Friday, February 5, 2016

Pray for Death (1985) - Blu-ray Review - Arrow Video

Never come between a man and his american dream. 
Definitely don't do it when that man is a ninja.

Pray for Death Blu-ray cover

Released by: Arrow Video
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Production Year: 1985
Region Code: A
Running Time: 1:38:27 (Unrated) / 1:34:31 (R-Rated)
Audio: English LPCM Stereo
Video: 1080p (2.35:1 Aspect Ratio)
Subtitles: English SDH

THE FILM - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

In "Pray for Death," martial arts legend Sho Kosugi ("Enter the Ninja," "Ninja 3: The Domination," "Rage of Honor") stars as a family man driven to exact vigilante justice - ninja style! Japanese Restauranteur Akira (Kosugi) has taken his wife and two boys to the United States in search of a better life. But their slice of the American Dream is quickly soured when they fall foul of a group of vicious jewellery thieves. Unfortunately for the bad guys, they didn't count on Akira being a secret black ninja. The samurai sword of vengeance falls swift and hard in this classic slice of 80's ninja action from director Gordon Hessler ("Scream and Scream Again," "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad"), culminating in an action-packed showdown with a body count worthy of "Commando."

I had never seen "Pray for Death" prior to watching this Blu-ray. So let me say thank you Arrow Video for releasing this on Blu-ray and thank you MVD Entertainment Group for distributing it here in the U.S. because this was a fun treat to watch. No dull moments here. We have Akira (Sho Kosugi) who just wants to make his family happy and fulfill his wife's dream of coming to America, making a new life for themselves. Sadly that dream is short-lived as he and his family get mixed up with some bad people and those bad guys will come to find out that they messed with the wrong man. 

What begins as a nice, pleasant story of hope and happiness turns to sadness and eventually revenge. Oh yeah, did I not mention the revenge aspect? I do love revenge films and when the moment comes for it to rear its head in "Pray for Death," I was fully psyched for it and I sure wasn't disappointed. Be sure to watch the Unrated version of the film for some extra bits of grue. 

Not all of the acting is particularly good. But the acting isn't why you're going to watch this movie, it's for the entertaining fight scenes and thanks to the added bits in the Unrated version, there's more blood and even more entertaining fight scenes. There are some good actors in the film though like Michael Constantine, who happens to be from a city not too far from where I live and he's fairly well known here. Plus there is Parley Baer who some might remember him for playing a mayor on "The Andy Griffith Show." Some of the fight scenes are a bit humorous, which was probably not intentional. But that is okay and it is an 80's film. An 80's martial arts film at that, where things were sometimes a bit... silly. However, Akira is all about business in this film and once they cross him, look out cause there is nowhere for you to hide. Heck, you can hop in a truck and drive off and he can still catch you on foot. Yep. He is one hardcore ninja.  
Pray for Death still
AUDIO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

"Pray for Death" features an English LPCM Stereo track. The audio for this film sounded great. Dialogue was clean and easy to understand. The soundtrack and sound effects both sounded fine as well. I did not notice any real problems at all such as drop outs or hissing. Optional English SDH subtitles are also included although they only seemed to be for the Unrated version which will most likely be the only version most people watch anyhow. But I felt it was worth noting. 
Pray for Death still
VIDEO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

"Pray for Death" comes to Blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video. The film is presented in 1080p with a 2:35.1 Aspect Ratio. The film looks excellent overall. I do want to mention right away that in the Unrated version you will notice a drop in video quality for the bits that were added back in to make this version. Some will most likely complain about the change in quality but most will perfectly fine with it, which I was. 

Below, you will be able to see two pictures, the first showing how the film looks for the majority of the run time and the second picture showing the quality of footage added in to that particular scene. That will give you an idea of what you can expect. As usual, screen shots don't quite do the film justice as it tends to look better in motion. 

