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Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s Big Bad Wolves gets its UK Blu-ray debut from 101 Films

From 101 Films comes the UK Blu-ray of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s Big Bad Wolves (2013), a brutal and unpredictable Israeli thriller that addresses the perils of victimhood and the consequences of vengeance.

SOME MEN ARE CREATED EVIL
Following the disappearance of a number of young girls in a small Israeli town, hardened police detective Miki (Lior Ashkenazi) fingers socially awkward religious studies teacher Dror (Rotem Keinan) as the culprit. When Miki is caught on-camera using extreme violence while interrogating the teacher, he is forced to let him go and is suspended from the force.

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

Unable to let the case go, Miki pursues Dror, but the two men are then kidnapped by Gidi (Tzahi Grad), the father of one of the girls, whose headless body has just been discovered, who plans to extract a confession out of the teacher. But as the tension mounts and Dror maintains his innocence, the lines between justice and vengeance, innocence and guilt, become increasingly frayed. Just how far should you go before you accept a truth? And what does it cost you to find out?

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

MANIACS ARE ONLY AFRAID OF MANIACS
Big Bad Wolves comes from Israeli filmmakers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, who are best known for their breakout festival hit, and Israel’s first slasher, the black comedy Rabies (check out my review here).

For their follow up, Keshales and Papushado have created a brutal scathing shocker that has divided both audiences and critics. Part giallo, part torture porn, part political comment, it’s really hard to pigeonhole this incredibly violent tale about child abduction and vigilante revenge, that even adds elements from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale into its sordid mix.

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

The political comment, laced with absurdist humour, is evident throughout, with much of it aimed at Israeli identity, attitudes towards their Arab neighbours, and the use of excessive force over due process and trial by jury. The vitriolic hate espoused by the characters as they dish out their extreme form of justice – which gets increasingly stomach churning as the film progresses – certainly does leave a bitter taste. But what really sends a shiver down the spine is how these characters end up appearing, which is best summed up in one of the film’s most chilling lines: ‘Smells like a barbecue. You have no idea how much I’ve missed that smell’. In the end you have to ask yourself, just who are the real big bad wolves in this world?

Released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, this release from 101 Films includes Last Night at the Empire: Big Bad Wolves at FrightFest, a brand new documentary on the background and impact of the film, and its UK premiere at FrightFest in August 2013. In closing the festival, it became the last film to screen in the Empire Leicester Square’s famous main screen, before it was refurbished and split in two. The other extras include AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves and the theatrical trailer.

 

House | The hit horror franchise restored and uncut on Blu-ray and DVD

HOUSEStep inside! You’re frightfully welcome! The hit horror House franchise opens its creaky doors once again with the release of all four instalments on DVD and Blu-ray, with 2k restorations and all uncut.

For those who didn’t snap up the House: The Collection box-set back in March 2017, you can now add these beauties to your home cinema collection as individual releases.

House

Having looked at the bonus extras on offer, Arrow have added some newbies, including the first draft screenplay of House, vintage Making Of featurettes of House and House II, and workprint footage of the final two instalments, alongside all the other great special features that were featured in the Collection box-set.

Makes for a great stocking filler! And don’t those covers look cool?

If you want to read more about the House franchise, check out my original post HERE

HOUSE IIHOUSE IIIHOUSE IV

 

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Re-Animator (1985) | Stuart Gordon’s cult comedy horror is back, kicking and screaming in gore-ious HD

Re-Animator Steelbook

Herbert West Has A Very Good Head On His Shoulders…
And Another One In A Dish On His Desk

Brilliant medical student Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) arrives at Miskatonic University and immediately clashes with the eminent Professor Hill (David Gale) over his views on brain death. Obsessed with his own radical theories, West concocts an adrenaline-like serum that will bring the dead back to life. Roping in idealistic student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and Dan’s girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton), their shocking experiments work all too well, allowing limbs to move, heads to speak, corpses to go berserk and giant intestines to have a life of their own. Stealing the serum, the power crazed Dr Hill then plans to kidnap Megan for his own sick, perverted pleasure – and that’s after he gets his head chopped off. Barf bags at the ready!

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IT WILL SCARE YOU TO PIECES
1985 was a great year for some cult-worthy zombie flicks. George A Romero’s Day of the Dead gave his original Living Dead trilogy a grim but superior send off, while The Return of the Living Dead (also available through Second Sight Films) was an inspired punk-fused spoof of the genre. But Re-Animator was a real game changer: a ghoulishly gruesome, outrageously funny thrill ride that rightfully deserves its place in the Horror Hall of Fame. Dripping in gallons of blood, gore and gallows humour, it’s the mad scientist flick that refuses to die and – beyond the shock value – still it holds it own thanks to the witty script, crazy camp performances, and audacious, eye-popping pre-CGI effects. It also propelled director Stuart Gordon, actor Jeffrey Combs and producer Brian Yuzna into horror fandom.

