, I would recommend seeking out his better known films first. For yakuza fans, the film bucks convention enough to make it a worthy addition to a collection striving for unique films.
Cinema Paradiso is a film that I’ve heard and read about for years. It often lands on Best Of lists and can be found in many film books. For whatever reason I never checked it out. I never really knew what the movie was about and the poster art left me cold. Something about the passionate kiss on the original poster made me thing the film was romantic drama and readers of this site can understand why I would pass on a film like that: it isn’t really my bag. I was sent Cinema Paradiso for review and I figured now was the time to finally sit down and see what all the buzz was about.
Cinema Paradiso is an Italian flick that begins in the late 40’s. The war has ended and life is hard for the people of the village in Sicily. Most folks don’t own a car and in those days before television the only entertainment in town is the Cinema Paradiso, a movie theater. Toto, the son of a soldier, is obsessed with cinema. Every chance he gets he sneaks into the theater to watch movies and watch Alfredo, the projectionist. This obsession grows into a beautiful relationship with Alfredo who teaches him about projection and about life. We see Toto grow from a young child into adulthood and always through the Cinema Paradiso.
Cinema Paradiso is about community, film, and growing up. It’s a slice of life at certain time in history, in a unique place. These are integral to the plot. The film feels very personal and indeed the director has said that elements of the film are very autobiographical. The film won the oscar for best foreign language film in 1989 and a boat load of other awards so i don’t think there’s really much i can add. It’s considered a film classic and the best film about the joy of the movie theater experience. For me, the film was touching, though for my American sensibilities there were elements that were frustrating for me. I kept expecting a storybook ending but this is a realistic Italian flick, not a schmaltzy American film. But dammit i wanted my unrealistic fairy tale moments. That said it is a very good film, I just wish that it had more magic, more joy, instead of the realism. But i suppose that’s also the appeal for the film, it doesn’t take the easy way out, the way that would be satisfying but cheap. I can certainly respect and admire the film for that, even if i wanted more cheese.
The film looks fantastic. Again, Arrow has lovingly restored the film, this time it’s a ground up restoration, unique to this release. I doubt the film has ever looked better. Included are the Theatrical cut (the version i watched) and the extended Director’s Cut as well as lengthy interviews with the director about the film and a commentary track. Again, Arrow has stacked the release not only with a great restoration but with worthwhile and interesting extra features.
If you’re a fan of the film, look no further than this release. This is the definitive release out there. If you haven’t seen it, this is a great set to pick up. If you love film, and if you’re on this site you do, it’s a nice film about the love of cinema. Arrow has put out a great product for a beloved film. As always.
I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a fan of biker movies. I’ve seen a very small number of them but i’m certainly not in the cult of motorcycles. I think motorcycles are neat and all but the exploitation films of the 60’s and 70’s usually leave me cold. The idea just doesn’t float my boat usually. However, I have heard of Psychomania and it’s reputation has always piqued my interest, though not enough to go out of my way to see it. Thanks to Arrow, I finally dug in to see what all the hub bub was about.
The Living Dead are a biker gang in England. They’re young, they drive triumphs, and they’ve got snazzy helmets that looks like skulls. They enjoy breaking the law and generally being nogoodniks. Their leader is Tom, the son of a medium that is firmly entrenched in the occult. Her butler is too. They have seances in their palatial home adorned with the most up do to date 70’s artwork and furniture. Tom learns a secret of occult knowledge: if you die, fully expecting to come back to life, you will! He kills himself in spectacular fashion. He comes back invulnerable, beautiful, and dangerous. Soon the rest of the gang follows suit and truly become the living dead. The trouble is they come back bad. Well, more bad I suppose, giving too much attention themselves and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Also they kill people. So what happens when you dabble in the occult and make the dark arts look bad? Well, watch the movie and find out because I’m not going to spoil it.