Pray for Death still of Sho Kosugi

Pray for Death still of Sho Kosugi
Colors are represented well, looking strong, Skin tones look natural and spot on. Black levels looked fine as well. There are some noticeable white specks and spots here and there during the film. The film generally looks sharp with close-ups displaying a great amount of fine detail. Film grain looked minimal in a good portion of the brighter scenes of the film while becoming a bit heavier is darker scenes and increasing so in the lower quality footage.   Pray for Death stillSPECIAL FEATURES - [ 3 / 5 ]:

Unrated and R-Rated Versions of the film included

Sho and Tell Part 1: Birth of a Ninja (19:05) - In this interview which was filmed in Japan in October 2015, Kosugi discusses the early stages of his career, leading up to his starring role in "Pray for Death." Mr. Kosugi also talks about how he played baseball in Tokyo and was even scouted. He also speaks about borrowing money to come to the United States and how he earned enough money to open a martial arts studio and started entering tournaments and how he won over 600 trophies.  

Sho Kosugii on Martial Art Forms (18:57) - An interview with Kosugi on the program Martial Art Forms, including footage of his ninja demonstration from the 1985 New York premiere of "Pray for Death." Mr. Kosugi talks about his career, martial arts and various shuriken. Several clips from "Pray for Death" are shown during the interview. It was interesting to hear him mention how for filming he had to slow down at times which reminded me of Jet Li when he was filming "Lethal Weapon 4" because he was told he had to slow down because he was just too fast. 

Sho Kosugi Trailer Gallery
  • Enter the Ninja (1981)
  • Revenge of the Ninja (1983)
  • Pray for Death (1985)
  • Rage of Honor (1987)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
Pray for Death still of Sho Kosugi

I'll keep this short and sweet. If you like martial art and/or ninja type films, I think you'd be pleased with this film and it's high quality presentation. Arrow Video put together a nice Blu-ray for this film and included a few good extras to boot. 

OVERALL RATING - [ 3.5 / 5 ]

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Shockwave Darkside (2014) Film Review - Uncork'd Entertainment

Directed by Jay Weismen. Produced by Favorit Films, Red Giant Media, Pipeline Entertainment. Starring Mei Melancon, Sonequa Martin, Bill Sage, Rich Ceraulo and Alexander Cendese.

Here we have a sci-fi premiered  at London Frightfest Film Festival August 2014, I knew nothing about this film,and went in blindly, it is only since I have watched the film,that I have experienced all the severe negativity,and to be honest I like to find the good in any film,well unfortunately in this I could not find anything.

We have another post apocalyptic story of the Worlds Waters being polluted by a Nano Plague, to then have Alien invaders, force the rest of humanity to repopulate onto the moon.

With a new invasion launched from Earth 'The Unlight' Alien invaders,have found pockets of water on the Darkside of the Moon,and we have a battle for the natural resource, all living things need and that is water.

On paper or even script it has a decent idea,but with a completely confusing,and ridiculous script,that starts immediately, with no Titles, just computer software imagery, that introduces us to the cast,or crew,with just a little introduction what has happened on earth, with a daft voiceover, that gives no insight. I had to google the plot line, as the movie actually has none.

I have seen Thousands of movies  in my lifetime, although this is not the worst, and believe me I have seen some turkeys, it is definitely up there. A film originally filmed in 3D to show off the 3D effects, with constant computer Imagery, flashing up on screen, which in all honesty is the only good looking part of this film.

With the only decent character who can act Sonequa Martin,who is a Regular on The Walking Dead, is the only character I cared for. The So called Tough Talking Mei Melancon, as a character called 'The Machine' was as wooden as the cardboard suits the actors were wearing.

