Today’s recommended FREE Roku Movies: ZOMBIE AHOLE and SCARLET WORM

Courtesy of the MIDNIGHT PULP Roku on demand channel you can view, this week, two pretty out there cult/weird/grindhouse films; namely:

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Stick with both of them, most requiring of that patience is ZOMBIE A-HOLE as it becomes by the end a far better film than the title or opening minutes would lead you believe (Quite a few times I had to almost turn the thing off for fear someone I respected would catch me watching it :), but resist that impulse, get past the first 15 minutes and you’ll find the movie actually has a plot).

And no, I am not a zombie fan, this film works by being very much a tongue in check homage to the grindhouse films of yesteryear. With a reputed budget of only $3000 the sheer amount of creativity in this injoke of a film is awe inspiring. If you’re a fan of homage films such as BLACK DYNAMITE and horror films such as the original EVIL DEAD, give ZOMBIE A-HOLE a watch.

SCARLET WORM- is also a micro-budget film, but doesn’t come across as one. It’s of that ilk of films, born out of the spaghetti western absurdities of the 70s that can best be described as the existential western, think EL TOPO meets DEAD MAN. And the film is very good, and one deserving of repeated viewings.

Sample both movies for free here!

And if as impressed with them as I am, buy them here:

Scarlet Worm, The

Zombie A-Hole

ON-DEMAND Viewing Guide: The best and worst Roku

If you have a Roku Box and are looking to explore the world of ON-DEMAND viewing, the challenge is always to find quality free channels, with good content and no ads or limited and unobtrusive ads.

That is always a fluid hunt, as channel offerings vary from month to month, and in some cases week to week.

So without further ado my list of best and worst of Roku Channels this October.

If you have a Roku I do recommend supplementing free channels with at least one provider such as AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX just because the Roku Free Channels, by themselves, you will find hard-pressed to fill your TV watching needs. However pair the free channels with AMAZON PRIME or NETFLIX and you can safely kiss your cable bill goodbye.

So what are, the free channels that are worth your time?

Well I’ll start with the disappointing, CRACKLE. When I first started using Roku this channel was great, however in a scant month their ad usage has become so excessive (you get ads before movies, you get ads if you fast forward or rewind, you get ads every 15 minutes, and you are unable to fast forward ads) and so annoying and obtrusive that it is not worth the frustration of dealing with.

So CRACKLE from a channel that was initially one of the best, has become absolutely one of the worst. (Their XBOX ads are so annoying as to be an assault) . Avoid this channel and I recommend everyone unsubscribe from it, and as their numbers drop it should spur the Sony owned CRACKLE to do the right thing and reduce the # of ads, and stop having ads any more often than once every 30 minutes, and remove the automatic ads should you fast-forward or rewind, because that’s just idiotic.

So yeah CRACKLE gets our Worst Channel mention, they should be ashamed of themselves. Okay that negative over now onto the good stuff.

Today’s channel worth your time is:

THRESHOLD+ – Has a good if not great selection of B movies, with a heavy dose of classic Horror and scifi movies. From the alien movies of the 50s to the low budget exploitation films of the 80s. The quality of the video ranges from good to mediocre, since much of this seems to be sourced from public domain or TV prints so no HD quality here. However it makes up for this in the lack of ads. Some notable films available for viewing on this channel are:

BOOGEYMAN (2005) – Not getting the IMDB derision and hate for this film as I find it stylishly and inventively directed, and better acted than most films of the genre. A film of poetical horror, which perhaps is too subtle for the blood and gore crowd. However if you are a fan of atmospheric slow burn films like the recent WOMAN IN BLACK, you may find this film a worthwhile watch.

And thanks to THRESHOLD+ you can view it for free and decide for yourself.

And other notable films available on THRESHOLD+ are:

MESSIAH OF EVIL
I MONSTER
SCARECROWS (1988)
THE BELL OF HELL (1973)
ASYLUM
THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF
SHE
4D MAN
X: THE UNKNOWN

More recommended on-demand channels next installment!

