The EVIL Gutierrez Family Accommodations are to Die For! “Fucking Bastards” reviewed! (Wild Eye Releasing / DVD)

Those “F**king Bastards” on DVD at Amazon.com

On the walk path to Santiago, on an isolated stretch of the trail, hikers Richie and Lucia run into a bit of bad luck when Richie’s foot is severely injured by a speeding car driving recklessly on what’s typically a walking path.  Needing immediate aid, they’re forced down a offshoot path to the isolated Hotel Gutierrez, a local hostel ran by the eccentric manager, Arturo Gutierrez, and his family.  Unsure about the odd hostel manager and even more unsure about the temperamental cook serving questionable, gloopy slop but continue to entertain their hosts’ hospitality to not offend or make upset, Richie and Lucia quickly realize they’ve made a grave mistake in staying when the Gutierrezes are actually a deranged family of cannibals exploiting their guests for the one thing, to be the main course on the Gutierrez menu.  The path trekkers find themselves on the receiving end of a butcher’s block that might not have been an accident after all.

“Jordidos Kabrones” aka “Fucking Bastards” is the 2012 precursor film to Manolito Motosierra’s “Spanish Chainsaw Massacre” from 2017, introducing viewers to the morbid-madcap antics of the Gutierrez family. The comedy-horror uses the Camino de Santiago, or the walk to St. James, as the backdrop that ultimately leads to an unprovoked massacre of the pilgrims traversing to the shrine of the first martyred apostle St. James at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Some believe that walking the trail is a part of a sinner’s expiation toward God. In Motosierra’s case, as seen in “Fucking Bastards,” the seemingly normal hiking trail is a gateway to Hell for all when a local family exploits the pilgrimage as a source of unconventional comestibles that has been a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Over-the-top with nauseating ordure and gore, Motosierra refuses to hold back in the mire situation that leaves Richie and Lucia being the unfortunate guests of the Gutierrez hostel. The feature is produced by Motosierra and Kiko Navarro, who’ve went on to collaborate on “The Corpse Grinders 3” and “Spanish Chainsaw Massacre,” assistant producers Santi Banjo and Fernando Montano Galvañ, and is a Spanish conglomerate production of AGP Productions in association with Olga Underground, Yosoyfande Reanaimator Association, Dark Times Visual, Esquizoide Productions, San Jorge School of Film and Audio, and the Alcoi Film Office.

If you’re like me and ended up watching the follow up film, “Spanish Chainsaw Massacre,” first, then you may recognize a couple of familiar faces in “Fucking Bastards” of the atrocity paving duo of Arturo and Guti Gutierrez, played by José Luís Tolosa and Manuel Rodriguez. Tolosa tall stature, wide, sinister grin, and antsy movements perfects Arturo’s wildly tormenting behavior as the collected, but not also cool and calm, head of the family. Then, there’s Guty, the clearly deranged imbecile delighted to follow Arturo’s direction and take verbal abuse times infinite as long as he gets to tenderize, fillet, and serve up guests for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Rodriguez plays a derived goof that’s nothing really to note and write home about in his goon and goof performance that does support Arturo’s more sophisticated role as a deviant duo. While “Spanish Chainsaw Massacre” inundated viewers with extended family member of maniacs, “Fucking Bastards” starts out with slow with select immediate relations, such as their veiled and grunting grandmother played by Motosierra himself. The Gutierrez family’s pilgrim victims come in pairs. The main hapless marks are Richie and Lucia, played by Ricardo Pastor and Miriam Larragay and who both went on to have a new role in Motosierra’s “Spanish Chainsaw Massacre,” are suitable enough saps to be slaughtered by their own dimwittedness by ignoring that little voice inside their heads screaming at them to run for the hills upon meeting Arturo and Guti. Pastor and Larragay, compared to Tolosa and Rodriguez, are satisfying normal pilgrims without life infractions, without ulterior motives, and with nothing other than the backpacks on their back on what should have been a simple hike to pay respects to St. James and God, making their detour-to-death that much more nihilistic and grotesque. Sonia Ayala, Pedro García Oliva, Xima Perpinyá Mira, Marino, Yolanda Berenguer, Raúl Darío Gandoy, Jaime Martínez Moltó, and Jaime Martínez Moltó round out the cast.

