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DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
In director/co-writer J.T. Seaton’s feature debut GEORGE: A
ZOMBIE INTERVENTION, friends and family gather to plan out and stage an
intervention for the eponymous undead fellow. His addiction: eating people. In
your typical Romero-esque zombie flick, the very notion of having such an
intervention would be absurd, since those living dead hardly qualify as
intelligent. But Seaton and writing partner Brad Hodson are clever guys, and
the film lurking on Vicious Circle/Breaking Glass Pictures’ DVD is far smarter
than the title would lead you to suspect.
Like the shadow of a decaying hand reaching out for me that
I cannot run away from, Lucio Fulci’s most infamous and undying classic about
the hungry dead, ZOMBIE, is once more before me on the autopsy table for a
thorough dissection. I suppose it is
appropriate that once every couple of years, this particular film seemingly
rises from the dead and forces me to take another in-depth look at it – yet
somehow I’m always left with the feeling that what I think has been my ultimate
review for the title in the latest technology du jour (from laserdisc to DVD
and now Blu-Ray) turns out to be, in fact, my penultimate review.
Japanese cinematic horror fables have a rich history of
sardonic worldviews, sexual and psychological overtones as well as feminist
undertones. ONIBABA (1964) and KURONEKO (1968), two films directed by Kaneto Shindô
(who, at 99 years old, is still writing and directing), fit very snugly into
this category. The former has been available on DVD from Criterion for a few
years now, while the latter makes its DVD and Blu-ray debut this week from the
same company. Wait, did I mention the feline vampires?
For horror fans, news of a quality release of any good
silent genre film should be cause for celebration, and there’s been much to
celebrate in the last few years, with reconstructed and remastered reissues of
NOSFERATU, FAUST, VAMPYR and METROPOLIS gracing retail inventories. Now the
Criterion Collection has added yet another silent supernatural treat in the
form of Victor Sjöström’s 1921 Swedish classic THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE.
Call him the maestro of the long-winded title, call him a
genre chameleon, call him overambitious—just don’t call him a hack. Sergio
Martino is a painter, not a butcher. And should you thumb through his portfolio
of filmic giallo canvases for evidence, you’ll find some works more rambling
and some more obscure, but none underline the essence of his sanguinary chic
like TORSO, which has made its U.S. Blu-ray debut via Blue Underground.
He has given us a malformed, severed
Siamese twin viciously mutilating the doctors who separated him from his
brother, and oral sex unwittingly performed upon a brain-sucking parasite, but
never let it be said that writer/director Frank Henenlotter doesn’t know when
to hold back. “I never wanted this to be a gore film,” he says at the start of
his commentary track on Synapse Films’ Blu-ray (coming November 8) of
FRANKENHOOKER, in which a young self-styled scientist (James Lorinz) rebuilds
his girlfriend (ravaged in a lawnmower accident) from parts of dead prostitutes
who have exploded after smoking “super-crack.”
I do love grindhouse, so when a new double feature came across my desk I was more than willing to give it my full frontal attention. Mere seconds in I realized this would not be like any grindhouse film I’d ever seen. There was a little bit more hugging then I remember from other films of the sub-genre, for starters. This was because the disc I slipped in was adult distributor Adam & Eve’s GRINDHOUSE XXX, an action packed double feature starring Teagan Presley and Alexis Ford.
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