Prehysteria! Still Charms With a Fantastic Restoration [Blu-Ray Review]

Wicked Horror is the author of Prehysteria! Still Charms With a Fantastic Restoration [Blu-Ray Review]. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

I’m a longtime Full Moon fan, dating back to the third grade. Once I discovered Puppet Master, it all ballooned from there. When I started diving into the Charles Band filmography though, I was amazed even as a kid to learn that I’d actually been a fan of the man’s work from some of my earliest memories, thanks to the Moonbeam imprint which had produced several kid-friendly features in the early 1990s. Dragonworld and Beanstalk were among the titles I was fond of, but my three favorites were without a doubt the Prehysteria! trilogy. I definitely have not revisited them since I was in the single digits, but as a dinosaur kid, they were in regular rotation in my household, driving my parents crazy, I have no doubt.

It’s a testament to how much I loved this franchise in my youth that as soon as the film started, after easily over twenty years, everything came rushing back. I remembered the names of every dinosaur before they were introduced, I pieced together why Dolls and Robocop 2 actor Stephen Lee has always felt extremely familiar to me, because he’d been the bad guy in one of my early childhood favorites. I was also delighted to see that Prehysteria! holds up about as well as any other Full Moon favorite of the era. Which is to say: pretty damn well, if you know what you’re in for.

A lot of that is due to the new Blu-ray transfer. Since the releases of the early Puppet Master features, Full Moon has been absolutely crushing it in this regard. With a few exceptions here and there, the Blu-rays look great. Prehysteria! definitely keeps that trend going. This is as crisp a transfer as Full Moon has ever put out. Not only is the transfer incredibly vibrant and clear, but it also—most importantly—allows for the David Allen FX work to shine better than it ever had a chance to on VHS.

The story is extremely simple. A coked out fossil collector finds actual dinosaur eggs and places them inside a cooler, only for that cooler to be switched with one belonging to a down-home country dad and his two kids, who regularly sell fossils to this collector. The family dog keeps the eggs warm and weirdly becomes a mother figure to the baby dinosaurs that hatch. The group of dinos are, in pure Charles Band fashion, very small. There’s no real concrete explanation given as to why, either, I think it’s just accepted that that’s simply what you get out of a Full Moon/Moonbeam movie at this point.

Related: Extinction Agenda: The Troubled History of Dinosaurs and Horror 

Prehysteria

Silly and campy as the film might be, it actually holds up surprisingly well—which is a huge relief to me, considering how much I loved the series as a kid. There’s an E.T. element with the kid befriending the dinosaurs and enlisting the help of his uninterested older sister—who almost seems like a cross between both the older brother and younger sister in E.T.—to keep the little critters out of the hands of the guy who only wants to use them to escalate his own profit and fame. Still, I wouldn’t go as far as to call Prehysteria! Amblin-esque. Low budget ‘90s family films had an aesthetic all their own, and it’s an aesthetic that this movie definitely helped to define, somewhere between a Disney Channel movie and the low-stakes family drama of Critters 3. Coming from me, that’s actually a glowing review.

The characterization of the young kid, Jerry—played by none other than Last Action Hero star Austin O’Brien—is both endearing and weirdly specific. He’s a ‘90s kid who feels totally out of place in his own era, with jokes from the older sister that he might as well have come from the stone age because he still listens to Elvis. It’s totally on the nose in a way that family comedies get away with better than any other genre. It not only links the kid to the dinosaurs in an unexpected way, but paves the way for the boy naming the T-Rex “Elvis” because they were both the king of their respective eras.

Each of the dinos is named after a musician, in fact, from Madonna to Jagger, and each of the creatures looks great. They’re all different—from a T-Rex, to a Brachiosaurus, to a Pteranadon, Chasmosaurus and Stegosaurus—and each of them stands out in their own way. From the individual characterizations and specific vocalized mumbling or growling, the dinosaurs actually feel very reflective of the stars of Band’s flagship Puppet Master series.

