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Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection OUT NOW! Nomad Recruited for Zombie Labs!

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As a writer for Dread Central, I’m no stranger to odd packages. The blood-stained funnel in an evidence bag … the bronze Olympic medal warning that “Death doesn’t like to be cheated” and even some years back a lone Joker card that almost caused my death at the hands of rabid geek friends. What came this week was not that peculiar when measured up against these strange artifacts, but it is certainly the first time I’ve gotten blueprints for death rays in the mail!

Activision is revving up the hype engine for Call of Duty: Rezurrection, to be released first to Xbox LIVE users on August 23rd (HEY THAT’S TODAY!!) Rezurrection’s stellar payload features the never-before-seen zombie frag-fest Moon, as well as four re-mastered levels from Zombies past, an enhanced Zombies soundtrack and new Moon theme.

Moon features outrageous new weapons, futuristic gear and hordes of low-gravity undead beasts, delivering Black Ops’ most expansive, visceral, and otherworldly Zombies experience yet. Meanwhile, bolstered with the firepower and visual splendor of Black Ops, players can relive the nightmare of “Nacht der Üntoten,” escape the Zombie madness in the asylum of “Verrückt,” battle back the undead Imperial Army of “Shi No Numa,” and pull the plug on “Der Riese,” the zombie factory that started it all.

Once Rezurrection is downloaded, Black Ops will make available a free Zombies soundtrack with three tracks never before available for purchase, and a free Moon theme. For our fans who purchased the Black Ops Hardened or Prestige Editions and have already downloaded the Classic Zombie pack with re-mastered maps, the pack can be redownloaded to get Rezurrection with Moon; and Black Ops will make available the soundtrack and theme for free.

To bolster the ranks of their zombie shredding forced, they’ve obviously gone out seeking the best of the best. I will don my t-shirt, build my rayguns of doom and prepare for the zombie apocalypse. God bless Jon Bon Jovi. New Jersey will be zombie free on my watch.



Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection OUT NOW! Nomad Recruited for Zombie Labs!

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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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Los Angeles Readers! Win a Pair of Tickets For a Revenge/Descent/Mad Max/Aliens Marathon!

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Hey Los Angeles readers! We’ve got one helluva giveaway for those of you who are into movie marathons! Starting Saturday, April 28 at 7:30pm over at the Aero Theater, there will be a four-movie marathon that will open with an advance screening of Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge which will end with a Q&A with Fargeat. After that, moviegoers can sit back and get comfortable as they get to see a 35mm print of The Descent followed by a Q&A with director Neil Marshall, the Black & Chrome edition of Mad Max: Fury Road, and finally James Cameron’s Aliens!

For three of you in the LA area (and only if you’re 17 or older), we’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away for the entire marathon! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form below!

Jen (Matilda Lutz) is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend which is suddenly disrupted when his sleazy friends arrive for an unannounced hunting trip. Tension mounts in the house until the situation abruptly––and viciously––intensifies, culminating in a shocking act that leaves Jen left for dead. Unfortunately for her assailants, Jen survives and reemerges with a relentless, wrathful intent: revenge.

Written and directed by Coralie Fargeat and starring Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, and Guillaume Bouchède, Revenge hits theaters and VOD May 11. It will come to the horror streaming service Shudder later this year.

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Hover Poster and Trailer Fear What Flies

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Fear What Flies

Syfy Films recently announced that Matt Osterman’s new film Hover from producer Travis Stevens (We Are Still Here) will be hitting theaters June 29 and VOD/Digital HD July 3.

And to celebrate today we have the film’s trailer and poster. You can check out the poster to the right and the trailer below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is directed by Matt Osterman (400 Days) from a script written by Cleopatra Coleman, is produced by Travis Stevens and Claire Haley and stars Coleman, Shane Coffey (Pretty Little Liars), Craig muMs Grant (Birdman), Beth Grant (No Country for Old Men), Fabianne Therese (Southbound) and Rhoda Griffis (Walk the Line).

It hits theaters June 29 and VOD/Digital HD July 3.

Synopsis:

Hover takes place in the near future, where environmental strain has caused food shortages around the world. Technology provides a narrow path forward, with agricultural drones maximizing the yield from what land remains. Two compassionate care providers, Claudia (Coleman) and her mentor John, work to assist sick farmland inhabitants in ending their lives. After John dies under mysterious circumstances, a group of locals helps Claudia to uncover a deadly connection between the health of her clients and the technology they are using.

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