CD Review: Terror “The Twenty Fifth Hour”

“The Twenty Fifth Hour”
Terror
Victory Records
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Los Angeles hardcore band Terror is back with a brand new full length album titled “The Twenty Fifth Hour”. This is the bands 6th studio album and the follow up to the groups 2013 release “Live by the Code” which was also released via Victory Records.

“The Twenty Fifth Hour” immediately picks up where the bands previous release left off. Vocalist Scott Vogel hits the ground running with lyrics that speak true to the daily struggles that even someone completely removed from the hardcore scene can relate to. Tracks like “No Time For Fools” with its classic hardcore mid section break down to “Blinded By the Lights” which features a crescendoed ending adds to the proverbial icing on the cake to an already excitable track. “Trust No Face” which features an intense guest performance by No Warning vocalist Ben Cook is definitely worth a listen as is the albums closing track “Deep Rooted”.

Terror once again proves why they are easily one of my favorite hardcore bands out there. The band pulls no punches in its approach both lyrically and instrumentally as “The Twenty Fifth Hour” gives you something to think about while also providing you with some killer opportunities to bob your head to the beat. Though the album only clocks in at just over 22 minutes that brief period of time is utilized to its maximum potential.

Track Listing:
The 25th Hour
No Time For Fools
Bad Signs
Feed the Rats
The Solution
Blinded By the Lights
Trust No Face (Feat. Ben Cook)
Why?
Mind At War
Snap
Sick and Tired
Life Goes On
Both of You
Deep Rooted

Official Trailer released for Uncork’d Entertainment’s “An American Terror”

A killer Christmas title that’s “Surprising, effective, and brutal”* to stuff your stocking with!

The festival favorite An American Terror, from visionary director Haylar Garcia, releases this week from Uncork’d Entertainment (DVD/VOD).

Set to be one of the most talked about films around the dinner table this holiday season, the controversial film tells of three teens, marginalized by their schoolmates, tho decide to turn their gray existence around and be noticed. To do it they come up with a macabre plan, consisting of carrying out a massacre at school. But while they’re preparing the bloodbath, they’ll run into something much darker and more perverse than their own bloody ideas.

A movie with a chronicle lifted straight from front page headlines, An American Terror leaves spectators breathless.

Starring Jennifer Wilde (Halloween : The Night He Came Back), Graham Emmons (The Mission), and Kathryn Gould (The Highwayman). Written, directed, and edited by Haylar Garcia; produced by Sam Sleiman and Tarik Heitmann; and executive produced by Jim Brennan and Roland Salameh.

Blu-ray Review “Toy Story of Terror!”

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Carl Weathers, Stephen Tobolowsky, Timothy Dalton
Director: Angus MacLane
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Run Time: 22 minutes

Special: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

One of the best things to happen to “Toy Story” was the continuing of the franchise through Toy Story Toons. These are short and absolutely amazing mini-stories that have been shown in front of Pixar and Disney films since “Toy Story 3”. “Toy Story of Terror!” is the longest of the group and was planned as Halloween special last Fall. The film sees the original talents returning including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Timothy Dalton, Don Rickles, Kristen Schaal, Wallace Shawn and Carl Weathers as series newcomer Combat Carl.  The film is a little scary but definitely another great installment in this franchise.

Official Premise: What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate.

The Blu-ray edition of Toy Story of Terror! comes in a Combo pack with a Blu-ray and Digital HD copy. The 1080p transfer is gorgeous like you would expect from the Toy Story franchise and Disney/Pixar. It crazy to believe but this special also comes with an epic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. I am really impressed with this track.

Toy Story of Terror! Blu-ray doesn’t come alone either as it is comes with three of Toy Story Toons shorts including “Hawaiian Vacation”, “Small Fry” and “Partysaurus Rex”. It also includes some never-before-seen bonus features as well. There are three Vintage Toy Commercials, which can be viewed as act breaks during the film or separately with Director Introductions. There is also an Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes with Editor Introductions and “Team of Specialists,” in which director Angus MacLane goes behind the scenes.

“Toy Story of Terror!” isn’t the only Toy Story Toons short to get extras though, “Hawaiian Vacation”, “Small Fry” and “Partysaurus Rex” also come with audio commentary tracks. So if you think about you aren’t just buying this for “Toy Story of Terror!”, you are getting much more as well. Lastly there is also a D23 Teaser included. Disney/Pixar is tackling Christmas this year with the new special, “Toy Story That Time Forgot”, so I can’t wait for that and also up next is a new Toy Story Toons short, “Mythic Rock”.

