Cult Movies on DVD

All the best in Cult Movies released onto DVD

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Sunday, 04 July 2010

“Force of Five” concerns the dazzling exploits of four very young and fearless Thai boxing students who come to the aid of their friend Wun, who has chronic heart disease. As the end nears, a donor heart is located but tragically the hospital in charge comes under siege from a group of ruthless terrorists. Wuth, Catt, Jib and Pong must breach the terrorists’ perimeter, locate the heart and get it back to Wun in time for his operation.

Krissanapong Rachata’s movie comes from the same stable as “Ong Bak”, “Chocolate” and “Raging Phoenix” which means that, despite it featuring a much younger cast than those adult hits, it still features thrilling acrobatics, spine-crunching combat and boundless energy. Like “Home Alone”, though, the movie has a more family-oriented flavour and there are plenty of pratfalls, high jinks and light comedic touches.

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Sunday, 04 July 2010

The title of this movie could easily be misconstrued as something cheeky to do with skating. The ice in question is, however, used by a boiler-suited freak to keep his dead or stunned victims from going ripe or escaping. As you would guess from the other half of the title, the majority of his prey are skimpily-clad young ladies.

Said bus-load of ladies happen to roll up at a seemingly abandoned, rundown gas station, on the way to a fund-raising bikini carwash at the beach. Their bus has broken down, leaving them temporarily stranded. By day, they opt to wash some cars to pass the time. By night, they get slaughtered one by one by Moe, the aforementioned demented mechanic who evidently ran out of Head and Shoulders a long time ago!

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

The original 1958 version of “The Hidden Fortress” was directed by Japanese legend Akira Kurosawa, and was apparently heavily referenced in George Lucas’s “Star Wars” movies. Fifty years on, this new version seeks to update the production values of the original whilst holding true to its classical storylines and characters.

The allied nations of Hayakawa and Akizuki are at war with the invading forces of Yamana. The titular fortress is under siege and Princess Yuki (Masami Nagasawa) and her loyal Samurai bodyguard Rokurota (Hiroshi Abe) must flee before enemy forces breach their defences. They dupe a couple of morally suspect rogues into helping them transport some gold back to friendly territory whilst pretending to be humble bandits. Shinji Higuchi’s remake is a fun, mildly thoughtful and action-packed adventure yarn about caste, honour, greed, humanity and salvation. The two rogues - Takezo (Jun Matsumoto) and Shinpachi (Daisuke Miyagawa) - are the bumbling comic relief in an otherwise quite earnest and bloody movie, but during their journey they realise there might be more to life than their mantra of “Women! Liquor! Food!”.

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Of all of George A Romero’s films, “Martin” is apparently his favourite, even though many people have probably never even heard of it. Made in 1977 on a tiny budget, it is an extremely unorthodox vampire movie; even today, when our TV screens, cinemas and book shops are crammed with blood-sucking tales for all corners of the market, it still feels fresh and unique.

Newcomer John Amplas (“Knightriders”, “Day of the Dead”) excels as the eponymous character, a troubled teenager who moves in with his much older cousin Cuda (Lincoln Maazel) and Cuda’s daughter Christina (Christine Forrest aka Mrs Romero). Cuda, a staunch Catholic, is convinced that Martin has a terrible curse of vampirism passed down the family bloodline, and is determined to cure him and put stop to his activities. Martin has a bizarre addiction or complex that drives his thirst for human blood, which certainly seems to substantiate Cuda’s beliefs.

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Fans of Spaghetti Westerns might think that the genre begins and ends with Clint Eastwood’s famous “Man with no name” trilogy. This new “Cult Spaghetti Westerns” box set is keen to prove otherwise, and packages three genre classics together including “Django” (1966), “A Bullet for the General” (1966) and “Keoma” (1976).