All in all I cannot recommend this film,the acting is terrible, the costumes look like they were borrowed from a 1970's Dr Who convention,with spray painted nerf guns, parading as weapons, this film is a definite no from me, and I love Sci-fi and horror.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Madness of Many (2013) - DVD Review - MVD Entertainment Group

Madness of Many - An interesting look at life, death and rebirth

Madness of Many DVD cover

Single Disc Regular Edition

Released by: MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Production Year: 2013
Region Code: 1
Running Time: 1:12:05
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: NTSC Anamorphic Widescreen
Subtitles: None

THE FILM - [ 2.5 / 5 ]

As the back of the cover states, the film depicts the psychological journey of a young woman named Victoria. Since her childhood she has been sexually abused by her family. One day she decides to escape but the world is against her and she soon finds herself cast into an inferno of torture and punishment. This causes her unimaginable suffering but she also comes to understand the true meaning of her existence

Most horror fans will not find "Madness of Many" very appealing in any shape or form. It's not a Hollywood film for one and it is certainly not something your local movie theater would ever think of showing. This is the sort of film you might have spotted on VHS back in the days of mom and pop video stores during the 80's. Something independent, very independent as in maybe something only available in that region or state. People may have even mistaken parts of it for a snuff film. 

The movie makes a solid effort to assault the senses. At times it is so gritty and dirty you might feel inclined to look away, turn it off or even feel the need to take a shower after watching it. If you are the squeamish sort that is bothered by blood, guts or vomit, you may find yourself peeking through your fingers several times. For a super low budget independent film, the special effects are quite good, some are even great in my opinion. The gutting and organ removal scene looked amazing. 

Kasper Juhl wore many hats during the production of this film including serving as the director, writer, editor, producer, special effects make-up artist and also served as cinematographer and actor for some scenes. So yeah, that is a lot of work and kudos to him on his efforts! 

Madness of Many still

AUDIO - [ 3 / 5 ]:

The film features a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track which sounds good for the most part. It won't blow you away but it does its job. As director Kasper Juhl mentions during the commentary, the sound in the film is recorded via the camera only. So if at times it seems a little uneven, that could be the reason. I personally did not have an issue with it. I did turn the volume up a little louder for the film as well as the commentary track but that's not exactly something to complain about. 
Madness of Many still

VIDEO - [ 2.5 / 5 ]:

"Madness of Many" comes to DVD courtesy of Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group. The film is presented in NTSC Anamorphic Widescreen with a 2:35:1 Aspect Ratio. The video quality does have issues like banding but this is not your typical film with a large or even decent sized budget. This is real indie film-making where it is more like no budget rather than low budget. With that in mind, it's really not that bad and honestly it may even work in the films favor considering the dark subject matter and look of the film.
Madness of Many still


Audio Commentary with director Kasper Juhl - Mr. Juhl provides some insight in to what inspired portions of the film as well as talking about production related stories pertaining to what is happening on the screen at the time. There are many brief but quiet moments throughout the commentary but that can often happen without a moderator to toss questions as the participants. I enjoyed this commentary because Kasper Juhl comes across as a humble and honest filmmaker. He's very aware that films like this are often met with a love it or hate it attitude and he's fine with that as he explains during the commentary. 

Unearthed Films Trailer Reel - There are a slew of trailers included on the DVD or to be more accurate, 15 of them for your viewing pleasure. 

Madness of Many still


The film is available in a regular edition, which is what we reviewed, as well as a 3-Disc Ultimate Edition limited to 1000 copies that includes a lot more extras and a CD soundtrack. I think this is one of those films where the trailer will let you know if it is something you will enjoy. However if you are tired of the same old thing or want to try something new that you can tell your friends about because they most likely will scratch their heads upon hearing the title, this might be what you're looking for. If you would like to learn more about the film y
ou can also visit "Madness of Many" on Facebook.

OVERALL RATING - [ 2.5 / 5 ]


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

You Are Not Alone (2014) - Film Review - Sharp Teeth Films

FPS: First Person Slasher

You Are Not Alone poster

I have just finished watching You Are Not Alone which is being released via Sharp Teeth Films for the UK market on 22nd February 2016.

An idyllic summer day becomes a living nightmare...
With school finally over, college graduate Natalie Wilner returns to her hometown to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend. But beneath the flags and fireworks lurks a dark, malevolent figure. After a night of drunken parties, she tumbles home and drifts off to sleep, only to be woken moments later by a loud knock at the door.
Experiencing one night of terror, through Natalie's eyes as she fights to escape a relentless, knife-wielding maniac.