Blu-ray Review “Hell of the Living Dead/Rats: Night of Terror (Blood Soaked-Double Feature)”

Actors: Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Geretta Geretta
Directors: Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Blue Underground
DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
Run Time: 198 minutes

“Hell of the Living Dead”: 4 out of 5 stars
“Rats: Night of Terror”: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I see an announcement from Blue Underground, I can’t help but get excited since they always find a way to release some crazy cult classics that I loved growing up. Case in point, their new ‘Blood-Soaked Double Feature’ Blu-ray, which includes both “Hell of the Living Dead” and “Rats: Night of Terror”. These are great Italian horror films that deserve a great release. I remember the first time I rented these on VHS and was drawn in by their fantastic boxes when I walked down the horror isle. So these were a great trip down memory lane.

Both of these films are directed by the legendary Italian director Bruno Mattei, who is also known for “Emmanuelle in Prison” and “SS Extermination Love Camp”. When you think of ’80s Italian shockers, these are always two that come to my mind. They are jam-packed with over-the-top gore, twist endings, humor and still hold up today. It’s been a while since I have seen these films but they are still just as fun and shocking.

Official Premise “Hell of the Living Dead”: An accident at a chemical plant unleashed a horrific virus, and an elite SWAT team is sent to New Guinea to investigate. But when they arrive on the hellish island, they discover a plague of flesh-eating zombies as well as a beautiful female reporter who practices nude anthropology. Can the commandos survive this cannibal rampage, uncover a shocking government secret and still find time for occasional cross-dressing before the ravenous hordes of the living dead infect the entire world?

Official Premise “Rats: Night of Terror”: In the year 225 A.B. (After the Bomb), a group of post-apocalyptic bikers discover an abandoned research laboratory filled with food, water…and thousands of rats. But these are no ordinary vermin; these are super-intelligent mutant rodents with a ravenous appetite for human flesh. Can a bunch of heavily armed but not-too-bright human scavengers survive a night of terror against the most hungry and horrific predators on earth?

Blue Underground didn’t just throw these on Blu-ray, they really delivered them with some extra love. These were both given brand-new high definition transfers from their original uncut and uncensored negatives. These films have never look better personally. Blue Underground could have just dropped these on a disc and called it a day but instead, they really make sure they were giving a solid release to the fans. These films also come with solid DTS-HD Master Audio Mono tracks, both films sound great. So if you are a horror fan, these are a must.

In terms of special features, there is some decent content. There is a newly-produced documentary called “Bonded By Blood”, which includes interviews with Co-Writer/Co-Director Claudio Fragasso and Stars Margit Evelyn Newton, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua & Massimo Vanni. There is also an interview with Director Bruno Mattei in the extras “Hell Rats Of The Living Dead”. Other than that there are some Theatrical Trailers and Poster & Still Galleries included here.

CD Review: Terror “Live By The Code”

Terror
“Live By The Code”
Victory Records
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

The Los Angeles based hardcore band Terror are back with a brand new full length album titled “Live By The Code” The album features 11 bombastic tracks that are sure to whip even the most docile listener into a rabid frenzy. “Live By The Code” is the follow up release to the bands 2012 album “No Regrets, No Shame”. This album also marks the first release by the band since signing to legendary hardcore label Victory Records.

Honest and in your face Terror pulls no punches with their latest release. All 11 tracks contained on “Live By The Code” have everything I love about hardcore. Ripping vocals and chunky riff heavy guitar lines that made it hard to pick which songs were my favorite being they are all just so good! From the opening song “The Most High” which recounts vocalist Scott Vogel’s discovery of hardcore music to the thunderous “Hard Lessons” to the albums closing track “One Blood” which is anthem like in its approach you just couldn’t ask for anything better.

Mid 90’s angst with a refreshing musical take that grabbed me from the start. “Live By The Code” is the bands strongest album to date. The partnership between the band and Victory Records seems to be just what the band needed to take their sound to the next level. Even the most fringe hardcore listener will want to do themselves a favor and pick up a copy of this album!

Track Listing:
1.) The Most High
2.) Not Impressed
3.) Cold Truth
4.) I’m Only Stronger
5.) Live By The Code
6.) The Good Die Young
7.) Shot of Reality
8.) Hard Lessons
9.) Invasion
10.) Nothing In Your Hand
11.) One Blood

Julia Davis talks about documentary "Top Priority: The Terror Within"

Born in Russia, Julia Davis seemed to have a fairy tale life. She met and fell in love with filmmaker B.J. Davis while he was making a film in her hometown, emigrated to the United States and, armed with her educational degrees, found a job in one of this country’s most important agencies – the Department of Homeland Security. However, the fairy tale took a horrific twist when Ms. Davis reported to her supervisors what appeared to be a security breach of top priority. Rather then investigate her report the agency, and others within the U.S. Government, set out to discredit her, as well as subjecting her family and friends to unimaginable harassment. It took almost a decade but the truth has finally come to light. With the DVD release of the whistle-blowing documentary film of which she is the subject, “Top Priority: The Terror Within,” Ms. Davis graciously took some time out to talk with Media Mikes about her life since the film was released and her plans for the future.

