Blu-ray Review: Severin New Release Bonanza!

May 16, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Hey cats n’ creeps, our dear fiends at Severin have got a beastly bounty of new and upcoming exploitation and horror monsterpieces that are going to make your (severed) heads spin…and I’m gonna slap my patented revoltin’ review magic upon each and every one of them!

First up we have a sleazy lil’ number called:

Emanuelle and Francoise (1975)

Francoise (Patrizia Gori) arrives home from her modeling sesh to find her abusive ass of a lover Carlo (the legendary Big George Eastman) chin deep in the crotch of another. This causes ol’ Franny to commit that hoary ol’ chestnut; train assisted suicide. Enter Emanuelle (Rosemarie Lindt), Francoise’s sister who anonymously saunters in to Carlo’s life and begins the ol’ seduction bag (along with drawing unflattering pictures of herself…as one does).

Soon she drugs that big ape and the fun really begins as she drags his ass into her torture room (hidden behind a moving wall in her apartment!!) where she chains him up and gives him the ultimate case of blue balls as she dances around and sexes up dudes and dudettes in equal measure as Carlo looks on horny and helpless (trust me, that is true torture for that lascivious Lothario)!

Man, as mentioned up yonder, thus is one sleazy lil’ exploitation cum revenge flick; brought to us by one of my favorite directors, Joe D’Amato (Beyond the Darkness and many more!) who also co-wrote the picture with another fav of your’s cruelly; Bruno Mattei (Rats: Night of Terror among others)!

Gori’s Francoise is such a trusting, innocent, and kind woman that all of the various abuses heaped upon her by Carlo just seem so insanely wrong (up to an including infidelity, letting others rape her to pay off his debts…you can’t help but feel like shit for her state in life (even while screaming for her to grow a pair and defend herself). This of course makes the torture heaped upon Carlo by Emanuelle all the more satisfying no matter how outlandish the comeuppance may be (besides the above frisky hijinks, our antagonist gets so horned up he starts to hallucinate like a mother fucker, imagining a dinner party that gets a smidge out of hand: read: cannibalism, naughtiness with a wine bottle and vague genital fondling…and who hasn’t been there; amirite?)

Speaking of Carlo; Eastman’s portrayal of this dude is downright amazing. Carlo is such an unmitigated douch nozzle of a prick you can’t help but be entertained by him while simultaneously hoping he gets his dick caught in a meat grinder. Not to be outdone, Lindt’s Emanuelle is as strong and (justifiably) devious as she is beautiful…and she plays the role to the hilt using her feminine wiles to really stick it to that vile bastard by letting others stick various and sundry things into her!

Also of note is the at times funky as balls score on this baby courtesy of Gianni Marchetti (performing as mother fuckin’ Joe Dynamo baby!) that manages to be as insanely raunchy as the goings-on that play across the sinful screen!

As for bonus features to accompany this madness we get interviews from Actors Maria Rosaria Riuzzi and Eastman, a handful of deleted scenes (added for the German release of the film…so you just know they are pornotastic), and the film’s German trailer.

If you are looking for a sex-packed revenge pic laden with some outrageous sequences that will doubtless give you a case of the “What the fuck?!!”s then throw on Emanuelle and Francoise; a sordid and splendid time will be had by all…okay some, but you lot will be pleased as putrid punch!

 

 

 

Next let’s examine:

Escape from Women’s Prison (1978)

A gaggle of comely tennis players head to match aboard a bus as some serious yacht rock horseshit fills the air. “Seems serene enough” I hear you say. Oh you sweet, innocent, lil’ bastard…

That bus I mentioned? Well it gets hijacked by a quartet of recently escaped female convicts; and these sassy, violence prone “ladies” are going to be nothing but trouble, believe you me…case in point; they drive that bodacious bus straight to the house of the smarmy judge that sent them away and before you can say “genre tropes” those curvy criminals are engaging in all manner of sexy-time hijinks; lesbian and otherwise…but will they stop fucking around (literally) long enough to reach freedom?

Escape from Women’s Prison kinda took me by surprise. I expected this to take place withing the claustrophobic confines of a prison, with our dangerous dames plottin’ their miracle mile to freedom, but instead our “heroes” are on the lam virtually from the get-go. As mentioned in the sinister synopsis up yonder; this is more a “criminals take hostages and fuck them affair” that has proven popular with nine out of ten dentists over the age of 65…and me apparently, as I rather enjoyed this exploitation fracas.

