- Funko’s New Pop! Vinyl Figures Celebrate Guillermo del Toro and THE SHAPE OF WATER
- Blu-ray Review: EATEN ALIVE! (1980)
- Listen to the CORPSE CLUB Discuss Horror Movies at the Drive-In on a New Episode of Daily Dead’s Podcast
- Daily Dead Salutes Your Shorts: FEEDING TIME, KADENCE, and FUROCIOUS
- Fright Rags Reveals New GOOSEBUMPS T-Shirts and Glow-in-the-Dark Socks
- Watch Clips from Scream Factory’s THE STRANGERS Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
- Crypt of Curiosities: Shaw Brothers Do Tokusatsu
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 02:55 PM PST
With The Shape of Water nominated for 13 Oscars at the Academy Awards taking place this weekend, Funko chose the perfect time to unveil new Pop! vinyl figures for the latest movie from Guillermo del Toro, as well as one for the imaginative filmmaker himself.
Set to come out this summer alongside the Guillermo del Toro collectible, The Shape of Water Pop! vinyl figures include the Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) and Elisa (Sally Hawkins). Exclusively unveiled by EW, the new figures are now on Funko's website and can be viewed below. Will you be adding them to your collection?
Images from Funko:
The post Funko’s New Pop! Vinyl Figures Celebrate Guillermo del Toro and THE SHAPE OF WATER appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 01:10 PM PST
The Cannibal sub-genre usually divides the viewer in to one of two camps: horror fans who deem it "necessary" as part of their schooling to watch the gut munchers of the decade from the early '70s to early '80s, and those who completely stay clear after hearing stories of real life animal mutilation and on screen rape, not to mention an anatomical eye for grisly (and gristly) detail in that uniquely unsubtle, very Italian way. If you choose to wade through the jungle, there are simply no better guides than the denizens at Severin Films, who offer up a superb new disc of Umberto Lenzi's Eaten Alive! (1980). If you're new to this fascinating facet of horror, you might as well jump in here – there is no shallow end.
Lenzi kick started the craze with 1972's Man from Deep River, an unabashed "homage" to A Man Called Horse (1970), the Richard Harris starrer about a British lord who becomes a Sioux warrior after being captured. After various policers, gialli, and the like, Lenzi returned to the jungle ickiness with Eaten Alive! after passing on a semi-sequel to Deep River with two of its stars, Me Me Lai and Ivan Rassimov for 1977's Jungle Holocaust, which ended up being helmed by Ruggaro Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), keeping the tiki torch grue alive.
This was part of the on going tug of war (some would say animosity) between the two directors, each cannibalizing crew and cast and generally trying to one up each other in their works; Cannibal Holocaust would be released in February, Eaten Alive! in March, and on and on it went. In '81, Lenzi would make his "definite" statement in the Cannibal Sweepstakes with Cannibal Ferox, but after Deodato's masterpiece the previous year, it was seen as an afterthought, although gruesome and effective.
So, what of Eaten Alive! then? It certainly ticks all the boxes of the others; animal deaths, rape, and a bad case of the munchies are all present and accounted for. What it has that the others don't though, to its credit, is a sense of goofy adventure and spectacle that plays as Indiana Jones thrice removed from good taste or particular talent. The story is of course, quite simple: a woman (Janet Agren – Red Sonja) recruits a mercenary (Robert Kerman – Cannibal Holocaust) to find her sister (Paola Senatore – The Killer Reserved Nine Seats) who has joined a Jim Jones-like cult in the jungles of New Guinea, led by the magnetic Jonas (Rassimov). The only thing standing between our heroes and their mission are the hungry locals who surround the compound, eager to gobble up any interlopers in their neighborhood. Will they make it back to New York to hear more tribal exposition from special one-day hire guest star Mel Ferrer, or will they be high class food for the locals?
Look, nothing tops Cannibal Holocaust for social commentary and storytelling; it's genuinely chilling and repellent in equal measure. The rest lean much more on the repellent. If you tap your inner editor and fast forward through multiple scenes of animal death and rape (poor Me Me Lai doesn't deserve this), Eaten Alive! is the most enjoyable of them all, a spirited adventure tale with ludicrous action scenes and overripe dialogue that moves at an impressive clip. It's not good, per se, even divorced from the ugliness, but it is entertaining. It really comes down to how much despair the viewer is willing to endure to find that pleasure.
