Saturday, August 11, 2018

Doom Asylum + Extras (Arrow Films)


For Saturday Screamers this week we're tackling Arrow Films' blu-ray re-release of 1987's Doom Asylum.  As always, thanks to Arrow Films for sending us a copy so we can do this review!

So the official description of Doom Asylum is: "A demented coroner uses autopsy equipment to kill off the teenagers who trespass on the long-abandoned asylum he inhabits. Filmed on location in an actual abandoned asylum."  I address this because I had no clue what I watched, but I loved every second of it.

Doom Asylum is a b-movie with a capital "B."  When a coroner and his girlfriend are in an accident, with a comically long lead-up, he awakens hideously deformed and deranged.  A group of the most absurd teens(?) go to sunbathe by an abandoned asylum.  Also present in the asylum is the greatest all-female experimental noise band which might as well be the b-film version of The Misfits from Jem.  Lead by Tina (Ruth Collins), they are this film's greatest asset.  The final presence in the asylum is the coroner ghoul that ends up killing these teens in random ways, except for Tina that somehow accidentally turns herself into a meat cube,

This movie is the absolute definition of The Dio Effect: It's so cheesy and bad that it is amazing!  It's also self aware of how bad it is.  Although, when your big draw to the film was "We have a Penthouse Pet and a Playboy Playmate in our film," you know you're not swinging for the fences.  The practical effects are pretty decent despite finding out in the extras that half of them didn't work as planned.  The acting is... well... overacting and you'll hear the same cover version of House of the Rising Sun about 20 times.

EXTRAS:

Like most Arrow releases, they got together some of the cast and crew to do individual interviews to talk about their time with Doom Asylum.  We get Ruth Collins doing one and she is like the scream queen aunt you didn't know you wanted.  Cinematographer Larry Revene lets you know all the issues with the film during its production.  He doesn't talk shit though. Instead it can be seen as someone looking back and working with fresh faced amatures and where they under or over extended themselves.  The final interview is with special effects artist Vincent Guastini (who worked on my favorites The Devil's Carnival and The Devil's Carnival: Alleluia!).  He talks about his early process starting out and working on this while pulling ideas from Tom Savini books he keep with him.

We do get an older set of interviews with the director, producer, and someone else but it was about 2 A.M. when I finally got to those and wasn't in the mood, so I'll end up watching those later.  I also definitely want to revisit this film with the commentary track on.

I think that's the best sign for Doom Asylum.  I want to revisit this movie.  It's Friday night with your friends campy fun.  It's also 1h 17m and moves quickly so you have no worries about people getting bored.  Pick this up if you like 80's cult classics, schlocky horror, or just want to see a very nice pair of breasts thanks to Ruth Collins.  I'm not even trying to be a pervy jerk here because I am of the homosexual persuasion and I can admit that those, well, they're just swell.

If you want to pick up a copy of Arrow Films' Doom Asylum then you can click here to get it from Amazon.  It's currently at the $29 mark for this blu-ray but the joy it brings is free... and $29 in order to purchase the disc to bring free joy.  The free joy is included in the $29.  Just buy it!  Also, buying it from that link helps out 30 Days of Plight with domain fees and caffeine!

Thanks again to Arrow Films' for a review copy of this film!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Bloodthirsty Trilogy 2-Disc Blu-Ray + Extras (Arrow Films)


Oh shit!  We're coming back with another Saturday Screamers and this one is huge!  Today we're going to be talking about Michio Yamamoto's The Bloodthirsty Trilogy 2-disc set that was lovingly sent to us from our friends over at Arrow Films.  So thank you, Arrow Films!

To catch you up on what The Bloodthirsty Trilogy is, from 1970-1974 Mr. Yamamoto combined Japanese and European vampire lore in order to create three movies.  Released by Toho films, The Vampire Doll, Lake of Dracula, and Evil of Dracula can be sited as one of the first instances of our modern gothic take on vampirism seeping into J-horror.  Their pale visages with golden eyes become wrapped in flowing white gowns or dapper gentleman clothing to create a mash-up previously unseen.  Shot and scored similarly to the U.S. Hammer Films with a dash of the Universal Monsters and, of course, Toho's style, this is a great collection of rare J-horror that may have been overlooked in the past.


The first film, The Vampire Doll (a.k.a. Legacy of Dracula) takes us to an affluent home where a man has come to visit his beloved, only to find that she died two weeks prior in a car accident.  He is still given room and board while he deals with his feelings but he begins to see his lady friend in the house or running through the grounds at night.  The product of a curse brought upon her family by her father, she can only rest once the her father pays for his crimes... and then she deflates like a balloon.

