Free Your Soul With the Evil Mad Doctor! “The Soultangler” review!


Experimental doctor, Anton Lupesky, invents a controversial drug that can free a human soul from its vessel and travel through into the lifeless eyes of a corpse, possessing the body to reanimation. The only side effect is grotesque hallucinations that are so horrible, few survive the experience. After a stint of missing persons and a string of mysterious deaths at the Whitebriar Institution, Lupesky is fired from his position, banned from the medical board, and brought up on criminal charges. His acquittal sparks him to embark on a journey overseas to continue his radical medical experiments, away from regulations and tremendous oversight. The doctor returns six months later for far superior medical innovations in America and begins practicing again in his own basement with the unscrupulous help from a couple of lackey acolytes that leaves Lupesky’s supply of “patients” not in short demand. One reporter keeps investigative tabs of the good doctor as she suspects a connection between him and her father’s death at Whitebriar and when her and her friends starts to snoop around, Lupesky has no choice but to use any means necessary to thwart her investigation, even if that means secretly administrating the drug to her in hopes that her soul can fly with his – if she survives.

Thirty years ago, “The Soutangler” hit the cinema market. A low-budget gruesome mad scientist flick with a penchant for some fantastically grisly practical special effects. The 1987 shocker was directed by Pat Bishow, penned by John Bishow and Lance Laurie, and shot on location on Long Island, New York. The Do-It-Yourself and Lovecraftian macabre does a bit of soul-searching to find resurrection from the video graveyard. Luckily, Bleeding Skull! Video and the AGFA come to the rescue with a chock-full of extras release that digs up the Bishow’s lost creation, dusts it off, cleans it up, pats it on the butt, and sends it back out into the world onto DVD home video. “The Soultangler’s” niche envisioning goes against the grain of traditional filmmaking, bordering experimental, but definitely a must-see for those interested in existentialism horror: the removal of free will to be replaced by another’s.

Pierre Devaux stars in his only credited as the mad Dr. Anton Lupesky that resembles along the lines of a Dr. Herbert West from that little known trilogy of the H.P. Lovecraft inspired “The Re-Animator.” With a wiry frame, stringy shoulder length hair, and government-like issued classes, the very animated Pierre Devaux casts the ideal character whose maniacal and perverse in his medical malpractices. The only one willing to stop the Lupesky’s experiments is investigating journalist Kim Castle of The Daily Chronicle. Castle, played by Jane Kinser, is about as ferocious as her beautiful as an aggressive reporter, unwilling to stop to unearth the truth of her father’s tragic death. Kinser’s not much of an onscreen force to reckon with as she’s quite timid, but she manages to hold her own up against Devaux wild eyed lunacy. Rounding out the cast is Bob Cederberg as a Carl the drugged addict henchman, Louise Millman as a loyal minion to Lupesky, and Tom Ciorciari as Castle’s concerned friend who battles the zombified corpses embodied by Dr. Lupesky.

While a strong appreciation exists from the outstanding attention to detail with the decayed bodies and the explicit violence in the finale that nightmarishly flourish in a heap of ghastliness, the rest of the film is as disjointed as the dismembered bodies in Lupesky’s basement of horrors. Despite being submersed in various talking head scenes that divulge significant backstories between Dr. Lupesky and Kim Castle, the story struggles to keep the straight line focus, swerving erratically between subplots and the main premise. Castle’s horrific dreams of aggressive zombies loosely makes a connection other than prepping Castle’s subconscious when ingesting Lupesky’s soul freeing drug. The story of Dr. Simpson also flounders to the waist side with her and Dr. Lupesky’s love affair, the only women he would even consider getting close to and not slaughter for his own amusement.

“The Soultangler” arrives onto full-bodied, graphically illustrated DVD from the B-movie collaborators Bleeding Skull! Video and the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) and distributed by MVDVisual from the original 1″ master tapes. Shot on 16mm, but edited on video, “The Soultangler” has a SOV experience in it’s original aspect ratio of a full frame 1.33:1. Quality varies from the source material, including some tracking and edge flare issues, but overall a solid transfer with a sizable color palette that includes tints, natural skin tones, and visceral dream sequences that show little-to-no sign of diminishing. Stereo mono track does the job despite poor mic placements to get the full girth of dialogue. HypnoLoveWheel’s indie synth/rock soundtrack has more popularity on the B-level than in the mainstream music, but serves “The Soultangler” with broad depth to solidify a wedge between “The Soultangler’s” whimsical charm and the Gothicism that is Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator.” Bonus features include, for the first on any release, the Unseen 62 minute alternate director’s cut, a commentary track with director Pat Bishow, behind the scenes footage, trailers for “The Soultangler” and “Dead of Night Town,” music video for “wow” by HypnoLoveWheel, and liner notes by Bleeding Skull’s Zack Carlson. Conceptually, “The Soultangler’s” premise oozes originality and creativity involving soul transformations through the portal eyes of a dead body and that’s simply brilliant and what today’s horror genre certainly craves. Constructionally, Pat Bishow couldn’t push the momentum to pickup the pace to overripe an engaging story, but the climax, out of left field, unsheathes a bloodbath of ultra-stellar, DIY proportions!