Making it all the more palatable and fascinating is Severin Films' uncensored disc with an HD scan of, I'm assuming, an original print; there are scratches and dirt, cigarette burns, and would you have it any other way? This is as clean as it should be while retaining a bit of grime for full effect. The colors really pop, especially when we get to Jonas' camp and his loopy band of candy-clothed followers. Severin always has the scholar in mind, and this disc does not disappoint: a new-ish interview with Lenzi, as well as production designer Antonello Geleng; archived interviews with Rassimov and Kerman, and a 2013 Q & A with Lenzi from the U.K.'s Festival of Fantastic Films. But the carnivorous crown goes to an amazing feature length doc entitled Me Me Lai Bites Back, a very sympathetic take on her many Cannibal films, why she left the business, and how she was prodded by her daughter to return to the spotlight for a bow in front of her many admirers. This is not only a detailed and warm look at her life, but doubles as a terrific history lesson on a corner of horror that many people are wary of peeking in on.
Perhaps there's a third camp for Cannibal films; horror lovers who not only find the sub-genre fascinating and repulsive, but also, in their purely horrific moments detached from the cynical and sleazy, find them to be pulpy fun. And perhaps that's where I reside. It's safe to say that Severin Films' Eaten Alive! has you covered no matter where you dwell.
Movie Score: 3/5, Disc Score: 4.5/5
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 10:18 AM PST
Since its premiere in 2015, Scott Drebit's Drive-In Dust Offs column on Daily Dead has celebrated forgotten cult horror movies and taken unique looks at beloved films in the genre. With 150 entries of the column now released, we thought it was the perfect time to shine the projector light on Scott's wonderful work on a new episode of Daily Dead's podcast!
In episode 41 of Daily Dead's podcast, co-hosts Heather Wixson, Scott Drebit, Derek Anderson, and Jonathan James celebrate Scott's Drive-In Dust Offs column for Daily Dead, discussing his ever-enlightening and always entertaining articles on cult horror movies from the 1950s to the 1980s, including Burnt Offerings, Night of the Comet, Planet of the Vampires, and many more frighteningly fun films. The ghoulish gang also talk about their favorite drive-in memories and select their dream double features that they would love to show on the silver screen. So, hop in your car (have a friend ride in the trunk if you need to sneak them in), grab something sweet (or salty) at the concession stand, attach the speakers accordingly on your windows, and sit back for a cinematic night under the stars on a new episode of the Corpse Club podcast.
As a special treat for Daily Dead readers, we have officially launched our Corpse Club website and memberships. Not only can you view past episodes, but you can also sign up to be an official Corpse Club member to enjoy a wide range of rewards, including a shirt and pin that are to die for, access to bonus content, and the ability to suggest an episode topic!
Missed out on our previous episodes? The cemetery gate is always open. Come in (if you dare) and listen now.
Our Episode 41 Online Player:
The post Listen to the CORPSE CLUB Discuss Horror Movies at the Drive-In on a New Episode of Daily Dead’s Podcast appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 09:05 AM PST
Back in January, one of the things Patrick Bromley and I discussed on our episode of Horrigins was that there were a lot of amazing short films out there, but it can be hard for fans to keep up with all of the content that gets released over time. With that in mind, this writer thought it would be fun to turn the spotlight onto the short format horrors on the internet once a month with our new column, Daily Dead Salutes Your Shorts.
For this first installment, we have a terror-filled trio of short films, including Feeding Time from Matt Mercer (which was an official selection of Screamfest 2016), Jacob Johnston's Kadence, and Furocious, by the directorial duo of Zachary Eglinton and Brandon Walz. So, sit back and enjoy some bite sized horror-fied treats, and be sure to check back next month for more great short films right here on Daily Dead!
Feeding Time (Directed by Matt Mercer): When a young woman fills in for her friend on a babysitting job, she begins to suspect things are not as they seem. She's right. Starring Graham Skipper, Stacy Snyder, and Najarra Townsend.
Kadence (Directed by Jacob Johnston): Kadence is an award-winning film that follows an emotionally fractured, homeschooled boy, Kadin (Max-Lloyd Jones, War for the Planet of the Apes) as he has a chance encounter with an enigmatic new neighbor, Marissa (Alyson Stoner, Step Up franchise, Camp Rock). Sensing an unspoken cry for help, she offers him a supernatural solution: a blessed doll that carries the power to kill or revive. Kadence also features Jaime Gallagher (Know Your Enemy, Trapped), Bailey Chase (24: Legacy, Longmire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Zane Holtz (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower).
FUROCIOUS (Directed by Zachary Eglinton and Brandon Walz): A delivery guy and his two stupid friends encounter a man in a bear costume. Starring Zachary Eglinton, Brandon Walz, Andrew Nathaniel Morris, and CB Mullen.
The post Daily Dead Salutes Your Shorts: FEEDING TIME, KADENCE, and FUROCIOUS appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 08:30 AM PST
If you have fond memories of spending long summer days reading about a cursed camera or an amusement park of monsters, then you'll be pleased to know that two of R.L. Stine's most beloved Goosebumps books—Say Cheese and Die! and One Day at HorrorLand—are the subjects of two new T-shirts from Fright Rags.
