April Showered in B-Movie DVDs!
April is gonna be one loaded month as far as horror DVD releases are concerned. I've decided to spotlight ten random B-movie DVD (B-VDs?) releases hitting shelves in the month of April that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle once the April avalanche begins.
Loch Ness Terror was the original title of the movie the Sci-Fi Channel premiered back in early January under the title Beyond Loch Ness (review); Sony Home Entertainment will now release the film to DVD on April 15th under that original title. As a reminder to those that haven't read my review, the movie is set almost entirely in Canada - not Loch Ness or even Scotland.
The reason I start this list off with Loch Ness Terror rather than going completely in order by release date is because I really did enjoy this creature feature quite a bit and think monster movie fans should seek it out. Unquestionably one of the better Sci-Fi Channel originals, "Charmed" whitelighter Brian Krause plays a heavily armed cryptozoologist that looks like he just stepped out of a Sergio Leone Western who arrives in Canada after an old man posted on his website about having seen a creature in a local lake that looks just like the one Krause saw kill his dad at Loch Ness as a kid. Turns out there are multiple monsters, big and small, on the prowl in this Canadian lake. Good thing our hero packed an arsenal of high tech weapons that would make Ming the Merciless envious. A silly movie that deviates little from traditional plot formulas to be sure; yet, there's a good time to be had here.
Now going back to the start of the month, April 1st brings us The Cook from Starz/Anchor Bay. Isn't it about time we got a slasher flick about a psychopathic cook because I sure as heck can't think of any other such slasher flicks off the top of my head? And to help sweeten the pot, what if I were to tell you this psychopathic cook cooks for and then slaughters a houseful of nubile sorority girls? Sure; it's a recipe we're all familiar with, but sometimes you just have to stick with tradition.
Also on April Fool's Day, MGM will be giving the name-only sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II a proper DVD release, no doubt in anticipation of the name-only remake of Prom Night opening in theaters a little over a week later.
April 8th is the day MTI Home Video unleashes Magus, a warring dark wizards flick from Blood Gnome director John Lechago I first wrote about last August.
"Since the dawn of time magic users have availed their mysterious power to ward off evil and heal the body. Throughout history wizards, sorcerers and magicians have practiced in secrecy, keeping their powers hidden, guided by the Wizard's Code. But there are some who desire mastery over others and attain the highest level of magic to gain it. Even just one wizard, obsessed with his own power, can threaten their secret world. This one is called the MAGUS.
When Felix, a broken down healer, learns that the Magus has abandoned the Wizard’s Code and is using his power for evil, he is forced to come out of reclusion and find a way to turn his healing energy into a killing force. As this improbable hero starts training for his inevitable duel, the Magus continues using his magic powers to kill off all of the Secret Chiefs."
Head over to the Magus website and have a look at the trailer because there's a chance this could turn out to be a sleeper. However, that box art MTI has cooked up has got to go. Did they get confused and think they were releasing an "Earth: Final Conflict" movie?
Unless Echo Bridge Home Entertainment changes the date at the last minute yet again, April 8th will also see the often delayed DVD release of Cruel World, yet another one of those thrillers based around a reality TV show that we've all come to love. Starring Edward Furlong, Jaime Pressly, Andrew Keegan, and Susan Ward, this one is about a deranged reality show runner-up so distraught after being eliminated from the show that he holds a group of co-eds hostage on the set of his own fictitious show, where losers suffer a deadly fate. I think this 2005 movie has been scheduled and rescheduled for DVD release at least three times over the past year or so. We'll see if it really does finally make it onto digital on April 8th.
I know by this point I should never be surprised whenever I hear about the DVD release of a sequel nobody's been clamoring for except the filmmakers, but when the sequel is The Curse of Lizzie Borden II: Prom Night I can only react by loudly exclaiming "WTF?!" Given that I am willing to go out on a limb and speculate that there's hardly anyone reading this right now who've actually seen the 2006 no budget slasher The Curse of Lizzie Borden (review) and the majority that have even heard of it only know it from my review, why does this sequel exist?
“Five years ago, Cassie Daniels, thinking herself to be Lizzie Borden, savagely murdered six innocent people. Since that time, Cassie has been locked away in a sanitarium where, every night, she is plagued by blood drenched nightmares and haunted by the ghosts of her victims. During a therapy session, Cassie slips back into her Lizzie Borden persona and brutally murders her doctor - setting off a chain-reaction of violence and bloodshed.”
Given "Prom Night" is the film's subtitle I assume that chain reaction of violence and bloodshed involves an ax-murdering killing spree at a prom. If not, then the reason for the "Prom Night" subtitle is anyone's guess.
