Grindhouse Double Feature: Dead Riot & Flesh for the Beast (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring (Dead Riot) Tony Todd, Carla Greene, Nina Hodoruk, Michael Quinlan, Cat Miller (Flesh for the Beast) Jane Scarlett, Sergio Jones, Clark Beasley Jr., Jim Coope, David Runco
Directed by (Dead Riot) Derek Wan, (Flesh for the Beast) Terry West
Distributed by Media Blasters
Who doesn't love the films from yesteryear that have affectionately come to be known as grindhouse movies? You remember them! They were void of any real substance other than badass characters, ludicrous plot lines, lots of sex, and of course barrels of blood. Really, what's not to like? Tarantino and Rodriquez paid homage to these glorious flicks in their Planet Terror and Death Proof collaboration, and with the Grindhouse craze still enjoying some steam, Media Blasters have taken a page out of their playbook and gone back to give two of their releases "the treatment". What does that mean? Both Shadow: Dead Riot (here just Dead Riot) and Flesh for the Beast have been worked over to have that distinct vintage film feel by adding grain, pops, and all manner of artifacts to their prints. Once grind-ified, they're presented here in a two-disc set sandwiched between truly vintage trailers and theatre commercials. It's quite the experiment, but does it work? Before we get to that, let's look at the flicks themselves.
Dead Riot is pretty fucking crazed. It's got just about everything you could look for in a great bad movie -- zombies, violence, lesbianism in a women's prison, mutant cannibal babies, kung-fu fighting, and Tony Todd doing ... being ... trying to ... oh hell, I have no clue what Tony was trying to do here, and I'm not sure what was over-acting more -- Todd or his dreadlock wig! One thing's for certain though ... whatever it was, I couldn't take my eyes off of it! Simply put this flick kicks ass no matter what way you watch it. It's perfect Friday night with friends fodder!
Giving this movie the grindhouse look really works. Aside from some really bad CGI, everything feels authentic. If the look and sound of the movie wasn't enough, Media Blasters even added an audience commentary track. I expected this to be really bad, but you know what? The people that they gathered to pull this off were genuinely random and totally funny. This further enhanced the already goofy Dead Riot experience, and I was with it all the way! We're on to something here, folks!
Pretty cool! Next up: disc two!
When Flesh for the Beast was first released, I was not a fan. Though it was chock full of gore and sex, something really seemed to be missing. For those unacquainted with the movie, it basically tells the story of a rich loony who hires a paranormal team to help him recover an ancient amulet that would make it possible to control the succubi that were haunting his manor. One by one the team members are killed, breasts heave, and the succubi writhe in gore.
Sure that's perfect horror movie fodder, but everything just felt too polished. Now that the polish has been stripped away, I must admit even this flick played better. Though not as worked over as Dead Riot, the colors here are brilliantly muted (except for red), giving the print a really worn out feel. This new translation is less effective here, but the sound and music are what puts this baby over the top. It's just dirty and funky! Aw yeah, mama! Sadly, there's no audience track on this one, but you will find more trailers and old school ads.
All in all, this is a truly successful experiment that I really cannot recommend enough. Kudos to Media Blasters for sticking their necks out and trying this! Dimension can take a cue or two from them about how to release a double feature too, as their Grindhouse experience is still only available separately and sans all the bonus goodness that ran in theatres.
Right on M-B!
4 out of 5
3 out of 5
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