Review: 'Ink'

By: Bradley Hadcroft

INK is the final part of director Andy Stewart's body horror themed trilogy of short films - preceded by DYSMORPHIA and SPLIT, respectively - and it proves to be his most well-rounded and accomplished piece of work yet.

This particular slice of discomfort pie concerns a severely disturbed young man with a novel approach to body decoration and scant regard for basic medical principles. Suffice to say, tattoos play a major part in a movie titled INK; however, it is best to go into this deranged short as bereft of knowledge as possible and just throw yourself at the mercy of its twisted imagination.

The plot of INK is in fact relatively linear but once again it is the intricacy of its cinematic mechanics that creates the fierce intensity we have come to expect from this talented director. It really is a little Swiss watch of a short.  Stewart has retained the services of his gifted crew from previous installments of the trilogy for INK and once again they prove to be consistently professional and frequently inspired. INK is never anything other than technically accomplished and as such soars high above its under $10,000 budget.

David McKeitch's sound design is by turns brilliantly subtle and nauseatingly rambunctious, and Alan McLaughlin's camerawork is precise, lean, and moody - stalking Remo Catani & Chris Goldie's atmosphere drenched sets with economy and purpose. Award-winning effects artist Grant Mason takes us on another excruciating tour of his practical make-up repertoire and strong stuff it is indeed. 

The usual wince-inducing set pieces we have grown accustomed to from this body of work are present in sharpened spades. There will be many a tightly gripped chair arm amidst the sharp intakes of breath and diverted eyes once this cringe machine blazes its way around the festival circuit. Also to be commended here is the fine editing from Jim Lang. Taking the "Slow Burn " approach benefits INK tremendously as staring at It's glowing embers is just as engrossing as when it bursts into flames.

Interview: Matt Hannon of 'Samurai Cop'

The world has lost a lot of great people these last few months but amidst all that tragedy, there was a resurrection! Back in June, Samurai Cop star Matt Hannon - long believed to be dead - posted a YouTube video telling the world he was in fact alive! Yours truly promptly shit herself and then proceeded to reach out to Mr. Hannon. As it turns out, he is not only alive (and looking astoundingly good for 50) but one of the nicest, most sincere people one could hope to ever encounter.

With the second coming of Samurai Cop is upon us, I asked to interview Matt and he readily agreed! I invited my good friends at The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnight Cinema to join me in talking to this cult cinema icon. Please click below to give our joint-podcast a listen! In it, Matt goes into life, film, and the cult of Samurai Cop. You'll hear exclusive stories about his days working with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Plus, Amir Shervan and Robert Z'Dar anecdotes! And find out what the fuck was up with that yarn lion head!

Also, please, PLEASE visit the Kickstarter page for Samurai Cop 2 right here.


Giveaway: Win the 'Ong Bak' Trilogy on Blu-ray!

The wildly popular Thai martial arts trilogy, Ong Bak is now available as a Blu-ray set from Magnolia Home Entertainment! I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave a comment below! That it's! Bonus points if you tell your friends about Viewer Discretion Advised and all our sweet giveaways ;) 

Here are the details on the Blu-ray set:

Featuring Spellbinding Fight Scenes And Hard-Hitting Action For The First Time In A Complete Collection Of Fan-Favorite Thrillers Arrives July 29 On Blu-ray™ and DVD From Magnolia Home Entertainment Under The Magnet Label

Tony Jaa electrifies in this three-part epic tale of revenge. A franchise TIME calls “exhilarating,” with relentless, fever-pitched action – often free of stunt doubles and special effects. Jaa performs some of the most amazing physical feats ever seen on film.

Blu-ray/DVD Basics 

Price: $29.98 (Blu-ray 3-Disc) / $26.98 (DVD 5-Disc)
Running Time: 302 min.
Catalog: 10700 (Blu-ray) / 10699 (DVD)
MPAA Rating: R
Language: English and Thai
Subtitles: English and Spanish Subtitles

Rules and Regulations: The contest ends at 12pm EST on Friday, August 8th and the winner will be announced on Facebook that weekend, so be sure to follow us there if you are not already! Contest open to USA residents only.