Mike Smith: What made you choose to go into a career with the government?
Julia Davis: Since my childhood, I always had an interest in police work and investigative matters. After 9/11, I felt the need to serve our great nation, helping to safeguard it from any future terror threats. Since I speak multiple languages, I thought that my abilities could be put to good use by the federal agencies responsible for protecting our national security.

MS: Do you believe that all of the retribution towards you was brought on because you simply embarrassed the government?
JD: I’ve often wondered whether the reason for such unprecedented magnitude of retaliation was embarrassment or corruption. Customs Service is historically the most corrupt federal agency. Even the former Port Director of the San Ysidro Port of Entry where I worked (which is the largest and busiest land border crossing in the U.S. and in the world), Daphiney Caganap was caught red-handed for accepting bribes to allow drugs and illegal aliens to cross the border. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that someone intentionally allowed 23 subjects from terrorist countries to enter the U.S. without following proper procedures, in exchange for a bribe or because of another sinister motive.

MS: How were you able to obtain the various taped testimonies and video surveillance footage that appears in the film?
JD: In retribution for my whistle-blowing disclosure, my husband and I were twice maliciously prosecuted and falsely imprisoned. We eventually prevailed against the Department of Homeland Security in those legal proceedings and were declared factually innocent. At that point we filed a lawsuit against the DHS to hold them accountable for their outrageous, unconstitutional actions. Discovery procedures provided an opportunity for us to depose the Defendants, videotaping their testimony. The Blackhawk helicopter raid of our house was recorded by our neighbor, Mathew Judd. Shortly after giving us the tape and his statement, this healthy 25-year old man was found dead. Over the years we were subjected to extensive surveillance by fixed wing airplanes, helicopters, vehicles and agents following us on foot. We’ve been meticulously documenting what could be described as living in the movie “Enemy of the State”. The documentary contains 517 video, audio and document image inserts. Since the magnitude of the case is so unbelievable, we were determined to illustrate every fact with irrefutable evidence. Director Asif Akbar and Editor Paul Robinson labored tirelessly to make an enormous amount of evidence available to the viewing audiences. I can’t say enough to praise their dedication to getting the story told in a way that leaves nothing to speculation. What is shown in a film is not an allegation or contention, but facts, accompanied by audiovisual proof.

MS: Since the film was made have you been able to find anything that might further link this case with the deaths or Brittany Murphy or her husband?
JD: I’ve requested and obtained an extensive number of records from the Department of Homeland Security/ICE, which contained the evidence that Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack were about to be prosecuted for alleged “immigration marriage fraud” shortly before Brittany died. As a matter of fact, Britt’s death is the only reason the prosecution didn’t go forward. I find it highly suspicious that the same agency (DHS/ICE) was utilizing exactly the same methods (helicopter and vehicular surveillance, entertainment industry work interference, investigations, etc.) to pursue my husband and I, just as they did to Britt and Simon after she became a witness in my case. Brittany and Simon exhibited numerous symptoms of acute poisoning prior to their deaths (including vomiting and abdominal pain), but neither their hair nor tissues were ever tested for toxins, poisons or heavy metals. Brittany’s father, Angelo “AJ” Bertolotti is continuing his fight to get his daughter’s hair and specimens finally tested by an independent laboratory. He is now represented by George Braunstein, Esq. – an esteemed attorney who was involved in securing a proper autopsy with respect to the death of Sylvester Stallone’s eldest son Sage. We are determined to find out Brittany’s and Simony’s true cause of death, which will start with proper medical testing of their specimens.

MS: You often appeared on television as an anti-terrorist expert before this happened. Are you still able to do this or has this case maybe scared off the networks?
JD: I still write for the Homeland Security Examiner and appear on network television as an anti-terrorism/immigration expert, but my case is undeniably too controversial for the mainstream media. Amongst other things, the documentary explores the connections between our government agencies and the MSM. It is disappointing, but no longer surprising.

MS: Were you able to take any action against the police departments that falsely stopped you?
JD: We’ve made a report to the San Diego Police Department that addressed the unlawful actions by the officers of their motorcycle traffic division (including Officer Steve Webb, who conspired with the Department of Homeland Security in conducting an illegal traffic stop). Much like the DHS, they took absolutely no action to hold anyone accountable.

