FRIGHT AT HOME – October 6th, 2015

IconsOfFright_Logo (1)This week’s Fright At Home is going to be a jam packed one. Quite a few releases hit shelves and online stores today, so it’ll be a bit lengthy. Everything from sci-fi/action to straight up horror, and even some horror/comedy fare thrown in for good measure.

Our last F.A.H. post was a video one, and we’re testing out what format works best for you readers so please feel free to let us know if you prefer written or video rundowns of each week’s releases. Read on!

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NOCTURNA (Alchemy)

It’s Christmastime in New Orleans and children are mysteriously disappearing, stolen from their homes, taken off the street, dozens have vanished without a trace. Detective Harry Ganat and his partner Roy Cody have found a young girl in the home of a murdered swamper and she leads them to the den of her captors…the Molderos, a group of merciless vampires who feed on the blood of children. The detectives lives are spared by a troika of ancient vampires; Brisbane, Dimitri and Lydia—all seductive creatures who despise the Molderos as well. In exchange for protecting the detectives from their new enemies, the trio of “friendly” vampires offer them a deal—find the hidden lair of their mutual enemies and their lives will be spared and the other stolen children will be returned to them unharmed. But finding and killing the Molderos is not going to be easy and Harry soon finds himself questioned by the police, hunted by the Molderos at night, and caught in a deadly love triangle between Lydia and her ancient master, Brisbane.

This is a pretty entertaining one. Vampire films can feel a tough trick to pull off, but NOCTURNA is a pretty good entry into the bloodsucker subgenre, with Mike Doyle, Estella Warren and THE DOOM GENERATION/THAT THING YOU DO!‘s Johnathon Schaech all doing great jobs in the film. We’re also currently running a giveaway of the film, so if it looks like a movie you’d dig, feel free to enter.


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THE ANOMALY (Anchor Bay)

A futuristic mind-trip, THE ANOMALY puts Doctor Who’s Noel Clarke (who also directed the film) front and center as a man who has only 9 minutes and 47 seconds at a time to escape his enemies and find out why everything is happening to him. It’s like a futuristic BOURNE IDENTITY, and the premise is a wild one. If you took Jason Bourne and injected him into GROUNDHOG DAY, the result would be something like THE ANOMALY. A fun sci-fi/action film with plenty of slow-motion fight scenes, good choreography and a tightly paced thrill ride.

Traumatized ex-soldier Reeve (Clarke) wakes up in the back of a moving van alongside a young boy (Parkinson) held prisoner. But after helping the boy escape, he comes to the terrifying conclusion that he’s the kidnapper. Even more startling, five years have passed since he was last awake. Ryan soon learns that he’s caught up in a futuristic conspiracy known as “Anomaly,” Ryan’s only connection with reality is the dogged pursuit of Ryan by the elegant but sinister Harkin Langham (Somerhalder), who –when he’s not trying to kill Ryan – explains how to survive his blackouts, lasting exactly 9 minutes and 47 seconds.

As he negotiates switching between parallel universes, Ryan teams up with the mysterious “Dana” (Knapp) to start unraveling the life-threatening mystery in which he’s the explosive center. With Harkin dogging and thwarting his every turn, Ryan must summon all his will to challenge his programmed destiny and regain his humanity.


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GRAVY (Scream Factory)

PSYCH star James Roday tries his hand at directing with this horror/comedy that features a pretty impressive cast (is Jimmi Simpson ever NOT good in anything?), and one weird plot involving a group of crazy people taking people hostage in a Mexican cantina restaurant. Tons of blood and just as many jokes are front and center, with GRAVY showing how talented Roday is behind the camera this time around. GRAVY is one of the standout films of this week, so if you’re looking for a dark yet hilarious time, pick this one up.

In Gravy, it’s Halloween night. A trio of costumed misfits with very special dietary requirements seizes a Mexican cantina and forces the staff to engage in a late night of gluttony. The only caveat is what’s on the menu…and who will survive ‘til morning!

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THE STRANGER (Scream Factory)

When Eli Roth discovered a great filmmaking scene in Chile, he struck gold. Spending time either writing, producing or directing, the filmmaker helped bring a multitude of films to the states, and one of the better ones was Guillermo Amoedo’s THE STRANGER. Amoedo, who had previously had written KNOCK KNOCK and THE GREEN INFERNO for Roth, made his directorial debut with this one, and contrary to Roth’s involvement, it’s actually really cool (Roth fans relax, I’m kidding). It’s an entertaining take on a subgenre that by now, you probably think has been tapped out, but THE STRANGER breathes new life into it, giving viewers an entertaining and bloody time.

A mysterious stranger, Martin (Cristóbal Tapia-Montt), arrives seeking to kill his wife Ana (Lorenza Izzo, The Green Inferno, Aftershock) who suffers from a very dangerous disease that makes her as addicted to human blood as he is. But when he discovers that Ana has been dead for a couple of years, Martin decides to commit suicide to definitively eradicate this peculiar disease which imbues his blood with healing powers. Before he can do it, however, Martin is brutally attacked by three local thugs, lead by the son of a corrupt police lieutenant, Caleb. The incident suddenly initiates a chain reaction that plunges the community into a bloodbath.

Bonus Features
· Amoedo’s hort film The Fourth Horseman

· New Welcome to Chilewood Featurette

· Theatrical Trailer (U.S.)

