Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sheep Skin (2013) - DVD Review - Unearthed Films

Sheep Skin... an indie horror film with some bite.

Released by: Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: May 10, 2016 
Production Year: 2013
Region Code: 1
Running Time: 1:19:33
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: NTSC (2.35:1 Aspect Ratio)
Subtitles: None

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap

THE FILM - [ 3 / 5 ]:

'Sheep Skin' is a gritty and realistic take on the werewolf sub-genre. The film centers around a group of friends in a punk rock band, who kidnap a business man because they believe he is actually a werewolf hiding in plain sight. The group takes the man to a nearby warehouse, where they have one night to prove that their suspicions are true. As the night goes on, tensions mount and the group begins to question their own motives. Are they right about the man's true identity, or have they made a terrible and deadly mistake?

If you think the film is going to be a cheap and poorly made independent film, you would be wrong. No, not all of the acting is top-notch. But the majority of it is good. The film itself looks pretty good and while it retains a low budget feel, it comes off much better. I hadn't even watched a trailer for the film prior to watching it so I had no idea what I was in for. I hadn't even read a plot synopsis so I could just go in without any preconceived notions and I was pleasantly surprised by the film. I never felt bored or that the film was dragging on too much. It moved along at a decent pace with its under 80 minutes run time. 

'Sheep Skin' as the synopsis states, really does play out more like a realistic take on a werewolf film as opposed to what you generally see from nearly all films of the sub-genre. It isn't an action-heavy film but when present, the practical effects looked really good and were effective. The film has a little revenge aspect to it but there really isn't a huge opportunity to make use of it the way we normally see it played out.

Director/Writer Kurtis Spieler did a very good job in his directorial effort and I am looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap

AUDIO - [ 3 / 5 ]:

The DVD features an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. The track does an adequate job for what it is. It doesn't provide terrific ambiance in the film's various settings but with this sort of film, that might be expecting a bit much. The sound levels of the DVD were balanced fairly well even though there were occasions where the viewer might strain a little to hear the dialogue. 

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap

VIDEO - [ 3 / 5 ]:

'Sheep Skin' comes to DVD thanks to Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group. This DVD is NTSC Region 1 and the film is presented in the 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio. Overall the film looks good. There are times when the picture looks a bit noisy. Colors looked strong whether it was the clothing of a character or part of the surroundings. There was an average amount of detail present. The picture quality won't wow you but shouldn't leave you disappointed either. For a low budget independent film, it didn't have the "cheap" look that typically puts me off when trying to watch them. You can look at the screen captures provided and click to view them full size to get an idea for yourself. 

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap


Black and White Version of 'Sheep Skin' - Before the feature plays, a (1:53) intro by the director Kurtis Spieler plays where he explains the reason for this version of the film.

Audio Commentary - Director-Writer Kurtis Spieler and Producer Nicholas Papazoglou provide commentary for the feature. The pair discuss the film making process for 'Sheep Skin' and the troubles encountered along the way. They also provide some information about particular scenes as the movie plays. I thought it was an informative track and if you enjoyed the film, you'll probably like the commentary as well. The commentary track is only playable with the color version of the film.

Deleted Scene (3:18) An introduction first plays explains that it's more of an extended version of one of the warehouse scenes.

Behind the Scenes (11:04) - This mostly pertains to the werewolf effect.

Sheep Skin (2007 Short Film) (11:52)

Dick Punchers Music Video (2:49)

Trailer (1:03)

OVERALL RATING - [ 3 / 5 ]

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap

Sheep Skin DVD screen cap

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The Boy (2016) - Universal Pictures - Film Review

The Boy Movie Poster*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A Montana woman, Greta, gets a temporary job as a nanny and to her surprise is paid to look after a porcelain doll, which is treated like a living child by his parents.

Director William Brent Bell offers a creepy tale with plenty of shock scares. The typical British James Herbert-like setting of a large British aristocratic home with mature gardens adds to the sinister atmosphere. Lauren Cohan's performance is excellent as Greta. As things go bump in the night with objects seemingly moving around reminiscent of Child Play, Dolly Dearest and Annabel to name a few, Cohan sells the fear factor. Bell 's production is polished, aided by its sound design, Bear McCreary's score (who appears to be knocking them out in his sleep) and Brian Berdan's editing add to the pace and atmosphere throughout.

