Scorching the Retinas – Another Horror Collection

Bargain Horror Collections, are they worth the bother?

Furthering my quest to unearth buried cinematic gems I continue to dive deep and scour the darkest depths of that which is known, in exotic locales, as the bargain bin. This installment has found me clutching a collection harboring twelve movies, all of which reside on two double-sided discs. Eight of which with the word ‘dead’ in their title so there’s no pondering upon what and whom this collection is based on, and designed for.
horror collection

The Collection under scrutiny

Without further ado let me be your guide and escorts you into realms enigmatic, mysterious and clouded by others judgments. One more step and we’ll be entering B-moviesville. A county beseeched by horrid acting, plots which are paper thin and direction akin to that of a kindergarten class project. However, keep your eyes peeled, for amidst the varied chaotic ruckus there lies brilliance, undiscovered and unappreciated, cinematic gold ripe for laying the weary peepers upon.
Or, is this another wild goose-chase?
Only one way to find out…let’s take that final step.
(And what better way to get an overview than by watching one movie from each side of both discs.)

Disc two; side A

Germ(z) 2013
Writer – JT Boone
Director – JT Boone, John Craddock
Runtime – 85 minutes

When a satellite crashes to earth it brings with it a virus which turns ordinary peaceful small town folk into crazed flesh eaters with a ‘rage’ like intensity.
Picturesque scenery, a couple of strong characters, an intriguing love interest and the films pace save this from obscurity. Minimal gore, a story which has been covered many a time before, choppy editing and failed attempts at humor are amongst it’s flaws.
Offering very little to an already overcrowded genre Germ(z) has its moments it’s far from being the worst zombie film I’ve witnessed, but not nearly enough and thus is recommended only to those who have a quest to set the record of witnessing the highest number of low budget zombie affairs (for there are an overabundance from which to choose).

Disc two; side B

buck wild
Buck Wild (2013)
Writer – Tyler Glodt, Matthew Albrecht
Director – Tyler Glodt
Runtime – 96 minutes

Country folk encounter city folk on a weekend retreat. Add a Chupacabrea, a horny country girl (Candy), a country badass type, ego and lots of attitude and you have all the makings of a great B movie. So how does Buck Wild stack up?
An oddball assortment of characters leads to quirky, oft hilarious, dialogue and situations, though often awkward, which keep the movie rolling at an enjoyable pace. Jerry (Jarrod Pistolli) manages to steal every scene he’s in with his happy go-lucky Commando attitude. Montages come thick and plentiful and strangely don’t seem at all out of place. The movie progresses to showcase the huge attitude of a small town game warden (played by the director and half of the writing team), family disagreements stemming from the Godfather trilogy being ‘smacktalked’, the complications which arise from not shooting something obviously exhibiting signs of advanced rabies in the head and the possible side effects of consumption of pot brownies by undead types.
Will Tom ever find a pair of pants, will Billy Ray ever come out of the closet and will Craig ever man up and leave his cheating girlfriend?
These are questions I can’t or won’t answer. I will, however, state that Buck Wild was surprisingly entertaining, especially given that it boasts abysmal IMDB ratings, and offered a great deal to enjoy. The buddy element added levity, the humor element worked, it has utterly quotable moments and a number of scenes which although aren’t new do leave quite the impression. Death by frozen fish, anyone?
Give this a moment of your time if your penchants stretch to well-crafted films of the lower budget variety drenched in hilarity and crimson and you can forgive the fact that the line “Squeel like a pig” wasn’t utilized once in a movie where it would’ve been especially easy to do so.

Disc One; side A

George R Romero presents
Deadtime Stories Vol. 2 (2011)
Directors – Matt Walsh, Jeff Monahan, Michael Fischa
Runtime – 102 minutes (3 tales)

George R Romero adds an introduction and various one-liners to a trilogy of short tales.
Deadtime Story #1 – The Gorge
Three friends set out on a cave exploration excursion only to find they weren’t as well-prepared as they initially thought.
Desperation, frustration and hopelessness sets in as the days pass and they are forced to ponder upon the inevitable.
This segment is rife with surprisingly decent effects, plentiful crimson and a palpable sense of dread. The acting isn’t half bad and the story has surprising depth. A great start.
Deadtime Story #2 – On Sabbath Hill
An iron fisted, married, teacher has relations with a student. When complicatons arise both are left in a state of confusion. When Allison (the student) kills herself, in class, the college is left devestated. The professor wracked with guilt, finds his sanity slipping, imagined visions flash before his senses. But worse yet blackmail looms on the horizon.
The acting in this segment is great. A handful of ‘little” touches sublime, while others are stretching the boundaries of bizarreville. A creepy soundtrack adds weight making for a tale that’s surprisingly watchable, if at times a little over the top.
Deadtime Story #3 – Dust
In a research facility a container of ‘dust’ from Mars is going through final testing to concrete that which several institutions already know. It’s useless and of no value whatsoever. However when a young Doctor thinks outside of the box he discovers something possibly life-changing, especially for a co-worker, the facilities security chief, whose wife suffers from Leukemia.
Without time on his side the chief takes matters into his own hands. Returning home he decides to slip a little something, something into his wife’s meds. After all what’s the worse that could happen?
As it happens the consequences far outweigh those of adding copious amounts of vodka to the water font at a baptism.
Dark humor finds its way into this segment as well lust, love and an insatiable appetite. All of which collide to form a fantastic climax to an anthology most have never watched or even heard of. This has a Creepshow vibe and an overall aura that’s difficult not to appreciate.
In conclusion, this is a collection of films which is far from that sporting Hollywood budgets but isn’t without flair, style and ingenuity. More of a up and coming genre film makers collection this does its job of sparking interest in independent, fresh, talent and for that it deserves applause. Obviously this isn’t for those yearning for Oscar material though is recommended for those, like myself, who can appreciate the raw, the unfiltered and that which shows promise even without the funds to back the premise up.
Give this a peek!

Disc One; Side B

death from above
Death From Above (2012)
Writer – Bruce Koehler, Mark Hensel
Director – Bruce Koehler
Runtime – 85 minutes

Olympic wrestler Kurt Angle in a movie alongside a few others of similar muscle clad ilk? You bet your ass!
Tom Savini makes a guest appearance dwarfed by a Monster truck, the ‘Big Blue Beast’ and a collective of inept law enforcement types.
Demonic looking contact lenses are the order of the day as well ancient texts, an amulet, the occasional mention of Thule (God of the Underworld), conspiracy theories and a collective of classic badass, high octane, vehicles. Mud wrestling, monster trucks, hilarious one-liners (intentional or not) and splatteriffic CGI effects add to the nonsensical silliness.
Robert Z’dar (aka Maniac Cop) makes one of his final celluloid appearances as a tour manager for Anti-Flag which only momentarily takes the attention away from a story that’s thinner than the cardboard which next describes the acting here.
Anyone wishing for a viewing experience that’s up-lifting, life-changing or eye-opening need not bother with this film. However, if you’re up for ninety minutes of testosterone-charged, large engined truck worshiping, cleavage showcasing, cultist shenanigan fueled celluloid this could well be the destination you need to make a pit stop for. But be warned there’s nothing Sci-fi about this as the title might suggest.
“Take that you devil-worshiping sons o’ bitches!”

Bonus (becus’ I started to watch and couldn’t tear myself away)

A of the Dead
Apocalypse of the Dead (2009)
Writers – Vukota Brajovic, Milan Konjevic, Milan Todorovic.
Directors – Milan Konjevic, Milan Todorovic.
Runtime -101 minutes

Dizzying camera work and impressive, plentiful, FX and pace add weight to this film. On a personal note a myriad of nods to ‘Day of the Dead’ including a character who look like one from the film sparks fond memories.
Not the greatest of zombie films but this is far from being the worst, it’s action-packed, full of grisliness, easy to folliow even if you’re doing half a dozen different things as well as watching this. And it’s fun to watch if only one can enjoy a film for escapisms sake and isnt looking for a feature to add to the Oscar nominations list.
‘Apocalypse of the Dead’ doesn’t reinvent the genre (but do the undead nap is the question?) though it does offer that which a fan of said genre demands minus dragged out drama scenes and long winded talkie moments.
…”Hell is going to overflow and the Dead will rise forever” not quite “When there’s no more room in Hell the dead will walk the earth” but I’ll certainly toss the filmmakers some points for trying and incidently both quotes fall from the same mouth so someone’s paying attention. Sidenote: Another quote from the same character nods at the title of a celebrated B movie in the same genre “Die you Zombie Bastard!” (2005).
All in all a commendable effort in a genre which is still sporting a multitude of fresh additions, even to this day, some ten years after this was released.
In conclusion this was not at all a bad showing. I’d gladly splash another coupla bucks on a similar collection (I own an ungodly amount as it is) if this is any indication of the caliber of the films on offer. Naturally, there will be those who disagree with my findings and opinions, but that’s fine. If everyone agreed what fun would life be. It wouldn’t be fun, but it might be a damn sight easier.
Feel free to share your opinions, thoughts and or recommendations.
You can find Cult on twitter. This article originally appeared on his blog which you can find here.

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