At Amazon, The Soultangler, Right now!

When Evil Strikes in Holy Gotham City, Only One Hero to Call… “Bat Pussy” review!


Good for nothing Buddy and his two-bit working girl wife Sam bicker slangily about their sexual performances. As Sam lays nude in bed and a naked Buddy flips through a sleazy magazine in search for the new positions to experiment, the two become inspired to ravage each others’ privates all the while expletives toward one another fly. Soon, Buddy decides to start snapping photographs of his nude wife as part of a plan to create an adult spread, like in the magazine. Deep inside Bat Pussy’s headquarters, a tingle in her twat informs her that somebody, somewhere is creating porn in her holy Gotham City and she quickly dresses from nightgown to bat suit to spur into action. The not-so-caped crusader jumps onto her Hoppity Hop and makes haste across town to intervene, but as soon as Bat Pussy dives in to stop the perversive pornographic nature, she dives right into the fold of lustful, foulmouth appetites.

American Genre Film Archive and Something Weird Video, partnered with distributor MVDVisual, releases a restoration of one of the earliest known porn parodies, “Bat Pussy,” onto Blu-ray that spoofs, horrendously, the Adam West starred “Batman” television series from the late 1960s. As far as a porn is considered, “Bat Pussy” lacks any sensical sexual action resulting in a double one-two punch wham!-bam! of no plot and no actual sex; instead, Buddy and Sam’s southern caints and worsh tub conversing of ignorant and pointless potty mouth conversation is more entertaining than Buddy’s limp impotence that dangles between the legs of being bizarre foreplay with the very freckly and curvy Sam. Since both of whom are seriously unattractive in appearance and performance, “Bat Pussy” has the stigma of being the worst porn ever produced. The actress behind “Bat Pussy” has far superior attributes than compared to her costars, but lavishes in a twang that’s hard to ignore and her vigorously tasteless implementation into Buddy and Sam’s awkward makeshift threesome is beyond the point of cringe worthy.

“Bat Pussy’s” gridlocked and effortless plot isn’t much to write about unless a bonus movie accompanies it and, in this particular release, “Robot Love Slaves” waits to be received in the bonus material. The bonus feature tells the story of Clark, a mad scientist who creates pleasure gifting robotic women in spite of a conniving wife whose scheming to be handicapped to steal her Husband’s groundbreaking work and be in the arms of her illicit and conspiring lover, Dr. Dicks. Clark constructs four pleasure bots, testing two of them on his friends with their specific built in sexual qualities, and keeping two for himself until the very right moment to strike against those who seek to dethrone him of his creation.

“Robot Love Slaves,” also known as “Too Much Loving,” is another early 1970s stag film. The science fiction sexploitation arouses a little better than the main feature and consisting of a plot that starts from A-to-Z and more striking women involving Sandy Carey (“Drive-In Massacre”), Sandy Dempsey (“Country Hooker”), and Candy Sampler (“Flesh Gordon”). Though roughly and technically hardcore, “Robot Love Slaves” is more softcore not by directorial design, but by edited manipulation that serves as a drastically cut-downed final product; nonetheless, the overall tone plasters a more earnest setting of deception, sadism, and pleasure rather than fooling around in a waste of runtime. Billy Lane and Adam Ward costar.

AGFA and Something Weird Video’s MVDVisual distributed “Bat Pussy” and “Robot Love Slaves” is a restoration of cult bric-a-brac right onto Blu-ray home video presented in the original aspect ratios of 1.33:1. “Bat Pussy” has been through a 2k scan from the only surviving 16mm print in existence found in the back room of Paris Theater in Memphis, Tennessee. The restoration puts the pieces in order that result in a slightly washed glaze from the dated print. Scratches and grain remain evident, but, like the not-so-hardcore material, nothing too obscene. The mono audio track is more interesting with pieces of the audio track removed upon the unknown director’s direction; during some points of the awkward romping, the audio would cut out, Buddy would look up, audio would come back in, and Buddy would say, “what?” and then the audio would cut back out. You’d have to see hear it to believe it. “Robot Love Slaves,” which also went through the 2k scan from the 16mm elements, suffers far worse from father time. Doesn’t help that the film is also heavily cropped and edited to avoid being extremely explicit. The audio track cuts in and out near the end, popping with distortion under a low ranged ceiling, and flushed with hisses. Bonus material includes a commentary track from Something Weird’s Lisa Petrucci and Tim Lewis, crime-smut trailers and shorts from Something Weird Vault, and liner notes by Lisa Petrucci and Mike McCarthy. The vivid and hilariously illustrated “Bat Pussy” blu-ray cover is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this release. Though both films are of unknown origins and much of the cast and crew are an enigma, “Bat Pussy” and “Robot Love Slaves” revel in a sexploitation realm all their own with wish-washy filmmaking and poor, but exuberant, performances from a cast who never spoke of these two, under an hour, cult hits ever again!

Evil Gets Snuffed and Blued. Blu-ray That is! “Effects” review!


