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Death Stop Holocaust Screening and DVD Signing in Columbus

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Can’t get enough of the eerie white van and its psychotic inhabitants from Justin Russell’s disturbing romp Death Stop Holocaust? Then you, you lucky twisted bastards of the Buckeye City, Columbus, Ohio, are in for a big, bloody surprise!

In celebration of its DVD release on August 16th, Death Stop Holocaust will be screened at The Grandview Theater in Columbus on Friday, August 19 at 11:00 pm. And in case you were worried about unsightly regurgitation, all ticket-holding attendees will be given a complimentary barf bag, you know, just in case.

If the screening isn’t enough Death Stop Holocaust for you, just wait, there’s more! On Thursday, August 18th, just one day earlier, Magnolia Thunderpussy (perhaps the greatest name for any business establishment ever!) will be hosting a DVD signing event at 7:00 pm. I ask you, how can you pass this up?

From the Press Release
Shriek Show DVD and their Fresh Meat imprint of premiere independent horror films are proud to present the theatrical encore screening of Justin Russell’s Death Stop Holocaust at The Grandview Theater, 1247 Grandview Avenue, Columbus, Ohio on Friday, August 19th at 11:00 pm. All ticket holders will receive a free, unused collectible barf bag! The night before, there will be an in-store DVD signing event at Magnolia Thunderpussy, 155 N. High Street, Columbus, on Thursday August 18th at 7pm.

Death Stop Holocaust concerns the tragic fate of two college girls, Taylor and Elizabeth, who travel to a remote island for a vacation getaway. As they drive through the backwoods toward their weekend lake house, they begin to feel uneasy about the desolate area. Suddenly, an unmarked white van begins to stalk them and a creepy encounter at a local diner leaves them unnerved. As they retreat further away from civilization, they encounter the three masked psychos in the white van. Little do the girls know that this is just the beginning of a violent nightmare journey straight to hell!

Death Stop Holocaust will stalk and slash local and online DVD retailers everywhere on August 16th!

Death Stop Holocaust Screening and DVD Signing in Columbus

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Channel 4’s New Series True Horror Opens With A Warning For Nervous Viewers

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If you live in the UK, now has never been a better time to renew your TV license. That’s because Channel 4 are broadcasting a new dramatized documentary series called “True Horror”, which will take you into the heart of four terrifying true horror stories.

In pure Channel 4 style, each episode will open with a disclaimer reading “scenes of paranormal activity may disturb viewers”, before heading straight into a mix of both real life interviews and scripted segments. The first season of “True Horror” will consist of four episodes, with a special called “The Witches’ Prison” also being broadcast on Halloween. Today’s episode will be called “Hellfire Farm”, and will recount the tale of a couple who moved into a supposedly haunted farm in the Welsh countryside. This installment was directed by BAFTA nominee Tom Kingsley, and will be shown at 10pm.

“True Horror” was produced by “The Enfield Haunting’s” Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson, and stars James Dryden, Charlotte Eaton, Sammy Williams, Katie Jarvis, Adam Leese, Amy Morgan, and James Tarpey. And you really should watch the series, because it needs the ratings. If not, we’re just gonna get more of the soap opera and singing competition garbage that usually dominates British TV.

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Agony Had To Be Censored To Avoid An Adults Only Rating; PC Version Can Be Played Uncut

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Agony looks like one of the most explicit games we’ve ever seen, so it comes as no surprise that it had to be slightly censored in order to avoid an Adults Only rating from the ESRB. Now, before you go bitching about how much you hate censorship, keep in mind that the changes made to the game were minimal, with the camera having to be slightly obscured during some of the most extreme sequences so that it could secure an M-rating.

As AO-rated games are never released on consoles, the version of Agony coming to PS4 and Xbox One will be the slightly altered M-rated edition, whilst the PC version will come with an optional patch to remove the censorship and to experience a fully uncut version of the game.

As anyone familiar with the history of the ESRB will know, this isn’t the first time that a non-pornographic game ventured into Adults Only territory. The Punisher and Manhunt 2 both had to be censored in order to avoid an AO rating, whilst Hatred was released uncut on Steam with the rating intact.

Agony, which takes place in Hell, was developed by Madmind Studio, and will be published by PlayWay later this year.