As I said, I’m not a big fan of the genre of biker flicks and honestly occult stuff isn’t that high on my list either. Give me a creature feature any day. That said I enjoyed the vibe of this flick. Even at an average run time of 90 minutes, the film takes it’s time getting to where it’s going. Therein lies the vibe of the movie. A decidedly Euro horror vibe that is largely created through music and mood rather than action or graphic violence. I’ll be honest and admit I was bummed that the crew came back looking exactly the same. I was hoping they would look like some kind of bipedal creatures riding motorcycles (there’s that love of monsters rearing it’s head) but alas there is really no visual difference in them. We do get a bit of fun biker footage but even that isn’t the focus of the film really. It’s more about the power of evil and the true evil that lives in the hearts of those that have no compassion for others. Did I love it? No. But I didn’t really expect that I would. It’s outside of my wheelhouse.
The film itself looks fantastic and true to Arrow’s name, I doubt the film has ever looked better. The blacks are rich and dark, the colors solid. The print is in great condition and the audio is fantastic. The film got a ground up restoration, and it shows. The movie also features a bevy of special features including cast interviews, archive interviews, an interview with the guy that sings the folk song in the movie, and even a special feature on the company that supplied the leather jackets in the movie! Once again Arrow has put out a beautifully restored film that is stacked with features. They even ported over the Severin special features from their dvd so this is truly an upgrade.
If you’re a fan of the film, this is a buy for sure. The image quality is great as is the music. It’s a fresh restoration and the film has never looked this good. The disc is stacked with special features so you’ll get plenty of bonus too. If you enjoy cult Euro films from the 70’s, you’ll likely enjoy this, especially if you love British exploitation. If you like biker movies, you’ll dig it too.
I’m a sucker for exploitation cinema (or just cinema in general) from Australia. I used to watch The Road Warrior a lot as a kid (it was often on tv) and it gave me a taste for cinema from OZ. I like to keep my peeper peeled for unique films from down under so when I read about Australian horror film The Survivor, I jumped on it.
The Survivor is about a 747 flight that crash lands near a city. The city was spared but none of the passengers were except the pilot. Somehow, he managed to escape the crash unscathed but has no memory of how that was possible. An investigation ensues and the pilot tries to put together the pieces of his memory to find out what really caused the crash and how he managed to survive.
The Survivor is based on a novel by British author James Herbert. Herbert was known for gory books early in his career but later wrote more respectable spooky books. The Survivor is a transitional book for Herbert. The book was gory (I learned this from the fantastic supplemental material on the disc, more about that later) but the film was not. It was a conscious decision to tone down the gore found in the book because the market was flooded with gory flicks at the time. For my money (and for the producers) this was a mistake. The Survivor has some wonderful cinematography and solid acting but it’s ethereal quality leaves much to be desired. The film moves in a dreamlike state, similar to the main character, the pilot. The score, composed by Brian May, zooms and trumpets but there isn’t much that happens onscreen to deserve such an active score. Most of the violence happens off camera, and of even that there is little. I had difficulty focusing on the film (though i didn’t second screen it) because there wasn’t enough to grab on to. The actors all put in a solid effort but the film feels like it lumbers through the paces, lurching to the conclusion. The conclusion, for me, was great though it didn’t quite make logical sense. I’m ok with that though because of the strange vibe the entire film elicits.
The special features are fantastic on the disc however. True to form, Severin delivers some fantastic goods. We get a 20+ minute interview with the producer and cinematographer of the film, interviews about James Herbert’s legacy (a great supplement), vintage interviews and features round out the stacked disc. Visually, the film looks fantastic. Severin always takes extra care with their releases and this one is no different. The image is crisp and clear. It hasn’t looked this good since it was theatrically released.
If you love Australian cinema, this would be a solid buy. If you are a fan of James Herbert, it would also be a solid buy. If you like rescued obscure cinema, this would be a solid buy. If you are looking for an A+ gem of a flick, look elsewhere. For me the film was worth a watch but wasn’t particularly memorable. It’s too slight of a film, it doesn’t have enough to say, it doesn’t have enough style, and it lacks moments of punctuating violence. It’s a Severin disc however, so you do get great features and a fantastic picture. The film might be slight, but Severin isn’t. They are always worth supporting, even if The Survivor is a weaker release.
