Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brian Sammons Hi-Def Horror Hoedown!

MIMIC 3 FILM SET (1997-2003)– Blu-ray review

Directors: Guillermo del Toro, Jean de Segonzac, J.T. Pet
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Alix Koromzay, Karl Greary

Now if you’re a fan of director Guillermo del Toro or of the killer big bug movie from the 90s, MIMIC, then you might already have it on Blu-ray. That’s because an unrated director’s cut came out on Blu-ray just a few months back. So is this a case of the dreaded double dipping, a la the 30 + versions of all the various EVIL DEAD films? No, not really, as it also has two other movies in the package. But are the two (widely considered lesser) sequels just along for the ride? You know some padding to get you to buy MIMIC all over again? Because really, who the hell would need or want those direct to sequels on Blu-ray? Well that can be debated, as I’m sure there are fans of those two movies out there somewhere. However, I just ain’t one of them. But if you are, or if you think you may be, keep on reading.

First and foremost there is del Toro’s original; MIMIC. This is the exact same version of the movie that LIONSGATE released on Blu-ray a few months back. That means it is the unrated director’s cut and has retained all the extras from the last release. That’s a very cool and good thing. So often when multi-packs like this come out, the extras are stripped out or just left behind. It’s nice to see that’s not the case here. As for the story that started it all, it’s the near future a deadly plague is killing the children of New York City in droves that’s being spread by cockroaches. Enter a brilliant, beautiful entomologist named Susan Tyler, played by Mira Sorvino, who genetically splices a bunch of bug DNA together to make a bug killing bug that mimics its prey while it’s murdering them. Five years later and…yeah can you guess where this is going? That’s right, giant mutant bugs that can kind of look like humans at a distance, thus the title of this film, who have taken to munching on people. Naturally. It’s up to Dr. Tyler and a handful of heroes to save the day. Or so you would think. Four years later, the direct-to-video sequel came out.

MIMIC 2 picks up a few years after the first one. The big bad bugs have not only survived, but have continued to evolve, including coming up with a new gruesome trick: ripping the faces off of people and wearing them as masks. Nice. The star this time around is Alix Koromzay, who was actually in the first movie as Mira Sorvino's coworker. That’s kind of nice. I mean, if none of the stars from the original wanted to come back for this, at least they established some link between the two movies, other than the bugs. Anyway, Alix plays a school teacher named Remi who has the bad luck to be teaching at a school where the bugs have a nest. Add a cop as a shoehorned love interest and some students are you got a new group of characters to battle the bugs. And really, that’s about it. This sequel is far more B-movie than the first, and it’s certainly not as good as the original, but it’s not horrible and can be kind of fun in a dopey sort of way. The same really can’t be said of the next MIMIC movie.

The third big bug flick is basically Alfred Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW with giant, mutant bugs. No, really. Another Direct-to-video flick, subtitled SENTINEL, actor Karl Greary does the James Stewart bit as a man named Marvin afflicted with the very sickness that the bugs were created to kill off in the first film. Locked inside a germ free room, he peeps on his neighbors to pass the time. Unfortunately, that time passed by agonizingly slow in this movie as it is a chore and a bore to sit through. Eventually Marvin starts seeing a strange looking man in a trench coat (hmm, wonder who or what that is) killing and abducting his neighbors. Eventually the man’s sister and sexy neighbor become his investigating accomplices and this all leads to a somewhat lackluster showdown with a couple of big bad bugs. And that’s about it for this one, which is easily the weakest film of the bunch. It’s not horrible, it’s just very ho-hum and does nothing new for the franchise.

As for the extras, all the ones from the previous releases of all three films have been transferred to this set. Naturally the first MIMIC movie has the lion’s share of goodies for it, including a very good audio commentary with del Toro and a gaggle of featurettes of various lengths. MIMIC 2 has no commentary track and just two very short featurettes. MIMIC 3: SENTINEL has a single short behind the scenes featurette, but it does have a commentary track. All the movies look good on Blu-ray, with part 3 oddly being the best looking, despite being the least of the three films in every other way. Weird.

