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NOAH'S CASTLE - Complete Series
1979 - NR - 175 Minutes
D: Colin Nutley
S: Marcus Francis - Simon Gipps-Kent - David Neal - Annette Ekblom - Alun Lewis - Christopher Fairbank
DVD Provided by VCI Entertainment
Fullscreen/Dolby Digital Mono
Extras: None - Seven Episodes

It was the late seventies. Gas prices rising, financial strife, food shortages and old fashioned paranoia made for good television back in the day. This sort of mild science fiction outing revolves around the Mortimer clan, your nice average middle to upper class British family. When society starts to finally collapse, the patriarch father buys a large old farmhouse just outside the city and starts hording food and supplies in the basement. Meanwhile, the two oldest siblings start to weigh the gravity of the situation and want to help the more down trodden, old and sick who can't feed themselves. Times get so rough that food is rationed, stolen and black marketed, and eventually hording laws come into effect. Good old dad tightens the strings and makes strict rules in order to save his family from all the horrors of reality, but in the end loses most of them to grander and more revolutionary ideas. I'm a fan of most of the UK SciFi series that came out in the 70's and 80's, but must admit I've never heard of this one, so I did some research, and from what I could find, this was kind of meant for older kids. Compared to today's youth television, this is some pretty heavy and deep stuff. But it is also very entertaining, insightful and engaging. I couldn't wait to get to the next episode and it's a shame that it didn't return for at least one more season. It does have an idealistic attitude that comes with the more politically aware youth, but manages to really round it out in the dramatic pretense of the thrilling situations. Those looking for a more true science in their fiction or lots of action would need to look elsewhere as this focuses on the life dramas of the family unit in an epic disaster story. Think of a British family living in a land of SOYLENT GREEN but without Charleston Heston dropping by to kick ass. There are bad guys, good guys, and a few moments of rioting throughout, but most of the suspense revolves around the famine and those trying to help the others survive. If you like getting caught up in character development and a good dramatic story arch, this show comes highly recommended. – Mark Engle

2010 - NR - 101 Minutes
D: Mike Schneider/George Romero
S: Duane Jones - Judith O'Dea - Karl Hardman
DVD Provided by Wild Eye Releasing
Fullscreen/Black & White
Extras: Commentaries - short films - alternate/deleted scenes - featurettes - panels - more!

Over 100 artists were gathered for what is obviously Mike Schneider's laborious love letter to George Romero's original NOTLD. Basically, these artists picked key scenes to reconstruct using their own art/ideas via animation, drawings, stop-motion, cgi, puppets, toys and so on and then Schneider and team edited them over the soundtrack/dialogue of the original film. Overall, this is a very original and interesting idea. Does it work? Yes, for fans of Romero's Dead trilogy I think it does. It's a little jarring and choppy at first, and for me, I'm guessing I wasn't use to it, until about 20-minutes in. Some of it is serious, some of it comical, trippy and interesting to say the least. Most of the art works on one level or another depending on an individual taste. I found some of the talent incredible while a few a tad frustrating (the stop motion real life human beings went on too long during the original Barbara/Johnny car conversation). For fans of both the original and maybe old enough to remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning tripping on NIGHT FLIGHT, this is a no-brainer must purchase. If you've never seen the original, make sure and check that out before watching this or you may be a tad confused. I for one was entertained, amused and found it completely respectful of the original. Poor Duane Jones probably suffers the most artistic liberty going from artwork that truly resembled him to looking like O.J. Simpson to even looking like a very tall white Woody Allen!? Puppet Zombies, Barbie Zombies, Cartoon Zombies (the lead characters being mice fighting off Cat Zombies was great!), what's not to love if it's zombies? As an extra, I really enjoyed seeing all the original US VHS cover artwork found over the years of release. Collectors, now there's a challenge to beat! - Mark Engle

Also Known As
The Exorcism of Hugh
United Kingdom/1972 – NR – 110 Minutes
D: Fred Burnley
S: Susan Hampshire, Frank Finlay, Michael Petrovitch, Michael Craze, Jack Lambert
DVD provided by Redemption Horror
Widescreen, Mono
Extras: Stills gallery, trailers

