Evil Aliens, Zombies, Vampires, Cannibals, and a Nun with Guns! “Savage Creatures” reviewed! (ITN Distribution / DVD)


On God-fearing land, two young women drifters are shown compassion and hospitality by a religiously devout mother and son offering hot food, a shower, and a bed for the night. Their seemingly infallible generosity turns to violent deviancy as concealed motives of their cannibalism catches the women off guard that inevitably places the unsuspecting women literally on the chopping block, but the drifters are no ordinary, helpless prey but rather ancient vampires, wandering from one small town to the next, struggling to exist. Just when the bloodsuckers think the ordeal is over, a worldwide invasion of soul-sucking aliens aim to cleanse Earth of all inhabitants, turning those attacked by the beings into flesh-hungry crazies. Trapped inside the cannibals’ house, the vampires must save their human food source from completely being eradicated by an aggressive alien race with a conduit to possibly the Holy Father himself.

Talk about a full monty horror movie that has nearly everything but the kitchen sink! “Savage Creatures” is the 2020 released ambitious action-horror written and directed by Richard Lowry (“President Evil”) that serves up a platter of creativity ingenuity on a micro-budget while still outputting savagery, creatures, and an entertaining good time from start to finish. Lowry embodies inspired resourcefulness that reminisces the economically efficient horror credits of long time indie filmmaking entrepreneur Brett Piper (“Queen Crab”) and though serving as the filmmaker with many hats, composer, editor, director of photography, and visual effects, he also incorporates his own pleasurable schlocky devices as he shoots in the rocky rural regions of Pine Valley, Utah complete with isolated roads and mountainous views. The epically scaled “Savage Creatures” is a creature feature accomplished feat, try saying that ten times fast!

The two vampiric drifters, Rose and Ursula, serve as the story’s centralized characters played by Kelly Brook and Victoria Steadman respectively. Both actresses have worked with Lowry previously on his 2018 Armageddon-esque action-comedy, “Apocalypse Rising,” and familiar with his budgetary style, able to alleviate the pangs of severe funding limitations with some fundamentally respectable performances. Rose and Ursula are not only lovers, but lovers with a cavalier premise on life stemmed from the centuries of human evolving groundwork, shedding a light on questions that should be asked and pondered on in every day modern vampire story. The dynamic between Brook and Steadman strike the nerve sincerely with causal conversation, pressing upon their inevitable doom in between blowing off zombies heads and fragging flying aliens with crossbows as if they’re exacting some self-decompression through violence. Though Brook and Steadman are good and stable throughout, vet actor Greg Travis lands a the lauded performance of Father Cooper, a fanatical Irish priest on the run from the zombie horde. The “Humanoids from the Deep” and “Mortuary” actor goes full blown dogmatic with his theory of God being fed up with humanity and pulls off the extremely righteous and holy neurotic priest as an overboard affable character whose has to trust a couple of godless feminist vampires during apocalyptic mayhem. Rounding out the cast is Ryan Quinn Adams (“Before the Dark”), Cean Okada (“Bubba Ho-Tep”), and Kannon Smith as Sister Gigi, a mute nun with guns.

From the very beginning, “Savage Creatures” maintains a fiendish tempo of anti-heros and butchery. Even the soundtrack, though a relentless boor of stock action selection, plainly works to “Savage Creatures'” advantage one scene after another inside the scope of the sharp, periphery sublet moments to keep up with the breakneck pace. Lowdry’s sees little-to-no expositional sagging in the middle or on the bookends and diverts away from any hankering for a character story or background to fluff up worth-wild characters. With the exception of Rose and Ursula, who complain like boomers conversing upon reminiscing about the past on how easy times once were centuries ago to get away with murder before technology became an inconvenience, much of the cannibals, the priests and nun, and even the flying devil ay like aliens backstories don’t bubble to the surface. While typically these off the cuff details usually roll my eyes back into my skull to scour my brain for the minor moments in which I might have mistakenly missed something about a character backstory or just produce a hefty sigh of longing for more personal information on why this character does what they do, I found “Savage Creatures” uniquely isn’t symptomizing a distress of forgoing persona tell-all; instead, plays uncharacteristically to the obverse tune of an entertaining racket of head splitting, limb chopping, and with a hint of rampant gun akimbo.