So in the end, I can recommend the new MIMIC 3 FILM SET. The first movie is easily the best and worth the price of admission just by its self. The second film is not great, but flirts with being good. The third film, while far from good, is still worth a watch at least. So for three movies, all in HD, two on Blu-ray for the first time (and the only way to get MIMIC 2 & 3 on Blu-ray at all), with a bunch of extras, consider this one a must have for fans of killer bug movies.

THE INNKEEPERS (2011)– Blu-ray review

Director: Ti West
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis

Ti West became known to most people with THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL in 2009. That was his love letter to 70s and 80s horror movies and it was all kind of fun. If you’ve seen that movie, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, do yourself a favor and go see it. But do that some other time, right now I’m here to talk about Mr. West’s latest modern yet old school horror movie, THE INNKEEPERS.

Now I’m not going to say that everything Ti does is golden. After all, he did make the dreadful CABIN FEVER 2. But hey, I guess no one is above taking a schlock job if the money is right. While he made a great lil gem of a flick with HOUSE, he completely dropped the ball with CABIN. So with only a 50/50 record, would INNKEEPERS be a return to the form that so won me over with THotD, or more forgettable direct to video droppings like CF2? Well there’s only one way to find out, so make sure you made your reservations, because we’re going to have a sleepover with THE INNKEEPERS.

Set in the real world, and at the reportedly really haunted Yankee Peddler Inn, the movie revolves around the final two employees (the titular innkeepers) as they tend to the last few guests in the soon to be closed hotel. With a ton of time to kill, the young guy and girl spend the time doing the armature ghost hunter thing, trying to capture a spook or two on video. With the help of a psychic ex-actress and a creepy old man demanding a specific room in the empty hotel to keep an eye on, the innkeepers soon start witnessing some all too real hauntings. And, well that’s it. No really, that’s pretty much the whole story here, which means it does not do a thing new. That said, what it does, it does very, very well. THE INNKEEPERS is a good old fashioned ghost story, with heavy emphases on ‘old fashioned’. You know when people say ‘they don’t make them like that anymore?’ Yeah, they’re talking about this movie. A sad reflection of that is that pretty much whenever I heard anyone complaining about this movie, it was always the same thing; ‘oh is so slow, it takes too long to get to the good stuff.’ Now I hate the ADD addled mouth breathers that say such things, I really do. They’re the reason Michael Bay makes nonstop explosion-fests that make a bazillion dollars, and movies that actually concern themselves with telling a good story with compelling characters constantly get passed on. So yeah, this movie takes its time fleshing out the characters and building suspense (oh how dare they) in a rather simple haunted house story. But while the story may be simple, writer/director Ti West is in top form and he once again proves that he knows what it takes to make a damn scary movie. It’s the kind of fright flick full of creepy dread and atmosphere and not just jump scare after jump scare accompanied by blaring music stings and crappy CGI ghosts. Hey, substance over style, what a novel concept!

This new Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films not only looks great, but it comes with a few nice extras worth crowing about. First and foremost are the two audio commentary tracks. Both have writer/editor/director Ti West on them. One of the tracks is a production commentary with both of the film’s producers and the 2nd unit director. The other is for the cast’s point of view and has Ti with actors Sara Paxton and Pat Healy. There is a sadly far too short behind the scenes featurette that’s just a hair over seven minutes. A trailer is the last special to be found on this disc. So yeah, this Blu-ray isn’t exactly overflowing with extras, but it does have two informative and fun commentaries. Oh, and the movie is freaking awesome, so I guess that’s the best ‘special feature’ of them all.

THE INKEEPERS is a great horror movie that is comfortable being, first and foremost, an honest to goodness horror movie. It’s not ‘hip’ nor is it ‘edgy’ and it doesn’t have an entire cast of way too pretty people straight from the CW channel in it. It is a Ti West movie, so it’s very much the kind of creepy, atmospheric horror film that sadly just doesn’t seem to be made anymore. I loved it from beginning to end, and if you’re a true horrorhead, then I know you will to. So go on, spend a night with THE INKEEPERS, and then try to sleep soundly afterwards.

