Someone's in the house. He's watching. He's creeping round, only you can't see him. He's watching you from the walls. He's right behind you now. Looking over your shoulder. He wants the remote control. He's a bad boy. He wants to watch bad movies. Bad bad Ronald...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: Medium Raw: Night of the Wolf

Okay, so lessons learned from watching Medium Raw:

1.)  Don't take little 8 year old girls to an insane asylum.
Yes.  Seriously, someone really should have been told this simple rule.  Especially since the looney bin houses a known child-killer.  There's also the cannibal lady, the dirty old man who runs around naked, and let's not forget the 300lb freak who goes nuts when he sees red...  of course, you can see in the poster. the little girl is dressed in li'l red riding hood colors.

2.) Don't wear an armor wolf's outfit while going door to door looking for victims.
It makes it look like you've been watching too many medieval epics.  I men, how did this guy not ever get caught, stalking around suburban neighborhoods wearing a 10 tom body of armor, equipped with a steel trap mouthpiece and knuckle blades that would make Wolverine's look like picnic ware?  The thing must've made the houses shake when he walked!

3.) Don't title your film Medium Raw
It's a terrible title. Besides... it's already been taken...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Twisted Soska Sisters Are On Fire!

The Soska Sisters have been hard at work trying to get their film out there for you to see, and they've just made it easier.  Check your local listings kids!!

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: Frat House Massacre (2008)

An Unholy Mix of 70s Grindhouse and 80s Slasher Flicks
Where's the beef...cake?

Brothers Bobby (Rane Jameson) and Sean (Chris Prangley) have a falling out when Bobby decides to go out and party, rather than prepare for college. That night Bobby is in tragic car accident with a drunk driver, leaving him in a coma for several months. Sean has to return to college without his kid brother, who was to have joined his fraternity -- Delta Iota Epsilon (DIE... get it!!). It's probably a good thing, too, because the boys of DIE (who apparently have severe shirt allergies) have taken to the hobby of killing off their pledges... and not in some accidental hazing-gone-way-wrong way, but in all out brutal tortuous fashion. (I can only suspect that the fraternity's alumni have questions about the low numbers of neophytes). When Sean questions the frat leader Mark (Jon Fleming), he finds himself next in line for the next fatal paddling (of the shirtless, sweaty variety). The untimely death of his older brother triggers Bobby to snap out of his coma, and thusly join the fraternity. Like a 70s gothic suspense TV movie, Bobby has no idea why he's compelled to join the heinous brotherhood, but, as time goes by, he uncovers more and more of the frat house's secrets. Soon, the frat brothers, and their, um girlfriends, wind up being stalked and killed by a faceless creep.
Help! My agent is screwing me!!

Director Alex Pucci, along with his Camp Slaughter sidekick writer Draven Gonzalez, were looking to craft an exploitation flick worthy of those of the old grindhouse days.  Their intentions are very obvious on the screen -- loads of blood, boobies, booze, and bare bodied boys(?). They also set the story in the 70s, but for no other reason, at least that I could find, than for the sake of making the flick more genuinely grindhouse. Therein lies a major problem with Frat House Massacre.

I can't fault the boys' ambitions.  Exploitation films are the perfect choice for a small budget.  But what Pucci and Gonzalez produced was more a fanboy homage to grindhouse, rather than a genuine exploitator.  They worked very hard to try to get the look and feel of the 70s, complete with a breakout disco dance number (that comes off more like She's All That than a Saturday Night Fever ripoff), and cars, and the era emulating clothes. [Kudos to some of the genuine sounding disco songs they created]. With all their endeavors to make the film look the part, they lacked real direction for their story. Granted, they kept it simple... kid digs for the dirt on his brother's death, unseen killer seemingly does his bidding, bloody mayhem ensues. And that's a good thing.  Frat has all the ingredients, the problem is, they have the recipe all wrong.  Plot points appear, and then disappear -- like the supernatural element, introduced when Bobby awakes from his coma, right as his brother dies. And what other elements remain are paper thin.  The revenge killings, of the frat brothers and their girls, are clearly motivated, stemming from death of Sean and the pledges. But the original crimes, those of the pledges, are questionable.  Why'd they die, other than for simple thrills?   Hey, I know frat boys are sometimes rude, crude and lewd, and make merriment of the passed out girl or two, and they enjoy belittling their pledges.  But what's the motivation behind the mass killing of pledges?  And why doesn't anybody question the multiple deaths?  I get the whole trust fund bully thing, or the entitlement that comes with being the head frat guy.  But what's it all about? They're no hazing-gone-wrong scenarios, but highly premeditated murder.  But why? I have no idea, so I find myself caring less and less. 
Boyz rule.  Girlz drool.
Everything turns into puzzlement, which would seem key for a whodunit slasher.  Only the puzzlement isn't in red herrings or proper suspense, it's from lack of focus.  There's no point of view.  No psychological playfulness. Just blood and gritty posturing. Characters are just fodder to move the (very thin) plot along.  Worse is that the action is muddled and not very interesting (however, there is one kill scene which has to do with a butcher knife in someone's mouth that is pure gold!). For a few minutes, however, I was getting the vibe of some underlying psycho-sexual subplot.  As the film went along, the number of shirtless boys became more and more evident (either there was a heatwave that lasted the entire year that the story encompassed, or the wardrobe dept. severely miscounted the number of male cast members).  And then there was the first pledgling's murder.  The scene was simply ripe with homoerotic energy.  A young man stripped down to his Fruit o' the Looms, bound and gagged, surrounded by his frat brothers, all shirtless and gnashing and prowling.  At first I thought I was getting some not-so-subtle overtones of repressed sexual tensions, exploding in violence towards the male pledges, as well as in the terrible mistreatment of the sorority girlfriends (as well as with... well, every other female in the film).  But as the plot trotted along, nothing more seemed to develop in this phase.  In fact, the same scenarios -- shirtless angry boys preying upon bound and gagged, helpless underwear models -- ws repeated ad nauseam, with little variation, and to the point where I thought I might be watching a bad Victor Salva movie (a taught ology in itself).  I was beginning to feel that the filmmakers weren't using all the sweaty shirtlessness as a plot point, but rather for their own fetishistic pleasures.  This is all fine and good, as long as they're going somewhere with it. I mean, we are talking about exploitation here!!

The thing is... where is this film going? We've all seen a shitload of films with endless scenes of female nudity -- which makes 'em enjoyable in an eye candy way -- but we don't give two shits if'n there ain't nothing else going on.  It's the point of view, or the emotional weight and attachment (or detachment if you're Gasper Noe) that separates movies like I Spit on Your Grave or She Wolf of the SS from the other violent skin flicks that get cast off to Cinemax Latenight.  Exploitation is not just skin and violence... well, at least good exploitation isn't just sex and blood.  But that's what I ended up seeing with Frat House Massacre... lots of blood and flesh... but no meat.

I love the titles out of Synapse Films --one of my favorite distributors of good genre cinema -- but this one was a disappointment.

Friday, July 22, 2011

BAD RONALD's To Do List:: See The Last Circus

I really have GOT to see this movie!!

BAD RONALD WALL BUSTERS: Amer to be released on DVD and Blu ray

The highly spoken of homage to all things Giallo is finally coming your way.

The 2009 French horror-thriller Amer, an eroticized homage to 1970s Italiangiallo” horror films, is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on Oct. 4 from Olive Films.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: Women in Prison Triple Pack from Synapse

Chained Heat; Red Heat; and Jungle Warriors
Do I really need to right up a critique on this?  Something about the socio-political undertones of female sexuality in bondage to a male dominated society?  Something about the sudden wrath of female empowerment crashing forth in the heat of the macho environments of prison and jungles?

How about I entice you this way... Sylvia Kristel, Sybil Danning, Stella Stevens, and Linda Blair.  And for good measure, there's nudity, explosions, violence, and blood.  And don't forget nudity... after all, it's being released under the new label from Mr. Skin.
You had me at "grab your socks"
Synapse Films and Mr. Skin have joined forces to bring you three of the most popular titles in the 80s woman in chains tradition.

CHAINED HEAT – Linda Blair (The Exorcist) stars as a woman sentenced to federal prison after accidentally killing a man.  She has to deal with ean Wormer himself -- John Vernon, and two rival gangs fighting a race war.  Can she survive her remaining days in the sleazy slammer.  Also starring the sizzling Sybil Danning.  Chained Heathas been newly re-mastered in anamorphic widescreen and presented totally uncut for the first time in North America!

RED HEAT – Linda Blair returns, this time finding herself wrongly and sentenced to three years in a brutal East German penitentiary.  Tormented by the evil prisoner Sofia (Sylvia Kristel, Emmanuelle), she must fight for her life as her fiancĂ©e tries to rescue her from the sadistic hell behind bars.  Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen.

JUNGLE WARRIORS – A group of hot models travel to South America for a sizzling photo session.  When their plane is shot down, the models are imprisoned and subjected to horrible torture and rape by an evil drug lord.  The girls go al grrl power and grab some firepower and shoot and love their way to freedom!  Stars Sybil Danning and John Vernon.  Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen.

Hush hush, keep it down now... voices carry

 Hurry quick to Synapse Films to grab this tongue-wagger.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: Disingenuous -- the Movie (2011)

The Truth Will Set Them Free...

It's anyone's darkest nightmare... being taken away from our everyday comforts, and locked away for reasons unknown.  This is the plight of the everyman central character of Disingenuous, a short film by new comer Scott Fitzgerald and Fair Port Pictures.

A Plumber awakes in a dark, dank, desolate warehouse, chained to a wall and sitting alone at a solitary table.  He has no recollection of how he got there, and the silence of the vast darkness drives his mad.  From the shadows steps a silent cloaked figure, accompanying a bald-headed brute of a man.  The man speaks quietly -- and with a questionable German accent -- asking the plumber to confess his transgressions, as the plumber rapt in fear, tries to figure out just what the hell is going on. It's like the Marathon Man moment, when Olivier insists, quietly, that Hoffman answer the question: "Is it safe?"  To up the ante, another hostage is introduced -- the plumber's... podiatrist?  With more grilling from the brute, the two men unwillingly confess, to each other, their transgressions.  Some of these moment are decidedly light, laced with quotes from Rowen & Martin's Laugh-In and Airplane, but then, just when the satire is ripe, the retribution comes, with the blow of a hammer.
It's hammer time... sorry

First time filmmaker Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates nicely that he knows how to deliver a story.  He proves, also, that he has a sly sense of humor, tossing pop references in that sort of plop down, not really asking to be recognized so much as waiting to see if you'll pick up on them.  There are so many amateur filmmaking pitfalls that Fitzgerald dodges (virtually all of them, as far as I can tell), and his ability to let the satire play, instead of banging it into the viewers head, is one of his strengths.  He laces puns and pop references in without a wink.  It's because he recognizes that the gags aren't the key to the film -- there is a relevancy in them, for sure, but it's all a part of the whole.

With the subtle humor is the dark drama.  And that drama is played well by the cast Christopher Clark (podiatrist), Jesse Conklin (bald brute), Gary Sundown (cloaked guy), and Dave Conley (the plumber).  Fitzgerald (who also wrote and edited the film) does well keeping his cast focused, and true to the situation.

But the other big star of Disingenuous is the cinematography by Derrick Petrush.  How I have craved to see high contrast cinematography return to my genre films!!  As video begins to overshadow film more and more, it seems that the shadows in the movies have all but disappeared.  Noir simply, it seems, is a label for a genre, and no longer is it considered a filmic technique.  With high tech video cameras, cinematographers reveled in the ability to expose the darkest of the dark shadows, areas that film could not expose.  And so night scenes became almost as visible as any of the daylight scenes.  Good for technology!  But bad for the thrills and chills the storytellers were trying to convey.  Petrush brings back those necessary shadows, with pitch black contrasts, that this story uses to convey its secretive mood.  This isn't the clearly viewed skuzziness of a Saw film, where dark colored props and art effects are used.  No.  Real darkness prevails.  Shadows and dark corners present the necessary mood here.
You simply are not you ready for this

Disingenuous is high contrast suspenseful drama that skewers our daily fears and the personal paranoia we wouldn't even speak of in our diary.  The subtle humor and dark drama take the audience on a ride, one where we question every turn, wondering where the hell we're going... until the hammer comes down on a climax that will rip everything apart.  Disingenuous is genuine fun.... But, whatever you do, don't spill the beans...