You Are Not Alone still

Remember in the remake of Maniac where it was kinda cool to see the whole events through the eyes of the killer? Well this flips it, this time we see everything through the eyes of the victim, the similarity with Maniac kind of ends right there. This is a good twist on proceedings and I give them credit for not copying Maniac flat out, however this does mean we have to see a lot of Natalie's (the victim) life before the killer appears to do his evil killery things.

This sadly means 48 minutes of nothing much going on, we get to go to lunch with Grandma, a party, buy pot and hang around with 2 friends, who we never see again for the rest of the movie and stumble home. I do love slow horror, I really do, but this was a little too long of a build up for my personal liking but it does pay off, slightly, once the action starts.

You Are Not Alone still

Once all the partying, boys, pranking, and fireworks are done, Natalie stumbles (or ricochet's depending on your point of view when judging drunkness) home, passes out, good night everybody woohoo. However, she is rudely awoken by knocking noises, and instead of hiding under the blanket and hope it goes away she goes downstairs. Once downstairs she see's a creepy guy standing staring at the house (who strangely resembles an early Nick Cave). This is where the most tense part of the movie happens and i'm not ashamed to say I jumped a few times whilst also shouting "Run!" "What are you doing?!" and the like. The movie takes this route and runs with it for the rest of the runtime.

You Are Not Alone still

I don't want to give too much away about the movie as I feel the tension holds up on it's own once it hits it's stride. Yes there is moments where you shout at the screen calling this poor girl every name under the sun as she runs her way through the neighbourhood, but it's part of the movie's twisted ride. If you can get past that long slow opening (which to be honest doesn't really give you that much information) then you can enjoy the final part. It's a home invasion slasher seen through the eyes of the victim and it works, just. I would also like to give a shoutout to what is clearly a homage to Leatherface (you will know it when you see it), very nicely done.

It's worth a look and brings genuine tension (hey a reflection of a lamp made me jump out of my skin at one point I was that engrossed), not many questions are answered but not too many chances lost either. Worth a shot if you are at a loose end one evening.

RATING: 2.5 / 5

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Interview with Filmmaker, James Cullen Bressack of Psykik Junky Pictures

Youth… so synonymous with passion, hunger and drive. Perhaps an edgy, devil-may-care, throw-caution-to-the-wind-and-just-create attitude is what has propelled the success of this prodigious young director. James Cullen Bressack, award-winning filmmaker of titles such as “My Pure Joy”, “Hate Crime”, “13/13/13”, “Pernicious” and “Blood Lake” is set to release a gritty, drug-fueled drama “White Crack Bastard” February 23rd on DVD, iTunes and Amazon streaming.

Growing up a child of parents in the entertainment industry, James has always had the desire to create. It started with short films that he would often attempt to hand into his teachers in lieu of written assignments, and turned to feature length films into adulthood. With each film James grows, learns and attempts something new. Each film is artistically different, but all have a social commentary, intensity and sense of diligence that has become characteristic of Bressack.

Body Count Rising: Your father, (the Emmy award-winning writer and director) Gordon Bressack, was Consulting Producer for your first film, “My Pure Joy”, your mom (Ellen Gerstell) and dad were both actors, plus you have acted as well. How does this influence affect your interactions with your actors when directing a film?

James Cullen Bressack: I don’t know whether they influenced the interactions or not, but I like to visualize a blank canvas. I take my ideas about the character, and the actor takes their ideas about the character and whatever works for both of us is what we use to paint the picture of who this person is, and determine subtext. The goal is to always come up with something really palpable.

Body Count Rising: You and your dad both have segments you each wrote and directed on the film “Virus of the Dead.” (Gordon Bressack wrote and directed ‘The Changes’ and James Cullen Bressack wrote and directed ‘Routine Stop’.) Did this project afford you time to work together, or were these completely separate projects?