By all means, “Fucking Bastards” is no great cinematic masterpiece. With an offensive title, not one person should expect it to be a great Spanish cine, but what should be expected from the Manolito Motosierra picture is a ton of gore and a load more of offensive and garbage slopped material to flaunt to shock the casual cinema consumer or speak the niche lurid language of gore film fiends around the world. Motosierra accomplishes both as “Fucking Bastards” will disgust the weakest of stomachs and will galvanize others to glue themselves to the story to see what happens next. Those viewers excited for the kills will find the gore effects to be inconstant at best from special effects artist Ruben Vallés Guerrero who has worked the movie grade gamut from the micro-indies, such as “Fresh Flesh,” to moderately budgeted films like “Down a Dark Path,” starring Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill”), and “A Monster Calls” with Sigourney Weaver (“Alien”) and Liam Neeson (“Darkman”). The Motosierra picture became a jumping point for Guerrero to show off his effects skills and delivers on some Tom Savini-inspired hand chopping and leg slicing but in the same breath also approves the use of an augmented plastic baby, with non-lifelike stiff arms and legs, in the bashing of a pregnant woman to force deliver. Whether due to limited funds, or the content was too shocking overall, or out of respect for depicting infant children in hugely Catholic culture, the scene sorely cheapens the already shoddy, low-budget production with artificial appearances. Refreshing is not a term I would say defines Manolito Motosierra’s “Fucking Bastards” but there’s a sense of unassuming relief from the lack of pretense because from front cover to end credits, you know exactly what type of vulgarity to expect.

Coming right in as spine number 69 on Wild Eye Releasing’s Wild & Extreme label, “Fucking Bastards” offers its sadistic viewing pleasure onto DVD home video. Presented in an open matte widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the feature is housed on a lower storage format, likely a DVD 5, that suffers tremendous compression pockmarks, such as smoothed out textures, blotchy-pixelated patches, banding, and contrast issues. Video presentation is watchable and not a terrible eyesore but definitely not the pretty picture around with a good portion of the issues stemming from commercial grade equipment. The Spanish language Stereo 2.0 audio tracks varies in dialogue levels, leaving depth unaccounted for and very little in range value as there’s not much of an ambient arrangement. Though varied, dialogue is clean and clear with English subtitles that have some synch/timing issues. There were a few occurrences where the subtitles on flashed and vanished in an instant. The English subs are also severely consolidated with characters’ throwing out much more than what is being translated…trust me, I know enough Spanish to tell. Bonus features only included the theatrical trailer plus other Wild Eye previews which, in my opinion, are worth checking out. No dialogue, just impressively edited, impressively scored, make-you-want-to-check-it-out handful of trailers that include “Death to the Ten Commandments,” “Gore Grind,” and “The Thrill of a Kill.” Stay tuned for an after credits bonus scene that displays the horrors of the Gutierrez children. The exterior features include a clear DVD snapper with a photoshop filtered act of asphyxiation on the front cover while the inside reveals a reverse cover of a screen grab of one of torturous moments of the story. The Wild Eye release of the film is unrated, has a runtime of just over an hour at 63 minutes, and is region free. Get your gonzo gore on with Manolito Motosierra’s humble beginnings in “Fucking Bastards” that could be considered the Rob Zombie’s Firefly family of Spain.

Those “F**king Bastards” on DVD at Amazon.com

The EVIL Fat Man Delivers a Sack Full of Slaughter in “Christmas Cruelty!” reviewed! (Unearthed Films / Blu-ray)

Oh, Its Starting To Look a lot Like “Christmas Cruelty! on Blu-ray!

Eline, Per-Ingvar, and Magne are three close and eccentric friends preparing for the jolliest time of year, Christmas. Concocting a unique Christmas spirit of their own with scarring passers dressed as Krampus and brewing an alcohol infused cocktail, the unconventional celebration reflects their individual perspectives on the holiday: a knowledgeable Eline embraces more traditional values, Magne goes against the grain with a loose grasp on the concept of it all, and the lack of mental acuity for wheelchair bound Per-Ingvar leaves him in naive, gullible belief. All the while the friends prep the groundwork for a Christmas party, a homicidal sociopath tracks and records their every movement, habits, and personal attributes and when Christmas comes, the meticulous and brutal serial killer dresses as Santa and infiltrates what turned from being a joyous bash into Santa bashing in heads with a hammer, decapitates party guests, and rip-roars a chainsaw with blood splattering apathy.

