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Assorted Creature Features Hitting DVD

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Looking for DVD news about upcoming creature features starring predators of the sea duking it out, DMX fighting a giant snake, intergalactic beatnik zombie invaders, and good ol’ psycho Sasquatch bloodying up the forest? You’ve come to the right place today.

Mega Shark vs. Giant OctopusWe begin with the most important motion picture on the list, possibly the most important motion picture of a generation. I, of course, speak of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, The Asylum’s non-mockbuster blockbuster due May 19th that pits a mega-sized shark against a giant octopus off the coast of California with Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson caught in the crossfire. This is the very reason we watch cinema in the first place.

Further details can be found in a rather popular article I wrote about Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus back in January. There’s really nothing new to add at this time aside from the unfortunate reality that it looks as if the film will not be in 3-D after all as initially reported. This is sad, even tragic news. No trailer yet either for what will undoubtedly be The Asylum’s magnum opus, but we do have our first look at the DVD artwork. Spiffy.

On May 26th, North American Motion Pictures will release Carnivorous to DVD. Originally titled Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent (review), this Pumpkinhead-ish tale has an a group of punk teens running down a woman on their way to a Southern holiday of drinking and debauchery. Bad news for them: the dead woman’s angry husband has possession of a voodoo object that can conjure up “Lockjaw“, a huge all-consuming snake with an almost gator-like head. Rapper, actor, and jail cell enthusiast DMX briefly appears as Special Forces soldier out to stop the supernatural serpent.

CarnivorousI got my hands on a copy of the film now known as Carnivorous this past September and wrote a review that probably won’t do much to leave you anticipating the release of this one. Not enough giant snake to entertain. Not enough of DMX attempting to do whatever that is he calls acting to amuse. I’m shocked this hasn’t found its way to the Sci-Fi Channel already.

Speak of the devil. More serpent action comes to DVD on June 16th when First Look Pictures releases Hydra (review), which recently saw its Sci-Fi Channel premiere a few weeks back. It stars George Stults and Polly Shannon among those trapped on a remote island home to the mythical multi-headed serpentine hydra of Greek mythology. She’s looking for the mystical sword of Hercules; he’s one of several who’ve been brought to the island by an evil rich guy organizing a little “Most Dangerous Game” action for other bored millionaires. All end up being on the menu.

I wasn’t fully enamored by the creature feature in my review. I am, however, a little curious about the “unrated” version of the DVD being released because looking at the listed 106-minute running time I can only assume there’s considerably more footage being included in addition to the usual extra moments of gore.

Now anyone who has ever seen a horror movie should already know to fear the forest. Now someone’s gone and made a movie called just that: Fear the Forest. Why should you be afraid of the forest this time? Because once again Bigfoot is pissed!

Writer-director Matthew Bora’s entry into the Sasquatchploitation genre has free-spirited vacationing college students in the Northeast Valley Mountain forest with an unfriendly Bigfoot on the prowl. Also on the prowl are groups of hunters looking to collect the $2.5 million bounty a local philanthropist is offering for anyone able to bring forth the head of Sasquatch.

Victory Multimedia will give you a reason to Fear the Forest with this DVD on April 14th. You’ll find more info and a trailer at the film’s official Fear the Forest website.

Saving the wackiest for last, who’s up for a little Flying Saucer Rock N Roll?

The low budget comedy has three average 1950’s teenagers having their world turned upside down when they’re threatened by zombie beatnicks, hopped up on week and bent on harvesting earth women for a Martian invasion. You might want to head over to the offical website to learn more about this wild ride steeped in rockabilly music and greaser culture.

Flying Saucer Rock N Roll comes to us via Celebrity Video Distribution On April 21st. Checkout the trailer for this one below, daddy-o.

The Foywonder

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Children of the Fall Review – This Israeli Slasher Gets Political

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Starring Noa Maiman, Aki Avni, Yafit Shalev, Iftach Ophir, Michael Ironside

Directed by Eitan Gafny

Reviewed out of Utopia 2017


Slashers are a subgenre of horror that are often looked down upon. After all, what can a movie about a killer slaughtering multiple people have to say about, well…anything. Those of us in the community know full well that this is nonsense and that any kind of horror movie can be a jabbing (no pun intended) commentary on society, culture, politics, art, etc… And that’s precisely what Eitan Gafny aims to do with Children of the Fall, one of the few Israeli slashers ever created.

Set on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, the film follows Rachel (Maiman), a young American woman who comes to Israel to join a kibbutz after suffering some serious personal tragedies. Her goal to make aliyah (the return of Jews to Israel) is however hampered by some rather unpleasant encounters with local IDF soldiers and members of the kibbutz. Pushing through, she makes friends with others in the commune and her Zionistic views are only strengthened, although they do not go untested. Once Yom Kippur, one of the holiest holidays in Jewish culture, begins, a killer begins picking off the kibbutz workers one by one in violent and gruesome ways.

