Yachtman Georgia Perry aims to be a part of the best of the best by joining a handful of women who’ve sailed around the world. The rules are simple: don’t step on land, don’t let anyone step on your boat, and don’t turn on your outboard motor. As Perry heads out into the open ocean, the 25-year-old carries with her a burden of lifetime baggage stemming from her mother’s acute depression and gruesome suicide, her father’s accident and deteriorating health, and the bond between her and her boyfriend Luke coming unraveled. Combine all that weight with complete isolation, loneliness, and no wind to push her sails, Georgia quickly spirals downward into a turbulent state with her only traveling companion being her cat with whom she has conversations on her becalmed sloop. All her fears come to fruition, blurring the line between reality and disturbing fantasy that threatens her voyage and, maybe, even her life.
Bayside Pictures presents “Visitors,” the last helmed feature by the late Richard Franklin of “Psycho II” and “F/X2” fame. “Razorback” writer Everett De Roche penned the 2003 psychological thriller and is able to conjure out some wicked mind buckling material of a woman subjected to cabin fever in the form of a volatile, non-linear story. Franklin adds his two-cent charm with impressive visual sets and effects from the early turn of the century, implementing CGI where appropriate, being practical when deemed, and, by golly, the effects resulted didn’t come out too shabby. The ocean has always been beautiful, yet terrifying mystery that has yet to be fully explored, and Franklin’s able to capture the ominous anomaly that associates with the deep blue sea under an overwhelming guise of mental health and severe isolated confinement.
Before she wandered into “Silent Hill,” but after becoming forsaken in “Pitch Black,” Radha Mitchell showed strength in solitary by playing the headstrong, nautically ambitious sailor, Georgia Perry. Mitchell, who was slightly older than her 25-year-old character, fabricates a troubled young woman willing to risk it all, even her life, even if it meant to leave to escape all her woes and that she holds dear at home. The “Rogue” and “The Crazies” remake actress from Melbourne has a sensationalized and systematic dynamic with her on-screen mother, played by the late Susannah York, in what’s considered to be a disturbing role of manipulative motherhood that forced Georgia to be extremely close and clingy to her endearing father, an underrated role bestowed upon Ray Barrett. A young and upcoming Dominic Purcell (“Blade: Trinity” and “Primeval”) costars as Georgia’s lover and business manager who may or may not have other underlying intentions with Georgia’s sponsors. Appearing never together and putting Mitchell at the epicenter of their lives, the foursome played their roles beautifully by stretching the limits of reality without being overly absurd to the point of being unbecoming of a thriller.
By no means is “Visitors” a woman versus nature premise. Yes, Georgia faces any elements that would plague any sailor who ventured into the ocean alone, but nature was only accessorial. “Visitors,” for the sake of being funny, is more of a film about a young girl embarking on a journey of self discovery. Georgia must get away from negativity that has been eating at her zealous spirit ever since the terrible childhood accident that had crippled her father and destroyed her parents’ marriage. Her embattled mother’s constant belittling, berating, and blaming is the brunt of that that has been burdening. At sea, Georgia battles her onshore demons, which also includes her father’s failing health and her failing relationship with Luke, and coinciding is her ever present looming and underlying fears that lurk out into manifestation, or a visitation if you will, during severe cabin fever. The trip around the world won’t kill her, but her inner demons just might which begs the question if “Visitors” is more of a mental health film and the answer is a firm yes without salty doubt.
Umbrella Entertainment releases “Visitors” onto a region 4 home entertainment DVD. The DVD is beyond an upgrade from it’s region 1 counterpart in the image and audio departments. The anamorphic widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, renders a cleaner image with slightly more natural color tone as well as offering more film flesh on either side from the 35mm negative. The English Dolby 5.1 audio track offers a range of diversity. The dialogue is clear and fine, the ambient track syncs with ample depth, and the brooding and perilous soundtrack from composer Nerida Tyson-Chew (“Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”) provides a delectable varied score to Georgia’s though process. The extras are thin, not much different from the Stateside release, including a photo gallery, cast and crew bios, and the Palace Film’s theatrical trailer. Considered widely as an Australian ozploitation film, “Visitors” is deep-seeded, mental trench warfare on the high seas set on a course of psychological doom. A fine film for being Richard Franklin’s last hurrah.
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.