30 Years of Jean-Claude Van Damme Films

30 Years of Jean-Claude Van Damme

According to AMG (courtesy of Fandango), Jean Claude’s first film was 30 years ago in 1983 with the romantic french comedy MONACO FOREVER.

So to celebrate 30 film years of Jean Claude Van Damme we’ll start with this simple article listing his filmography over these thirty years, along with random notes.

MONACO FOREVER (1983)

BLACK EAGLE (1986)

NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER (1988) – The film that put the world champion kick-boxer turned actor on the map, here playing a villain

BLOODSPORT (1988)- His first starring/hero role
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CYBORG (1989)- A panned film when not being overlooked, this sci-fi flick mixing a dystopian future with lots of action, while undeniably low budget and of its time, I personally am a huge fan of.

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KICKBOXER 1989
DEATH WARRANT 1990
LION HEART 1991
DOUBLE IMPACT 1991
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 1992
HARD TARGET 1993
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NOWHERE TO RUN 1993
TIMECOP 1994

STREET FIGHTER (1994) -With the under-performance of this film is where the brakes on Van Damme’s skyrocketing popularity and career (already lessening a bit from NOWHERE TO RUN) began getting applied

SUDDEN DEATH (1995) – A good movie, perhaps one of his best from that period, it possessed a ‘DIE-HARD’ premise to it, it nevertheless underperformed at the theaters.

sudden_death

THE QUEST (1996) -

MAXIMUM RISK (1996) – His first of many impressive collaborations with Director Ringo Lam, Lam was the first director to get a real performance out of Van Damme, and a fantastic and very nuanced and heart-felt performance it is. It would signal the changing of the guard for Van Damme’s career as his drawing power as a mainstream action star would start drying up, and smaller budget, direct to video films would be the order of the day, but Van Damme as actor would increasingly emerge. MAXIMUM RISK is one of my favorite Van Damme films.

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DOUBLE TEAM (1997)- Tsui Hark, following in the footsteps of fellow country-men John Woo and Ringo Lam, chooses Van Damme to make his Hollywood directorial debut. Unfortunately the film is a creative and commercial misstep, that would signal the beginning of the end to Hollywood’s love-affair with Van Damme.

DESERT HEAT (1998) -
KNOCK OFF (1998) -
LEGIONAIRRE (1999) -
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:THE RETURN (1999) – For all intents and purposes the end (for a time) of Van Damme’s Hollywood Career.

REPLICANT (2001)- The 21st century has arrived, and the rise of home video and DVD makes direct to video (DTV) productions possible. Alternative avenues to get your movie out there for studios that cannot get or afford theatrical distribution. DTV would allow Van Damme, and other abandoned once Hollywood darlings (such as Seagal and Snipes)to continue making movies. REPLICANT, a merely serviceable film, is the first of Van Damme’s next phase of his film career.

THE ORDER (2001) -
DERAILED (2002) -

IN HELL (2003)- A fantastic Van Damme performance and film, helmed by Ringo Lam

WAKE OF DEATH (2004) – Another fantastic DTV film. This and IN HELL showing the older Van Damme not just a better actor than in his youth, but making better films. As both of these films are better than anything he produced in his Hollywood years, with the exception of MAXIMUM IMPACT and SUDDEN DEATH.

SECOND IN COMMAND (2006) -
THE HARD CORPS (2006) -
SINAV (2006) -

UNTIL DEATH (2007)-
THE SHEPHERD: BORDER PATROL (2007)

JCVD (2008) – This is the movie that really revitalized Van Damme’s image, and by so doing, his career. Part action/heist flick, part psuedo-documentary, part bio-pic, it’s a deeply personal film that uses innovative 4th wall breaking cinematography and exciting story and action, and a wrenching performance by Van Damme to make it one of Van Damme’s most critically lauded films.