Buyer beware! Don’t trust the cretinous DVD cover from ITN Distribution of appears to be Julian Sands from “Warlock” raging angrily with milky white eyes and standing over Cthulhu tentacles surrounding him in the foreground and silhouettes of bats are hovering over in front of a savior-esque crown moon in the background. Instead, trust your gut (or this review!) and see “Savage Creatures” on DVD home video presented in an anamorphic widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Pine Valley, Utah never looked so picturesque in a clean transfer. The natural colors feel a bit faded and not as sharp that perhaps assists in blended Lowdry’s composited effects and practical creature design. The cabin night sequence has some noticeable banding, but isn’t a game changer. The English language Dolby Digital audio track is par for the course, running clean and clear dialogue, and satisfying a range of sounds. Depth’s tricky with Lowdry’s compositions that don’t hem neatly, especially when Rose and Ursula crossbow down aliens from a distance, the same cry of pain is utilized for each darted creatures, and the running stock soundtrack flutters in front and behind the gun play at times. DVD bonus material include a director commentary, behind-the-scenes with the actresses and crew, and a VFX breakdown, which I thought was neat to see how Lowdry layered his effects on a budget. Not listed as a bonus feature is the gag reel during the end credits. “Savage Creatures” enters 2020 as an all out brawl designed as a battle royal but with little bankroll; yet, director Richard Lowdry beats the odds, pinning out a win as the scathed champion of his latest apocalyptic caper!

“Savage Creatures” battle it out on DVD!

Follow EVIL’s Design! “A Psycho’s Path” reviewed!


In the sleepy Californian desert town of Brownsville, the peaceful way of life has been upended and thrown into chaos when a savage murderer embarks on a path of a seemingly random killing spree. Previously apprehended and transferred to a psychiatric hospital by court order, the psychopath’s easy and violent escape places him back into an already frightened society to the likes the town has never seen. With no leads to pursue and the townsfolk fearfully blaming the ill-equipped police force, Captain Peters and his squad of deputies must establish a pattern of slaying in order to track his next move, but all kill sites lead to being arbitrary – a motel on the outskirts of town, a isolated gas station, and a suburban home. Are these killings at random or is there a path the killer is following?

Mixed martial artist Quinton “Rampage” Jackson lives up to his professional epithet in Rocky Costanzo’s “A Psycho’s Path.” The credited writer and director filmmaker from Huntington Beach, California follows up his 2016 germane, American social, malignancy teenage thriller, “Ditch Party,” with the 2019 horror-slasher birthed from the spirit of independent filmmaking and produced by Noel Gugliemi, Matthew King-Ringo, and David Ramak. Despite the title’s wordplay on A Psychopath,”A Psycho’s Path’s” gritty and dark tone is anything but a pun-wit delineation as should be presupposed judged by the Mill Creek Entertainment DVD cover of a bloodied and wild-haired Jackson garnishing a blank death stare in the foreground of a moon and neon-lit ominous motel that just screams the trope scenario of nothing ever good is going to happen to that lady standing just inside her motel room’s doorway and wrapped in wet bathroom towels.

