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DVD Releases: Invasion of the Deadly Sluts

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Crocs and sluts are ready for you come Tuesday, January 29th, 2008…
Click to see the art bigger!1942 (2007)
Directed by Kelvin Tong

During WWII, a Japanese cameraman, hoping to get pictures from the trenches of the Japanese 6th army. A mortar explodes nearby, however, and now he’s running for his life armed only with a camera. He hooks up with a leftover troup who try to escape the jungle, but all the maps are wrong, all the compasses read wrong, and they’re haunted by ghostly images. Gee, I wonder if they’re already dead?! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Automatons (2007)
Directed by James Felix McKenney

Back when storylines and characters actually meant something, before the days of big budget CG, they made movies like Automatons … or so the filmmakers want you to believe. A lone woman survived the apocalypse and has to fight off evil robots from her new home; an abandoned laboratory. Angus Scrimm stars as a professor who’s seen it all in this production from Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix. Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Barn of the Naked Dead (1973)
Directed by Alan Rudolph

Wow, what a ridiculous title, eh? Still, could be fun in an early 70’s kinda way, though. The story is about some girls on their way to Vegas who run into some car troubles. They get help from Andre, who they don’t know is actually a psycho with serious family issues who keeps girls chained up in his barn and forces them to do circus tricks. Hey, at least there’s potential for it to live up to that title! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Black Mass (2007)
Directed by Nigel Wingrove

I’m not sure if this is a real movie that’s trying to sell itself as a collection of footage, or a collection of footage released as a movie; either way I’m interested. The story is about the titular night club, which opened its doors on the last Sunday of every month. A group of women called the Satanic Sluts would enact performances meant to evoke hell itself, though obviously they never succeeded … or did they? Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Deadly End (2005)
Directed by Graeme Whifler

All right, I’m not going to spend this entire write-up bitching about the title change from the much more appropriate Neighborhood Watch. The point is, this disturbing, disgusting film is still fully intact and the DVD comes with a good amount of extras, so we’ll just be happy that it’s finally hitting DVD! Check out our review of Deadly End (when it was called Neighborhood Watch) for more! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Die and Let Live (2007)
Directed by Justin Channell

I remember about 5 years ago when an idea like this was just original enough to make it worth checking out. Since, the zomcom has been overdone to undeath if you ask me. This story’s about a guy who throws a party for himself to try and feel better about a recent breakup, but finds he’s got other things to worry about when a pack of bloodthirsty zombies crashes. Hopefully the rip off of the Shaun of the Dead graphic on the cover isn’t an indication of the film’s quality… Read our review of the film to see what Syxx thought of it. Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Invasion (2007)
Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel

Yet another remake of an older, better film done by yet another director imported to the U.S. after making a hit film in his own country (in this case, it’s Das Experiment). Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig star in the film about an alien invasion that takes over the looks of humans in order to infiltrate our planet. They getcha when you’re sleeping, you see, so you gotta stay awake. Check out our Invasion DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Lake Placid 2 (2007)
Directed by David Flores

John “Dukes of Hazard” Schneider stars in this made-for-SciFi Channel sequel, which features a cover so bad you have to wonder if they were even trying to come up with something eye-catching. Same lake, more crocs this time; and no Betty White, which just goes to show how cheaply this movie was made for. Surely she can’t cost much more than Schneider? Check out our Lake Placid 2 review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Punk Rock Holocaust 2 (2007)
Directed by Doug Sakmann

Yep, another horror filmed during the ever-popular Vans Warped Tour; set one year after the events of the first film, this time the killer is back from the dead and looking for his missing head. The only way he can find it is to tear off the heads of various band members and stick it on his own spinal cord, but they just keep falling off. Loud, fast music and much bloodshed follows. Sounds like heaven! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Right at Your Door (2007)
Directed by Chris Gorak

Rory Cochran and Mary McCormack star in this urban apocalyptic thriller. Cochran is an out-of-work, stay at home musician; his wife is a well-paid career woman. On her way to work one normal day in LA, someone sets off a series of dirty bombs across the city, killing hundreds and causing disease to rain down. The film is about the choices we make and their consequences. Be sure to read our Right at Your Door DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Satanic Sluts (2007)
Directed by Nigel Wingrove

Remember the Satanic Sluts mentioned in the above write-up for Black Mass? Well, coincidentally enough, there’s a DVD about them coming out the very same day! I won’t say I’m not interested, though I’ve never been into the whole pain/pleasure thing. The DVD focuses on six of the sluts as we see just what being a slut for the devil is like. Or, you could just ask Kryten… Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Sexual Parasite (2005)
Directed by Takao Nakano