In many ways JCVD signals the third phase of his career, his return to mainstream prominence while continuing to also do his DTV work, a two pronged ‘best of both worlds’ approach where Van Damme is increasingly the action equivalent to Brando (in terms of longevity) to younger actors’ Pacino. He brings the name and gravity and they bring the youth and the bulk of fight scenes. Most notably this dynamic is seen in his very successful, recent collaborations with the amazing Scott Adkins.

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION (2009)- A direct result of JCVDs popularity, sporting an exciting new director in John Hyams and littered with brutally talented young MMA performers, this is a sequel that completely improves upon its inane and mediocre predecessors. It is, without reservation, a great action film.

THE EAGLE PATH (2010)-
KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011)-
ASSASSINATION GAMES (2011) -Another fantastic action/thriller co-starring Scott Adkins.

assassination_games

SIX BULLETS (2011)-A strong first half, goes off the rails at the end with the parents unbelievably becoming Mr and Mrs Rambo.
DRAGON EYES (2012)-
EXPENDABLES 2 (2012) – A rare return to villain status for Van Damme. Good to see him back, thanks to Stallone, in Hollywood’s good graces.

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:DAY OF RECKONING- Van Damme’s third collaboration with John Hyams, while sporting very little Van Damme, is a home-run and illustrates a bit of that passing of the torch that is going on between him and Scott Adkins (with that whole Apocalypse Now vibe running through it). I loved REGENERATION and DAY OF RECKONING is even better. Part Horror, part sci-fi, part thriller, part action, it is some of the most exciting film-making I’ve seen in a while. Really quite impressive.

And 2013 and 2014 has other projects in the pipeline for Van Damme, and whether these projects are met with accolades or are derided, the given is Van Damme himself shall continue to be a charismatic and watchable screen presence, that gives his all.

I look forward to seeing the work yet to come.

Brought to you by my MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Indiegogo campaign.

If you like this blog, definitely go view and support our MONARCHS OF MAYHEM campaign. There are only a few days left and we only need a 147 of you to contribute at the $35 level to make the book happen! We can do it! :)

Go view it and support it here! Thanks!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM Cover Draft

I’m still toying with cover ideas for MONARCHS OF MAYHEM, below is one. the photo was taken by yours truly. I’m relatively proud of it. I’ll post more ideas as they pop up.

momearlycvrdesign

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM is a book full of interviews with writers of the weird and pulp and strange. From the pulp stylings of Ferguson to the subtle horror of Gavin to the breakneck thrills of Olden.

It takes the existing five interviews you can find here, updates and expands them, and adds five more interviews not previously published, and combines it with extensive photos of the authors own works but more than that their inspirations, their loves, their peers to bring a strange and evocative book filled with posters, book covers, DVD and CD recommendations and much more. 96 pages, hardcover, limited edition.

Sounds really intriguing? I think so.

To make it happen I need you (yes you! :)) to swing by the Indiegogo page linked to below, take some of your friends and support the project at the $35 level. At that level you get the hardcover book.

You make it happen here!

http://igg.me/p/437605/x/2628928

DVD Reviews: Winners and Losers

Recent DVD winners and losers

Winners:

abraham_lincoln_vampire_hunter_xlg
ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER
This movie is far better than the exploitative popcorn title would have you believe. It mixes (surprisingly elegantly) outrageous fantasy and monster tropes with still redolent historical moments, and wraps it all in mesmerizing action and brilliant direction. I was and remain hugely impressed. Timur Bekmambetov continues to be a director to watch. And writer Seth Grahame-Smith surprises with a script that for all its action and outrageousness is surprisingly heartfelt and earnest and full of the import of those years of civil war. Highly Recommended.

insidious
INSIDIOUS
I think far more movies in general, and horror movies specifically, disappoint than satisfy. INSIDIOUS fortunately falls into the latter category. Being from first frame to last a downright compelling, creepy, and scary horror film. It’s a keeper.

redbelt_ver2
REDBELT
David Mamet on his game is a joy to behold, and here in REDBELT he is plain superlative, in this tale of a Jujitsu instructor, played mesmerizingly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the lives that intersect one night, and the ramifications of that intersection. It’s a wonderful drama, that also happens to have some thrilling sequences of… prevailing. A movie to own. Highly Recommended!

