Another Door, Another Evil! “Beyond the Seventh Door” review!


Recently released from prison, ex-con Boris reaches out to his former lover, Wendy, to discuss the status of their relationship after her cold feet episode on a robbery job where she drives away the getaway car, leaving him red handed when the cops arrive. Wendy wants more than anything to live a normal, honest life and Boris aims to please her wishes, but needs to pull of one big job to set their future. Fortunately for him, Wendy happens to be the plaything of a wealthy paraplegic who owns a lustrous castle. Boris convinces Wendy to recon the inside, to find where the treasure might lay within the belly of the castle walls, and when the pair of thieves manage to break into the castle’s fortified basement, escaping is inevitable when a deadly game unravels. Trapped inside a chamber of terror, Boris and Wendy must go through a series of enigmatic riddles and deadly traps to move forward toward what they’ve broken into to steal, but when offered a chance to leave the game with their lives intact, will an acceptance to live be decided upon or will Boris and Wendy gamble for greed?

InterVision Picture Corp., has done it again with another stellar resurrection from the VHS video graveyard with the release and distribution of the Canadian gem “Beyond the Seventh Door.” The debut of B.D. Benedikt’s written and directed horror doesn’t display much of the elements associated with the horror genre with the exception of an acute dispersion of thrills and mystery; instead, Benedikt’s film breeds a mutt that commingles fear invoking atmospherics with the intensity of an unflinching, yet undetectable, moral essence that amusingly reestablishes the very Canadian stereotype of being too nice for the North American nation’s own good. The clearly expressed message of greed goes without saying in a plot that involves incurable thieves making life and death choices over materialistic riches despite the consequences that follow if to pursuing the latter. Another theme exposed is that working together will increase your chances to overcomes obstacles as Boris and Wendy mesh their strength and their smarts to solve puzzles and to escape traps before them and on the other end of the spectrum, going at the situation alone doesn’t work out for either one of them. The prominent themes intertwine effortlessly into a modest story that doesn’t become undercut by today’s inherent plot twists or fail to meet captivating interests as the themes are timeless and current as greed never goes out of style proven by the recent Oscar nominations for Ridley Scott’s drama “All the Money in the World.”

The cast quartet requires not one more soul to showpiece this Canadian cult classic. Leading the quaint pack is the Yugoslavian stud Lazar Rockwood and the rumors are true, Rockwood does look like the long time on screen villain Billy Drago, but Rockwood, as Boris, is no hard nose bad guy but along the lines of an anti-hero with his crooked conscious overtop a softer, tender heart for his past life lover Wendy. Bonnie Beck tackles Wendy as a woman pulled by two desires: her feelings for Boris and a normal life without lawlessness. Her more memorable scene consists of her stripping her red, thigh high skirt, exposing the lacy, black garter underneath, and comically trying to plug water spewing holes in order to not drown. Rockwood and Beck’s on screen chemistry doesn’t jive and, to be overly honest, their bond is substantially weak, but to embody and embrace a characterized scorn and torn twosome, the pair share a set ablaze with passion for accomplishment that oddly resembles Richard Chamberlain’s Allan Quartermain’s adventures sans the quirky comedic charm. Rockwood and Beck completely make up about 90 percent of the screen time as Gary Freedman, in his sole credit, dons the mysterious Castle owner and a local Canadian celebrity, a street performer, named Ben Kerr who only had to sit with his eyes open and act a corpse.

Modest as it was, “Beyond the Seventh Door’s” independent production couldn’t rival the end resulting magnitude of which the construction of the trap rooms and the characterization of the score would suggest a bigger wallet project, transforming that aforementioned simple story into a big ticket item. Behind the financial curtain is the responsible parties, the Herceg brothers Frank, Steve, and Tony and along with a fourth producer, Lubomir J. Novotny, Bozidar D. Benedikt gained the trust to pull off a no-budget thriller into a wild brain, catacomb horror that pre-dates the escape room element of “Cube” and Jigsaw’s lethally virtuous games. Now, I wouldn’t say “Beyond the Seventh Door” pioneered the genre, but merely had a minor influenced and sometimes that’s all it takes for inspiration.

