Monday, 17 March 2014

88 Films DVD Review: The Corpse Grinders (dir: Ted V. Mikels, 1971)

"They Went in People and Came Out Hamburger!"

It is I once again! Got some more devilishly delightful treats from the good folks over at 88 Films. This time however, it's not cheesy Full Moon fare but the schlocky goodness of the maestro himself, Ted V. Mikels. I have to confess and potentially put my Psychotronic Film Club membership card on the line here and say, I had never seen a Ted V. Mikels production until the films I am about to review in these next posts. I know, I know, shame on me. As much as I love exploitation cinema, films like this from filmmakers like H. G. Lewis and Mikels from the late 60's to early 70's just don't appeal to me. They can be too campy even for me but hey, some people don't like biker movies and some people don't like comic book adaptations... Each to their own. I was very apprehensive about Corpse Grinders based off the trailer and various clips of other Mikels productions but... as a lover of cinema, you have to be open minded! 

"Human bodies are fed into a bone crunching meat grinder, mashed into a bloody pulp, poured into cans and shipped out to market as Lotus Cat Food. Unsuspecting pet owners are being attacked and killed by felines driven into blood lust by their newly acquired taste for human flesh. The corpse-grinding cat food moguls have been running low on dead bodies and are on the lookout for fresh meat. Enter Angie, a nubile young nurse whose cat is acting up after eating out of Lotus cans. Angie comes to the factory looking for answers and is abruptly taken to the blood-soaked conveyor belt that feeds the insatiable grinder."

Overall, I enjoyed Corpse Grinders. It was a fun little schlock-tastic (if that wasn't a word already, it is now!) horror comedy. Sure both the horror and the comedy were lacking but I did chuckle and the meat grinding scenes actually worked sometimes. The whole concept of cats going bat shit (or should that be cat shit?) insane amuses me no end. I love cats, so seeing them kick some human ass was quite satisfying. I want to wrestle with cats... NOW! It's a really simple concept with some neat touches and you can tell that it was a fun, laid back shoot to be involved with. The acting wasn't great even by B-movie standards but there's a lot worse out there and it just adds to the all round charm. Needless to say, my first experience with Ted was a fun one. The 75 minute run time was just right and I am so glad they didn't try and pad it out to 90 minutes (hate indie directors doing that nowadays). It's a fine example of a drive-in movie.

88 Films have done a stellar job with this release. The print of the film itself is murky and fuzzy in places but to neaten a film like this too much would just completely take away from it. The sound levels are a little bit to be desired but this was a low budget production from 1971 so it would be harsh to harp on about it. Special features include one of the calmest and laid back director's commentaries I have ever heard which was nice, it was like your granddad talking about his film making days. You also get a small interview with Ted talking about the film and of course the usual trailers. I did genuinely love the menu artwork on the disc, very nice presentation all round, you also get reversible artwork which always makes me smile. Overall, if you are a fan of schlock, then you can do much worse than this release!

You can check out the 88 Films page for the film here, the IMDB page here and of course purchase the film itself from Amazon UK.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

88 Films DVD Reviews: Bad Channels (1993) & Arcade (1992)

Received more titles from the good folks over at 88 Films sent me over a batch of some of their March releases included the two titles I am reviewing now. I have decided to include them in one review because they are both Full Moon goodness (well, depends what you personally think of THAT type of cinema I guess). Both films are from the early 90's so expect a lot of 80's hangover in terms of style and a certain person's fantastic hair (more later). Anyways, this is a very tedious introduction that isn't tad or bodacious at all.

Bad Channels
"Killer Music! Alien Airwaves!"

At this point, I would copy and paste 88 Film's synopsis but at the time of the review, they have the Arcade write up there so I'm going to have to summarise this one myself.... What do you mean I'm a lazy bum of a human!? Basically the story revolves around our main character a shock-jock by the name of Dan O'Dare. Whilst doing his show one night, his radio station is invaded by a couple of outrageously campy aliens and yeah, it's your typical "can the crazy hero guy save the day" sort of thing and.... To be honest, this was not my thing at all, so ignore me if it sounds like I'm a film snob (at least I'm not like Cinemaphile who gave this is a 0/4 and bitched).

Is it by any means a generally bad movie? Yes! It's cheesy fun that just lacked... the fun part but I will say that if you do like your overly camp cheesefests, then I think the majority of you will enjoy it. I loved the alien costume and the special effects, that side I found very charming and I really enjoyed the musical sequences. The film's score was actually written by Blue Oyster Cult. If you want to shut your brain off for 90 minutes then give this one a go. It's not one of Full Moon's greatest films but I can see some people really digging it.

Once again, props to 88 Films for giving this a release. I'm not too sure what other discs are available so I can't really comment but you do get the typical special features with this including a making of and trailers. The transfer is good and the artwork is really nice so if you haven't seen this or you are a fan of Full Moon I would suggest picking it up. The disc will be released on the 17th March and at £7, go for it.

Check out the WikipediaIMDB and the 88 Films page for more information. Pre order and buying link is here, obviously...

"The game wants to play with you."

"All the kids in town are dying to play the hot new video game ARCADE. Trouble is once you play the game you can kiss reality good-bye. Arcade has seven levels of excitement, adventure and terror for its players. The game transports you to another world with its stunning graphics, thrilling sound effects, and virtual reality simulation. It is the ultimate experience in a video game.  But excitement like this doesn’t come cheaply - when you battle with ARCADE you’re putting your life on the line.  The kids have accepted the challenge and are absorbed into the game. Only Alex (Megan Ward) realises that their mysterious disappearances are linked to ARCADE. She must battle the game, alone.  Too bad she’s never been very good at games…"

Things pick up a tad with this title. For it's time, this shit was cutting edge and now it's something the Gravity snobs would laugh at. Yes, I am talking about Seth Green's hair. The computer stuff is pretty nifty too by the way. I could imagine this film resonating with bible thumping church goers who genuinely think that video games are turning our children in to mindless thugs. I enjoyed this one, the story was straight forward, the characters were fun and the computer generated worlds and sequences in general were awesome. There were actually some genuinely dark moments in there too which I won't spoil because this is the film out of the two I would urge you guys to check out... Yes, even just for Seth's fantastic do!

I'm glad I got to watch this flick, don't let the dull two or so minute credit sequence put you off because just it gets better. Features are essentially the same as Arcade and similar Full Moon titles by 88 Films. The making of did give me a chuckle when they were talking about how there are points were the audience won't be able to tell what's computer generated or not... Sorry bud, my eyes aren't that bad yet. 

Check out the WikipediaIMDB and the 88 Films pages and of course pre-order/ buy here.