Written by Stacey Menear, Greta's back story and motivations are believable but it leads to a somewhat inevitable Cape Fear-esque appearance by Cole, Greta's ex, played by Ben Robson. Rupert Evans gives a great understated performance as as Malcolm thanks to Delay's dialogue. Still grieving for their son, both Jim Norton as Mr. Heelshire and Diana Hardcastle s Mrs. Heelshire are delightfully creepy and emulate the odd couple in Dolls (1987) as their intentions are tragically revealed. Notable are the scenes where Greta demonstrates Brahms' ability to move by himself to Malcolm and when Greta is locked in the attic by an unseen force.

Although the lath reveals the house is state-side and not British, the excellent interiors and grounds really sell it. As with my incessant mention of other films it covers a lot of horror tropes. Those familiar with Housebound (2014) and an array of others will see the twist coming a mile off. If anything the rushed and jarring reveal takes away the suspense and tension finely built by Bell in the first three quarters with a Halloween masked phantom closing. That said, to Bell's credit the ghoul remains masked retaining The Boy's mystery. But the star of the show is the Brahms doll, which is just plain unnerving.

Those with pediophobia may want to avoid this at all costs but for the rest of us it's a solid horror thriller that works best when its honing the psychological aspect and delivering jump scares.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) - Film Review

*** This review contains spoilers! ***

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men.

Director Dan Trachtenberg offers a well directed solid suspense thriller, that borrows from Stephen King's Misery, War of the Worlds and of course Cloverfield in the closing. 10 Cloverfield Lane's minimal main cast are on fantastic form, notable are Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. but it's John Goodman who steals the show and is given more depth than the other characters.

What starts out as a seemingly typical torture kidnap thriller turns into something quite different. With the claustrophobic location of an underground bunker complete with air shafts, which Winstead has to worm her way through, it does have it tense moments. Loyality and trust themes builds the tension throughout thanks to Goodman's questionable character Howard. He gives a stellar performance with Bear McCreary's score adding to the edgy proceedings. With fine effects and some tight writing from Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken and Damien Chazelle it works as a stand alone film as well as a 'side-quel' to J.J Abrams earlier 2008 outing. Clearly the small cast and few locations transparently function to warrant and somewhat set up a big budget third instalment. But don't expect any alien action until the latter half.

It's fast pace, unconventional story telling holds interest and makes it worth while viewing alone. Cloverfield fans will be pleased but those who aren't aware of the Cloverfield link may get more satisfaction from the alien twist ending and Howard's real intentions.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

R.O.T.O.R. (1987) - Film Review

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

R.O.T.O.R. cover

A Dallas man is witness to the death of a cop and there's more to his story.

 With a video cover in the vain of the Vindicator, echoing The Wraith, The Terminator, Mad Max and Robocop, this low budget tail end of the 80s is like none of the above. Cullen Blaine's offering Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research (R.O.T.O.R) has an informative title voice over, packed with exposition and flashback that adds very little to the proceedings. What it does have is a nostalgic soundtrack from synthesiser beats to some country music. It's also nicely framed.

 There's a robot which looks its just rolled out of Buck Rogers, and R.O.TO.R, correctly dubbed "a tin marionette," is like a stop motion endoskeleton with daft Punk shades. The dialogue is a pretentious and cheesy as it comes. Even when the motor bike patrol cops goes all Westworld/Hitcher stalker-ish it sadly remains one of the most uneventful films of 1987. Not even some toy robots or The Terminator P.O.V shots can help.

With Dallas' 80s fashion R.O.TO.R never lives up to or delivers on its premise of a directorate driven, judge and executioner super cop. It picks up briefly in the last half hour as leather clad, moustache sporting, ChiPs sunglasses cop takes on some locals and later blows up when his arms and legs are tied up. There's a little shock killing that amounts to nothing, with a twist ending that won't make you spill you coffee.

Despite its faults it's better filmed than 90 percent of the DTV films produced these days. Worth watching for nostalgic value only.

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MVD acquires Sci-Fi Thriller 'Subterranea'

MVD Entertainment Group Acquires All Rights To The 
Independent Motion Picture Sci-fi Thriller 'SUBTERRANEA'

Subterranea poster

MVD Entertainment Group has acquired all North American distribution rights to science fiction thriller SUBTERRANEA, the award-winning festival favorite from the producer of Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth. The auspicious debut from director and screenwriter Mathew Miller, Subterranea was inspired by British progressive rock band recording artist "IQ" and their successful 1997 concept album of the same name and stars Bug Hall (The Little Rascals (1994), American Pie: The Book of Love), two-time Emmy Award Nominee Nicholas Turturro (The Longest Yard, "NYPD Blue", "Blue Bloods") and William Katt (Carrie (1976), The Man From Earth, "The Greatest American Hero").

The deal was negotiated by Ed Seaman from MVD and co-producers Mathew Miller and Brandon Woodard on behalf of Birdman Films.