Along with it’s straight-forward, no-nonsense plot, Escape from Women’s Prison brings the expected femme flesh for sure…but also features: scenery chewing, hammy political statements, many a mustache, a ridiculous “spoon feeding” sequence (You just ordered it after hearing that didn’t you? If not, would you be more inclined if I told you that event features a mustache as well?), laughing at pee (a real knee slapper since first grade), a pee sequence without laughter (what is it with this movie), dancin’ with nerds…and of course, violence! In short, Writer/Director Giovanni Brusadori has delivered in spades with off-kilter nonsense that will tickle the pickle of lovers of absurd exploitation…and I didn’t even mention the outrageous, and highly quotable dialog…and the sex scene that features music that would be at home in a luau…

Along with all you see above, this Blu also features a small selection of extras which include; the Italian cut of the film (which runs eleven minutes longer…and while both versions present are sourced from damaged prints, I feel the picture is better in this version), an interview with Brusadori, and the film’s trailer.

While definitely an unconventional entry in the beloved women in Prison sub-genre of the good ol’ exploitation field; Escape from Women’s Prison delivers it’s own fantastic lunacy that shouldn’t be missed by sleaze connoisseurs and devotees of drive-in cinema!

 

 

Moving on we have:

Death Warmed Up (1984)

Michael Tucker (Michael Hurst…you know; Iolaus from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys…though here he looks like Sting doing a Roy Batty impression) had a typical young adulthood; you know days filled with being a guinea pig for an evil scientist’s, in this case one Dr. Archer Howell (Gary Day), mind control drugs which causes him to put the murder on his ‘rents…typical teen-based shenanigans.

So, after cooling his jets in the loony bin for seven years, Mikey is free as a bird…so he grabs his girlfriend Sandy (Margaret Umbers) and his chums Jeannie (Norelle Scott) and Lucas (William Upjohn) and sets forth to the remote island ol’ Howell has set up shop on…where our mental heath success story of a hero plans on brutally murdering the demented doctor.

Along the way our band of erstwhile heroes endure marauding post-apocalyptic style mental mutants (think leather clad, football gear sporting, motorcycle maniacs), a leisurely country drive (accompanied by a song about driving), menacing billboards (surprisingly more common here than one would imagine), the rad villainy of stone-cold badass Spider (David Letch), sexy nurses with mesh surgical masks (that’ll keep those nasty germs at bay), and scads…and by “scads” I really mean “fuck tons” of violence…also on the island is a convenience store run by an Indian stereotype so intense that Fisher Stevens would say “Whoa dude, that may be a titch much”…which of those is more daunting is a matter of personal choice (though I’m going with the driving song playing whilst driving).

Anyhow, will the murder mission be a success, or will our gang of goofs fall prey to all of the island’s weird science…and will there be more driving songs (I just can’t let it go…)

Full of fever dream logic, insane moment after insane moment, zombie-like monsters and mutants, buckets of splatterific gore, puke, (unnecessary) surgeries, and madness galore…Death Warmed Up is like nothing you have seen before. Sure it might have a little Mad Max here, some Night of the Living Dead there…but goddamn does it reassemble things in a manner so amazingly batshit psycho that the end result is just a spewing torrent of awesome nonsense that assaults the viewer right across the cerebellum.  I really want to tell you to stop reading this revoltin’ review and just order the fucking thing…but I’m a narcissist, so read on…

So as if the feature presentation wasn’t enough to make you buy this bad bitch post haste; I’m pleased to tell you there are a plethora of special features here to entice you as well!

First up we get an audio commentary featuring Director/Co-Writer David Blyth and Co-Writer Michael Heath that details the film’s production and themes. It’s a solid listen, though it does have a few moments where the participants stop chattin’ and start watchin’.

Next up comes an interview Letch, an archival interview with Blyth and Heath, a collection of deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary), the original VHS New Zealand version of the film (with deleted scenes added back in), and theatrical and VHS trailers.

Bringing up the rear are a TV spot and an image gallery.

