As you have seen in the first two parts of this series (located here and here) Wild Eye Releasing have scads of horror biz-centric material available; enough to satisfy countless graveyards full of slavering horror hounds. Don’t believe me? Check out this beastly bevy of terror titles!
First title up is The Witch Behind the Door:
Based on the legend of the “Witches of Benevento”, The Witch Behind the Door (or Janara as it was originally known) concerns the misadventures of Marta and Alessandro (played by Laura Sinceri and Alessandro D’Ambrosi respectively) who arrive in the village of San Lupo to collect an inheritance left to Marta.
I mean some free dough is always cool, but the village gives the outsiders the cold shoulder right quick, but that’s understandable given all of the missing children and such… children who’s disappearance could be the work of a pedo or a coven of witches… I mean there couldn’t be any other answer really…
Straight up, The Witch Behind the Door is a hidden gem of the horror biz! Writer/director Roberto Bontà Polito (aided and abetted by Brando Currarini, Fabrizio Nardi, and Alessandro Riccardi), has taken the mythology of San Lupo and crafted a narrative that is equal parts Lovecraft and Silent Hill, and all parts fright flick awesome!
Adding to the film’s impact is it’s big bad; the dread Janara manages to illicit genuine goosebumps whenever on screen… and the lore offered up by the film adds to that effect immeasurably. This is also bolstered by the setting of the village itself; a rural community up to it’s ears in superstition and growing supernatural malevolence… again, pure Lovecraft (with a dash of King for flavor)… this is the “small town evil” genre done to perfection!
So the film is obviously worth the price of the DVD, but what of bonus features? Well, I have to admit the offerings are light with only a music video and the film’s trailer present.
Look, if you dig on the aforementioned Lovecraft, King, or Silent Hill, should be an immediate purchase; it’s loaded with rich mythology, small town gone bad creepiness, and fairy-tale style child stealing witches… what’s not to love?!!
Next up is Weird Fiction!
Arcane anthologies have long been a staple in the horror biz, and one I often enjoy, so I was lookin’ forward to slappin’ my putrid peepers on this one boils n’ ghouls!
After a wrap around segment featuring our horror host, The Collector (played to the ever-lovin’ hilt by the putrid pictures writer/director Jacob Perrett) decidin’ to tell us some terror tales we dive into the first yarn; Goodnight Daddy…
Kids keep vanishing around the small town of Bakersfield, and a group of comic book lovin’ brothers head out to try and solve the case. Along the way we are treated to red herrings a-plenty and a sinister slasher ready to put a masked murder on our heroes!
Well we are going strong right out of the mother fuckin’ ghoulish gate with a lovin’ tribute to the golden age of stalk n’ slay pics (and John Carpenter’s Halloween in particular). The young leads are likable, the killer simple yet cool looking, and the narrative twists are freakishly fun.
Next we have Night of the Sitter; which features some teens getting harassed by a child’s living ventriloquist dummy… but things are definitely way worse than they seem!
This is like a cross between Goosebumps and a teen sex comedy, and it truly hits all the right notes; it’s funny, (purposefully) stupid, and an absolute blast to witness.
We’re 2 for 2 as we next delve into the story of The Incubus, which focuses on a strung-out male porn star who has unknowingly become a snack for a true creature of the night!
This one was another fantastic entry that plays out sort of like An American Werewolf in London directed by Frank Henenlotter and I know you lot will dig on that description. There’s also a fantastically trippy fever dream-like sequence in here that’s F’n aces as well!
Following that comes the final story; Cosmic Terror which concerns the adventures of a teenage girl and the extraterrestrial creature she adopts.
Another winner; great 80’s vibe, cool make-up design and effects, and maybe the most “’80s thing” in a film loaded to the brim with “’80’s things”. This one will be easily enjoyed by fans of Stranger Things, and personally, yours cruelly would love to see a feature version of this!
Also included on this DVD are a brief featurette covering the film’s production and an audio commentary featuring Perrett and actor/producer Taylor Rhoades that brings the films creation to light in detail, and is an honest and often funny listen well worth your time!