Canada’s ambitious exploitation film “Beyond the Seventh Door” is now out for the first time every on DVD courtesy of InterVision Picture Corp., the sui generis distributor of rare independent genre films. Presented in a full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the shot-on-video image quality retains an above VHS level quality with a clearer picture and refined details. BBlotchy moments are still prevalent, especially in long shots of Boris leaving the prison and walks along a cold path to the waterfront, but doesn’t kill the reflective moment. The audio 2.0 mono track has great clarity, range, and depth that showcases some of Lazar’s greatest lines of his hilariously read dialogue, such as “Screw you! You hear me, screw you!” The synthesized soundtrack emanates balanced LFE and range. There’s minor, but inconsequential, hissing during dialogued lines. Bonus features include audio commentary with director B.D. Benedikt, star Lazar Rockwood, and moderated by Paul Corupe of Canuxploitation.com. Also included are interviews with B.D. Benedikt, Lazar Rockwood, and Paul Corupe in a “Beyond Beyond the Seventh Door” segment and a look at Ben Kerr, a Toronto eccentric, in “The King of Cayenne” that delves into Kerr’s street performing life, his run for political office, and his overall love for a cayenne pepper cocktail. “Beyond the Seventh Door” is an anomalous, door-after-door misadventure with eccentric performances and an exceptional plot twist that only B.D. Benedikt could kook up and only Lazar Rockwood could pull off.

Own a copy of “Beyond the Seventh Door” today!

Time Travel to an Evil Future! “Counter Clockwise” review!