Subterranea stars Bug Hall as "The Captive", who was locked in a dark cell as a small child and was raised in complete isolation, never seeing daylight or even another human being. Over twenty years later, without warning, he is released into society with nothing but the clothes on his back. Determined to find out who he is, The Captive discovers that he's the centerpiece of a dangerous orchestrated sociological experiment and sets off to find the truth about his shadowed existence, ultimately leading to a thrilling confrontation with his maker, "The Provider" (William Katt).

Following the release of IQ's double album "Subterranea", writer / director Mathew Miller was inspired. "As a huge fan of IQ, I was honored and thrilled to be collaborating with Peter Nicholls (IQ lyricist, writer and lead vocalist) and the band. My goal was to respect the original material and bring to life the already stimulating and poignant images the music has created in all of our minds and hearts as fans."

As the film was in development, Mat struck a professional friendship with one of the producers from The Man From Earth, Eric D. Wilkinson. Wilkinson's debut film has achieved "cult status" (The Man From Earth now resides among the Top 50 Science Fiction Films of all time on the IMDb) and was confident that he could help bring this film to a wider audience.

"When I first read Mat's script, I fell in love with the story and characters," said Wilkinson. "In some ways, the film reminded me of The Man From Earth. It had that 'intellectual sci-fi feel' to it, and at the same time, really played well as a conventional thriller. Mathew is a super talented young director and I was committed to helping him realize his vision for the material. MVD is a great company that is exceptionally supportive of filmmakers and producers and I look forward to our film's release later this year."

Subterranea has been receiving accolades on the festival circuit including Grand Prize Winner: Vortex Sci-fi & Fantasy Award- 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival, Winner - Jury Prize - Best Film - 2015 Reel East Film Festival, Official Selection - 2015 Reno Tahoe International Film Festival, Official Selection - 2015 Queen City Film Festival and Official Selection - 2015 Montana Film Festival. The film made its European premiere in London on May 1st, 2016.

Subterranea will debut on Digital, VOD, DVD and Blu-ray on September 13, 2016 from MVD Entertainment Group. Special Features included on the disc include two behind the scenes featurettes "The Making of Subterranea" and "On the Set of Subterranea - Timelapses, deleted scenes and the original theatrical trailer."

© 2016 MVD Entertainment Group
© 2016 Birdman Films
Directed by: Mathew Miller
Written By: Mathew Miller
Story By: Peter Nicholls
Produced by: Eric D. Wilkinson and Mathew Miller & Brandon Woodard
Running Time: 90 minutes
Official website:

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Charisma Carpenter and Jeremy London star in 'Girl in Woods' out on VOD June 3rd

Jeremy Benson's 'Girl in Woods'
Starring Juliet Reeves, Charisma Carpenter, Jeremy London
Premieres on Cable VOD & Digital HD June 3rd 
From Candy Factory Films

Girl in Woods poster

Candy Factory Films has announced the June 3rd Cable and Digital HD release of Jeremy Benson's "Girl in Woods." The latest thriller from the director of "Shutter" and "Live Animals," the titular Girl must battle nature and her own demons for her survival and sanity in a deserted part of the Appalachian Mountains. "Girl in Woods" will be available to rent or own starting June 3rd on Comcast, DirecTV, iTunes, Dish, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and more.

"Girl in Woods" stars Juliet Reeves ("Automaton Transfusion," "Zombies, Zombies, Zombies!"), Charisma Carpenter ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel", "The Expendables"), Jeremy London ("Mallrats," "Party of Five"), Lee Perkins ("Foxcatcher," "KatieBird"), John Still ("Hustle and Flow," "Live Animals") and introduces Shaun Elizabeth as "Little Grace."

Girl in Woods - Charisma Carpenter

The death of her fiancé (London) leaves Grace (Reeves) abandoned in a harsh mountain wilderness. Struggling against the elements and fighting off starvation, the fragile shell of her sanity begins to crack. Her situation worsens when she notices a dark figure stalking her every step. Through memories of her mother (Carpenter) and father (Perkins), Grace finds a long-forgotten truth about herself. It is this secret, long hidden away, that will either lead her to safety or down a path of horror beyond anything she could comprehend.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Arrow Video US to release 'Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan' in June

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

Coming to DVD and Blu-ray June 28th via MVD Entertainment Group

Ray Harryhausen Special Effects Titan Blu-ray cover

The remarkable career of the movie industry's most admired and influential special-effects auteur, the legendary Ray Harryhausen, is the subject of Gilles Penso's definitive documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.

