Blu-ray Review "White Zombie (1932)"

Actors: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy
Directors: Victor Halperin
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Kino Lorber
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 69 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of zombies and shows like “The Walking Dead”, let me introduce you to “White Zombie”.  This is the film that started it all…the first zombie movie. This has influenced so many films over the last 80+ years. For the firs time, this film has been remastered in HD, thanks to Kino Classics! “White Zombie” has been released many times before on DVD and never looked like this at all.  Bela Lugosi, who is best known for playing Dracula, stars in this fan favorite with those mystical eyes of his. If you are a fan of this film, then this is the Blu-ray for you. Personally, this might not be Lugosi’s best film but it is certainly become a cult classic over the years and I recommend it highly on Blu-ray.

Official Premise: Along a desolate road in the Haitian mountains, a carriage bearing Neil Parker and Madeleine Short encounters a funeral in which the body is being buried in the road. Further down the road, the coach stops at the sight of a man of satanic appearance: six human shapes step forth, and the horrified driver shouts ”Zombies!”, signaling the first appearance of the living dead in American cinema. When first released, “White Zombie” occupies a deserved place beside “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” as one of the most eerie and interesting horror films of the 1930’s and remains a horror classic.

Kino’s Blu-ray of “White Zombie” comes with two complete versions of the film.  Both versions have been taken from an original 35mm negative with a few missing scenes taken from a 16mm print. Both are presented in it’s original aspect ratio: 1.37:1. This Blu-ray doesn’t really blow you away with its presentation of this film and for a film that is 80+ years old it shows its age quite a bit.  Same goes for the Linear PCM 2.0 audio track, it is decent but nothing special. The special features are a bit of a let down with quantity not quality.  There is a commentary track with film historian Frank Thompson, worth checking out for some good zombie references.  There is a nice interview with Bela Lugosi, which was filmed during White Zombie’s production. Lastly, there is a trailer from the 1951 re-release.

“The Puppet Monster Massacre” Director Dustin Mills talks about new film “Zombie A-Hole”

Dustin Mills is the director of the wild and crazy film “The Puppet Monster Massacre”. Dustin took out some time with Media Mikes to chat about that film as well as his new film “Zombie A-Hole”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what the inspiration was behind “The Puppet Monster Massacre”?
Dustin Mills: It’s the same with every film idea I come up with. I am just trying to make films that I would want to watch. I look for holes in the B-Movie universe and try to fill them.

MG: Are you surprised with the response this film has gotten?
DM: The response has been rather mixed, and honestly the only places it sells well are Horror Conventions. I think my surprise came from seeing it featured in magazines and websites that I had read for years. We were in HorrorHound, Fangoria, and there was a review on AintItCoolNews. That was wild. That’s the stuff that makes my heart race.

MG: When can we expect the sequel to this film?
DM: I really want to make one, but so for we haven’t had a ton of luck with raising the funds. I have the outline, I have started the screenplay, but now it just boils down to hard numbers. I’m not going to make the film until I can give it everything it needs. My plan right now is to produce some low budget exploitative short films to sell with the sole purpose of raising money for PMM2. It will happen… its just a matter of time.

MG: Tell us how it was going to puppets to “Zombie A-Hole”?
DM: It was much much easier. Production was smoother because I wasn’t playing every single part (we had no puppeteers for PMM) and post was easier because we had real locations instead of a greenscreen that required keying and or matte paintings and 3d backgrounds. The only thing that is more difficult about a live action film vs something like PMM is that you have to be willing to relinquish control and improvise and let your actors help build your world. Making a virtual backlot puppet film allows you to have a much narrower mind, but working with people and weird conditions forces you to be a resourceful soldier.

MG: What was your biggest challenge besides the budget of $1K?
DM: The budget was never actually a hindrance. I like working with nothing. A low budget like that forces you to be a renegade and I like that. there is something really exhilarating about shaking your camera while your actor’s wife blows fog over your car with a $20 fog machine and a fan that barely works and a couple of your buddies bounce the trunk up and down so it will kinda sorta look like the zombie hunting cowboy is driving at night. I live for that shit. The biggest challenge I guess was just time. Its hard to line up schedules, and we had a medical emergency with one of our actors that set us back for a month or so (not an onset injury mind you). That’s really it. Once we got folks together there was never really anything that held us back too much.

