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MADNESS OF MANY

•             RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD
•             WRITTEN BY: Kasper Juhl
•             DIRECTED BY: Kasper Juhl
•             STARRING: Ellen Abrahamson, Alexandra Alegren, Dinna Ophelia Hæklund

Here comes one that’s sure to be a barrel of laughs: MADNESS OF MANY, the tale of a woman whose whole life has been a never ending hell of abuse! Can’t wait to dig into this one (yeah, that’s sarcasm)…

For Victoria (Abrahamson), life has been a non-stop cycle of sexual abuse at the hands of her psychotic family. She gets the bright idea to break away from her sicko clan, and upon doing so, is plunged into a freefall of even more debasing torture.

Light on story (but heavy on philosophy, surprisingly), MADNESS OF MANY is cruel, sadistic, and nauseating (and yes, I do get that is the point!) This was an ultra-hard watch, especially since I personally don’t dig this type of film, generally speaking (the lone exception to that for me is FLOWERS, which had an artistic flare to its grue that for some reason appealed to me), but god-dammit if this thing wasn’t a complete success at what it set out to do.

As I implied, this type of film isn’t meant for every horror hound, and I applaud the fact that it sticks to its guns and delivers a hard gut-punch that targets a specific sub-genre of our beloved horror-biz. I will also say it brings its “A-game” on providing what lovers of extreme gore cinema crave—namely gallons of blood, naked flesh, and buckets of vomit.

If you love flicks like the GUINEA PIG or VOMIT GORE series, you’ll dig what die-rector Juhl is laying down. He’s extremely talented at this type of cinema, and the fact that I was so turned off by it is testament to that fact. It goes without saying that my rating for this is targeted specifically for the audience this film sets out to reach, and if you don’t like this type of flick, do yourself a favor and stay away.

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PRAY FOR DEATH

•             RELEASE DATE: Available February 16th on Blu-ray
•             WRITTEN BY: James Booth
•             DIRECTED BY:
Gordon Hessler
•             STARRING: Shô Kosugi, James Booth, Donna Kei Benz

After that last flick I need a lil’ palate cleanser, and what better way to shower off the torture porn grime than by watching a ninja slaughter 4,567 people? So kneel down before the awesome altar and join me as we PRAY FOR DEATH!

Japanese Restauranteur Akira (Kosugi) packs up his whole family and moves to America to provide them a better life. And exactly as it was in Kosugi’s previous film REVENGE OF THE NINJA, this is a colossally s–tty idea. Before you know it, the family gets major static from some hardcore-evil jewelry thieves (whose ranks include middle-aged toughs, stereotypical Italian goons, and a man that seems to combine both elements as well as maybe being British and extremely adverse to liars… there are random fat oafs as well.). But all is not lost, as Akira is secretly a ninja… a ninja who is apparently homicidally insane, which he proves when he goes absolutely s–thouse on the goons after they threaten his family (ok, threaten is a bit light… they murder his wife and beat the hell out of one of his sons). Additionally, one of his sons tricks out his bicycle to become a rolling death machine. The fact that this wasn’t made by Cannon Films absolutely blows my brain straight out the back of my skull, creeps.

In those far-gone fairy tale days known collectively as “the 80s”, ninja films often competed with the latest entries in the ol’ horror biz for my VHS rental dollar (yeah, we used to pay to take out plastic boxes that magically contained movies back then—like by physically going to a store and everything!), and 9 times out of 10 they contained ninjitsu maestro Shô Kosugi in a starring role, so it’s business as usual with PRAY FOR DEATH (and yes, I did indeed rent this title all those years ago… and haven’t seen it since… well, except for today, of course).

Action packed and fully loaded with cartoonish villains and mystical ninja powers, PRAY FOR DEATH is so indicative of the genre it’s sublime. Ninja films followed (and were nearly always slavish to) a set of tropes and rules that would give slasher conventions a run for their money (a large exception to that rule was Cannon’s 1984 Ninja/possession flick hybrid NINJA III: THR DOMINATION… and you can just guess who stars in that one), and this flick follows the numbers to a “T”. Criminals do dumb s–t and get their asses handed to them by a practitioner of an ancient martial art they just aren’t equipped to deal with. The recipe is usually sprinkled with a dash of revenge after the death or abuse of a family member or mentor. It almost always makes for an entertaining action romp, and PFD is no exception.

Arrow’s release is pretty damn good as well; it features a new high-def transfer (containing elements excised from the film’s initial release), a new interview with Kosugi (as well as some archival interview footage), the original “R” rated cut of the film, and a handful of trailers for Kosugi‘s films. I would have loved a commentary track on this one, but ya can’t have it all, creeps!

In short, if you love ninja flicks or are a fan of 80s action films (and yes, there is indeed a schmaltzy inspirational tune and a training/making s–t montage), this is a “can’t miss” release!

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