There’s no question that even on Blu-ray, the stop-motion and puppetry effects look dated, but that should never have mattered in the first place. Every movie is reflective of its era, and even though it’s a family film, Prehysteria! is totally representative of early Full Moon at the height of its powers, when the movies were coming out like clockwork and selling (and renting) extremely well. David Allen was specializing in stop-motion years after the technique had stopped being popular in live action film, and managed to turn what most considered an outdated—extinct, if you will—technique into genuine spectacle. That was the magic of the work he did with Band, and Prehysteria! is a terrific example of it.

Also See: Why the Puppet Master Series Was So Good (For Such a Short Time)

While the movie is a lot of fun and the transfer looks excellent, Prehysteria doesn’t come loaded with special features. Having said that, the ones that it does come with are still a treat. Like most of the Full Moon releases, this Blu-ray contains the original Video Zone, something I had actually forgotten was done for the Moonbeam movies. For those unfamiliar, the Video Zones were billed as a “behind-the-scenes video magazine” that gave viewers a glimpse at the making of the film as well as a sneak peek at future releases, years before the onset of DVD and the popularity of bonus content.

The only other special feature is a commentary by Charles Band and Austin O’Brien. Despite his massive filmography, Band’s commentaries can wildly vary in quality, as evidenced by the Puppet Master II commentary in which he mostly discussed then-ongoing deals at Full Moon Direct. But having Band and the star together helped to stir up some interesting tidbits and, especially, fuel the nostalgia that drove a release like this to begin with.

All in all, this is a fairly slim release but still a fantastic one for fans of the movie and old-school Full Moon in general. As someone who’s been wanting to revisit Prehysteria for a long time, I was admittedly already something of a mark for this, but the transfer alone absolutely makes the new Blu-ray worth it. If you love quirky ‘90s straight-to-video flicks, Full Moon, or some of the offbeat family features of the era, this one’s actually kind of a must. Prehysteria! is available on Blu-ray, now.

WICKED RATING: 7.5/10

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Short Night of the Glass Dolls is a Unique Take on the Giallo

Wicked Horror is the author of Short Night of the Glass Dolls is a Unique Take on the Giallo. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Short Night of the Glass Dolls follows Greg (Jean Sorel of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin), an American journalist working in Prague. Greg’s primary problem is that he is dead (or appears to be) and he cannot remember who killed him or why. In a state of limbo between life and death, Greg retraces his steps in an attempt to remember who could have wanted him dead and for what reason.

This film marks Aldo Lado’s (Who Saw Her Die) feature film directorial debut. And an impressive first outing it is. Lado comes across as a confident and assured director who isn’t afraid to go against the grain and make some unexpected decisions. For one, the film doesn’t really have a conventional love story. Greg spends most of the feature’s runtime searching for his romantic interest, Mira, who inexplicably disappears shortly after arriving on the scene. The film also breaks from convention by telling the story through the eyes of a character who is presumed to be dead. As strange as it sounds, the approach works well. Telling the story through a series of flashbacks and bursts of recollection helps to build tension and instills a sense of urgency in the viewer to find out what happens next.

Short Night of the Glass Dolls is not a typical giallo. The performances are a step above the hammy scenery chewing to which fans of the genre are accustomed. Jean Sorel turns in a fine performance in the lead role and Ingrid Thulin (The Damned) is effective as his journalistic peer and not-so-secret admirer.

Also differing from the output of the time, the bloodshed is very understated and the bodycount is surprisingly low. The film is much more focused on the captivating audiences with the mystery element than wowing viewers with countless acts of senseless carnage and numerous onscreen deaths. The end result is mostly positive. While, I do wish that there had been a little more violence for the sake of violence, it’s hard not to commend Lado’s restraint in a time where excess was the name of the game.

Also See: Giallo Madness: The Case of the Bloody Iris 

The film is very slow burn. It takes a long while to get where its going and that can be a little frustrating when viewing the film for the first time. But the but patient viewer will be rewarded, as the third act delivers in almost every way imaginable. The first two acts are used to establish the storyline and build a mounting sense of tension. And the third brings everything together beautifully. The final scene is shocking, (somewhat) unexpected, and totally horrifying. It makes the build worthwhile and is likely to haunt the viewer long after they finish watching the film.

