FRIGHT AT HOME – May 26th: Reptiles, Houses and The Devil in A Cage

68390_10151150539704998_897037894_nThis week is a good one, you dear Fright Fanatics! Scream Factory, Dark Sky and Level 33 all put out some interesting and fun titles and what better way to tell you genre fans about them, than to well,..tell you about them. We picked a few of the titles to focus on, the ones we feel you should give a chance or even better, give your money to own. Read on!


 

LET US PREY (Dir. Brian O’Malley)

Quite easily the standout film being released this week, Brian O’Malley’s LET US PREY is a film that slowly gets under your skin, then LUPproceeds to rip it off, with its completely engrossing plot and twists. Dealing with a rookie police officer (a GREAT performance by THE WOMAN‘s Pollyanna McIntosh)’s first night on the job, the film throws her into a somewhat corrupt police department, one filled with despicable people who don’t really believe in protecting, only serving up their own brand of justice. When a mysterious drifter appears, and gets locked up in cell “6”, we then only know the man as just that, “6”.

Slowly the inhabitants of the police station, those locked up, are each faced with their disgusting past crimes, and are forced by the mysterious SIX to not only deal with them, but to pay the price. A bloody and very intense twist, which each jail inhabitant’s demise getting more viscerally grotesque and shocking, as the time goes on. The only person NOT completely evil is McIntosh’s Rachel character. An idealistic police officer with flashbacks to a very hard and abusive childhood, Rachel wants to do right, and is forced to deal with not only the absolute carnage being caused by SIX, but by her fellow officers. She’s an excellent character to follow, and in my opinion, McIntosh takes the cake as far as being the absolute best part of the film. She hasn’t done a single film that I didn’t enjoy, and LET US PREY is just another great one to add to the list. Meeting her with intensity, is SIX himself, played subtlety and full of sinister energy by Game Of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham. Cunningham could have very well turned SIX into a typical over the top villain, but instead he keeps things quiet and almost demonic.

If you threw John Carpenter’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and HALLOWEEN into a blender with a bible and a voodoo doll, the end result would be LET US PREY, a film that will without a doubt be one that turns quite a few heads and drops jaws aplenty. Pick this up ASAP, and be sure to prepare yourself for one hell of a scene involving a table leg and a face….

THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET (Dir. Arthur Luhn)

houseposterI’m a big fan of films involving a secret group of people with sinister agendas. It’s an easy way to pull me in, and if said film utilizes that decently, you’ve got me going for the ride. Arthur Luhn (CONNED)’s THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET is just that kind of film. When a young woman moves into a new neighborhood, everything seems fine, with neighbors smiling, and Eric Roberts patrolling the area in a car (probably not far from what Eric Roberts really IS doing these days…I’m kidding, I’m kidding).

Like most films in similar areas, things aren’t what they seem and Amy (Jessica Sonneborn) comes across the idea that there’s something very wrong in the neighborhood, and ends up having to fight for her life. It’s not reinventing the wheel by any means, but THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET is an entertaining little movie, one that with Ethan Embry, Eric Roberts, Courtney Gains and more, it’s fun to see familiar faces being a little different than you’d expect. It’s a pretty intense film at times, full of some creepy moments and its share of scenes that will make you jump, or at least punch the head of whoever is sitting in front you.

If you’re into the “something isn’t quite right here” types of films, then this one could very well by something to pick up on redbox or hell, even stores.

unnamed (5)Oh Scream Factory, you magnificent bastards. It’s no secret that the SF gang has us all (as in the horror community) by the balls, so to speak. They’ve done such a great job giving us awesome “Collector’s Edition”s of some of our favorite horror classics, brought the entire HALLOWEEN collection into one wonderful boxset, and have given genre fans some good, good treats.

Adding to an already GREAT year of releases, the gang at SF have released not one, but TWO double features, with all four films dealing with mean as hell creatures, reptiles and rodents. Basically, whatever phobia you have, they’ve got your back,…or are crawling on your back, ready to kill you….aaaaahhhhh.

empire-ants-jaws-satan-scream-factory-blu-ray-530x666

H.G. Wells’ EMPIRE OF THE ANTS/JAWS OF SATAN (Dir. Bert I. Gordon/Robert Claver)

This one is already giving me the creeps, with a combination of a film about giant ants and one about Satan possessing a snake. If that alone isn’t enough for you to either rush out and buy them or even enough to make you jump out of your office window to your death, then you’re nuts, because snakes are scary!

