In 1978 Chile, a powerful political extremist exploits the Chilean army to conduct and carrier out the physical and sexual abuse against the people of Chile, including forcing his own son, Juan, to have sex with his tortured mother and executing her right in front of him while in the fornicating act. Juan’s father continues to further the abuse with fear, terror, and misogynistic berates until he’s finally fatally coup. Fast forward to 2011, Juan’s an unstoppable madman as he terrorizes the locals over the years without authoritative regulation and also four female outsiders on holiday for a girls’ weekend. Juan and his son force their way into their residence, tyrannizing, raping, and even killing one of them before leaving his cruel mark in his wake, but with the help of a local officer, the remaining three survivors seeks to make sure Juan, and his equally screwed up family, never harm anyone again. However, Juan is prepared, held up inside a compound subterfuge, well-armed and well-unhinged.
Perhaps based loosely off the atrocities of of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet in the 1970’s, Artsploitation Films’ distributed “Trauma” goes to the unapologetic extreme, building upon an already unsavory narrative into the bred morbid disposition of the human psyche. Written and directed by “Zombie Dawn’s” Lucio A. Rojas, “Trauma” is a cold, blunt object with a razor sharp bite and has a penchant for the twisted. The Chilean director’s film isn’t the only game in the market of extreme movies, but does manage to create a motive of separation between most with the offending character experiencing traumatic corruption by someone close; in this case, Juan’s father 40-years earlier by oppressing the boy through physical pain and scrambling his son’s mental state by removing any humility, compassion, and reasoning that manufactures the perfect ruthless butcher. Pinochet used his military power to be a lethal strong hand when desired; Rojas spices it up by adding forced incest, rape-after-rape, and implementing a subconscious malevolency.
“Trauma” stars “To Kill A Man’s” Daniel Antivilo as the despicable Juan. Antivilo is patient and soft in his approach to a deranged character that doesn’t display that wild abandonment in psychotics. Juan goes on to slowly terrorize four lovely outsiders from the city in Andrea (Catalina Martin), Camila (Macarena Carrere), Julia (Ximena del Solar of “Perfidy,” another Rojas film), and Magdalena (Dominga Bofill). The four actresses offer up different character perspectives and personality that should divide the dynamic or, at least, complicate it; there’s a strong sense of lesbianism between them, even exhibiting traits in those who don’t identify as such. Antivilo macho savagery pitted against the four stunning, but strong women does create a black and white, stark-producing character placement. Outside that dynamic, one character has no dialogue and, yet, manages to high level physical role that’s barbaric, humiliating, and spacey and that role is inside of Juan’s schizoid son, Mario, is donned by Felipe Rios who has the strung out appearance of a long, drawn out face and muscularly thin. Eduardo Paxeco, Claudio Riveros, and Florencia Heredia round out the cast.
Rojas does a beautiful job in the juxtaposition department, paralleling the bleak, grimy, and yet agreeable life of Juan and his equally as certifiable family next to the full of life and vigor in the unsuspecting women that Rojas’ introduces off with Camila and Julia engaging in a steamy girl-on-girl love making scene that doesn’t leave much to the imagination and, then, slides into their instant road trip the day after. Rojas had built up Juan’s pain and suffering toward being molded into a monster whereas the women fly by the seat of their pants, churning out memorable moments in a flash whereas Juan’s unfortunate course was a slow burn throughout his long, hard life. The parallelism flips from Juan to the women up until the moment their lives intertwine and this is where things get messy with Roja’s script. Between Julia, Camila, Magda, and Andre, three of whom are related, tension builds as Julia plays the flirtatious and brazen field between hooking up with the cousins as stroppy Andrea steams in a passive stew on the sideline. This subplot never goes explored, going uncooked right in the middle of a hot flame where passions and couples’ plights evolve the story. The abrupt presence of Juan puts a cease and desist on any other subplot that ultimate funnels “Trauma” to be a rape-revenge flick with a graphic content.
