In the year 2022, orbital satellites carry nuclear missiles and maintain flight patterns around the moon. When a satellite repair ship, known as a “refab” ship called Spaecore 1, attempts to intercept a satellite for maintenance, the system wide computer goes into an unexplained power failure that jeopardizes communications, life support, and navigation. Drifting helpless toward sector Centrus B-40, the dark side of the moon, all hope will be lost within 24 hours unless operations can be restored, but a mysterious spacecraft, NASA’s Discovery shuttle, heads toward them and docks onto their outer hull without so much of a hail from the shuttle. Captain Flynn and Lt. Giles investigate a seemingly abandoned ship until coming across a dead body of a presumed missing NASA astronaut, eviscerated with an opening left in a perfect triangle as the cause of death, and that opens the door to more questions than answer as a sinister presence boards their ship, pursuing damnation for their souls.
Just think, in two more years, weapons of mass destruction satellites will loom just above fluffy white clouds, ready to mushroom clouds out of targets with a 10-ton yield; at least that’s what director D.J. Webster and the screenwriters, identical twins Carey W. Hayes and Chad Hayes, modeled the future when conjuring up this delectable Sci-Fi horror film approx. 20 years ago. With special effects models and techniques that withstand against powerhouse space films, such as from the immaculate effects of Alien franchise, “The Dark Side of the Moon” becomes more than just a 1973 Pink Floyd album title Fabricated out of warped creativity of old and new concepts with a Biblical horror base that only the 1990’s could loosely spin into an hour and 27 minute feature, for many of the filmmakers involved, “The Dark Side of the Moon” credits as their first taste of a feature length, large scale production, especially with the mainly music video director D.J. Webster, who loves his closeups, and director of photography Russ T. Alsobrook, as they auto clicks into a team that seemingly have experience of seasoned veterans or, perhaps, spent some secretive, unlogged time in space. Who knows, but the outcome ruminates about the dark side of religion and how each of us deal with it internally.
When mullets and giant framed glasses are afoot, the late 80’s, early 90’s filming era is beyond evident with interestingly gritty characters lined up for an evil figure eager to knock them down and, of course, the story’s lead character is the mullet sporting pilot named Lt. Giles Stewart who is unwittingly thrust into the fast track of a hero’s lane. Giles’s atheism framework has a pleasant sardonicism about it when face-to-face with the immortal conqueror of his ship and crew. Will Bledsoe paints Giles as such as faithless space pilot, bound to duty, and willing to do anything to just not save himself, but others. One of the only recognizable faces, at least for myself, in the cast is John Diehl. The “Stargate” and “The Shield” television actor is best at being a wild card in turmoil situations and as shipmate Phillip Jennings, the same can be expected without being utterly conventional or warrant any kind of typecast label. Another actor to note is Alan Blumenfeld as the ship’s panicky Dr. Dreyfuss Steiner. Blumenfeld, who had a role in the best Jason Voorhees film, in my humble opinion, “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, is once again stalked by a larger-than-life villain while maintaining a profusely sweaty persona that’s symbolically intended to be true, unadulterated fear. As a whole, the cast is amazing regardless of some first time filmmakers at the helm, rounding out with “Re-Animator’s” Robert Sampson as the ship’s Capt. Flynn, Joe Turkel from the first “Blade Runner,” “Blood Frenzy’s,” and overall erotic thriller goddess, Wendy MacDonald, stunt man (“Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, “Army of Darkness”) Ken Lesco, and another “Friday the 13th” actor, Camilla More, or Tina from “The Final Chapter,” as the stationary sexy, ship’s onboard computer-robot named Lesli – think on the same lines as Mother from “Alien,” but in the flesh.
What makes “The Dark Side of the Moon” very interesting is the film being an unofficial precursor to other science fiction horror films like “Event Horizon” that was released roughly seven years later. Space as this gateway to Hell concept is sorely under-appreciated and underutilized. Space is already vastly frightening to begin with and by adding a devilish abyss aspect to it makes the idea an absorbingly scary thought. What’s also fascinating is the Hayes brother. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is the brothers’ roots film; the proverbial patient zero that spread successful movie writing careers for the twins, spawning turn of the century horror with the remake of “House of Wax” that saw the on-screen death of Paris Hilton, had “Underworld” star Kate Beckinsale track down a killer in Antarctica in “Whiteout,” and they penned “The Conjuring” that constructed its very own universe.
