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Enter into The Theatre Bizarre

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A new anthology is on its way that’s attracting not only a lot of indie talent but also a segment from none other than Richard Stanley (Hardware) and Tom Savini. Interested? We thought you would be. Dig on the details and early artwork.

From the Press Release
Severin Films and France’s Metaluna Productions today announced their international co-production of The Theatre Bizarre, a modern horror anthology inspired by the over-the-top shocks of Paris’ early 20th century ‘Theatre du Grand Guignol’. The feature will be comprised of six films by six cutting-edge genre directors enlisted from around the world and granted total creative freedom. The Theater Bizarre is executive produced by Daryl J. Tucker, and produced by Severin’s Carl Daft, David Gregory and John Cregan, Metaluna’s Fabrice Lambot, and Michael Ruggiero of Nightscape Entertainment. Production on Richard Stanley’s (Hardware) segment ‘The Mother Of Toads’ began 10/10/10 in Montségur in the French Pyrenees.

The project’s six filmmakers have all made at least one modestly budgeted and internationally acclaimed movie in the horror field. The films of Douglas Buck include the 2003 Sitges sensation FAMILY PORTRAITS: A TRILOGY OF AMERICA and the recent remake of Brian DePalma’s SISTERS. Buddy Giovinazzo exploded onto the genre scene with 1986’s COMBAT SHOCK and went on to write and direct such features as the Tim Roth-starrer NO WAY HOME and last year’s acclaimed ensemble drama LIFE IS HOT IN CRACKTOWN (adapted from his novel), as well as numerous works for German television. UK native David Gregory is the industry’s foremost documentarian of horror films on DVD, and his 2008 feature debut PLAGUE TOWN was hailed as “a nightmare captured on celluloid” by Fangoria. In addition to writing and directing SUBCONSCIOUS CRUELTY and LA BELLE BÊTE, Karim Hussain is also an accomplished cinematographer whose features include the upcoming HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. Arguably horror’s best-known special effects wizard for his landmark work on classics that include the original FRIDAY THE 13TH and DAWN OF THE DEAD – as well as a popular actor in such films as FROM DUSK TIL DAWN and MACHETE – Tom Savini directed the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. South African born Richard Stanley is one of the genre’s most distinctive talents, whose visionary cult classics include HARDWARE and DUST DEVIL. THE THEATRE BIZARRE marks his triumphant return to horror for the first time in 18 years.

“These filmmakers are all working with the exact same budget, delivery schedule and narrative directive,” says Executive Producer Daryl J. Tucker. “They must deliver a short film of 10-20 minutes inspired by the term Grand Guignol. No other creative restrictions exist. We’re expecting great things from six of modern horror’s most distinctive writers and directors.”

“From DEAD OF NIGHT to the Amicus anthologies of the ’60s and ’70s like TALES FROM THE CRYPT to modern classics such as CREEPSHOW, the ‘portmanteau’ approach has always held a unique place in the horror genre,” says Carl Daft, co-founder and CEO of Severin Films. “THEATRE BIZARRE, with its wraparound segments shot in an ominous Parisian theatre that encase six shocking visions, will be a ferocious return to a legendary concept.”

Metaluna Productions is a Paris-based production company specializing in features (DYING GOD), shorts (DOLOROSA, INSANITY) and documentaries (“MARVEL 14: SUPER HEROES VS CENSORSHIP). The company has several feature films in development, including MANDRAGORE, TOUTES LES NUITS, and Douglas Buck’s THE BROKEN IMAGO.

Nightscape Entertainment was founded by Michael Ruggiero, a former executive at The Independent Film Channel (IFC) and Starz whose dozens of productions included GOING TO PIECES: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLASHER FILM, BLOODSUCKING CINEMA, BULLETS OVER HOLLYWOOD, THE SPAGHETTI WEST and CRASH: THE TELEVISION SERIES. Nightscape currently has several genre-related projects in development with filmmakers that include John Esposito (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN), Adam Rockoff (the current remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE) and Tom Savini, as well as their just-announced version of legendary comic book creator Will Eisner’s A CONTRACT WITH GOD.

Severin Films, founded in 2006 with offices in Los Angeles and London, has been called “well on its way to becoming the greatest indie label of all time” by BlogCritics.org. Their DVD and Blu-ray releases include recent Goya Award winner Jess Franco’s MACUMBA SEXUAL and BLOODY MOON, Walerian Borowczyk’s IMMORAL WOMEN, the unrated Director’s Cut of Just Jaeckin’s GWENDOLINE, Richard Stanley’s restored HARDWARE, Enzo Castellari’s original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, Oscar®-nominee Patrice Leconte’s THE HAIRDRESSER’S HUSBAND, Don Sharp’s PSYCHOMANIA and Roman Polanski’s WHAT? Severin’s upcoming HD restorations include Eugenio Martín’s HORROR EXPRESS, Amicus Anthology THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s SANTA SANGRE.

Enter into The Theatre Bizarre

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection

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It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!

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Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona


I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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4.5

Summary

Director Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended!

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User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review – A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

  • Film
3.0

Summary

Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End brings closure to hungry fans in all the ways they’d hope – albeit turned down a notch through animation. Over-the-top kills and headbanging metal riffs still reign supreme, they’re just drawn by hand instead of oozing practical effects this time.

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User Rating 3.11 (9 votes)
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