The former UFC lightweight Champion Jackson is no neophyte when concerned with the acting world. The big screen’s “The A-Team” adaptation proves just that with his break through rendition of the rogue militant, B.A. Baracus, famously portrayed by Mr. T in the early 80’s series of the same title and established the kind of role types Jackson’s built for outside the ring – large and in charge. In “A Psycho’s Path,” Jackson just has to appear like a 6’1″, 270lb monster without so much of one word of dialogue; it’s a role without a name other than John Doe and it’s a role Jackson was born to play as his physical attributes are naturally inherited and, dare I say it, scary. Character linked on the opposite side of the behavior spectrum is Captain Peters, played by Steve De Forest in one of the few prominent performances of his career, but Captain Peters doesn’t have enough oomph as a character to size up to John Doe. Thus, enters Noel Gugliemi, also known as Noel G., one of the most famous support character faces in all of the film industry from “Training Day” to “Bruce Almighty,” “The Purge: Anarchy” to “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, Gugliemi has the big name and personality in a joint forces operation with Steve De Forest as his on-screen right hand deputy, sergeant Torres. Barely recognizable with a bad wig and without his trademark facial hair, co-producer Gugliemi spits the snake tongued, whip-cracking lines of a jaded officer, lines that have solidified him as an all time fan favorite in his credentials. “A Pyscho’s Path” rounds out with Steve Louis Villegas (also in a bad wig), Kassim Osgood, Derrick Redford, Rowan Smyth, and with a lighthearted cameo from “Different Strokes'” Todd Bridges.

For fans of Michael Myers and the “Halloween” franchise, “A Psycho’s Path” has starkly obtained familiarities to The Shape’s universe with Jackson’s stoic performance of pure, unstoppable evil escaping a psychiatric setting intending to kill, kill, and kill and in also Costanzo’s ambitious direction, especially the track and follow camerawork that’s complimented by the cold tone cinematography of Dylan Martinez (“Ditch Party”), but that’s where the positives seemingly part ways with the rest of the film as a schlocky and campy shadow looming over what could possibly drive all these lunatics to the prospect of committing mass murder. Throw aside the already aforesaid production wardrobes with bad wigs and also ill-fitting deputy uniforms, “A Psycho Path’s” has lost more at stake with little string to yarn a strong woven story together that necessarily elevates John Doe’s affixed obsession to follow a blood-shedding zig-zag path loosely in a little-to-nothing conveyed context. “A Psycho’s Path” becomes a shell of other film’s former selves.

No One is Safe as the tagline warns on the DVD and digital download release of “A Psycho’s Path,” a production from Entangled Entertainment, Hourglass Pictures, and Stroboscope Studios, and distributed ITN Studios and Mill Creek Entertainment, a division of Alliance Entertainment. Presented in it’s original aspect ratio, an anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, the image can be lost in a shadow-heavy contrast. Though praising his dark tone earlier alongside some well framed shots, Dylan Martinez, at times, goes full midnight at moments that hide events and eventualities from being discernible. The uplighting motif helps with cutting the overly dark picture and creates a sinister mood as slithers of shadows give a hard edged appearance. There’s also a menagerie of tint that doesn’t hone a theme. The English language Dolby Digital audio track renders palpable with clarity in dialogue and a decent range of ambience; however, the lack of depth throws some shade as characters, no matter whether in the background or foreground, live on an equal degree of volume. The release clocks in at 84 minutes, is not rated, and includes option English SDH subtitles. “A Psycho’s Path” has adequate acting, indie charisma, and one hell of a kill scene with a head in a vice like death grip and squeezed to pop like a ripe tomato in one’s hand, but can’t reproduce the slasher mystique well enough to earn it the trait.

Own it today on DVD!

When EVIL Gets Tough, You Fight Back! “The New Kids” reviewed!


Loren McWilliams and his sister Abby were both proud of their illustrious military careered father as well as adoring him immensely. When the teenagers’ parents set off toward Washington D.C. to receive a commendation from the President after foiling a terrorist hostage situation, Loren and Abby felt like the luckiest kids alive, but that all quickly changed with a phone call, announcing a deadly accident that killed both their parents. Somber in disbelief, Loren and Abby decide to take up on an offer from their uncle Eddie and aunt Fay who own a gas station and a joint rinky-dink amusement park in Glenby, Florida in hopes to whet the appetites of thrill seeking tourist right before hitting the major league theme parks of Disney. Settling into a new school system is relatively easy for the siblings who’ve often been use to moving from location-to-location with their father in military service, but acclimating to the local drug pusher, Dutra, along with his entourage of subversive delinquents, has placed a target on their backs. A cat and mouse game over dominance ensues with an unreasonable Dutra unable to ever settle the score until his complete satisfaction in punishing the new kids in town has been sated, even if that means Loren and Abby, and those close to them, have to fight for their very lives.

