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.


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.