Back during the dvd boom of the early 2000’s when Anchor Bay was king, I picked up C.H.U.D. dirt cheap. I love horror movies (obviously) but my favorite kind of horror movie is the monster flick. Gimmie a monster and i’m a happy fan. I watched it and liked it, but didn’t love it. The print was in poor shape and was really grainy. Thanks to Arrow Video, I had the chance to revisit the film in a much more pristine format: Blu-ray.
C.H.U.D. takes place in New York. It stars John Heard as George Cooper, a photographer. His most recent project is taking pictures of homeless people that live underground. He’s invited into the subterranean home of one of the homeless people he knows and finds that one of them has been bitten by…something. Elsewhere, A.J. (played by Daniel Stern) runs a soup kitchen. He’s noticed that nearly all of the homeless people he feeds that live underground in the ancient sewer system have disappeared. He notifies the police and they send Captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) to investigate. Together they discover that there is a cover up going on and that there are…things…living in the sewers that pose a threat to the populace: Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers (C.H.U.D.)
The film itself is solid. It features good performances from well known actors and features some fantastic underground locations. This version of the film is a bit longer than the version I had on dvd (i think). There are scenes that i have no recollection of that helped boost the movie in my opinion. There was more gore than i remembered though this certainly isn’t a gore film. We get to see the C.H.U.D.s more than i remembered but i still would have liked even more. As a film, it’s good, not great. If you like 80’s monster flicks, you’ll enjoy it. Will it be your new favorite movie? Maybe not, but you’ll get your money’s worth. Speaking of value, the Blu looks fantastic. The image is sharp and clear and much of the poor image quality is gone. It’s likely the film was shot on 16mm and there’s really only so much that can be done to improve the image but it looks like Arrow did it. The blu also comes with a commentary track, interviews with the crew, an extended shower scene, and a second disc that has the theatrical cut of the film which is a bit shorter.
Once again Arrow has done a great job on a genre film. This flick has lots of fans and for them this blu is a no-brainer: it’s great. If you haven’t seen it, this is the way to go. It looks great, better than I’ve ever seen the film look and it’s got some good special features to boot.
This flick was followed up by C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud which also made it’s debut on Blu recently. It’s a horror comedy and very silly. It isn’t anything like this film at all.
At one time the Italian film industry could go toe to toe with any other country producing cinema. Some of the greatest films in cinema history were made there. Later, Italy began churning out stylish, shocking, and unique films that cult movie fans devoured by the bushel. Dario Argento is one such creator of stylish cinema that horror fans especially, couldn’t get enough of. Then the industry took a nose dive in the late 80s and hasn’t recovered since. No more schlocky gore fests, no more stylish crime and gialli, no more world beating art cinema. Of course there are exceptions to this rule so I figured that Wax Mask, produced by Dario Argento, would be one.
Wax Mask was originally to be directed by the godfather of gore Lucio Fulci (of course he did all types of films but is most remembered for his horror offerings), but he passed away before he got the chance. Instead Sergio Stivaletti took the director’s chair after doing special effects on movies like Demons, Hands of Steel, Opera, and The Church. The film takes place at the turn of the last century. A new waxwork has opened in town and suddenly residents start dying in mysterious ways. So it’s up to a local news man to find out exactly what is going on and who the killer is.
Sounds like a decent setup, if cliche right? It’s got Argento’s name on it and the director did special effects so one would expect the film to be 1) stylish 2) gory. Though the movie has it’s moments for the most part I felt it was lacking in both departments. There are great flourishes of style and few very graphic scenes but neither were enough to satisfy me. Full disclosure: films that take place during the early 1900s do nothing for me. I don’t care about top hats, horses, or lady’s in hoop skirts. So the setting of the film is one that was tailor made to have little appeal to me to begin with. But for you, dear reader, you may be fascinated by this time and so might find more to enjoy about the film. The movie features a modest amount of nudity in it but not enough to interest sleaze hounds. In fact there is one bit of nudity in the film that i felt was totally not ok. We see the corpse of a 13 year old girl topless on a slab in a coroners office. It seems like that wouldn’t be legal and i really could have done without it.