Bottom line; all of these stories are a fantastic, heartfelt tribute to the types of flicks us monsterkids would grab with wild abandon from the local video store on a Friday night… and that is high fuckin’ praise indeed cats n’ creeps!
Next up on the demonic docket is Girls Just Wanna Have Blood!
Jessica (Amanda Renee) is unpopular, bullied, her mother is a world-class drunk, and she’s constantly saddled with watchin’ over her baby bro.
Well things start comin’ up Jess when she meets April (Penny Praline), Trish (Destyne Marshai), and Stacy (Gigi Gustin); three vampires who offer to help Jessica get even with her tormentors at school if they can crash at her pad. Of course their methodology of devouring their sweet plasma, while effective, is not exactly what our heroine had in mind.
Well before long, Jessica has joined the ranks of the bloodthirsty undead and sucked dry an entire biker gang… but things don’t stay happy in her horror biz as soon she’s at odds with her fang bang gang and target numero uno of the leader of that now defunct squad of wild riders! There’s also a vampire hunter and a porno tape involved…
Unholy hell, Girls Just Wanna Have Blood was a freakin’ blast! This is like a classic ’80s teen comedy with vampires and it works insanely well. Writer/director Anthony Catanese keeps things completely ludicrous throughout, and the end result is a frantic fracas of fangs and funny!
And while we are talking about the comedy end of things, in a rare move I actually laughed out loud at a line so hard I had to pause the DVD to catch my breath. If you watch this flick, it’s a line delivered after the aforementioned porno is viewed and involves a blessed body part.
Additionally I have to mention the excellent cast who gamely work their way through this (purposefully) nonsensical narrative, and the absolutely flat out, rad-ass soundtrack that is a heady witch’s brew of heavy metal, synthpop, and straight up “hell fuckin’ yeah”!
As for extras on this DVD we get a great audio commentary courtesy of Catanese and producer Sara Casey, “full” versions of the faux televangelist program and porn that play within the film, and a music video by the band Midnight Hellion!
Girls Just Wanna Have Blood is horror comedy done right, and is pure entertainment through and through as it flies through one gloriously ghoulish politically incorrect scenario to the next in fang-tastic fashion! Seek this one out you horror hounds that also dig on the ha-ha’s!
Now let’s take a look at Devil Music shall we?
My dudes in Richter Scale, a down on their luck rock band desperate for fame and fortune, are ready to call it quits… but their manager/cellphone salesman tells them the legend of blues musician Robert Johnson and his pact with the Devil for musical stardom.
Naturally they believe this story is true, hop an RV, and head down to the infamous crossroads of Mississippi to sell their souls during the upcoming full moon…
I absolutely loved this side-splittin’ rock n’ roll, partially paranormal comedy so fuckin’ hard! Co-writers/directors Jer and Luke Jackson land the jokes here with amazing accuracy, and have created a bevy of lovable dimwitted characters (no matter some of the skeezy shit they want to engage in) that have to travel through one ridiculous scenario to another while having some of the most banal (yet incredibly genuine and entertaining) conversations as they travel the long, lonely road to ol’ Scratch’s haunt.
Now a huge part to this film’s success is the quality of the actors on display; and let me tell you this cast is top-shelf! We get Nick Thune as “The Hunted” the co-lead/guitarist of the band who constantly spouts ridiculous facts and sports outrageous fashions, Reed Amos as the cocky, Monster energy swillin’ lyricist/vocalist of the band, Travis Wilson as their good-hearted drummer Jeff, and Rob Neason as their middle-aged manager desperate to get his crew over. All of the folks are simply amazing, and a ton of fun to watch… but my favorite performance in the film comes from Gavin Astle as the band’s bass player Rick; a nearly always shirtless amalgamation of Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and Roy Batty that delivers the film’s most ludicrous dialog with a straight face and earnestness to spare resulting in an absolutely outrageous scene stealing performance that had me crying from laughter.
