Thursday, August 18, 2016

OBSERVANCE (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

OBSERVANCE (2015) 
Label: Artsploitation Films
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 86 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 with Optional english Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Joseph Sims-Dennett
Cast: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King, Brendan Cowell, John Jarratt, Benedict Hardie, Tom O'Sullivan, Roger Ward

Synopsis: Atmospherically creepy and visually unnerving, Australia’s Joseph Sims-Dennett’s startling feature film debut follows Parker, a young man in the grip of grief following the death of his young son, his marriage on the rocks and nearing bankruptcy, but who reluctantly returns to work as a private investigator. His assignment it to observe a woman from an abandoned apartment, and as her watches bizarre happenings surrounding her, he slowly becomes aware that the derelict building he is in has a dark presence which slowly threatens to consume him. A frightening horror tale of a man spiraling into madness and reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s THE TENANT, Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, and the works of David Cronenberg and David Lynch.

The creepy voyeur film Observance comes from Australia by way of distributor Artsploitation Films who have been doing good work bringing the best (and weirdest) that foreign cinema has to offer for a few years now. This one is a real creeper that brought to mind Francis Ford Coppala's underrated The Conversation (1974) by way of a David Lynch tinged version of Rear Window (1954). We have a troubled private eye named Parker (Lindsay Farris) who is hired to monitor a young woman named Tenneal (Stephanie King) for the span of seven days, tasked to watch her and report back to his benefactor, which seems a simple enough assignment. He is set-up in an apartment across the way from the woman with a great view of her place, but the flat they've set him up is real nightmare fuel, the place has faulty electricity and the walls are lined with yellowed newspaper, it looks like a place where nothing good has ever happened ... and what the fuck is that black liquid in a jar up on the shelf? Increasingly Parker becomes aware of the while not much is happening to the mysterious woman that a lot of weird stuff is happening to him, things not easily dismissed. 

He become increasingly obsessed with the beautiful woman, haunted by sexual dreams of her, all the while becoming more and more concerned about the nature of the assignment, of which everything seems ambiguous, nothing is clearly defined. Soon sores begins appear on his back, he begins vomiting awful black goo, and as his health and sanity begin to erode as he begins to spiral down a hole of madness, one with possible supernatural overtones. The movie brought to mind the early works of Roman Polanski like Repulsion (1965) and The Tenant (1976), with a bit of that David Lynch strangeness and some choice Brian De Palma tendencies, but without coming off as a clone or copy, all of these influences are swirled together into a claustrophobic concoction of weirdness, voyeurism and paranoia that made for a great watch. 

It is a bit of slow-burn that doesn't go out of its way to explain much to the viewer, which I appreciated, this is definitely a movie for fans of slow-burn weirdness. This Australian export is a high recommend, a thoroughly eerie and spellbinding watch. Fans of creepy slow-burn cinema like Session 9 (2001), The Tenant (1976), and Kill List (2011) are strongly urged to seek this one out.  

SATANIC PANIC Now available in paperback and hardcover (limited edition) via FAB Press

SATANIC PANIC
Now available in paperback and hardcover (limited edition)
via FAB Press

"An electrifying descent into '80s-era cultural terror."
- Mike McPadden, author of Heavy Metal Movies

In the 1980s, it seemed impossible to escape Satan's supposed influence. Everywhere you turned, there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the "Satanic Panic," not only sought to convince us of devils lurking behind the dials of our TVs and radios and the hellfire that awaited on book and video store shelves, it also created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, audio cassettes and literature. 

Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s offers an in-depth exploration of how a controversial culture war played out during the decade, from the publication of the memoir Michelle Remembers in 1980 to the end of the McMartin "Satanic Ritual Abuse" Trial in 1990.

Satanic Panic features new essays and interviews by 20 writers who address the ways the widespread fear of a Satanic conspiracy was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons, TV talk shows and even home computers. The book also features case studies on Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Long Island "acid king" killer Ricky Kasso. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, the book captures the untold story of how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.