“Django” stars Franco Nero as the titular gunslinger, a character closely resembling Eastwood’s wily, brazen anti-heros. Django sometimes helps the weak and defenceless, but he has no qualms about gunning down everyone else using his lightning reflexes and flawless aim. He carries with him an aura of death, thanks in no small part to the coffin he drags behind him; it holds an unpleasant surprise for those that stand in his way.

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Monday, 07 June 2010

Six years after Thai sensation Tony Jaa brutally elbowed his way into public consciousness, Indonesia produced this new movie as a launch-pad for another martial arts superstar. Meet boyish actor Iko Uwais, aka Yuda, a Sumatran farmer boy undergoing his personal Merantau or “walkabout”. Before he can be considered a grown up, the adolescent must travel abroad, prove his manhood and find his true place in life.

Having arrived in bustling Jakarta, our hero quickly runs into trouble. Firstly, his wallet is stolen by a cheeky street urchin called Adit (Yusuf Aulia). Then he comes to the aid of the little squirt’s sister, Astri (Sisca Jessica) as she is preyed upon by her seedy dance-club boss Johni (Alex Abbad). Unfortunately for the trio, Johni is just a cog in a larger criminal machine, and they find themselves becoming the targets of some very bad men.

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

“Unrivaled” aims to be the new “Rocky” for today’s generation of young adults brought up on the bone-crunching sport of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Ringo Duran (Hector Echavarria) is a washed out, sagging past master who’s heavily in debt to some bad people and barely scraping a living together as a barman at a pole-dancing club.

Backed into a corner by the loan sharks, the only way Ringo can save himself is to enter a high profile tournament to uncover the world’s best amateur fighter. The prize is $100,000, which is more than enough to clear Hector’s debts, but first he will have to overcome some younger, meaner fighters before confronting the reigning Mixed Martial Arts Champion, Chris “The Pressure” Holland (Rashad Evans).

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

“I Know You Know” is a quintessentially British drama from Justin Kerrigan (“Human Traffic”). Set in Wales in 1988, it stars Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe, “Trainspotting”) and newcomer Arron Fuller. Carlyle plays Charlie, a paranoid spy and devoted father who traverses the country on dangerous covert missions, dragging plucky son Jamie (Fuller) in tow.

Charlie has one last mission to fulfil before he can hang up his gun and the pair can settle down to a luxurious, idyllic life in America, a life without the stresses and strains associated with continual relocation. Up until now they have had to endure the disruption of tatty temporary homes, changing schools and having to make new friends. The assignment’s target is an omnipresent satellite TV corporation called Astrosat.

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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Some are calling it the most controversial film of the year, but in essence “Starsuckers” is in equal measure hilarious and shocking. For those of you obsessed with the concept of ‘celebrity’, this is a wake-up call as to why you are being conned by the modern-day equivalent of ‘bread and circuses’.

Director Chris Atkins was BAFTA-nominated for is previous film, “Taking Liberties” – a fact-driven revelation of how British citizens have unwittingly surrendered their freedom, walking like a somnambulist into a very real nightmare, for which George Orwell’s “1984” was the blueprint. To get the most from his new project, you have to appreciate that our surveillance state is but one facet of the command and control apparatus that has been set up around us. In “Starsuckers” you will see how people are distracted to looking in the wrong direction by inane, irrelevant, and in many cases untrue coverage of celebrities.

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Monday, 10 May 2010

 “Two Evil Eyes” is a remake of 1962’s “Tales of Terror”, a horror anthology featuring several bone-chilling stories from the pen of Edgar Allan Poe, renowned Nineteenth Century American author of the macabre. This 1990 version comprises two hour-long tales of the supernatural, murder and suspense, directed by genre masters George A. Romero and Dario Argento.

First up is Romero’s “The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar”, a yarn which intelligently embellishes upon Poe’s very slight premise of death and mesmerism. Part two is Argento’s “The Black Cat”, a tale which is sure to have animal lovers cowering behind the sofa in abject horror, and is much closer to the original, distressing source material.