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Ethan Walker is a brilliant scientific engineer, though he doesn’t look it with his long fire-hued beard and pot-belly midsection, but Walker, along with his colleague, believe to have accomplished the impossible: teleportation. When Walker decides to try his machine on himself, the realization of something terribly wrong overwhelms him. Walker didn’t invent a teleporter, he accidentally constructed a time machine, sending himself six months into a grim future where his wife and sister have been brutally murdered and he’s the sole prime suspect. The only way to make sense of the future and to solve the crime against him is to travel back to the past multiple times to unravel a sinister plot and stop the murder of those close to him.
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To simply and conventionally tagline “Counter Clockwise,” George Moise’s 2015 directorial debut can easily be described as Terry Gilliam meets David Fincher. Part sci-fi thriller part dark comedy, the adventure of Ethan’s misadventures ingeniously signifies a harsh outlook on the saltiness of our predetermined universe while encountering outrageous and weird characters along the time warp. Ethan, no matter what he does or how he does it, has to use the accidental time machine to thwart the brutal death of his wife and sister and while his reasoning sounds fairly comical being the groundwork of what Albert Einstein calls madness, on-screen it’s rather heartbreaking and tragic to see this guy, an everyday looking joe, desperately attempt to deconstruct, from the unsolicited help of his future selves, a dastardly plot that will destroy everything he holds dear.
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Penned also by George Moise, based off a story by brother Walter Moise, along with the film’s lead star, Ethan himself, Michael Kopelow, “Counter Clockwise” will change the way critics will perceive time travel storylines by not as a means of zipping back only once to change the forsaken past, but as a respawning Shakespearean tale of tragedy in order to continue to amend a hapless situation. A respawned Super Mario had more luck saving Princess Peach through the thicket of Koopa Troopas and the fire breathing Bowser. Though the character Ethan repeats his voyage, the way “Counter Clockwise” is written doesn’t convolute itself in the repetition, staging clues as a window into beyond the present and generating eerie and problematic, if seriously disturbed, episodes that doesn’t give Ethan a minute from tirelessly being objective. Combine those elements with George Moise’s neurotic direction and the result seizes to capture not only science fiction aficionados, but movie enthusiasts of every category in this genre-breaking feature. From the first moment of the opening scene, a strong familiar inkling of Ridley Scott’s “Alien” washes over you; the subtle hum of machinery, the slow panning from side-to-side, the very soft touch George Moise applies is uncanny and so endearingly respectful that the direction doesn’t feel like an absolute rip of Scott’s 1979 space horror classic.
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Kopelow is the centerpiece that glues the story whole. As Ethan, Kopelow’s gentle giant approach is such a stark contrast to the surrounding darkness that has embodied nearly every other location and character, even his lip flapping, hard loving mother. Extreme opposite on the polar spectrum is voice actor Frank Simms as Roman, head of major corporation aiming to steal pioneered technology from Ethan at any cost. Simms’ talent has two settings in this film, hot and cold; his sound binary method works to composite a character so reasonably rational that when Roman snaps, a trickle of pee squeezes out and runs down your leg at his abrupt and menacing counter personality. The rest of the cast follows suit with pinpoint precision on their coinciding characters and even the eccentric cameo performances were otherworldly good from Chris Hampton’s relishing water fountain patron to Marty Vites one-eyed creepy landlord. Ethan’s landed in bizarre world that hums a very familiar tune in Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” while the amount of downbeat content spurs moments of gritty David Fincher thrillers, especially in one particular scene with the brawny New Jersey native Bruno Amato being the ultimate bad guy henchman by raping a dead woman for spite and for pleasure. The cast fills out with Devon Ogden, Kerry Knuppe, Joy Rinaldi, Alice Rietveld, and Caleb Brown.
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The Sex Scene Crew production, “Counter Clockwise,” is not an effects driven project. The indie sci-fi film relies on the trio of coordination efforts in refined editing, camera angles, and practical effects to deliver the intended message. Like I said before, George Moise is neurotic, providing the attention and detail to every scene as if a climatic money shot. Value is placed in the story and in the direction rather than diluting and cheapening with overrated, big budget computer generated special effects that can snap a film’s heart and soul like a thin twig. The biggest effect comes in the form of a composite, placing two Ethans in the same scene and working action off each other. Even the time traveling sequences are a basic edit that’s well timed with simple lighting techniques, gentrifying low budget films more toward a respectable level of filmmaking.
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Artsploitation Films’ DVD release of “Counter Clockwise” is an edgy rip in space time continuum sci-fi thriller presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio option. Image quality pars well with modern releases and the same can be said about the audio, especially with the prevalent dialogue. Aside from conventional specs, Moise adds a sensory surplus to stimulate sight and sound hell-bent to strike an unnerving chord strummed simultaneously with providing an awesomely surreal effect. The DVD contains bonus features include “The Making of Counter Clockwise featurette, going behind the scenes of pre-production, production, and post-production. There are also five deleted scenes with commentary and a trio of commentary tracks that include the director, director and editor, and director and co-writer. “Counter Clockwise” is 91 minutes of time hopping suspense, packed with adversity and pitch black humor from start to finish and finish to start.

Click Above to Time Travel to Amazon and Buy this Title Today! (And not six months from now…)

A Hi-Def Murder-Mystery Evil! “Eyewitness” review!