For me Wax Mask is predictable, cliche, and not terribly interesting. The Blu looks pretty good but again this was filmed in ’97 in Italy so even on Blu it isn’t going to look spectacular, budgets as they were back then. In fact the film has a very made-for-TV vibe to it, albeit a television station that was ok with nudity and gore. The dvd comes with both English and Italian audio but for some reason there are no English subtitles for the Italian track. So if you aren’t fluent, you’re stuck with the English dub which isn’t great.
I appreciate the fact that this film has been released on Blu. For Eurohorr fans and Argento completists, it’s probably fantastic to finally have it readily available. For casual fans, there are many other films worth checking out before you get to this one. For me, Wax Mask is a very minor film in the Eurohorror filmography.
Artsploitation Films have billed themselves as a company that releases films from new voices from around the world that play with genre conventions in unique ways. To me, they are a company worth watching because they dig deep to find unique genre films from places we might not expect. In this case, the film is The Devil Live Here and the country of origin is Brazil. Brazil isn’t well known globally as a producer of genre film. The country does have some genre cult classics to their name (the Coffin Joe films come to mind), but by and large they are more known for their Jiu Jitsu than for their cult flicks. The Devil Lives Here gives us a reason to pay closer attention.
The Devil Lives Here is about a group of young people on their way to visit a childhood friend. The arrive at the house and begin to re-connect and have a great time. The friend however has an ulterior motive for inviting his hold friends. His child hood home is haunted. Caretakers on the house have told him his whole life that the house has a wicked past and that once every 9 months he has to clear out for a night. The house was once run by a savage slave owner who was into black magic. The story goes that the spirit of a child remains in the home and that every 9 months the spirit roams free. The caretakers know what to do and in order to practice their ancient rite the house must be empty. This time however the house will be occupied by the owner and his friends in order to set the spirit free. What he doesn’t know is that truly dark forces are at work and his sympathy is misplaced. The group is in grave danger of the creepy evil kind.
Filmed well using a high quality video camera, The Devil Lives Here is visually satisfying. The whole back end of the film is darkly lit and the scenes play out in evocative sepia tones giving the film a unique visual flair. The run time is short, only 80 minutes long, so the film doesn’t over stay it’s welcome either. The characters are your typical horror movie archetypes for the most part but I’m okay with that. Thankfully the characters do seem to like each other and their friendships seem realistic. Nothing kills a horror movie faster for me then “friends” who spend the entire run time bickering and belittling each other. Thankfully that common problem is avoided by having charismatic characters that seem to enjoy each others company. The back of the box suggests that the film is “Brazil’s answer to Candyman.” I can see that comparison as the slave holder was a bee keeper and we are talking about vengeful spirits but I would liken the film more to Fulci’s films like The Beyond and House by the Cemetery. There’s a strange vibe in the film and the goings on are not fully explained. The main characters don’t fully realize what’s going on and so neither do we. That confused vibe along with the shadowy cinematography seems to be heavily influenced by Fulci. For my money, Fulci is a great film maker to riff off of so for me, it really worked. In fact the more strange the film got, the more engaged I became so that by the end of the film, I was 100% on board. The film is viceral without being overly graphic which I can appreciate. We didn’t need to “see” everything that happens to the characters to “feel” it.
Sure, The Devil Lives Here isn’t 100% original but it has it’s own vibe and visual language and I can see some hints at real talent behind the camera. I’d love to see what directors Rodrigo Gasparini and , do next with more confidence, money, and experimentation. Hopefully Artsploitation will pick up their next film so I can review it here!
