THE CITY OF THE DEAD
• RELEASE DATE: Available Now on Blu-ray
• WRITTEN BY: George Baxt, Milton Subotsky
• DIRECTED BY: John Llewellyn Moxey
• STARRING: Venetia Stevenson, Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis, Christopher Lee
Originally released on these shores as HORROR HOTEL (Misfits fans, take note!), CITY OF THE DEAD is the tale of Nan Barlow (Stevenson), a young co-ed who travels to New England to investigate witchcraft at the behest of her college professor (Lee). Upon arriving in the small town of Whitewood things are rather bizarre; but it goes from bad to worse when Nan is marked for sacrifice by a coven of witches. Now that sounds like my kind of vacation, my creepies!
Dripping with atmosphere and rich Gothic overtones, THE CITY OF THE DEAD is a “can’t miss” fright flick classic! Fog enshrouded locales, dilapidated buildings, graveyards, sinister locals, arcane ceremonies — this one has got all you crave from the “old guard” style of horror storytelling.
While the film is an undeniable monsterpiece, the extras on this release are truly exceptional. You get no fewer than three commentary tracks (one with no less than Christopher Lee himself), the HORROR HOTEL cut of the film, two interviews with Christopher Lee, an interview with the film’s die-rector John Moxey (who also provides one of the above mentioned commentaries), an interview with the film’s star Venetia Stevenson, the theatrical trailer, and a photo gallery.
If you dig on the writing of H. P. Lovecraft or enjoy the Silent Hill series of video games, you need this in your fright film collection immediately!
SHARKANSAS WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE
• RELEASE DATE: Available May 3rd on Blu-ray
• WRITTEN BY: William Dever
• DIRECTED BY: Jim Wynorski
• STARRING: Dominique Swain, Traci Lords, Christine Nguyen
After fracking (the times, the times) releases a group of prehistoric sharks, no one in Arkansas (OK, maybe like 16 people) is safe in the new film from B-movie legend Jim Wynorski (CHOPPING MALL). And this is how I choose to spend a Sunday afternoon, folks…
Anyway, after that brief set-up (which also includes a shark head-butting a 4 wheel drive vehicle), we are introduced to a comely gang of beyond non-regulation dressed (think short shorts and tank tops with impeccable make-up as well) female prisoners who are sent into the woods on a work detail. Well, no one-foot stream is safe, due to them being loaded with titanic sharks (statements such as “How the hell do these very large animals fit in those teeny-tiny streams” shouldn’t even cross your mind), and soon our heroines are trapped in a cabin deep in the woods surrounded on all sides by chomping jaws of doom. Additionally, Traci Lords shows up.
The effects are dodgy, the story is ludicrous, and the budget is low; but its heart is in the right place, and the people behind the lens as well as in front of it were obviously having a great time. And as you know, all of those elements equal a hell of a time for me when they all fall in to place.
The only real negatives present are that the titillation and gore quotients are not as amped up as you may imagine in a picture with that title and plot, but that’s a minor gripe compared to the overall good times to be had.
Fast paced, hilarious, and comprised of pure fun (and some mild T&A), SHARKANSAS is a Megalodon sized winner of a picture!
Remember the arcane anthology fright flick I reviewed last summer titled VOLUMES OF BLOOD (if not, you can read my revoltin’ review right here!)? Well creeps, here’s some ghoul news for ya; you can now pre-order the film on blu-ray right here! Be sure to tell ’em XIII sent ya!
Also, the book o’ reviews featuring some art work from yours cruelly and penned by legendary horror critic Brian Collins is now available in a physical format — perfect for hucking through your TV when you disagree with one of his reviews! Head here and pick one up today!
’til next time, Stay Spooky!