MS: You have a Masters Degree in Aviation and Spacecraft Engineering. Any desires to pursue that field again?
JD: I studied engineering to follow in my parents’ footsteps, particularly because my father was an ingenious, award-winning inventor in that field. While I still love technology, I believe that creative expression in its various forms is my true calling. There are many important stories that need to be told and I intend to do my part in making that happen, as a Director, Producer, Screenwriter and an Investigative Reporter.

MS: What are your plans for the future?
JD: As they say, “People plan and God laughs”. My main goal and objective is to do my best to make this world a better place, one day at a time. I plan to continue making movies, writing books and news articles/investigative reports. I also plan to continue with my ongoing efforts to ensure that meaningful whistleblower laws finally get enacted, which would include jury trials and protection for national security whistleblowers.

MS: Finally, what would you say to someone who finds themselves in the position you were in and knows of what extremes others will go to prevent the truth from coming out?
JD: I would tell them to hold on tight, as they’re in for a wild ride. Most importantly, I would implore them to never surrender, never lose hope and never stop telling it like it is (even when it seems like no one is listening). Truth, justice and the American way is about doing the right thing, no matter the price.

DVD Review "Top Priority: The Terror Within"

Directed by: Asif Akbar
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Fleur De Lis Film Studios
Release date: December 12, 2012
Run time: 98 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
No Extras

When I first reviewed the film “Top Priority: The Terror Within” I summed up my reaction to what I had just seen in one word – WOW! As I watched it again in preparation of it’s release on DVD another word registered inside me – ANGER! Not at the film, mind you, but at the lengths that some people (and organizations) will go to in order to validate something that has no business being validated…that the entire “cover your ass” mentality that permeates so many different groups can extend to the willful ruination of innocent people’s lives. Here is my initial review of the film from June of 2012:

Wow!

Knowing I had just seen his new documentary, “Top Priority: The Terror Within,” producer BJ Davis asked me what I had thought of the film. I summed my review up in one word.

Much has been made of the state of the world since the horror of September 11, 2001. As citizens we’ve been told to keep our eyes open…to report anything we may think is suspicious. But what if you worked for the U.S. Government’s Department of Homeland Security and you discovered that no less than 23 “Special Interest Aliens” (read: persons from such countries as Iraq, Libya, Indonesia and others) just walked across the Mexican border into the United States. You’d notify your superiors, right? Apparently not if you want to keep your job.

The central figure in this film is Julia Davis. Born in Kiev, Russia she met and fell in love with American filmmaker BJ Davis while he was making a movie in her country. Emigrating to the USA and armed with Masters Degrees in Aviation and Spacecraft Engineering, she soon found herself working for the Department of Homeland Security as a Customs and Border Patrol Officer. So strong was her knowledge of, and commitment to, the job that she would often appear on national news programs as an anti-terrorist expert to field questions. In an average month, approximately 10-15 “Special Interest Aliens” would be given authorization to enter the USA, usually after a lengthy question and answer session with a DHS agent. While checking her daily work Davis discovered that, in a 10 hour period on July 4, 2004, 23 “Special Interested Aliens” entered the US without so much as one question by anyone in authority. When Davis reported this horrific breach of security all hell broke loose. On her.

It’s often hard to judge a politically themed documentary. Sometimes, as in the case of some of Michael Moore’s work, the information given is slanted. I’m not saying it’s wrong…I’m just saying that sometimes you don’t see all that is to be seen. That is not the case here. Pressing on with her complaint, Davis soon finds herself the target of harassment at work as well as having to deal with fifty-four fraudulent charges leveled at her. Each one of these charges is proven false thanks to an unprecedented glimpse at government video depositions as well as video surveillance tapes. In one instance, Ms. Davis reports that her superior, Linda Boutwell (who Ms. Davis’ attorney humorously refers to as “Miss BUTT-well” when he discusses her) picked up her personal backpack and threw it to the floor so forcefully that the cell phone inside was broken. Boutwell submits a sworn statement claiming to have never touched Ms. Davis’ backpack. When government investigators are confronted by video surveillance tape that shows Boutwell doing exactly what she is charged with, they inexplicably side with her. The case gets even more involving when Boutwell tells her superiors that Davis, while at work for the Department of Homeland Security, is secretly helping her husband and his crew make a local film. According to Boutwell she is told this information by actress Brittany Murphy. When the Davis’ inquire as to why these charges were made, Murphy informs them that, though she is friends with Boutwell’s daughter, she never made those statements. What follows for the next 18 months is an all out assault on the very freedoms Ms. Davis swore to protect. She is followed by helicopters…her house is illegally searched…the government tries to have her deported, calling her marriage to BJ a sham. They even arrange to have local police pull the Davis’ over at pre-scheduled times to prevent them from arriving at court hearings and depositions on time.