“The Dark Side of the Moon” comes in at #2 on the Unearthed Films’ Classics label distributed MVDVisual. The newly restored 4K transfer of the Wild Street Pictures production is presented in a widescreen, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, region A Blu-ray release. Surprisingly sharp despite consistent low-lit scenes and not as washed like previous VHS versions, this restoration fine tunes the nitty-gritty specifics needed for proper presentation that doesn’t falter from heavy digital noise or blotch artifacts and shows no signs of enhancing The English language LPCM 2.0 audio track is strapping for a dual channel format. Dialogue pronounced clearly, ambient spaceship clinks and clunks create atmospheric range and depth, and the relentless brooding score by “Society’s” Mark Ryder and Phil Davies delivers shuddering spinal-tingles without being monotonously dull. Bonus features include a commentary with executive producer Paul and Unearthed Films’ Stephen Biro, interviews with Alan Blumenfeld, FX artist R. Christopher Biggs, and stuntman Chuck Borden, plus vintage audio track, trailers, photo gallery, and a insert booklet that dives into about the production and the cast. All packed into a nice little slipcover package. “The Dark Side of the Moon” pioneers into the future of space horror as a good ole dread-inducing fear-monger of the great expanse, deserving this Unearthed Films’ release, hands down.
Charlie, the daughter of a famed pro-wrestler named Daddy Bison, witnesses the tragic and accidental decapitation death of her masked father while in the ring. Years later, Charlie labors for a video game corporation with underhanded values, but she still feels the call to wrestling, secretly competing and honoring her father’s memory in moonlight matches despite her lover’s wishes. When her corrupt employer illegal obtains Nano byte technology to engineer into their latest wrestling video game entitled ‘From Parts Unknown’ in order to financially steal from gamers, Charlie accidently becomes more involved than just being an innocent bystander. A side effect to the Nano bytes turns people into a horde of flesh hungry monsters on the cusp of being let loose and only Charlie can pile drive a stop to the infected corporate white-collar workers and vicious female wrestlers from embarking on a worldwide takeover.
It’s Bloggin’ Evil is familiar with director Daniel Armstrong’s work, reviewing the Australian born director’s 2013 roller derby slasher “MurderDrome” on the Camp Motion Picture’s home entertainment label. Armstrong’s latest horror installment, 2015 released “From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl,” blends a healthy dose of wrestling into the terror folds. However, this body slamming, drop kicking horror film was produced and completed by 2009, years before “MurderDrome” hit the market, and was shelved in a period of postponement because of post-production reasons, but the Strongman Pictures team bouts with more than half a decade of delays to eventually release “From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl,” a complete horror-comedy battle royal!
With a DIY façade, a talented actor pool dedicates themselves to undertake the high flying, death defying professional wrestling moves of PCW, Professional Championship Wrestling, in Australia and, I must confess, the actors looked legit. There’s an indescribable amount of pleasure and respect that goes into actors braving the chance of injury and accomplishing their own stunt work. Kudos to lead actress Jenna Dwyer for her stunt work to which in an example of her character, Charlie, is air-flung across the square ring and into a metal cage and she falls behind the ropes, landing hard on the mat below. The stunt looked fantastic. To coincide with the physical performances, Armstrong’s script uses slapstick comedy that’s heavy on the satirical undertones. Ross Ditcham’s a good character to spotlight as his role of Frank is the story’s buffoon, branded as being the best friend who doesn’t get the heroine girl of his dreams while running wildly whenever danger, or a brazen female supervisor, is hanging on his coattails.