Former pin-up model Virginia “Ginny” Smith lives a solitary life on the street of a quiet Buffalo, New York suburban neighborhood. Her modeling past was prosperous, posing erotically with curves similar to that of pin-up queen Bettie Page, up until a newer, thinner model named Chloe undermines Ginny’s magazine spread career. Feeling abandoned, physically tortured, and seeking revenge throughout the years, Ginny eats up the competition from thin, to the fake, and to the virginal…literally! Sal and his mentally instable wife Debbie move in next door to Ginny. Soon after, Debbie suspects that her elder neighbor might be up to no good as people go into Ginny’s house but never come out. Chalking up her suspicions to psychosis, Sal ignores Debbie’s accusations until he mysteriously perishes in a car accident. Now nothing can stop Debbie from investigating into Ginny’s cold blooded habits.
“Model Hunger” is the long awaited directorial debut from long time scream queen and B-movie horror icon Debbie Rochon that publicly displays the dementedness clinging to the inner walls of her brain. Helming from off the screenplay penned by “Seed 2” producer James Morgart, Rochon quickly denotes the position of anti-supermodel figure, turning the thin, the snooty, and those who encourage that sort of behavior into nothing more than a gloppy stew of human chow. “Model Hunger” parodies the serious nature of young women whom go to extreme lengths of imitating the model beauties of today, but the film isn’t a clear-cut horror-comedy per say; instead, the genre of a bizarre cannibalism life style or social commentary revenge film might better suite the self-centering tone.
The premise most definitely classifies as a film Debbie Rochon would personally headline; Rochon personalized “Model Hunger” to her taste, but this time, Rochon’s sister-in-horror, Lynn Lowry (George A. Romero’s “The Crazies”) headlines as the vengeful, cannibalistic Ginny Smith. Lowry puts the hot in psychotic with a Southern Belle twist, delivering a memorable performance as a cougar-gone-cannibal and her character scores much of the Morgart screenplay dialogue that is overwhelmingly philosophical and ranting compared to a more downplayed principal character in the film’s third horror star – the veteran Tiffany Shepis. Shepis is Debbie next door and though that sounds like a title of a boorish 70’s porn, Debbie struggles with being burned out from a psychosis state that results in plagues of nightmares and prescribed pills. Aside from maybe the pill popping, nothing about Debbie’s persona brings to mind a porn starlet.
Contrary to a pair prominent female actresses who bring talent and experience from cult films such as “Tromeo and Juliet” and “Shivers” and a highlight of co-stars including the wonderful Michael Thurber (“The Sins of Dracula”), Brian Fortune (“Game of Thrones”), Carmine Capobianco (Psychos in Love) and “Chainsaw Sally’s” Suzi Lorraine casted ironically as a voluptuously large television host of “Suzi’s Secret,” the James Morgart script just couldn’t pull all the talent together. Points of unfocused storytelling noticeably stemmed from the first few scenes involving uncouth and dolled up cheerleaders practicing their routine, receiving their fundraiser packet, and going door-to-door soliciting. These segments run a natural course of supposedly setting up Lisa Dee (cheerleader Missy in the film) and Samantha Hoy (cheerleader Katie in the film) as the film’s leads. The squad practice could have been completely omitted and the story would have worked just the same without bamboozling the main players Lowry and Shepis. The script drags to a slow drift during the second act by not proceeding with much character progression other than Ginny slaughtering snared victim-after-victim to fill her icebox of superficial-inspired characters.
Honestly, the expectation of graphic violence had a sky high bar set upon the shoulders of Debbie Rochon’s inaugural film, but the special effects violence was unusually tame to a point, containing nothing too new and too extreme until near the finale that involves a naked Jehovah Witness and a medical grade scalpel. Aside from the lack of gross gratuity, the effects were borderline choppy; a prime example to consider would be the obvious rubber baseball bat, wielded by Ginny, that sprung forward and backward, like something out Looney Toon’s ACME company, when striking against an object, but “Model Hunger” was riddled, subtly throughout, with equipment flaws such as equipment shadows in scenes and a continuously shaky camera.
Wild Eye Releasing’s unrated DVD is presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Aside from some awkward framing and a bitrate issue that causes a bit of blotchiness, the digital camera video looks good for the most part with an audio mix from “Friday the 13th” composer Harry Manfredini that’s well balanced. The director commentary, in the bonus features, is a highlight of the extras with Debbie Rochon letting you into her creative side of her film. The commentary is accompanied with deleted scenes, music video, an interview with Aurelio Voltaire, a Babette Bombshell short, trailers, and an Easter Egg! Overall, the underlining point is clear of reverse body-shaming in a very Hatfield versus McCoy scenario and Debbie Rochon, for her cherry-popping film, creates a solid horror entry that displays it’s quality scars and hiccups which the film, nor Rochon, apologizes for and that’s a filmmaker, and actress, I can get behind.