Special effects technician Dom joins a small cast on the scenic outskirts of Pittsburgh to work on a horror film with wealthy director Lacey Bickel at the helm. Filmmaker Bickel’s indifferent passion about obtaining the perfect shot for his movie puts Bickel at odds with the other cast and crew, rendering Lacey just another irregular and peculiar director attempting to show the general public his ultimate vision, but during one particularly odd behavioral moment, Dom was subjected to the exhibition of a presumably snuff film possibly directed by Bicket during a coke-filled round table discussion. Dom begins to suspect that the movie he’s laboring over isn’t the sole objective of Bickel’s, but stays quiet about his instincts and he forms a romantic relationship with Celeste, a gaffer whose worked with Bickel prior to, and the two resume their work on the film despite the being the oblivious subjects of a real snuff film.

In 1978, the Godfather of the modern zombie film, the late great George Romero, had an inner circle of friends conjure up their own funding for an idealistic, ahead of it’s time horror film entitled “Effects” with then newcomers and Pittsburgh natives Dusty Nelson at the helm, John Harrison producing and starring as the offbeat Lacey Bickel, and post-“Effects” “Day of the Dead” and “The Dark Half” editor, Pasquale Buba, as the other producer. Filming had wrapped with tons of positive public review potential to be the next big horror film of it’s time being produced out of Pittsburgh, but a major distribution complication had put the kibosh on any theatrical and home release run, leaving “Effects” to be shelved for nearly thirty years until 2007 when Synapse released the film on DVD. The snag resonates soundly with the group of filmmakers who are probably more than acquainted with their friend and colleague George Romero’s “Night of the Living” and the copyright problem. However, the American Genre Film Archive, or AGFA, began a kickstarter funding campaign to buy a 4K scanner to remaster cult and underground titles to Blu-ray and “Effects” became one of the first selected!

“Day of the Dead” star Joe Pilato stars as special effects technician Dom and Dom is a far cry from being his future role of the sadistic and stir crazy Captain Rhodes. Pilato brings a lot of peace and tranquility to his mild mannered, if not very gullible, character. Along side Pilato is another fellow “Dead” series star, Tom Savini, as portraying not his trade of a special effects tech, but as a producer of sorts in the film. Off camera, Savini handles the gruesome special effects with a straight blade and gunshot sequences. In character, Savini doesn’t stray too far from his character on “Dawn of the Dead,” donning the black leather jacket and sporting a cocky-jerk attitude. Producer John Harrison also has a role as the callus director Lacey Bickel who bosses around his two surface actors “Life of Brian” actor Bernard Mckenna and a “Dead” series dead head zombie in two of Romero’s films, a Mrs. Debra Gordon. McKenna delivers question mark after question mark of a performance that Matthew Lillard, perhaps, imitates the best in Wes Craven’s “Scream” whereas Gordon just provides a straightforward background performance with her scene with Lacey conversing over the idea of stress releasing sex being one of the more intense moments of the movie. Susan Chapek, Charles Hoyes, and Blay Bahnsen complete the cast.

Despite the modest budget, Nelson and his team construct monumental frightening moments. When Dom, Lacey, Lobo, and Barney converse around a mirror laced with coke, Lacey wants to show Dom a film after their sharing their opinions on what the general public will or will not pay to see. The actors’ faces and reactions as the snuff film rolls is on the brink of teeth clenching madness. The catalytic moment bombards questions internally into the group of presumably professional people and starts the separation between whose really in control of their fates. “Effects” is a movie within a movie and a deception within a deception where the characters have more than one role and pinpointing their specific purpose is difficult to land that Nelson’s film will have your head spinning with guesses. A fierce and boldly ambitious film from a scrappy Pittsburgh crew of talented filmmakers taking a risk with an intricate plotted thriller.

AGFA and MVDVisual present Dusty Nelson’s “Effects” for the first time on a region free Blu-ray. The 1980 thriller has been scanned and restored in 4K from the only existent copy of the 35mm negatives and delivered the original aspect ratio, an anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1. The image quality is better, but only slight above the Synapse DVD that sourced from 16mm negative and still maintains a healthy dose of noised induced and film grain and print damage. The color palette has a dullish grey-brown combination fairly noticeable to the naked eye. The English DTS-HD dual channel audio has hints of a hiss and faint crackle in more scene intense segments, but relatively clean and clear inside a limited range. Extras included are an updated version of Synapse’s retrospective documentary entitled “After Effects” that brings a stingy melancholy when seeing George Romero converse with his friends. There are also two short films by John Harrison, an archival commentary track, and liner notes by AGFA’s Joseph Ziemba. Plus, the AGFA Blu-ray has a snazzy illustrated cover, with reverse cover art, encasement. “Effects” glorifies snuff film with ample attention to detail and precision that only this Pittsburgh all-star team of filmmakers could produce on a limited budget and AGFA, alongside MVDVisual, amplify their efforts by a hundredfold with a remastered transfer withstanding straight razor home movies, a bombastic car explosion, and cloak and dagger guerilla filmmaking that’ll have you second guessing if the effects are only movie magic or not?

“Effects” on Blu-ray by AGFA and MVDVisual!