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (2012)– Blu-ray review

Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley

This is the fourth film in the franchise that basically ripped off White Wolf Publishing’s roleplaying game; WORLD OF DARKNESS. Now I know fans of these films get upset when people point that out, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Don’t believe me, or don’t even know what I’m talking about? Google it, as it’s too long to get into here. Anyway, truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of any of the UNDERWORLD movies. They’ve always been way too much style over substance for my tastes. A blend of THE MATRIX action set pieces with two of the classics from monster movies: vampires and werewolves. Sure they can sometimes be a bit of mindless, but for me and many other red blooded heterosexual men, the flicks’ real saving grace has been the crazy beautiful Kate Beckinsale running around in skintight pleather. Yeah, that’s almost worth the price of admission right there. So imagine my (and a whole lot of people’s) disappointment that for the third film they replaced Kate with Rhona Mitra. Sure, Rhona is also very lovely, but she’s no Kate Beckinsale. Well if you feel like I do, rejoice, for AWAKENING brings Beckinsale back to the role that she originated. Further, they also play around with the mythology and story in almost a reboot kind of way. So Kate is back, and that’s a plus, but is the rest of the movie any good? Well slip on your rubber cat suit, grab your twin guns, and let’s get back to the UNDERWORLD and find out.

The movie starts off pretty much like all the other flicks, with Kate’s vampire death machine (named Selene and given the badass title of Death Dealer) meeting with her part vampire, part werewolf, part human boyfriend. But he’s not really worth mentioning here as he is soon removed from the movie thanks to an explosion that also knocks Selene into a cryogenic coma. Twelve years later and little miss Death Dealer wakes up in a very different world where humans know about the vamps and the werewolves and are raging a war against both of them. Oh, and she also has a powerful human/werewolf/vampire daughter. Yeah, vampires having babies, that never gets old or ridiculous. Whatever. So sexy Selene is now a MILF, and I’m totally cool with that. She has to fight her endless war with the werewolves, plus now with the humans who are out to kill anything supernatural. Also the werewolves, called Lycans in this series, want Selene’s daughter for they think she can sure them of their severe silver allergy. And well, that’s about it for the story. So it’s not great, but it does do something new. Hey that’s something, right?

Now if the story was the only thing this flick had to talk about, oh that and sexy Beckinsale, that would be something. But it’s not. Let’s talk about it feeling like a boring chore to sit through with some of the most limp and lukewarm action scenes in any UNDERWORLD movie. Add to that that everything was shot to be 3D (and will that fad please die already?) and everything looks far too CGI fake for my tastes. And speaking of 3D, this movie seemed to be mostly a 3D tech demo than an actual film. What, think I’m being too hard? Well when AWAKENING was advertised, the fact that it was using the same 3D process that AVATAR used was the biggest selling point. Seriously, YouTube the trailers if you doubt me, it was pretty sad. So that’s how you sell movies now? Not with stars or god forbid, a good story, but 3D gimmicks? Again, whatever. But what that means to 90% of people out there who (wisely) didn’t buy a 3D TV, when you watch it not in 3D it’s annoying as all hell.

Blatant and irritating 3D pandering aside, the new Blu-ray from Sony does look damn good. I guess that makes sense, as Sony invented the BD format. So it looks absolutely great, but how are the extras? Well there’s an audio commentary with the two directors (yes this movie was so awesome that no one man could have made it) with the producers and video effects guy. While it’s informative, it wasn’t exactly entertaining and like the third movie in this series, it could have been made better with the addition of Kate Beckinsale, but then all things can be made better with her as far as I’m concerned. There are a collection of five smallish featurettes that all together run over an hour. A blooper reel and a needless music video from some someone I never heard of before and didn’t like. Then there is a picture in picture popup track that you can run as you watch the movie. Usually stuff like that is pretty good, sort of like a video commentary track. Unfortunately here it was pretty much just a trivia track that had nothing, and I mean nothing, interesting to say. Hey did you know that vampires need blood to live? Wow, thanks UNDERWORLD AWAKENING. The More You Know ™.