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Basket Case Blu-ray Review – Find Out What’s In Arrow’s Basket On This Definitive Release

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Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Lloyd Pace

Directed by Frank Henenlotter

Distributed by Arrow Video


Director Frank Henenlotter doesn’t boast a lengthy filmography but he is the rare director whose work is instantly recognizable and nearly every one of his pictures is a veritable cult classic. His decision to reject the studio system in favor of remaining in the dingy alleyways of independent cinema may have something to do with that limited output, but the films he has delivered are wildly original and patently weird – and it all began with a freak in a basket. Even Henenlotter must be astounded that he went from maximizing a $35,000 budget to film his debut, Basket Case (1982), to thirty-something years later seeing it lovingly restored in 4K by the Museum of Modern Art (and, boy, what a job they have done). Henenlotter’s films are pitch black comedic Cronenberg, taking body horror into the gutter and always ensuring his audience festers down there with it.

Duane Bradley (Kevin VanHentenryck) is an affable guy with boyish charm who has just arrived on the seedy streets of New York City with a wad of cash and a large wicker basket. His friendly nature and apparent naiveté belie the fact he has come to the city with a singular purpose – one with deadly intentions. Duane checks into a shitty room at Hotel Broslin and gets to work on his first task: tracking down a Dr. Needleman (Lloyd Pace). He succeeds and quickly heads downtown to meet the doctor, at first offering up his real name before deciding to use a pseudonym (Duane isn’t terribly bright). After blowing the doc’s mind with his body-length scar, Duane returns later that night, basket in tow, to pay the old “family friend” a visit and to answer the question on everyone’s lips: “What’s in the basket?”

The answer is Belial, Duane’s detached and deformed Siamese twin. Belial may be no larger than a basketball with T-Rex arms but what he lacks in stature he makes up for with brute physical strength and a savage bloodlust. Dr. Needleman is quickly torn to pieces and the duo begins to hunt down their next target. You see, Duane and Belial had a strong connection when they were younger and attached, one that included a psychic link that only Belial is now able to control, but after their father demanded an ad hoc team of doctors forcibly separate the two they’ve made it their mission to kill everyone involved in the surgery. Duane is committed to helping his brother complete their task, but he’s also trying to live a normal life – something Belial doesn’t understand. When Duane meets Sharon (Terri Susan Smith), suddenly his dynamic with Belial begins to shift, and when Belial gets angry it usually means one thing: someone is going to die.

Rex Reed famously called Basket Case “the sickest movie ever made!” and although sicker pictures had been produced before this (clearly Rex never ventured into Italian cannibal territory) he isn’t too far off the mark. It isn’t just about the buckets of blood Henenlotter spills here but the locations, too. Viewers will feel like a freshly steamed street vendor hot dog that’s been dropped into the gutter and kicked around for 90 minutes by the time the credits begin rolling. The squalor of early ‘80s NYC permeates the screen and forces audiences into a sticky, unsavory world. Henenlotter brings viewers to the underside of his “backyard” in a cinéma vérité style reminiscent of Abel Ferrara.

But also, there is a lot of gore. And grue. The bloodletting seen here reminded me of low-budget schlock like Blood Feast, where the filmmakers try to cover up cheaply done effects using lots of little bits – intended to be flesh, bone, skin, etc. – and the result is like chunky blood red mashed potatoes. It just looks sick. Belial kills with impunity and a complete disregard for suffering, often leaving his victims mutilated beyond recognition.

Henenlotter brings Belial to life via a handful of mediums. There is a puppet, a head appliance that is able to have a physical person bring facial life to Belial, and then there is the stop-motion animation, which is always a joy to see on screen no matter how crudely it may be rendered. The craftsmanship just oozes off the screen; you can’t not love it. Nearly every scene with Belial in attack mode strains belief that this thing could do much more than gnaw at some ankles but, hey, that’s the magic of movies.

One thing that is surprising: pathos. Duane and Belial have the closest bond siblings ever could, literally attached at the hip, and the flashback sequence treats their relationship and eventual removal with a degree of respect and heartbreak that, frankly, made the film feel much more tragic. I’m not saying viewers will be moved to tears but it’s a testament to Henenlotter that in the middle of all this death and dismemberment is a touching reminder of how these two came to be killers. Basket Case doesn’t hit the insane heights of my favorite Henenlotter picture, Brain Damage, but it does offer up a bit more heart alongside so much head-ripping.

Although Basket Case has been issued on Blu-ray a couple of times, this is the debut of MoMA’s 4K restoration and, just as you might suspect, it smokes every previous release. It would be easy to forget this no-budget feature was shot on 16mm because the clean-up of dirt and debris, as well as the finessing of film grain, has left the 1.33:1 1080p picture looking immaculate. Colors appear lifelike and rich, striking new life into the glitz of Times Square and the ever-present flow of blood. Black levels are excellent; deeply dark and never hazy. Soft shots abound, inherent to the source, but many close-ups and the handful of 35mm blow-up shows included in this transfer offer up strong definition and minute details. I can’t imagine the film could or will look any better, ever – and really, it shouldn’t. Clean as this picture is, it still retains enough grit and roughness to maintain its grindhouse aesthetic.

