Good afternoon, horror fans. We’re a little late with this post due to a bit of real-life blood and horror (wisdom teeth surgery! the flu! madness!), but we’ve got lots of new releases to discuss this week! Let’s get to it. Nothing in the theater, but we do have plenty of On Demand and DVD titles.
On Demand Release, January 19th
Tetsuo III: The Bullet Man
Calm office worker Anthony, son of an American father and a Japanese mother, lives in Tokyo with his wife Yuriko and their little son Tom. Since Anthony’s mother died of cancer, his scientist father has been overly fearful for their health and rigidly subjects Anthony and Tom to monthly physicals. Walking home, Tom is killed in a hit and run before Anthony’s eyes. Losing their boy pushes Yuriko over the edge and triggers violent emotions in Anthony, whose body begins to transform. Little by little, his cells turn into iron. When the driver who killed Tom reappears and Anthony learns the truth about his father’s past experiments on human guinea pigs and about his mother’s death, Anthony mutates into a mass of metal – a human weapon fuelled by an uncontrollable rage.
In 1989, Shinya Tsukamoto shocked audiences with Tetsuo, the Iron Man. A frenetic assault of stark blacks and whites, scraping metal and the painful merging of flesh with machine.* His striking visuals, disturbing body horror and oppressive dread earned his place as an icon of subversive cinema. Although 1992’s Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, the cult film’s first sequel, was not as well-received as the original, The Bullet Man marks the director’s long-awaited return to this CyberPunk series. In English this time and in color like the previous sequel. AND featuring some music from Nine Inch Nails.
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man saw an On Demand release Wednesday from IFC Midnight. Although reviews indicate another sequel not on par with the original, Shinya Tsukamoto and Trent Reznor is a combination I just can’t ignore.
*Tetsuo gave me a big headache, but this man is a genius and one of my favorite directors. Note to self: Tsukamoto deserves his own article.
DVD Releases, January 18th
Paul Conroy is not ready to die. But when he wakes up six feet underground with no idea of who put him there or why, life for the truck driver and family man instantly becomes a hellish struggle for survival. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Poor reception, a rapidly draining battery, and a dwindling oxygen supply become his worst enemies in a tightly confined race against time; fighting panic, despair and delirium, Paul has only ninety minutes to be rescued before his worst nightmare comes true.
This tense thriller from Spanish director, Rodrigo Cortés, spends 90 claustrophobic minutes buried with Ryan Reynolds inside a wooden box. Voice talent is heard via phone calls, but Reynolds is the only actor on screen for the entire length of the film and we never leave the confined coffin setting. A difficult concept to pull off, but an impressive variety of angles, light sources and escalating dangers keep things interesting. Review coming soon.
Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series (1996)
On July 2, 1947, a spacecraft of unknown origin crashed in the New Mexico desert outside Roswell Army Air Base. Four bodies, known as the Grays, were recovered. From that moment on, everything you think to be true about American history has been influenced by that event. On February 17, 1962, another event occurred, related to the first, but one that has, until now, been kept completely suppressed. You are being trusted with that secret.
In 1996, television audiences were introduced to John Loengard (Eric Close) and Kimberly Sayers (Megan Ward), two heroic freedom fighters charged with the unearthly task of protecting humanity against an alien infestation known as the Hive while showing us, through their own experiences and actions, the truth behind our own recent past. Call it alternative history or call it the unthinkable truth. Either way, call it Dark Skies.
Although this looks like an X-Files rip-off to me, reviews say it was a fairly good paranormal conspiracy series. Unfortunately, none of the members of our crew have seen it and we can’t weigh in on the subject. We were too busy… uh… watching X-Files at the time.
Death Race 2
In the world’s most dangerous prison, a new game is born: Death Race. The rules of this adrenaline-fueled blood sport are simple, drive — or die. When repentant convict Carl Lucas (Luke Goss) discovers there’s a price on his head, his only hope is to survive a twisted race against an army of hardened criminals and tricked-out cars. Also starring Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames, Death Race 2 tells the explosive story of how the legendary race began. Strap yourself in for an insane thrill-ride!
