Kent Chubbs manages a popular fetish nightclub called Den O’Iniquity in a small conservative town and the demanding, ever-present pressure to close his proclaimed “smut” club from the angry puritanical protestors and unethical politicians have Kent on the hair pulling fences about what to exactly do with his beloved club and loyal employees. To make the matters worse, Kent’s father and club owner, Shank Chubbs, is knocking on death’s door with a bad ticker. To make the matters even more worse, the club’s been a remarkable safe haven for those who choose to express their closeted intimate desires in spanking, furry sex, or lube wrestling, but, during the holiday season, the club has had a low hanging dark cloud in a form of a deranged killer whose been destructively rampaging through the club’s most precious employees and enthusiastic patrons. In order to save everything he holds dear, Kent must find a way to keep everything afloat despite the challenges and his ill-advised legal advice from his acid tripping hippie attorney while also tracking down a psychopath.
In 2007, Richard Griffin directed a hybrid film that structured an abled bodied comedy and interjected moments of gruesome horror and fashioned it with elaborate musical numbers and the result was a niche slasher-musical simply known as “Splatter Disco.” We like this film. Actually, we love this film. Not because we enjoy watching and reviewing Richard Griffin films (see “Flesh for the Inferno,” “The Sins of Dracula,” “The Disco Exorcist,” “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead,” “Future Justice”) and enjoy seeing where his toddler career began, but because “Splatter Disco” embodies the unlikely mixture of oil and water genres, doesn’t take itself seriously, and was whole-heartedly invested in by some of the biggest names in cult cinema as well as some talented actors and actresses you’ve may have never heard of before, but should certainly know.
Ken Foree, Lynn Lowry, and Debbie Rochon. Three big, well-known names that add their own delectable charm into the mix and, also, three big names who have developed a dynamic, who know each other’s styles, and who can still churn new material on the fly like it’s no big deal. Tack on Trent Haaga (“The Ghouls”) and the then new and Richard Griffin regular from that point on, Sarah Nicklin, who both have the favorably b-movie glow and “Splatter Disco” goes to a whole new level. One of the best performances goes to Jason McCormick as Echo, a DJ Qualls lookalike, with a timely comedic toss that provides a unique schtick to keep the character rememberable and McCormick nails the character right on the flat head. Overall, there were no slacking performances; every actor was chin deep getting into their respective roles with the various fetishes, cloak and dagger shades, and violent intentions. Rounding out the cast is Carlos Brum (“Beyond the Dunwich Horror”), William DeCoff (“The Haunting of Alice D”), Robin L. Watkins (“Poultrygeist”), and Brian L. Mullen III (“Pretty Dead Things”).
If you never experienced a Richard Griffin feature, you’ll pleasantly find out very quickly the director goes all out and the Providence, Rhode Island born director has a great 1970’s-1980’s homage style side dished with lots of vibrant colors and the abundance of suspending smoke and you’ll see why we cater to much of his work. The script’s dialogue, co-written by Griffin and producer Ted Marr, also excellently defines and solidifies the quick wit and whimsical nature of the comedy-horror and to make no mistake, this comedy-musical-horror has no shame with perversions, has well edited bloody special effects, and is ultimately a blast of lively cult cinema! “Splatter Disco” is a self-proclaimed first slasher musical of it’s kind; honestly, I couldn’t think of a prior film of it’s kind, but “Splatter Disco” has hit and catchy imitative tunes provided by Tony Milano and performed by Daniel Hildreth that go hand-and-hand with the humbling dance choreography.