Can't wait to get your hands on it? Pick up a copy at the link below!

SDCC '14 Cosplay

Sweaty nerds packed into the San Diego Convention Center this weekend for Comic Con International. Truly the happiest place on Earth, there were celebrity meet-and-greets, film panels with geek icons and megastars alike, endless comic book and merchandise dealers, countless artists, and of course - perhaps SDCCs most famous attribute - the cosplayers. If you're not familiar with that term, well, it's basically people in costumes. Specifically, the most awesomely creative and often-homemade costumes you'll find anywhere. Over the course of the weekend, I've seen hundreds of amazing costumes. I've been noticing some sweet genre movie-themed ones, so I figured I'd share them here. 

Get to da choppa!

Don't feed them after midnight...

Photo c/o

My Take on the 'Evil Dead' TV Show

By: Heather Seebach

The news out of San Diego International Comic Con is that Sam Raimi has announced his involvement with an Evil Dead television series. His brother Ivan and frequent collaborator Bruce Campbell are also involved. Well, inevitably the reaction largely looks like this:

And so and so forth. "Dead horse" comes up a lot. Basically, this is the same reaction that the Evil Dead "remake" (which wasn't really a remake at all) got when it was announced. Well, until it turned out to be a blood-soaked chunk of awesomeness and everyone shut the fuck up.

Now, the television show announcement is causing the same "outrage." We've been down this road so many times. How exactly is this "beating a dead horse" or "a blatant money-grab" when those same fans are BEGGING for an Evil Dead 4? So making a sequel in a franchise that has been dormant for 20+ years starring a middle-aged B-actor is NOT a money-grab, though? Look, I want a fourth film by Sam and Bruce more than anyone but as a hardcore ED fan, I also look forward to Sam being involved in this series at all! Prior to Fede Alvarez's movie, Raimi had zero interest in Evil Dead anymore. In the two decades that followed Army of Darkness, we got a Kevin Costner baseball movie, Spider-Man, and a shitload of Xena. Yes, thankfully we got Darkman, the occasional Coen collaboration and A Simple Plan, too. Finally, he made Drag Me to Hell and this Raimi fan nearly shit her pants! He was finally showing an interest in horror again, and clearly it rattled something loose inside the man because he came back aboard the Evil Dead train then.

Now, naturally people accuse Sam of being a greedy dickhead just trying to squeeze more money out of the franchise....because he's SO poor from those superhero movies. I can only say I know that's not true from being an avid follower of the man and his work ethic. Obviously, I cannot convince you of that so instead I'll say - who cares? It's business. Even if these are nothing more than money-grabs, they still have the potential to give us fans exactly what we want! Evil Dead 4 would be the ultimate cash-grab but I fucking want it so hard!!! So who am I to judge?

Furthermore, why the sudden outrage over television adaptations? Bates Motel, Fargo, and Hannibal are also adaptations of movies that really never needed a tv remake but they turned out AWESOME! Each one of them had very skeptical fans when they were announced. So have faith, my friends. The fact that Raimi maintains an active interest at all, along with the Bruce Campbell (who usually wants nothing to do with these films) and Ivan Raimi, is amazing! 

The other complaint I am hearing is, what the fuck would this show even be about? Well, I imagine (much like Fargo) it would be in the style of the original movie but not directly related. In fact, seeing as Sam is close friends with the Coen Brothers, I would not be surprised if Fargo was his inspiration for this. I imagine it cannot stay in the cabin. I like to think it would show deadites all over the world and different time periods. Like how Army of Darkness took the story and put it in medieval Europe. I think that could be pretty great, actually!

What say you, primitive screwheads? Are you open-minded to this tv show and what would you like to see in it?

Is that Negan in The Walking Dead Season 5 trailer?!? (COMIC SPOILERS)

***Warning: The following contains spoilers from The Walking Dead comic books and POTENTIAL spoilers for season 5 of the television series***

I was just watching the newly-released The Walking Dead season 5 trailer out of San Diego Comic Con. Firstly, I'm not sure about the plot but it looks wonderfully gritty and bleak! I love that! The show really started to hit its stride in the last few episodes of season 4 and I am desperately hoping they keep that up! The first few minutes of the new trailer hint at some disturbing shit. There was also recent talk that the season 5 premiere might be "too disturbing to air." It made me think, "Man, I really hope they maintain this nastiness for when Negan shows up!"