Look, if I could give a flick more than five skulls (and honestly, I could…it’s my system, but I’m too lazy to create new graphics), Death Warmed Up would get like a hundred fucking skulls; this is the real deal when it comes to my beloved off-the-wall psychotronic cinema…pure insanity captured on film by a gang of lunatics too crazed with their love of the genre to let anything stand in their way of getting their vision in front of our putrid peepers! See this as soon as you can!

 

 

 

For our next fearsome flick, we turn our ghoulish gaze to Severin’s label InterVision (welcome back baby, ol’ XIII has missed ya!); a place where some of the most off-kilter low budget gems can be found…like this picture for example…

Masked Mutilator (2019)

After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, The Masked Mutilator (Jeff Sibbach) does what any wrestler involved in ring side homicide would do…hard time in the slammer. I’m just bullshittin’ ya; naturally he becomes a house parent for a group of wayward “teens” at a group home…sans mask (though that would have been rich) and using his real name Vic Mangino (though the residents call him “Commando”).

Things aren’t exactly peach there as the kids are a rough bunch…especially Rocker (played by special effects maestro Glenn Hetrick…though he’s young as hell and looks nothing how you know him now), and a new staff member, Steve Carson (Brick Bronsky…though his younger self is played by Cabin Fever‘s James DeBello…oh, and Bronsky is also known as Jeff Beltzner…a.k.a. the Director of this film!), is giving our man some serious static…oh, and a murderer wearing the Mutilator’s mask starts rippin’ those teens a new asshole!

Started (and nearly completed) in 1994 and finished sometime last week, Masked Mutilator is one hell of a fun low budget stalk n’ slay affair. The cast, comprised of wrestlers and newcomers, is both likable and charismatic…and while some performances tend to go a bit over-the-top (in a rather charming way), leading man Sibbach comes across as extremely engaging and world weary in equal measure and why he didn’t go on to future roles is a complete mystery to me.

Shit, while I’m at it…Tom Taylor who plays wayward teen Brian is great as well; this dude has charisma and solid martial arts skills…and it’s fun to see him return for the newly created wrap-around segment.

Adding to the positives is the overarching sense of heart the picture has at it’s core; it’s obvious Director Jeff Beltzner and Writers Ed Polgardy and Dale Schneck have a genuine love for our ol’ horror biz (and the slasher genre in particular) and their efforts to bring their vision to life (spanning decades no less) should be lauded!

Along with the feature presentation, there is plenty of bonus material here as well! First up we get interviews with Taylor, Actor/FX Artist Paul Sutt (who has gone on to create the masks for my favorite band, Ghost!), Co-Writer/C0-Executive Producer Ed Polgardy, and Co-Writer/Executive Producer Dale Schneck. Following that comes a collection of archival audition tapes and legendary wrestling commentator “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviewing Taylor. Lastly we get an audio commentary featuring Schneck, Taylor, Sutt, and actors Steve Mittman and Jim “The Tank” Dorsey. This is a fascinating and info-packed listen that never becomes “cluttered” despite the number of participants.

Masked Mutilator is a true labor of love (as fuckin’ cliche as that sounds), and a prime example of what can be created with not much else than a love of the genre and some solid acting…and a choke hold or two!

 

 

 

Next up is…well…I’m not sure just what it is actually…

Saint Bernard (2013)

A raw chicken prepares to go skydiving. So begins Saint Bernard.

The following ninety-plus minutes are equally as…well…whatever adjective you choose to apply would probably fit the bill as long as you stay within the framework of “fucking batshit”.

Anyway, we are taken on a journey into the very, VERY troubled mind of orchestra conductor Bernard (Jason Dugre), he of the constant white suit and baton. As he goes about the day doing mundane things such as wearing an alarm clock headdress and showering ensconced in tin foil and a diving helmet (while he gets jolts from a nearby electrical outlet). Ol’ Bernard has quite the day lined up after that…a day that includes hallucinating his head becoming attached to a giant maggot body, deciding to keep a severed Saint Bernard head he finds along the side of the road and making it his patron saint, witnessing a battle royale waged by dead presidents, dealing with a wine swilling, cigar chomping troll…hell there’s even a monster with diarrhea…you know, for the kids. There’s also an inexplicable lumber/hardware obsession going on…oh, and The Damned just show up and perform a number (that’s some The Young Ones style shit right there). And the chicken does return to the narrative.

