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Varsity Blood
No, wait, I had a really good Tomahawk Chop joke saved up for this. I thought I had it, but...


Eh, nevermind. Anyway, Hogeye High is all about the three Ps: pigskin, pilsners, and pounding pussy. Maybe that's four Ps, but you get the idea. Like any high school you're likely to run into on DVD, Hogeye has the usual social strata mapped out, and that even goes for the football team. You've got the geeky guys on the sidelines who dish out water and throw on that stuffy mascot costume all day, you've got your alpha male jocks, you've got your slutty cheerleader types, and, yeah, there's even the occasional good girl like Hannah (Lexi Giovagnoli). Beer doesn't give a shit who's drinking it, though, and maybe that's how all these very different people wind up at the same ssshhh! secret party at this hopelessly remote old house. The invite list was a little longer, but some nutjob dressed up as the school mascot got a headstart by hacking a few of those poor bastards to death already. With an oversized tomahawk and a longbow in hand, the Hogeye High Warrior is crashing this shindig and finishing the job.

Varsity Blood is a crimson-spattered Valentine to the slashers of the '70s and '80s. All the standard issue stuff is present and accounted for: masked killer, holiday theme, virginal Final Girl, unrequited love, boorish assholes, gaggles of dead teenagers, and more T&A than you can shake a stick at. What stands out the most about Varsity Blood, though, is how much it breaks from the familiar slasher formulas. It really is half Teen Movie, half Slasher. I might mean that literally too; the movie's more than half over by the time its second (and third) kill rolls around. Varsity Blood spends a lot of time letting viewers get to know its sprawling cast of characters. The idea's that once shit hits the fan,...[read the entire DVD review of Varsity Blood]


Motel Hell (Blu-ray)
Yeah, yeah, everybody knows that you don't have to trek all the way down to Texas for a chainsaw massacre. What you didn't know is that you can get the Sawyers' same flavor of cannibalistic finger food closer to home too.

[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

Meat's meat, and we gotta eat. Farmer Vincent (Rory Calhoun) has carved out a name for himself in the smoked meat racket, and I'm guessing you have a pretty good idea by now what his secret ingredient is. He mixes in just the right amount of long-pig for seasoning, and he's had decades to refine his hunting technique on a pretty much abandoned stretch of road. He's out doing his usual early morning routine, landing a porky biker for another round of jerky and sausage, when he scores an unexpected bonus: a twentysomething year old blonde bombshell (Nina Axelrod). Sure, Farmer Vincent may be looking at her with hungry eyes, but Terry here isn't on the menu. As she recuperates from the motorcycle wreck, Terry's taken in by Farmer Vincent and his slovenly sister Ida (Nancy Parsons). After a while, she's practically one of the family: close enough for Farmer Vincent to consider letting her in on the secret recipe behind his famous fritters. You'd think it'd be serial murder and cannibalism that'd get the attention of the local authorities, but no, Sheriff Bruce (Paul Linke) doesn't start poking around until he gets ensnared in a love triangle. ...or maybe a love quadrilateral. (It's complicated.) Vincent's been able to put one over on his sheriff kid brother for a lifetime now, but Bruce's all-consuming infatuation with Terry finally opens his eyes, and he's even starting to clue into what exactly it is that Vinny and Ida are growing in that secret garden of theirs... Audible gulp!

I mean, there's a guy on the cover with an AARP card, a bloodied...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Motel Hell]


Curtains (Blu-ray)
It's hardly just another movie. Parts like the leading role of Audra come around once in a lifetime, and that's if you're lucky. Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) fought like hell to get her hands on the film rights to the legendary play, and she's willing to go to whatever extreme lengths are necessary to see it done justice. Taking The Method to a whole other level, Sherwood pretends to be consumed by homicidal rage and has herself committed. It's the only way for her to truly inhabit the psychotic character of Audra...to give her the insight into what it's like to spend however many years locked away in an asylum. When Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) -- her wildly eccentric and more than a little Kubrickian director -- first comes to visit, Sherwood looks back at him with a mischievous glint in her eye. What starts as a thrilling, terrifying, indescribably exciting adventure quickly begins to take its toll. The façade is stripped away. That sparkle fades. Stryker is left staring back at an all-but-catatonic lump during his increasingly pointless visits.

Like the man says, though, the show must go on. Stryker has a shortlist of actresses in mind to star as Audra. Rather than go through some routine audition process in a faceless office park in Culver City, Stryker instead invites them to his hopelessly remote mansion. It's a grueling weekend of competitions and mind games for these six...errr, make that five very different women. Stryker clearly doesn't have a particular type in mind to star in Audra, bringing in a middle-aged British actress, a twentysomething year old ballerina, a cute, waifish comedienne, and a figure skater, among others. This is a role to kill for, and...well, it looks like that's exactly what's going on here. A murderer hiding behind a rubbery hag mask is slaughtering...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Curtains]


More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 10/19: Godzilla (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • 10/15: The Lego Movie (3D; UK Import) (Blu-ray)
  • 9/6: French Kiss (DVD)
  • 8/20: Somewhere in Time (DVD)
  • 8/8: Varsity Blood (DVD)
  • 8/8: Oculus (Blu-ray)
  • 8/7: Guardians of the Galaxy (IMAX 3D) (Theatrical)
  • 8/7: Motel Hell (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 8/7: Motel Hell (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/4: The Big City (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/31: Curtains (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 7/31: Curtains (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 7/29: Curtains (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/24: Ace in the Hole (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/23: Ginger Snaps (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
 
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 10/15: Snowpiercer (Blu-ray)
  • 10/15: Zoolander (Blu-ray)
  • 10/10: Guardians of the Galaxy (3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
  • 10/10: X-Men: Days of Future Past (Blu-ray)
  • 10/9: Insomnia (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • 10/9: Eraserhead (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 10/9: The Innocents (Criterion Collection) (DVD)
  • 10/6: Rick & Morty: Season 1 (Blu-ray)
  • 9/16: Godzilla (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack) (Blu-ray)
  • 9/16: Hannibal Season 2 (Blu-ray)
  • 9/9: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D) (DVD)
  • 8/8: The Lego Movie (3D; UK Import) (DVD)
  • 8/5: Varsity Blood (DVD)
  • 8/5: Oculus (Blu-ray)
  • 7/29: Motel Hell (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...


 
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