Well, while watching the trailer, a very quick flash caught my eye:

If you are caught up on the comic books, you know about a very infamous scene between Negan and Glenn (**MAJOR COMIC BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD**):

Of course, Negan isnt bald nor is that guy wearing his signature leather jacket, but it's hard to not be alarmed by the baseball bat and Glenn's circumstances in that screenshot! 

While I don't believe that is ACTUALLY Negan (it's a bit too soon, don't you think?), I DO know that The Walking Dead team likes to rearrange moments from the comic books. For instance, Lizzie and Mika being stand-in's for Billy and Ben, or Hershel losing his leg in lieu of Dale. That list goes on and on. So it's actually very possible that Glenn's fate has been shifted into the hands of someone else.

What say you, Walking Dead fans?

Watch the new trailer for season 5 here:

Blu-ray Review: 'Blue Ruin'

By: Heather Seebach

As genre film fans, we know every trick and cliche of a revenge movie. They are almost always satisfying anyway, even when they color within the lines, but what makes Blue Ruin so special is the way it brilliantly - and subtly - subverts the genre. Add to that director Jeremy Saulnier's talent, an amazing cast, and a fantastic slow-burn revenge tale, and it's no surprise that this indie took home the esteemed FIPRESCI prize at Cannes Film Festival last year. 

Macon Blair stars as Dwight, an Eastern Shore derelict who commits a terrible act of vengeance and must deal with the consequences of his actions in order to protect his estranged family. The basic concept of the film began with the question: What would a regular person do in this situation? Imagine the gritty, bloody revenge films we know and love, but replace the lead bad-ass with a realistically mediocre man. That is our hero, Dwight. He is your average person dealing with his pain in the way he believes is right, even if he does so with frustrating ineptitude sometimes.

I have been a hardcore fan of Saulnier and Blair since I first saw their debut collaboration, Murder Party years ago. That black comedy has since become a staple of my Halloween celebrations, and a favorite film of mine and every friend I force to watch it. Green as they were back then, it was already obvious that Jeremy and Macon were ones to watch. Their sophomore effort is a very different animal, of course. There are touches of that dark humor here but they are appropriately restrained to maintain Blue Ruin's moody atmosphere. Most of the laughs come about from, as Saulnier describes it, "archetypal scenes being interrupted by reality." What would be a bad-ass entrance or showdown for men like Paul Kersey or Jack Carter becomes awkward and terrifying for Dwight. In doing this, the film beautifully walks the thin line between depressingly bleak and absurdly comical.

Saulnier has a strong background in cinematography and acted as his own DP. There are moments of Michael Mann-esque beauty (like a breathtaking Rehoboth Beach boardwalk sequence) but mostly the film is populated with lovely tracking shots in the 'burbs and boonies of Virginia. As for the script, Saulnier has found an ingenious way to tell the kind of revenge tale we genre film fans love but in a more realistic fashion where the characters are genuinely human and the violence never glorified. Dwight and the antagonistic Cleland Family are the broken products of their parents' mistakes, left behind to perpetuate a generational war.

Ruin is an independent film in the truest sense - Saulnier cast his best friend (a relative unknown) in the lead; the crew often doubled as actors; even Jeremy's car, kids, and childhood home play pivotal roles in the movie. This is seemingly a very personal film for the director, as he literally returns home while Dwight does the same. There is a lot of subtext about nostalgia and childhood, which is fitting for a story about the past and about family. There is a hell of a lot of beauty and emotion buried in this gritty little revenge story. You would be doing yourself a great injustice to skip this one - buy it immediately.