So if these are this week’s winners, what are the losers? Glad you asked, they are:

A PERFECT GETAWAY
APG_Fnl1Sheet_11F (Page 1)
BLACK MASK
JULIA’S EYES
IF

That’s all for this run around. Check back later for more.

2013: Day 12- Remembering Director Lucio Fulci

Rough Draft
UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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perversionstory

Lucio Fulci is remembered today, when remembered at all, by a nuance lacking population for his lowest common denominator gore films such as THE BEYOND and ZOMBI.

But before Fulci, by his own estimation became a maker of z-grade garbage to pay the bills, he aspired to more. He aspired to be a filmmaker.

And I am here to say he was one. And I would go further to say he was a great director. An extremely versatile director, leaving his mark on everything from Comedies to Westerns. However, it was in the new Italian form of thriller, the Giallo that his skills would reach their zenith, and his star shine the brightest.

In his heyday creative period, when the muses of inspiration were upon him (approx from 1966 to 1977), he made seven influential, stylish, challenging and even ground breaking films.

Tempi di Massacro/Massacre Time (Would predate and arguably inspire the dove laden, blood ballets of John Woo)

Una Sull’altra/Perversion Story/One On Top Another (even hampered by a poor title, and an awkward, even clumsy soft-core opening, this reworking of Hitchcock’s Vertigo builds to something great. Beautifully filmed it is Fulci’s best looking film, and is a clinic in style. It is a film I consider even better than its inspiration, and that is saying a lot.)

Beatrice Cenci
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Four of the Apocalypse
Sette Notte in Nero/Psychic

Fulci Frenzy
Browse and/or buy Lucio Fulci DVDs Here!!!

None of the above films were adequately appreciated upon release. However with the advent of DVD you have the chance to reevaluate Fulci’s largely pre-gore work (before he gave completely into his excesses and the lowest common denominator) and see these films for what they were and are, visually stunning landmarks of a time and a place.

— to be continued

2013: Day 11- 15 Best Movie Remakes! Remakes that are better than the original!

Okay, here is a list of Remakes for people who think they don’t like Remakes

or

FIFTEEN movie remakes that are superior to the original.

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John Carpenter’s THE THING
Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE
Francis Ford Coppola’s DRACULA
Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE

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David Cronenberg’s THE FLY
Zack Snyder’s THE DAWN OF THE DEAD
Al Pacino in Brian DePalma’s SCARFACE
Sturges’ MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED

henry_v_ver2

Branagh’s HENRY V
Eddie Murphy’s THE NUTTY PROFESSOR

maltese_falcon_ver9

Bogart’s MALTESE FALCON (The third film attempt, finally got it right!)
I AM LEGEND, while I have a lot of respect for the Vincent Price and Charlton Heston versions, Will Smith’s I AM LEGEND moves it into big scale territory with out losing the intimate horror inherent
Cameron’s TITANIC
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH Hictchcock Improves on himself in this Stewart and Day remake of his earlier film

Movie Trailers of the Day!

A quick recap of some movies trailers I sampled today. Here’s the lowdown on the winners, the contenders and the losers!

THE BEST:

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN- I’m not a fan of the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movies at all. Thought the first movie was mediocre at best, so imagine my surprise going into this trailer. It seemingly has very little to do with UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, which in my book is a good thing, and the trailer comes across with very much a horror, off-kilter vibe. UNIVERSAL SOLDIER by way of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. If the ultimate goal of a trailer is to make you want to pay to see the film, then this trailer succeeds.

IRON MAN 3- No doubt everyone and their grandma has seen this trailer now, but let me just jump on the bandwagon and say it looks great.  I’ve enjoyed all the previous MARVEL STUDIOS movies, and this appears to be no exception.

MAMA- is the latest by the director of BLADE II, PAN’S LABYRINTH etc, and looks like a worthy and creepy addition to that body of work. It’ll get my theater dollars.