It’s that time of year again to ride the Christmas slay down the hills covered with blood-red snow. Santa, usually a sign of pure good and jovial togetherness, is transformed to embody terror and evil across the holiday season. In 2013, Norwegian filmmaker Per-Ingvar “PIT” Tomren (“Bonzai Motherfucker!”) and his co-director Magne Steinsvoll (producer of “Killungard” and “Lyst”) not only star in another Yuletide horror that yields itself to violence and blood but also adds their perspective entry into the vast Scandanavian subgenre of ole’ Saint Nick, or an imposter of the jolly fat guy, going postal in the worst possible way. Tomren and Steinsvioll work into their debut feature film off a script penned by principal co-star Eline Aasheim as well as Janne Iren Holseter, Anita Nyhagen, and directors Tomren and Steinsvoll. Originally entitled “O’Hellige Jul!” in Norwegian, the 2013 released “Christmas Cruelty” is a Stonewall Productions and presented by DC Medias under the producing credits of Magne Steinsvoll, Kim Haldoersen, and Raymond Volle (“Saga”).

Instead of hiring an outside cast for a serial rapist and killer Santa flick, why not just star in the film yourself? In order to get their feet wet in film production as well as learning the rigors of acting, Per-Ingvar Tomren, Magne Steinsvoll, and Eline Aasheim essentially portray themselves as the three friends spending unique quality time together during Christmas. Per-Ingvar works into the script the corporeal truth of this delicate skeletal structure that battles brittle bone disease aka osteogenesis imperfecta. Confined almost entirely to his wheelchair, Tomren curbs his wellbeing for the sake of art as the filmmaker doesn’t exempt himself from the various physical altercation scenes to have a stuntman take the glory. The same kind of sentiment can be said for Eline Aasheim whose character must endure an invasive attack, one that’s deeply uncomfortable and intimate in nature surrounded by a virtually an all-male cast which includes offscreen friendships. Then there’s Magne. If Per-Ingvar and Eline embodied metaphorically everything that is good about the Christmas spirit, Magne was the complete opposite as a complaining, sexist, and indelicate sourpuss living in the moment rather than grasping his own barbed attitude. The malarky between the three friends on screen is perhaps very mirrorlike offscreen as there is a comfortability level with each other performances that keeps the dynamic on the edge of combusting but yet you never feel like a change in their relationship will ever mount, keeping their friendship close, tight, and compact. The outsider, the Serial Santa, is played mid-50’s Norway actor Tormod Lien. I mention Lien’s age because he is older than the other principal characters and that plays into his character’s wisdom as a family man who takes notes on who’s halls he will soon deck. Calm, organized, and deviant, Lien plays into the apathy without a twinkle of empathy and engineers a bloody show of planned homicide with some comedic bits put on by Lien when Serial Santa has to go off script because of interruptions.

In my mind, there are two types of Christmas horror films: the uncanny universe where Santa, or something related to Santa, such as his toyshop elves or Krampus, world’s lives and breathes in a twisted malevolency while the other type resides in fact with sociopathic and mentally unstable Santa impersonators who go on a merry murdering spree. “Christmas Cruelty!” falls in that latter category with serial killer, dressed as Santa and a grotesque mask, gatecrashes the good protagonists’ party for the nefarious primordial urge to hurt, rape, and kill. Maybe even dabble in a little cannibalism. “Christmas Cruelty!” is a lump of extreme exploitation for next level nihilism. I’ve seen my fair share of messed up movies, but the Tomren and Steinsvoll defiling picture doesn’t even have a millimeter of morality. Without a theme, a message, or a basic point, “Christmas Cruelty!” is hollow atrocity for the sake of shock and slaughter. The principal goods are either too afraid to help each other, too unwilling to help each other, or are too conceited to even take notice that something is amiss. Instead, it’s the Serial-Santa who has his ducks in order, unabashed to simply walk into a room and start his plan of cold-hearted perversion, but before even getting to that moment with deliciously diabolical practical special effects that can produce a gut-wrenching impact, the story goes static with the principal goods chitchatting about history of Christmas, their likes and dislikes of the season, and nursing a hangover from hell. This portion to build character doesn’t actually build character as we’re skirted around victimized trio’s reason for to deserving of our sympathy. Yeah, there’s a person with learning disabilities in a wheelchair and a young woman with an inkling of a moral compass but I find them aimless, sleepwalking through life, and without purpose.