Priced at $27.00 apiece and released alongside new Goosebumps socks (priced at $12.00 a pair), the new Fright Rags shirts can be viewed below, and for more information, visit their official website.
The post Fright Rags Reveals New GOOSEBUMPS T-Shirts and Glow-in-the-Dark Socks appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 08:19 AM PST
"Because you were home." Those four words have a chilling meaning for those who have seen The Strangers. With a new Strangers film coming out on March 9th, Scream Factory is paying tribute to where it all started with a Collector's Edition Blu-ray of Bryan Bertino's chilling horror film, and we have a look at two high-def clips ahead of the Blu-ray's March 6th release.
The post Watch Clips from Scream Factory’s THE STRANGERS Collector’s Edition Blu-ray appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Mar 2018 08:02 AM PST
A few months ago, the Crypt of Curiosities dipped its first toe into the wild world of Shaw Brothers films. Perhaps one of the most prolific and accomplished studios in the history of exploitation cinema, Shaw Brothers put out hundreds of movies in their '70s heyday, encompassing everything from their signature kung fu and wuxia films to goopy horror to romantic melodramas. But with a filmography so wide and with so many to choose from, a couple in particular stand out: two odd, violent spins on Japanese superheroes, complete with rubbery suits and gratuitous violence. So of course, still riding the high from the Devilman OVAs, I decided it'd be proper to check out what Shaw Brothers had to offer. I was not prepared.
The first, and perhaps most notable of the two Shaw Brothers superhero films was The Super Inframan (1975), director Hua Shan's stab at capturing the magic of Japanese tokusatsu. Riffing off classic'70s Japanese media like Kamen Rider (1972), Ultraman (1966), and even Mazinger Z (1973), Super Inframan presents a world where Hong Kong is under siege by the wicked demoness Princess Dragonmon (Terry Lau Wai-Yue), a transforming dragon with an army of assorted goofy, rubber-suited monsters at her disposal. With monsters and demon-made disasters ravaging the country at every opportunity. Now, more than ever, Earth needs a hero.
Enter Inframan, the Man Beyond Bionics. At first, he was the humble Rayma (The Killer's Danny Lee Sau-Yin), a hardworking and heroic scientist/anti-monster crime fighter working in the high-tech Science Headquarters (Real creative naming, I know). But with earth going to hell in a hand basket, he volunteers to let the genius Professor (Wang Hsieh) experiment on him, turning Rayma into the part-man, part-machine superhero Inframan.
Inframan is not a complicated character. He is as good as good guys come. He doesn't struggle with what's right, he doesn't descend into villainy—hell, he takes on a Christ-like pose when being fused with the Professor's bionics. But that's not a flaw. Inframan is a simplistic hero, because Super Inframan is a simplistic story that's all in service of one goal: give action, and as much of it as possible.
Really, Super Inframan is basically just one big action scene of a film, with a structure that less resembles a traditional film narrative, and instead feels more akin to the myth of Hercules and his 12 trials. Princess Dragonmon sends some skeleton-faced goons and a special monster at Inframan, Inframan fights and inevitably clobbers them, and we rinse and repeat until it's time for the final showdown.
While a lesser film would take this episodic premise and make something formulaic or even dull, Super Inframan manages to stay fresh by making sure that every battle is its own eye-popping, high-flying martial arts showdown, with even fights against basic, interchangeable foot soldiers featuring slick choreography and steady camerawork that looks great while still displaying the performers' dance of costumed death. If that isn't enough, each scenario gets to show off its own weird monsters and abilities. Take, for example, a duel that comes around halfway through Inframan's shockingly breezy runtime. Inframan is locked in combat with a multi-armed, humanoid beetle, and is quickly gaining the upper hand. So, just to mix things up, the beetle grows into a Godzilla-sized beast, stomping around model cities and crushing people under his feet.
So, what does Inframan do? Why, he grows to skyscraper size himself, turning the film into a proper kaiju throwdown, if only for one scene. Inframan is constantly just getting new powers and pulling them out of nowhere to be used in fights once or twice and never touched again. While some might (reasonably) state that the amount of absurd deus ex machinas being used is way too high, I can't help but dig them—less time spent explaining Inframan's inconsistent powers means more time is spent showing them in action.
Falling right in line with Inframan's spirit of freewheeling fun is, well, just about every aspect of the production design. Beyond Inframan's decidedly Kamen Rider-esque costume and the silly rubbery monsters, there's an incredible amount of detail packed into every facet of Super Inframan's world. From the goofy lamps in the Science Headquarters to the massive kaiju boneyard that guards Dragonmon's lair, every little bit of Super Inframan feels deliberately campy and ridiculous, with the aforementioned lair's interior feeling like something out of a '60s Batman episode from hell. It's incredible.
