Peter Capaldi to Regenerate

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In news that is, for me, an epic bummer, the 2017 season of Doctor Who will be Peter Capaldi’s last! He says that he will be retiring his exploits in the TARDIS as of this years 2017 Christmas special.

I, for one, am disappointed by this news as I thought his take on the Doctor really re-connected to the older fans, but I guess if he is not a young man he is not accessible to young fans, nor can they feature the character as a potential love interest for the companions.

Next up, countless speculations about the Doctor’s sex and look before a young guy is cast.

What a damn shame.

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Welcome to Zombruary!

Welcome to… ZOMBRUARY!!
20 years ago, if you’d asked anyone, of the non-genre loving persuasion, to name a few horror monster archetypes, they probably would have thrown about names like Dracula, Frankenstein, werewolves, Freddy, Jason… those sorts of things… but these days, ask anyone to name just one, and most will cry out this label.

Zombies!

Yes, those, by definition, who were formerly controlled by voodoo, but in the current vernacular, the undead who rise from their graves to feast on the living have become our favourites, and we celebrate them with hit TV shows, fantastic comic books, occasionally goofy movies, toys, games and even citywide, community driven Zombie Walks.

We here at the To Watch Pile have decided to celebrate our nec-romance with the living impaired by changing the name of the month of purification, February, to the month of putrification, Zombruary, and by producing only zombie movie reviews for the next four weeks.

So please, stick around: pull up a gravestone, take a seat and enjoy, starting tomorrow, Zombruary!

The Mutilator aka Fall Break (1984)

One from the to watch pile…
The Mutilator aka Fall Break (1984)

The cover to Arrow Video’s The Mutilator


Film: 80s slashers are totally my jam. I mean, love zombie films, and I totally dig schlocky action crap, and adore a low-budget scifi drama, love a big budgeted superhero film, but give me a slasher over any of those, any day of the week.

Slashers are my bacon, my ice cream, my chocolate. They are sex mixed with candy.

You get the point: I’m a little keen on them.

Anyway, during the VHS era, I watched hundreds of slashers, that is I had my favourite films that I repeatedly watched over and over, but I always jumped on a new slasher whenever a new one came into the video store I worked in.

This however, was one that passed me by, and I don’t recall ever seeing anything about it anywhere. I baulked at it when Arrow first offered it up, but picked it up cheaply via a sales website as I figured ‘it’s cheap, what the Heck?’

The Mutilator: Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler) contemplates his beer.


The Mutilator tells of Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler) who as a child was cleaning his father’s Big Ed’s (Jack Chatham) guns as a birthday pressie for him, when one accidentally discharged and blew a whole in dear old mother.

Big Ed, a hunter and all round manly sportsman, never quite got over it, and many years later, when Ed Jr is about to go on fall break, he contacts his son and ska him to go and close up their holiday condo on a small island, but does he have ulterior motives to get his son on an abandoned holiday island? And what will happen to the bunch of friends who accompany him?

The Mutilator: hunt, kill, repeat.


This film is directed by Buddy Cooper and John Douglass, from a script by Cooper: both of whom were ‘one and done as far as directing is concerned. This might have something to do with just how terrible the performances of the actors are, but that might have more to do with their skill (or absence of) than Cooper’s as his actual cinematography is actually quite good. Some of the scenes are corny though, and I mean, the Madman jacuzzi scene corny, that may be more to do with the accompanying score for what are supposed to be cutesy lovey dovey parts of the film, and the title track is something you’ll come to loathe, but that’s more because it features heavily on the menu screen… looped.

There is also some absolute stupidity in the film too which I imagine was perceived as being ‘comedy’ but comes of as out-of-place here, especially when you consider just how nasty some of the violence is… and there is some lady-parts that are just horribly done-over!!

None of what I have said should necessarily be taken as a wholehearted negative though, as this film is kitschy enough to be enjoyable in one of those eye-rolling, forehead-slapping ways. 

Score: ***1/2

Arrow’s animated, and audibly annoying menu screen for The Mutilator


Format: This UK Arrow films bluray release of The Mutilator runs for approximately 86 minutes and has a nicely restored, though occasionally artefacty 1.78:1 image with an excellent Mono 1.0 audio track, apparently retired from ‘original vault materials’ in 2k.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Before the films starts you have an option to start the film with an introduction from Cooper and make up/ editor assistant Edmund Ferrell. 

Typically, Arrow offer alternate cover for the bluray, and a booklet with essays about the film by Ewan Cant and Tim Ferrante, which are both informative and enjoyable.

Fall Breakers is a feature lengthen documentary/ retrospective about the making of the film. If only every release had something like this.

Tunes for the Dunes sees composer Michael Mainard talk about the films score. It’s an interesting look at the creation of tension and other filmic emotions using music.