Leaving no doubt as to Harryhausen's seminal influence on modern-day special effects, the documentary features enlightening and entertaining interviews with the man himself, Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and many more.

These filmmakers, who today push the boundaries of special effects movie-making, pay tribute to the father of Stop Motion animation and films such as 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms', 'It Came from Beneath the Sea', 'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad', 'Mysterious Island', 'Jason and the Argonauts' and 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' - the films that enthralled them as children and inspired them to become filmmakers in their own right.

  • Interviews with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Peter Lord, Rick Baker
  • 12 Interview outtakes with Joe Dante, John Lasseter, Nick Park and more!
  • A message to Ray
  • Deleted Scenes
  • On the set of Sinbad
  • Paris Cinematheque Q&A
  • London Gate Theater Q&A
  • Audio commentary with the filmmakers
  • Original Trailer
  • Ray Harryhausen Trailer Reel
Pre-order at the MVD SHOP or on Amazon.


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A New Trailer & Stills Emerge for RED BILLABONG Ahead of Australian Release

Red Billabong Unleashes A New Trailer and Stills

A Monstrous Family Secret Terrorizes the Outback 
In Australian Cinemas This Summer

Red Billabong poster

Sparke Films has released a new trailer and stills for Luke Sparke's debut creature feature, Red Billabong. After a decade working on film sets around the world, Luke Sparke steps into the director's chair with the most ambitious Australian action film of the year. Combining a legendary monster of the Outback with the intricate web of a family secret, Red Billabongwill debut in Australian cinemas this July from Sparke, Pinnacle Films and Darclight Films.

Nick Marshal and his estranged brother Tristan are drawn into a world of secrets and lies when their grandfather's enormous outback property passes into their hands. Old wounds are reopened as friends arrive to visit and strange things begin to occur around the river's billabong water hole. After visits from an old aboriginal family friend and an unscrupulous property developer, the brothers wonder just who is on their side.

Night falls, tensions rise, friends go missing, and past misgivings come to a head. Tristan finds himself not believing his brother who is convinced something dark is at work on the grounds. As they part ways to look for their friends and answers, revelations are unearthed that will change the course of their lives forever. Every Australian may have heard a story of a terrifying outback monster - the Bunyip - but is it just a story? Could it be real?

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Star Wars documentary ELSTREE 1976 coming to DVD on June 28th

Star Wars-themed doc ELSTREE 1976 documents the lives of actors and extras behind the most celebrated Sci-Fi film in history

Coming to DVD on June 28th via MVD Entertainment Group

Elstree 1976 DVD cover

ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated Science Fiction films in cinematic history, Star Wars.

From the man behind film's most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film, the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise - which spans five decades from A New Hope to The Force Awakens - continues to impact their lives decades later.

Many of the minor characters were merely part of the set design, but eventually gained recognition as the Star Wars universe expanded into books, comics, etc. Fans learned the history of masked characters like Boba Fett and Greedo, but the sci-fi blockbuster also had a lasting impact on the people inside the costumes.

Not all of the interviewees had minor roles in the series however. For example, David Prowse, whose six-foot-eight bulk filled out Darth Vader's suit and provided the menacing movements of film's most iconic villain, wouldn't be recognized on the street by all but the most ardent Star Wars fans. In the final cut of the movie, his face and voice were replaced by Sebastian Shaw and James Earl Jones, respectively. Others got to work on what would become the biggest movie of all time, but saw their characters cut entirely from the finished film.

The movie will start a US theatrical run on May 6th in select cities including Los Angeles and New York City. For the full list of theaters and ticket information, check

The DVD can be pre-ordered now at the MVD Shop or on Amazon.

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Wild Eye Inflicts SCARS on DVD and Digital HD

Now available from Wild Eye Releasing!

Scars DVD cover

Wild Eye Releasing has released horror producer Sean K. Robb's directorial debut, Scars on to DVD and Digital HD. A misandristic slasher, Robb puts a spin on Thelma & Louise, with a much bigger body count.

A nihilistic, misanthropic character study of modern morality and slasher terror, Scars follows two beautiful women on a violent and ruthless killing spree. Joined by their deep hatred of all men, the pair leave a path of death and destruction in their wake. The blood leaves a trail for a mysterious detective, but he could end up as their ally or their latest mutilated calling card.

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You can celebrate the home entertainment release of 'The Boy' with the Brahms' Rules Quiz!




The Boy Blu-ray cover

Celebrate the release of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment's 'The Boy', by taking this quiz to find out if you have what it takes to be Brahms' next babysitter!

Also be sure to read our review of the Blu-ray which is available now.

