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Blu-ray Reviews for October 24, 2017

Selections from this week’s Blu-ray releases can be found below in this ongoing weekly summary of reviews. Click on any of the following titles to navigate directly to that review. This week’s releases include: the absurd vigilante action flick Rolling Vengeance; Wes Craven’s early made-for-television teen horror flick Summer of Fear; the city-under-siege thriller Bushwick; and finally, a pair of oddball horror titles from Vinegar Syndrome: Demon Wind and the unpleasant “gutter trash” flick The Corpse Grinders.  A list of other titles also available this week can be found at the end.


Distributor: Kino Lorber

When a clan of drunken goons get off scot-free after senselessly killing a young trucker’s family, the trucker, Joey Rosso (Don Michael Paul), takes matters into his own hands by building the ultimate monster truck to even the score. Spitting flames, armed with a giant drill, his awesome rig is unstoppable as Joey pursues the clan leader Tiny Doyle (Ned Beatty) and his murderous offspring. He tracks down the clan, one by one, crashing cars, flattening trucks, demolishing buildings and destroying anything or anyone that gets in his way. Rolling Vengeance is heavyweight action, a powerful story of twisted emotion and mangled metal, the telling of which costs the lives of no less than 65 vehicles.



Rolling Vengeance, you had this one in the bag. With a plot like yours – kid loses family from senseless redneck attack and takes revenge by killing them all with a giant monster truck – how do you present a final product that somehow lacks in the kind of big-screen cheesy thrills that should have been forthcoming?

We can blame the script for making us wait until the halfway point before the semi-(ha!)titular truck makes its first appearance, or maybe we can blame director Steven H. Stern, who both wanted to have his cake and run over it with a monster truck, too. Rolling Vengeance’s biggest problem is its identity crisis. Just what is it? A sincere look at loss and the true costs of vigilantism, or a romper stomper slice of silly escapism that rides entirely on vehicular destruction? Rolling Vengeance wants to be both, desperately, but by cutting in half both its sincerity and sensationalism, it neuters both and renders them half as effective.

Don’t get me wrong, when Joey Rosso becomes fed up and begins literally monster-squishing the redneck family that ran his poor dead mother and sisters off the road, Rolling Vengeance is tenaciously, infectiously stupid (in the best way), but the worst sin the film commits is otherwise parking the monstrous truck in the Rosso garage for far too long in between joyrides and filling that time with…er…feelings. Gross! Being that Rolling Vengeance’s own marketing was far more interested in pushing the destruction angle than all that tears junk — its various taglines were “Always use the right tool for the job” and the less subtle “The ultimate monster truck” – it can’t help but drop the ball because it simply can’t live up to that promise.

As young teen boy and nonplussed mother-trucker Joey, Don Michael Paul (who would go on to direct straight-to-video sequels for every feasible franchise you could possibly think of, including the inexorable Kindergarten Cop 2) seems to think he’s making the same kind of stupid film I was hoping for, because even in scenes of intense “drama,” he’s about one feather-tickled cheek away from breaking into a full grin. Except for saying out loud a couple times that he’s pretty sad about his squished family, I’ve never seen a fully functioning teen so okay with burying three of his family members on the same day.

Lawrence Dane as Mr. Rosso is one of the many actors taking all this much too seriously, not to mention that his character, too, is completely at odds with itself: in one scene he’s proudly showing off the new emblem for the family’s trucking company that confirms Joey as being his new partner — and man, he’s thrilled as hell to show him — but then in the next scene he’s complaining to Joey’s mother about how he wishes Joey had gone to college instead…to be “better than his old man.” : (

Ned Beatty as “Tiny” Doyle, a total slimeball patriarch to five goofy sons of staggered but lower-ended intelligence (we don’t know how many different mothers there are, but various context clues suggest at least three), is lovably villainous, buoyed by his gap-toothed mouth and Jerry Lee Lewis hair style. Besides the momentary monster-trucking, he’s the only thing keeping Rolling Vengeance…well, rolling. He gets to inject more life than usual, going for broke as a mashed potatoes hurling man-baby as opposed to his usual more reserved characters. In a film more focused on what it wanted to be, he could have been a hell of a villain.