Let’s start with what Children of the Fall gets right, okay? As slashers go, it’s actually quite beautiful. There are wonderfully expansive shots that make use of the size and diversity of the kibbutz. The film opens with a beautiful shot of a cow stable, barn, water towers, and miscellaneous outbuildings, all set against a dark and stormy night. The lighting of this scene, and throughout the film, is also very good. I found myself darting my eyes across the screen multiple times throughout the film thinking I’d seen something lurking in the shadows.

The kills, while unoriginal, are very satisfying. Each death is meaty, bloody, and doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the camera has no problems lingering during each kill, allowing us to appreciate the practical FX and copious amounts of blood used. And if you believe that a slasher needs to have nudity, you won’t be disappointed.

The acting is middle of the road. Maiman is serviceable as Rachel but the real star of the film is Yafit Shalev as “Yaron”. His range of emotion is fantastic, from warm and welcoming to Rachel when she arrives to emoting grief and pain during his Yom Kippur announcement where we learn that he was a child in a concentration camp. The rest of the cast are perfectly acceptable as fodder for the killer.

So where does Children of the Fall stray? Let’s start with the most obvious part: the runtime. Clocking in at nearly two hours, that’s about 30 minutes too much. The film could easily have gone through some hefty editing without affecting the final product. Instead, we have a movie that feels elongated when unnecessary.

Additionally, the societal and political commentary is very in-your-face but the film can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it’s trying to get across. Natalia, a Belarussian kibbutz worker, raises the concept of Israeli racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, her hostility unabashedly pouring out in the midst of IDF soldiers, locals, other kibbutz members, and more. Is there validity to what she’s saying? Undoubtedly. But there is also validity to Rachel’s retorts, which include calling this woman out on her own vitriolic views. This back-and-forth mentality frustratingly prevails throughout the film, as though Gafny was unwilling to just commit.

The dialogue is also quite painful at times, although I attribute this to difficulties with translating from Hebrew to English. Even the best English speakers in Israel don’t get everything perfect and the little quirks here and there, while charming, are quite detracting. Also, why is this movie trying to tell me that Robert Smith of The Cure is a character here? While amusing, it makes absolutely no sense nor does it fit in Smith’s own timeline.

Had this film gone through a couple rounds of editing, I feel like we’d have gotten something really great. Eitan Gafny is definitely someone that we need to be watching very closely.

  • Children of the Fall
2.5

Summary

While Children of the Fall has a lot going for it, it has just as much working against it. Overly long, you’ll get a really great slasher that is bogged down by uneven social and political commentary.

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Netflix to Tell The Frankenstein Chronicles in the States

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There’s still a big part of me that wonders why Universal – or anyone for that matter – has not been able to reboot classics like The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Maybe they’re trying too hard? Maybe they keep putting the wrong people at the helm?

Look at del Toro’s The Shape of Water… It’s pretty much a new version of The Creature of the Black Lagoon with a heavier emphasis on the relationship between monster and chosen mate. Even though there are a couple of hokey parts, it really works and is excellent. So maybe we need to look elsewhere throughout the world to meet with success. Case in point: “The Frankenstein Chronicles.”

Variety is reporting that the hit six-episode UK series starring Sean Bean will be coming Stateside and more via the ever-growing streaming service Netflix.

This deal opens the way for Netflix to make further seasons should it resonate with its U.S. and global subscribers.

“The Frankenstein Chronicles” is a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. Set in 1830s London, Bean (“Game of Thrones”) plays John Marlott, a war veteran and river policeman. Season 1 of the serialized show sees him investigating the case of a corpse made up of body parts from different children and finding the matter involves senior establishment figures and demonic forces.

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Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn Returning to the Horror Genre

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Know what’s funny? We horror fans have known how good James Gunn was all along. It just took the rest of the world time to catch up! Now that Gunn has made his big Hollywood bones with his two Guardians of the Galaxy flicks, he’s returning to the genre to produce a new horror flick! Oh, happy day!

Word came across our desks that Gunn has signed on to produce an untitled horror feature with The H Collective. It was written by James’ brother Brian and cousin Mark Gunn. James will produce the project in between writing the highly anticipated feature Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and starting production. Gunn’s longtime collaborator David Yarovesky will direct.

The H Collective will fully finance the project and produce alongside Gunn and his shingle, Troll Court Entertainment. Brian and Mark Gunn, Dan Clifton, and The H Collective’s Nic Crawley will executive produce.

The project is expected to go into production in the spring of 2018 and brings Gunn back to his horror roots. The filmmaker, whose credits included mostly fan-favorite horror gems like Slither prior to writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy, is responsible for turning the Marvel property into one of the most memorable franchises in the Marvel universe.

More as we get it!

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