If you’re a fan of the UNDERWORLD movies, then you should get this Blu-ray. It’s more of the same but it looks great, and if you have a 3D TV then be sure to pick up the 3D version as the whole reason this flick was made was to show that off. And hey, it is better than the third movie, so there is that. But if you’re not an UNDERWORLD fan, then AWAKENING won’t do anything to change that.

MOTHER’S DAY (2012)– Blu-ray review

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore

This is NOT a remake of the 1980s sort of slasher of the same name, and I don’t care what it says. Yeah at the end credits of this movie it thanks Charles Kaufman, the writer and director of the original film, and the executive producer of this one. However this new MOTHER’S DAY is a remake in name only, as other than a crazy momma, it has NOTHING to do with the original movie. Now, is that a bad thing? I mean, I don’t think anyone out there is going to say that the 80s movie was great, or even all that good. So does that mean this new version must be better? Well not necessarily, as one thing I’ve learned by watching the ton of remakes that filmmakers keep shoving down our throats is that no matter how silly, stupid, inept, or badly made the original was, it can always get worse. So what’s the case here? Is the 2010 MOTHER’S DAY (yes, that’s when this movie was made, but it’s only coming out on disc now) an improvement over the 80s original, or yet another remake best forgotten? Well make sure you call your momma and tell her you lover her, it’s her day after all.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who made his name directing SAW 2, 3, and 4, seems to have decided to play it safe by not venturing too far out of his comfort zone. Yes, shades of torture porn can be seen in this story of three bad bank robbing brothers breaking into their old house after one of them is shot in their last heist. But unbeknownst to them, their momma got booted out of the house a few months back and instead they bust in on the new owners, the Sohapi family (ha, get it?) and their guests having a party. They take everyone hostage, make a handy doctor at the party work on their injured brother, and then call their momma for help.

Enter the hands down best thing about this movie; Rebecca De Mornay as the titular mother Koffin (ha, get it? GET IT, DAMN YOU, GET IT!). Rebecca is very good as the crazy lady in charge and steals the show in every scene she’s in. She’s a smart, scary lady who’s mad about her family and will do anything to get what she wants. Unfortunately De Mornay is the only good thing in this you’ve-seen-it-all-before flick. Momma and family torment the new homeowners in all sorts of ways while looking for some money that the bandit brothers supposedly mailed to their mother, but after she had lost the house. Such “highlights” include attempted rape, boiling water poured into ears, hand bashing, and forcing various hostages to fight each other. Yawn. Oh sorry, I almost nodded off there. But seriously, I’ve seen a hundred home invasion films like this, and I found this one to be a tedious chore to sit through, even with Rebecca De Mornay knocking it out of the park with her acting. Maybe that’s partially my fault for having seen too many of these movies, but honestly I think it’s more the director and writers fault for happily treading the same well-worn trail and doing nothing, and I mean NOTHING, new with the premise. You notice I don’t blame the actors. While none match De Mornay’s chops, they do a capable job with what they were given to do. Too bad that what they were given was pretty damn bad.

The makers of MOTHER’S DAY never met a suspense/thriller cliché that it didn’t like, and they do their very best to shoehorn in as many as it can into this movie. For example, does this movie have the good friends suddenly turning on each other? Yep. How about a cute, young, and sympathetic sister of the brutal Koffin family that tries to help the hostages out? You bet. What about a cop putting two and two together only to be completely ineffectual? Sure thing. Hey, how about the old chestnut where a girl gets mad at her boyfriend for not helping her when one of the bad guys gropes her, even though he had a gun in his face? Oh hell yes, that’s here too. I could go on dropping examples of such stuff we’ve all seen a thousand times, but now let’s move on to the second reason this movie was a dud; nonsensical stuff done only for the sake of the story.

