DVD Review: Dead End Drive-In (1986)

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Dead End Drive-In DVD CoverDistributor: ArrowDrome

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Starring: Ned Manning, Natalie McCurry, Peter Whitford, Wilbur Wilde, Dave Gibson, Nikki McWaters

If you’ve seen the documentary Not Quite Hollywood that came out a couple of years ago then you would have noticed some extensive coverage of Dead End Drive-In. Coming in at the tail-end of the original wave of what is now known as ‘Ozploitation’ – basically low budget Australian genre films released between the late 1960s until the mid ’80s – Dead End Drive-In was a commercial and critical flop back in 1986 but over the course of time the film has attracted something of a cult following – no doubt helped along by the likes of Quentin Tarantino singing its praises – which makes it a perfect addition to Arrow Video’s ArrowDrome label.

Set somewhere in the near future, where society has collapsed and crime has taken over, Dead End Drive-In follows Crabs (Ned Manning) and his girlfriend Carmen (Natalie Continue reading

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DVD Review: Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

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Insidious: Chapter 2 DVD CoverDistributor: eOne Films

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: James Wan

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Angus Sampson, Steve Coulter

2010’s Insidious proved to be something of a surprise hit, bringing in over $50 million in the US alone, which isn’t bad considering the budget for the film was $1.5 million. However, the film did receive criticism for setting up a chilling atmosphere in the first two acts before losing its way for the ludicrous final act; criticism that was justified as the filmmakers seemed to opt for crowd-pleasing box-ticking rather than going with what they had set up and sticking with it, but a sequel was inevitable so did anybody learn any lessons from the previous instalment or is it more of the same?

In this film, the Lambert family – Josh (Patrick Wilson), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) and their three Continue reading

DVD Review: Insidious (2010)

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Insidious DVD CoverDistributor: Momentum Pictures

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: James Wan

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey

When a film boasts that it is “from the people that brought you Paranormal Activity and Saw” it’s quite difficult to know what exactly you’re going to get. On the one hand it could be a dull, handheld camera movie that thinks it is better than it actually is or a torture porn gorefest with little substance. If either of those scenarios fills you with dread then don’t panic (too much) as Insidious is neither of those things.

The story revolves around Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson – The A-Team), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne – 28 Weeks Later) and their three young children. Their idyllic life is thrown into Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: The Fury (1978)

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The Fury BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Amy Irving, Rutanya Alda, William Finley, Charles Durning, Andrew Stevens, Daryl Hannah, Dennis Franz

When government agent Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas – Spartacus/Tough Guys) is double-crossed by his friend and colleague Ben Childress (John Cassavetes – Rosemary’s Baby) his son Robin (Andrew Stevens – Day of the Animals) is kidnapped in an effort to harness his psychic abilities for use in weapons research. Now desperately searching for his son, Peter is aided by Gillian (Amy Irving – Carrie), a young woman who also has telepathic and psychic abilities and is able to connect telepathically with Robin, although the sinister Childress will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

Sticking with the themes of telekinesis and other psychic skills that characterised his previous film Continue reading

DVD Review: Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012)

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Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever DVD CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Calum Waddell

Starring: Corey Feldman, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris, Emily Booth, James Moran, Norman J. WarrenTom Holland, Fred Olen Ray, Dave Parker, John Carl Buechler, Christopher Smith, Adam Green

As if you couldn’t guess by the title, Slice & Dice concentrates on the slasher film and is discussed by various actors, directors and crew members who have been involved in some of the biggest and most popular titles to have come from the genre. Running at a trim 75 minutes, the genre is discussed and dissected by such notable names as Mick Garris (Psycho IV: The Beginning), John Carl Buechler (Hatchet/Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Corey Feldman (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Adam Green (Hatchet/Hatchet II), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Tom Holland (Child’s Play), and the one thing that’s obvious is that all of the people involved have huge amounts of love and respect for what some people consider to be throwaway nonsense. Beginning with Hitchcock’s Psycho as a template – although there is an argument for Michael Continue reading