The second of the trilogy is Lake of Dracula which was the weirdest for me to watch.  When a woman was five years old she lost grip of her dog's leash and followed him to a strange house where she was almost attacked by a man with golden eyes.  She woke up safe later and it was assumed to be a dream.  Flash forward to the film's present day and she's now a full grown woman with a totally different dog that has the same name.  She is haunted by the golden eyes in her dreams and when a coffin is delivered to her town without any return address then vampire shit goes down.

The reason this one was the weirdest to me starts with the dog thing, but then the score and foley work.  At one point the music sounded like the composer was playing a slide whistle through a series of effects pedals or at least an odd theremin.  Then, when our main character is an adult and finally catches a glimpse of the vampire the sound cue right before her discovery sounds like a quick deep fart.  It's hard to stay in the movie moment when I assumed the vampire farted and that's how she found him.

Rounding out our trilogy is Evil of Dracula where a girl's school becomes terrorized by their vampire principal.  I'm not quite sure if he's been doing this all along and just upped his game or if this just all started because he was grooming a new man to be his replacement principal.  I watched all of these in a row and this one was probably the loosest and least attention grabbing of the three.

Despite my waning attention span with the third film, I definitely enjoyed this collection.  There is really only one big extra which is the journalist/horror author Kim Newman talking about the vampirism in the films.  Other than that you get the OSTs and film trailers but compared to something like The Addiction that I covered last week, there is less additional content.  Although if they brought Michio Yamamoto back from the dead for an interview then that would've been awesome.  Unfortunately I don't think Arrow has the money for that.  Anyway, you get three films with this, so it's a fair trade off.

If you like real vampires (not sparkly ones), J-horror, or just look and feel of Toho or Hammer then I recommend picking this set up.  Thanks again to Arrow Films for the hook-up with this.

Also, if you're interested in picking up this film you can do so here from Amazon.  It's currently running around $26, which for a blu-ray with three films on it is a steal.  Also, if you order by clicking that link then that means Amazon kicks a little back to us so that we can pay for this website and fuel it with canned energy drinks.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Addicition + Extras (Arrow Films)

 Chalking up another entry with our Saturday Screamers is Arrow Films' release of the 1995 movie, The Addiction. Thanks to Arrow Films for hooking us up with this screener copy to review.

Shot entirely in black and white, The Addiction is a vampire film that makes no effort to hide the fact that this affliction is a metaphor for heroin addiction.  Kathleen (Lili Taylor) is working toward a doctorate in philosophy.  One evening Kathleen is pulled into an alley by Cassanova (Annabella Sciorra) and is given a chance to tell Cassanova to leave.  When she doesn't, Cassanova bites her and leaves while telling her everything is about to change.  From here Kathleen begins to fiend, injects blood she takes from homeless people, and starts dressing and acting like Lou Reed, just with intense philosophical monologues.

This film took a bit to grow on me.  Initially the philosophy was heavy handed and it made me feel like I was watching a Jim Jarmusch film that lacked any mirth.  The turn around here came when Christopher Walken was introduced in what may now be one of my top 5 Walken roles.  His character initiates this vacuum where everyone and everything start coming together for the climax.  The earlier philosophical exposition becomes justified when Kathleen is defending her dissertation and makes a point of philosophy being nothing more than propaganda of a single individual.  The very end in which spiritual salvation leads to freedom from the affliction might as well have been an AA/NA commercial, but seeing as how Kathleen is unable to control her habit, it's what works for her (and in this case, some people dealing with addiction issues).  So who am I to sit here and talk shit on something that works for people?

Aside from top notch casting in The Addiction, it's also directed by Abel Ferrara.  You may know him for his work on Body Snatchers, Bad Lieutenant, and Ms. 45.  Additionally, Russell Simmons of Def Jam records was a producer.  I have nothing against Mr. Simmons and everything Def Jam has done, but my biggest complaint with The Addiction is that the only non-score music we get is hip hop and it feels so incredibly out of place.  That, and the fact we get the same Cypress Hill song played twice for street shots is too much.

EXTRAS:

In comparison to some of the extras we covered with other Saturday Screemers, The Addiction is tamer and geared more toward the film geek side.  We have a new interview with Abel Ferrara as well as director commentary, an interview with Brad Stevens (film critic) who wrote Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision, and a series of interviews entitled Talking with the Vampires.  The Talking with the Vampires was my favorite of the extras as it was made specifically for this release and features Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Abel Ferrara, cinematographer Ken Kelsch, and composer Joe Delia.  It felt very relaxed, like a conversation between friends.  You find out things like Lili was listening to Debaser by The Pixies a lot while making this film, or Christopher Walken singing a song for Abel.