This starts off right at the beginning when we see a shadowy mother Koffin (she’s shot in near total darkness so we can’t see the face of the actress standing in as a young De Mornay) going into a hospital to steal a baby. Yeah, she’s that kind of mommy. Anyway the vast amounts of stupid in this one scene alone had me rolling my eyes so much that I started to get dizzy. From the deserted hospital right out of HALLOWEN 2, to the inept security guard that allows momma Koffin to stroll right on by, to the same guard confronting the woman after she took a baby in a completely dark room, without ever turning on the lights or even pulling a flashlight. I have already mentioned the “oops, we didn’t know our own mother got kicked out of our house” set up that this film relies on, and I’ll skip over the “tornado proof windows” that only exist to make sure no one can get out once the hostages are locked in the basement, and I’ll get right to my favorite scene of silliness in this flick. At one point one of the bad brother takes one of the female hostages out to an ATM to get some money. Two vapid, barely twenty-something-airheads come up behind them, also to use the ATM. The hostage tells the girls that the bad man has a gun, and then he has to make sure the two girls don’t get away to tell the police. So what does he do? If you said shoot them as they run away and then quickly make his getaway because he’s outside, in the middle of a street, next to an ATM that obviously sees a lot of traffic (as the two girls in question did show up within seconds of the killer and his hostage pulling up), then you’re wrong. No, instead he makes both girls gets on their knees right there in the parking lot, throws a knife down between them, and tells them that whoever kills the other one can get to live. He then wastes a bunch of time goading them into doing it, you know; time he could be used to getting away. All this in order to prove to his hostage that it’s a dog eat dog world and blah blah blah, mwah hah hah, ain’t I so evil? Really, that bit wasn’t suspenseful or edgy or daring or brutal or thrilling or believable or anything other than mind numbingly stupid. Sadly, this movie is full of scenes like that. As meh as this movie is, the Blu-ray from Anchor Bay isn’t much better. Sure it looks good in HD, but that’s par for the course for modern made movies released on Blu-ray days. It’s the special features, or rather the lack of them, that I’m talking about. There’s an audio commentary track with director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor Shawn Ashmore, who plays one of the bank robbing boys, and…well that’s it. That’s all you get here. What’s funny is that during the commentary, director Bousman seems to go out of his way to mention a bunch of deleted scenes, but not a one of them could be added to this rather barren Blu-ray? Uhm, why? Oh, this is a BD and DVD comb pack, if that matters to anyone out there.

MOTHER’S DAY is not a bad movie it’s just a very derivative flick. If you’ve seen any home invasion movie or just any flick where bad people do bad things to other people, then you’ve all but seen this movie. Rebecca De Mornay is pretty darn good in it, so fans of her may want to check it out. For everyone else, give it a pass.

THE DEVIL INSIDE (2012)– Blu-ray review

Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Fernanda Andrade, Suzan Crowley, Simon Quarterman

Let me start off by saying that I am largely a fan of the found footage horror films. From THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT to its lesser known rival THE LAST BROADCAST, from the original very good [REC] from Spain, to the more lackluster US remake, QUARANTINE, I sort of dig them all. Even when they have some pretty big flaws, like APOLLO 18, there can still be some fun and good spooky moments found in them. So keep that in mind when I say that I hated this latest entry in the (now overused?) subgenre. When I say that this boring, confusing, poorly made movie is in no way good, it’s not because of the first person shaky cam thing. It’s just a plain old bad movie. So if you want to save yourself some time, just stop reading right now and forget this movie ever existed. But if you’re still possibly interested in this flick, then keep reading and maybe I can change your mind and save you a few bucks. Hey, that’s what I’m here for.

THE DEVIL INSIDE is a pretty basic, paint-by-numbers devil possession flick. And right there I could end this review. It’s not a horrible horror film in and of itself but it has the worst ending of, well anything I can remember seeing. Ever. But more on that is a second. The story here is that a documentary film crew is following around a young American woman as she investigates the reason why her mother was sent to an insane asylum in Italy. Hmm, three guess as to why. Well the daughter and the documentarians hook up with some priests once in Italy who do secret exorcisms on the side. Then after a bunch of babble about if the institutionalized mother is possessed by Satan, it’s off to the nuthouse for some hot devil expelling action.

The one twist to this movie, which isn’t even original, is that mad mommy dearest isn’t just possessed by one demon, but four and they have body jumping abilities right out of the much better Denzel Washington movie, FALLEN. If you can’t guess as to what that will mean for the movie, then I won’t spoil it for you. But hey, there is some of the same satanic taunting of the assembled exorcists that has been in every, and I mean every, movie since THE EXORCIST. So yay for more unoriginality.