Christmas comes early with the release of “Christmas Cruelty” on Blu-ray home video from our friends at Unearthed Films and MVD Visual. Presented in 1080p with a widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio on an AVE encoded BD50, Unearthed Films rendering of the transfer goes without a hitch, but the stylistic choices of Tomren and Steinsvoll are an eyesore with a mustard yellow overlay intended for a grindhouse veneer that also correlates with the large font and embossed opening credits. Much of the details and natural look are lost in the yellow tint. The erratic editing is supposed to reflect Serial Santa’s fragmented mind which idiosyncratically finds footing but can be off-putting to its experimental quality. The Norwegian language DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound mix reflects no issues with depth and range despite having limited need for both and has mostly clear dialogue albeit some obstruction from the soundtrack that is heavily integrated into the sound design and becomes a character in itself with a blend of English-lyrical Christmas themed tunes, instrumental string melodies, acoustic solos by Magne Steinsvoll, generic rock tracks, and folksy jamming that ends with the loud roaring of a chainsaw slicing through body parts. The bonus features include an audio commentary with co-director Per-Ingvar Tomren and producer Raymond Volle, retrospective interviews in How Cruelty Changes Our Lives featurette, blooper outtakes, photo gallery, The Last Rebels hit “Endless Highway,” an interview with Morten Haagensen, “Tradition” short film, Press Conference, a watch-a-long session with Flesh Wound Horror, and teaser trailer. The Unearthed Films menu options were a bit cumbersome to navigate when trying to play the movie as the next screen goes to the three audio options – either two commentaries that run along with the film and the play movie without commentary, but the options are not terribly intuitive and had to go through the options before I was able to play just the movie. The physical release comes in a traditional blue snapper case with the soulless, dead eyes of the Santa mask illustrated with liver sports and aged wrinkles on the front cover. Unearthed Films’ release comes not rated, region A encoded, and has a runtime of 94 minutes. Probably not the perfect holiday gift for the conventional horror filmgoer, “Christmas Cruelty” is difficult to ingest and digest as not only an extreme exploitation film but as a film as whole, but with the callous chunks of coal and the striped blood red candy cane of scrumptious special effects, the Norwegian definitely offers a good stocking stuffer.

Oh, Its Starting To Look a lot Like “Christmas Cruelty! on Blu-ray!

The Mayflower Brought the Thanks of EVIL Long Ago! “The Last Thanksgiving” reviewed! (Scream Team Releasing / Blu-ray)

Gobble Up and Chow Down on “The Last Thanksgiving” on Blu-ray!

Lisa-Marie Taft is known for being uncompromisingly difficult to be around with her snarky comments and negative attitude.  She’s especially coarse when she has to spend her Thanksgiving holiday working tables at the restaurant, one of the only places open on Thanksgiving.  Stuck with the equally as enthusiastic coworkers, Lisa-Marie can’t go home and snog with her boyfriend when one lonely customer decides to show up right before they were given the blessing to leave.  The situation at the restaurant goes from irritable to fatal when a family of cannibals with ancestry Pilgrim ties raids the open business to keep with their yearly tradition of cooking a thankful feast out of “thankless” people.  For 400 years, the tradition has been upheld and sought through, but they’ve never went up against anyone like Lisa-Marie Taft before. 

Are we ready for some Thanksgiving leftovers yet?  The time to give thanks to all our family and friends holiday has come and gone and many fans have exhausted through the extremely short list of Thanksgiving themed horror films, such as “Thankskilling,” “Thankskilling 3” and “Blood Rage” to be the most likely few viewed this past holiday week.  Well, have you ever heard of 2020’s “The Last Thanksgiving” from writer-director Erick Lorinc?  If you haven’t, then put back on your watching stretchy pants to gobble up another feast of cranberries and carnage as this slasher is from a group of University of Miami grads shooting on the streets and in the rural fall foliage of Chattanooga, Tennessee and in the Derry’s Family Restaurant in Hollywood, Florida with some of the shots being done over the actual Thanksgiving break for, you know, immersive authentic fall and giving thanks atmospheric quality.  “The Last Thanksgiving” is a Peak Jerry Production and is the first full-length feature film from Lorinc and produced by Annissa Omran with Sydney Gold serve as associate producer.