Like many films riding on a ridiculous premise, Rolling Vengeance promised great B-movie thrills but just couldn’t deliver. Not sure if it wants to be Mad Max meets Death Wish or Mad Max: Fury Road meets Death Wish 3, the end result just ends up looking a lot like a vigilante with flat tires and no ammo.

PICTURE & SOUND:

Like the film itself, Rolling Vengeance fails to deliver in both video and audio. To be fair, the video presentation isn’t terrible, and is certainly better than any DVD you may have sitting around, but there just isn’t much on display to ogle in high-def. Colors are satisfactory, and the stability it shows is commendable (though not flawless), and there’s not a whole lot of print damage. Clarity, however, is fleeting, even with close-ups looking soft and without detail. Even during day-lit exteriors there’s an inherent dimness and dullness to everything, as if Rolling Vengeance takes place in the most depressing town in America. And man, this audio… Good luck understanding what anyone says if there’s other background noise going on, like the overly dramatic soundtrack selections, musical score, or simple barroom ambience. Even dialogue by itself can sound over-modulated if someone speaks with any force.(No subtitles on this Kino release – really wish these would become a common feature for every distributor. Kino’s been dropping the ball on this more than most.)

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Interview with Star Lawrence Dane
  • Audio Commentary by Paul Corupe of Canuxploitation.com and Film Historian Jason Pichonsky
  • Trailer Gallery


Distributor: Music Box Films

A chilling cult classic, Wes Craven’s Summer of Fear (1978) follows a country family of five who take in cousin Julia (Lee Purcell), whose parents recently died in a car crash. While the rest of the family and those around them are completely charmed by Julia, teenaged daughter Rachel (Linda Blair) grows suspect that her cousin has an alternative agenda; one that possibly includes witchcraft.

(Spoilers throughout.)

Wes Craven based his entire career around teens in peril. This is a sub-genre that John Carpenter’s Halloween would essentially create, which would later pave the way for Craven’s seminal classic A Nightmare on Elm Street. But whereas Carpenter would eventually go on to focus on adults in horror (whoa!), Craven would continue exploring the angst of teenage fears, anxiety, adequacy, and sexuality and parlay that into a dependable career.

One of his earliest efforts was 1978’s Summer of Fear, based on the Lois Duncan novel of the same name. (If you’re unfamiliar with the author, think of her as the female prerequisite to R.L. Stine. If you’re unfamiliar with R.L. Stine, stop making me feel old.) It was a made-for-television movie back when that was just becoming a thing (Steven Spielberg had hit it big in this same format with his TV trucker creeper Duel), and was Craven’s immediate next project after The Hills Have Eyes. And this time, it’s The Exorcist’s own Linda Blair playing the teen whose summer is fearful as she contends with her possibly witchy cousin. (The actress had just come off the disastrous Exorcist 2: The Heretic, so I’d assume she was hoping to make something good again.)

Summer of Fear is a very okay way to spend 90 minutes, though it’s hindered by a number of things, mostly that Blair’s distressed protagonist, Rachel, is sort of…unlikable. Even when the film hits its stride and definitely establishes Julia to be up to some sort of dastard, Rachel still manages to come off as whiny and self-serving. “My horse!” “My dress!” “My boyfriend!” My hives!” After a while, it’s all just too much. Not helping is that Blair’s hair is hilariously gigantic throughout, as if she’d undergone three consecutive perms prior to that day’s filming. Granted, her appearance wouldn’t matter in a less superficial world, but…come on. Just look at it. She looks like her head was used to test electric current. (Her character also keeps a framed photo of herself in a bikini in her bedroom — I guess so she can…look at herself in a bikini? It’s really kind of weird.)