Then there is the ending that I hinted at before. Now I won’t ruin it, because honestly, I don’t think I can ruin it as it’s so bad. All I’ll say is that this movie really doesn’t end. It just cuts to black. Yeah, no kidding, it just stops. Now I guess it’s trying to go for a dramatic, sudden, shock ending that in a way would make sense that no one would continue to film after a certain point. Still, movies should have an ending and this one just doesn’t. So it’s a derivative, completely unoriginal EXORCIST rip off that all but gives the audience the finger at the end. Yeah, it sure sounds like a winner to me.

Oh, and do you want to get really mad? This slice of cinematic schlock made over 100 million dollars worldwide. Not only is that insulting to the far, far, FAR superior movie; THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (which has so far made less than half that) but it probably means that we will be afflicted with a sequel to this someday soon. Oh yay.

The new Blu-ray from Paramount, which is a Best Buy exclusive, looks as well as a shaky cam found footage flick can look. However it is also as bare bones as a disc can be. It has no special features. Not one. Were they embarrassed by this movie? Because it sure looks like it.

If you can’t tell by now, I can’t recommend this movie. Not at all. To anyone. As I said, it’s not a horrible movie, but it’s dull, unnecessary, and derivative of a hundred other films that came before, and that did it much better. Still if for some odd reason you do want to get this movie in your collection, you can go on over to Best Buy to pick yourself up a copy.

KILLER NUN (1978)– Blu-ray review

Director: Giulio Berruti
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Paola Morra, Alida Valli

I must admit, I’ve never been a fan of nunsploitation flicks. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t raised Catholic and didn’t attend a Catholic school, so I didn’t have my budding sexual tastes as a child get mixed up with strange feelings towards women in power, who wear black, and spank your bottom if you’re naughty. I mean, that’s got to be the reason someone would think nuns are sexy, right? So yeah, nuns, be they traditional, nude, naughty, satanic, evil, or in this case killer, just never did anything for me. But if nuns, drugs, murder, lesbians, and torture are your kind of things, keep on reading. If they’re not, well I’ll guess I just see you next time.

Still here? Ok, good, let’s get on with it…you pervert.

This flick starts off by saying that it’s based on real life events. Yeah sure, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE said the same thing. Anyway, here we get Sister Gertrude, the head nun at a hospital, who is addicted to morphine. Her bad little habit starts her down the road to crazyville. Poor Gertrude thinks drugs are a replacement for the God she no longer feels any link to, and in her quest for Holy Communion, she tortures and slaughters the patients in her care as she goes more and more insane. She’s also a bit man-hater, but she still enjoys sex. Unfortunately it’s fully clothed sex. Yeah while she may be killer, this nun obviously had a no nudity clause in her contract. She does have a smoking hot, young, lesbian roommate, although sadly, nothing comes of that, at least not on screen. What the hell, movie, talk about a tease.

The killer nun starts killing off old people, sort of as an angel of death kind of thing, but then quickly moves on to anyone she can. All the while the clueless staff at the hospital just sort of stand around being…well, clueless. There are shades of an Italian giallo in here, with pink rubber gloves standing in for the more usual black, although the mystery here is lukewarm at best and the ending can be guessed at far too quickly. And speaking of lukewarm, that sadly sums up this movie in a single word. Despite a sensational title and a naughty nun premise, this exploitation flick isn’t actually all that exploitative. Not compared to many similar movies made around the same time. There is some full frontal nudity, both male and female, but what little sex there is in this movie is rather tame. Unfortunately the same can be said for the murders and gore. There is one rather effective needles-in-the-face torture scene, but really that’s it. A lot of the violence is very tepid or happens off screen. Hell, one guy dies by getting lightly kicked in the face about three or four times. Oh, how brutal. And this is the uncut and uncensored version? Man, was the cut version aired after Saturday morning cartoons? Because I’m betting it could have been with what I seen here.