James Cullen Bressack: These were completely different projects. We didn’t work together. I was one of the first filmmakers approached about contributing to the film, and when asked for recommendations of other filmmakers, I immediately thought of my dad and a couple of others.

Body Count Rising: Did your work influence your father to venture into the horror genre?

James Cullen Bressack: I would think so. My dad has always worked with cartoons, but he’s a storyteller in his own right. He’s been at this craft a lot longer than I have. I mean he’s won three Emmys, but I think that his work in horror is because of me, sure.

Body Count Rising: So is he a fan of horror too?

James Cullen Bressack: Yeah! He’s not as big of a fan as I am, but he does like horror films.

Note: James is a horror/exploitation “fan” with great taste. Some of James’ biggest influencers are Park Chan-Wook, Frank Henenlotter, Abel Ferrara and Quentin Tarantino and his favorite films are “Oldboy” and “They Call Her One Eye.”

Body Count Rising: You seem to be in love with anthologies. (James also was involved with the Treasure Chest of Hell trilogy, a series of three anthologies.) I know you like to showcase new talent or underappreciated talent. What else about anthologies do you embrace?

James Cullen Bressack: The great thing about anthologies is that it’s the perfect type of movie that you can put on in the background. I always love to have a movie on in the background when I’m working. Because you’re watching a short series of different stories, if you happen to miss something, you can just go back and re-watch it without losing the plot of a whole movie. Plus I enjoy watching the short stories over and over again.

Body Count Rising: What’s the most valuable industry lesson your parents have taught you?

James Cullen Bressack: The important lessons in business and keeping your head up, I learned from my dad. He told me one thing that always kind of stuck with me. In negotiations, you’re going to get screwed, so you’re basically determining the amount of lubricant that will be used. Of course “lubricant” is analogous to money. The more money you have, the less it will “hurt.” The less you have, the more difficult the filmmaking process will be. Of course I also learned story structure from him too because he’s an amazing writer.

Body Count Rising: Let’s talk about “White Crack Bastard.” This is a true story based on an aspiring actor’s battle with crack cocaine addiction and illustrates pieces of his life systematically being ripped away due to drug abuse and the perilous journey of getting his peace and sanity back. You’re a huge proponent of gore. Conversely, this film is subtle, yet equally effective in translating the horror of the situation. Was it more challenging not to be overt with gore in the more horrific scenes?

James Cullen Bressack: Not necessarily. “White Crack Bastard” is definitely a different situation for me as a filmmaker. This film started years ago, so it’s one of my older films. It’s actually my third film. I definitely don’t feel that I’ve made a horror movie. I take ordinary people and put them in extraordinary circumstances, so it’s really just a drama with horror elements. It’s the same tension and the mood that you’re putting in there, and while “White Crack Bastard” lacks gory violence it does have that same tension.

Body Count Rising: Powerful performances by Rhett Benz (Luke) and Taja V. Simpson (Gina) reveal the many gray areas of this exploitative drama. Nothing is simple, and it’s all subjective. This film is categorized as a drama on IMDb. Do you think the classification as simply a “drama” is truly accurate?

James Cullen Bressack: It’s considered a drama, but it definitely has the exploitation feel. Some are also calling this a cult film as in the midnight movies type of cult film as sub-genre and a drug genre film.

Body Count Rising: At no point does this film feel preachy or judgmental. Do you consider this a cautionary tale or a factual documentation?

James Cullen Bressack: I think it’s a really a special circumstance to have the lead actor playing the character based on himself. The film was based on Rhett’s life. The person who wrote the film, Lisa, was actually played as “Heather” in the film. It’s an intense situation. In the DVD commentary Rhett talks about his whole experience and it’s very interesting and absolutely factual with slight embellishments at times.

Body Count Rising: Your producer for this film was also the lead. Were there any challenges associated with this or directing someone who is playing himself?

James Cullen Bressack: Lisa created the script and Rhett was funding the project and acting in the movie. They had been working on this for a couple of years before they approached me and asked me to direct. We had a really good relationship so it was a very positive experience.