MG: Sticking with the horror genre, who are your idols?
DM: Thats a hard question because I have two sets of idols. I got my mainstreamers like Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, and Fred Dekker. But then I also have my indie heroes. People like Eric Stanze, Bill Zebub, Fred Vogel, Jason Eisener, Kevin Strange, The Kuchar Brothers, and a few others. These are guys with true vision who know how to make their budgets and indie status work for them. I may not even like every movie they put out, but I respect the shit out of them. My grandaddy idol at least for right now is Jim Wynorski. I’m not sure the world will ever truly appreciate his genius.

MG: Favorite horror film?
DM: My favorite horror film and probably favorite film of all time is “The Monster Squad”. It embodies just about everything I love about horror and the magic of the movies.

MG: Tell us about your upcoming “Theatre of the Deranged II”?
DM: Well James Bressack is spearheading this wacky anthology and on it I have an animated short that is sort of inspired by anime and the sushi typhoon films called Girl Girl: Mutant Lesbo Vengeance. Its going to be quite strange and extremely bloody. I am pretty excited about it, and I am in good company on that collection. James really gathered a good group of filmmakers and I am pretty honored to be rubbing shoulders with them.

MG: What else do you have set on the horizon?
DM: I am putting the finishing touches on Night of the Tentacles. It will be out early next year probably. I am shooting a film called Kill That Bitch which will be out early next year as well. I am shooting a puppet porno music video for a Las Vegas band called The Fat Dukes of Fuck that is perhaps the strangest thing I have ever done. I recently did a video for one of their member’s other band called Demon Lung, check it out here. I have two other projects; one of which is already filmed and the other I am filming currently. I’m honestly not sure how much I can say about them so that might be a tale for another time.

Book Review “The Brain Eater’s Bible: Sound Advice for the Newly Reanimated Zombie”

Author(s): J.D. Ghoul with Pat Kilbane
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When you see a book that is titled, “The Brain Eater’s Bible”, you can’t help but to pick it up just out of curiosity. This unique book is a field manual and manifesto for the reanimated dead. The hardcover book is packed with over 200 photos, diagrams and anatomical drawings.  Personally I like the cover art better for Mythodrome’s 2011 release of this book but this edition is about 10 pages longer. Overall this will definitely get some great laughs to any fans of the horror genre.

If you are a newly reanimated zombie, this book is definitely for you as well.  It answers such important questions like there is no need to season human brains since they taste delicious as is and that is it best to hunt in packs.  You can tell that this book tells it as it is since author J.D. McGhoul is himself a reanimated zombie due to the PACE virus infection.  He giving his times that have helped him cope with his situation.  If are looking for more,  “The Brain Eater’s Bible” iPad app included the content of the book  plus an additional “gallery mode” with bonus content for every page! There is zoomable photos and dozens of interactive videos and animations.

I am very interested to see what McGhoul has planned next, this is a fun book and not only visually enticing but also very education for when that zombie apocalypse comes.  If you enjoyed Max Brooks’s “The Zombie Survival Guide”, this book definitely aims to please the similar audience. St. Martin’s Griffin has also delivered a very high quality book, the pages are beautifully printed and are extremely colorful and crisp. Plus, when you have praise from John Rosso, the writer of “Night of the Living Dead” and Kevin Smith.  How can you possibly go wrong. Highly recommended.

 

CD Review: Rob Zombie “Mondo Sex Head”

Rob Zombie
“Mondo Sex Head”
Universal
Producer: Jason Bentley
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Mondo Sex Head” is the latest release from musician/director Rob Zombie. The album features 13 remixed Zombie classics which were produced by Jason Bentley. Though the album does not feature any new material per say each of the classic White Zombie/Rob Zombie songs feature new and arrangements that will appeal not only to Zombies core rock fans but also to the ever growing fans of dub step/electronic music.

