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Nightmare City (1980, Italy / Spain / Mexico)

Nightmare City (1980)

Umberto Lenzi had quite a career during his time as a film maker. Lenzi started law school, then decided his true passion lay with movies and attended the prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. His resume’ included peplum, westerns, giallos and mysteries, all typical of Italian cinema of the time. He later retired from cinema and wrote a series of detective novels. Then in 1972 Lenzi made what many consider the first true, cannibal film, Man from the Deep River. The work contained many of the attributes of future cannibal movies; violence, sex, the consumption of raw, human flesh… The movie established Lenzi as a director of turgid, offensive films.

“The nightmare becomes reality.”

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Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980, Japan)

Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980)

I heard of this anime film years ago but heard such bad things it put me off, then last week I found a good review on it that mentioned the plot and I thought I’d give it a go. Firstly like many other reviewers I must admit this is probably the craziest Dracula plot ever. It’s based of Tomb of Dracula issues 40-75 and as such there’s a lot going on…

Overall this film is very true to the comic and has a good storyline but it’s too rushed. The visuals in part are faithful to the comic but frequently seem low budget. If you liked Tomb of Dracula I’d definitely recommend this. If you’re looking for a different Dracula film you should enjoy it.

“Darling, I want to tell you about the man I used to be before I became the cursed slave of Satan.”

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Beast of Blood (1970, Philippines / USA)

Beast of Blood (1970)

Those unfamiliar with the works of Eddie Romero should make it a priority to search out a few of his titles. Romero is the John Ford, Frank Capra and Wes Craven of Philippine cinema all rolled into one, having directed war films along with dramas, comedies and horror movies. The film industry of the Philippines is a remarkable story in itself, a business that is now well over a hundred years old. In the late sixties and early seventies Romero put a series of films together known as “The Blood Island Trilogy” which were low-budget shockers containing sex, blood and monsters.

“See human heads transplanted!”

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Super Dark Times (2017, USA)

Super Dark Times (2017)

Sometimes in film, a mood or feeling transcends the writing, itself. Kevin Philips’ debut feature, Super Dark Times is one of those films. The overall moodiness and aura of this teenage drama/horror film creates a skin-crawling dread that stuck with me long after viewing it. Super Dark Times is a teenage drama film that feels closer to horror at many points, and because of this, may scare off some fans of either genre. It is also extremely well-crafted and wonderfully moody, which is why it is a film that should definitely not be overlooked.

“If anybody asks, we’re already fucked.”

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Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (1997, Germany) Shock-O-Rama DVD Review

Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (1997)

With Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead, Olaf Ittenbach has managed to create a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously; instead opting to bring humour to the violence portrayed onscreen. It is grosser, nastier, gorier than most splatter films, and likely done on a much smaller budget too. If you enjoy video violence exaggerated to the extreme, and your humour as black as the night sky, look no further than this fallen angel.

“For centuries, the secret of an ancient legend was kept hidden. It contained the legacy of the mystery of life and death. It was the book about the resurrection of the anti-god Premutos.”

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Star of David: Beautiful Girl Hunter (1979, Japan)

Star of David: Beautiful Girl Hunter (1979)

Star of David: Beautiful Girl Hunter is considered one of the best films in the Japanese sub-genre of roman-pinku films. The term roughly translates to romantic-sexploitation, as opposed to the pinku eiga films which focused on sex frequently combined with violence.

The film was made by one of the bigger studios in Japan, and it shows in the production values and acting. However, the term “romantic” is used in a far different manner than Western audiences will recognize.

“I’m getting rid of you. You’re in the way.”

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Dard Divorce (2007, Germany)

Dard Divorce (2007)

Olaf Ittenbach is a German auteur who is a combination of Tom Savini and Takashi Miike. Originally a dental technician, Ittenbach then became a top notch SFX artist, his most notable credit being for BloodRayne by Uwe Boll.

Along with Boll, he is part of the German new wave bringing media attention to their underground films specializing in rape, necrophilia and extreme violence. Ittenbach’s films focus on pain, body destruction and gore, preferably as much that can be jammed into a two hour film.

“Breaking up is so very hard to do…”

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The King (2017, South Korea)

The King (2017)

If you profess a love of cinema, but have been eschewing the excellent films coming out of Korea, you really have been missing out on some top-notch entertainment. I went into Han Jae-Rim’s movie The King, knowing only that it had been described as a political thriller. That covers about half of it – it’s also a satire about corruption within Korea’s legal system, it’s a gangster movie, it’s a revenge tale and yes, it’s a crime thriller too. If Wes Anderson decided to make ‘Goodfellas’ with Ben Wheatley, The King might just be the movie they’d have aspired to. Imagine that.

“Only one will become… The King.”

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The House by the Cemetery (1981, Italy)

The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981) is notorious in the United Kingdom for being one of the 39 movies that were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in the 1980s. Dubbed a ‘video nasty’ by the garbage British tabloids, The House by the Cemetery was effectively banned from distribution and personal possession…

If you are prepared to endure the awful dubbing, The House by the Cemetery is deserving of its cult reputation.

“Read the fine print. You may have just mortgaged your life!”

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I Saw the Devil (2010, South Korea)

I Saw the Devil (2010)

The South Korean film industry has enjoyed a twenty year renaissance especially in the thriller/horror/gore genres. The release of Oldboy (2003) put South Korean cinema back on the map, after seeing its once glorious traditions wane for many years. I Saw the Devil is the penultimate representative of this new style of Korean cinema, with acting, cinematography, direction and production values equal to any of the world’s leading movie centers.

“Don’t act so weak… this is just the beginning. Remember… your nightmare’s only getting worse!”

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Almighty Thor (2011, USA)

Almighty Thor (2011)

The Asylum film company is pretty famous in certain cinematic circles as the company that puts out knock offs based on blockbuster hits. Snakes on a Plane became Snakes on a Train, while Transformers became Transmorphers! When they do it right, The Asylum are capable of crafting hilarious pieces of cinematic cheese. But when they do it wrong, boy do they mess up! Almighty Thor falls into the later category. It is heartbreaking when a film that could have been a trash classic falls so far from the mark. The budget was obviously an issue.

“The legend is born!”

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20 Million Miles to Earth (1957, USA)

20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)

In a picturesque Sicilian fishing village all is peaceful and serene. Fishermen are out on the boats bringing in the catch of the day. However, they catch more than they bargain for when a secret US spaceship crash-lands just off shore after meteorite struck. Did anybody or anything survive the crash if so what havoc would be unleashed on humanity?

In this ground-breaking film with special-effects by the great Ray Harryhausen, we see inept scientist and military officials run around Italy after something that is perfectly harmless unless provoked.

“Greatest monster since King Kong ravishes the Earth!”

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