Body Count Rising: How long did the shoot take?

James Cullen Bressack: It’s been quite some time ago, but I would say 12-14 days… something like that.

Body Count Rising: What kind of budget were you working with?

James Cullen Bressack: It was a very bare bones budget. It wasn’t a 120 person crew like with “Pernicious”. It was me, a DP and a sound person as the entire crew.

Body Count Rising: This film was completed in 2013. Why the delay in releasing? Did the acclaim of “Pernicious” help with the final distribution of “White Crack Bastard”?

James Cullen Bressack: I think it’s a combination of things. The release of my other films is part of it. Plus, even after three years there was still stuff that needed to be fixed and it was too late to call in favors at this point. With a movie like this, it’s a little more risky than a horror film in having an audience and being seen. The distributor at BrinkVision, is a friend of mine and was interested in putting out the film.

Body Count Rising: The performances in this film impacted me the same way Ellen Burstyn’s refrigerator scene in “Requiem for a Dream” did. “White Crack Bastard” was uncomfortable, jarring, slightly nauseating and sad. The difference is that there is very little comedic release in your film. It’s relentless, and that seems to be a theme in your films. Were you influenced by Requiem?

James Cullen Bressack: I was very influenced by “Requiem” when directing this film, and also by the film “Spun”. In the past, it was very much my style to have a super intense, relentless punch to the face like you see in “Hate Crime,” my second film. As time goes by you’ll see a bit more reservation, like with “Pernicious” or my new film, “Bethany” as opposed to constant intensity.

Body Count Rising: You filmed some interesting angles, further accentuating the feeling of being drug-addled. Did you need to create any special devices to film at such wild angles?

James Cullen Bressack: We shot on a DSLR, instead of on Red, which is a much smaller, more compact camera, so it allowed us to get into tight spaces and really position wherever I wanted to get crazier angles. It was easier to maneuver and it allowed us to achieve a disorienting feel.

Body Count Rising: Do you exclusively film on digital?

James Cullen Bressack: Yes. I would love to shoot on film to some point, but it’s just not in the cards for me right now, being an independent filmmaker and just starting out. It seems like film isn’t really a viable option at an indie level because of the expense.

Body Count Rising: You filmed “To Jennifer” with an agreement with Apple using an iPhone 5. Will you shoot another movie using the iPhone again?

James Cullen Bressack: The “2 Jennifer” premier was this week, which was the follow up-to “To Jennifer” and this was directed by Hunter Johnson. That one was shot on an iPhone as well. I think it will be interesting to see how that will be received. “To Jennifer” was supposed to be released as an app in conjunction with Apple, but the designer never created the app, so that was frustrating to say the least.

Body Count Rising: I noticed you used many effects to instill that dream-like quality. How much time did you take with this film in editing?

James Cullen Bressack: Well, the film isn’t being released until now (three years later), so we had three years to work on it. The film has been tweaked many, many, many times. My last notes on the edit were like two months ago.

Body Count Rising: This has a very raw feel and it looks like you filmed in a rough area. How much of this was actually guerilla filmmaking?

James Cullen Bressack: (laughing) The whole thing was guerilla filmmaking.

Body Count Rising: I know you inject your personality into your characters in some way when you are the screenwriter. Since you didn’t write this film, did you still identify with any of the characters?

James Cullen Bressack: I don’t know that I identified with any character in this film, but whether I write a film or not, it doesn’t mean I love it any less or am any less dedicated.

Body Count Rising: The music selections in this film add a huge amount of personality and a certain quirkiness and, at times, levity. Can you elaborate on your music choices please?

James Cullen Bressack: I think music is very important when making a film. The music used in this film was created by Alibe, who worked with Earth, Wind and Fire and the Chicago Kid, who worked on “Straight Outta Compton”, so we were fortunate to have some very talented people collaborating on this film.

Body Count Rising: How do you overcome obstacles and what’s next for you?