Opening up the album is the always promising “Thunder Kiss’ 65” which no matter how many times it is remixed and re-re mixed still delivers just as the original recording did in 1992 when it was first released. JDevil aka Jonathan Davis of Korn does an ok job of sampling and layering this hit track as the song has a decent build up to its synth filled drop. Document One showcases a promising version of one of Zombies more heavier songs “Let It All Bleed Out”. The track is slowed down while an eerie track of Rob Zombie talking weaves in and out of the synth slashes and ray gun like zaps. “Mars Needs Women” remixed by Griffin Boice closes out the album and is laced with the often over used clap, clap sound found in a number of Zombies recordings.

When an artist has a long career in the music business the inevitable greatest hits collection or re-mastered catalog is bound to be released. Though “Mondo Sex Head” isn’t really a greatest hits album per say and no real remastering has been done to enhance the recordings quality of these 13 songs it makes me question whether this album is just a quick move to capitalize on a current trend. Or is it something of substance? Sadly I am going to have to go with my first assumption. In fact a similar remix album by Zombie was released in 1996 titled “Super Sexy Swingin’ Sounds” which took a stab at bridging Zombies fans into the ever growing underground rave/dance music movement that was just starting to take off. Yes the remixes on “Mondo Sex Head” are different but in my opinion the concept is the same. “Get unsuspecting kids with black rim glasses and skinny jeans to buy albums”. Fans of Rob and White Zombie love the original songs for what they are and that is “original”.  The songs contained on “Mondo Sex Head” took that originality and threw it out the window.

Track Listing:
1.)    Thunder Kiss’ 65- JDevil Number of the Beast Remix
2.)    Living Dead Girl- Photex Remix
3.)    Let It All Bleed Out- Document One Remix
4.)    Foxy Foxy- KL Theory Remix
5.)    More Human Than Human- Big Black Delta Remix
6.)    Dragula- +++ Remix
7.)    Pussy Liquor- KL Theory Remix
8.)    Lords of Salem- Das Kapital Remix
9.)    Never Gonna Stop- Drumcorps Acid Remix
10.)  Superbeast- Kraddy Remix
11.)  Devil’s Hole Girls- Tobias Enhus Remix (Feat. The Jane Antonia Cornish String Quartet)
12.)  Burn- The Bloody Beetroots Motherfucker Remix
13.)  Mars Needs Women- Griffin Boice Remix

Film Review “Zombie A-Hole”

Directed by: Dustin Mills
Starring: Jessica Daniels, Josh Eal, Brandon Salki
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 108 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A on review copy

For a film that only costed $1,000 bucks, “Zombie A-Hole” is a pretty decent ride. Dustin Mills is the man behind the incredibly creative micro-budgeted movie “The Puppet Monster Massacre”, featuring an all-puppet cast. Mills will be making a sequel to this fun film but in the meantime we get “Zombie A-Hole”.   It is fun Grindhouse/exploitation flick filled with a lot of blood, nude girls, gore and some kick ass southern rock.  No the film is not amazing by any means at all but for its micro budget it looks awesome and packs some decent special effects.  IF you respect indie horror then you are going to definitely enjoy this little film…or at least get you through until “The Puppet Monster Massacre 2”.

The story follows cowboy and a one-eyed girl who are seeking vengeance on the Zombie A-Hole, who preys on naked twin girls. It is not just a revenge film though with a zombie, this film also tapers with voodoo and did I mention twins?.   It mixes live action with CG, as well as a mix of horror and comedy.  The review DVD is presented bare-bones with no special features.   But the official release coming August 21st actually does contain special features including a commentary, the original trailer, and a deleted scene featuring a fourth main character that was cut from the film.  Overall though I am a fan of horror films and even though low-budget this is worth checking out, since a lot of love when into making this little film.

Concert Review “Rob Zombie & Megadeth” Scranton, PA

“Rob Zombie & Megadeth”
Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Lacuna Coil
Date: Saturday, May 12th 2012
Venue: Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

On Saturday May 12th Rob Zombie and Megadeth came to the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA. The co-headlining tour featured Rob Zombie, Megadeth and Lacuna Coil. It was a great night for music as the weather was perfect and the secluded hill top setting at the Toyota Pavilion made for a great concert experience.

