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Showing posts from March, 2011

Wine of the Month

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"Drink wine!

You will achieve eternal life,
Wine is the only drink that
Will return to you your youth.

Divine season of wine and
Roses, of good friends!

Enjoy the fleeting moment
That is your life!"


Omar Khayyam 1073 – 1125

Okay, Omar. I don’t need to be told twice!

With a brilliant cherry red centre, garnet and tawny rim and medium-to-high depth, Faustino VII - a deep red rioja - also boasts an intense and complex aroma full of spices, wood, vanilla and erm, leather. Yes. Leather. A powerful, knee-weakening and well finished palate develops into elegant meatiness, meaning this month’s wine of the month goes down well with stewed meats, sautéed seasonal vegetables and a moody Jaume Balagueró movie. Alternatively, try serving this with a Paul Naschy 'Hombre Lobo' flick. It won't disappoint. 

Arrow Video to Release Argento's Neo-Giallo Collection

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Much of Dario Argento’s film work post Opera has garnered a somewhat mixed response, with critics and fans branding it uneven at best, and odiously abhorrent at worst. A far cry from his bombastic and dazzling work during the late 70s and early 80s, Argento somehow failed to recapture the reverence and high regard he was once held in. What he did though was continue on his dark odyssey to forge ahead in his exploration of cutting edge film techniques, consistently violent imagery, nightmarish atmospherics and deranged stories involving maniacal killers and rhapsodic bloodletting. Argento can be accused of much, but resting on his laurels is something he’s never done.

Those lovely folks over at Cult Labs and Arrow Video have collected four of Argento’s latter day titles and packaged them together in the forthcoming The Neo-Giallo Collection, complete with original art by Rick Melton. If anything, they make an intriguing showcase of his more recent work and exemplify how the giallo ha…

Wake Wood

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2010
Dir. David Keating

In an attempt to cope with their grief after the death of their young daughter, a couple move from the city to a remote Irish village called Wake Wood. Their acceptance as members of the close-knit community leads them to the discovery of an ancient pagan ritual practiced by the people there in order to help ease the sudden loss of a loved one. The tradition, secretly preserved for many centuries, enables the grief-stricken to bring a deceased person back from the dead for a period of three days within one year of their passing. But the ritual is bound by strict rules and conditions, which, if broken, demand a terrible price be paid…

Wake Wood is the latest horror film from the legendary and recently revitalized Hammer Films. It is also this writer’s first taste of their latest output - having not yet seen The Resident or Let Me In, and not counting the lacklustre web series Beyond the Rave. It effortlessly evokes the spirit and eerily off-kilter tone of the s…

Primevil

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2010
Dir. Roel Reiné

AKA
The Lost Tribe
The Forgotten Ones
After Dusk They Come

When a group of friends onboard a yacht rescue a delirious man from the sea, they find more than they bargained for when he shipwrecks them on an uncharted island during the night. Exploring the jungle the next day, the group discovers a deserted military camp and an abandoned archaeological dig site. But no people. Hearing strange noises and movements in the trees, they soon realize that the island is actually inhabited by a tribe of primitive humanoid creatures, and that they have now become the prey...

Given its highly troubled production history, it is a wonder that Primevil has made it to DVD at all. When it was shot, it was originally titled The Tribe, and featured a plot revolving around a group of teens that are shipwrecked on an uncharted island and come face to face with a tribe of humanoid creatures who pick them off, one by one.
Due to some major problems during post-production, the cast were …

Altitude

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2010
Dir. Kaare Andrews

When five friends set off to see Coldplay in concert, rookie pilot Sara offers to fly them there in a rented plane. Shortly into the flight however a mechanical failure results in the plane heading into a steady, unstoppable climb, as a massive storm closes in. As fuel begins to run out and the plane climbs ever higher, emotional tensions within the confines of the small aircraft begin to rise.