MVDVisual, POP Cinema, and Shock-O-Rama re-releases “Splatter Disco” onto a not rated DVD home video with a 16:9 widescreen presentation. Regrettably, I’m sorely disappointed in the video quality that fully suffers from the distorting and blotchy compression artifacts that make night scenes fuzzy and flimsy in defintion. The lossy 2.0 stereo track is par for the course, even with musical pieces and soundtrack overlay, but does provide a little restitution for the image loss. Bonus features are aplenty that include a commentary with director Richard Griffin and star Lynn Lowry, a behind-the-scenes documentary, alternate scenes, and a Shock-O-Rama trailer vault. “Splatter Disco” is an entertaining 87 minute Richard Griffin slasher capsule classic full of degenerate song and dance!
A Church youth group voluntary attends a Saint Christopher’s Catholic Middle School weekend cleanup before the school’s much needed reconstruction and restoration. As soon as they start with the sweeping, dusting, and polishing, three demon nuns, let to suffer behind an enclosed brick wall by a child molesting priest, unleashes their vengeful wrath, a gift from their new lord and savior, the devil, to whom they’ve sold their soul. Quickly, one-by-one the volunteers fall to the flesh hungry demonic nuns, using their sins against them, and extracting their souls for hell bound eternity. The select few to survive the ordeal of nuns will come face-to-face with Satan himself where praying for mercy will get them nowhere and is the same as burning in hell.
Director Richard Griffin once again pushes down the throttle to wrap the shooting of an entire movie in a matter of days on another lightweight budget. “Flesh for the Inferno” had a 9 day shoot with, and no surprise here, Griffin hiring some of his entourage of talented actors and actresses. The stage actors employed are always remarkable to watch; the underrated Michael Thurber, even in a toned down performance, is such a joy to watch with his adaptable skill set to jump into the shoes of any role in any film. The same can be said about the co-leads, Jamie Default and Jamie Lyn Bagley, who easily adjust into various roles from one Griffin film to the next. However, to my surprise, Griffin’s works with new faces, such as Ryan Nunes, Andrew Morais, and Kevin Michael Strauss, whom fit into his homage work of European possession horror. Then, there’s the talented Aaron Andrade who puts any other actor’s portrayal of Devil to shame.
Griffin and long time collaborator and cinematographer Jill Poisson purposefully softens the lens to give the photography a dreamlike or surreal state to mimic the iconic European director styles such as from Mario Bava or more in tunely with Lucio Fulci and though this respectable style was succesffully achieved and did contribute to the Bava or Fulci level of cinematic and atmospheric charm, the haziness was a bit overbearing, almost closing in on the actors within a modified frame of dominating clouds. The effect mostly shadows from what I noticed, right off the bat, the recognizable set from a previous Griffin film, “Future Justice,” sporting a new coat of paint and constructed with new, or new-ish, set pieces to create the Catholic school locale.
Screenwriter Michael Varrati churns out a script in less than a week to give Griffin much time as possible on a location rented much longer than needed. Varrati has written remarkable natural banter between opposition, connected, and flirtatious characters and does well with the dynamics for a quickly progressing story where shit hits the fan, crossing over into act two, in a matter of minutes. Its the dialogue, however, that slightly over saturates “Flesh for the Inferno” and it’s demonic, habit-wearing nuns. Fully engaged conversations between the nuns and the unlucky survivors cross over into theological debates rather than leading into a sacrilegious and unholy curse. Though at times, scenes like the one with Michael Thurber chasing his own tail in a Groundhog Day movie-type scenario was well placed in the story and well shot, even if little-to-no dialogue was present.
“Flesh for the Inferno” was suppose to be Griffin and his crew’s all out gory effects movie the homage attuned director has ever filmed. Yet, I can’t help but feel as if the opportunity was bobbled to recreate a “Demonia’s” bloodshed. The John Dusek effects were simply effective though, catering to all the film’s intention and needs to pull off a nasty nunnery narrative. The Timothy Fife soundtrack isn’t necessarily Fulci inspired as well that perhaps resemble more of a Goblin and Ennio Morricone blend and that’s highly more notable.