The Italian rock/metal band Lacuna Coil started the show off and though the venue was still filling up at this point the fans that got there early were treated to a solid performance. Front woman Cristina Scabbia commanded the crowd’s attention which helped take the bands performance to the next level. Megadeth would take the stage next and were relentless in their approach. The band sounded fantastic blasting out song after song. The set was a mixture of newer songs such as “Never Dead” and “Public Enemy No. 1” as well as Megadeth classics “Sweating Bullets” and “Peace Sells”. Dave Mustain interacted off and on with the crowd and he and the rest of the band seemed very appreciate of the crowds applause and reactions. Horror Rock icon Rob Zombie would close out the night backed by his band consisting of John 5, Piggy D and newly acquired drummer Ginger Fish formerly of Marilyn Manson. The band played what could be considered as a greatest hits set, minus a few of the hits to the estimated 4,500 fans in attendance. Though the band sounded decent, I think it’s time for Rob to go back to the drawing board and design a new show. Fans saw an almost exact copy of the 2010 Halloween Hootenanny/Gruesome Twosome show and a similar set list. The brief 12 song set featured staple tracks such “Superbeast” and “Living Dead Girl”. The most notable event of the night came in the way of Zombie’s encore which started off with a pieced together trailer for his new film “Lords of Salem”.

Co-headlining tours are becoming more and more of a staple due to the ever changing economy. This has been both a blessing and a curse. Yes fans get to see several great acts for the price of one ticket however, in the essence of time bands are cutting their sets shorter and shorter. This tour is a perfect example of that. 12 songs by the tour “headliner” is just sad in my opinion. I only hope that if these co-headliner tours continue bands remember that it’s about the quality of the performance not the quantity of the bands on the bill.

Megadeth Set List:
1.) Never Dead
2.) Hangar 18
3.) Head Crusher
4.) In My Darkest Hour
5.) Trust
6.) She-Wolf
7.) Sweating Bullets
8.) A Tout Le Monde
9.) Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
10.) Public Enemy No. 1
11.) Symphony of Destruction
12.) Peace Sells
13.) Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Rob Zombie Set List:
1.) Jesus Frankenstein
2.) Superbeast
3.) Scum of the Earth
4.) Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Koovy)
5.) Living Dead Girl
6.) More Human Than Human
7.) Demonoid Phenomenon
8.) Sick-Bubble Gum
9.) Mars Needs Women
10.) Pussy Liquor
11.) Thunder Kiss ‘65
12.) Dragula

 

Related Content

DVD Review “George: A Zombie Intervention”

Director: J.T. Seaton
Starring: Peter Stickles, Michelle Tomlinson, Lynn Lowry
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Vicious Circle Films
Run Time: 93 minutes

Our Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars

I have seen my share of shitty zombie movies for sure and this is definitely one of them. The idea is behind this film gets old after 5 minutes with the whole zombie intervention. What is funny is that the film actually gets better in its third act when it become a zombie slay fest. It is hard to watch these movies because they all claim to be some kind of a mix with “Shaun of the Dead”. “Shaun of the Dead” was a unique film and honestly there hasn’t been anything like it since.

The title pretty much tells the whole plot, there is a zombie named George whose friends surprise him with an intervention. Things go array and George has himself a buffet of his friends, salesman and strippers. Zany antics break out and the victims turn into zombies themselves. The story tries to hard to be funny and it ends up failing.

I have to note that Lynn Lowry gives a genre worthy performance and its super over the top (too bad she gets offed so quickly). Production wise this film is low budget but it does have some decent gore. Although my main issue is that the film goes from extremely gory in some scenes and then in other scenes it has cut away kills.

SPECIAL FEATURES (Not available for review)
Cast & Crew Audio Commentary, Deleted/Alternate Scenes, Lloyd Kaufman Alternate Takes & Bloopers, Zombie Rehab Center Group Therapy, Sunday On The Set With George – Short Film by Mike Justice, Theatrical & Teaser Trailers, Behind the Scenes Footage