Featuring the always wonderful Joan Collins, EMPIRE OF THE ANTS deals with a toxic dump that mutates ants into GIGANTIC form, which in turn makes the plans that Collins and friends had go right out the door, and forces them to run for their lives. It’s a fun film, obviously not to be taken very seriously, but with that being said, it’s great! The special effects are a bit dated, but who cares? EMPIRE OF THE ANTS came at a time in which it was all about having a great time when giving up your hard earned money to see the latest creature feature. If the actors’ reactions to being killed by ants don’t make you smile widely, then there is something genuinely wrong with you, because this one is a work of giant insect art.

Now to JAWS OF SATAN, which has by far, one of the strangest plots of all time as far as I’m concerned. The Devil, being the asshole that he is, decides to possess a snake, and lets it loose on a small city thriving on the opening of a racing park in which dogs are the racers. It’s Alabama people, why would that be weird, doesn’t the Devil do that a lot?

When a small gang decides to take the snake on (one member is played by Gretchen Corbett, who is in one of my favorite films of all time, LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH), hell breaks loose and we get some gnarly snake action, all of which I  cringe at just imagining again after watching the film. On a film critic level, it’s a fun and entertaining horror flick with a lot of memorable moments that make it worth being released alone, let alone in a GREAT double feature with EMPIRE OF THE ANTS. On a personal level, though, it would be a huge lie if I said watching JAWS OF SATAN doesn’t make cringe and curl up in a ball every single time I’ve seen it. Oh yeah, my name is Jerry by the way, and I AM TERRIFIED OF SNAKES.

You fright fanatics are probably as tough as nails, so by all means, pick up this great double feature, and if you do, please don’t mention to me that you loved JAWS OF SATAN, because it makes my shoulders shake just thinking about it. Eeeesh.

foodofthegods-frogs-blurayH.G. Wells’ THE FOOD OF THE GODS/FROGS (Dir. Bert I. Gordon/George McCowan)

We’ve dealt with ants and snakes and now…now it’s time for some rodents and another reptile movie. Scream Factory knows what horror fans want, and these classic films are just enough to we your whistle until the big fan-anxious titles arrive.

Revolving around an island with ooze-like muck coming up from the grounds, THE FOOD OF THE GODS just further proves what other films have touched on: greed. Thinking it’s a growth hormone and that it’ll get him rich (these thoughts never work out in films, do they), he begins to give it to his animals. Soon later, everything from chickens and rats, to worms and even wasps begin to grow to gigantic proportions, and attack the islands’ residents.

Aside from being directed by Bert I. Gordon, who was largely responsible for the gigantic creatures genre, and filled with awesome actors like Belinda Balaski (GREMLINS, THE HOWLING) , THE FOOD OF THE GODS is an entertaining ride from start to finish, which isn’t saying much, because EVERYTHING Gordon directed was fun, but TFOTG is one that any fan of creature features MUST own, and this double feature with FROGS is a good way to do so.

Oh FROGS. Growing up, I absolutely adored this George McCowan-helmed gem. Dealing with a pissed of, grumpy as all hell millionaire played by LOVE STORY star Ray Milland, and his hatred for all creatures.  I know, I know, you fright fanatics are going to crucify me for not mentioning Milland’s genre work, but hey!, I love LOVE STORY. When Milland’s Crockett character decides to poison every single thing that comes onto his property, he and his guests are put through hell when the tables are turned and THOUSANDS of frogs decided to offer up some revenge.

By the halfway mark of the film, things are so out of hand, you find yourself wondering if things will work out for our heroes (including my childhood hero, ROAD HOUSE & TOMBSTONE star Sam Elliott and Joan Van Ark). It’s a slimy, gooey, fun film, one that might be a tad bit slime-filled for some (my grandmother HATED it, RIP grandma), but for genre fans who love watching the classics (and FROGS most definitely IS one), then this double feature is one to pick up.


*Included in the FOOD OF THE GODS/FROGS double feature set, are the follow special features:

TFOTG: NEW interview with Belinda Balaski

Audio Commentary with writer/director Bert I. Gordon

FROGS: New interview with Joan Van Ark

Theatrical trailer

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  1. Salome

    Review”An operatic riff on the destructive potential of desire and power”-Times”lyrical, exotic and dark in the extreme”-Whatsonstage.com–This text refers



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