Now that Shout Factory has re-formatted their Karloff/Lugosi Collection in to the Universal Horror Collection, this has given them carte blanche to release pretty much everything they can get their hands on from the catalogue. I appreciate that they haven’t begun releasing the obvious titles yet, as so far the volumes have been following a specific theme and or formula. The first volume was mainly Karloff and Lugosi team ups, while this second volume is mainly about mad scientist and evil doctor, all of which are played by Lionel Atwill. Buckle up, horror buffs.
We don’t have nearly enough horror movies about the aftermath and fall out of bullying and how often times bullies can destroy us. We’ve had “Slaughter High” in the past, but we’ve come around to sharp thrillers like “The Gift” and “The Final” which depict the victim less as insane, and more as broken people. “Ma” is kind of that film that approaches the very themes, but never quite knows what to make of its titular villain. “Ma” is a sharp thriller with a killer performance from Octavia Spencer that manages to rise above a narrative that’s very confused about what it’s trying to say.
In the nineties America was obsessed with dinosaurs. For reasons we could never put our fingers on, Dinosaurs were in just about every facet of pop culture you could imagine. Video games, movies, animated series, they were mascots for snack foods, they were the basis for a family sitcom, and yes, they were fit in to movies amounting to cinematic oddities still making movie buffs scratch their heads. We had a family film about miniature dinosaurs, a buddy cop comedy about a female cop and a dinosaur, and yes, we even had “Tammy and the T-Rex.”
When “The Universal Horror Collection” was originally announced, it was titled the “Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi Collection” by Shout Factory. One can only assume that they’ve managed to retain the rights to many Universal movies obscure and classic, thus changing their new series to “The Universal Horror Collection.” With that broad a title, the sky is apparently the limit for Shout Factory and what they can do with these volumes. Since this was originally a Karloff/Lugosi four movie set, the whole of the films included star the pair of horror icons. With Volume 1 of “The Universal Horror Collection,” fans will be elated to see that they’re starting us off on the right foot.
A mix of nostalgia value and genuine entertainment value, “Double Impact” is the Van Damme movie I’ve come to value over all of his other work. As someone who was a big Van Damme geek in the nineties, he’s had a better shelf life than people like Steven Segal, and films like “Double Impact” have held up big time. Even with the camp value and goofy comedy in the first half hour, “Double Impact” still amounts to a great action flick with Van Damme being given a test of how far he can stretch his acting chops.
An imprisoned man out on special permission to visit his dying mother finds out she has passed away and decides this is the moment to put his revenge plan into action. As he goes after his brother and associates, the reasons for his revenge are made clear.
During the first half of “El Chicano” main character Diego is going through his brother’s belongings remembering him before he died, and flips through a couple of “Daredevil” comic books. That’s basically the head space that Director Ben Hernandez Bray is in during his crime thriller superhero movie “El Chicano.” Essentially, “El Chicano” is an urban superhero with heaps of potential to be the next big avenger against drug dealers and gangsters. A mix of “Daredevil,” “The Phantom,” and “Batman,” Ben Hernandez Bray’s action thriller is admirably ambitious and fun.
For this week’s Shorts Round Up, we check out some great shorts including two animated experimental films one of which by film students, a thought provoking science fiction drama, and a riveting human drama.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.