The famous Ennio Morricone (The Cat o’Nine Tails) composed the film’s score. And while this may not be his most noteworthy outing and certainly isn’t as memorable as some of his other works, the music is very appropriate to the era and fits well with the film’s thematic elements.

If you haven’t had the occasion to check out Short Night of the Glass Dolls, it is definitely worth a look for the giallo enthusiast. The third act is quite memorable and the film is just different enough from the Italian horror output of its era to make it noteworthy and secure its place as an important contribution to the giallo genre.

Short Night of the Glass Dolls is now available (in a limited pressing of 3,000) on Blu-ray via Twilight Time. The transfer and sound quality are excellent, as per usual. The release also features an isolated music track and a commentary with two film historians.

WICKED RATING: 7/10 

Director(s): Aldo Lado
Writer(s): Aldo Lado
Stars: Jean Sorel, Ingrid Thulin, and Barbara Bach
Release: Now available on Blu-Ray from Twilight Time
Studio/ Production Co: Cinerama Filmgesellschaft MBH
Language: Italian
Length: 97-Minutes
Sub-Genre: Giallo

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Mandy is Metal AF [Blu-Ray Review]

Wicked Horror is the author of Mandy is Metal AF [Blu-Ray Review]. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Red and Mandy live a peaceful and pleasant existence in their forest dwelling. But their idyllic way of life is interrupted when a sadistic cult leader becomes obsessed with Mandy and abducts her. Having his love snatched away from him sends Red into a revenge-fueled tailspin of epic proportions.

I am a big fan of Panos Cosmatos’ style. He is a visionary director and although this is only his second feature film, his aesthetic is unmistakable. His previous filmic effort, Beyond the Black Rainbow solidified his reputation as a force to be reckoned with and he has only further proven just how tremendous his talent is with his sophomore outing.

Related: Five Contemporary Horror Films that Perfectly Recaptured ’80s Horror (Including Beyond the Black Rainbow)

Cosmatos tells a visually striking and profoundly surreal story with Mandy. It features breathtaking cinematography and a surreal and hazy color palette that makes the picture feel even more dreamlike. He proudly wears his influences on his sleeve–not afraid to pay homage to that which inspires him, yet still telling a wholly original tale. The result  is a film that is part ’80s metal video, part fever dream, part acid trip, and part exploitation flick. It sounds like an odd juxtaposition but the film very much exists at the intersection of grindhouse and arthouse.

Director Panos Cosmatos penned the screenplay for Mandy with cowriter Aaron Stewart-Ahn. The duo created a script that is exceptionally imaginative on paper but even more so when realized (under Cosmatos’ keen directorial eye) onscreen. Mandy boasts one of the most creative and original screenplays I’ve seen brought to life in recent memory. It’s unpredictable and takes the viewer on a wild ride.

One of Mandy’s many strong suits is that it is highly convincing as a period piece. It feels very much like a lost classic from the VHS era. The wardrobe and styling serve to transport the viewer back in time to 1983 when the picture takes place. The characters authentically look like they walked right out of a heavy metal music video from the early ’80s. Everything from the set design to the hair and makeup gives Mandy an impressive air of authenticity.

What separates this heavy metal fever dream from typical grindhouse fare is its exceptional performances and focus on character development. Nicolas Cage turns in a heart felt and gut-wrenching appearance as Red. When the love of his life is taken away, the audience feels like they are there with him. His heartbreak is not only believable, its palpable. Cage isn’t overacting or phoning it in like he has in a lot of his more recent outings. He is certainly still intense but his intensity is appropriate to the role and it never really approaches the level of scenery chewing. Andrea Riseborough is equally good as the titular character. She comes across as strong but fragile and tough, yet vulnerable. Linus Roache is perfectly cast as the sadistic cult leader. He oozes evil and projects a sense of utter instability.

If I haven’t managed to sell you on the emotional aspects of the film, perhaps I can interest you in the FX work. Mandy is full of messy, gory, nauseating practical effects that would feel right at home at a GWAR show. It even features one of the most grotesque blood vomit scenes I’ve seen in some time. And that’s to say nothing of the numerous decapitation sequences and various acts of stabbiness.