Behind the Scenes reel is about 15 minutes of stuff that happened on set.

Screen Tests is just that, some screen tests of the Stars of the film.

There are two audio commentaries on this disc. The first one is labeled as ‘Cast and Crew’ and is hosted by Ewan Cant from Arrow video, with Cooper, Douglass, Mitler and Ferrell, and it’s a nice and informative commentary, well led by Cant. The other commentary is hosted again by Cant, and with Cooper again, but this time with final girl, Ruth Martinez.

Opening scene storyboards is a pretty cool look at the pencil sketches done to work out how the beginning of the film was going to look. It’s done to the audio of the opening scene of the film to give it clarity.

Trailers and TV Spots is a series of promotional bits for the film, some as Fall Break and some as The Mutilator.

There is an alternate opening title sequence with the title card of the Mutilator on it.

The is an option called ‘music’ which allows you to hear the title track from the film, but you hear it over and over on the menu screen, so it’s doubtful if you make it all the way through. It’s performed as both the original and as an instrumental only.

Gallery is a stills gallery of behind the scenes shots, but the song that by now you absolutely hate is being played again. I’m not normally a fan of stills galleries but this has some pretty cool behind the scenes images.

Score: *****

WISIA: 80s? Slasher? Hell yeah!

The Mutilator: put your toys away!!!

R.I.P. John Hurt

This one really burns me.

It is with great regret that I report the passing of actor John Hurt, aged 77.

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Hurt was in many film that were favourites of mine, including Alien and the Elephant Man, not to mention the role of Olivander in the Harry Potter series.

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Most recently he played one of the Doctor’s non-Doctor incarnations in the TV series Doctor Who, my favourite TV show of all time.

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The To Watch Pile would like to pass on their condolences to his family. Cinema lost a great one today.

Nerds of Oz: Week Ending 27th January 2017

Week Ending 27th January 2017
4 comics and 2 blurays: it’s been a quiet week.

Comics


Comics were at home when I arrived Tuesday night! Stoked.

READ! Harley Quinn #12 from DC Comics. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by John Timms and Chad Hardin. It’s funny but as I had almost finally decided to dump this title, it’s gets interesting. The Joker wants to return to Harley’s life, but Red Tool (quite possibly the lamest creation in Harley’s history) has decided to meet the Joker instead and stick up for her. Harley, of course, is furious with him, but aims the majority of her anger right in the Joker’s lap… and face… and limbs…

READ! Justice League vs Suicide Squad #5 from DC Comics. Written by Joshua Williamson with art by Robson Rocha, the only way to describe this comic is crazy just got crazier. Max Lord! A possessed Justice League! Eclipse! Batman forms his own mini league with Harley Quinn, Lobo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost, Killer Croc and Deadshot… which is clearly now showing that a new JLA title is about to launch starring some of these characters… not sure if I’ll get used to Frost being a good guy though!

READ! Raven #4 from DC Comics. Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Diogenes Neves, this issue we see Raven trying to stop the big white thing from ‘eating’ the locals in her town but will Raven have to resort to using her father, Trigon’s, side of her genetic make up to fight it? If she does, that’s SO Raven!

READ! The Mighty Captain Marvel #1 from Marvel Comics. Written by Margaret Stohl with art by Ramon Rosanas. Wholly disappointed by this. Captain Marvel is funding Alpha Flight by allowing a Tv series called Cap’n Marvel to be made, all the while trying to save a Kree child from shapeshifting kidnappers. It’s as dumb as it sounds.

DVDs and Blurays 


Grabbed two blurays this week, Blair Witch, which is absolutely terrible, and House of 1000 Corpses, which I have on DVD but want to replace with a bluray version.

Red Billabong (2016) Review

Happy Australia Day, everyone! Have a great day, enjoy your celebrations, but beware of … the Red Billabong!! One from the to watch pile…
Red Billabong (2016)

Red Billabong DVD cover


Film: Wouldn’t it be great if the days of Ozploitation returned. As a teen I saw many of the films talked about in the amazing documentary Not Quite Hollywood, but I wasn’t actually aware of how it all came about until that very documentary, and since then I have used it as somewhat of a shopping list of Australian horror and exploitation. 

If I could get my hands on a copy of Lady, Stay Dead I’d be absolutely stoked!

The other thing that doco did was, though, was make me a little less critical of our own industry and really take notice of Australian genre films, and every few years, when a new one might come out, I’ll give it a go. 

This film was written and directed by Luke Sparke, who previous to this had only produced the doco/ biopic of Australian families during various world wars, Yesterday is History, which after watching this, I might actually seek out as I thoroughly enjoyed this film!

Red Billabong: Tim Pocock and Dan Ewing wonder if they are Home or Away.