The combination of performance and wit does hunker slightly from being overshadowed by the wonky cinematography. Every applied color of the rainbow saturates various scenes to, perhaps, wash away the dull gray and white tones of the minimalistic warehouse location or to attempt to upscale production value, but the extreme use of this method conflicts with sharp image details, leaving an opaque and blotchy picture. There’s also some odd framing from either the production or postproduction distribution that’s disrupts the clarity of the actions in the scenes. On the plus side, a solid, passable effort was put forth for the gory special effects, especially when Josh Futcher’s Misha violently implodes the head in of one of the henchwomen with a fire extinguisher, splattering upward a healthy amount of blood while Misha quoting, many times, Ash from “Army of the Darkness.” Tack on superimposed electric current superpowers, a tactical high-powered Uzi, and a little person donning a luchador mask and tights and “From Parts Unknown” tickles all the right parts of your delinquent, shameless senses.
Story wise, a loose introduction semi-torpedoes the backend of Charlie’s growth and embattlements, albeit the killer effects and various degrees of solid acting. The convoluted scenes of stealing the Nano bytes and sprinkled in segments of the Bison Daddy’s fate attempt to set up two simultaneous merging narratives that end up not meshing well or delivering the intended message. After the progression surpasses the Nano Byte mishap, the story starts to take shape, forming more coherently and appropriately to pit our lovely Charlie against an apocalyptic foe, setting up define characters, and setting the stage for an all out slobber-knocker! When Charlie and her mortal allies have the odds against them when rivaled against superhuman opponents, a clear indication that’s just more than good versus evil. Under the surface, Charlie is faced with life adversaries: her unethical boss, an advantage taking supervisor, and other female wrestlers. All of which become flesh eating maniacs and want to rip Charlie apart.
“From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl” has pinned a DVD distributor with the indie label Camp Motion Pictures. The not rated DVD contains a short film “Post-Apocalyptic Chic,” “Fight Like A Girl” music video, Haunted by Humans Music Video, Demented music video, and a trailer vault. Like previously mentioned, the posterized video quality is noticeable within the confines of darker color hues and, especially, in the blacks. The LCPM 2.0 mix audio quality goes in and out with rocky levels of dialogue and ambiance. Graced with an ozploitation with great collaged cover art, Daniel Armstrong’s “From Parts Unknown” and Camp Motion Pictures are a wrestling match made in a hell in a cell! The best wrestling horror film since Mexico’s El Santo films!
Ash is back! The chainsaw for a hand, fouled mouth, Deadite destroying retail stock boy returns to face Evil with his boomstick once again after the last monstrous incident some 30 years ago. Trying to stay under the radar and not make waves amongst the ignorant living, Ash has sunk low into the drunken and fat state of barely living until he accidentally reads from the pages of the Necronomicon during a night of irresponsible reefer madness. Now, evil forces thrust Ash into an impossible position to which he’s unable to remove himself from and with the help of his enthusiastic co-worker Pablo, a loyal immigrant sidekick, and the pessimistic Kelly, the orphaned daughter of Deadite victims, Ash and his gun-toting, ass-kicking haphazardness crew will take the terrifying show on the road, tracking down a way to destroy this Evil and the Necronomicon before it swallows the world and release a demonic wrath that’s never been seen before!
Many horror fans thought the day would never come. A number of us believed the rumors were a myth, a hoax, or a bamboozling viral campaign set forth to stir up fandom and the water cooler conversation. Then, a trailer was released and Starz! brought “Evil Dead” back to audiences’ who wanted to relive the the havoc Kandarian demons, to an audience who wanted to expand more upon the mythology of Sam Raimi’s epic hero, and delivered to an audience who don’t even know who Bruce Campbell, the legend, is and why he’s important to the horror community.
“Ash vs Evil Dead” blends seamlessly into the series’ saga, pitting once again our chainsaw wielding hero against a body-possessing force that’s more vicious and blood thirsty than ever. Any and every soul is up for the shredding and ripping grabs when Kandarian demons are concerned while also new, unseen variations of Kandarian demons make a fashionably late appearance. This time around is slightly different than before as, unlike Ash and his unlucky bunch caught in evil’s clutches, Ash has willing assistance in Pablo and Kelly to form a battle trio and take on this evil head on. Ray Santiago (Pablo) and Dana DeLorenzo (Kelly) are a fresh contrast to an aging Bruce Campbell, but Campbell pizzaz and rudimentary quick-wit dialogue manages to steal the scenes. Campbell, Staniago, and DeLorenzo are joined by a fourth; an actress reuniting with Bruce Campbell from long ago in her own fantastical series “Xena: Warrior Princess.” None other than Xena herself Lucy Lawless dons a mysterious Ruby Knowby who holds a deeper understanding of Necronomicon.