In the role of the snooty, snarky Lisa-Marie is fellow University of Miami grad Samantha Ferrand who plays the not-so-nice version of Halloween’s Laurie Strode with a complete disdain for her responsibly burdening parents and, well, basically any form of adult authority.  Even Lisa-Marie’s softy boss receives talkback and huff and puffs from what Lorinc pens as a self-centered brat.  As Lisa-Marie goes to war against the world, including her gothic waitress counterpart Trudie (Gabriela Spampinato) in a witty top dog positioning back-and-forth at times, she’s goes up against the Brimstone family who have a long-standing cannibalistic Thanksgiving tradition of following their Pilgrim relative’s footsteps, Abigail Brimstone (played dually by Alex Love and Gosta Utarefson).  The Brimstone family tradition has been enacted for over 400 years by each generation and this generation is no different with the commune living of two sisters and two brothers, who also may or may not be sleeping with other.  Yikes! Matthew McClure and Tristan Petashnick become the masterminding main face of the Brimstone clan as brother and sister, Kurt and Cordelia, while Laura Finley and Michael Vitovich come top up as the grunt work muscle as Maggie and as the Leatherface-esque Trip, a tall, quiet, and mask-wearing brother that takes a note from classic slasher icons with walking chase downs and brutal kills. Together, the Brimstone family is not terribly cliche at all and are backed by strong, singular performances that stand out like rightful, lip-smacking wolves against the restaurant sheep trying to survive the holiday on the backs of each other. These particular group of individuals are the perfect side dishes to the smorgasbord of sanguinary grub with a Backstage audition casting of Robert Richards Jr., Brandon Holzer, Madelin Marchant, Tametria Harris, Bobby Eddy, Nicholas Punales, Francisco D Gonzalez, and scream queen icon, Linnea Quigley (“Night of the Demons”) as the one, lonely restaurant patron in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

We’ve established that performances are strong, but what about the story?  Does it salivate interest and keep your attention from start to finish?  Is enough Thanksgiving incorporated material live up to the niche theme?  Certainly campy with dark, puritanical humor that stresses the importance giving thanks and being with family and friends on the holiday, “The Last Thanksgiving” unquestionably  expresses itself as a film that fits inside the theme’s parameters while also not taking itself too seriously, which has been routinely par for the course for these types of Turkey Day films.  Lorinc’s story concept stretches the gamut by briefly sending audiences back in time to when Pilgrims had the first Thanksgiving with the local Native American.  With the quasi-flash back story depicting Abigail Brimstone, who was in need of more food for the first feast because the Native Americans would be joining them at the table, chopping and mincing the postmortem remains of a handful of Native Americans to robust her menu, the Brimstone family quickly becomes understood after the first two acts of just chalking them up to your everyday cannibal, but the Lorinc takes the simple and satisfactory explanation, one that’s easily understandable and works as a cause, to a complicated and incongruous supernatural area with a 400-year old Abigail Brimstone still very much alive, and still looking good after four centuries, to procreate with one of each year’s male victims to keep the family craving and carving that human flesh turkey.   Cleaved in half heads, a jawless leftover, and a basement full of acidic gravy should be gobbled up in this traditional holiday horror film, “The Last Thanksgiving!”

Scream Team Releasing releases “The Last Thanksgiving” on a AVC encoded Blu-ray home video with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio and presented 1080p high definition. For a fall holiday feature, we’re treated to some fall coloring of brown and red of the Chattanooga wooded areas and the detailing in the textures of sweaters, scarfs, and pilgrim hats to bring out the right festive feelings of a fall, but the image grading reins backs a tad that doesn’t showcase the true beauty of fading foliage. For an indie crew working with university equipment, contrast levels appear balanced to enrich the shadows where needed and lit-up appropriate locations helps delineate scenes of trepidation clearly. There were no evident issues with compression on the 50GB Blu-ray pressing. The English language 5.1 surround stereo mix is the sole mix on the release and this is the part of the A/V package where “The Last Thanksgiving” can’t stuff it all into that the big bird cavity. Dialogue is clear but is more pallid to the ears and when decibels reach a certain height, the audio output starts to break down slightly to a crackle. Optional English subtitles are available. Bonus features include an audio commentary, The Long Pilgrimage an in-depth making of featurette with the University of Miami grad cast and crew, “Thanksgiving” 1978 short film which has scenes spliced into the feature film, gag reel, Talking Turkey: Late Night Discussion, auditions, photo gallery, teaser, and official trailer. The blue snapper case has shoddy front cover art that doesn’t provide the best first impression, but the backside has more retro appeal and the cover art is reversible with still image on the inside with the film’s splayed on top. The Scream Teaming Releasing Blu-ray comes region free, unrated, and has a runtime of 70 minutes. “The Last Thanksgiving” is a great addition to the boutique Thanksgiving horror movie table that will certainly be a yearly staple in every family fright night viewing tradition.

Gobble Up and Chow Down on “The Last Thanksgiving” on Blu-ray!