Most of Summer of Fear is very point-and-shoot, which, to be fair, was kind of Craven’s style in the early part of his career. Up to that point, he’d employed the use of the unrelenting long take, whether it was the rape of Marie in Last House on the Left or the strategically placed corpse of Mrs. Carter as bait in The Hills Have Eyes. He was more interested in what the camera could capture rather than how it might be used. Summer of Fear doesn’t really have the opportunity to deploy these kinds of tricks because much of the film is spent on Rachel piecing together the mystery, leaving Julia’s possibly witchy identity draped in ambiguity. 

At some points you have to wonder if Craven is secretly making fun of the material, specifically during the “Rachel is pretty sad montage” which sees her flipping through a magazine called “The Horse Catalog” immediately following the death of her horse and her crying a lot about it, or Julia making out wildly with Rachel’s ex-boyfriend in the driveway as the camera pans over to show that Rachel is watching them sadly from her bedroom window. (Seriously, show a little tact, kids.) By film’s end, when Rachel and Julia are locked into a furious battle, throwing each other into bookshelves and grabbing each other by their gigantic hair, they look like two hooded eskimos wearing bear-skin parkas engaged in warfare and it’s just the best.    

Still, as far as early TV efforts go, Summer of Fear is pretty entertaining. Never boring, and reasonably well made with an engaging enough plot, there have definitely been worse made-for-television movies, take it from me. For Craven completists, it’ll be interesting to see something more restrained from the filmmaker who usually went for the throat in his theatrical works. (Also starring Fran Drescher as basically Fran Drescher.)

PICTURE & SOUND:

Cinephiles prepare yourself: Summer of Fear isn’t going to knock your socks off in high-def. Presented in its original full frame aspect ratio, Summer of Fear benefits from its Blu-ray presentation only because it has more room to spread its wings. Otherwise, it looks somewhat rough, with lots of print damage and speckling. There are also cigarette burns, which seems odd to me, being that this was a TV production, but this is probably one of the many many things I’m not educated on. Audio is a tic better, but still nothing impressive. It’s clean at least, with no signs of hiss or deformation. Someone speaks, you understand it, onto the next scene. (Subtitles are included as well — yay!)

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The commentary with Craven and producer/co-writer Max Keller is fairly low key (all of Craven’s commentaries are), but he’s never without a dearth of information to share. Among the topics discussed are the treatment of animals (specifically the horses) on set, which was something Blair also touched on during her interview. I’m glad they both did and assured that the horses were never hurt during filming, because there’s one sequence in particular involving a horse and a stunt woman that looked…painful.

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Feature commentary with director Wes Craven and producer Max Keller
  • Interview with Linda Blair
  • Image Gallery
  • Original Trailer


Distributor: RLJ Entertainment

Emerging from a NY subway on her way home from college, Lucy (Brittany Snow) discovers her neighborhood of Bushwick engulfed in utter chaos. Trying to escape the violence, Lucy seeks refuge in the basement of Stupe (Dave Bautista), a former Marine on his way out of town to find his family. As the unlikely pair navigate through a hail of gunfire and lethal explosions, they learn they are in the middle of a civil war as Texas attempts to secede from the US. With the clash between local residents and the militia escalating, Lucy and Stupe must rely on each other in an impossible race to get out of the city and survive another day.

On the only supplement included on this release, Bushwick directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott mention that the idea for the film came from onetime Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who may or may not have once suggested that his home state of Texas secede from the union. This has, of course, since become a matter of he said/he said, but regardless, Bushwick exists because of him, and because of the feelings of division that have been spreading throughout this country over the last several years. But without knowing the more direct inspiration, one could look at Bushwick as being the first post-Drumpf flick to hit since he took office — a film that sees an army of professional good ol’ boys sweeping through a lower-income, minority-populated New York neighborhood to detain and/or kill its inhabitants — and boy, if this is only the first, how much more chaotic and unhinged could the landscape of cinema become?