First pressings of disc also come with an illustrated collector's booklet which has new writings on The Addiction by critic Michael Ewins.

If you're a fan of vampire films then I definitely recommend picking this one up.  I didn't know this film even existed until I was sent this disc but it's well worth the time.  Thanks again to Arrow Films for sending us this for review.

If you want to pick up this blu-ray then you can click here and get it from Amazon.  It's currently around $25 and if you want to get the collector's booklet then I definitely recommend getting it soon.  Also, if you click on that link or the link above for Brad Stevens' book and buy either from those links then we here at 30 Days of Plight get a small part of that sale and it goes towards paying for this website and energy drinks.

Monday, July 23, 2018

9th Cut: Final Cut -- 300 Films reviewed thus far!


I can't believe I've watched and reviewed 300 films for this website already (more if you count the Saturday Screamers now).  When I started doing this I didn't really have an expected timeline of how long I was going to work on this, but it has been over two years thus far and I'm not really slowing down.  Instead I keep looking for more to add to this, which I think is what a person is supposed to do but I'm not sure.  I'm just going with what feels right.

That said, we're wrapping up our 9th Cut.  This has probably been one of our better Cuts as far as having films I actually liked.  We started with The Lost Boys, had The Devil's Candy, and the over-the-top Daemonium: Soldiers of the Underworld which were probably my stand outs.  On the flip side, there are still those films that made me lose my goddamn mind while slogging through their absurd attempts at film making (not that I have ever written or made a film, but isn't that what makes critics great?  Even then that doesn't count for much because Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, so...).  The unnecessary Cabin Fever remake and Welcome to Willits come to mind right away for the shallow end of the pool.

So what's coming up with 30 Days of Plight?  Well, this is our break period but I'm going to try to keep up with at least one update a week, even if it's just a Saturday Screamer because I have a few more screeners to work through.  Also, I've been having a lot of trouble with Netflix when it comes to the D&D dice roll choice formula.  Having watched 300 films, anytime I roll a number greater than 30 then most of the films listed I've already watched.  So what does this mean for the 10th Cut?  Well, since we're entering double digits I'm going to do a special cut.  Over the years I've amassed a ton of questionable films that I haven't had the chance to watch.  In order to let Netflix catch up, and catch up myself, I'm going into the 30 Days of Plight video archives and pulling 30 random films from that for the 10th Cut.

Most of these films are going to be things I've picked up from $1 bins, used DVD stores, or exist on cheap movie multi-packs.  So get ready for a ton of shit you might never have heard of.  I already know of one that I have that stars Fred Durst so that just lets you know what to expect.

So Monday August 27, 2018 will be the start of our 10th Cut.

If you want to reach out to 30 Days of Plight you can do so via our Twitter @30daysofplight or e-mail us at 30DaysOfPlight@gmail.com.

If you are a film company, director, producer, actor, special effects person, whatever, and want some help to promote your upcoming project or would like a review of your film then e-mail me at the address above and we can set something up.

Thanks again to everyone that's been visiting and reading this website.  In this time we've had almost 33,000 visitors and that blows my mind.  And, as always...

I'll be right back...


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Abominable 2-Disc + Extras (MVD)


We're coming back at you with another Saturday Screamers!  This time we're going to talk about the MVD 2-disc release of the 2006 film Abominable as well as the extras included.  A quick shout out to MVD for hooking us up with a copy of this to review.  You may remember that they sent us last week's The Return of Swamp Thing.

In the "making of" featurette with this film, the director (Chris Schifrin) sums Abominable up perfectly:  What if a monster movie met Rear Window?  After a climbing accident killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair, Preston returns to his cabin in an attempt to overcome his trauma.  A group of college aged girls arrive to spend the weekend at the cabin next door.  Preston just happens to see a large beast drag one of the girls away in the night but he isn't accustomed enough to his condition in order to warn the other girls and no one else will believe him.  Can he save himself and the girls before this sasquatch claims them all?!

This movie has some star power in it.  Rex Linn, Lance Henriksen, Matt McCoy, Paul Gleason, scream queen Tiffany Shepis, and Herbert West himself, fucking Jeffrey Combs!  The film poster/cover was done by Drew Struzan who you might know from doing the Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter movie posters.  It's just an odd collection of who's who.