Blue Ruin is available on DVD and Blu-ray from RADiUS-TWC and Anchor Bay Entertainment starting Tuesday, July 22nd. You can also find the film On Demand. If you are a fan of this movie and/or Saulnier/Blair, I highly recommend picking up the Blu-ray release, which includes the doc, "No Regrets: The Making of Blue Ruin." In addition to on-set footage, bloopers, festival footage, storyboards, and audition tapes - all amazing content for any behind-the-scenes doc - the most exciting part for me was there are clips from Saulnier and Blair's early VHS movies! Megacop 2000

The interviews with cast and crew are also great, and surprisingly emotional. Saulnier and Blair recount their struggles to find work post-Murder Party (which BAFFLES me), returning to their day jobs until finally taking a chance on Blue Ruin, only to be shot down before finally breaking through. Their story is an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers. I was nearly brought to tears by their story, followed by genuine waterworks when Jeremy talks about his father's death - it's a beautiful moment but you'd better have tissues at the ready.

The commentary track with Saulnier and Blair is also a great listen for fans of this film. Their humorous and occasionally drunk walk-through of the movie is full of good anecdotes. These guys are so humble and don't even realize know what true talents they are. I had no idea that funding this film was such a struggle but I am thrilled for their much-deserved success now.

The Blu-ray also includes deleted scenes, which are mostly extended scenes plus a very cool sequence where Dwight goes through a spooky funhouse. It also has the camera test which the guys used to recruit investors, cast, and crew. It's a stunning 4-minute piece starring Blair and establishing the tone of the final film. It is set to the beautiful and bleak "I Hope You Die" by Maryland-born band, Wye Oak. It's all very Delmarva which hits home even further with this Baltimore native! This is definitely a must-watch for fans of the movie.

You can pick up a copy and support great indie filmmakers (and Viewer Discretion Advised) using this Amazon link below:

Giveaway: Win 'Ginger Snaps' from Scream Factory!

Scream Factory is releasing fan-favorite and coming-of-age werewolf flick, Ginger Snaps on Blu-ray/DVD combo this Tuesday, July 22nd and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader! To enter, just leave a comment below by noon EST on Friday, July 25th! At that time I'll pick a winner and notify you!

Here is the run-down on the new release:

Los Angeles, CA – Scream Factory has announced the July 22 Blu-ray release of fan-favorite Ginger Snaps (Collector’s Edition). Bonus features include new interviews with director John Fawcett, writer Karen Walton, actors Emily Perkins and Jesse Moss, producer Steve Hoban, make-up effects artist Paul Jones, composer Mike Shields and editor Brett Sullivan, a new Women in Horror panel discussing Ginger Snaps, an audio commentary with Director John Fawcett, an audio commentary with writer Karen Walton, deleted scenes with optional commentary by John Fawcett and Karen Walton, The Making of Ginger Snaps - Vintage Featurette, Creation of the Beast - Vintage Featurette, Being John Fawcett -Vintage Featurette, cast auditions and rehearsals, theatrical trailers, TV spots, production design artwork photo gallery.

Fifteen-year-old Brigitte Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins, Insomnia, Juno) and her nearly-sixteen-year-old sister Ginger (Katharine Isabelle, Freddy vs. Jason, See No Evil 2) are both best friends and outcasts. Obsessed with dying and bound by a childhood pact to stay together forever, they loathe their mind-numbing existence in the suburbs of Bailey Downs. One night the two girls are heading through the woods when Ginger is savagely attacked by a wild creature.

Ginger’s horrible wounds miraculously heal over, but something is not quite right about her. Ginger is irritable and in denial. But to Brigitte, it is obvious that a terrifying force has taken hold of her sister. She’s convinced that the insatiable craving her sister is experiencing can mean only one thing – Ginger is becoming something unspeakably evil and monstrous.

Also starring Mimi Rogers (Penny Dreadful), Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3) and Jesse Moss (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil), this riveting funfest was directed by John Fawcett (Orphan Black) and written by Karen Walton (Orphan Black).


·        NEW interviews with director John Fawcett, writer Karen Walton, actors Emily Perkins and Jesse Moss, Producer Steve Hoban, Make-up Effects artist Paul Jones, Composer Mike Shields and Editor Brett Sullivan
·        NEW Women in Horror panel discussing GINGER SNAPS
·        Audio Commentary with Director John Fawcett
·        Audio Commentary with Writer Karen Walton
·        Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by John Fawcett and Karen Walton
·        The Making of GINGER SNAPS - Vintage Featurette
·        Creation of the Beast
·        Being John Fawcett
·        Cast Auditions and Rehearsals
·        Theatrical Trailers
·        TV Spots
·        Production Design Artwork Photo Gallery
2000/Color/108 minutes
Blu-ray: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (X.XX:1)/DTS-HD Master X.X

If you absolutely cannot wait, feel free to pick up a copy using the link below!