· Theatrical Trailer (Chile)

· Still Gallery

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HORROR CLASSICS: VOLUME ONE (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Hammer fans rejoice! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment felt like giving fans of the classic Hammer films the deluxe treatment with the VERY impressive HORROR CLASSICS: VOLUME ONE boxset, which features Taste the Blood of Dracula; Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; and The Mummy, all remastered in beautiful HD. Being a Hammer enthusiast myself, this is quite the set, housing all films in one set, and in one hell of a nice book-style casing.

Even if you’re not familiar with Hammer blood red films, this set is a must own, and sees the HD debut of some of the best classic horror films of all time.

THE MUMMY (1959)

In this vivid Technicolor® reincarnation of The Mummy, screen horror icon Christopher Lee wraps on the moldy gauze bandages and emerges as the tormented Kharis, an avenger stalking the hills and bogs of Victorian England to track down archaeologist John Banning (Peter Cushing) and other desecrators of his beloved Princess Ananka’s Egyptian tomb. “Lee looks tremendous, smashing his way through doorways and erupting from green, dreamlike quagmires in really awe-inspiring fashion” (David Pirie, Time Out Film Guide). Awe-inspiring, too, was the box-office success of this third Hammer reinvigoration – after The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula – of a classicscreen monster.

 

DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)

In his third incarnation as Bram Stoker’s infamous vampire, horror great and 55-year movie veteran Christopher Lee goes fang to cross with the forces of good in this atmospheric Hammer Studios film directed with stylish menace by two-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Freddie Francis.

 

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED! (1969)

Baron Frankenstein’s (Peter Cushing) experiment went wrong, dead wrong. Thus, another victim lies in a makeshift grave. Suddenly, a water main bursts, forcing the dead man’s arm to the surface. Next, the torrent heaves the body upward. Frankenstein’s panicked accomplice tries to conceal the body… but corpses can be so unwieldy.

This creepy scene is a highlight of Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, horror great Peter Cushing’s fifth Hammer Studios Frankenstein saga. Other cast members of note include film-debuting Simon Ward (Young Winston) and Freddie Jones (The Elephant Man) as the scientist’s pitiable new creation.

 

TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (1970)

Taste the Blood of Dracula, the fourth film in Hammer Studios’ cycle of’ hemogobbling’ Victorian-era horror, is a showcase of why Hammer became the name in Gothic terror. The solid cast and rich production design raise goosebumps of real-life fear and otherworld dread. And Christopher Lee dons his red-lined cape again to become Evil Incarnate. He’s Count Dracula, a being neither dead nor alive…but his movies are livelier than ever.

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FINAL GIRL (Cinedigm)

One of the most impressive genre films of the year, famed photographer Tyler Shields’ feature debut is one of visual and mood. Following a young woman who has been trained by a mysterious man to kill a group of murderous boys that stalk and hunt young women, FINAL GIRL is a expertly shot film, and features great performances from Abigail Breslin, Alexander Ludwig, Logan Huffman and others, all giving natural performances that never feel like they’re acting. It’s like if the rat pack decided to give up singing and switched their profession to stalking and killing women, putting them in the path of one viciously smart woman.

Highly recommended, this one. Pick it up and marvel in how great Shields is as a director, with his eye for the camera translating perfectly to the screen.

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

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WE ARE STILL HERE (DARK SKY FILMS) & JUNE (RLJ Entertainment)

These two are my picks of the week and rightfully so. Both Ted Geoghegan and L. Gustavo Cooper have such visual eyes, when it comes to directing, that both films set themselves apart from the typical kind of genre films we get these days. WE ARE STILL HERE‘s ghost story involving a grieving couple who move into a house that is inhabited by the ghosts of the family’s before them is a tense, modern day Fulci film as far as I’m concerned and features great FX, really wonderful performances from Barbara Crampton, Lisa Marie and one hell of a role played by Larry Fessenden. It’s one of the most solid directorial debuts I’ve ever seen, and should be one that you RUSH out to pick up.

After their teenage son Bobby is killed in a car crash, Paul and Anne Sacchetti move to an isolated 19th-century house in the New England countryside to try to start a new life. But soon the grieving couple begin to sense they are not alone in the old house. The Sacchettis’ psychic friend May arrives to investigate Anne’s hopeful feeling that Bobby’s spirit is also there.

Unknowingly, the Sacchettis become the prey of a family of vengeful spirits that reside in their new home, and before long they discover that the seemingly peaceful town is hiding a terrifyingly dark secret. Now they must find a way to overcome their sorrow and fight back against both the living and dead as the malicious ghosts threaten to pull their souls – and the soul of their lost son – into hell with them.

Cooper’s JUNE gives the possessed/evil child subgenre a brand new twist, relying on very interesting visuals and down to Earth performances that leads you into the film about a powerful young girl kept track of by a sinister organization and the nice couple who wants to adopt her. It’s such a fun, visually pleasing film, and show just how bright of a filmmaking future that the former professional skateboarder Cooper has in front of it.

JUNE tells the story of nine-year-old June (Brice) who has been shuffled in and out of foster homes for years. And though she tries to be good, no matter where she goes, a trail of chaos and terror seems to follow. It’s only when June is sent to live with a new couple, Lily (Pratt) and Dave (Van Dien), that it looks as if things might finally work out. Except this innocent child with the face of an angel is possessed by an ancient, malevolent entity that has hijacked her soul. Unless June can defeat the demon within, her new family – and mankind itself – are destined for destruction.