"THE MONSTER SQUAD"
Now, resurrected from film ownership hell, the movie has found new life in a 20th Anniversary DVD from Lionsgate. Director Fred Dekker and the cast have been making the rounds to conventions, playing a new print of the film for sold-out crowds. If you haven’t made it to one of these (and I suggest you do if you’re a fan), you can always check the film out on this new DVD.
“The Monster Squad” tells the story of a rag-tag group of junior-high misfits who stumble into a battle with the classic monsters from the Universal horror movies. How these monsters find their way into 1987 suburbia is a little rough, but the film was made for a young audience that will accept these leaps in logic. Although the film carries a PG-13 rating, it’s something even younger audiences can appreciate. It can be a bit scary for the youngest of viewers, but it’s a fun ride nonetheless, for new and old fans alike.
The new 20th anniversary DVD includes a second disc with a “Monster Squad” retrospective that’s actually longer than the original film. Other special features include deleted scenes, two audio commentaries and the original trailer and TV spots.
"WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END"
This film is the pseudo-sequel to the 2003 horror flick starring Eliza Dushku. Instead of characters that take a wrong turn at a traffic jam, this film follows a reality TV film crew as they set people up to survive in the wilderness. However, there are mutants in these them woods, and they be itchin’ to eat some reality stars.
The problem facing this film is the same one that faced films like “The Hills Have Eyes II” and “Jeepers Creepers 2.” I didn’t care about any of the characters. Knowing that they’re going to be devoured by mutants at some point offered no sympathy for me because the faster they dropped, the less time I’d have to deal with them on screen.
And while Henry Rollins will rail against crappy films non-stop in his act and on the IFC, that doesn’t stop him from taking roles in dreck like this or last summer’s “Miami Vice” bomb.
The DVD comes with a commentary track, the theatrical trailer and a documentary showing the behind-the-scenes of the film and how the mediocre gore were achieved.
The film takes place in an alternate reality where genetic experiments began in ancient times to create vampires. However, instead of these creatures becoming monsters, they became religious leaders, protecting the humans who worshipped them. As Victorian times fall on England, one of the vampires is starting to run amuck, killing people without permission. One of the vampires (or Brothers, as they’re called) is assigned to track him down with a female policewoman.
Dougray Scott plays Brother Silus, who is tracking down the rogue vampire, who happens to be his half-brother. Saffron Burrows, who is normally pale and weak as an actors, works right into her type in this bleak society.
I can’t say this movie was a gripping action piece, and I did lose some interest in the last act. However, the unique vision of this alternate reality was strangely compelling. It’s not exactly a horror piece as much as it is speculative fiction. The film not only offers a twist on the standard Jack the Ripper story, but also gives us a unique vision of vampires, something new we haven’t seen since all this Anne Rice gothic nonsense began.
The DVD comes with two documentaries, a basic making-of featurette and a spotlight on the production design.
"I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE"
“I Think I Love My Wife” is a remake of the French drama “Chloe in the Afternoon,” which sees a bored suburbanite flirting with the idea of having an affair. Rock nails the humdrum nature of marriage, and he is dead on with his assessment of what makes a guy tick – both in and out of a marriage. Unfortunately, when things get cleared up in the movie, it happens too quickly and easily.
Rock has good chemistry with Kerry Washington, who plays the vixen trying to have Rock for one last fling. However, the set-up of the wife, played by Gina Torres, makes her annoying and cold enough that I almost wanted Rock’s character to make it with Washington’s.
Still, there are funny moments, especially those surreal parts that are drawn directly from Rock’s stand-up. The DVD comes with a nice assortment of special features, including a commentary by Rock, as well as deleted scenes, bloopers, a spotlight on the film’s casting and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
"WELCOME TO THE GRINDHOUSE"
The first release includes sexploitation films “The Teacher” and “Pick Up.” Both are mid-70s drive-in fair featuring young bodies jiggling in the breeze. “The Teacher” follows a 28-year-old hot high school teacher as she seduces a former students. “Pick Up” follows two teenagers as they hitch a ride with a guy in a motor home, only to get lost in the Florida wilderness.
The second release includes horror pictures “Black Candles” and “Evil Eye.” “Black Candles” tells the story of a woman settling the affairs of her deceased brother, only to find her husband seduced into her sister-in-law’s Satanic cult. “Evil Eye” follows a playboy who has dreams of killing people.
All four films are great examples of true grindhouse flicks. They’re poorly produced with plenty of T&A. Of course, with the Internet making T&A so accessible these days, the allure is gone a bit. However, if you’re a fan of crappy drive-in C features, you’ll enjoy these films. Both discs also come prepped for “The Grindhouse Experience,” allowing you to view previews of old exploitation films from the Crown International library.