Artsploitation Films continues to distribute internationally provocative films that always delight as well as disgust (in a good way). With Lucio A. Roja’s 2017 film, “Trauma”, casualties pile high and damage control is non-existent, fitting the Philadelphian-based company’s axiom that presents the film onto a high-definition Blu-ray. With a widescreen, aspect ratio 2.35:1, the image quality is quite good. Details are very promising here and really need to be with the gore. The face explosion and the jaw unhinging deaths are certainly not stodgy as the scene on these moments linger more than most would, soaking up the full effect of the viscous covered chunks out from the face crater by a high caliber handgun is a thing of beauty. The Spanish 5.1 surround sound syncs up well in all aspects from dialogue to ambiance. English subtitles are available and line up well enough though speedy at times. Dialogue is clear and present, Ignacio Redard score is heard, and no signs of any kind of distortions or other issues. Bonus features are limited to just the theatrical trailer. “Trauma” might have vastly skewed the actual events the film is based off of to pen a story, but what a gorgeously gory-filled and exploitively-charged narrative that can be a tell all for the cause and effect of political extremism at it’s worse. Director Lucio A. Rojas puts Chile on the controversial and extreme horror map.
In a time of Kings and nobility, a traveling beggar roams the open landscape. However, this man is no ordinary vagrant, but is the leisurely wary Devil reincarnated into the flesh, walking amongst mankind with one goal in mind: seeking pleasure by any means necessary. From pillaging to cheating and lust to murder, the haughty Devil has embarked on an oppressive journey as Mr. Leonardo, encountering all walks of life and swindling them of their morality and of their wealth. He’s joined by a young and poor servant boy, Tomas, as a traveling companion, schooling the God fearing lad in man’s corruptible virtues and exploiting their naïve or sinful nature. Though being a powerful immortal in true form, as man, the Devil can succumb to sickness, injury, and even death, but still maintains certain metaphysical abilities to provide an edge over those he bamboozles. In his mischievous encounters on Earth, Leonardo comes to realize that man might just be more immoral as the Devil himself when the Devil, in human form, can’t inflict as much havoc as the unscrupulous attributes of a profane mankind.
“The Devil Reincarnate” is worth it’s weight in ducats for all the Paul Naschy fans. Also known as “El Caminante,” not a literal translation with an interpretation as The Walker, the Paul Naschy starred, co-written, and directed film, under his birth namesake of Jacinto Molina, is a staggering approach toward the exhibition of humanity at it’s complete and utter worst in a cloaked slither of an Naschy anecdote that even the Devil couldn’t top man’s relentless and unremitting cruelty. Naschy’s pessimistic views, much which I’ve always agreed with, illuminate all that was, is, and will be wrong with human race and despite how barbaric and nasty his character, Leonardo, might be portrayed, Naschy manages to be essentially one of the only directors to make the Devil an anti-hero of sorts.
Paul Naschy is Spain’s most recognizable horror icon, recreating many of the iconic monsters and macabre films in his native land. Leonardo is a different sort of character for Naschy, one that doesn’t hide behind a mask or makeup, revealing a full-blown Naschy assortment of just him. As himself in Leonardo, he’s plays a terrible, down-right rotten bastardo who even belittles himself as a simpleton to lie and steal from wealthy aristocracy. Leonardo is smooth, skillful, charming, intriguing, and brutish much like I would imagine Paul Naschy would be in real life. Alongside Naschy, David Rocha portrays Leonardo’s servant companion, Tomas, and Rocha provides a youthful exuberance that translate to onscreen, giving Leonardo companionship, aid, and also assists in being the Devil’s experimental subject to see how long and how much the Devil can instill the dastardly advice and actions into the young man. “The Devil Incarnate’s” concupiscence fully enflames with some of Spain’s more provocative actresses such as Eva León (“Bahía blanca”), Adriana Vega (“The Night of the Executioner”), Blanca Estrada (“Horror of the Zombies”), and “Night of the Werewolf’s” Silvia Aguilar, whose bare rear-end is splayed on many of the film’s iconic posters and the limited edition Mondo Macabro Blu-ray cover with an upside down cross etched into her left butt cheek.