When Drumpf was elected, many Americans compared it to 9/11, which was obviously a controversial statement to make. But while a lot of these people were just being dramatic, some believed what they said because they were looking at it in a different way — not that Drumpf becoming president was just as bad as the deaths of 3,000 Americans, but because it was the beginning of living in fear, and existing in a world that didn’t feel the same as it did the day before. Bushwick strives to be the cinematic equivalent of 9/11, but replaces two airliners with a highly trained militia shooting down people in the streets and blowing up buildings. It is almost nonstop chaos, and as such, directors Murnion and Milott shoot the film in a series of very long takes stitched together with hidden cuts to offer the illusion that everything our characters is experiencing is happening in real time. The camera trails our characters as they make their way down city streets erupting with gunfire; they take shelter behind cars as its windows explode and other cars next to them catch fire. They run to the next car, to the next dumpster, and into the next alley, and the camera faithfully trails behind them, trying to put the viewer in the conflict as much as possible. In this regard, Bushwick is a success — a thrilling, harrowing fight against not just invading forces, but those who should be neighbors, and who are joining in the chaos instead of fighting it.

For the most part, Bushwick is a nonstop ride, but as necessary, the film pauses to let its audience breathe and for new characters to become acquainted. Ironically, this is also when Bushwick’s intensity becomes lost, not just because the characters are momentarily off the streets and away from the madness, but because you can easily see mini conflicts and missions are being put in place to create a new path for our characters to endure. Bushwick is video game-styled this way, as if our characters are soldiers being given new checkpoints to provide additional thrills for the audience. But after this halt, it’s back to the streets to duck more bullets and helicopters and to bust some skulls. This is exhilarating, of course, and the choreography and camera work deserve to be commended, but there’s an incredibly scant approach to a story, with the film being comprised more of small moments and missions than an all-encompassing narrative. (A co-writer of the script is Nick Damici, who has excelled in the horror genre with titles like Stakeland, Cold in July, and We Are What We Are.)

Dave Bautista has slowly transitioned from professional wrestler and MMA fighter to a genre actor, and so far has relied upon his intimidating physique and taken on roles that exploit it. With Bushwick (which he also produced), he slides very comfortably into his first dramatic role with great results. Playing a former Marine who, it’s evident, has seen some shit, he carries the weight of everything on his shoulders, which he finally confronts during his laundromat-set, teary-eyed monologue. Trying to keep up is Brittany Snow, miscast for this kind of role; she strives for the same amount of drama but never feels entirely convincing. Not helping is that her character deviates between irritating and bossy, more than once putting Stupe in danger to suit her own agenda. For the most part she skirts by, but another actress could have really favored Bushwick’s final product. (Apparently Don’t Breathe’s Jane Levy was originally cast before that fell apart. Shame.)

Ten years ago, Bushwick would have looked like outright fantasy. These days, who knows? Granted, this idea Bushwick presents that sees Texas invading New York because it wants to secede from the union doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and approaches Invasion U.S.A. levels of silliness, but it’s easy to look around the country these days and see a whole lot more that doesn’t make much sense, either. Bushwick easily harnesses the fear and anxiety a lot of people are feeling these days and pours it into a thrilling, action-packed, bleak, and unpredictable landscape where it really is every man, woman, and child for themselves.

PICTURE & SOUND:

Bushwick is, by design, ugly to look at, bathed in a yellowish tone beneath grey, colorless skies. Interiors don’t offer much of a respite, as they tend to be dim, garishly designed, or dungeon-like cellars. Clarity is quite good though, evidenced by a handful of closeups of Bautista’s stubbly face and tattered clothing. Audio is tremendous. As you might expect, there are few quiet moments; otherwise there is constant speaker activity, bolstered by the unusual but effective musical score by hip hop artist Aesop Rock.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • The Making of BUSHWICK
  • Photo Galleries
  • Poster Gallery


Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome

The strange and brutal deaths of Cory’s grandparents has haunted him for years. Determined to discover the truth, he has returned to the desolate region where they lived, along with a group of friends, to try and uncover the mystery. Ignoring warnings from the locals that the area is cursed, Cory and his friends soon realize that the legend is true, as the Demon Wind, possesses and destroys them, one by one, turning them into monsters from hell.