"An often hilarious, sometimes terrifying view into the damage that can be caused when belief outweighs reason." - Daniel XIII, Famous Monsters of Filmland

Pre-order, Images, etc: https://www.fabpress.com/satanicpanic.html 

VICE interview with editors: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/is-satan-still-a-big-deal-in-2016


The Authors
SATANIC PANIC features essays and interviews by authors and media critics including Adam Parfrey (Apocalypse Culture), Gavin Baddeley (The Gospel of Filth, Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock n' Roll), Liisa Ladouceur (Encyclopedia Gothica), David Flint (SHEER FILTH!), Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study), Adrian Mack (The Georgia Straight), Forrest Jackson (Cosmic Suicide: The Tragedy and Transcendence of Heaven's Gate), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire), Leslie Hatton (Popshifter), David Canfield (Twitch), David Bertrand (Fangoria; Spectacular Optical), Alison Lang (Rue Morgue, Broken Pencil), Kevin L. Ferguson (Eighties People), Wm Conley (Deathwound), Kurt Halfyard (Twitch), Samm Deighan (Satanic Pandemonium), Stacey Rusnak (The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction), Ralph Elawani (C'est complet au royaume des morts), Gil Nault (Liturgie apocryphe), one-man band John Schooley and Joshua Benjamin Graham, alongside co-editors Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) and Paul Corupe (Canuxploitation). The book also features comic art by Rick Trembles (Motion Picture Purgatory) and original illustrations by Toronto artist Mike McDonnell.

Stephen David Brooks Invites Audiences Into FLYTRAP

FLYTRAP (2015) 

Available Now on Amazon Instant Video

Available August 23rd on iTunes and Vudu
                                                        
"A hint of Kubrick, a soupçon of Tarkovsky, all expertly mixed into an intoxicating cocktail by master barman and writer/director Stephen's very own intriguing brand of dark humour and clever writing. All extremely well lit, shot and acted - 
Jeremy Crutchley and the rest of the cast are brilliant." 
-- International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema London

My Man Productions has announced the rollout release of Stephen David Brooks' Flytrap on Digital HD.  Following an impressive year on the international film festival circuit, Flytrap is now streaming on Amazon Instant Video and Google Play.  It will be available to rent or own starting August 23rd on iTunes, Vudu and more.

Order Flytrap on Amazon Instant

Preorder Flytrap on iTunes

Since its debut on the film festival circuit, Flytrap has consistently won acclaim and awards around the world.  Among the awards won are Best Non-European Indie Feature at the European Independent Film Festival in France, Best Low Budget Feature at Worldfest Houston, Special Jury Prize at the Chelsea Film Festival as well as Best Feature, Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Blechman) and Best Ensemble at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.

Jeremy Crutchley ("Salem", "Black Sails") centers the film as a stranger in a strange land held at the whims of peculiar housemates Ina-Alice Kopp (Big Gay Love), Jonah Blechman (This Boy's Life, Another Gay Movie), Gabrielle Stone (Cut!) and Jason Duplissea ("Parks and Recreation").


On the day he arrives in the U.S. to teach at UCLA, paranoia roots itself into James Pond, a reserved English astronomer, who is seduced and quickly trapped in a suburban Los Angeles house by the mysterious and alluring Mary Ann and her equally bizarre housemates.  Are these people in a doomsday cult?  What do they want?  Are they even human?  This psychological, sci-fi thriller hybrid unfolds as James attempts to escape his freakishly foreign captors.  Even if he could escape, would the world believe his crazy story?




Flytrap Trailer from Stephen David Brooks on Vimeo.

Uncork’d Entertainment acquires the heavily-anticipated DOOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S THE FANTASTIC FOUR

DOOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S THE FANTASTIC FOUR

Highly-anticipated documentary DOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S THE FANTASTIC FOUR, from writer-director Marty Langford, will be distributed in the US and Canada by Uncork’d Entertainment. 


Chronicling the history of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four (1994), DOOMED! features never before seen footage from the production as well as new on-camera interviews with cast and crew including Mr. Corman, Jay Underwood, Michael Bailey Smith, Joseph Culp, Alex Hyde-White and Rebecca Staab.

Langford says DOOMED! was “courted by a number of distributors and he had the luxury of choice.  But once Keith at Uncork’d explained his company’s vision and strategy for our film, we realized that he was obviously the right one. He’s a terrific guy, a great distributor, and partner that we’re lucky to have.”
Uncork’d Entertainment President Keith Leopard says he’s excited to be releasing the definitive account of the never-released movie production and its Fantastic background.