Scorpio Film Releasing and MVDVisual distribution together created and distributed another fantastic film that’s graced with retro-sleek cover art, like always, and I’m always impressed by director Richard Griffin’s capability to turn low budget horror into a formidable admiration of the old days of all kind of horror. Griffin and his entourage are on a whole separate level than their counterpart in their Hollywood doppleganger Eli Roth. The MVDVisual DVD looks sleek with a 16:9 widescreen presentation for the 79 minute feature. Bonus material is limited, but informative, that includes a crew commentary, cast commentary, and the film’s trailer.
After five years of cryogenic solitude, Python Diamond returns on a heavily armored military escort ship, returning from Saturn where a maximum prison holds Earth’s most dangerous convicts until their execution date. As they close in on home, Earth has gone dark, communications have gone silent, and massive radiation cover most of the populated soil. A faint signal of power draws the crew down to a manageable radioactive portion of scorched Earth where they discover a small band of people, surviving in an underground bunker and striving to live in a post nuclear fallout. The exploration of life search doesn’t go unnoticed as a violent, more dominant group of survivors seek to take the military’s possessions, if not their lives too, and when war breaks out between them, another mutated and dangerous player enters the game.
Another Richard Griffin directed project and another great example of a superbly self-reliant genre film thats sharp-witted, off-colored, and, of course, entertaining to horror and post-apocalypse fans. Though Griffin and his usual cast of cast members tackle the homage with full-brute strength, Griffin places a gently new-used spin upon each of his inspired works in the form of great absurdity that’s hard to refute or dislike no matter what genre of movie fits your fancy. His post-apocalyptic, science-fiction, horror film “Future Justice” revolutionizes the homage by stripping iconic films of their popularities and mashing them together into a very coherent and comprehensible story without seeming like a total rip off. Instead, Griffin takes the Nathaniel Sylva written story and runs with it like a powerful running back whose hugging on tight to that pigskin ball and charging like hell to the end zone for his first touchdown, treasuring that first score and making it his own unique success even though scoring touch downs has been down countless times before.
The underwhelming title, “Future Justice,” doesn’t speak much to the film’s overall enthusiastic gesture. Yet, the witnessing of gung-ho filmmakers given only an inch to work with and stretching that into a long mile, or even two, is always an amazing length. Nathaniel Sylva didn’t only write the film, he also starred as the lead character, a confident and calculating convict named Python Diamond which is a bit of a play on the John Carpenter Snake Plissken character from “Escape from New York” and “Escape from L.A.” Then, the story embarks on a motley crew, like you would see in a “Mad Max” movie, group of scavengers looking to take all and leave nothing for the rest. Finally, “Future Justice” takes an unexpected turn by introducing a radiation mutated, humanly doctored, one pissed off person-creature that hungers to seek and destroy every last living being in the underground bunker.
The successfulness of character actor Steven O’Broin’s Gazeebo, head of the blood thirsty gang, makes him ruthlessly enjoyable to watch on screen. O’Broin and Griffin have worked previously together on “Sins of Dracula;” O’Broin aspired to be similar to Vincent Price in the Hammer Horror influenced Dracula film. Michael Thurber, more notable one of Griffin’s entourage of actors and also co-stars in “Sins of Dracula,” delivers a phenomenal and intentionally excessive method acting skill that always fits into, in every which way, all of Griffin projects. Working with an estimated $20,000 budget and limited locations doesn’t translate over to O’Broin or Thurber who can transform a small production into the illusion of a bigger ordeal, causing a mind altercating effect with their viewership. “Future Justice” delivers movie magic at its finest.
Speaking of movie magic, visual effects supervisor John Dusek works along side again with Griffin and meshes a blend of practical effects with campy computer generated imagery. The result only adds to the unique charm, capturing the zany essence of this world gone dark story and running with it to take the zaniness one step further, but also respecting the Italian post-apocalyptic films of the 1980s. Exploding heads, detaching limbs, brain-splattering head shots keep the violence fresh when various effect methods are implemented and Dusek tunes right into his entire arsenal to deliver. The effects go hand-and-hand with Daniel Hildreth’s space epic score, striking the composer analogue of other Sci-Fi film greats.
