FRIGHT AT HOME: MARCH 3RD -BLACULA, THE CAPTIVE, and some Italian Post-Apoc Greatness!

FAH111-600x420It’s a great day for DVD/Bluray when it comes to horror (and another genre or two), and with FRIGHT AT HOME, we like to highlight some of the titles that for one reason or another, we feel that we would like to give you fright fanatics a heads’ up on. This week sees multiple releases from Scream Factory, Lionsgate and Cinedigm, as well as others, but we’ve singled out some highlights to shine the proverbial flashlight on. Read on!


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BLACULA/SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (Dir. William Crane, Bob Kelljan)

Easily the standout release of the week, as far as I’m concerned, Scream Factory’s BLACULA/SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM double feature Bluray debut is a one-two punch of two of the coolest vampire movies around. Somewhat light on the supplemental end, but definitely worth picking up, you won’t find a vampire who takes less crap from his vampire crew as much as William Marshall’s Mamuwalde character. The guy oozes cool and though both films have their share of laughs, they also have some genuinely intense vampire moments, with the first one having to with Count Dracula killing Mamuwalde’s wife and cursing him with the pains of being a lifelong vampire (also dubbed, “Blacula”), only to be let out of his locked coffin years hundreds of years later by a pair of interior decorators.

The second film in the set, SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM, is a very different film, tonally and plot-wise from the first film, with Mamuwalde being resurrected by a scorned member of a voodoo-practicing group to exact revenge on them, only to be put under Mamuwalde’s vampire spell and all hell breaking loose.  Adding her tough as nails and just as sexy as ever, Foxy Brown herself Pam Grier co-stars in the sequel, bringing an even more badass and interesting cast to life.

Both extremely entertaining entries into the Blaxploitation genre that boomed in the ’70s, the Blacula series does an excellent job of really telling a unique story, a fresh and brand new take on what could have easily have been yet another group of silly vampire films. Sure, there are DEFINITELY a decent amount of camp and silliness (the campiness of the interior decorators of the first film, and some VERY-non p.c. dialogue almost brings you out of the films once or twice), but for every line that leaves you saying “yikes” or comedic moment that is hilarious, there are some very intense and awesome vampire horror going on. Marshall is spectacular as the title character and plays the role as straight as an actor would with Shakespeare.

As far as the transfers and special features, both films look absolutely great in HD and though some might feel it being skimpy, the brand new commentary on BLACULA by film historian David F. Walker is a great commentary to listen to, and the second film’s interview with Richard Lawson (Blacula’s assistant in the film) is also an entertaining one to watch. Sure, it’s great to have releases with TONS of supplemental stuff, but for these two films, the movies speak for themselves and are worth buying for that alone.

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EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (Dir. Jules Harrison)

You love MAD MAX, I love MAD MAX and so did a lot of films that came after the Mel Gibson classic arrived. This knock-off, also available today from Scream Factory, is silly and weird and everything else thrown into one odd and very cheesy post-apocalyptic exploitation film, but in a GREAT way. We don’t get many films like this one these days (here’s hoping that TURBO KID brings it back), so it’s a LOT of fun to have these ’80s gems to appear in brand new HD re-releases.

Following a group of scientists/survivors who are waiting for one of their own to return with water (the future is a dry country of famine and thirst, so water is like GOD in this one), EXTERMINATORS OF THE 3000 serves up an interesting plot and placing the film’s reluctant protagonist (aren’t they all?), Alien, in the middle, giving genre fans a lot of action greatness, bad overdubbibng, and some great villains in the “Exterminators”. Throw yet another new spin into the film with a part-machine kid looking for his missing father, and you’ve got one hell of a fun time, a real crowd movie, one the watch over pizza and beer (or even better, Dr. Pepper). It’s wild, fun and such a pleasure to sit through, a film that you really want to tell friends about and show to them immediately after it finishes.

Featuring both a commentary AND interview with actor Robert Iannucci (Alien), and a few TV spots, EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 is the perfect exploitation film to pick up and instantly add to your collection. Hell, buy a couple for Christmas presents too.

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THE CAPTIVE (Dir. Atom Egoyan)

Ok, here’s a real feel good movie for ya. Just kidding, it’s not a feel good movie AT ALL. It is, however, yet another excellent from Atom Egoyan (THE SWEET HEREAFTER is still one of my all time favorite films and EXOTICA is just the pervy kind of thriller that I’m into..Mia Kirschner forverrrr). Dealing with the absolute horror of child abduction, the film’s use of different timelines and excellent performances by Ryan Reynolds (what’s up with him doing good movie again, right on), the ALWAYS awesome Mireille Enos (be still my beating heart, this woman is perfection in every way and shines in this one) and a whole bunch of other great actors, THE CAPTIVE is such a poetic and sometimes heartbreaking film that any parent will find somewhat hard to watch at times, but will be one that stays with you for quite some time after watching it)

The less you know about the film the better, but like most of Egoyan’s films, he takes something awful that has happened to people and focuses not on the tragedy as much as the effect is has on all involved. After not really being too into Egoyan’s WM3 film THE DEVIL’S KNOT, I was really hoping for a return to form, and THE CAPTIVE is defintely that: a powerful drama/mystery, anchored beautifully by great storytelling and performances.

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INNOCENCE (Dir. Hilary Brougher)

Looks, you horror lovers, tweens need their horror too and we can’t all show our kids FOUND just yet, so films like INNOCENCE, though maybe not for older genre lovers, are somewhat of a good thing, giving younger fans something to latch onto and help be that middleman between the TWILIGHT stuff they dig and the stuff WE the parents are into (aka-non sparkly horror).

Revolving around Beckett, a young girl, who after the death of her mother, begins to attend a special school which turns out to be not only a regular location of its student population killing themselves, but also where a coven and/or cult-like group feasts on the blood of virgins to survive. Throwing a wrench even more into everything, the devilish leader of the coven (EDEN LAKE‘s Kelly Reilly) sets her sights on not only Beckett, but her father AND her blood as well.

It’s not Polanksi, but if you have a tween-teen that wants to cautiously give the horror genre a try, INNOCENCE is one to pick up for them to test out.

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