Surprising to hear? It was to me. But every accusation is backed up with proof! There is no gray area here. It’s all there in the black and white video footage as well as the notes and documents the Davis’ were able to track down. And they weren’t the only people under surveillance. In an interview shortly before she died at the age of 30, Brittany Murphy told the writer she knew she being watched. In fact, it was much worse. Murphy endured helicopter surveillance, wiretaps, an arrest in the middle of the night and an unsuccessful attempt to deport her fiancée Simon Monjack, whom she later married. That shortly after her statement both Murphy and Monjack suddenly died only makes the case more bizarre!

There are more twists and turns to this film then all of the rides at Disneyland. “Top Priority: The Terror Within” is a film that will make you think and, hopefully, say “Wow!”

For more information on this extraordinary case or to order the DVD please click here.

"Top Priority: The Terror Within" DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!


In conjunction with the new DVD release of the whistle-blowing documentary “Top Priority: The Terror Within,” Media Mikes has teamed with Fleur De Lis Film Studios to give two readers a chance to win a copy of this hard hitting documentary. All you have to do is let us know, in a few sentences, your favorite documentary film and what made it so memorable to you. Did “Gimme Shelter” give you an inside look at the end of the 60s? Maybe “Bowling for Columbine” changed your views on gun laws. Or maybe you just love “March of the Penguins” because, well, darn it, they’re just so cute!

The contest will run from Monday, January 7 through January 21st. Two random entries will be selected and notified of their win via email. Good luck!

Blu-ray Review “The Terror Experiment”

Directed by: George Mendeluk
Actors: Jason London, Judd Nelson, Robert Carradine, C. Thomas Howell
MPAA Rated: Unrated
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Running Time: 82 minutes

Film: 1 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Whatever you do avoid this film like the plague it is. For a cheesy b-horror film, it is odd that this film can pack a cast like Jason London, Judd Nelson, Robert Carradine, C. Thomas Howell and still is impossible to watch. I watch a lot of cheesy horror films but this one was just unbearable to complete. It is a zombie outbreak film really without the the zombies.  I mean they are really useless zombie, some even just laying around.  Lazy just like the movie itself. The style of shooting was just so erratic and poorly planned, it just became discouraging to watch.

The film follows a terrorist who sets off an explosion in the Federal Building, which unleashes a toxic gas throughout the building.  This deadly virus starts to turn the buildings occupants into aggressive and vicious zombies, reminiscent of “28 Days Later”.   Outside the building the government officials are trying to deal with avoiding this issue from leaking to the public, planning a cover-up. Inside, the survivors need to find a way to escape the building, which is on lockdown, alive and without become infected themselves.

The Blu-ray presentation is watchable but nothing special. It’s 1080p transfer has issues with clarity, but not terrible. The film says it boasts a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track but only really gives out a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The special features are also baron of content like the film is. There is only an audio commentary with Executive Producer/Director George Mendeluk. He does a good job of entertaining you but with the film in the background it is just hard to watch.

CD Review: Voodoo Terror Tribe “Stands to Reason” EP

Voodoo Terror Tribe
“Stands to Reason” EP
Tracks: 5

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Stands to Reason” is the latest release from the band Voodoo Terror Tribe. The band consisting of Gil PZ- Vocals, Emir Erkal- Guitars, Primer- Bass and T-Bone- Drums play a unique blend of industrial tinged metal filled with catchy lyrical content and thunderous guitar tones. The EP which is being released independently by the band and features 3 new original tracks, a remixed version of the bands song “Never Died Before” and a synth filled cover of the Journey song “Separate Ways”.

Though the album doesn’t have label backing it should not be discredited in any way. Each of the five tracks featured on “Stand to Reason” feature lush arrangements filled to the brim with pure unadulterated power. It should be noted that while recording the EP the band took a great risk venturing into new musical territory while reinventing their sound as a whole. I think this EP is a great testament to the bands new sound and I really can’t wait to hear what is in store next for the Garden State band.

For those interested in checking out the band and its new EP you can go to the bands website www.voodooterrortribe.com. There you can find out more about the band and be able to name your price when downloading songs off the new EP.

Track Listing:
1.) Masquerade
2.) Stands to Reason
3.) Twenty12
4.) Separate Ways
5.) Never Died Before (Re-Mix)