I have to wonder why films like Night of the Demons and House are so celebrated, but meanwhile, Demon Wind has remained so obscure. Every bit as silly, gory, teen-douched, and well-intended as those other titles, it should have been destined for the same kind of infamy and video store-stoked adoration. It scratched that VHS-era itch with all the usual stalwarts one would come to expect from the genre: ghastly effects, over-the-top gore, hapless teens in peril, a dash of nudity, and skeletons.

But that’s where Vinegar Syndrome comes in — the small distributor knows what B-movie obscurities are worthy of the same kind of attention that Scream Factory or Synapse would show to Night of the Demons or Demons/Demons 2, respectively. And thanks to them, fans of practical effects, rubber and foam monsters, and lots and lots of blood and goo have a new flick they should be eagerly adding to their library.

Demon Wind is made with the same kind of authenticity as the original Evil Dead while also borrowing a little of its aesthetic. (And plot.) (And tone.) (And look.) To call it a bold-faced ripoff might be taking things a bit far, but I’d feel pretty confident in saying that Demon Wind probably wouldn’t exist without The Evil Dead. It balances the horror and the drama in the same way, striving to concoct legitimately eerie imagery without the foresight to know that while the filmmakers were hoping to create things from your deepest, darkest nightmares, they were instead creating something that’s going to look just a touch silly.

You pretty much know the caliber of acting you’re going to get with a production of this size (read: not big) and the sub-genre in which Demon Wind exists (read: rubber monsters), but again, this only adds to the flavor of the film’s overall experience. Your lead hero, Cory (Eric Larson), looks uncannily like Emilio Estevez and coincidentally brings about the same kind of sincerity, even doing better here than Bruce Campbell did during his own maiden descent into demonic territory. Everyone after that exists on a sliding scale, with some performances ranking very below average. Amusingly, Demon Wind just keeps introducing teen characters to the conflict, and after having digested enough of these kinds of films from this era, you can’t help but smile because you know every single one of these kids are going to die gloriously. Even as Demon Wind begins to run out of demon fodder halfway through, it introduces two more characters who were “late” following Cory’s initial invitation and who don’t last for too long once they get out of the car. (Also look for an early-career appearance from Lou Diamond Phillips as one of the many demons.)

If you’re the kind of person who used to wander up and down the horror aisle of the video store during the golden VHS era but Demon Wind has somehow evaded you all these years (as it did me), rectify that. It’s the kind of silly but imaginative (and gory) horror flick you would have stayed up late to watch with friends once your parents had gone to bed. One could never reasonably call Demon Wind good but it is fun, and when you’re dealing with a horde of zombies and animated cow skulls and succubi that leave nothing to the imagination, that’s all you could ever ask for.

PICTURE & SOUND:

Vinegar Syndrome continues their astounding track record with their excellent presentation of Demon Wind in the form of a new 2k transfer struck from the original 35mm camera negative. Except for the very occasional blemish, Demon Wind looks incredible, offering really excellent clarity, bright colors, and a stability not expected from a film from this era (and budget). Audio complements video pretty perfectly, riding on a musical score by Bruce Wallenstein that borrows liberally from John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative
  • Video interview with Sandy Horowitz (executive producer)
  • Video interview with Sherry Bendorf Leigh (actress)
  • Video interview with Thomas L. Callaway (cinematographer)
  • Audio interview with Christopher Roth (editor)
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Still gallery
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles


Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome

The Lotus Cat Food Company has hit major financial trouble and is on the verge of closing, until the owners realize that rather than paying for meat, they can use bodies from the local graveyard to fill their tins. As their latest product hits the shelves, it’s revealed to have an unintentional result: every cat that eats it is transformed into a bloodthirsty brute with an unending hunger for human flesh!