Razor Digital Entertainment will release The Curse of Lizzie Borden II: Prom Night on April 15th - just a few days after the big screen release of a certain movie called Prom Night. Razor Digital's webpage for the film lists the movie's genre as "fitness". Is that their way of acknowledging that sitting through this movie will require physical endurance?
Also coming from Razor Digital on April 15th and sounding a bit more palatable is Queen Cobra, the newest horror movie from the director of a slasher flick everyone keeps telling me I need to see for all the wrong reasons - Dr. Chopper.
"When a deranged college professor meets an over-eager student, terror strikes the science department! Taking advantage of the unsuspecting girl's enthusiasm, the professor runs experiments of a venomous nature. Almost immediately, vicious murders take place around campus at a biting pace! Suddenly, the professor’s creature can no longer be controlled and has an appetite of its own. Revenge against the man who has stolen her humanity is on the menu! How many innocent students will pave the way filling her taste for wrath!"
Queen Cobra must be a truly terrifying film. I mean look at how many exclamation points the plot synopsis uses.
Continuing down the April 15th path of low budget DVD terror, a new rock 'n roll horror hopes you've got an Attitude For Destruction.
"In the tradition of Rock 'N Roll Nightmare, Monster Dog and Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, comes the rock horror film, Attitude of Destruction, an epic tale of Sunset Strip-era metal, murder and mayhem that critics are calling 'Freddy Krueger with a Stratocaster...a REAL appetite for destruction!' The Guns 'n Roses-esque band "Hollywood Roses", fronted by vocalist Drake, is on the verge of superstardom, courting a major record deal with Diamond Star Records. One small problem - the label doesn't want Drake in the band. So, the remaining band members do what any fame-hungry performer would do - they kill Drake. But Drake's girlfriend has made a pact with the devil and brings her deceased lover back from the dead. Drake then goes on a slashing spree of blood and guts against all who have crossed him, leaving behind a horrific trail of gruesome gory revenge."
Not sure who those critics the synopsis speaks of are, but one look at the film's not-safe-for-work trailer on YouTube gave me more of a Troma by way of Jon Mikl Thor vibe than anything Freddy Krueger-ish. Could be fun or it could be crap. I might give this one a look even though I can't help but think this movie is about 15 years late to be spoofing Guns 'N Roses.
But what will no doubt be the most anticipated April 15th B-VD release is In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. It may not be a horror movie, but Uwe Boll's tale of wizards, warriors, epic shoveling, and the things name actors will do for a paycheck is like watching a modern day Golan-Globus knock-off of Lord of the Rings. Just listen to the second Foycast to hear Uncle Creepy and myself tell you why Boll's fantasy flop was far more entertaining than it had any given right to be. Disappointingly, the DVD release will not contain the three-hour director's cut. Boll is apparently saving that for a later special edition release. Pretty sad when even Dr. Boll gets into the double dipping business.
Topping things off for this update is the belated DVD debut of Scared to Death, a somewhat obscure 1981 creature feature that marked the directorial debut of William Malone. Malone would go on to direct the House on Haunted Hill remake and the less said the better Feardotcom.
For those that have never seen Scared to Death - more people (like myself) probably saw it during its frequent rotation on the USA Network back in the Eighties than ever did at a theater or drive-in - an ex-cop turned hack novelist gets called back to duty to investigate a string of deaths being attributed to a serial killer that turns out to actually be the work of an escaped genetically engineered monster called Syngenor (short of "Synthesized Genetic Organism") that feeds on human spinal fluid. If the name Syngenor sounds familiar, it might be because the monster was brought out for an encore in a 1990 movie starring the late David Gale entitled Syngenor. Now you'll get a chance to see the movie that first gave life to the Giger-esque monster on April 22nd. I'm especially looking forward to doing so because I can recall watching it featured on "Commander USA's Groovie Movies" when I was much younger but cannot recall whether or not I actually liked the movie.
Retromedia is giving Scared to Death the special treatment: presented in 1:85:1 enhanced for 16x9 from 35mm film elements with a promise of many extra features. Other than an original trailer and a 20-minute interview with William Malone that Fred Olen Ray has announced will be part of the DVD, there's yet to be a full listing of what all extras will be included. You can watch a tiny trailer for it on the front page of Retromedia's website.
Again, this is but a small sampling of the horror DVDs coming out in April. Like I said at the outset, it's gonna be a loaded month.
Discuss the joys of B-movies in the Dread Central Forums!