I’ve heard of sexual predators, sexually transmitted diseases, even sexual healing, but I’ve never heard of a sexual parasite. Now that I have, I’m terrified of the opposite sex. The story is about a sexual parasite contracted while a girl is in the jungles of Botswana (damn jungles!). She proceeds to spread it to anyone she bangs, which is a large number now that she’s got the aforementioned bug. Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Shadow Hours (2000)
Directed by Isaac Eaton

Sounds like a strange one, can’t really see the horror element in this, though. The story is about a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser who is now trying to keep his small family together. He’s working a graveyard shift at a gas station, where a mysterious stranger shows up and takes him through the seediest part of the LA underbelly. But is he leading him to hell … or salvation? Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Tragic Ceremony (1972)
Directed by Riccardo Freda

Damn hippies, always ruining stuff. They show up during a sudden rainstorm at a seemingly abandoned villa, where they probably want to just have sex and get hight. Damn hippies. Instead, they find out the villa is owned by a couple who are planning a satanic sacrifice, and the hippies came along just in time. Well, at least they’re good for something! Read our Tragic Ceremony DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!The Unknown Trilogy (2007)
Directed by Brian Cavallaro & Sal Mazzota

I worry about this one, folks. First off all, Allumination is putting it out, and they just unleashed The Attic on us and it was, in a word, crap. The title of this one fills me with zero hope as well. Unknown Trilogy? What? Obviously it’s an anthology of short films about stuff that’s unknown, like maybe Bigfoot? No, I doubt it. The dark corners of the human heart? Yeah, probably. Buy it here!


Click to see the art bigger!Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007)
Directed by Kent Jones

A documentary produced and narrated by Martin Scorsese about the legendary producer, the man behind movies like The Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, The Body Snatcher and more. Interviews with Kyoshi Kurosawa, Roger Corman, Robert Wise, and a lot more are featured. A must-see for all fans of classic horror or just old Hollywood! Buy it here!


Johnny Butane

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The Open House Review – Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

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Starring Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins

Written by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote


Mere weeks, even days, after effusively beating Netflix’s original horror content drum (The Babysitter, Before I Wake, Creep 2), I’m here to confirm that The Open House is emptier than an vacant bomb shelter. Cold, unappealing and thoughtlessly plotted to the point where “generic” would have been an improvement. From the moment we’re welcomed into Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s scripted imprisonment, it’s nothing but loose floorboards and busted plumbing. The home invasion genre has rarely been navigated with such little attention to detail, asking for our suspension of coherent storytelling early, often, and without earning the right to be deemed mindless genre fun. Not even Ty Pennington could save this extreme renovation disaster.

Dylan Minnette plays Logan Wallace, a track star and student who must find closure after watching his father fall victim to a fatal car accident. It is his mother Naomi’s (Piercey Dalton) idea to spend a little time away from their suburban home – escape those painful memories – so they retreat to her sister’s luxurious mountain getaway. The catch? It’s in the process of being sold and open houses are on the regular, so Naomi and Logan must vacate their temporary premises on certain days. It’s after one of these very showings that Logan begins to notice slight changes around the house, and he fears that an unwanted visitor may be in their midst. Guess what? He’s right.

To understand how little The Open House cares about conscious blueprinting, just read the poster’s tagline. “You can’t lock out what’s already inside” – right, but you could have prevented them from coming in, or checked the house to make sure they weren’t squatting, or explored numerous other possibilities to avoid this scenario. The mansion’s realtor allows prospective buyers to come and go but it’s not her job to make sure no one’s hiding in the basement? Naomi can’t even keep track of the *single* visitor she lets look around the house? It’s infuriating to see so many people neglect safety out of forced coincidence because the script couldn’t rationalize the killer’s entry any other way – a confounding strike one.

This is also a film that admits no reasoning for why its own murderer has targeted the Wallaces, or why he stokes a violent fetish when it comes to open houses. We never actually see his face, just his imposing handyman-looking attire, nor do we savor any kind of tangible backstory (his family died during their own open house and he suffered a psychotic breakdown – just give me *something*). His undefined form never demands curiosity like John Carpenter’s “The Shape” once did, because scripting is nothing more than bullet notes for basic horror movie necessities. Here he is, your bad guy – too bad he’s introduced without fear, handled without originality and unable to characterize beyond torturous kidnapper dotted lines. He’s just, you know, a guy who sneaks into open houses and kills – COMPLETE WITH A FINAL PAN-IN ON AN OPEN HOUSE SIGN WHEN HE MOVES TO HIS NEXT TARGET [eye roll into infinity].