Honestly, the entirety of Super Inframan is just incredible. It's one of those rare films that's genuinely constantly fun, a devilish treat that's packed with a number of mind-melting moments and battles that most long-running action franchises can't achieve. It's silly, sure, but when it comes to clever and fun action filmmaking, Super Inframan is as far from stupid as you can get.
But while Super Inframan was weird, it's always possible to get weirder. The last time we visited the Shaw Brothers filmography, we focused on a particular director, Ho Meng-Hua, the mad genius behind the overwhelmingly strange Black Magic duology. They were incredibly gross, weird films, so it only makes sense that when it'd come time for him to step behind the camera for the Shaw Brothers' other big superhero production, he'd make something just as ludicrous. Something like The Oily Maniac.
The Oily Maniac is the story of Sheng Yung (once again played by Danny Lee), a lawyer who lost the use of his legs to childhood polio. Unfortunately for Sheng, when he goes to visit his uncle Lin Ah Bah (Ku Feng) at his coconut oil grove, he finds corrupt loan sharks are shaking the man down, and Uncle Ah Bah is forced to kill one in self-defense. With the death penalty ahead of him and his daughter (Cheng Ping) being pressured into giving up the oil grove, Uncle Ah Bah turns to Sheng Yung for one last hope. An ancient spell is tattooed on the old man's back, and with it, Sheng Yung can transform from a mere human to the monstrous "Oily Maniac," a humanoid oil slick with enhanced strength, repaired legs, and most importantly, an urge to defend the innocent with his oily fists—if he doesn't become a villain first.
This relatively simple, albeit undeniably offbeat premise could easily make for a very straightforward, goopy horror/hero film in the vein of the later Darkman, or even something a bit darker, like the previously discussed Devilman OVAs. The Oily Maniac doesn't do that. It doesn't do that at all. Instead, it has a plot and series of tonal shifts that can only be described as baffling, with monster throwdowns juxtaposed with some of the seediest subject matter the film could think of, all played up for the maximum possible sleaze.
For example, mere moments after the first bits showing the Oily Maniac, the film decides to throw in its first of unfortunately many rape scenes, which is clearly meant to excite the audience more than actually disturb them. It is then immediately followed by The Oily Maniac—in all of his goofy, rubber-suit glory—beating the crap out of the rapists. This is a movie that—I kid you not—spends around one-eighth of its runtime in a courtroom dealing with a hearing in a rape trial. This sequence lasts longer than the film's final fight. It is handled with all the tact and subtlety one would expect.
The maniac himself doesn't do the tone any favors, either. Yung's character is taken 100% seriously for the entire film, with Danny Lee's characteristically strong performance selling every bit of his character's depressing journey from idealistic avenger to embittered, outright evil, oily monster. So, it's a bit weird that when we actually see the "horrific" oily maniac in action, he looks… kind of cute? Sure, he's an incredibly violent half-man, half-oil monstrosity, but the rubbery costume just cuts his fierceness down. The very silly transformation lapses and oil slick effects don't do him any favors, either.
Granted, I suppose how the monster looks basically means jack compared to what he does. Action sequences in The Oily Maniac are nothing short of delightful, with heavy wirework and just damn good choreography allowing the titular fighter to just obliterate everyone that comes in his path. While none of the fights are as zany or graceful as those in Super Inframan, they're still good old-fashioned Shaw Brothers fun, complete with slow-mo, snap zooms, and lots of sound stages being torn apart by flying bodies.
It's in this delightful mayhem that The Oily Maniac shines, just dropping any pretensions of it being a serious superhero drama and letting the rubbery fiend crack skulls. Basically every other scene is punctuated with a bloody dust-up of some sort, and the total tone-deafness of the plotting only adds to the madcap delirium. By the time the third act rolls around, there's been so many "out there" tonal shifts, violent fistfights, and shocking character progressions that the plotting of the movie feels genuinely unsafe, and soon I began to wonder what sleazy, gross monstrosity would be awaiting me behind every scene transition.
Much like Ho Meng-Hua's Black Magic films, I don't think I can really call The Oily Maniac "good," because it is very clearly not. It's actually kind of a mess on every thematic and narrative level I can think of, but it's an absurdly fun mess that left me confused, frustrated, and kind of shocked that a movie like this was even meant for any sort of audience. It's no Super Inframan—and really, few films are—but as far as a B-feature in what might be the craziest double feature '70s superheroism has to offer, it's a total success and one hell of a good midnight viewing.
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