The MVDVisual region free DVD release is presented an in unrated 16:9 widescreen format at a runtime of 83 minutes. The extras include a commentary with cast and crew, a short film entitled “Mutants of the Apocalypse,” and a theatrical trailer of the film. The clear picture defines the details and vividly displays the colors, especially when the mutated creature emerges. The 2.0 audio mix hinders a little in the dialogue by the overpowering score and ambient tracks, but doesn’t disrupt much at all. “Future Justice” doesn’t apologize for laying down the law by smacking action and thrills right to the face. I’d recommend this title to any Sci-Fi or horror buff in a need of a necessary relapse into the post-apocalypse.
A group of mischievous and detention bound high-schoolers are handed two choices: either spend the day in a classroom after school or take an educational trip to a wax museum in Salem. Instead of spending the entire day in a classroom, a trip to a wax museum seemed to be the lesser of two evils. Little do the hooligans know that the museum’s curator Charles Frank is the relative of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Charles Frank, a pseudo name for Frankenstein, has continued the ghoulish work his elder kin started long ago. Trapped inside Frankenstein’s wax museum of horrors, the high-schoolers are pitted against Frankenstein’s flesh eating creations with no way out. What was suppose to be a fun and devious night of intercourse and dancing turns into a bloody-blood bath of unspeakable horror.
This isn’t my first rodeo with director Richard Griffin’s work. The last It’s Bloggin’ Evil Griffin review, “Sins of Dracula,” didn’t strike the right key notes and became only a shell of a honoring horror film. “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead,” also known as Dr. Frankenstein’s Wax Museum of the Hungry Dead,” was made a year earlier than “Sins of Dracula” and reminds me more of a true Griffin film. At first, I was afraid “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” would dull the mood as rebellious youth have yet again landed themselves into a death trap and this scenario just seems to be regurgitated over and over again in horror cinema. Eventually, and to my surprise, Griffin digs and builds out of that redundant hole and still manages to display his ever long homage to horror and horror icons comically. The thing about Griffin is is that he relies on mashing many genres together. For example, “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” is a mesh of Frankenstein, the Romero zombie genre, and a little bit of naziploitation to give the film some flavor. Second and third act strengthen the film’s roots and the comedy really pops during these acts making the film comical and gross at the same time.
Another conventional Griffin film schtick is the long-winded dialogue. I tend to get breathless just listening to the dump truck loads of exposition that seamlessly spew out of the actors’ mouths. The dialogue to death ratio just doesn’t add up and this film does get a bit talkative with a script that doesn’t quite measure up to Shakespearian work. The dialogue tends to be juvenile and obvious in a sense that every scene is laid out by description. Unless you’re Michael Thurber playing Dr. Frankenstein, there lies no reason behind other characters to have more scripted lines than there are end credits.
Speaking of Michael Thurber, Thurber has cemented himself as part of Griffin’s entourage a long with others who are also casted in this film: Johnny Sederquist, Jesse Dufault, and Jamie Lyn Bagley. However, Thurber’s versatility seems quite amazing. My first experience with Thurber was as a hard nose cop hellbent on vengeance in “Murder University” and I think he’s the best part of Griffin’s films. Thurber’s portrayal of Charles Frank combines a “Young Frankenstein’s” Inspector Kemp with a long lost, and black sheep, cousin of Hammer Horror legend Peter Cushion. Johnny Sederquiest and Jesse Default are starting to grow on me more and more with their acting styles. Their outrageous over acting is childish but hypnotically effective in humor. Bagley has been the more serious actor of the bunch, staying away from the horribly cliched parts and sticking with simple, easy to miss characters such as her breakout role as nerd girl heroine Katherine.