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Daryll, a New York City night shift janitor and decorated Vietnam war veteran, becomes obsessed with beautiful female reporter and wealthy socialite Tony Sokolow. When Daryll claims to be a key witness to a murder of one his business building’s high profile tenants, a once in a lifetime opportunity opens up to meet Tony when she’s assigned to cover the murder and as Daryll pours his heart out to the reporter, he’s also torn by his claim that could place his war buddy friend Aldo, a hapless former employee of the recently deceased and the prime suspect in the murder investigation, in jeopardy even more. Is Aldo the killer or is the mystery much deeper, tied to a world unforeseen by Daryll whose working in the depths of the building’s janitorial confines?
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Hot off from her success from Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” Sigourney Weaver goes from sci horror-thriller to mystery-thriller and alongside her is up and coming co-star William Hurt in Peter Yates’ 1981 mystery drama “Eyewitness.” The film sparks a string of obsession suspense features that would span a decade and firmly place the genre into a popular notoriety among audiences who couldn’t get enough of the peeping tom debauchery. A hefty roster of talented actors also co-star, some on the verge of stardom to the likes of Hurt and Weaver, including Christopher Plummer (“The Sound of Music”) in the prime of his career, the crazy eyes of James Woods (John Carpenter’s “Vampires”), an un-grayed Morgan Freeman (“Se7en”), Kenneth McMillan (“Dune”), “Mission: Impossible” television series’ Steven Hill, and Pamela Reed (“Kindergarten Cop”).
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Performances all around are phenomenal as every actor and actress cultivates their character’s purpose in the story and you can surely experience the humble beginnings to some of the biggest A-list celebrities of today; however, Hurt’s performance was one of the only concerning factors. Hurt’s portraying a modest, perhaps slightly traumatized, Vietnam veteran with an afar obsession toward an attractive public figure and his presentation was overly awkward and certainly creepy too the point where I even felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. What made the situation more bizarre was the verbal and facial exchanges between Hurt and Weaver’s characters. Tony didn’t quite seem affected by the oozing creepiness this supposedly good man seeps from every pore of his skin and she, in fact, embraces his forward, if not crossing the line, affections that would certainly warrant a restraining order in today’s society. Maybe social interactions vary from generations and decades, but this type of relationship building dialogue and scenes didn’t produce the appropriate type of chemistry between Weaver and Hurt reducing the strength of their bond.
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The Steve Tesich script strummed the strings reminiscent to my viewing experience of George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead.” Yes, you read that correct – “Land of the Dead” – and what does this zombie horror film have in common with “Eyewitness?” Well, in the 2005 film about the continuous decline of humanity in a zombie apocalyptic world, Romero had written a social commentary about the separating of social classes where, even in a dying world, the rich stayed safe in their loft, sustaining an obsolete lifestyle, and the poor suffer below their feet living in the present, but in the end, anyone and everyone is fair game for being unprincipled and for the undead. Tesich’s script does the same without being lavishly upfront and without the hordes flesh eating zombies. Beneath the obvious murder mystery lies the merger of the classes as Dyrall and Tony eventually fall for each other, but their friends and family on either side condemn the relationship, making the statement numerous times that a janitor absolute can not fall for someone as wealthy as Tony. James Woods’ Aldo becomes just another example out of many where a court-martialed and discharged Marine with erratic behavior and struggling with living a middle class life becomes suspect number one in a murder case, but with a victim whose profession was international trading, the pockets might be a bit deeper and with a laundry list of ill-will individuals.
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Signal One Entertainment releases “Eyewitness” in the UK for the first time on Hi-Def region B Blu-ray anywhere with a 1080p presentation in a widescreen 1.85:1 format. The video quality is far superior than, of course, it’s DVD revival with the restoration of much of the natural color tones without a hint of compression artefacts or obvious image or edging enhancements from the 35mm stock footage. The English LPCM audio 2.0 track is fair, full-bodied, and well balanced with really no issues, especially not with composer Stanley Silverman’s lively score. Signal One Entertainment certainly knows how to treat a classic film providing a slew of extra features including an audio commentary with director Peter Yates and film historian Marcus Hearn from 2005, an audio only conversation with the director along with film critic Derek Malcolm and another conversation with another film critic Quentin Faulk on a separate extra feature. Composer Stanley Silverman discusses his approach to scoring “Eyewitness” and there’s also an alternative VHS presentation of the film under one of the original titles “The Janitor.” Original trailers and TV spots round out this robust bonus feature cache. “Eyewitness” on Blu-ray is a must own with a clean and refreshing version of a this classic whodunit thriller from Signal One Entertainment!
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