An English LPCM 1.0 mono track delivers the audio, which is free from hissing and other deficiencies, offering a finessed and simple delivery of the lo-fi soundfield. Gus Russo’s score bounces between moody keyboard synth cues and upbeat jazzy tunes that come into play when Duane has his big date. Scoring is minimal but effective when present. Also, expect to hear lots and lots and lots of screaming. Subtitles are available in English SDH.

Two audio commentary tracks have been included; the first, an all-new track featuring Fran Henenlotter and Kevin Van Hentenryck; the second, a legacy track with Henenlotter, producer Edgar Ievins, actress Beverly Bonner, and filmmaker Scooter McRae.

“Basket Case 3 ½: An Interview with Duane Bradley” is a fun short by Henenlotter in which he and a film crew head out to meet Bradley (Van Hentenryck) and interview him about life with Belial in present day, with an appearance by his diminutive double (naturally).

“Me & the Bradley Boys” is a new interview with Kevin Van Hentenryck, reflecting back on working with Henenlotter and making a cult classic.

“A Brief Interview with director Frank Henenlotter” is a weird, goofy thing that captures the director’s sense of humor, whether he’s in it or not.

“Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins” is a sit-down with twin actresses Florence and Maryellen Shultz, who play the nurses in the film.

“Blood, Basket and Beyond” is a new interview with co-star Beverly Bonner, who has apparently taken her character outside the film world and into theater.

“The Latvian Connection” features interviews with a few of the film’s key personnel who share a heritage.

“Belial Goes to the Drive-In” is a great new interview with legendary film critic Joe Bob Briggs, who was a key figure in helping the film gain traction upon release.

“Basket Case at MoMA” is a lengthy Q&A from the film’s 2017 premiere.

“What’s in the Basket?” is a feature-length documentary that covers all three films in the series. This was previously seen on the Second Sight U.K. trilogy set, which is still available.

“In Search of the Hotel Broslin” has Henenlotter and his guest, R.A. “The Rugged Man”, searching out the remaining locations from the film, occasionally getting shut down along the way.

“Basket Case Outtakes” is a reel of quick, cut clips along with brief text descriptions.

“The Frission of Fission” is a video essay by Travis Crawford on freaks and twins in cinema, with emphasis placed on Basket Case.

Image galleries are included for Promotional Stills, Behind the Scenes, Ephemera, Advertisements, and Home Video Releases.

A promo gallery contains trailers, a TV spot, and radio spots.

The Slash of the Knife (1972) is a mock PSA short film made by Henenlotter and starring many familiar faces from Basket Case, about the dangers of the uncircumcised in America. It is available with optional commentary by Henenlotter and Mike Bencivenga. Outtakes and an image gallery for the short are also included.

Belial’s Dream is an animated short inspired by Basket Case. A featurette, “Making Belial’s Dream” is also included.

The package also includes a booklet with writings on the film, as well as reversible cover art and a basket-themed slipcover. All in all, a stellar release from Arrow Video.

Special Features:

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original 16mm negative by MoMA
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Uncompressed Mono Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer/director Frank Henenlotter and star Kevin Van Hentenryck
  • Basket Case 3-1/2: An Interview with Duane Bradley – Frank Henenlotter revisits Duane Bradley decades after the events of the original Basket Case
  • Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins – a brand new interview with Florence and Maryellen Schultz, the twin nurses from Basket Case
  • Brand new making-of featurette containing new interviews with producer Edgar Ievins, casting person/actress Ilze Balodis, associate producer/effects artist Ugis Nigals and Belial performer Kika Nigals
  • Blood, BASKET and Beyond – a brand new interview with actress Beverly Bonner
  • Belial Goes to the Drive-In – a brand new interview with film critic Joe Bob Briggs
  • Outtakes Featurette
  • In Search of the Hotel Broslin – archive location featurette
  • Slash of the Knife (1972) – short film by Frank Henenlotter
  • Belial’s Dream (2017, 5 mins) – brand new Basket Case-inspired animated short by filmmaker Robert Morgan
  • Behind-the-scenes of Belial’s Dream
  • Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots
  • Extensive Still Galleries
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Michael Gingold
  • Basket Case
  • Special Features
4.3

Summary

Basket Case might be a dingy and gruesome slice of subterranean cinema but this excellent release from Arrow, touting the stunning 4K restoration by MoMA and packed with hours of awesome bonus features, is the kind of treatment Criterion usually provides. Highly recommended.

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