I was also taken with the film’s wicked, dark sense of humor. In one particularly memorable scene, Nic Cage lights a cigarette in the flames of a recently decapitated character’s flaming severed head.

My only qualm with Mandy is that it has some pacing problems. I realize that Cosmatos wanted to spend the first half of the film establishing the authenticity of Mandy and Red’s relationship so that the retribution sequences would feel authentic and warranted. However, taking over an hour to get to the revenge spree is almost certain to alienate and bore some viewers. With that in mind, if you can be patient with the slow build, the payoff makes the anticipation more than worthwhile.

The Blu-ray transfer of the film is crisp and vivid, allowing the viewer to see the director’s vision in all of its crazy glory. The home video release includes an insightful and honest behind-the-scenes featurette and a series of deleted and extended scenes. Mandy is metal af and you should make haste to check it out when it drops on Blu-ray October 30th.

WICKED RATING: 8.5/10 

Director(s): Panos Cosmatos
Writer(s): Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, and Linus Roache
Release: October 30, 2018 (Home Video)
Studio/ Production Co: SpectreVision, RLJ Entertainment
Budget: $6 Million (estimated)
Language: English
Length: 121 Minutes

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Universal Classic Monsters: The Complete 30-Film Collection is a Must Own for Classic Horror Fans [Blu-ray Review]

Wicked Horror is the author of Universal Classic Monsters: The Complete 30-Film Collection is a Must Own for Classic Horror Fans [Blu-ray Review]. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

The Universal Monsters are and will always be the premiere legacy franchises in horror. Before New Line was the House That Freddy Built, Universal built itself on the backs of Dracula and Frankenstein. These movies, these characters, are iconic in every possible way. They’ve endured for nearly a century. And even though some of the stories are much older than that, these characters, these images, will always be the very first that pop into people’s heads when they hear the names. This is a legacy worth honoring, and the Universal Classic Monsters Blu-Ray collection has thankfully done just that.

The films themselves need no introduction. We all know them, we all grew up with them. These are some of the most iconic characters in movie (and, in some cases, literary) history. But even some fans of these characters might have a few blind spots. I know I did. There were features in this collection I could have sworn I’d seen at some point, but were entirely new to me. That’s what this set offers. It’s everything, and unless you already own each of the individual Legacy collections, there are bound to be corners of this classic universe that you’ll be seeing for the first time. And given the treatment of each of the movies on Blu-ray, there’s no better way to see them than the Universal Classic Monsters Collection.

Related: Five Universal Monsters that Were Created for the Movies 

The Mummy - Dracula - Mummies on FilmIf you’ve picked up any of the individual Legacy collections for any of these franchises, you’re going to get a lot of the same stuff, I won’t deny that. The Universal Classic Monsters Box Set is conveniently comprised of the legacy collection Blu-Ray sets for each individual monster, plus the Claude Rains Phantom of the Opera, which was never given a sequel of its own. These sets are geared toward completists, if you buy them individually, so there are a lot of duplicates in the whole 30-film collection, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Each set contains each film to feature that monster, so you’ll find a copy of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in the sets for The Wolf Man, Frankenstein and Dracula. I much prefer this setup, with the individual sets in a larger box, convenient to pull out on their own, to the fold-out sleeves of something like the Chucky or Friday the 13thcomplete collections.

wolf man 1941Visually, the packaging for The Universal Classic Monsters Box set looks terrific. Packaging isn’t everything, but it goes a long way toward encouraging someone to buy, and for a fan of these characters, this set is definitely going to catch your attention, wisely rendered in black & white with all of the monsters readily on display. The transfers are stunning, for the most part. That’s the largest appeal of the set, for me, as someone who’d only upgraded to one or two of these movies on Blu-ray. These features are obviously not new, but the treatment they’re given makes them pop like never before. Major classics like The Wolf Man and Frankenstein are gorgeously remastered in HD, but even later sequels like House of Frankenstein look just as crisp and clear.