Every scene in The Open House feels like an afterthought. “Ah, we need a way to build tension – how about a senile local woman who lives down the street and wanders aimlessly into frame?” Overplayed and in no way suitable to most her inclusions, but sure. “Oh, and we need inner conflict – what about if the breaker-iner steals Logan’s phone and frames him for later acts?” I mean, didn’t Logan canonically lose his phone even before Naomi’s mid-shower water heater issues – but sure, instant fake tension. “How are people going to believe the killer is always around and never blows his cover – think they’ll just buy it?” No, we don’t. Worse off, his cat-and-mouse game is dully repetitive until a finale that skyrockets intensity with jarring tonal imbalance. This closing, dreadful end without any sort of redemptive quality. More abusive than it is fulfilling.

If there’s anything positive worth conveying, it’s that Minnette does a fine job shuffling around as a character with severe sight impairment. The killer makes a point to remove his contacts as a final “FUCK YOU,” just to toy around a bit more, and Minnette frantically slips or stumbles with nothing more than foggy vision. Otherwise, dialogue finds itself ripped form a billion other straight-to-TV Logo dramas about broken families, no moment ever utilizing horror past a few shadowy forms standing in doorways after oblivious characters turn away. You can’t just take an overused subgenre and sleepwalk through homogenized beats…case and god-forsaken point.

Even as a streamable Netflix watch, The Open House is irredeemable beyond fault. The walls are caving in on this dilapidated excuse for home invasion horror, benefiting not from the star power of a temperamental Dylan Minnette. I have seen most involved players here in far better projects (Minnette’s stock has rightfully been skyrocketing, Matt Angel in The Funhouse Massacre, etc), but this is bargain bin theatrics without a fully formed idea. A nameless villain, doomed nice guy (Sharif Atkins), woefully unaware plot advancement – all the worst cliches found in one rage-quit worthy effort. Anyone who makes it through deserves an award…or a dunce cap.

  • The Open House
1.0

Summary

Unless you’re irrationally afraid of cold showers, The Open House fails to deliver on a premise that can be summed up by no more than two lines of text.

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Michael C. Hall Buried in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary

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Now here’s an audio book we can REALLY get behind! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that former “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will be narrating the first ever unabridged recording of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Sometime’s audio is better!

Readers have been asking for this audiobook for a very long time,” Stephen King said in a statement. “I know the listening experience will be worth the wait with Michael as narrator.

We’re thrilled to finally bring Pet Sematary to King’s audiobook fans,” Simon & Schuster Audio president and publisher Chris Lynch added. “Michael C. Hall is a perfect match for this timeless story, which has long deserved an unabridged production.

The unabridged audiobook of Pet Sematary will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 27. Speaking of Hall… you know he would make a pretty friggin’ good casting choice to play Victor Pascow in the upcoming Pet Sematary remake. Just sayin’.

BUY IT NOW!

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Saw-inspired Game Play With Me Sets a Trap on Steam

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Saw fans have a lot to be happy about right now. In addition to Jigsaw being teased for Dead by Daylight, a new Saw-themed game called Play With Me has launched on Steam, and although it’s not officially connected with the franchise in any way, developer Airem promised that they created a videogame which looks and plays as though it were made by Jigsaw himself. As you can tell from the trailer and screenshots, the production values and overall quality of Play With Me appear to be considerably higher than most other indie horror games released on Steam, and you’ll probably be very happy to see that Airem took the time and effort to create stylized hand drawn environments rather than using purchased assets from the Unity Store.

The killer behind the sinister traps in Play With Me is known as the Illusion, with the player taking control of investigative journalist Robert Hawk as he tries to fight his way through a series of sick and twisted obstacles created by the lunatic. The voice acting in the trailer was a little cheesy, although we see at 1:09 that the player will be tasked with using a kitchen knife to cut open a dead body (presumably to retrieve an item hidden in the cadaver’s stomach), which is not an image you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.

IQ Publishing are offering a 15% discount off Play With Me for those who purchase the game before January 24, so Saw fans might want to mark that deadline in their calendars and purchase it from Steam before the time is up. After all, it can’t be worse than Konami’s awful official Saw videogames.

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