This is a direct to DVD prequel to Death Race, Paul W.S. Anderson‘s remake of Death Race 2000, by Dutch director, Roel Reine (Lost Tribe). No Jason Statham this time. Instead, the lead role is played by Luke Goss, a man I admire for his work as villainous creatures in Guillermo del Toro films. (scary-faced Nomak in Blade II, Prince Nuada in Hellboy II). I’m not sure how I feel about him NOT covered in monster makeup, but I’ll give it a chance. By the way, EVERYONE is in this movie. Lauren Cohan (Vampire Diaries, Supernatural), Sean Bean (Black Death, LotR), Ving Rhames (Piranha 3D, Dawn of the Dead) and Danny Trejo (Machete, Predators) to name a few.
Nite Tales: The Series
Prepare yourself for a whole new “flavor” of horror! Filled with twists and turns and packed with some of today’s hottest stars, Nite Tales is a thrilling, new anthology series that puts an urban twist on terror – all presented by the ultimate master of “scaremonies,” Flavor Flav – the “Time Keeper.” Featuring: Essence Atkins, Gary Busey, Ray J, Rodney Perry, and Brigitte Nielsen.
I have no words for this. A horror anthology series by Deon Taylor (the poorly received Chain Letter, Dead Tone). Hosted by Flavor Flav. Make of that what you will.
Last, but not least… we have some Roger Corman reissues… All of these look super goofy. No additional comments are required.
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature:
Attack of the Crab Monsters / War of the Satellites / Not of This Earth
In Attack Of The Crab Monsters, a group of scientists become marooned on an island while investigating the disappearance of researchers who were looking into atomic activity in the Pacific. They quickly fall prey to giant, mutant crustaceans that have the ability to absorb the minds of their prey. Starring Russell Johnson (Gilligans Island), Richard Garland and Mel Welles (Little Shop Of Horrors).
In War Of The Satellites, an unknown force declares war against planet Earth when the United Nations disobeys warnings to cease and desist in its attempts at assembling the first satellite in the atmosphere. Starring Dick Miller (Bucket Of Blood), Richard Devon (Blood Of Dracula), Susan Cabot (The Wasp Woman) and a cameo by Roger Corman.
War of the Satellites on IMDB
An alien comes to Earth, masquerading as a human, to scout our planet for a new blood source in Not Of This Earth. He needs the blood of humans to take back to his planet of Davana for his dying race. Starring Paul Birch, Beverly Garland (It Conquered The World) and Jonathan Haze (Little Shop Of Horrors). These two films played as a double feature back when they were released theatrically and both films were penned by longtime Corman collaborator Charles B. Griffith, who wrote such classics as A Bucket Of Blood, Creature From The Haunted Sea and Death Race 2000.
Roger Corman’s Triple Feature on Amazon
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature:
Up from the Depths/ Demon of Paradise
In Up From The Depths, staff and vacationers at a first-class resort on the island of Maui are beginning to mysteriously disappear. A biologist believes that an underwater earthquake has caused a giant, and very hungry dormant prehistoric fish to be released from his slumber. Voraciously, the fish helps himself to a tourist buffet. Now it is open season for the local fishermen to find the creature and kill it! Starring Sam Bottoms (Apocalypse Now, The Outlaw Josey Wales).
Up from the Depths on IMDB
The hunters become the prey when illegal dynamite-fishing prematurely ends the hibernation of a mythological carnivorous lizard-man in Demon Of Paradise. The owner of the local resort, whose patrons have become the appetizers on this predators menu, and a herpetologist join forces with the sheriff to save the tourists from succumbing to the feasting of the beast. Starring Kathryn Witt (Cocaine Wars, Star 80) and directed by cult filmmaker Cirio H. Santiago (The Big Doll House, TNT Jackson).
Demon of Paradise on IMDB
Roger Corman’s Double Feature on Amazon
My Pick this Week?
It’s a bit difficult to make the call between Tetsuo: The Bullet Man and Buried. I’d have to go with Buried because it’s the one I’ve seen and can vouch for. If you’re not up for something so bleak or something as artsy and weird as Tetsuo, the Cormans could be a good laugh.