After the excellent release of the limited edition 2018 print, Code Red delivers a wider and more broadly available upgrade for the highly deserving “Savage Streets.” The 1984 cult classic is still a marvelous gem of eighties exploitation. It channels the classic Youths Gone Wild films of the fifties, and is filled with gorgeous women, roughneck teenagers, and an insanely sexy Linda Blair wreaking pure vengeance against the men that victimized her sister. She does it all with a bitchin’ crossbow, to boot.
Director Jason Axinn’s animated gore fest is “Funny Games,” meets “Saw” meets Twilight Zone’s “The Masks” wrapped up in one sick sadistic mutant. It’s gory, and vicious and mean spirited and occasionally baffling, but damned if I didn’t have a good time with it. There’s just something about watching the wealthy tear each other apart that hits a nerve, and “To Your Last Death” is a movie that has fun with its own concept. Not only does Jason Axinn break the conventional narrative, but he uses it as a means of bringing the ugliest sides out of his characters.
Blumhouse has found a little niche market in taking classic comedies and turning them in to bonafide horror movies. After “Happy Death Day 2 U,” they take the creaky Disney classic “Freaky Friday” and add a slasher twist to it. Shockingly, it works more times than it doesn’t. Christopher Landon doesn’t just embrace the classic narrative, but he tops it off with a gory slasher movie, and even injects so many LGBTQ overtones that it wouldn’t surprise me if it picked up steam as a LGTBQ classic very soon.
Stephen Norrington’s 1998 adaptation of the comic book “Blade” is a movie that’s often overlooked and or ignored as one of the comic book movie hits that broke ground. While it was never as mainstream as “X-Men” or “Spider-Man” it was a hit movie starring an African American hero, with an R rating. And while it hasn’t aged quite well since its initial release (it’s aged about as well as “X2,” which is good and terrible), it’s still a trailblazer worth seeking out right this second.
Director/Writer Chad Faust really knows what he’s doing in “Girl,” as he places a lot of the film’s weight on star Bella Thorne. Thorne is an underrated actress that’s been stuck in a lot of terrible movies, but when she’s paired with the right director, she gives performances like the one we see in “Girl.” Star Thorne carries what’s just an okay movie that feels like it aspires too eagerly to be held in the class of other backwoods dramas like 2010’s “Winter’s Bone.”
Meir Zarchi’s revenge rape thriller is a movie that continues to inspire immense bile from movie critics and movie buffs since its release in 1978. Much like its contemporary “Cannibal Holocaust,” Zarchi horror movie is deeply upsetting and requires the viewer to endure it in a certain state of mind. It’s a film you’ll either love or despise, and it gets a very good treatment from Roninflix who brings it home to fans like yours truly.
This year “I Spit on Your Grave” was given a deluxe box set on Blu-Ray and 4K allowing fans a new vision for what is easily one of the most upsetting, polarizing, and controversial films ever made. The Meir Zarchi film that popularized the volatile sub-genre rape-revenge films has spawned dozens of cinematic carbon copies (along with infamous bile from Roger Ebert), and features one of the most notorious castration scenes ever depicted. In commemoration of “I Spit in Your Grave” being released to fans yet again, I thought I’d sound off five of some of the more grotesque movie castrations ever filmed.
The clear indicator that this is simply the lamest of the exports so far is the first twenty minutes where director Chalerm Wongpim asks us to enjoy the realism of the epic battle scenes, while also forcing us to swallow a scene of our hero Siang riding a large rocket in the air. He then takes part in one of the most boring fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Most notable is the choreography which is slow and clunky, while most of the scenes are so poorly edited that they look like rehearsals for actual scenes we’ll never get to watch. It’s the first time I’ve seen a flying knee kick and not gasp in amazement.