Honestly, “The Devil Incarnate” is exemplary of near perfection. Through the journeyman storyline, the performances maintain the highest caliber inside the realm of horror-comedy with Naschy at the helm, steering the multi-façade Leonardo with charisma, magnetism, and callous barbarity. Supporting cast complete Leonardo’s monstrous persona with pinpoint precision by shifting actors and actresses into diverse walks of life who then churn out comical, chilling, and overall controversial performances that spill into horror subgenre territories, like Nunsploitation for example. The powerful theme is an unfortunate, yet timeless blemish on human culture and society. Cheat, steal, and murder are the core elements conveyed by the filmmaker to suggest that the Devil doesn’t need to take form to stir up mayhem, but that there’s a little bit of the Devil inside us all to complete his bidding in a war against God. Story references the renowned biblical tale of Adam and Eve and the Devil’s temptation that ultimately curses the human race, bestowing upon them with original sin. There’s plenty of sin motifs to go around along with phallic notions through the Devil’s own wandering agenda that’s intertwined with leagues of potential disobedient individuals and shamed religious turncoats to paint a gloomy landscape of man’s most horrid shortcomings.
Mondo Macabro and CAV Releasing presents the unrated, non-limited edition of Paul Naschy’s “The Devil Reincarnate” onto a region free, 1080p, BD25 Blu-ray home video with a brand new 4k transfer from the film’s negative and displayed in a widescreen, 1.66:1 aspect ratio. For a negative from 1979, the transfer aims to please with hardly little-to-no damage or other deterioration flaws, no awkward cropping, and no tinkered enhancements detected. Coloring is flattering despite the hint yellowish tint. Some of the darker scenes lose sharp definition do to poor lighting, but there are breathtaking landscapes, especially when Naschy is strung up on the cross, with a vivid, natural aesthetic to the release. The Spanish Dolby Digital LPCM mono, at 24fps, with optional English subtitles packs quite a wallop with robust scuffles, clanking of swords, and a clear rendering of Ángel Arteaga’s zany and harrowing compositions. The extras include an introduction from Paul Naschy, exclusive interviews with costar David Rocha and Naschy’s sons, Sergio and Bruno Molina, a tour of Paul Naschy’s study and home, and exclusive audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of various horror historical directors and moments in cinema. There’s no contest. “The Devil Incarnate” is, without a single seedling of doubt, the best film of Paul Naschy’s extensive body of work and it’s a film that reinstates an immense amount of melancholy into the soul when regression is setting in that human beings never have been and never will be better than the Devil himself.
An absent Séverine wants to take a holiday away from her boyfriend Tom after she awakes from a dream where she has fallen in love with a man in a top open, white car. Frustrated and desperately in love with her, Tom agrees to a pact with a bar room stranger to stage a faux kidnapping of his lovely girlfriend and Tom would her hero, swooping in to rescue her from “evildoers” and hoping to rekindle her passion for him, but the Tom’s newfound stranger friend has a more devious agenda up his nicely tailored coat and white collared shirt sleeves; one that involves kidnapping young women to star in their snuff movie productions. When the plan begins the unravel and actual intentions are exposed, Séverine’s forced into a deadly cat-and-mouse game against unsympathetic sadists who have laid the prep work foundation into getting to know their victim and know every inch of her youthful body, but Séverine won’t submit without an unflinching, vicious fight as she trudges through areas of an old villa compound, looking for to escape or kill her captors.
If you search for a combination of the classic Hitchcockian style with a smidgen of cold blooded savagery, Mathieu Seiler’s “True Love Ways” would be at the top of the search result. The 2015 German, black and white thriller surpasses being a surprising sleeper film and goes directly into a notorious favorite category helmed by the Switzerland born director who integrates a complex lead character into an unfathomable story of selfishness, unscrupulous power, and sheer determination. Despite the sepia overlay, the colorful venomous of the characters explodes brilliantly, adding vim and vigor to a story that begins with a slow burn to quickly escalating in an anxiety-riddled and captivating narrative pivoting to one harrowing moment to the next. Seiler, who also wrote the script, blends a detailed art house thriller with feminist undertones that surface the severe ugliness in man whose either selfish with his needs, sexually deviant, or insecure. There’s even a case where Séverine’s father isn’t safe from being scrutinized. Séverine’s the strongest character in the bunch by overcoming one obstacle over another while managing each male driven situation with disregard and hostile improvisation.