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Hired to Kill (1990) - Blu-ray Review - Arrow Video


Hired to Kill Blu-ray cover

Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack
Released by: Arrow Video
Release Date: May 17, 2016 (US) 
Production Year: 1990
Region Code: A
Running Time: 1:36:28
Audio: English LPCM Stereo 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)
Subtitles: English SDH

Hired to Kill screen cap

THE FILM - [ 2.5 / 5 ]:

Starring legendary actors Oliver Reed ("Gladiator," "The Brood") and George Kennedy ("The Delta Force" and "The Naked Gun" series and his genre work in films such as "Death Ship" and "Just Before Dawn"), "Hired to Kill" is an essential slice of ‘90s action fare featuring guns, girls and a plethora of budget-busting explosions for good measure.

Action movie staple Brian Thompson (whose brief turn in 1984’s "The Terminator" led to a starring role in the 1986 Sylvester Stallone vehicle "Cobra". I always remember him most as the alien bounty hunter in "The X-Files.") stars as Frank Ryan, a mercenary sent to track down a rebel leader in hostile territory. Posing as a fashion designer, he won’t be going it alone, as he’ll be aided by seven beautiful – but deadly – female fighters. 
While the opportunity to see Oliver Reed chewing up the scenery behind an elaborate mustache merits the price of the admission alone, "Hired to Kill" is also noteworthy as being co-directed by Nico Mastorakis – the man behind such cult favorites as "Island of Death" and "The Zero Boys."

This was my introduction to this film and while I did not find it to be a great film, it was at least entertaining and has some great scenes not to mention an awesome ending! I don't want to spoil anything for first time viewers but you are sure to recognize and if you're like me, appreciate, some moments you have seen in other films that precede and have come out after this film. It might say something about my personality but I enjoyed the early scene where Frank Ryan "answers" the telephone. 

While the film does feature two greats in Oliver Reed and George Kennedy, they unfortunately do not feature prominently in the film. The real stars are Brian Thompson and the bevy of deadly beauties who are hell bent on completing their job at all costs. I hadn't even heard of this film before, somehow, so hopefully this new release from Arrow Video helps bring the movie more attention and introduce it to a new generation. 

Hired to Kill screen cap

AUDIO - [ 4.5 / 5 ]:

The Blu-ray comes with two English audio options. There are Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo tracks. Viewers should be happy with the audio choices on this release. Personally, I prefer original audio but those that want more channels should be pleased with the DD 5.1 track that is included. The dialogue, sound effects and score were very well balanced and volume levels were consistent throughout. 

Hired to Kill screen cap George Kennedy

VIDEO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

"Hired to Kill" comes to Blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video US via MVD Entertainment Group. The film features a brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis and is presented in 1080p with a 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. There are some white specks that appear during the opening credits but afterward it clears up and the film looks excellent. There is a significant amount of fine detail present in close ups and the film has a pleasant look and is sharp throughout. Colors look gorgeous and while the "models" are working the runway, the colors really standout. There are an abundance of varying colors present in the film from the numerous character outfits to colorful flowers. Skin tones look very natural and black levels in tuxedos and dresses feature varying degrees of intensity. Film grain is hardly noticeable due to many daytime or brightly lit scenes but it does appear in darker scenes but never heavy in my opinion. 

Hired to Kill screen cap

SPECIAL FEATURES - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

Audio Commentary - This track features Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures and editor Barry Zetlin. The pair talks about the film as well as discussing films in the career of Mr. Zetlin including "Galaxy of Terror" and "Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood" as well as Mr. Zetlin's experience working with legendary producer, Roger Corman. This isn't one of the more typical commentaries where the bulk of the conversation pertains to what is happening on the screen. This was an interesting track that mostly serves as an interview with Barry Zetlin. 

Hired to Direct (27:26) - A new interview with director Nico Mastorakis on the making of "Hired to Kill." Mr. Mastoraskis discusses different aspects of the production of the film from working with the actors, including a difficult Oliver Reed, to tragedy on the set involving a helicopter accident.

Undercover Mercenary (17:33) - A new interview with actor Brian Thompson filmed in Los Angeles, January 2016. Mr. Thompson mostly talks about his acting career and how he got started in the business. He too talks a little about the helicopter accident while filming "Hired to Kill."

Theatrical Trailer (2:50)

Stills Gallery (7:18)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver

Original Freedom or Death Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM Content) 

OVERALL RATING - [ 3.5 / 5 ]

Hired to Kill screen cap Oliver Reed

Hired to Kill screen cap

Hired to Kill screen cap

Hired to Kill screen cap

Hired to Kill screen cap

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