Now while I thought the movie was only so-so at best, Blue Underground does their usual good job with the Blu-ray release, at least as far as how it looks. For a seventies Italian exploitation flick, it looked really good here. No, not perfect, but a damn sight better than it ought to of had. As for the special features, there is 13 minute interview with co-writer and director Giulio Berruti. It’s in Italian but it is subtitled. Other than that, there’s the usual trailer and poster gallery and…well that’s it, that’s all the extras on this disc. Not bad for what is only a cult film, but it still felt somewhat lacking.

I’ve got to admit, I was a bit disappointed that this slice of Eurosleaze wasn’t all that sleazy. That doesn’t mean that the movie as a whole was bad. On the contrary, it was well made for the most part and the acting and story was competent, if somewhat boring at times. It’s just that I was expecting so much more from this movie, so it was a bit of a letdown. That said, if you are a fan of nunsploitation movies, well now you have a great looking Blu-ray to add to your library of sin.

42ND STREET FOREVER (2012)– Blu-ray review

You’ll notice the review for this new Blu-ray from Synapse Films doesn’t have the usual listings for director and cast. That’s because 42ND STREET FOREVER is a collection of trailers for the grindhouse classics that filled the dirty little theaters that once upon a time (namely the 70s and early 80s) made New York’s 42nd Street so notorious and infamous. Ok, they’re not the pornos that aired in the many porn theaters that shared the same street, but to Ma and Pa Middle America, they were almost on the same level.

And yes, you read that right; this entire Blu-ray is nothing but a collection of trailers. Now normally that sounds about as fun as watching a collection of end credit sequences, but these slices of schlocky sinful cinema were a real treat. There’s also a ton of them, 89 to be exact, and with a total run time of over three and a half hours. They also run the glorious gambit of all things exploitation. Blaxploitation, rape/revenge movies, women in prison, naughty school girl movies, skin flicks of all sorts, cheesy sci-fi/fantasy films, schlocky horror movies, surprisingly good horror movies (if you, like me, love cheesy 70s and 80s horror flicks), MONDO CANE rip offs, Japanese monster movies, biker flicks, samurai movies, goofy sex comedies, Kung Fu, Eurosleaze, and more. These are the authentic grindhouse trailers, and that’s both good and bad. It’s good because they’re a little longer than modern trailers. They’re almost like mini movies in and of themselves. They’ve also unedited, so since they were promoting movies that sold gore, nudity, and vulgarities of all sorts, the trailers are also loaded with profanity, blood, and naughty nudity. For a collection extoling the ‘virtues’ of the bygone 42ND Street era, I would not want it any other way.

However the (somewhat) bad side to these authentic trailers as that they are grainy, scratched up, blurry, and look like they’re being projected onto some grimy little screen in Times Square during the 70s. Again, for a celebration of grindhouse flicks, I would not want it any other way. That said, there is no reason these should have been put on Blu-ray. High-def, these trailers are not. The only reason I can think of for this release being Blu-ray only is the storage capacity. Now true aficionados of exploitation flicks would expect and want these trailers to look exactly lie they do here. Younger videophiles out there may be disappointed in the picture quality found here, especially considering the usual Blu-ray standard, thus the reason I felt the need to point it out here.

As far as special features, there’s an extensive audio commentary that runs the full three and a half hours. Done by three guys, the only one I recognize was Michael Gingold from FANGORIA magazine, this trio had a wealth of information to impart about all of the trailers shown here. You can really tell that they’re huge fans of the grindhouse and it is well worth giving this Blu-ray a second viewing to hear what they had to say about all of the flicks found here.

42ND STREET FOREVER is not a movie for everyone, but that’s ok. Usually things made for ‘everyone’ tend to be mediocre pap that ends up pleasing no one. So if you’re a fan of the sleazy, the weird, the taboo, and the downright strange (in short exploitation and grindhouse flicks) then you’ll love this collection. Note: Synapse Films has a long running, multivolume DVD series called 42ND STREET FOREVER which, like this Blu-ray, are nothing but collections of trailers. So if you already got those DVDs then you do not need this new BD. Consider this disc a Best Of collection. However if you have yet to take a naughty, nostalgic trip down 42nd STREET, then this is a great way to do it. Consider it highly recommended for those with deviant tastes.

--Brian Sammons