Robot Jox (1990)

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

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)

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!

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

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.

Major fix posted

January 5th, 2011

Sorry readers, another slight delay to the Mr Naschy bio – I have been publishing a major fix that should allow Internet Explorer users to be able to see the website properly. IE users, check out some of the recent reviews to see what should hopefully be a more visually pleasing look with the text aligned centrally rather than stuck over on the left – then go and download Firefox (which was working fine all along!)

I also took the liberty of adding a new links section to the bottom of the review pages.

Still about half my reviews are still in an old, non-CSS format which I am going to be working on in 2011, but it is a very slow and manual process to get these all updated, especially since I like to fix and rewrite things as I do it!

Any feedback, particularly on compatibility issues – or anything else you fancy – just drop me an e-mail or post a comment.

Mondo Esoterica will return in 2011

December 30th, 2010

I was hoping to wrap up my Paul Naschy series with a final flourish tonight, but I want to get everything done properly so I will be delaying the update by a few days so I can get my new 3000 word (!) biography properly proof-read and all of the Naschy reviews updated.

So have a great new year and see you on the other side!

Dark Dreams

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

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.

Screwballing around

December 6th, 2010

Lets take a break from the horror with a couple of classic high school comedies from Roger Corman.

Produced when the legendary exploitation producer heard above the rave reviews coming from audience test screenings of Porky’s, the first film Screwballs takes a very cartoonish approach to its gags, while Loose Screws is a more straight forward sexy comedy.