Steering Séverine’s reactive and survivalist rampage is Berlin native Anna Hausburg. The then 25 year old actress embodies a major milestone in maturity for her physical performance. The entire film is driven by physicality, not dialogue, and Hausburg prove her grit and sexuality seemingly effortless. Hausburg is joined by Kai Michael Müller as Séverine’s unassertive husband Tom. Together, Hausburg and Müller couldn’t be more distant from each other while David C. Bunners interjects with a sly director of snuff film operations. Bunners has a modest performance, but if you accept it, let it sink in, you’ll experience his devilishly, rugged good looks and sophisticated business intelligences just ooze out into a white collar sleaze, perfectly suitable with Bunners’ method on his character. His production crew, played by Michael Greiling, Axel Hartwig, Beat Marti, and Marcel Schneider, are equally skeezy in a choreographic manner whom each have a role to play. Rounding out the cast is Christian Samuel Weber, Anja Margoni, Alina Sophia Wiegert, and Margarita Ruhl.
Seiler’s “True Love Ways” is open to many different interpretations. One that seems to bubble up over and over again in the analytical gear works is that could the entire ordeal, Séverine’s ordeal, be all a lie. Not just a single cell lie, but a couple of angles that undercut the linear option laid before the viewers. For instance, the first lie would be that the dark, heinous snuff producers are all in Séverine’s head. Too many coincidences from the specifics from her dreams to come true in such a manner and she always has this mysterious ailment, near the beginning, that’s never explicitly explained. Second lie would be is this Séverine embraces the darkness of her captors; is she herself unstable after the ordeal that the very sever boredom of regular life? The predictability of it all from her vivid dreams have turned her to seek the man who wants to exploit her and who “freed” her from the incompetent men in her life – Tom, her father, etc. Seiler’s abstract bookends shed light upon slithered clues that reveal potential possibilities of where Séverine’s stands as a hero or anti-hero lead character.
MVDVisual and Synergetic Distribution present “True Love Ways” onto home video DVD. Like the monochrome tone, the DVD cover is elegantly simple with blood covered Anna Hausburg, looking disheveled and holding a blood stained axe, standing in front of a white background encasing the 95 minute film. Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the black and white appears absolutely timeless, especially with Mathieu Seiler’s directorial style. However, slight aliasing can be detected in fast paced scenes that liquify the detailing and there’s a bit of digital noise amongst the black objects, like the Old Villa door. The German 2.1 stereo has slightly lower fidelity, but has a still absolute and manageable to understand. There wasn’t really much to test for dialogue depth or range as the film progresses physically rather than with dialogue so many woodsy chase sequences, running through the Villa house, and cars speeding down an isolated road to which all ambient nicely enough. There are no extras included on this release. What starts out as a melodrama between a withering couple turns barbaric under a perennial style of filmmaking. “True Love Ways” provides two-tone carnage with some gore, some sexuality, and a lot of inhuman nature that signifies what’s great about this German indie picture with cascading undertones.
Her night was supposed to be a wonderful occasion of celebration, a night to showcase her lustrous career as an established actress, a night where she was set to receive her crowning lifetime achievement award, but when the gowned Amanda stepped into a luxurious, fully-loaded limousine, the night that was to be a collective jubilee of the last twenty-years of Amanda’s life will be turned into a terror ride of unspeakable acts in the name of pure hatred. Once inside, the limousine’s inescapable locks detainee Amanda as a voice behind a voyeuristic camera commands her every subversive move and a sadistic chauffeur uses pain to thwart any of Amanda’s attempts of refusal in on an interrogation on four hellish wheels.
“The Glass Coffin,” aka “El ataúd de cristal” is a 2016 Spanish thriller from first time feature film director Haritz Zubilaga and co-written with Aitor Eneriz. From the moment Amanda steps into the limousine built like a tank, Zubilaga’s film goes from zero to sixty in a matter of minutes with thick tension and high horsepower suspense. “The Glass Coffin” is a depraved film. This isn’t a sugar-coated stuck in a glass box Hollywood thriller like “Phone Booth.” Oh no. Zubilaga and Eneriz hitch your emotions on a tow bar and drag them through the filthy muck without as so much of a care. Is this a game like Jigsaw would construct in “Saw?” No traps or snares here, but there’s an ominous shroud of mystery behind Amanda’s captor that could certainly give Jigsaw a run for his money. “The Glass Coffin,” in fact, goes more in tune with Joel Schumacher’s “Phone Booth” when considering the villain. Well, more like a Eurotrash, alternate version of “Phone Booth” antagonist anyway because aside from deriving the guilt and the sin from Amanda, there’s a sleaziness about the captor whose presence becomes more and more gothic the closer we learn more about them on top of their already extreme methods in the right-the-wrong stance.