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Monday, 10 May 2010

David Morley’s “Mutants” is essentially a French version of “28 Days Later”, in that it features a bleak, post-apocalyptic world wherein most of the population have succumbed to a deadly virus that swiftly turns the infected into raging, animalistic cannibals. As in Danny Boyle’s masterpiece, these feral zombies are contenders for the Olympic 100 metres, not shuffling morons.

As the movie opens, medic Sonia (Hélène de Fougerolles) and her boyfriend Marco (Francis Renaud) are speeding in an ambulance through a snow-laden mountain road. Sonia tends to a patient in the aftermath of an attack, all the while watched like a hawk by Perez (Marie-Sohna Condé), a nervy soldier with a single-minded determination to stay alive and an automatic rifle unflinchingly trained on the victim.

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Monday, 03 May 2010

“Blood” is the Japanese answer to “Blade”, with the addition of a generous dose of erotica to spice things up. Director Ten Shimoyama fuses a modern-day, urban setting with contrasting gothic overtones. Vampires exist, but despite a typically voracious appetite for young flesh, they keep themselves as concealed from public view as possible.

Detective Hoshino (Kanji Tsuda) is demoted after exposing the dirty business of some influential criminals. Maneuvered out of the limelight, he finds himself dumped with the dead-end crimes nobody else wants. One old case due to expire soon catches his eye: the horrific murder of a maid in a stately mansion. The girl’s parents haven’t given up hope, and Hoshino resolves to uncover the truth. Of course, there is much more to this case than meets the eye.

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Monday, 03 May 2010

“Attack of the Crab Monsters” is one of five exciting new DVD releases from cult film producer Roger Corman, courtesy of budget label In2Film. The other four disks include “Grand Theft Auto”, 80s slasher “Slumber Party Massacre”, Corman’s other directorial contribution to the 1950s sci-fi genre, “Not Of This Earth”, and the David Carradine-starring, post-apocalyptic action-adventure, “Deathsport”.

“Crab Monsters” is a typical 1950s black and white giant monster flick, and as such it is short, economical and requires a hefty amount of disbelief-suspension. Having said that, it genuinely would not look out of place alongside the era’s better known sci fi/horror films such as “Invaders from Mars”, “The Thing From Another World” or “Creature From The Black Lagoon”. It also feels a little like a very long range flash back from the TV series Lost.

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Sunday, 25 April 2010

“Lynn Cassady and Bill Django are based on Sgt Glenn Wheaton and Col Jim Channon, all others are invented or composites.  Do not attempt walking through walls, cloudbursting while driving or staring for hours at goats with the intent of harming them … invisibility is fine.”

So says a statement in the closing credits of “The Men Who Stare at Goats”. It is described as a dark comedy, and is directed by Grant Heslov. It has its focus on Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), a newspaper reporter who is very loosely based on author of the original book, Jon Ronson. The film’s basis is a curious concoction – Ronson’s original text was a catalogue of real events, with real people encapsulated within it. This movie is sort-of an autobiographical fiction, names being changed and incidents refocused to make it a more coherent tale (apparently). This means it becomes almost a ‘buddy movie’ in its complexion, as Wilton gets to know Lyn Cassady, who claims to be a retired American psychic-spy, trained to be a real life ‘Jedi Knight’!.

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Saturday, 24 April 2010

World-reknowned martial arts choreographer, Yuen Woo-Ping (“The Matrix trilogy) brings together two kung fu legends in this entertaining classic: Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. Li stars as Junbao, a Shaolin monk learning his art alongside buddy Chin Bo (Chin Siu-Ho). The duo get on like a house on fire until they are expelled following a massive fight, and thereafter they quickly realise that their destinies stretch in opposite directions.