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

Inspired by Roger Corman’s Gothic Poe pictures starring Vincent Price, Gordon wanted to mine the stories of HP Lovecraft, beginning with his 1922 serial, Herbert West: Re-Animator, to launch his own series of films. But the path from script to screen ended up the stuff of horror cinema legend (check it out on the great Re-Animator Resurrectus extra on this release).

Shot over 22 arduous days, on a budget of just under US$1million, at the same crumbling LA studios that The Terminator was filmed at, Re-Animator was produced by new kid on the block, Brian Yuzna, but owned by Empire Pictures, whose owner Charles Band insisted on bringing in his own crew, including brother Richard, who supplied the film’s cult hit Psycho-inspired score.

Released unrated into US theatres to avoid any cuts by the censor, the gross-out comedy horror became an unexpected critical success at Cannes and quickly recouped its budget, landing Stuart Gordon a three-picture film deal with Empire – starting with From Beyond (also available from Second Sight Films), while its cult status was forever sealed when it was released onto home video (which is how most fans remember the film).

Empire later assembled an R-rated cut, which added 10 minutes to the running time. This (integral) version offers more in the way of character development (especially Dr Hill’s mind control abilities), but it also excised some of the films’ most memorable gore sequences. The Second Sight release presents both this version (great for completists), as well as a brand spanking new 4k print of the unrated version (for the purists), making this bona fide classic of the horror genre a must-have title for your horror collection.

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
‘A livid, bloody, deadpan exercise in the theatre of the undead’
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times (Ebert famously championed the movie)

‘A jaw-dropping, steroid-loaded zombie masterpiece’
Glen, Kay, Zombie Movies; The Ultimate Guide

‘Morally offensive’
US Conference if Catholic Bishops Office for Films and Broadcasting

Stuart Gordon's Re Animator (1985)

THE SECOND SIGHT FILMS RELEASE
Second Sight‘s Blu-ray Steelbook contains two versions of the gorefest and a bundle of extras (see below), while a two-disc DVD version is also available. The Region B Blu-ray transfer features the film in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio with 5.1 DTS-HD audio master and LPCM stereo option, while the DVD is coded Region 2 and features an 16:9 anamorphic widescreen print.

Disc One
• Unrated version – brand new 4K restoration
• Audio commentary with director Stuart Gordon
• Audio commentary with producer Brian Yuzna and actor Jeffrey Combs, Robert
Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott

Disc Two
• Integral version (exclusive to Blu-ray)
Re-Animator Resurrectus: This terrific 2007 documentary looks back at the making of the film with the cast and crew and pays homage to actor David Gale who died in 1991.
• A selection of talking head interviews from 2002 with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone
• Extended scenes, deleted scene and trailers
• Behind-the-scenes gallery and production stills

Big Bad Wolves (2013) | Justice is served at a price in the brutal and scathing Israeli vigilante thriller

Big Bad Wolves dvd cover

SOME MEN ARE CREATED EVIL
Following the disappearance of a number of young girls in a small Israeli town, hardened police detective Miki (Lior Ashkenazi) fingers socially awkward religious studies teacher Dror (Rotem Keinan) as the culprit. When Miki is caught on-camera using extreme violence while interrogating the teacher, he is forced to let him go and is suspended from the force.

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

Unable to let the case go, Miki pursues Dror, but the two men are then kidnapped by Gidi (Tzahi Grad), the father of one of the girls, whose headless body has just been discovered, who plans to extract a confession out of the teacher. But as the tension mounts and Dror maintains his innocence, the lines between justice and vengeance, innocence and guilt, become increasingly frayed. Just how far should you go before you accept a truth? And what does it cost you to find out?

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

MANIACS ARE ONLY AFRAID OF MANIACS
Big Bad Wolves comes from Israeli filmmakers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, who are best known for their breakout festival hit, and Israel’s first slasher, the black comedy Rabies (check out my review here).

For their follow up, Keshales and Papushado have created a brutal scathing shocker that has divided both audiences and critics. Part giallo, part torture porn, part political comment, it’s really hard to pigeonhole this incredibly violent tale about child abduction and vigilante revenge, that even adds elements from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale into its sordid mix.

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

The political comment, laced with absurdist humour, is evident throughout, with much of it aimed at Israeli identity, attitudes towards their Arab neighbours, and the use of excessive force over due process and trial by jury. The vitriolic hate espoused by the characters as they dish out their extreme form of justice – which gets increasingly stomach churning as the film progresses – certainly does leave a bitter taste. But what really sends a shiver down the spine is how these characters end up appearing, which is best summed up in one of the film’s most chilling lines: ‘Smells like a barbeque. You have no idea how much I’ve missed that smell’. In the end you have to ask yourself, just who are the real big bad wolves in this world?

Big Bad Wolves is available on DVD in the UK through Metrodome Distribution and on Blu-ray in the UK from 101 Films

The Stuff (1985) | Larry Cohen’s goo-tastic killer yoghurt cult film is addictive stuff indeed

The Stuff Blu-ray cover
Enough Is Never Enough
After some weird goo erupts from the Earth, a couple of miners discover it tastes so good they decide to market it. The American public laps up the new dessert known as The Stuff but, unfortunately, it has a life of its own and the not-so-friendly bacteria starts turning people into Stuff-craving zombies. Having seen the yucky yoghurt crawling around the fridge one night, young Jason (Scott Bloom) teams up with wisecracking industrial saboteur Mo (Michael Moriarty) and advertising executive Nicole (Andrea Marcovvici) to put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind its distribution…

Larry Cohen's The Stuff
Are you eatin’ it…or is it eatin’ you?

In these days of rising obesity, you can’t switch the TV on without witnessing yet another programme about food-related health issues or hearing disturbing reports about what’s really going into our food. This just makes 1985’s The Stuff, from horror auteur Larry Cohen, just as relevant today for behind its Blob-style B-movie façade is a fun social satire on consumerist culture, with Cohen aiming his vile-but-delicious goo at the big soulless corporations who value profit over our health.

Larry Cohen's The Stuff

Cohen’s favourite leading man, Michael Moriarty (who’d go on to work on five of Cohen’s projects) is in top form as anti-hero Mo, improvising much of his dialogue (‘I’m called Mo because I always want Mo’), which only adds to the film’s chaotic nature. He’s accompanied by Scott Bloom (Who’s the Boss?) as the young boy who, like the kid in Invasion from Mars (another B-movie nod here), nobody believes that The Stuff is alive, and Andrea Marcovicci (Trapper John, MD) as Nicole, the advertising executive whose campaign made the Stuff such a huge hit with consumers in the first place.

From TV’s The Invaders (Cold War paranoia) to It’s Alive (genetic mutations) and Q: The Winged Serpent (corporate greed), Cohen’s terror tales always contain a strong political or social comment beneath their hokey horror veneer. In the documentary accompanying this release, Cohen says he was inspired to make The Stuff because he wanted to highlight how big corporations use advertising to lure people into taking up cigarettes, alcohol and medication without really understanding the addictive and damaging side effects.

Larry Cohen's The Stuff

In The Stuff, he intersperses the story with a number of slick TV commercial parodies, featuring colourful packaging and a really annoying jingle, which may look retro today but were the mainstay of TV advertising in the 1980s. And just as those commercials set out to manipulate, so to does The Stuff – which turns people (and dogs) into Stuff-craving addicts who can’t get enough of its ‘nutritional value’ before sucking their insides dry. The idea that a food stuff can literally eat you from the inside is a great concept and Cohen runs with this by making his Stuff, Earth’s way of striking back at mankind for polluting the planet’s natural resources. It’s certainly food for thought.

Fun, quirky, heaped with great dollops of gooey social satire, totally unpredictable and featuring some great VHS-era special effects, this is a hugely enjoyable slice of 1980s comedy horror from a true maverick. Get your spoons at the ready!

Larry Cohen's The Stuff

THE ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
Arrow Video’s UK dual format release (and a UK first for the Blu-ray) features a high definition restoration of the film from a new 2k scans of the original negative, with original stereo 2.0 audio and optional subtitles.

The bonus features include Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature, a 52-minute documentary featuring director Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman. Plus, there’s a Trailers From Hell intro from self-confessed fan, Saw II and III director, Darren Bousman, and a collector’s booklet. The deluxe edition features packaging showcasing Gary Pullin’s fantastically gloopy artwork and a reversible sleeve adorned with the original UK VHS art by Graham Humphreys.

WHAT’S IN THE STUFF
To make The Stuff, Cohen and his special effects team used buckets of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, various yoghurts and whipped cream as well as shaving cream and gallons of vile-smelling fire retardant foam, plus early CGI effects featuring stop-motion animation by SFX legends David Allen and Jim Danforth.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CviPtdhR_oM%5D
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