Blu-ray Review: The Serpent & The Rainbow (1988)

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The Serpent & The Rainbow BR CoverDistributor: Fabulous Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Wes Craven

Starring: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield, Michael Gough, Dey Young

Possibly the most underrated movie of Wes Craven’s career, The Serpent & The Rainbow originally sneaked out in 1988 and was sandwiched between the woeful Deadly Friend and the unintentionally hilarious slasher franchise wannabe Shocker in the director’s output. After the massive success of A Nightmare on Elm Street Craven found himself in something of a commercial slump, and although The Serpent & The Rainbow made more than twice its budget back Continue reading

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Blu-ray Review: The ‘Burbs (1989)

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The 'Burbs BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 12

Director: Joe Dante

Starring: Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman, Bruce Dern, Wendy Schaal, Rick Ducommun, Henry Gibson, Courtney Gains, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller, Robert Picardo

Playing on the themes of suburban paranoia that seemed to permeate a lot of dark comedy films that emerged in the late ’80s/early ’90s, The ‘Burbs sees ‘normal’ suburbanite Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump/Big) and his fellow neighbours Art Weingartner (Rick Ducommun – Groundhog Day), Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman – The Lost Boys) and the military-obsessed Lieutenant Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern – Django Unchained) wondering about the mysterious new arrivals in their street, the Klopeks. Never seen Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Runaway Train (1985)

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Runaway Train BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Andrei Konchalovsky

Starring: Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay, Danny Trejo, Edward Bunker, T.K. Carter, John P. Ryan, Kyle T. Heffner, Kenneth McMillan

Despite being made in the mid-1980s Runaway Train has the feel of a ’70s action film, the kind where the lead characters were real men on real adventures and the testosterone levels went through the roof, the sort of tough movies that Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson made their reputations with.

Runaway Train stars Jon Voight (Deliverance/Heat) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight/The Expendables) as Oscar ‘Manny’ Manheim and Buck McGeehy respectively, prisoners at Stonehaven Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Dressed To Kill (1980)

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Dressed To Kill BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, Ken Baker, Susanna Clemm

Brian De Palma is a director who often gets criticised for using several of Alfred Hitchcock’s tricks in his films, and to his credit he acknowledges Hitchcock’s influence and freely admits using Hitchcock’s “film language” – as he puts it – to make his movies. Probably more than any of his other films, Dressed To Kill is so reminiscent of the legendary director’s ‘language’ – particularly Psycho – that it only needs Anthony Perkins to show up and Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Sisters (1972)

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Sisters BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, William Finley, Lisle Wilson

In Sisters (or Blood Sisters, to give it its original title) director Brian De Palma’s Hitchcock-inspired book of tricks is working at full pelt as he weaves a story about wannabe actress/model Danielle Breton (Margot Kidder – The Amityville Horror/Black Christmas), who goes back to her apartment after a date with her game show co-star Phillip (Lisle Wilson – The Incredible Melting Man). The following morning Phillip overhears Danielle arguing with her twin sister Dominique and, after Danielle persuades him to stay, he goes off to buy a birthday cake for the twins. However, upon his return he is viciously stabbed by a demented Dominique in a brutal attack that is witnessed through the window by Continue reading