James Cullen Bressack: I consider myself someone who just loves making films and hopes people enjoy watching them. I believe that the biggest part of being a director is being a problem solver. You’re constantly doing the best with the tools you have. A great example of that is during Pernicious they were supposed to arrive in a taxi, but the front lawn was so flooded we had to come up in a boat, so we built a pier overnight and worked the new situation into the film. You just make things work and move forward. Bethany, my new film that will come out in October, is something like “Mommie Dearest” meets “The Grudge”.

Keep up with James on his IMDb, his official website or follow him on Facebook. Learn more about “White Crack Bastard” on the film’s official site.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Comin' At Ya! (1981) - Blu-ray Review - MVD Entertainment Group

And it's...

Comin' At Ya! Blu-ray cover

Released by: MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Production Year: 1981
Region Code: 1
Running Time: 1:27:47
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 / English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Video: 1080p (2.35:1 Aspect Ratio)
Subtitles: None

Comin' At Ya! still

THE FILM - [ 3.5 / 5 ]

Tragedy strikes as two ruthless brothers kidnap a bride during her wedding. Hurt and angry, H.H. Hart (Tony Anthony) begins his quest to find the love he lost, and take vengeance upon the wicked. The film features many 3D effects, many of which are intended to "fly off the screen" at the audience.

I had never heard of this film until a press release for the (at the time) upcoming Blu-ray reached me. Yes I was intrigued. But I thought, oh that movie is probably terrible. I've never heard of it. Silly me. "Comin' At Ya!" proved to be both fun and entertaining. I really wish I had a 3D television to get the full effect of this over the top and crazy, good time. Supposedly the film helped kick off a resurgence of interest in 3D films like "Friday the 13: Part 3" and "Jaws 3" and after watching this film, I could believe it. The 3D effects used in the film look to be used very effectively. There are a number of shots where the gimmick comes in to play and is put to great use. From a hissing snake to flaming arrows to fruit pouring out of a basket, the items are very much "in your face."

Our hero H. H. Hart (Tony Anthony, "A Man, A Horse, A Gun" and "The Silent Stranger") is hellbent on revenge and well, who doesn't love a revenge film. For me, nothing beats watching some bad guys get what is coming to them. You get that and more in this film. There are some really fun, over the top action sequences. Some are even humorous. The film also boasts a number of slow motion sequences where some are used for dramatic effect and some are simply used to showcase the 3D effects. One thing is certain, you won't find many dull moments. The film is uncommon in that is feature a mix of color and black and white in certain shots as well as transitioning from black and white to color and vice versa. 

"Comin' At Ya!" was directed by spaghetti western pioneer Ferdinando Baldi ("Django: Prepare a Coffin" and "Blindman"). 
Comin' At Ya! still
AUDIO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

The Blu-ray contains two English audio options in the form of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks. There are no subtitles included in this release. The audio be it the 5.1 or 2.0 track, sounds very good. Whether it's arrows whizzing by or women screaming in terror, the sound effects and quality are very good. The dialogue was easy to understand, which is good considering the lack of subtitles. If you typically require subtitles, consider the film anyway since it isn't particularly heavy on dialogue. 
Comin' At Ya! still
VIDEO - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

"Comin' At Ya!" arrives on to Blu-ray in both 3D and 2D versions thanks to MVD Entertainment Group. The film is presented in 1080p with a 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio. Here is some technical information regarding this Blu-ray release and it is a mouthful. This Blu-ray release was "sourced from a 4K master that boasts a frame by frame digital conversion of the polarized over-and-under format of the original print, sourced from a brand new internegative into the MVC 3D format and new 5.1 surround sound!" 

With that said, the video quality is definitely far from perfect. It does have a number of white specks and spots that appear throughout the duration of the film. There are occasional dark spots that appear to have possibly been dirt on the camera lens. However, the film still looks nice and some scenes like around the 49 minute mark where a woman is being dragged along the beach by a horse, look gorgeous. Colors are bold without appearing over-saturated. There is some noticeable fuzziness at times where the camera is focusing on an object to achieve a better 3D effect. The film has a fair level of sharpness to it despite the 3D style of the feature. Skin tones have a natural appearance to them. 
Comin' At Ya! still

Promo (5:35) - A brief, sort of look behind the finished product where you can see numerous shots, including many 3D shots, before they were completed. 