“The average moviegoer doesn’t know that, ten years before releasing Tim Story’s version, Roger Corman was asked to produce a Fantastic Four movie. Unbeknownst to cast and crew, the film was never going to be released though – and for a variety of reasons. Doomed! is such a compelling documentary - and not just for comic book movies but anyone intrigued by the ins and outs of Hollywood and business. In short, it’s a Fantastic movie.”


Leopard’s enthusiasm for the film won producer Mark Sikes over.


"The reason Marty and I chose Uncork'd was Keith's passion for the film. He had a great reputation, but what really impressed us was how passionate he was about the film. We could tell he really liked the film and we knew we needed someone who understood it wasn't your typical documentary."


Uncork'd Entertainment will release DOOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S THE FANTASTIC FOUR on VOD 10/11 and DVD on 12/20.


Uncork’d Entertainment’s recent releases include the theatrically released documentary JANEY MAKES A PLAY, Lou Simon’s horror-thriller ALL GIRLS WEEKEND, RESTORATION and A HAUNTING IN CAWDOR. The distrib’s upcoming releases include FEED THE DEVIL, released in August, John Fallon’s anticipated thriller THE SHELTER, and SPAGHETTIMAN, released theatrically in the Fall.

JACK THE RIPPER RETURNS IN RAZORS ON DVD AND VOD OCTOBER 18

RAZORS (2016) 

Breaking Glass Pictures will release RAZORS, the first installment in a new horror franchise, on DVD and On Demand this October. Staring Kelby Keenan, Josh Myers (Antisocial), and the late Kan Bonfils (Skyfall, Batman Begins), RAZORS follows a group of young writers who come face-to-face with the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper in the modern world. RAZORS will be available on DVD and On Demand on October 18, 2016.

Synopsis:
While attending an intensive writing workshop held in a crumbing Victorian building, young writer Ruth Walker is challenged to write the ultimate horror movie by enigmatic screenwriting guru, Professor Richard Wise. But what are his motives? What secrets are hidden inside the ancient building? And are the knives Ruth has discovered really those used by notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper?

Ruth was told that the box of knives must never be opened, but the box goes missing and the killings begin. As the ghost of a young Victorian girl haunts Ruth and her fellow screenwriters, the Ripper of legend rises to renew his murderous spree. As bodies begin to pile up, it appears that everyone trapped in the building has a connection to the original mystery….

“The legend of Jack the Ripper is the stuff of nightmares”, says Rich Wolff, CEO of Breaking Glass. “RAZORS is a great introduction to a new horror franchise.”

Starting October 18, RAZORS will be available to buy/rent on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Xbox, Playstation, Vudu, Direct TV and On Demand through your local cable provider.

THE DEVIL DOLLS - OFFICIAL TRAILER, opens September 16th in select theaters, VOD and and via digital platforms from IFC Midnight.

THE DEVIL DOLLS - OFFICIAL TRAILER 

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

A serial killer’s curse unleashes a season of slaughter in the backwoods of Mississippi. According to an ancient Guatemalan tradition, parents teach their children to allay their troubles by telling them to handmade “worry dolls” just before bedtime. But when several of these talismans—which once belonged to a notorious mass murderer—find their way into the hands of unsuspecting residents of a small Southern town, it sets off a grisly wave of bloodshed. The latest from Rites of Spring director Padraig Reynolds is a voodoo-slasher shocker bursting with scarily inventive kills.  Christopher Wiehl, Kym Jackson and Tina Lifford star.


THE DEVIL'S DOLLS opens September 16th in select theaters, VOD and and via digital platforms from IFC Midnight.


THE DEVIL DOLLS - OFFICIAL TRAILER, opens September 16th in select theaters, VOD and and via digital platforms from IFC Midnight.

THE DEVIL DOLLS - OFFICIAL TRAILER 

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

A serial killer’s curse unleashes a season of slaughter in the backwoods of Mississippi. According to an ancient Guatemalan tradition, parents teach their children to allay their troubles by telling them to handmade “worry dolls” just before bedtime. But when several of these talismans—which once belonged to a notorious mass murderer—find their way into the hands of unsuspecting residents of a small Southern town, it sets off a grisly wave of bloodshed. The latest from Rites of Spring director Padraig Reynolds is a voodoo-slasher shocker bursting with scarily inventive kills.  Christopher Wiehl, Kym Jackson and Tina Lifford star.

THE DEVIL'S DOLLS opens September 16th in select theaters, VOD and and via digital platforms from IFC Midnight.