firstname.lastname@example.orgDVD PICK OF THE WEEK: BOMBSHELL BLOODBATH (Monarch Home Entertainment)
Zombies raid North Carolina (again!) in this lively lowbudget shocker that marks an encouraging feature debut for Brett Mullen (cinematographer, executive producer, editor, co-writer and director).
Rob Springer plays Dr. Carter, a mad scientist — getting madder all the time — whose unorthodox experiments trying to resurrect his late wife (Kathy Butler Sandvoss) have succeeding only in creating ravenous zombies. When Carter’s daughter Cara (Alex Elliott) is infected, she and sister Denise (Jess Barbour) resort to equally unorthodox means to stave off the inevitable transformation.
Bolstered by spooky imagery, lots of genre references, a wide streak of dark humor and an excellent score by “Umberto” that recalls Lucio Fulci’s ’80s zombie films, Bombshell Bloodbath also offers such exploitation prerequisites as strip-club scenes (and topless zombies, too!) and gruesome makeup effects. Conversely, some of the performances are uneven and the lead characters not altogether sympathetic.
Nevertheless, given the plethora of zombies on large and small screens, this gets considerably more right than it does wrong, particularly in its attitude and spirit. It’s a potential cult favorite that deserves the cult.
– For an exclusive interview with filmmaker Brett Mullen, turn to Page 33
“BOARDWALK EMPIRE”: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (HBO): The end of the line for the award-winning HBO series starring Steve Buscemi as Atlantic City kingpin Nucky Thompson, set six years after the previous season in 1931, with the Depression engulfing the nation and Prohibition’s end looming. Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald, Jeffrey Wright, Shea Whigham, Michael Kenneth Williams, Gretchen Mol and Patricia Arquette also star. All eight episodes from the 2014 season (plus bonus features) are available on DVD ($59.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($79.98 retail).
BUCKSVILLE (Monarch Home Entertainment): Writer/director Chel White’s well-photographed but unmoving political thriller depicts a contemporary militia through the eyes of Thomas Stroppel. Potentially intriguing idea is talked to death. Executive producer Tom Berenger, who appeared in the somewhat similar 1988 thriller Betrayed, literally phones it in as the movement’s leader.
CAM2CAM (IFC Midnight/IFC Films): Bad nights in Bangkok for Tammin Sursok who is seeking her sister Jade Tailor in (screenwriter/director) Joel Soisson’s slick but obvious shocker.
“THE CHAIR” (Anchor Bay Entertainment): All 10 episodes from the inaugural 2014 season of the STARZ reality series from creator/executive producer Chris Moore (of “Project Greenlight” fame) following aspiring filmmakers Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci as they compete to direct two separate films from the same original screenplay under the mentoring of actor Zachary Quinto and producing partners Corey Moosa and Neal Dodson. The five-DVD collection ($19.98 retail) also includes the filmmakers’ features films Hollidaysburg and Not Cool. The Not Cool DVD is also available separately ($14.98 retail).
COSPLAY FETISH BATTLE DRONES (Collage Fossil/CAV Distributing): Broad, raunchy “Power Rangers” send-up that’s too smug for its own good, but undiscriminating cult mavens might not mind. Troma does this sort of thing better. Originally titled Struggled Reagans (?). First-time writer/producer/editor/director Gregg Golding also plays one of the warriors.
“CRIME SCENE CLEANER” (MHz Networks): The title tells all in this two-DVD collection ($29.95 retail) of all 10 episodes from the award-winning German comedy series (originally titled Der Tatortreiniger) starring Bjarne Mädel, as the man who sanitizes crime scenes after police have investigated. It’s in German with English subtitles.
“DA VINCI’S DEMONS”: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Yes, that would be Leonardo (Tom Riley), exercising his intellectual and creative skills battling evil during the Renaissance in this historical fantasy series created by David S. Goyer. All 10 episodes from the 2014 season of the STARZ Original series are available on DVD ($44.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($54.99 retail). It received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Effects.
EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000 (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): The Blu-ray bow ($19.97 retail) of the post-apocalyptic 1983 sci-fi thriller (originally titled Il guistiziere della strada), one of countless Italian-made Mad Max/ Road Warrior rip-offs. It’s silly junk with moments of flair and hilarious dubbing.
FEAR CLINIC (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Director/executive producer Robert G. Hall’s fe ture expansion of the 2009 FEARnet.com series he created with fellow screenwriter Aaron Drane is an energetic head-spinner with Robert Englund repris ing his role as a scientist (yep, the mad kind) who tries to cure patients of phobias through “immersion therapy” … which, naturally, has dire consequences. Fiona Dourif, Thomas Dekker, Angelina Armani, Kevin Gage and Slipknot singer Corey Taylor (in his acting debut) also appear. Rated R.
HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 (Warner Home Video): The 2011 comedy was a hit, hence this follow-up pitting Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day against investor Christoph Waltz and son Chris Pine, with Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey (unbilled) from the first film. Rated R (also available in an extended version). The DVD retails for $28.98; the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99.
I AM SOLDIER (Inception Media Group): The cliches come fast and thick in writer/director Ronnie Thompson’s limp shoot-’em-up with Tom Hughes as a military cook who joins Britain’s SAS (Special Air Service). It’s a training procedural that’s as grueling as it is dull, endlessly borrowing from other, better movies.
IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES (Parade Deck Films): Producer/editor/director Gabriel Carrer’s award-winning (!) lowbudget shocker provides Lindsay Smith and Ryan Kotack their feature debuts, as a couple held in a basement stronghold by an unseen captor (voiced by Henry Rollins). It’s an unpleasant, ugly endurance test.
MOONTRAP (Olive Films): “Star Trek” veteran Walter Koenig and Bruce Campbell headline producer/director Robert Dyke’s 1989 debut feature as astronauts who battle a malevolent presence on the moon. Not bad, but special effects run hot and cold. Still, it has its fans … and a sequel is in the works (!). The DVD retails for $24.95; the Blu-ray for $29.95. Both contain Koenig and Campbell interviews, and audio commentary with Dyke and screenwriter Tex Ragsdale. Rated R.
MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH (Parade Deck Films): Writer/editor/director Dan Thacker’s award-winning feature debut, an uneven, sometimes inspired black comedy in the Troma tradition starring Adrian DiGiovanni as a loser who begins taking advice from the mold growing in his bathroom (voiced by genre favorite Jeffrey Combs).
SONS OF LIBERTY (Inception Media Group): Writer/producer/director Drew Hill’s sub-par action blow-out follows an elite military unit tasked with tracking terrorists and plays like a failed pilot for a cable-TV series. The cast includes Tamer Hassan, Neil Dickson, Mark Sheppard, Elyese Levesque and reliable Keith David.
STARRY EYES (Dark Sky Films/MPI Home Video): Writer/directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s awardwinning shocker (and Hollywood parable) stars Alex Essoe as an aspiring actress whose desperation for fame and fortune comes at a horrifying price. The DVD retails for $24.98; the Blu-ray for $29.98.
ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (Anchor Bay Entertainment): The living dead walk again in writer/producer/director B. Harrison Smith’s lousy shocker, which plays like stale leftovers from “The Walking Dead,” doomed by poor CGI effects, lame scripting, and weak performances. A wasted cast includes Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Mischa Barton, Felissa Rose, Brian Anthony Wilson, Gabrielle Stone and Susan Moses. The DVD retails for $22.98; the Blu-ray for $26.99.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2015, Mark Burger.