This is beyond difficult, but if I had to describe Saint Bernard as being like anything else in existence it would be this: imagine Pee Wee’s Playhouse directed by Frank Henenlotter and filmed on location inside the brain of Lewis Carroll after he suffered around one hundred strokes…oh and Basil Wolverton was hired to be the art director. From that you can surmise what you are getting into; fever dram narrative surrounded by absolutely outrageous imagery that is impossible not to love if you are devotee of underground comics, surrealist art, practical effects gone haywire, gore, or diarrhea (and who isn’t, amirite?). and owing to the fact that this feature was created by effects maestro Gabriel Bartalos you can bet your arcane ass that the creature effects are top-fucking-notch throughout!

Along with that glorious manic nonsense there are some great performances on display as well. Dugre manages to actually be a likable protagonist, even though he is frantic, insane, and has little dialog to work with, and Katy Sullivan as Miss roadkill is an off-kilter foil who has no problems using her charms to obtain that coveted severed dog head. It’s also fun to see cameo bits from Andy Kaufman co-conspirator Bob Zmuda and genre legend Warwick Davis!

As for special features to accompany the lunacy present here, we get a seventeen minute behind-the-scenes featurette detailing the film’s production (and don’t worry chicken fans…you’ll get your due), and the film’s trailer.

Would you like your brain to melt and your ass to explode in equal measure? Of course you would…so buy Saint Bernard! Plus it’s a visual masterpiece, so there’s that.

 

 

 

Last up comes:

The Uncanny (1977)

Wilbur Gray (the all-time legend Peter Cushing) is a writer of terror tomes that has come to find that cats are preternatural pussies that control fate…but as a complete surprise no one else believes this. To convince John Q. Public, Wilbur writes a trio of sinister stories to prove his findings…and thus begins this arcane anthology in earnest!

London, 1912: Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) loves her some pussy, so she rewrites her will leaving her dough to her cats. Her maid Janet (Susan Penhaligon), the mistress of her nephew Michael (Simon Williams), attempts to alter the will in Mikey’s favor, but is caught doing that gangsta shit by Miss Malkin. Things go south from there and it’s up to those fearsome felines to even the score!

Quebec, 1975: Lil’ orphan Lucy (Katrina Holden) comes to live with her aunt (Alexandra Stewart), uncle (Donald Pilon…who if you squint could pass for Oliver Reed from some angles), and cousin Angela (Chloe Franks) after her parents buy the farm in a plane crash. Lucy brings her cat Wellington, but her douche-nozzle cousin…seriously, this kid is a demon…she wears shoes in bed, engages in remote control plane-based abuse (a larger problem than one would realize in this world), and on and on…forces her parents to get rid of the beloved pet. Fortunately, Lucy’s mother was a witch, and our heroine uses her legacy for sweet revenge!

Hollywood 1936: The actor Valentine De’ath (our homie Donald Pleasence) offs his actress wife (Catherine Bégin) by making a movie prop deadly in order to give his mistress (Samantha Eggar) a chance at a career on the silver screen. Unfortunately for those involved, De’ath’s wife owned a cat, and that can only lead to trouble in this fright flick!

Let me tell you boils n’ ghouls this is the most Amicus picture that Amicus didn’t make (though some of the folks behind the scenes are the same). All three tales presented are some serious E.C. horror comics style productions; complete with bad folks getting their just desserts in all manner of horrible ways (with the totally bonkers resolution of the second story being my absolute favorite of the three offerings…you just can’t go wrong with ’70’s occultism, over-sized props, and dodgy visual effects…and those that know me know I’m dead serious).

Adding to the entertainment value, the styles of each story are radically different (though the underlying themes and resolutions are all uniform), with the first story being a straight up horror piece, the second a liberal shot of 70’s supernatural paperback aesthetics, and the third a rather over-the-top farce, with Pleasence and Eggar chewing the scenery as if it were an all-you-can-eat celluloid buffet.

While the entertainment value is high with this one, the extras are lite containing only an interview with actress Penhaligon, and the film’s trailer.

Bottom line, The Uncanny is a great anthology containing nary a stinker in the bunch, and the presence of horror film royalty makes this a must own for your creepy collection…plus, cats!

 

 

 

 

 

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