Also of note is the cameo from the Saw franchises’ Tobin Bell as The Devil; he adds a touch of class and gravitas to the proceedings and delivers a fantastic performance (with some killer dialog) in his limited time on screen.
Filled with over-the-top characters, ridiculous situations, and… in the end… an absolute ton of heart, Devil Music hits all the right notes, and is a comedy that is not afraid to deliver some great human moments among all the debauchery and zaniness.
Moving on we have… Baby Frankenstein?!!
Lance Wilton (Ian Barling) has just moved into a new house with his mom and her obnoxious boyfriend Ken (played to the hilt by Patrick McCartney)… and while he may be the new kid in town, he’s got nothing on the strange android (Rance Nix) he finds… and activates in the attic of his new domicile.
Well “Baby Frankenstein” immediately runs off and it’s up to Lance and his gal pal Truth (Cora Savage) to find the mini-monster before Ken puts a murder on the creature to collect the big-ass reward being offered for B.F. by his creators, the nefarious Lundquist Industries.
Wow, Baby Frankenstein took me completely by surprise; this is no mere creature feature, rather this is a quirky adolescent-centric romantic comedy with a fantastic off-kilter aesthetic that just so happens to include a strange creature… and unholy hell is it ever a unique and fantastic viewing experience!
Adding to the positives are great performances from the thespians mentioned up yonder, a rock solid make-up job on the eponymous being, and a fantastic neo-new wave/indie music soundtrack that give things an ’80s ambiance without the film ever committing to that decade hardcore, despite it’s E.T. vibes.
Oh, and ol’ Baby Frankie is lovable as all fuck; a far cry from the pint-sized terror you might have been anticipating.
As for extras you get the film’s trailer, a pint sized selection doubtless inspired by our diminutive hero.
If you’re looking for something that will bring to mind the classic kids fare of the ’80s such as the aforementioned E.T. and it’s clones, then Baby Frankenstein will surely satisfy; it’s fun, funny, and full of heart!
Last up we have Wrestle Massacre!
In the first two minutes of this film, a fully naked woman (Clownado‘s Cayt Feinics) has her face completely torn of by a maniac wrestler deep in the woods… please, I ask so very little… please let this film continue to be this rad…
Anyway, following that we meet mild-mannered, man-mountain Randy (Richie Acevedo) an aspiring wrestler who wants to follow in his father’s (the legendary Nikolai Volkoff) footsteps, but for now he’s a newly unemployed groundskeeper.
Ever determined to press on, he decides this is his chance to attend Jimmy Valiant’s Wrestling Camp… but that doesn’t work out either, so our hero goes blood simple and begins going on a kill-crazy spree where wrestling moves mix with gory deaths, and no one is safe!
Director/co writer Brad Twigg (along with co-writers Matthew L. Furman, Julio Bana Fernandez, and Rosanna Nelson… and if you’re keeping score at home, the latter two act in the film as well) have delivered a fun stalk n’ slay picture with plenty to offer gore-hounds and rasslin’ fans alike!
Admittedly the set-up is a bit slow, but believe you me once you get an eye-full of the glorious, and copious, practical bloodshed (no CG dogshit here cats n’ creeps) you’ll forget all about that right fuckin’ quick… and lets face it, this is what counts the most in a putrid picture such as this!
Adding to the goodness is a fantastic lead performance from Acevedo; he really generates sympathy for Randy, and we feel his struggle to get over… and that makes his transformation to psycho killer (qu’est-ce que c’est) have all the more impact.
Also of note are the number of esteemed guest stars from the worlds of wrestling (Manny Fernandez, Jimmy Fullington, Tony Atlas, Jessica Kresa… plus the aforementioned Volkoff and Acevedo himself!), fright flicks (George Stover, Shawn C. Phillips, and Mick O’Keefe), and even porn (the lovely Nadia White appears to up the exposed female flesh quotient).
To sum it up, Wrestle Massacre is a great time in the horror biz, and provides a squared circle full of the unholy trinity of B-movies; babes, blood, and bad guys!