Review: 'Under the Skin'

By: Bradley Hadcroft
Under the Skin represents Glazer’s sole output during the last 9 years and reaches our screens a full 13 years after his startling debut, Sexy Beast. During its epic decade-long development period, the director had plenty of time to hone his interpretation of Michel Faber’s 2000 Whitbread Award shortlisted novel. This included the jettisoning of Brad Pitt from the cast and a complete revamp of the special effects. One thing is for sure: Glazer has used this time wisely and made exactly the film he wanted to.

The film revolves around an alien visitor played by Scarlett Johansson who travels around Scotland seducing vulnerable men in order to harvest their bodies for reasons that are never made entirely clear. She is periodically pursued and seemingly aided by a man riding a Ducati for reasons that are never made entirely clear.

If the above synopsis seems a little vague then that is because plot - and indeed any sense of cinematic narrative - are not priorities for this simultaneously intriguing and infuriating movie. Nothing is sign-posted or spoon-fed in Under the Skin but instead of the viewer becoming irreparably lost, there is much intellectual nourishment to be found in the satisfying business of unraveling the events on screen. As a natural consequence, vast swathes of the film are open to personal interpretation. Decoding the film proves a rewarding experience as it never slips too far into pretense as to be impenetrable.

The presence of A-list star Johansson (and of course her on-screen nudity) may well be the starting point for many potential viewers. As a result, the film may leave a few befuddled casualties in its non-mainstream wake. However, for once the casting hype is genuinely warranted and it is indeed a fascinating piece of work from the actress.

Glazer is no stranger to eliciting expectation busting performances from his cast. This is after all the man who gave us Ben Kingsley as Don Logan in Sexy Beast, in which the director transformed the man who won an Oscar for his portrayal of peace icon Gandhi into a detestable C-bomb dropping psychopath, garnering him another academy nomination into the bargain.

It’s not just the casting of Johansson that is of interest in Under the Skin. The commitment and attention to detail is commendable as Glazer casts Neurofibromatosis sufferer Adam Pearson rather than opt for special effects, and champion road racer Jeremy McWilliams as the sinister biker. Both bring a palpable realism to their respective roles with Pearson acting as script advisor for his scenes, and McWilliams hurtling down rain-soaked Scottish back roads at breakneck speeds.

Let us get the nudity out of the way, shall we? Yes, Scarlett Johansson bares all but it’s totally in context and in fact solidifies one of the many gender-based subtexts that bristle under the surface of the film. It is also interesting in as much as that it is a relatively brave move from the actress. There is no airbrushing or use of disingenuous camera angles here, and it does stand up as a refreshing and honest depiction of the female body - something mainstream Hollywood lags woefully behind in.

It is in fact the treatment of male nudity that provides the visceral shock value in the film and literally does stand up as the clearest clue that the main theme Glazer is addressing in Under the Skin is one of how men and women perceive each other.

Another pointer to how exact Glazer’s vision was in making the film can be found in the scenes where Johansson is combing the Scottish underbelly for prospective victims. It is imperative she chooses her victims wisely to preserve her anonymity and as such single, lonely men who will be less obviously missed are her priority. Most of the scenes where she is grilling the men through flirtatious means were shot unscripted and on the fly with hidden cameras. The unsuspecting victims being randomly chatted up by a Hollywood film star in a white van. The men were subsequently advised, and almost certainly warned, by Glazer of the possible lengths they would have to go to should they agree to appear in the movie.

This kind of authentic approach is very important to the films dynamic as Glazer attempts to weave the mundane seamlessly with the insane. The picture just simply wouldn't work if either of the science fiction or kitchen sink realism elements dominated - instead he strikes a delicate balance that imbibes the film with a disturbing sense of dread and foreboding.