Anna (Susan Hampshire) is a pretty lady recovering from a horrible past relationship. She goes on vacation and meets George (Frank Finlay) the handsome local lighthouse keeper. They fall in love. Everything seems fine until George abruptly dies from heart failure. Anna is grief-stricken. George had promised to remain with her forever. Well, to Anna’s surprise, the guy keeps his word and returns the next day in a stiff zombie-like manner. He doesn’t speak, though he looks at her longingly, and they are more or less together again. Unfortunately, George’s body begins to decompose. Anna doesn’t know what to do and has to make some unwanted decisions in a hurry. That’s all I’ll say about the plot, except that filmmaker Fred Burnley did not turn this into a gruesome horror film, despite the fact that George returns from the dead. Quite the contrary, this is supposed to be a “bizarre story of love, life and death.” That’s nice. Too bad the one thing that was forgotten in all this is that there is NO story. That’s right. Try to find a story here. It doesn’t exist. Yes, there is a setup, there’s even a through-line, and there are a number of landscape scenes that would make the National Geographic Channel proud. But the movie is mostly slow-moving and pointless, and never once makes an effort to establish a morsel of chemistry between its two supposed lovers. Quite honestly, I didn’t see much of a character drop in George after he became a zombie, being that he was pretty darn bland as a regular human. Oh, and the “Exorcism of Hugh” alternate title? It’s nothing but a red herring. Forget you ever saw it. Despite some scenic shots and a nice effort from Susan Hampshire in an underdeveloped role, this film is too boring to recommend to anyone, especially to the genre fans out there. – Craig Hamann

Germany/1964 -NR - 92 Min.
D: Hans Albin - Peter Berneis
S: Maria Perschy - Robert Cunningham - Uwe Friedrichsen - Karen Blanguernon
DVD Provided by VCI Entertainment
Fullscreen/Dolby Digital/English Language Track
Extras: Double Feature with 1965's THE BLACK COBRA

One by one, aliens are taking over people's lives via horrible and violent accidents. Reporter Howard Moore starts noticing this amazing survival rate and the fact that those who make it are very important people with political positions or scientists working within the confines of atomic power/weapons. It seems these aliens want our planet and the best way to do that is to play an important role on both sides of the cold war to bring about Armageddon. It isn't as easy as they thought however. Some of them find the discovery of emotions too powerful and begin to rebel. Reporter Moore gets too close to the truth and he seems difficult to kill via our alien assassin who has no problems throwing pretty ladies off high bridges or causing serious auto accidents on a raceway taking out several people all at once. In fact, the violence in NO SURVIVORS PLEASE is quite jarring at times. This rare cinema oddity comes across as cold as all the paranoia's that inspired the plot giving it kind of a creepy factor meets a 60's gangster violent melodrama. Think THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL meets THE NAKED CITY. There's a romantic subplot that actually works and is integral to the story line. Why this has been a rare movie to find? Not sure really, it is quite fascinating. The direction is so indifferent however, that getting through the first 20 minutes was a little difficult, but if you stick with it, you get a message/crime/alien takeover/armageddon/noirish thriller where creatures from another world use our own powers and paranoia to start World War III. The ending especially invites chills. - Recommended. - Mark Engle

2009 - PG13 - 108 min
D: Luis Berdejo
S: Kevin Costner - Ivana Baquero - Gattlin Griffith
DVD Provided by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anamorphic Widescreen/Dolby Digital 5.1
Extras: Commentary - Behind the Scenes Featurette - Deleted Scenes - Trailer

Kevin Costner plays a recently divorced father with two children. Getting a fresh start, he picks up his kids and moves to a large house in South Carolina. Having a lot on his plate, he doesn't noticed his young teenage daughter Louisa going through more than just the usual puberty blues. They discover a burial mound on their property and soon she is spending most of her time there, coming home late and covered in mud. When he finally does catch on, THE NEW DAUGHTER turns into a full fledge monster movie. Until then, we get a pretty decent chiller with some good characterization, excellent delivery from the child actors (so rare!), atmosphere and subtle moments of dread. There's more going on off screen and director Berdejo manages to keep things tense with growls and creature noises just off in the distance until it's time for the finale. While that is all good news, a monster movie that delivers chills, atmosphere and an exciting ending, the bad news is that we've seen it all before lifted in part from other pictures making it all pretty predictable. Granted, they may not have much in common with specifics, but I felt like I was watching themes from THE BELIEVERS with Martin Sheen mixed with SIGNS with Mel Gibson, except with deities, not voodoo or aliens. There are no surprises, but the delivery, despite its PG13 rating, does work thanks to the leads and key writing that focuses on the characters. It also owes a big nod to Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton, specifically a key scene from THE LEOPARD MAN. Gorehounds will have to look elsewhere, but for the rest of us looking for a spooky decent time, you could do a lot worse than THE NEW DAUGHTER, therefore I have no problem recommending genre fans to at least check it out. - Mark Engle

2004 – NR – 92 Minutes
D: Mathias Dinter
S: Tino Mewes – Maneul Cortez – Thomas Schnieder – Colleen Fernandes
DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anamorphic widescreen / 5.1 Dolby Digital
Extras: Behind the Scenes – Deleted Scenes – Theatrical Trailer