Junbao is determined to adhere to his training, using his skills to help people and become a better person. He is welcomed by a spirited group of resistance fighters rising up against tyrannical military forces, forces that are sucking the populace dry through extortionate taxation. On the other hand, Chin Bo is keen to progress, earn wealth and power. He joins the army and yearns to become a powerful general. Before long, their paths will converge once more.

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Saturday, 24 April 2010

A gloriously shameless throwback to the exploitation flicks of the 1960s, the makers of “Bitch Slap” owe a lot to the likes of Russ Meyer and Roger Corman, as well as more recent fare such as “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Austin Powers”. This is certainly not a film for the faint-hearted or champions of Women’s Lib. What it is, though, is an explosive and in-your-face cinematic experience.

Hel (Erin Cummings), Camero (America Olivo) and Trixie (Julia Voth) are three buxom ladies in search of $200 million in diamonds. As we join them, their crazy adventure has led them to a windswept desert compound. Gage (Michael Hurst – Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) is their captive, and they will do anything to get him to reveal where the bounty is hidden.

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Thursday, 08 April 2010

Winner of the ‘Best Horror Feature’ award at the New York Independent Film Festival, “Backwoods Bloodbath” has the ingredients of a good, old-fashioned monster/slasher flick. It centres on a mythical beast, the ferocious ‘Black Hodag’, allegedly a bizarre combination of a frog, elephant, dinosaur and assorted other creatures. The critter is rumoured to have been stalking the Black Forest in Wisconsin for over a century.

Enter stage left a bunch of wise-cracking ex-college students reuniting for a mutual friend’s funeral. They will be staying in a remote ‘cottage’ in the woods which basically means a shed with simple amenities. Once there, they intend to drink themselves silly, have sex and recall the good times. What they do not count on is the Hodag spoiling their party and ripping them to pieces, one by one.

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Thursday, 08 April 2010

Not long after her storming debut in “Chocolate”, Jija Yanin strikes back with this lavish martial arts extravaganza. A very lithe Yanin plays “Deu”, a wayward member of a rock band whose highly temperamental attitude quickly gets her dumped by the group. Her father’s dead, her mother neglects her and boyfriends cheat on her. Desperately miserable, Deu turns to drink and finds her life spiralling rapidly out of control.

At her lowest ebb, Deu is targeted by a vicious bunch of thugs called the Jaguar Gang. Bizarrely enough, they kidnap women possessing a special pheromone which is harvested for a sex drug. In the nick of time, our heroine is saved, sheltered and schooled by Sanim (Kazu Patrick Tang), leader of a small band of freedom fighters who employ an unusual fighting style called Mayraiyuth. Combining Drunken Boxing, break dancing and kick boxing, this unpredictable martial art uses alcohol to raise energy levels and turns pain into strength.

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Thursday, 08 April 2010

Simon Baker (The Mentalist, “Land of the Dead”), Paz Vega (“Spanglish”) and Chloe Moretz (“Kick-Ass”, “(500) Days of Summer”) star in this dark thriller set in the Texas/Mexico border town of Del Rio. Baker plays Jack Bishop, a successful business man and part-time school soccer coach. His daughter Toby (Moretz) - from his first marriage - is on the team but becoming increasingly distracted and wayward thanks to the early onset of womanhood.

One fateful day, Toby goes missing and is assumed abducted. The local Sheriff looks up all the suspected sex offenders to try to flush out any likely suspects, but the existence of “La Santa Muerte” (“Saint Death”), a shady religious cult on the periphery suggests that something even more disturbing is afoot. As Jack digs deeper into the case, the terrible events of his buried past start to surface and threaten to unravel everything.

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Billed as a period martial arts movie directed in a modern style, “Geisha Assassin” has the briefest of plots and barely any dialogue. Kotono (Minami Tsukui) is a vivacious geisha with a score to settle. As a child she witnessed the murder of her father, Yamabe (a very stern Masaki Nomura), at the hands of his top student, Hyo-e (Shigeru Kanai).