The only exception to this is the Creature from the Black Lagoon set, which has issues including Revenge of the Creature being rendered in standard definition and Creature Walks Among Us only being available in the 2D version. But thankfully, Universal is aware of that particular issue and is offering a disc replacement program to give both of those sequels the same treatment as every other film in the set. That’s incredibly important to note, as this oversight of an issue was really the only holdup on an otherwise terrific set.

There also aren’t any special features exclusive to the thirty film collection, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a fair amount of special features in general. For one thing, there’s actual thirty-one films in total as the set also includes the Spanish language version of Dracula filmed on the same sets as the English language version. Thirteen of the movies feature commentaries from film historians, which is terrific. Even if you know these films, there are surprises to be had. The Mummy Dearest documentary, like that The Mummy was actually the first time Karloff was billed as Boris Karloff, as before that he’d only been credited as “Karloff the Uncanny.” Maybe the highlight of all the documentaries, though, is a spotlight on makeup legend Jack Pierce, which appears on both the Wolf Man and Mummy sets.

Related: Why The Invisible Man is Actually the Scariest Universal Monster!

The Bride of FrankensteinThe Universal Classic Monsters Collection also comes with a 45-page booklet that features great poster artwork and photos and is really well put together, giving a condensed history of the studio and the major storytellers and actors involved. It doesn’t offer you anything that you won’t also learn in the special features on the discs themselves, but the booklet still serves as a perfect companion, something to flip through at your leisure and convenience, and I simply love the trend of including booklets like this in Blu-ray sets in general.

That’s just a glimpse of what it has to offer, though. This set is teeming with not just the stories of the films themselves, but stories of these legendary actors, directors, the exhausting makeup process of The Mummy, the pressures of Lon Chaney to break out from his father’s shadow when Universal wanted to promote his famous name, the Lugosi/Karloff rivalry, the special effects wizardry (at the time) that went into The Invisible Man. There’s so much here. This isn’t just horror movie history, this is movie history, and it’s stunning. The Universal Classic Monsters collection is available now.

WICKED RATING: 8.5/10

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Truth or Dare (2017) Is a Bloody Good Time [Review]

Wicked Horror is the author of Truth or Dare (2017) Is a Bloody Good Time [Review]. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

We all remember playing truth or dare in our awkward teenage years. Sweating uncontrollably when it was your turn. You were reluctant to pick dare because you were at the mercy of whatever twisted ideas your friends had. But what if you had no choice? What if your refusal to participate meant extreme consequences up to and including death? Would you play?

The new film Truth or Dare, out now from Cinedigm, explores the above questions. Do the dare or the dare does you! During a Halloween weekend, eight friends decide that the best way to celebrate is to spend it in a “haunted house”. Little do they know they are about to come face to face with evil as the house previously claimed seven teenagers during a game of truth or dare.

The friends decide, during some alcohol fueled antics, that they should take a crack at playing the game. The fun takes a sinister turn and leads to the death of one of the friends after they learn of a deep, dark secret. Upon returning to college the remaining friends realize something is still very wrong and whatever they encountered in the house is still after them.

Slowly the group begins to realize that they are not done playing the game. Someone or something is manipulating them and making them complete more elaborate and dangerous dares. If they refuse, they suffer grave consequences.

The friends begin trying to piece together what exactly is happening to them and how they can escape its clutches. Will they be able to beat the game, or will they fall victim to the evil that lurks unseen?

The Nun Highlights the Limitations of The Conjuring Universe [Review] 

It is always refreshing to find a new horror film that is fun and actually good. Truth or Dare is both. While the premise of college kids being slaughtered by a malevolent force is almost as old as horror itself, Truth or Dare does it in a very entertaining way.

The action in the film starts early and is paced well enough to hold most horror fans attention. On that note, one of the most important parts of any horror movie is the kills. Truth or Dare definitely has some inventive kills, with some that you’re not likely to see coming.

Few films have been able to make me wince with sympathy pains from what I was watching. Truth or Dare is one of those rare examples that made me do exactly that. The last half of the film is definitely not for the faint of heart.