The Corpse Grinders, from its unsubtle title to its grainy film stock to its outlandish plot, almost feels like a film Herschel Gordon Lewis never made. Staffed by a bevy of irredeemable, unlikable, and greasy characters, The Corpse Grinders lives up to the unpleasantness promised by its title, or by the gross and graphic carnage of its poster. But that feat isn’t accomplished in the same way as H.G. Lewis’ extremely bizarre offerings. Whereas Lewis’ films were aloof, containing strange characters with heightened appearances or behaviors and a certain tongue-in-cheek approach, The Corpse Grinders is just unpleasant. Director Ted V. Mikels’ career is peppered with these kinds of flicks — “gutter trash” or “garbage cinema” are commonly used phrases when discussing his career, which don’t exactly sound like ringing endorsements, but this is the kind of playground where Mikels likes to play. (A fair few of them have been featured on MST3K, if that tells you anything.)

There’s not much praise to be found within The Corpse Grinders’ running time. The acting is poor, the directing is pretty dire and uninspired, and after a few too many scenes of real cats being manhandled for the sake of this film, after awhile it all leaves a pretty bad taste.

The Corpse Grinders seems like kind of an odd title for Vinegar Syndrome to release, as it lacks that “fun” component (see Demon Wind) that many of their other releases can boast. VS would be the first to recognize that they don’t release films with mainstream appeal, or even films that your more typical critic would consider good, but so far their body of work has ridden on at least one constant: the aforementioned fun aspect – stuff like Demon Wind, Psycho Cop Returns, Evils of the Night, etc. They’re all silly and lighthearted, and okay, pretty violent, but they’re never systematically unpleasant. The Corpse Grinders is. I could understand the unfamiliar wanting to watch it once. I could never understand the familiar wanting to watch it again, or even owning it. However, director Mikels can boast 25 films as a director, and also 2002’s The Corpse Grinders 2, so obviously not everyone shares this opinion about the man and his body of work. Just please, don’t make me watch them.

PICTURE & SOUND:

In a rare move on VS’ part, The Corpse Grinders opens with a disclaimer that the 2k restoration was culled by a handful of the best possible sources; generally, when distributors are upfront about this, it basically means “look out.” So, does The Corpse Grinders look as good as it possibly could? With VS involved, yes, it probably does. But take the original 16 mm source material, add in that the original elements used weren’t in the best shape, and complete the trifecta with the fact that the film wasn’t well made to begin with, and what results is a fairly underwhelming high-def presentation. Fuzzy, grainy, blemished, and almost devoid of dynamic or vibrant color, this is a pretty ho-hum presentation with no detail or clarity to be found. Audio ranks about the same. Dialogue is mostly comprehensible, but environmental ambience is almost non-existent. It’s equally unimpressive, which again can be attributed to the shortcoming of Mikels’ production and not VS.

THE SUPPLEMENTS:

The complete list of special features is as follows:

  • Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 16mm negative
  • Audio Commentary by filmmaker Elijah Drenner (AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE) featuring rare archival audio recordings from the private files of Ted V. Mikels and vintage Drive-In
  • Theater announcements for “The Final Dimension in Shock”.
  • “Ted Talks” – Archival Interview with Ted V. Mikels from 2007
  • Stills gallery
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles


Also Available This Week:

Distributor: Paramount

Ten years after the Academy Award®-winning An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change to the forefront of mainstream culture, the 2017 Environmental Media Association (EMA) Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power follows former Vice President Al Gore as he continues his tireless fight, traveling around the globe to educate and inspire the next generation of climate champions. This “daring, urgent and exhilarating follow-up” (Josh Dickey, Mashable) shows that while the stakes have never been higher, the solutions to the climate crisis are still within our reach.