Intervision Picture Corp. is an interesting company. Somehow tagentially related to the well regarded Severin Films, Intervision picks up all the obscure detritus hiding under rocks. They’ve released such films as the low-fi Canadian head scratcher Things, the equally lo-fi Canadian gem Phobe, the early German gorefest Burning Moon, final film from Bruno Mattel Zombies: The Beginning, as well as a handful of sexploitation flicks. They tend to pick up strange and low budget flicks that no one else is going to release and I applaud them for that. Murderlust is one such flick that I highly doubt anyone else would want to release (except maybe Vinegar Syndrome).
Shot on 16mm and released in 1986 originally, Murderlust is about a middle aged guy with a crappy job, a small apartment, and a desire to kill women. We don’t know how he got started, why he’s compelled to kill, or if the first woman slain in the movie was his first. All we know is that he has a dad mustache, a sweet van, and a lust to kill. He’s portrayed as an arrogant, self-centered jerk who pisses everyone he knows off. Somehow despite this, he’s in charge of teenagers at a local church and has ambitions to gain a paid position at the church as a counselor. Obviously his desires have little to do with helping anyone but himself but his transformation in church is startling. While at work he does as little as possible and fights with his co-workers. At home, his neighbor his also his cousin whom he constantly bickers with. But at church he’s the model of piety and respectability. This shows that although he has the capacity to be responsible, he chooses to be a lazy slob elsewhere. We follow him throughout the whole film as he continually abuses those that know him and kill women who dare to share a ride with him. There are no police looking for him, he is free to do as he wants to.
In short, Murderlust is a nasty flick about a creep who enjoys strangling women. Obviously a riff on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer but without the depth, and thankfully without the graphic content, Murderlust is a surprisingly well written (if simply written) film, that has higher production values than I suspected. It’s certainly a very small independent film but it was shot on film and even features some aerial shots, likely filmed from a small helicopter. It’s a simple story that is unsettling and grim. For those that like their slasher flicks realistic and morbid, this one is for you. If the idea of spending 90 minutes with an unrepentant serial killer doesn’t float your boat (like me), then this one probably isn’t your thing. I can appreciate the film for being a solid independently produced horror flick but beyond that I doubt i’ll watch it again. It’s just not my bag. I did, however, really like the second feature film included on the dvd.
Added on as a bonus feature, Project Nightmare (1979), is the director’s first feature and of the two is far more interesting. Two guys out on a camping trip start to experience strange vibes and odd occurrences. They decide to seek refuge at a nearby home where the weirdness doesn’t stop. Bizarre lights and fantasies become reality and the three (including the woman who lived in the house) decide to get out of dodge. On their way more strange things happen that prohibit them from leaving the immediate area. They begin to suspect they are stuck in some sort of nightmare as their efforts to escape are thwarted by some unknown source. Things get more interesting from there and i’d rather not spoil it but I will tell you that the film has a unique third act involving strange technology, an animated face, and more dream logic sequences.
For my money, I think Intervision should have marketed Project Nightmare as the main release and Murderlust as the bonus. It’s a far more compelling story and much more unique then the ugly Murderlust. I understand that Murderlust will likely sell because of the sensationalist title and subject matter but Project Nightmare is a much more interesting film. It feels like a blend of Equinox (sans monsters) and Italian cinema like Suspiria (because of the strange logic of the film). It’s a great hybrid of science fiction and horror and despite it’s small budget, stays interesting with a sprinkling of interesting effects, lighting, and makeup work. It also sports a short run time at about 75 minutes so it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome either. The dvd is worth picking up for this film alone and shouldn’t be disregarded by anyone that buys the set. It’s worth more than a tack on bonus feature.
Both movies were shot on film and were transferred from the prints, not vhs rips, so the quality of the image on both films is great. The prints used were in good condition and it’s likely that these films have never looked so good. I would have loved an interview with the director about both films but we do get commentary which is a nice bonus. Otherwise the disc is bare bones. Given the obscurity of each film, I’m fine with that. Intervision saved both of these films from absolute obscurity and can be proud of preserving them.