Sam Raimi also makes his grand and spectaculr return to his rightful spawn. Raimi, Campbell, and long time Evil Dead collaborator Robert Tapert’s production company Renaissance Pictures, along with Starz!, are the chief production companies on the television series that was originally meant to be the third sequel installment of the “Evil Dead” franchise. However, the zany-comical horror writing and directorial style that only Sam Raimi can deliver was reproduced for the first episode of season one to recreate the devilish “Three Stooges” slapstick atmosphere bred for a brooding, yet hysterical, Starz original series. A handful of directors take the helm of nine more episodes after Raimi, with one of the “Xena: Warrior Princess” directors Rick Jacobson being the most recognizable name among the list, and once the story expands further into the season, a loss of slapstick buffoonery that trademarks Raimi so very well is lost, but doesn’t slow down the blood spattering carnage.
Starz! and Anchor Bay Entertainment’s 2-disc Blu-ray edition of “Ash vs Evil Dead” season one is available today at your local or online retailer! Presented in a HD 1080p widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio with an English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and a Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0 mix, the 10-episode, 294 minute runtime, unlimited goriness will soak into your funny bones right before shattering them into axe-cleaved pieces! Special features include an audio commentary on all episodes, Inside the World of Ash featurette, How to Kill a Deadite featurette, and the Best of Ash featurette. Plus, the release comes with a lenticular slip cover. Bring on “Ash vs Evil Dead” season two! Hail to the King, Baby!
The long awaited follow up to Sami Raimi’s “Army of Darkness,” STARZ original series “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” will summons itself to retail shelves on August 23, 2016 on Blu-ray and DVD. Evil Dead producer Robert Tapert and director Sam Raimi come back to be executive producers for Bruce Campbells big return as Ash for the small screen, television series.
“Campbell reprises his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons – personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.”
Street Date: August 23, 2016
Pre-book: July 20, 2016
Catalog #: BD63966
Run Time: 294 mins.
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
“Ash Vs. Evil Dead” DVD
Street Date: August 23, 2016
Pre-book: July 20, 2016
Catalog #: ST63965
Run Time: 294 mins.
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
What if there were multiple universes and only one time line? Then, what if time breaks down? Being aware of, in theory, the coming lapse of time, Miska uses her talents in physics to calculate the days of when exactly the rare event will occur; she brings along her boyfriend Akçay and together they experience, not an immaculate and breathtaking event, but a horrifying phenomena that intertwines parallel universes and opens the door to our world to mind manipulative beings known as The Others or Shadows. When Miska misjudges the occurrence date, the lovers find themselves trapped in a vicious loop, unable to tell the difference between what’s reality and what’s a realistically terrifying nightmare.
“Reminiscence: The Beginning” is the screenplay written by musical artist and Blue Arc Studios founder Akçay Karaazmak, who also directs film and stars as, you guessed it, the male lead named Akçay. The concept of time breaking down and releasing horrifying entities is intriguing to captivate audiences, like a moth to a bright night light, toward noticing the estimated $500,000 budgeted independent feature that has an exotic filming location on the crystal clear water beaches of Çeşme, Turkey. Alternate realities have an unique appeal since the lot of such films haven’t been saturated by previously exploration and their ventures, unlike the recycled storyline of the zombie genre, can always be varied because time is tangible; we see the parallel time lines within the established stories of popular sci-fi franchises such as “Star Trek” and “Terminator”. Karaazmak’s film, his first ever venture into the movie biz, has similarities to other works such as Stephen King’s film adapted novel “The Mist” or in “Silent Hill,” the video game adapted into film where two universes collide and ferocious monsters seep into the human world, blending time and worlds into one existence. Can we expect the same type of viscera innards from Karaazmak that resulted very favorably for the other recent genre-related films?