Overall, “Frankenstein’s Hungry Dead” is less about Frankenstein’s creature and more about the creation of flesh eating zombies and reaping hell upon meddling teenagers. Certainly a different take on the mad scientist genre and the Frankenstein legacy, but Griffin does mix things up for not necessarily the worst and I’m sure Mary Shelley would agree, if not really mind at all. The MVD and Wild Eye DVD release distributes a fairly standard unrated package that doesn’t disappoint and would be a winner in anybody’s B-movie collection.
Billy, a good church-going man, reluctantly leaves his choir to join the community theater at the request of his girlfriend Shannon. What Billy doesn’t realize is that there are all different kinds of characters who partake in the community theater – the nerdy gamers, the anti-establishment antagonizers, the gays, and, of course, Dracula. Yes, Dracula – the Prince of Darkness. The theater’s director is a satanic worshipper who feeds off the sins of his actors to resurrect Dracula and start a whole new world order of vampires. “The Sins of Dracula” film is a homage to multiple horror genre branches. Decades including the 1970s and the 1980s source the brilliantly colored and expression heavy of the Hammer horror era and combine it with the gore of video nasties marking all present and accounted for in this ode to classic horror and that’s the creative style of director Richard Griffin and his Scorpio Film Releasing company which quickly produces many independent films that hit many media platforms. My previous film experience with Griffin includes “The Disco Exorcist” that implements film stock imperfections and the hardcore porn of the 1970’s. The other Griffin film, “Murder University,” aims to create a satirical look at a murderous cult gone collegiate. Lastly, my very first Richard Griffin film was Feeding the Masses wanted to be a social political zombie following in a George A. Romero fashion. So there is no surprise here that Griffin does what he does best, but after seeing “The Disco Exorcist” and “Murder University” both which I liked in previous reviews The Disco Exorcist review here and Murder University review here, “The Sins of Dracula” warranted high hopes for Griffin to do something new and cut ties with the old, regurgitated scenes. Enough about Griffin, let’s talk about “The Sins of Dracula.” Just from reading the synopsis alone, one can conclude that this horror-comedy will come off as a bit outrageous, delving into and dissecting the sins of certain kinds of people who walk in all kinds of life and exploiting them for the sake of our good boy Scott’s heroic journey and also exploiting them to awake the evil Dracula. The story doesn’t waste any time putting to waste the sinfully deemed characters and going on a Godsend vampire hunting spree. At the end, most peoples’ personal views are made light of in a satirical fashion. Michael Thurber, a staple actor of Griffin’s, does a solid job as a Hammer horror Dracula mirroring the likes of the vampire exposed Christopher Lee. Steven O’Broin, as Lou Perdition the satanist devotee theater director, had some excellent lines and quips and made his Vincent Price-esque character enjoyable when on screen. Another of Griffin’s minions, Aaron Peaslee pranced around fairly well as a gay theater actor and his raunchy sex scene with fellow actor Johnny Sederquist was the most controversial aspect of the film. I can’t say that about the other characters. Other characters fell a bit flat and didn’t convey their characters intentions well enough to pull off a spoofy-stereotype. The fact that their characters where put to death way too early in the film doesn’t give the character a chance to make their presence more well established. The blood letting could have been, well, bloodier, but there is enough letting to super soak and saturate one’s thirst. Some of the scenes are restaged from the likes of “Fright Night” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the movie. Like I was saying early in the review about the film’s originality, the lack of new material makes the likelihood of repeating a viewing of “The Sins of Dracula” very unlikely which is difficult to say about a solid homage. “The Sins of Dracula” is good for a one time single viewing and but lacks new and fresh material to really captivate attention. The MVDVisual DVD cover also doesn’t explicitly want you to go out and rent this title, but the disc art is amazingly detailed and you shouldn’t judge a film’s material by the cover. I do strongly suggest to check out “The Sins of Dracula” if you’re into the Hammer horror scene and into Griffin’s Quentin Tarantino homage style of directing.