Abandoning her geisha ethics but not the uniform, Kotono soon comes up against Hyo-e; after a crushing defeat she quickly realises that she must prove herself and hone her skills against an array of henchmen, before finally getting another chance at her father’s executioner. One’s heart sinks at the news that this film was directed by Go Ohara, better known as a stunt and martial arts choreographer. I have lost track of the number of times a pop video director or special effects expert has moved into direction and trashed the first movie they got their hands on.

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Directed by Paul King, and featuring cameos from regulars from The Mighty Boosh, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, King swaps his direction of that cult comedy for a homage to buddy movies. It combines bizarre humour with a dark and twisted edge. This is a road movie that, at first glance, could well be set entirely inside a flat.

“Bunny and the Bull” sees obsessive-compulsive Stephen Turnbull (Ed Hogg), shaken out of his self-imposed isolation by a plague of rats that threaten to drive him outside – a place he now fears. He flashes back through the life-changing journey he took with best friend Bunny across Europe the previous Summer. Bunny sees himself as something of a Casanova, taking in any talent that comes across his radar, and forgetting the aim of their trek, financed by some lucky gambling, was to bring Stephen out of his shell.

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Arrow Video has released three more horror classics by the Italian genre master, Dario Argento, and we had two sets to give away as competition prizes! These three movies span almost two decades and represent a perfect introduction to Argento’s back catalogue.

On offer in this package of Region 2 releases were 1987’s “Terror at the Opera”, 1996’s “The Stendahl Syndrome”, and 2004’s “The Card Player”, which in turn deal with an understudy opera singer looking to benefit from a tragic accident, a detective who finds herself being sucked into paintings that in turn help her to crack a case, and a serial killer stalking his victims via the internet – bringing an added twist to online gambling!

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

This 1950 British film stars a dashing Trevor Howard ("Brief Encounter", "The Third Man") and a smouldering Jean Simmonds ("Spartacus", "Guys and Dolls") as a desperate pair of lovers on the run from both the police and the secret service. Don’t let the odd title of the film put you off, all will be explained as you delve into the mystery and suspense that entertain you throughout this film’s 90 minute running time.

David Somers (Howard) is a recently retired Secret Service spy who takes a job cataloguing butterflies for Nicholas Fenton (Barry Jones). Somers meets Fenton’s niece Sophie Malraux (Simmonds) who is a confused and troubled young woman. Jess Fenton (Sonia Dresdel) is Sophie’s aunt who seems intent on confusing her further.

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

“Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre” is a chilling and darkly comedic Icelandic horror movie coming soon to DVD, courtesy of E1 Entertainment. Following in the footsteps of “Dead Snow” and “Let the Right One In”, this Scandinavian gorefest in the style of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is set to thrill horror fans. Gunnar Hansen – Leatherface himself – stars as a ship captain ferrying an ill-fated group of whale watching tourists.

Ironically, when tragedy strikes and their ship is left to drift, the tourists seek refuge on a whaling vessel manned by a bunch of blood-thirsty crazies. After that, the whales take a back seat and it is the tourists who become the hunted. Their nightmare is just beginning!

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Sunday, 14 March 2010

South Korean director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”, “I’m a Cyborg”) likes to shake up tired and clichéd genres, throwing a little chaos into the mix. “Thirst” is a vampire movie quite unlike anything else out there, though it does have similarities to the equally innovative “Let The Right One In” and “True Blood”.

Song Kang-ho (“The Host”, “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”) stars as Father Sang-hyun, an utterly selfless man who, finding himself frustrated that he cannot save the gravely ill, volunteers to take part in a dangerous medical trial for a viral antidote. Forty-nine other people have already died, but this does not deter him. Things look very bad for the priest when a mass of angry boils form on his skin and he starts coughing up blood, but – following a rushed blood transfusion – he appears to make a miraculous recovery. In fact, he feels better than ever, but there is a sting in the tail.

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