In the end, Truth or Dare is bloody, campy, and fun. Look for a cameo from horror heavyweight Heather Langenkamp in a scene that has her looking more like Freddy than Nancy. Truth or Dare stars Cassie Scerbo of Sharknado fame, along with Brytni Sarpy of General Hospital and Mason Dye of TV’s Teen Wolf series. With Halloween fast approaching Truth or Dare would be a welcome addition to any horror playlist. The film is available now on DVD.

Hell is Where the Home is Turns Home Invasion on its Head [FrightFest Review]

WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director: Nick Simon
Writer(s): Thommy Huston, Ethan Lawrence
Stars: Cassie Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy, and Mason Dye
Length: 90 Minutes

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Found Footage 3D is a Meta Take on the Subgenre [Blu-Ray Review]

Wicked Horror is the author of Found Footage 3D is a Meta Take on the Subgenre [Blu-Ray Review]. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Found Footage 3D follows a group of friends setting out to make the first found footage horror film in 3D. Naturally, the aspiring filmmakers throw caution to the wind and elect to shoot their flick in a haunted cabin. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, hilarity frequently ensues, and cast members succumb to an evil entity, one by one.

Found Footage 3D is extremely meta. It’s a total deconstruction of the found footage genre–It attempts to be something like what Scream was for the slasher genre and it succeeds in a lot of ways. Every trope and bad decision is called out and the cast members always make the audience feel as though they are in on the joke. The filmis truly brimming with smart characters that always say what the audience is thinking. The characters are good natured and not afraid to heckle their own decisions and those of their peers.

The cast is talented and everyone that is supposed to be likable is. Carter Roy’s Derek comes across as a prick. But he is supposed to. He’s the one pushing for tired tropes while nearly every other member of the cast and crew serves as the voice of reason–seeing things from the perspective of the audience. In one such instance, a character even suggests that a specter in a suit would look much less ridiculous than one rendered with bad CGI. In another exchange, a character remarks that there have only been two half-decent found footage films and one of them was released over fifteen years ago. It’s that kind of dialogue that really lets you know that the filmmakers understand viewer fatigue with found footage and were really attempting to make something different.

Found Footage 3D gets major points for not only being self referential but also funny as hell. Scott Allen Perry (Santa Jaws) steals nearly every scene he’s in. He’s the somehwat Nick Offerman-esque comic relief and he excels in that capacity. He hasn’t exactly broken out but he’s a rising talent to watch, for sure. Also worthy of mention is a brilliant cameo from noted film critic Scott Weinberg that fans of his work are sure to eat up.

The reason for filming is well justified in this flick, as the characters are making a behind-the-scenes documentary about the film they are shooting. So, what we see either comes from the doc or footage intended for the film, itself. The picture only occasionally relies on the cliche-ridden, refusal to turn the camera off trope that has been overused so many times in the past.  The decision to keep filming gets slightly harder to justify by the final thirty-minutes of the feature, but at that point, the audience is likely to be engrossed enough in the action to suspend any disbelief. Writer/Director Steven DeGennaro really took the thinking man’s approach to making a found footage film and, in large part, it paid off.

Related: Found Footage Films: A Brief and Twisted History

Since we know that the footage we are seeing is captured by professionals, that partially justifies the fact that the footage is fairly well shot and it doesn’t feel like a total cheat. It’s a nice break from the typical shaky cam, headache-inducing antics we’ve become accustomed to by way of most entries in the found foot subgenre.

Also a smart move on the part of writer/director Steven DeGennaro is that a lot of expository dialogue is cleverly delivered through the behind-the-scenes doc footage. Its existence is more than justified and it doesn’t feel clunky or out of place.

Found Footage 3D is very slow burn for the first two acts, which might turn some viewers off. However, as I mentioned before, the characters are likable and enjoyable to spend time with. So, the lead  up to the finale shouldn’t be particularly painful for those looking for a fast-paced thrill ride. I actually found the first hour to be a lot of fun. And those looking for something with a more intense pace will surely be pleased by the third act when it rolls around. In the final act, all bets are off and things get really scary. The reliance on comedic elements is almost completely abandoned in favor of outright scares. And there are plenty of spooky sequences contained within the denouement.