Trailer (1:55)
Comin' At Ya! still

A nice Blu-ray release that features the 2D and 3D version of the film. The Blu-ray looks and sounds very good. The film is sure to please a number of fans of various genres. For more information or to purchase the Blu-ray visit the MVD Entertainment Group website or you buy or rent the film via the Amazon links below.



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Mansion of Blood (2015) - DVD Review - MVD Entertainment Group

Welcome to Mayhem.. errr Mayhew mansion

Mansion of Blood DVD cover

Released by: MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Production Year: 2015
Region Code: 1
Running Time: 1:38:53
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: NTSC Anamorphic Widescreen
Subtitles: None

Mansion of Blood still Robert Picardo

THE FILM - [ 2 / 5 ]:

Millionaire Mason Murphy (Ray Quiroga) renovates the haunted Mayhew mansion. He moves his family to the estate with his creepy servant Zacharia (Gary Busey). 

He plans a tremendous lunar eclipse viewing party to celebrate his return to his hometown of River Ridge Iowa. At the party, a witch casts a spell to summon the spirit of her dead boyfriend. The magic runs out of control under the eclipse and a series of deadly accidents lead to revenge killings and then all the monsters come out as the party guests are murdered one by one. 

Each murder and death is unique, macabre, and horrifying at the Mansion of Blood. Who, if any, will survive?

That pretty well sums up the plot. Unfortunately I did not find the film to be as good as the plot sounded. It started off with a flashback scene that most will either laugh at or shake their head. For a low budget indie horror film, it has some decent production values. Despite the quality of some of the special effects not quite matching the filmmakers enthusiasm, the effort is there. 

Gary Busey and Robert Picardo fans may be let down by the limited amount of screen time the two have in the film which is a shame because a number of the other actors don't have the same ability. Yes Gary Busey may be a bit "off" but he can still command some presence in a scene and I don't find his acting as terrible as some. 

I think if you go in to this film fully expecting the cheese factor to be high and perhaps have a couple drinks in you if that typically helps, the film would be more enjoyable. I was fully expecting the movie to be more straight-up and serious and I suspect that played a large part in my disappointment. Course, if you happen to be a fan of Syfy channel movies, this should be right up your alley. Just don't expect giant snakes, crocodiles, sharks, etc.

Mansion of Blood still

AUDIO - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

The DVD features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. The audio quality is quite good with a nicely balanced track. Dialogue was clear and crisp. The sound effects and score were finely reproduced as well. While a 5.1 track could have been an improvement, the film sounds fine with what is available. Along with being a catchy tune, the end credits song "Mansion of Blood" by Sam Stone sounds good. There no subtitles included with this release.

Mansion of Blood still Gary Busey

VIDEO - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

"Mansion of Blood" comes to DVD thanks to TomCat Films and MVD Entertainment Group. The film is presented in NTSC Anamorphic Widescreen. Indie films often have a very cheap look to them but that is not the case for "Mansion of Blood." A welcomed surprise, the film looks fairly good. While it may not look like a top of the line Hollywood production, the picture quality should not disappoint. The colors in the film stand out nicely whether it's a hot pink dress worn by a character or the various colors used in swimming pool scenes. Skin tones and black levels both appeared fine. As for sharpness, it was more middle of the road. All in all, it is a nice looking film on the DVD.

Mansion of Blood still


Trailer (1:02)


While I did not overly enjoy the film, I would give it another chance along with a different mindset and expectations. Gary Busey and Robert Picardo appear in small roles which should still please some of their fans. The DVD itself features good audio and video quality which is a big plus. The only extra is a trailer. A Gary Busey interview could have been an entertaining addition.

OVERALL RATING: [ 2.5 / 5 ]

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