A singular vision such as Under the Skin can stand or fall on the strength of its cinematography and Daniel Landin’s contribution on this front cannot be underestimated. Clinical and harshly minimalistic at times and expansively jaw-dropping at others, the movie never feels claustrophobic or one-note. Surrealism constantly duels with naturalism and the result never looks anything but gorgeous as Landin transitions between beautiful Scottish landscapes and willfully abstract effects sequences with ease.

The standard of the effects work courtesy of VFX house “One of Us” is incredibly high. Starting with a blank canvass and following the process closely through to completion, the team bring a vision to the table that both shocks and mesmerizes. The team used a mixture of practical and digital to create a simple yet beautifully horrific visualization that stays with the viewer for some time. The fact hat the effects never threaten to drown the overall aesthetic of the experience, and instead compliment the overall tone shows great judgement.

The undoubtedly lush visuals are accompanied by a superb soundtrack with composer Mica Levi at the helm providing a suitably subtle and yet iconic theme that complements the films many standout scenes perfectly. A lot of artistry has gone into blending the visuals and music in the creation of the arresting and disturbing atmosphere of Under the Skin. This combined with an obsessive attention to detail and excessively long development time has led to inevitable comparisons to the work of Stanley Kubrick.

There is no doubting Kubrick’s influence on Glazer - he directed the music video for Blur’s "The Universal" and the opening scene of his latest film alone could lead you to expect a “Kubrickian” homage. It is however far more than that. In terms of comparison I thought it shared far more common ground with Claire Denis' Trouble Every Day and Panos Cosmatos' Beyond the Black Rainbow than any of the great mans work.

Under the Skin is a unique piece of single-minded filmmaking and as such is not for everybody. To some it will be seen as nothing more than a pretentious vanity project. However, horror fans seeking a high-grade cerebral fix will find a great deal to love in this challenging piece of cinema. Glazer's film is destined to be one of the most talked about projects of the year and I for one would be very surprised if it doesn’t become worshipped as a cult classic sooner rather than later.

DVD Review: 'The Raid 2'

By: Heather Seebach

When Gareth Evans' Indonesian ass-kicker The Raid landed on American soil, it was as if millions of action-horny fans simultaneously climaxed all over the Internet. Frankly, I did not share that overwhelming enthusiasm for the film but it had some great moments - the scene behind the walls and the three-way fight come to mind. Still, Evans had proven his chops well enough that I caught The Raid 2 (aka Berandal) in the cinema and ended up much preferring it to the original!

The sequel picks up right where its predecessor left off: Rama (Iko Uwais) has just escaped the gangster-riddled high-rise building but is quickly forced back into harm's way when his family is put in danger. He must go undercover and infiltrate a dangerous crime family. The first step in this task is to befriend the crime boss' son (Arifin Putra). Per usual undercover cop stories, Rama soon gets in over his head while struggling not to blow his cover.

The primary reason The Raid 2 works so well is because unlike the original film, this one spans a variety of set pieces and characters. Via the undercover cop story arc, the viewer spends more time with Rama this round. So too do the villains and heart-of-gold hitman Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog from the first film) also get sufficient time devoted to their roles. If asked, I could not describe a single character from The Raid (aside from Mad Dog) but this sequel boasts a handful of memorable ones. In addition to the core group of warriors, Evans also throws in a few gimmicky characters that would have Quentin Tarantino salivating - namely, "Hammer Girl and "Baseball Bat Man" who steal scenes with ease.

Meanwhile, the fight sequences are bigger, bolder, and bloodier. From a prison yard melee to a nightclub brawl, the battles  - be they one-on-one or group - are damn entertaining! As with the first film, there is some amazing martial arts on display, and no shortage of gore. Evans certainly knows his audience and delivers on what we want! The plot may not be particularly original, and some characters may be paper-thin but those are not the goals of films like these. As for the goal of providing non-stop badassery, The Raid 2 nails that with a bloody hammer! 


The Raid 2 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The DVD includes director commentary with Gareth Evans; a Q&A with Evans, Iko Uwais, and composer Joe Trapanese; and "The Next Chapter: Shooting the Sequel" featurette wherein the transition between the two films is discussed. The DVD also includes both an English dub and the original language version of the film.

Use the links below to get your DVD or Blu-ray copy now!



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