Special Features:

  • Effecting Change: Speaking Truth to Power
  • OneRepublic – Truth to Power (Lyric Video)
  • Truth in Ten – The Facts About Climate Change

Distributor: Kino Lorber

This writing and directorial debut from award-winning actor Sean Penn (Into the Wild) is a raw, intense drama filled with emotion and truth. An all-star cast featuring David Morse (The Green Mile), Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), Charles Bronson (Mr. Majestyk), Valeria Golino (Rain Man), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Sandy Dennis (The Fox) and Dennis Hopper (River’s Edge) gives The Indian Runner a fundamental honesty and real substance. As deputy sheriff in a small town, Joe (Morse) leads a pretty simple life with his loving family. However, his idyllic existence abruptly changes when his troubled brother Frank (Mortensen) arrives unannounced at Joe’s door. Much to the chagrin of his wife (Golino), Joe wants to help Frank make a better life for himself. But Joe soon discovers that this is a formidable task. And so Frank continues his destructive behavior, Joe decides he’s had enough, and they square off in a final showdown that pits blood against blood.

Special Features:

  • Interview with Director Sean Penn
  • Interview with Star Viggo Mortensen
  • Interview with Star David Morse

Distributor: Arrow Video

The swansong of the great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (La dolce vita, 8½), The Voice of the Moon emerged without fanfare: it played the Cannes Film Festival out of competition after its Italian premiere and failed to secure distribution in North America and the UK. This new restoration from the original negative seeks to right that wrong and provide the film with a second chance…

Adapted from a novel by Ermano Cavazzoni, The Voice of the Moon concerns itself with Ivo Salvini (Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful), recently released from a mental hospital and in love with Aldini (Nadia Ottaviani). As he attempts to win her heart, he wanders a strange, dreamlike landscape and encounters various oddball characters, including Gonnella (Paolo Villagio, Fantozzi), a paranoid old man prone to conspiracy theories.

Concluding a career that had stretched back more than fifty years, The Voice of the Moon combines the nostalgia of Amarcord (the film is set in Emilia-Romagna countryside of the director’s youth), the surreal satire of City of Women and the naïf-adrift-in-a-brutal-world structure of La strada. Plenty for Fellini fans to get their teeth into.

Special Features:

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • Towards the Moon with Fellini, a rarely seen hour-long documentary on the film’s production, featuring interviews with Fellini, Roberto Benigni and Paolo Villagio
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone

Distributor: Arrow Video

The filmography of late movie maverick Herschell Gordon Lewis brims with the mad, macabre, and just downright bizarre. But perhaps the most unhinged of all his directorial efforts, and certainly the most influential, must surely be his original gore-fest Blood Feast – the first ever splatter movie.

Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients – the body parts of nubile young women!

Featuring a host of stomach-churning gore gags including the infamous tongue sequence and much more nastiness besides, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast more than lives up to its name and remains essential viewing for any self-respecting splatter fan.

Special Features:

  • Scum of the Earth – Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 1963 feature
  • Blood Perspectives – Filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy and Rodney Ascher on Blood Feast
  • Herschell’s History – Archival interview in which director Herschell Gordon Lewis discusses his entry into the film industry
  • How Herschell Found his Niche – A new interview with Lewis discussing his early work
  • Archival interview with Lewis and David F. Friedman
  • Carving Magic – Vintage short film from 1959 featuring Blood Feast Actor Bill Kerwin
  • Outtakes
  • Alternate “clean” scenes from Scum of the Earth
  • Promo gallery featuring trailers and more
  • Feature length commentary featuring Lewis and David F. Friedman moderated by Mike Grady
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil

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J. Tonzelli is a writer, film critiquer, and avid Arnold/Van Damme/Bronson enthusiast who resides in rural South Jersey. He is the author of "The End of Summer: Thirteen Tales of Halloween" and the "Fright Friends Adventure" series, co-authored with Chris Evangelista. He loves abandoned buildings, the supernatural, and films by John Carpenter. You can read some of his short fiction at his website, JTonzelli.com, or objectify him by staring at his tweets: @jtonzelli. He apologizes for all the profanity.