LINCOLN- A bio-pic on Abraham Lincoln done by Spielberg, with a huge, high profile cast. Of course this is a must see in the theaters.

 

THE UNDECIDED/WAIT FOR VIDEO PILE:

REACHER- Tom Cruise’s latest looks interesting, though nothing you haven’t seen before.Though the ageless Mr. Cruise finally begins to show some age, which probably works for the weathered character he plays. I’m not bowled over by either trailer, nothing that screams see me in the theater, but one I’ll rent at least.

PUSHER- The trailer of this remake does nothing for me. But it has some heavy hitters behind the camera so the film may surprise. Worth a rental maybe.

BIGFOOT- A found footage BIG FOOT film. I’ve liked Big Foot related items since the old SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN TV show, so the premise is enough for me to give it a look. But nothing worth seeing in a theater or buying. Particularly considering the trailer makes it look even stupider than Blair Witch (which I disliked).

STOKER- Well when I heard the title STOKER I was hoping this had something to do with Bram Stoker, but no such luck. The trailer makes this seem like a drama/thriller about a young girl and her serial killer uncle, something of a distorted reworking of Hitchcock’s brilliant SHADOW OF A DOUBT. Quite frankly the trailer is pretty uninteresting, the only saving graces it has are… Nicole Kidman (she’s such a captivating beauty and actress, even here when she should be playing a worn, mother figure. If the purpose of a star is to make you want to look at them… all the time, then Nicole Kidman is a star of the highest order) and the director Park Chan Wook, of OLD BOY fame with his first English language film. So STOKER, poor trailer or not, is definitely worth a look when it hits video.

TAICHI- A steam-punk martial arts film by the creators of IP MAN and DETECTIVE YEE. I’m sold! :) Not something I’m going to pay theater prices for, but it is definitely a future rental.

EVIL DEAD REMAKE- That’s a gory trailer, jury is still out whether it is a good trailer, much less a good movie. Off the bat none of the actors come across as interesting which already puts you at a HUGE disadvantage. Bruce Campbell’s performance and likeability is a huge part of the success of the original EVIL DEAD, so to toss in some stock CW actors, with the depth of pond water (just going by the trailer, they may be Oliviers in the finished film) and think you earn the right to call it an EVIL DEAD film… could be a problem. This is going to be worth a look on video, but not in the theaters.

 

 

THE WORST:

HAUNTED HOUSE- A Marlon Wayans comedy/spoof on PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. The trailer is as stupid and uninteresting as you think it would be. Avoid.

THE COLLECTION- by the SAW creators. Seemingly their SAW franchise is dead, so they are trying to jump start a new one, using the same torture porn premise. Going just by the trailer… utter garbage.

CLOUD ATLAS- The easiest way to get me not interested in a film is to put Halle Berry in it. Tom Cruise doesn’t help either and an unfocused time-hopping storyline leaves me equally uninterested.

SMILEY- Seemingly an urban legend Serial Killer film. A killer with a smiley face made of flesh? Ugggh. It’s an effective trailer for this type of movie, I’m just not the audience for it. I hesitate to put this in the worst category until some of the reviews come in. It may actually have a story to it, and some craft, unlike something like THE COLLECTION.

That’s all for this installment of the best and worst in movie trailers! And you can view all the mentioned trailers for yourself here! Just say NO to Flash/streaming web trailers, which are always slow and crappy, and get them in downloadable quality at the link above!

And come back soon for more!!

Quote and Short Story of the Day: OUT OF THE STORM

“The sea is laughing. As though hell cackled from the mouth of an ass.”

OUT OF THE STORM by William Hope Hodgson

Courtesy of SFF Audio. Listen to it here! It is absolutely brilliant. This is the writer who inspired Lovecraft, and what Lovecraft learned from him (a man plagued by his own demons)… is clear…. and horrible.

Touching on that ‘plagued by demons’ statement. If this recounting of Hodgson’s meeting with Houdini be accurate, Hodgson comes off as more than a bit sadistic.