As for the Abominable as a film, I have an oddly specific way to describe it.  It made me think of being a teenager in the 90's and being stuck inside on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  This is the kind of movie that I would end up watching on the USA Network at like 2p during those kind of days.  It's a B-movie with a little bit of budget and clout.  The practical effects and the monster all look great and the acting is solid as a rock.  My only complaint is a small one and that's in the beginning when the farmer couple goes to check a noise they assume is coyotes there's a shot of the wife shining a flashlight in the tree tops.  What fucking flying coyotes are you looking for?!

EXTRAS:

This release has a great set of extras.  We have the "making of" I mentioned above, some deleted scenes, and a short blooper reel.  There are also two short films added on.  The first being a student film Chris did entitled Shadows which, let's be honest is capital "S" Student film.

The other short though is what makes all of these already great extras even better.  The second is an adaptation of a comic book I never heard before named The Adventures of Basil and Moebius.  What starts off seeming as a heist at a private high-roller apartment casino turns supernatural as fuck quick.  With Ray Park (Darth Maul) as one of the leads, Malcolm McDowell in a crime boss roll, Kane Hodder playing a goon and a monster, and a monkey fighting with a straight razor, you're in for a good time!

If you like cheesy monster movies then this set is a must.  Amazon currently has this set around $20 so if you click on the link there then you can pick it up and also help out the site because we are part of Amazon Associates and any money from that goes into paying our domain name fees and energy drinks.

Thanks again to MVD for sending us this disc for review.  If you have a horror film or book release that you would like us to review, or you just want to say "hi," you can reach us at 30daysofplight@gmail.com.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Welcome to Willits (2016) 1h 24m


Meth, not even twice!
I think I can sum up my entire intro and general thoughts on this film with a single picture.  I'm very much a "do what you want" type of person, so long as you aren't hurting yourself or someone else, but there are many moments during this film where I wanted to just kind of reach over and say "maybe you've had enough."  Either way, that image to the right sums up everything:

Set in Northern California, a group of youths are heading out on a camping trip in the area of Willits.  They acquire a burnt out Rory Culkin from a gas station and find themselves set up not far from a cabin with a grow operation.  Unluckily for them, it also contains two people that have such chemical filled brains that one believes he was abducted by aliens and he assumes almost anyone he sees is one of them returning for him.

Once you realize the true horror here is chemical dependency and abuse this film isn't really that great.  I was on board when the party added Mr. Culkin, and even the over the top cop TV show (starring Dolph Lundgren) they kept showing would break things up in a fun way, but I don't know if Welcome to Willits was trying to be funny or scary or what?

This feels like the kind of movie that someone in middle school would be into, only to reach adulthood and deny that they ever liked it.  This film is to that person as Coal Chamber is to me.  Only I'm in my 30's and you can't prove I ever owned any Coal Chamber merch or CDs as all of that evidence has been disposed of... I mean, if there ever was any evidence, which there never was!

I give Welcome to Willits 1 copy of My Sexy Alien Girlfriend out of 5:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ladronas de Almas (2015) 1h 28m


I know nothing about the war for Mexican independence, so I can only take this film as  documentarian fact!  With that in mind, here's my sum up of how Mexico won its independence:  Sisters that use ancient magick killed the Spanish with zombies of their own men.  They then used the treasure of gigantic coins that are the size of my head to establish a government and make a rad flag with an eagle giving no fucks as it sits on a cactus and devours a snake.  I someday dream we will have a flag that cool.  Way to lame it out, Betsy Ross!

I gave a bunch away there, but Ladronas de Almas takes place on a villa in Mexico.  A group of shady men claiming to be rebels roll up and ask for shelter when in truth they're looking for the lost treasure that was carried by missing Spanish soldiers.  When men start vanishing these "rebels" show their true colors only to have to fight off some pretty badass sisters and zombies of dead generals.

This film is a series of peaks and valleys for me.  The overall story was interesting enough to keep me present in the film, but there is an over abundance of time spent focusing on the faux rebels.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more about the sisters and their magick practice.  Maybe they were playing it safe so that when the intensity of the sisters is revealed it hits harder, in which case I have no room to complain because they come out swinging when the turn happens.

The zombies in this film are a good mix of the Haitian vodou zombie and the standard horror film zombie.  We have a creature that maintains some sense of identity and reasoning all while being a reanimated corpse.  You don't see a zombie throwing counters and blocks too often on celluloid so it was a good switch-up.  All in all, if you're tired of the zombie wave that crashed long ago, then this isn't for you.  If you want something a little bit different, and don't mind subtitles, give this a shot.

I give Ladronas de Almas 2.5 maps of Mexico out of 5: