Recent Reviews

The New York Ripper (2019 4K Remaster) (Blu-ray)
In 1972, Lucio Fulci implored you not to torture Donald Duck. Nearly a decade later, Donald Duck is hellbent on torturing you.

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Jack the Ripper had infamously preyed on prostitutes in London a century earlier, and New York's Ripper shares that taste for women who trade their bodies. A model. A prostitute (Daniela Doria; City of the Living Dead). A performer in a stage sex show (Zora Kerova; Cannibal Ferox). A bored, privileged housewife drawn towards the sadomasochistic (Zombie Holocaust's Alexandra Delli Colli). The Ripper isn't content to kill. He mutilates these women...carves them apart. Investigators gradually piece clues together, from the bastard's missing fingers to his penchant for sqwawking like Donald Duck in the throes of his bloodlust. The Ripper is insane, yes, but deviously brilliant – always several steps ahead of the police, who are tortured by the knowledge that the only way to inch closer to his identity is to wait for him to kill again.

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Even for seasoned gorehounds, The New York Ripper is so vicious and visceral as to be grueling to watch. So many slashers in these early years were content to settle for a single swipe of a machete or an arrow to the chest. By contrast, the murders here are prolonged agony; the Ripper revels in his depravity, ekeing the most of every excruciating moment. Several of his victims are slowly sliced down the middle. Another is dismembered; all we see of her is a severed hand, discovered by a dog playing fetch by the water. A nipple and eyeball are cleaved in two. Another is all but disembowled with a broken wine bottle. This madman doesn't earn the nickname of The Ripper merely because of his body count; it's because he is literally ripping these women...[read the entire Blu-ray review of The New York Ripper (2019 4K Remaster)]

Double Face (Blu-ray)
The honeymoon is over. Helen (Margaret Lee) doesn't find it worth the bother to mask her sapphic passions for Liz (Annabella Incontrera), much as her husband John (Klaus Kinski) can't seem to keep his hands off his secretary. Though neither of them have the least bit interest in fidelity, Helen doesn't bear John any ill will. Helen has, as point of fact, just told John that she's named him the sole heir to her family company and untold millions of dollars. Perhaps it's no coincidence that, shortly after this revelation, Helen's car is found engulfed in flames – its driver burnt beyond recognition.

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It's deemed an accident, though the press and police alike find it unsettling that John would spend the weeks following his wife's untimely death jetsetting across Europe. His icy demeanor and the explanation that follows do little to convince others that John is, in his own way, grieving. He's not quite the opportunist many assume him to be, however. Even when John discovers nubile eighteen year old Christine (Christiane Krüger) – fully nude, of course – squatting in his palatial home, he doesn't want a damned thing to do with her. She leads John down a psychedelic rabbit hole, culminating in the screening of a lesbian stag film. One of its stars never shows her face, but she wears Helen's distinctive ring and has a scar on her neck also precisely matching that of John's late wife. The film was shot just a few days ago, long after the accident. Could Helen somehow have emerged alive from that flaming wreck? Is John, as the authorities increasingly suspect, to blame for that catastrophe? Is some sort of reckoning at hand?

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Double Face is invariably described as a combination of krimi and giallo – one genre in decline, the other...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Double Face]

Scared Stiff (Blu-ray)
The math checks out. First, he's scared:

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...then he's a stiff:

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What's worse than a whole bunch of pigeons in the attic? The corpses left behind there by a cruel, viciously hateful slaveowner (David Ramsey...err, but not that one) – the guy's wife and young child, even. Back in the day, the thirst for vengeance against this racist bastard was so intense that it spanned an ocean, with his slaves and their loved ones back in the Côte d'Ivoire uniting to curse George Masterson with some intercontinental hoodoo.

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Flash forward to 1987, as Doc David (Andrew Stevens) has just closed on a decaying colonial plantation. The psychologist is hoping for a fresh start with his embattled rock star-slash-former patient girlfriend Kate (Mary Page Keller) and her seemingly autistic son Jason (Josh Segal), but I just said all that stuff about slaves and curses and all, so...y'know, it doesn't go well. Isn't their realtor required to disclose that sort of thing?!

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If you're aching for an unnervingly terrifying ghost story, Scared Stiff isn't terribly likely to scratch that itch. Still, despite the film being somewhat of a slow burn for much of its runtime, the gravity of tragedies past coupled with an onslaught of off-kilter, deliriously over-the-top performances prove so fascinating that I was entranced throughout. Rather than rehash a bunch of standard issue jump scares, Scared Stiff prefers instead to craft a strange, eerie atmosphere. It plays off the dynamic between a troubled couple – between psychologist and patient. Though Kate's anguish is real, there's every reason for David to mistake her perceptions as just another breakdown. The torment that Scared...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Scared Stiff]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 6/23: Pet Sematary (1989) (Uhd)
  • 6/21: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Uhd)
  • 6/20: The New York Ripper (4K Remaster) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 6/20: The New York Ripper (4K Remaster) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/19: Mary, Queen of Scots (Uhd)
  • 6/19: Double Face (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 6/18: Double Face (Blu-ray)
  • 6/17: Ghostbusters II (Uhd)
  • 6/16: Ghostbusters (Uhd)
  • 6/16: Popcorn (Blu-ray)
  • 6/15: Captain Marvel (Best Buy Steelbook) (Uhd)
  • 6/14: Creepshow (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/11: Scared Stiff (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 6/11: Scared Stiff (Blu-ray)
  • 6/7: Trapped Alive (Blu-ray; Commentary)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 6/22: Robowar (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/18: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Uhd)
  • 6/13: House on Haunted Hill (1999) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/13: Mary, Queen of Scots (Uhd)
  • 6/13: Pet Sematary (1989) (Uhd)
  • 6/13: Annihilation (Uhd)
  • 6/13: The New York Ripper (4K Remaster) (Blu-ray)
  • 6/13: Double Face (Blu-ray)
  • 6/11: Ghostbusters/Ghostbusters II 35th Anniversary Steelbook (Uhd)
  • 6/4: Venture Bros.: The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray)
  • 6/3: LEGO Movie 2, The: The Second Part (Uhd)
  • 6/3: Bad Times at the El Royale (Uhd)
  • 6/2: Ex Machina (Uhd)
  • 6/2: Hacksaw Ridge (Uhd)
  • 6/2: Supergirl: S3 (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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