“The New Kids,” aka “Striking Back,” is a horrifying suspense thriller from the original “Friday the 13th” director Sean S. Cunningham and penned by the father of Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and “Visiting Hours” screenwriter, Brian Taggert. Instead of a lurking serial killer stalking and massacring half-naked and carefree camp counselor teens on a secluded camp ground, Cunningham tackles felonious teenagers wreaking havoc on popular outsiders treading on their drug turf, especially those who give a good fight back. “The New Kids” bombards every scene with caustic, no-good trouble and when push comes to shove, the only rational is to give the razor-edge scrap right back in a serrated do or die narrative.

Before the face of the collegiate admission scandal and before being the beloved onscreen mother to twins fathered by Uncle Jess on “Full House,” Lori Loughlin co-stars with Shannon Presby as on the defensive Abby and Loren. Presby slightly overshadows Loughlin as a stronger character or presence on screen. Loren continuously evolves through the storyline beginning as a well-rounded, cool-headed, optimistic son who recently lost his parents and then blossoms through bullying and violence as a mad dog protecting what’s his – family. Abby staggers quite precariously and never quite finds her footing in the grand scheme of things other than being a passive victim of Dutra and his gang. Even the contrast between Loren and Abby’s respective love interests is lopsided as Loren and his girlfriend (“Silent Madness’” Paige Price) dominate the dynamically in comparison to Abby and an underused and very youthful looking Eric Stotlz (“The Prophecy”). The real stud of “The New Kids” is a young, slim James Spader (“Wolf” and “The Blacklist”). Pure platinum blonde hair topping piercing eyes with a pinch of a Boston accent really brought out the villain in Spader in one of his very first feature films. Many other familiar faces in the cast, some familiar amongst horror fans, including John Philbin (“Return of the Living Dead”), the late Eddie Jones (“C.H.U.D.”), and the legendary Tom Atkins (“The Fog” and “Halloween III”) in a brief role. The remaining cast round out with Vince Grant, David MacDonald, Theron Montgomery, Lucy Martin, and Jean De Baer.

On the surface, “The New Kids” might seem polar opposite to Cunningham’s franchise birthing “Friday the 13th” series, but if looking with a keen eye, Cunningham has slapped and slathered his style all over the bullying barraging thriller. Techniques such as the camera focusing on feet that come out from hiding, the sudden appearance of people behind objects, and the menacing atmosphere of being watched are sensationalized characteristics of his camper slasher flick. Also, though the soundtrack is akin to the likes of Harry Manfredini, it was actually composed by the renowned Lalo Schilfrin who more than like was given precise instructions from Cunningham to compose a companion like score with a twist of a new kind of fear.

Mill Creek Entertainment presents Columbia Pictures’ “The New Kids” onto a Blu-ray home video with a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The region A release on a BD25 has a well preserved transfer with little to no damaging issues and lots of good, wholesome natural grain speckling on the solid and wide range color palate. Even the darker scenes have pronounced definition so nothing is obscured from the viewer. The English language DTS-HD Master Audio track is quite robust with no sings of hissing or crackling during the entire 90 minute runtime. Even with Loren is whispering to Dutra in an intense claustrophobic and apprehensive scene, Loren is audible and understood, completing a dialogue friendly release with a, as aforementioned, a baleful score by Lalo Schilfrin. English SDH subtitles are also included. Unfortunately, there are no bonus features on this release; however, the retro style slipcover, where the VHS tape looks to be protruding from the VHS box, is a nice tough by Mill Creek Entertainment, especially with the faux wear around the edges and on the facade. For director Sean S. Cunningham, “The New Kids” steered clear of being a Voorhees repeat, but was certainly a recapitulation of Cunningham’s strong suits and with a strong, confident cast, “The New Kids” is sorely understated and overshadowed and I’m personally pleased that Mill Creek Entertainment delivered a Blu-ray release to the U.S. even if there are no bonus features.

The New Kids available at Amazon!