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!

All Evil Needs is Love! “A Cry from Within” review!

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Jonathan and Cecile live in the New York City hustle and bustle lifestyle with their two children and when they suffer a devastating miscarriage, they decide to move to the slower life of a Long Island rental that was owned by a woman and her catatonic mother. As soon as the family starts to settle in, the daughter Ariel starts to converse with whom she calls Sebastian – a manifestation of a young boy who roams the house. When things start to get worse, Jonathan and Cecile desperately try to unravel the secrets of the house in order to save their family from the supernatural occupant.
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So bad it’s good. That’s how I describe my viewing of Deborah Twiss’s “A Cry from Within.” The script penned by Deborah Twiss is solid but the poor execution digs a deep hole of which the film can’t climb out of to save it’s own legacy. Plagued by numerous wacky edits and acting straight out of a Uwe Boll production, “A Cry from Within” needed a slowed pace of production perfection and need to have veteran actor to stop saying “baby” to his wife every other sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Eric Roberts. Best of the Best is still one my favorite martial art films of the late 80’s. As of late, Roberts has been in nearly every damn low budget movie and especially in horror with “A Cry from Within” being just the tip of the iceberg, but his husband role feels more distant and disconnected than the husband should be considering he’s suppose to be the support system to his wife and children.
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Speaking of wife, writer-“supervising” director Deborah Twiss plays the wife Cecile. Her melodramatic take on a woman who just had a miscarriage and is living with a malevolent doesn’t speak to the dire situation. You might remember Twiss from her hot for teacher role in Kick-Ass or more notoriously notably her raunchy blowjob scene in the black comedy, not that space film, television series Gravity. Roberts and Twiss don’t ever seem to connect and they’re equally child-like in their reactions to the situations in, what I thought wasn’t possible, separate mannerism. Twiss also casts her very own children, Matthew and Sydney McCann, as her on screen children who are spellbound victims and tormented by this house-spirit.
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I also expected a little more from “Cop Land” actress Cathy Moriarty though her role as Alice is more down to earth as a annoyed daughter with a devastating secret. Moriarty has a sinister outlook throughout most of the duration, but her character’s intentions are murky at best. We don’t know if she’s suppose to be a good person or a bad person. The cast rounds out with “Max Payne” voice actor James McCaffrey as Father Thomas who unknowingly shares a secret with Alice. McCaffrey is solid up until the end where, basically, ever character becomes a sobbing mess of hopelessness. Robert Vaughn even makes an appearance very briefly as a doctor and I was sold on the “Battle Beyond the Stars” actor as a silver-foxed medical professional and that was only for a minute worth of screen time.
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“A Cry from Within” suffers severely from choppy editing that causes aggravating transitions from scene to scene and this aids in not setting up the film properly for success. I’m still trying to figure out why Deborah Twiss had to be the supervising director over director Zach Miller, maybe because she was one of the stars she had to the right to tell Miller when to cut and when to go into action. Miller seems to be a lame duck in case the film goes south. The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release, slated for St. Patrick’s Day March 17th, is so bad its good and I’d suggest taking a look because I’m sure you can’t look away.

Nudity Report

Deborah TwissBreasts – Twiss briefly shows off her massive chest while in bed with Eric Roberts who aggressively goes straight for the right nipple. I do feel that through the film Twiss wanted you to notice her best assets by wearing low cut shirts that show her deep-as-the-Mariana Trench cleavage. Also, the temperature must have been constantly cold on set resulting in many scenes of stiff nipple outlines. Her one topless scene in “A Cry from Within” is by no means as good as her full nude scene in the television series “Gravity” but Twiss emits a hot mother aura and that’s the possible reason why one can’t turn away from the screen. Grade: C+
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