The answer to this time bending film is: don’t waste your time. Here’s why…
On a pitch black night, with no street lights, Akçay and Miska barrel down an isolated road; their seemingly anxious and intense conversation annoyingly underwhelms, nearly beneath the wave lengths of the human ear. Miska, in the passenger seat, examines through numerous pages of physic notes and while Akçay drives erratically fast through the thickness of night, she’s communicating something to him but the dialogue track is, frankly, inaudible. The fault lies at the feet of a couple of major issues: shoddy post-production audio work as the soundtrack severely steps up to become an unintentional focus point above the dialogue tracks and actors Akçay Karaazmak and Michaela Rexova mumbling horribly through the bland dialogue due to their heavily broken English and immature acting status. Our ears inevitably have a chance to relax once the two finally reach the Çeşme beach after a near accident.
The beach scenes turn out to have just as much post-productions issues as the superficial opening. The editing work will require an heavy dosage of Dramamine pills to suspend any nauseating effects from the tirelessly and pointlessly shot and edited scenes. Karaazmak’s film feels unsure on how to convey each scene appropriately, cutting and splicing two and three second scenes together. Karaazmak’s editing process resembles something close to tossing contents of a mixed bag of options and seeing what sticks to sort of fit. Also, If I’m going camping in the natural elements of a beach, dressing the occasion might heighten Akçay’s and Miska’s characters’ authenticity; instead, the lovers, cladded in dance club clothing, doesn’t speak highly of our hero and heroine as black hole researchers seriously. Michaela Rexova, starring in her only credited film according to IMDB.com, has the beauty, but her dull persona and monotonous speech makes her instantly unlikeable to which her beauty can’t rekindle and if I would have heard the word “baby” one more time between them under that low breath of either one of them, my brain would have created it’s own timeless black hole and void itself into non-existence as if some kind of mindless suicide.
However, there are moments, brief moments, during the film’s latter that peak through the unwatchable, indigestible blitzkrieg that is “Reminiscence: The Beginning.” Surprisingly, the scenes I’m referencing satisfy some kind sexual aesthetic while managing to remain a lasting and haunting impression. In one of Akçay’s nightmarish visions, a blonde lays facedown and prone across the hall of a vacant and dark structure. She suddenly awakes, stands with only one ripped above knee stocking on, and backs against the wall, sensually moving up and down, caressing her thigh and a knife with her bloody hands, and dripping blood on the ground from the only piece of clothing covering her chest – a male’s white button down shirt stained at the abdomen. With the knife she holds in her hand, she suddenly thrusts it into her crotch and begins to masturbate. Karaazmak manages to create a visually interesting scene in a creepily sexy or psychosexual fashion and there are other just above mediocre short scenes that glimmer, but these scenes would value more as short films rather than as a whole.
Once again, Karaazmak, has his hands in another department and this time it’s with the waffling special effects. You have to give the musician credit for multi-tasking, but when one person helms many departments, the tasks become overbearing, causing multiple areas foundering as if cables from a suspension bridge are snapping one by one to the point that the bridge begins to wobble. That’s how I feel the effects played out by wobbling, but the effects are par for the limited-budgetary course as being not terribly horrific on a modest budget, but nothing stellar beyond fantastic that would be worth bragging about to promote enthusiastic interest in the film. Karaazmak majorly implements CGI to spookily distort the faces of the other-dimensional shadow people, especially when the leads meet their dopplegangers; a comparison draws from when Ash meets Evil Ash in the 1992 horror-comedy “Army of Darkness” after having buckshot spread blasted point blank into Evil Ash’s face. “I’m bad Akcay and you’re good Akcay,” if only.
Blue Arc Studios and SGL Entertainment, a well-established cult and horror distribution company, along with MVD distribution release “Reminiscence: The Beginning” on a region 1 DVD, presented in a widescreen format. Be prepared for 107 minutes of one of the few sci-fi, alternate reality, horror concoction genre film projects to come out of Turkey, but also be warned of director Karaazmak’s migraine inducing editing technique and a dialogue drowning soundtrack that might condemn the viewing ability. Will Karaazmak take “The Beginning” to the sequel level? Time is, hopefully, on our side.