Nick (Dan Ewing) Reuter said to the country on request of his brother Tristan (Tim Pocock) to make some decisions about the property bequeathed by their grandfather their (Col Elliot). Nick meets up with Tristan’s friends, a bunch of lowlife drug dealers led by BJ (played hilariously by Ben Chisholm) whose girlfriend Anya (Sophie Don) is Nick’s ex.

Unfortunately for them, something strange is happening on the farm, and an ancient creature of Aboriginal legend has risen, but is the creature the worst of their problems, or is a collection of family deceits about to blow up in their faces, and what does American property developer Mr Richards (Felix Williamson) really want with the farm?

OK, so some of the cast is taken from shows like Home and Away and A Place To Call Home, but don’t let that drive you away from an Australian horror film that is ABOUT Australia and it’s native peoples mythology. You know it’s an Australian film when it opens with Gang Gajang, and then proceeds to include The Angels, Darryl Braithwaite and others on the soundtrack… though it was weird to see a ‘proper’ cigarette packet instead of those awful, useless Olive Drab ones we have now.

The movie is shot really nicely too, and really shows of just how beautiful the Australian rural life can be, though the Billabong never actually gets ‘red’. The inclusion of Gregory J. Fryer as the Aboriginal elder who seems to know what’s going on is cool too: this doesn’t have a bunch of kids work out the local legends and fight the evil, instead a native local helps to combat it with knowledge, plus a spear, boomerang and didgeridoo!

The only issue with this film is the monster itself. I think it’s great to use the bunyip as the east, but the design of the monster is pretty crap, and then it is realised quite badly in some terrible CGI, and if I had been the director and seen how bad it was, I possibly wouldn’t have given it as much exposure as it gets, which is far too much.

Red Billabong: Jessica Green enjoys the Australian bush.


So do we have a new Ozploitation film? Maybe, as it shows off the country and legends, uses local talent, including an Australian putting on an American accent, has a little sex (no nudity though), some nice bikini bits and a whole bunch of strine that for me wasn’t a chore to listen too, but instead made for a bit of amusing self-depreciating humour. A decent Australian monster movie, steeped in Aboriginal mythology with an unfortunately badly designed and realised CGI monster. Roger Corman made a career of making good movies with crappy monsters so why not give this one a go!

Score:***1/2

Red Billabong DVD menu screen


Format: The reviewed copy of this film was the Australian DVD which runs for 108 minutes no os presented in a good 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image with an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Score: ****

Extras: Only trailers for Red Billabong (which shows far too much of the monster for my liking), The Trust and Good Kids.

Score: *

WISIA: Except for the dodgy CGI bunyip, this was pretty good, so yeah, I’ll watch it again.

Red Billabong: Felicia Williamson intimidates Sophie Don with his American accent.

The Evil Dead (1981) Review

Finally someone suggested for me to review a film they love! I am stoked that someone cared enough to take the time to do so. Here is one from the re re re re watch pile…
The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead bluray cover


Film: What can be said about The Evil Dead that hasn’t been said before? Nothing! So why bother reviewing it at all? By the very fact that you are reading this review means you must have already seen it, or intend on seeing it! Why haven’t you seen it though? Are you crazy? It’s horror movie royalty; not like the king or queen, but certainly the insane half-uncle who has been locked in the Tower of London for thirty years and fed nothing but the dead corpses of prostitutes!

I’m not even going to give you a synopsis of this film, I mean, you’ve all seen it! You all know it’s about a bunch of kids who go to an abandoned cabin in the woods, read from an evil old book which bring forth demons who possess the dead and the living and very soon they are all picked off in bloody and gory fashions! I’m not gonna tell you that, you KNOW it already! everyone does!

The Evil Dead: Bruce Campbell as Ash


My relationship with this film starts when I was a young teen, and in high school I had friends that were older than me… I was one of the stage/ acting/ theatre kids so my group was a bunch of people ranging from 13 or so to 16 or 17, we were a real mix of ages, with me being on the younger side, and I was getting invited to older kids parties and getting to make out with older girls. I got to see this pic at a friend’s house who wasn’t one of the theatre kids, but a friend of one of them, and we, about ten of us, had a sleepover at his place and ate pizza and watched horror films. 

One of those films was The Evil Dead and it did two things: scared the crap out of me, and made me a lifetime fan of the film, and not just this film: I love Evil Dead II and the remake! I can’t comment on the TV series yet as I’ve not had an opportunity to watch it…

… but let’s just say as far as Army of Darkness is concerned… we’ll, I’m not a fan.

The Evil Dead: the slow approach.


So this is the review. If you have seen it, I hope this review spurs you on to watch it agin, and if you haven’t, well everything you have done so far in your life is a waste, as you haven’t yet seen The Evil Dead.