Very similar to most films with a slim-to-no cast, like the Ryan Reynolds’ thriller “Buried, “The Glass Coffin” fits the bill as a one actor film. Paola Bontempi stars as the targeted starlet Amanda and the Canary Islands born actress musters enough courage to accept such a punishing role where her character’s humility and pride stems from a base layered motivation in not wanting to become the masked Chauffeur’s punching bag. Amanda goes from high time to gutter low in an ugly show of stripping moralities and ethics in order to reveal one true self. A pivot does occur, turning the shredding of facade into plain and simple revenge that becomes the flashy bullet points of European horror and Bontempi changes with it in one fluid motion of character revival and redemption.
The diabolical game is, well, diabolical and sincerely rich in providing an attractive story, but the film doesn’t go without it’s problems. Whether lost in the Spanish translation or just simply unexplained, an opaque mystery clouds Amanda’s captors, especially with the maniac Chauffeur and his bizarre relationship with the planning perpetrator, that puts a sour afterthought into analyzing “The Glass Coffin.” The Chauffeur was one realistic element of an intriguing conglomerate that tipped the ice berg of sinister deplorability and I was yearning for more of that; instead the game turned, the plot transformed, and “The Glass Coffin” took an approach that routed far into left field. Not a bad route to take as, like much of Zubilaga’s film, the moment had me at an astonished state as the film continued to keep me guessing what was going to occur next.
MVDVisual and Synergetic Films distributes the Basque Films production, “The Glass Coffin,” onto DVD home video. Short in giving any sort of physical or emotion breaks, the 77-minute runtime feature is presented in a vibrantly engrossing widescreen presentation and while at times soft on the auxiliary background, the image quality is flashy and sharp surrounding Amanda. Darker scenes in the tail end lose quite a bit of definition that makes eyeing the moment difficult to capture. The Spanish 2.0 stereo mix does the job and profusely invigorates the voice behind the camera, a voice made of nightmares and all that horrifying in the world. The English subtitles sync well, but I spotted a couple of typos along the runtime. There are zero extras on this release and even though a smidgen of behind-the-scenes material would have been curious to view, the film is a simple bliss. “The Glass Coffin” arches over the niceties and lands right smack into obscenity to destabilize integrity in a cruel ride of exploitation. I wanted more, the unfiltered, fully unadulterated, story of Amanda and her polar opposite antagonist, but I’ll settle for the Cliff Notes version. For now.
A pledge group of amateur, hippie Satanists on a LSD-induced drug trip have their nationwide havoc reeking voyage come to a screeching halt when their dilapidated van breaks down at an equally dilapidated small quarry town with an isolated population of 40 residents. Squatting in a vacant hotel, Horace, the clique’s leader, dangerously lets his followers indulge in their whims while under the powerful hallucinogen. Their brutal run in with a local girl causes a stir of attempted reprisal amongst the girl’s family, especially with her grandfather who aims to remove the hippies from the area, but when the elderly man is beaten up and given the a taste of LSD, a whole new can of meat pies is opened up! Looking for retaliation for his grandfather’s battering, the grandson withdraws blood from a rabid dog he killed earlier in the day and spikes the town bakery’s meat pies that were to be specifically purchased by Horace’s gang. The combination of rabies and LSD turns the deranged Satanist into foaming at the mouth and infectious killing machines set loose amid the town’s 40 person population.
Let it be known that Satan was an acidhead. That shocking phrase serves as a prelude of the horrible acts to come in David Durston’s “I Drink Your Blood.” The 1970 Jerry Gross produced exploitation and infected horror video nasty, notoriously labeled an X rating solely for the graphic violence, is a quintessential staple of Americana horror. Shot in upstate New York and based off true, and disturbing, events, Durston’s written and directed feature is a horrific tale harnessing every unspeakable evil in the unholy book: rape, drugs, murder, abortion, promiscuity, cannibalism and even touches a little upon racism. Durston flaunts a scattered-brain and raw edit that fluently rides along with the script’s crazed atrocities.