Three losers in Germany accidentally get zombiefied via the local Goth clique. Being complete dorks in high school, they decide to take advantage of their new “powers”. They take on bullies, try to get laid and party hard because, well, you can’t overdose if you’re already dead. Our hero Philip has been in love with the hottest girl in school and now’s his chance. What could have been a decent send up of 80’s teen comedies like Revenge Of The Nerds ends up trying too hard to be dumber than most of those movies it emulates. From rolling zombie testicles to stapling body parts back on, the most one will get out of this is a couple of yuk-yuks and guffaws. Obviously this will highly entertain preteen geeks who already party and youths who can’t even get a date on a Friday night. All else may want to pass the bong and shut up. – Mark Engle

2006 – NR - 94 minutes
D: Rolfe Kanefsky
S: Tiffany Shepis – Blythe Metz – James Ferris – Luciano Szafir – Aaron Sherry
DVD Provided by Delusional Films
Promotional Copy with no Extras

Helen (Blythe Metz) is a pretty but emotionally troubled young lady who relies on prescription drugs to overcome her horrible nightmares. She buys a frightful-looking ancient fertility mask in an effort to improve her love life with husband William (Luciano Szafir). Big mistake. The demonic face takes on a murderous personality of its own in her dreams. When their car runs out of gas on their way to a mental hospital, where Helen is to be medically treated, William decides to not only hike down a back road to a gas station miles away but he leaves Helen alone in the vehicle. Yeah, right. Nice B-horror film contrivance. But, folks, I'm telling you, things pick up in a big way after that. Helen gets attacked by the demon creature and seeks refuge in a house in the woods currently inhabited by two young couples. While this flick could easily have been just another so-so slasher entry, it jets off into a different direction and becomes an exciting thriller with unexpected and bloody deaths, not to mention a humdinger of a third act that features a bizarre twist. Seriously, here is a SOV production that will keep the viewer on the edge of his or her seat. A nice job by writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky and a special nod to actress Tiffany Shepis for her fun performance as Mia, a tomboy hottie that just might be more than the mysterious demon can handle. – Craig Hamann

UK - 2007 – N/R – 90 Minutes
D: Lawrence Pearce
S: Giles Alderson – Katia Winter – Rene Zagger – Jonathan Coyne
DVD Provided by Allumination Filmworks
Anamorphic Widescreen/Dolby Digital
Extras: Theatrical Trailer – 4 Additional Trailer

Requiem For A Dream meets True Romance meets Near Dark or just about any other modern vampire film. Doesn’t sound terribly original and it isn’t, but it’s done so well, I can’t help but recommend it. Partly sleazy, partly intelligent, Night Junkies is a story of two people meeting by chance, but somehow destined for one another. She’s a stripper that the club owner is trying to brutally force into prostitution and her savior is the vampire that turns her. Some lines almost seems lifted from the comparison titles mentioned, especially as he says meeting her pimp is just something he’s got to do. Unfortunately when that goes sour and he kills her pimp and bodyguard, the club owner’s right hand man comes after her and he just happens to be a vampire himself. Unfortunately, he’s also of the serial killer type with a sicko perversion for falling in love and slaughtering prostitutes (and happens to be dementedly in love with our heroine). While it all may ring familiar, the cast is different and exceptionally believable making it all the more compelling. If you’re in the mood for sleazy strippers and sex, blood and mutilated bodies along with enough food for thought all rolled into one package, give Night Junkies a shot. Vampire genre fans will want to check this one out. – Mark Engle

1974 – Rated R – 84 Minutes
D: Thomas Dyke – William Dear
S: Craig Collicott – David Hyry – Carson Jackson
DVD Courtesy of VCI Entertainment
Fullscreen/Dolby Digital Stereo
Extras – 2 Director Commentaries – Scorpions Biker Gang Commentary – 2 Photo Galleries – Trailers

One of the bloodiest and most entertaining over the top biker flicks from the 70’s gets a great 30th Anniversary Edition release thanks to the folks at VCI. The story is familiar as a bad cop rapes a young townie and blames it on the bikers. Being this is a small bible thumping type of town; soon we have rednecks and bikers fighting it out via knives, guns, explosives and other deadly weapons. Blood flies and spurts with every wound and it is non-stop action up until the bitter end. Our bad seed cop gets the victim’s father and a local mercenary hit man involved, but the bikers also have their own arsenal (in the means of a Patton-like nut who could supply Libya with enough arms for an all out revolution). Listen for Nick Nolte’s voice (he was dubbed over for the role of Chris, the lead originally played by David Hyry). Despite some cheesy lines, non-actors and a horribly fake helicopter explosion, this is still one of the most enjoyable and a personal favorite of the genre. The print looks and sounds great, and being a director’s cut, I didn’t see too many differences from any other release, but it did seem slightly bloodier than I remember. No matter what however, Northville Cemetery Massacre is highly recommended. – Mark Engle

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