As for the 3D aspect, the film boasts great 3D effects. But as is nearly always the case with 3D, it’s a bit of a gimmick and after the first time, you’ll likely want to watch the flick in 2D. I do commend the filmmakers for doing something highly unorthodox and making a found footage flick in 3D. But I am also very appreciative that the Blu-ray release includes the option to watch the picture in 2D.

Found Footage 3D is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as via AMC’s horror streaming service, Shudder. The robust special features that accompany the home video release include outtakes, deleted scenes, two different commentary tracks, extended scenes, and more. If you missed this one during its festival run, make haste to check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

WICKED RATING: 7.5/10

Director(s): Steven DeGennaro
Writer(s): Steven DeGennaro
Stars: Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien, Tom Saporito, and Scott Allen Perry
Release Date: September 4, 2018 (Home Video)
Studio/ Production Co: Shudder, FF3D
Language: English
Length: 100-Minutes
Sub-Genre: Found Footage

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Blu-Ray Review: Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration is Surreal and Scrappy

Wicked Horror is the author of Blu-Ray Review: Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration is Surreal and Scrappy. Wicked Horror is the internet’s only horror fan site for free original horror movies, news, review & more.

Desecration follows a teenage boy named Bobby on a surreal and visceral journey through the literal depths of Hell that begins when he unintentionally kills one of the instructors at his school.

Dante Tomaselli is a master of atmosphere and an accomplished composer. The score of his debut feature is beautifully rendered and the atmosphere reminiscent of the early works of Argento, Bava, or Fulci. The director uses stunning visual FX, nightmarish landscapes, and perfectly timed sounds effects to create a captivating and terrifying tale. The sound editing is near perfect. Tomaselli had limited funds to work with on this project but by tackling both the score and sound editing himself, he was able to deliver a finished product that defies the film’s modest budget.

The film pulls off some grandiose FX work that look much more expensive to execute than they were. There are some really gruesome face-melting sequences and a delightfully violent encounter involving a pair of shears. On such a tight budget, these effects should have looked cheap but they rarely do.

The film has a largely green cast. Several of the players were acting for the first time. But in spite of that, Tomaselli was able to craft a film that shocks and entertains, even though some of the performances are on the amateur side. It’s easy to forgive inexperienced acting when Tomaselli is able to so expertly deliver in other areas.

The film’s themes speak to Tomaselli’s personal history with Catholicism. The content of the film would strongly suggest that the director has had a  trying relationship with religion. Tomaselli thanks his cousin Alfred Sole in the opening credits, which makes perfect sense, as the first act bears both visual and thematic similarities to Sole’s American-made giallo, Alice, Sweet Alice. Both films suggest that religion is inherently corrupt and capable of leading people to commit acts of unspeakable evil.

In addition to Alice, Sweet Alice, Tomaselli was very likely also inspired by The Evil Dead. Desecration features an insane stop motion sequence involving vines that appears to pay loving tribute to Sam Raimi’s 1981 masterwork without coming across as mere mimicry.

As for the Blu-ray release, the transfer is pretty poor. However, that’s not a dig on Code Red DVD or Kino Lorber. The original Super 16 film print has been lost for some time and the transfer had to be taken from the Digibeta master tape. As such, the image quality is not particularly good.

The Blu-ray disc is chock full of special features. We get a bonus copy of Tomaselli’s haunting musical effort, Witches, an insightful audio commentary from the director, a copy of the short on which the film is based, a still gallery, and more! This is truly the definitive release of the film and an absolute must own for any fan of the director’s catalogue. Desecration is available now on Blu-ray from Code Red DVD.

WICKED RATING: 7/10

Director(s): Dante Tomaselli
Writer(s): Dante Tomaselli
Stars: Irma St. Paule, Danny Lopes, and Salvatore Paul Piro
Release: August 7, 2018 (Blu-ray)
Studio/ Production Co: Code Red DVD, Kino Lorber
Budget: $150,000 Estimated
Language: English
Length: 88-Minutes

The post Blu-Ray Review: Dante Tomaselli’s Desecration is Surreal and Scrappy appeared first on Wicked Horror.