“I Drink Your Blood” never cashes in on one headlining actor to fulfill a star lead; instead, calculated characters fill the void where needed, an endearing homage attested by the structures invested by George Romero who used a similar blueprint for his pioneering, black and white horror classic “Night of the Living Dead.” Bhaskar, aka Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, tops the credit list. The India born actor stars as the sadistic Satanist leader Horace, one of the handful of ethnic roles whose character background mingles more on the Native American side. Every so often, Bhaskar’s native accent filters through, but the actor’s devilishly brilliant performance reassures a radically raw and physical undertaking that forgiveness for such a small concern is automatically defensible. Other prominent roles were awarded to John Damon (“Blue Sextet”), George Patterson (“God Told Me To”), Rhonda Fultz, Arlene Farber (“The French Connection”), Iris Brooks, Richard Bowler, and a young Riley Mills has the rabies-revenger Peter Banner. However, another cast member, in a minor, less dialogue role, has overshadowed many of her costars in light of her legacy since then. Lynn Lowry, known for her role in George A. Romero’s “The Crazies” and more recently in Debbie Rochon’s directed exploitation film “Model Hunger” that was reviewed here at Its Bloggin’ Evil, plays a mute hippie turned rabid killer in a memorable video nasty-warranted scene involving a, then, antique electric knife, like the ones you plug into the wall.
In the glory of “I Drink Your Blood’s” sickest and most stunning special effects that include the poignantly severed limbs and heads of likable characters, a synthesizing score also gnaws at your gut-riddled nerves. During intense moments, harmless butterflies fluttering against your stomach’s inner layer, tickling your core’s coy innocence, violently alter through a bone-chilling metamorphosis, evolving into gut-busting vampire bats with razor sharp talons and flesh ripping fangs. Your whole whitewashed body will clench during Clay Pitt’s one of a kind visceral score, pitched in an ear piercing vortex during high anxiety segments such as when a diseased oppressed Horace and a shaken dam worker are toe-to-toe in a deadly standoff in the hotel’s attic. The jarring soundtrack pulses up until the end which stands as my only gripe for Durston’s film. The climatic ending has it’s formidable bubble popped when the tense scene immediate concludes while obvious questions still remain, such as what happened to Carrie, Lynn Lowry’s character, that goes unexplained?
Australian EX Films presents a monster of a high definition bundle release for David E. Durston’s “I Drink Your Blood” that includes two Blu-ray discs bundled with a VHS clamshell of the film. Inside a reversible artwork case, the first disc is an all region BD50 that stuns in a vivid 1080p in an 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Image quality maxes out with vibrant blues, yellows, and, especially, blood red, your three main colors in technicolor. The second disc gets even better with two bonus films, Del Tenney’s 1964 usual associated doubled bill feature “I Eat Your Skin” and David Durston’s 1969 erotic “Blue Sextet.” Over the course of the two Blu-ray discs, there are a slew of extras including a commentary by David Durrston and the late Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, four never before seen scenes, video interviews with Lynn Lowry, Tyde Kierney, and Jack Damon, along with stills, poster, and home video art. You’ll also get rare footage of Bhaskar performing “The Evil King Cobra Dance”, the original trailer with two radio segments, and much, much more. Dolby Digital two-channel track vibrates constantly with forefront dialogue, hardly any disruptive damage, and well balanced levels amongst all tracks. The limited edition bundle includes a PAL formatted cassette of the original double billed films, as aforementioned, inside a reversible artwork housed clamshell. And that’s not all! Lastly, this bundle includes a Horror Hypo Needle and LSD Blotter Art tabs, featuring the artwork from “I Drink Your Blood.” Check out the image below to get an inside look. Even though “I Drink Your Blood” beats around the bush with social depravities such as gangbangs, drugs, and a quick stint of Satanic activity, this overall mega fan package from EX Films is a must own for the true video nasty collector or aggregate aficionados of unhinged horror.