Score: *****

The Evil Dead menu screen


Format: This Australian release bluray of The Evil Dead runs for about 85 minutes, and has a pretty good 1.85:1 picture with an really good DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track.

Score: ****

Extras: Heaps of awesome extras on this disc!

Commentary by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell which is a really complete commentary and highly informative.

Picture-in-picture: Join Us! the Undying Legacy of The Evil Dead is really cool. Other horror directors and producers like Society’s Brian Yuzna, Re-Animator’s Stuart Gordon, 30 Days of Night David Slade, The Blair Witch Project’s Dan Myrick… so many more, discuss why The Evil Dead is so damned important, but it’s done as a picture-in-picture deal with a mini pop up screen as they all talk.

One By One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of the Evil Dead looks at the genesis of the film, and where it went. Heaps of interviews with the stars and various crew members make for a cool 50 odd minute making of/ retrospective.

Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor is a B-roll of unused footage and goes for yet another hour.

At The Drive In is an Anchor Bay Q&A and DVD giveaway from a promo event for the film from a few years ago.

Discovering Evil Dead looks at the horrible events that Palace Pictures had to go through to get The Evil Dead released on VHS in the U.K. during the Video Nasty era.

Make-up Test is… a make-up test from the film, and a few effects shots tested as well.

Score: *****

WISIA: It’s The Evil Dead, everyone should watch it a couple of times a year.

The Evil Dead: screamin’!

Satanic (2016) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Satanic (2016)

Satanic: Australian bluray cover


Film: I have to say that when I first heard of Monster Pictures, they came out of the gate at full charge with The Human Centipede, and with that film, how couldn’t you have been? They received a lot of attention with it and it’s sequels, but for me there was a period where I was consistently disappointed with purchases I made with their symbol on the spine, even though I appreciated their lust for new, independent horror.

That changed this year though as they landed Rob Zombie’s film 31 (not Zombie’s greatest, but a nice grab for Monster Pictures!) and the brilliant All Through The House, a Christmas treat if there ever was one.

This film was written by Anthony Jaswinski, who also wrote The Shallows, which I quite liked, and was directed by Jeffrey Hunt, a director who seems to have worked mainly in TV, and who really has an eye for character development, though seems to have finishing issues.

Satanic: Sarah Hyland contemplates the Ouija.


Satanic tells of a foursome of college buddies, Chloe (Sarah Hyland), her boyfriend David (Steven Krueger), her friend Elise (Clara Mamet) and her boyfriend, Seth (Justin Chon) who decide to do a bit of tourism in LA on their way to Coachella…. but because Elise and Seth are goths, they want to visit all the serial killer and Satanic sites LA has to offer.

They visit a ‘proper’ goth/ satanic shop and receive a none-too-warm welcome, and in a feat of stupidity, decide to follow the owner who threatened them, home, but what they find is that he leads them to a place where there appears to be some kinds of sacrifice is about to be made, but when they interfere, there find that they have adopted a fifth to their group, Alice (Sophie Delah) who seems to be more than she appears….

Satanic: goth dudes are gothy


Straight up I have to say how much I enjoyed watching Sarah Hyland in this movie. She is such an atypical beauty with a cherubic face, and big innocent eyes, and not a bad actress either. She very warm, and scared, in this film. Actually to be fair, three of the four leads play their parts well and are very real with except for Justin Chon, who plays the same drug addled, hard-drinking fratboy that he always seems to play, although to be fair, in this he’s a GOTH drug-addled, hard-drinking fratboy, so that must have been quite the reach for him.

The film is quite a slow burn, which I don’t mind: I’m a big fan of a deliberately paced story, but this film takes a full 50 minutes to kick off, and then winds up super-quick: the reason I mentioned Hunt’s TV career is that the last act seems to nothing but quick wrap-up; like they want to get it over with quickly, which is a shame.

That’s not to say it is a bad ending, it just feels like they ran out of money, or time and just needed everything done quickly. In actual fact, if the final act had have been paced like the rest of it, the film would have been great, rather than just an interesting time-waster. It’s presentation of Hell is an interesting concept, almost as obtuse as Prince of Darkness’ ‘evil as a liquid’ (well, that may be oversimplifying it), so there is a plus.

I think this is another good one from Monster, though I just wish that final act didn’t feel so hurried.

Score: ***

Satanic: Australian Bluray menu screen


Format: The film is presented in 16×9 widescreen and has Dolby DTS Master Audio 5.1 audio. This Australian release bluray runs for approximately 85 minutes has has both an excellent sound and picture.

Score: *****

Extras: The disc opens with trailers for I Am Not A Serial Killer and The Hallows, and the only other extra is a trailer for Satanic.

Score: *

WISIA: Possibly, but it won’t be for the story, rather for the performances that Hunt milled from his stars.

Satanic: Satan loves vomit.