Disingenuous is now making the rounds at various festivals.  Stick close to their FaceBook page to learn when and where you will be able to see it.

Watch the trailer:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BAD RONALD says Screw Netflix!


Netflix is at it again.  It's not so bad that they wanna raise their prices, but they're not just raising them -- they're screwing the customer!!

Remember that sweet plan that let you loan out one DVD at a time, while letting you watch as many movies from their streaming catalog as you could in a months time for a fair $9.99?  Say buh-bye to that!  Now they want you to pay a hike of 60% with their new plans -- $7.99 for just streaming, and then another $7.99 for just one DVD at a time.  Yup, that would be a mere 2 bucks less to get just one of the plans.  Together, they offer NO DISCOUNT -- $15.98 for the plan that used to cost $9.99.

And that's the not the worst part (well, it is really, but) -- have you taken a look at their streaming catalog?  For one, it pales in numbers, compatred to their DVD loan catalog.  So, the fact that both catalogs share the same price is hardly fair.  Second, go ahead and start watching that TV show you've always wanted to watch, via Netflix's streaming catalog.  Good show, huh?  Season One and Two were great, right?  Bet you can't wait to watch the other seasons, no?  Wait.... what?  They remaining seasons are only available via the DVD catalog?!  What dee fudge!!

Good enough reason to tell Netflix to go screw itself... speak out!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

PEEPHOLE REVIEW: The Reef (2010)

Pray That You Drown First!
The Aussies and New Zealanders have always been good for a thrill (The Long Weekend, The Last Wave, Wolf Creek, Dead Alive...), so picking up this latest open water chiller was a given.  And just as the Ausies like to do, the story is heavy on character, and slow on the boil.

The Reef snags you fairly well with some zolting thrills, and some great bloody kill shots.  However, as a whole, it doesn't keep the suspense up as well as it could.  The shark doesn't enter the picture until the final reel -- not that that's a problem.  The best of thriller/suspense flicks have held off the boogeyman until late in the game.  The suspense bobs about, at times, looking for something to react to.  The floaters have to retrieve this, or quarrel about that, but the ominous music that injects every small moment sorta kills the mood.  I mean, he's swimming after a wake board 30 feet away, for Pete's sake.  It's not that thrilling a moment!
With that said, the character interaction and the final bloody reel, The Reef does do well at upping your blood pressure a few points.  It doesn't sink, but sorta bobs around a bit, and gets fun when a wave comes by every so often.   Just try not to get queasy as you wait.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

BAD RONALD WALL BUSTERS: The Woman gets a distributor

repost of article for Variety, written by Dave McNary

Collective, BloodyDisgusting nab 'Woman'

AMC partnership brings Sundance horror pic to 15 markets

Pollyanna McIntosh in "The Woman"

The Collective and horror website have acquired North American rights to "The Woman," whose graphic content prompted walkouts at Sundance.

Horror pic will be distributed theatrically in at least 15 key markets through the Collective and Bloody Disgusting's partnership with AMC Theaters.

Lucky McKee directed "The Woman" from a screenplay he wrote with Jack Ketchum. It's produced by Andrew van den Houten and Robert Tonino for Moderncine.

Story centers on a successful country lawyer who captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, thereby putting the lives of his family in extreme jeopardy.

"We are excited to bring this groundbreaking and terrifying film to moviegoers everywhere," said Gary Binkow, a partner at the Collective. "It's a key part of our mission at the Collective to ensure that original, creative voices like Lucky and Jack's can achieve a national platform for their work, and we look forward to the intense conversation this film is sure to ignite."

Pic, starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers and Angela Bettis, has been rated R for strong bloody violence, torture, rape, disturbing behavior, graphic nudity and language.

The Collective and Bloody Disgusting launched their distribution partnership with AMC for horror and thriller titles earlier this year.The deal was negotiated by Binkow and The Collective's Director of Acquisitions, Roxanne Benjamin with Rob Rader of Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader. John Sloss of Cinetic Media and Jerry Dasti of Sloss Eckhouse LawCo represented the filmmakers.

Read the original Variety article, written by Dave McNary: