Archive for the ‘DVD Reviews’ Category

Bava, Bava & Freda

Monday, April 11th, 2011

It is finally time for the first major season of reviews for 2011. As the title suggests, it is an all new look at the films of Mario Bava, alongside a new study on the films of his son Lamberto Bava and his mentor Riccardo Freda.

A whole load of new reviews, plus new biographies of all three are coming over the next month.

Click on the Bava, Bava & Freda season tag below to see all the reviews so far uploaded in this series.

Space Mining

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I’ve never really reviewed much sci-fi here before, but already this year we have Robot Jox and Hardware and now this double bill of space mining movies…

First up is Moon 44 from director Roland Emmerich. Although best known today for films like The Day After Tomorrow, this forgotten early sci-fi film boasts some surprisingly beautiful visual effects that make it feel like a 2000AD version of Bladerunner. If you like smart sci-fi, then this one is well worth tracking down, it is only a pity that the script didn’t get a good going over to fill in the holes in the setting that keep the film from being a must-see.

Second is Phoenixone of those films you stumble across at 3am and wonder just why anyone bothered to make it. A couple of good ideas are buried under the horribly cliché script and the budget is clearly not half enough to provide some decent looking sets.

It says it all really that while Emmerich went on to direct hugely budgeted sci-fi films in Hollywood, Phoenix‘s director Troy Cook went on to be ‘photographer: second unit’ on Amityville: Dollhouse (1996). Such is film…

http://www.mondo-esoterica.net/title_img/Phoenix/title.jpeg

River of Darkness (2011)

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Okay not quite my usual thing, but I saw this in a supermarket on holiday and just had to buy it. Only just released (in fact the US release is not until the end of the month) this is one of a swathe of films coming out at present featuring Professional Wrestlers, although this one features TNA star Kurt Angle – unfortunately the script is even less ambitious than Angle’s acting and what might have been a fun tribute to 1980s horrors becomes just another generic and instantly forgettable slasher film.

Avoid it while you can – River of Darkness

Robot Jox (1990)

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I’m working on a couple of big new reviews seasons, so to pass the time here is something a little different, an enjoyably light bit of sci-fi with beautiful stop motion effects, but one that could have been so much more with a more ambitious script – Robot Jox

I’m going to be away for a couple of weeks, but stay tuned for some exciting new reviews in mid-March…

The Sons of Egypt

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Egyptian heroes take on despotic rulers in a duo of surprisingly timely Egyptian set Pepla.

Another Retromedia double bill, this decent looking DVD release includes the traditional Peplum Son of Samson (1960) and the Peplum Drama Son of Cleopatra (1964).

I’ve got a good handful of Peplum discs to review, so watch out for more titles coming throughout the year.

Massacre (1989)

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

I hardly need review a film that reviews itself in its dialogue, but I suffered through this so you can read the review.

Although often ranked among the very worst of the Euro-cult directors, Andrea Bianchi could at least generally provide some sleazy entertainment – but with Massacre, he falls down flat – the storyline is a tiresome, painful affair while exploitation is notable only for its absence – gore scenes are mild and scarce while sex is far too brief, the two most attractive actresses stay fully clothed throughout and their lesbian sub-plot never gets beyond dialogue.

Read the full story in my new Massacre review

(And yes, all the references to this film being sleep inducing, I did fall asleep twice trying to watch this, but as a conscientious reviewer, I rewound and watched the scenes all over again).

Hardware – Mondo Esoterica goes HD!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Like it or not, HD is here to stay and it is time I got on the bandwagon, so I present the first ever HD Mondo Esoterica review:

Hardware (1990) is a superb cyberpunk horror film that has the artistically free feel of a short film more than a commercial production. It comes highly recommended and Severin’s release includes a superb selection of bonus features including three short films.

I’ve made a few changes to the reviews page for Blu-ray – click any of the images on the page to get an enlarged view which should fill your monitor and click on the logo in the bottom left to view at full resolution. You can scroll through all the images on the page with the cursors. The images are straight off the disc and uncompressed thus they are very large (up to 1Mb each), so you might have to wait a moment for them to load. (Obviously any feedback on how this looks on different browsers/operating systems would be appreciated).

I will be publishing more HD reviews in the near future, but don’t worry Mondo Esoterica is still all about cult and obscure films and I’m more concerned with tracking down new films than replacing perfectly good DVDs with Blu-ray, so the site will continue to move forward with both SD and HD reviews.

Paul Naschy – Night of the Werewolf and new biography

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

So at long last, I complete my 2010 projects with the final chapter in the Paul Naschy series, his fantastic werewolf film – Night of the Werewolf (1981). Although the storyline is largely copied from Werewolf Shadow, visually this film is packed full of unmatched gothic opulence. Recommended.

I can also finally reveal the end result of several weeks very hard work, an all new 3000 word Paul Naschy biography.

As a bonus – all the existing Naschy reviews are now updated and there is an all new biography of Leon Klimovsky.

Dark Dreams

Friday, December 24th, 2010

While his Hombre-Lobo series could never be called comic, the films were often on the lighter side of horror. However, Naschy did have a dark side and so for the latest entry into the Paul Naschy series I have taken a look at two of his darkest films. Hunchback of the Morgue (1973) has a rather simple premise, a look behind the life of the mad scientist’s assistant, making this tortured supporting character into the main attraction. Quite what Human Beasts (1983) is all about is rather harder to say, but for Naschy fans it is well worth watching.

I’ve got more Naschy coming after Christmas including the all new biography page.

School Killer

Monday, December 13th, 2010

It looks like Mr Naschy was not so keen on his review month being hijacked by school kids, so he got some rather bloody revenge.

From the trailer and the DVD case, School Killer looks like it should be nothing more than a generic slasher movie, with an aged Paul Naschy dragged out of retirement to add some name value. It is nothing of the sort. Genuinely scary, well directed and eschewing most of the modern genre clichés, it has a clever and well written script and gives Naschy probably his best role in the 21st Century outside of Rojo Sangre, he plays the ghostly villain part with aplomb and certainly makes this one well worth seeing.