But the problems onboard prove to be the least of the friends’ worries. Outside, hidden in the depths of the storm clouds, a mysterious and monstrous force is lurking. Its sole purpose is to destroy the plane and its passengers…

Altitude comes hot on the heels of various other ‘confinement thrillers’ - such as Wind Chill, Frozen and Buried – in which characters are menaced in a confined location and come under threat from each other as much as the ‘thing outside.’ Kudos to the filmmakers, they’ve actually attempted to create something genuinely different and fresh. Alt…

Freeway

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1996
Dir. Matthew Bright

When juvenile delinquent Vanessa witnesses her mother and stepfather being hauled off to jail on drugs and prostitution charges, the teenage tearaway goes on the run from a social worker who wants to put her into care. She sets off to seek sanctuary at her grandmother's house. Along the way however, she has a run in with a charming, but sadistic serial killer/paedophile who she discovers has been preying on vulnerable young women on the freeway…

Matthew Bright’s cult indie hit Freeway is a thoroughly twisted take on the tale of 'Little Red Riding Hood’; a tale that has consistently proved it is ripe for reinterpretation time and again. Much like the original tale not just being a story about a girl eaten by a wolf (it’s actually a rites of passage story about burgeoning sexuality and the threats that accompany blossoming womanhood), Bright’s take isn’t just the tale of a girl who has a sordid encounter with a serial killer – it actually unravels as a…

I Spit On Your Grave

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2010
Dir. Steven R. Monroe

A young writer is brutally gang-raped while staying at a secluded cabin. She is left for dead by her attackers, whom she systematically hunts down to extract unmerciful and gruesome revenge.

The remake of I Spit On Your Grave is a film of two distinct parts. The first unravels slowly, sweatily, as Jennifer (Sarah Butler) arrives at her rented lakeside cabin in the middle of nowhere and sets about preparing to write her second novel. The cabin is idyllic - though it is obvious just from looking at it, things will become more ominous when night falls - and Jennifer, like any good writer, has stocked up on the red stuff to get those creative juices flowing and help her settle in. No, the other red stuff. Events move slowly, purposefully and the slow-burning tension is ignited from the get-go, only to increase as the story unfolds. We follow Jennifer as she goes about her daily, mundane routines, oblivious to the fact that she is being watched and filmed by …

Damned by Dawn

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2009
Dir. Brett Anstey

Prompted by the arrival of a mysterious package from her terminally ill grandmother, Claire drags her reluctant new boyfriend off to meet her family at their remote country home where she hopes she will discover the motivations behind the unexpected gift. Things go well until Claire’s grandmother begins rambling on about a female spirit she is expecting to come in the night to escort her body into the afterlife.
That night, as a violent thunderstorm rocks the house, the family is awoken by a succession of piercing, otherworldly shrieks, which prove to be the cries of a banshee. As the terrifying sounds ring out, the dead are summoned to rise again, so beginning a waking nightmare for Claire and her family as the banshee and her army of the undead unleash their fury upon the living.

The figure of the banshee in traditional Irish folklore is a tragic, sorrowful one. She was said to appear wailing mournfully near the house of someone who was soon to die. Many cultu…

Sharktopus

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2010
Dir. Declan O’Brien

An eviiil, egotistical bio-geneticist, along with his sexy daughter, develops a hybrid half-shark/half-octopus for the US military. Code-named S11, the creature has been designed as the ultimate weapon in aquatic attack and defence. Natch. But when its control unit malfunctions during a test run, the S11 is accidentally unleashed and sets off in the direction of a popular tourist resort. Oh noes! Can our intrepid heroes - eviiil egotistical bio-geneticist’s sexy daughter and a buff ex-employee-turned slacker/mercenary - track down and capture the mutant killing machine before it snacks on a buffet of oiled-up, dressed-down holidaymakers?! Can they heck!

Half Shark. Half Octopus. All Killer.

With a title like Sharktopus, let’s face it, one really ought to know what to expect – or more to the point; what one is letting oneself in for. Playing out as a mainly enjoyable, good-natured, tongue-in-cheek monster romp, the film has already been garnering a sizable cul…