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 SURVIVAL KNIFE

•             RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD
•             WRITTEN BY: Jim Towns
•             DIRECTED BY: Mike McKown
•             STARRING: Danielle Donahue, Melissa Troughtzmantz, Josh Ebel

Keepin’ our toes dipped in the ol’ stalk n’ slay pool comes our next lil’ fright flick for review, SURVIVAL KNIFE. Now, while I mentioned that the last film, SERIAL KALLER, didn’t really go too off the rails in regards to originality, this next pic tries to offer somethin’ a bit outside the tried n’ true (or is that tired n’ true?) grab bag of slasher tropes. Let’s see if it pulls it off…

SURVIVAL KNIFE is the story of a young lady named Penny (Donahue) who goes and finds herself the lone survivor of a nazi-helmeted serial killer’s bloody rampage among a pack o’ her pals. Scared and traumatized, our heroine can’t even return to her ol’ stripping career (which I call bulls–t on… e’ery one has a fetish, and when you come out of a heinous ordeal lookin’ like Frigga from THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, you are set up to make a mint from horny horror hounds the globe over). So what does she do for kicks instead? Well, she has a rather prolonged nervous breakdown, for one. Additionally, she becomes a living instrument of vengeance (speaking of THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE… ).

SURVIVAL KNIFE is a pretty good lil’ genre patty melt of a flick. You get your slasher chocolate dipped in yer revenge peanut butter and the end result is fairly satisfying (though the film does fall into a couple of the traps inherent to films on the lower end of the budget spectrum—in particular, the sound quality of this flick is a tad uneven, and some of the acting gets a lil’ dodgy here and there).

To be sure, the flick does rely on the tropes of both slasher films and woman-centric revenge yarns a bit too heavily, but I applaud the filmmakers’ decision to try and combine things together and examine what happens to a final girl after she come out on the other side of a homicidal maniac’s rampage. If you dig on either of those types of flicks (or preferably both), than this is a fun way to kill a couple of hours.

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MANSION OF BLOOD

•             RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD
•             WRITTEN BY: Mike Donahue
•             DIRECTED BY: Mike Donahue
•             STARRING: Gary Busey, Robert Picardo, Ray Quiroga

MANSION OF BLOOD is a supernatural thriller starring Gary Busey. Honestly, we both know you are in or out based on that sentence alone, but if for some unfathomable reason you need a push either way, feel free to slap your eerie eyeballs on the review that follows…

A millionaire (Quiroga) throws a lunar eclipse viewing party after renovating a haunted house (sometimes the s–t I have to type is just beyond belief). But during the shindig, a witch casts a spell to resurrect her dead boyfriend (and then when I think I’ve typed every ludicrous thing imaginable…). Before long the party goers are dispatched in various gruesome ways. Then some monsters show up. Busey is at the party as well.

In all honestly, MANSION OF BLOOD was a hoot and a half! It’s a campy lil’ tongue in cheek throwback to the flicks of William Castle (13 GHOSTS and HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL in particular), and I really dug its fun vibe. The cast is really into the shtick, which always helps in a picture like this, and there’s some really inspired moments (such as the postmortem discovery that one of the part guests has had a boob job… because the implants are still attached to her bloody skeleton). The filmmakers also did a good job utilizing the flick’s main location, the titular mansion itself.

If you love William Castle and are looking for a fun-ass flick to break up the never ending onslaught of slasher films, found footage fracases, or possession flicks that are choking up the horror biz these days, give MANSION OF BLOOD a screening. It’s a great piece of horror-centric zaniness that we don’t get too often anymore!

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