First Official Stills From THE RAID 2: BERANDAL

THE RAID (aka THE RAID: REDEMPTION) was easily one of the best movies of 2012 for me, and a lot of other people too. And personally I think it's the greatest action movie since DIE HARD. It was fucking amazing. After getting so much international praise it's no surprise that a sequel was going to come along and in fact it has already started filming earlier this month and courtesy of Dread Central we have the film's first official stills and behind the scenes images below. The sequel is titled THE RAID 2 (Indonesian title THE RAID 2: BERANDAL) and apparently the first scene takes place 2 hours after the end of the first film. Stay tuned for further details.

Press Release: "PT Merantau Films and XYZ Films announce the start of production for THE RAID 2 (Indonesian title, THE RAID 2: BERANDAL), the sequel to the wildly popular international hit THE RAID (aka THE RAID: REDEMPTION). The film reunites writer/director Gareth Huw Evans with actor Iko Uwais, who will be reprising his starring role. Ario Sagantoro is producing for PT Merantau Films, along with Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, Aram Tertzakian and Todd Brown for XYZ Films. Executive producing are Rangga Maya Barack-Evans and Irwan D. Mussry.
In addition to Uwais, the international cast includes Tio Pakusadewo, Putra Arifin Scheunamann, Julie Estelle, Alex Abbad, and Roy Marten. The film is currently lensing in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is scheduled to shoot for over 100 days. Line producing the film is Daiwanne Ralie with Matthew Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono serving as directors of photography.
Picking up right where the first film ends, The Raid 2 follows Rama (Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and uncover the corruption in his own police force.
The Raid premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, where it took home the Audience Award in the Midnight Madness section. It went on to play at Sundance and SXSW before enjoying a theatrical release in the United States through Sony Pictures Classics. The film is approaching $15M in global box office.
“We’re incredibly excited to start the next chapter of The Raid story,” said XYZ Films. “Gareth introduced a rich and fertile world in the first film, and we’re eager to see him expand on that vision with Berandal.”
“To all our fans, thank you so much for your support. We can't wait to come back and show you what we have been working on,” said writer/director Gareth Evans. “We'll be there in 2014 with a film bigger, better, and bloodier! Wish us luck.”
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) acquired the film for the United States, Spain, Latin America, and South Africa; and Sony Pictures Classics will once again release the film theatrically in the United States"

THE APPARITION (2012) Review

Directed by: Todd Lincoln
Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton

The promotional material for THE APPARITION featured quite an intriguing tagline ‘Once you believe you die’ which was pretty much the only thing that piqued my interest about this movie. Logically I assumed that the story would hinge on this idea of belief which could have made for an interesting scenario but instead it doesn’t appear in the film at all. Talk about bait and switch…

I watched THE APPARITION and THE POSSESSION back to back which it turns out wasn't such a great idea at all. THE POSSESSION was your usual toned down retread of THE EXORCIST, something which has been done countless times before and really doesn't need to be done again. Ever.
But as disappointing as it was, it was nothing compared to THE APPARITION.

The film opens with some old grainy Super 8 footage of a séance being performed by a group of psychics attempting to contact a former colleague of theirs. We then see the same experiment being performed in more modern times as trio of students Patrick (Felton), Ben (Stan) and Lydia (Julianna Guill) try to take a more scientific approach. This same mixture of science and the supernatural was used (unconvincingly) in THE DEVIL INSIDE and it doesn't work any better here. I'll be the first to admit I'm not very well versed in any kind of science but the way they try to explain everything here just sounds like bullshit to me.
Anyway, the experiment works. Kind of. They contact an entity and a portal is opened which promptly sucks Lydia into what we can only assume is some sort of spirit netherworld.

Fast forward to four years later and we see Ben moving into a new house with his girlfriend Kelly (Greene). Life seems to be going pretty swell and all that shit from four years earlier seems to be far from Ben’s mind. But why is he going out of his way to avoid all the emails and phone calls he keeps getting from Patrick? And why does weird shit start happening around their new house?

I'll bet you can guess how the rest of the movie turns out, and you know why? Because that’s exactly what it is; predictable. And of course when the strange occurrences start to happen they are all the same old clichés you see everywhere these days. Moving furniture, shadows, doors opening, animals acting strange etc. Apparently the filmmakers wanted to add something a little different to this affair though so they also lifted some familiar elements from other films like DARK WATER, JU-ON and THE RING.

But as weird and unexplained as all of this is, that’s all it is. At no point is there a suggestion that Ben and Kelly’s lives are in danger, it’s as if this entity just wants to fuck with their heads. It pulled Lydia into some kind of vortex at the movie’s beginning so why doesn't it just do that again?

And I won’t even go into how inane some of the character dialogue is. Suffice to say that plenty of it is overly obvious and even cringe worthy. But it’s not all negative (although most of it is) because in a similar way to THE POSSESSION the movie does create some creepy atmosphere in a few parts but nowhere near as much as it could have. Also, Ashley Greene provides some eye candy for those so inclined (she’s not really my type). Apart from that though THE APPARITION is a downright terrible film. And when it brings up the whole scientific angle towards the end – a whole lot of bullshit talk about reverse polarities and electromagnetic crap – you know that it’s just a desperate attempt on the film’s part to try and sound much more intelligent than it actually is.

Apparently 2012 wasn't such a great year for these kind of supernatural / ghost / possession type flicks and THE APPARITION is easily one of the worst. If you do want to see a decent ghost flick from last year then I recommend THE WOMAN IN BLACK but as for THE APPARITION; do yourself a favor and avoid it.

THE POSSESSION (2012) Review

Directed by: Ole Bornedal
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis

THE POSSESSION is yet another supernatural film using the term ‘based on true events’ which as we all know is code speak for ‘95% bullshit’. The ‘real’ story is available online to read and makes for an interesting story but that’s about all it is, because as far as I can tell there’s no real proof that anything evil or supernatural happened at all. But I digress…

Originally to be titled DIBBUK BOX, the movie is about a mysterious box bought at a yard sale (bought on eBay in the real life story) by a young girl. Unbeknownst to the girl the box houses a Dibbuk (some sort of Jewish demon spirit) and after she opens it strange shit starts to go down. Her father begins doing some investigating and eventually enrolls a Rabbi to help.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it really has no point and didn't need to be made at all. I know that may sound harsh but it’s true. There are plenty of other movies which tell the same story much better than this and just because this is based on ‘true’ events or because it has a fancy new name for a demon doesn't make it any different from just about every other possession / exorcism film out there. It has all of the key elements; a young girl, strange happenings around the house, insects, strange voices, and a climax involving a risky ritual to try and exorcise the demon. I can see that people might appreciate its Jewish angle but all that meant to me was that a Rabbi performed the exorcism instead of a priest.

THE POSSESSION is basically a generic, predictable and cliché-filled supernatural thriller with nothing noteworthy, nothing to distinguish it from all of the other similar films out there. And even worse is the fact that it’s not scary at all.

And somehow the pointlessness of this film is worse than if it had just been a terrible movie, because then at least I might have had something to laugh at. Instead THE POSSESSION is like an old story that I've heard countless times over and which has grown more stale and boring with each retelling.

After buying this mysterious box the girl begins acting strangely although nothing yet to suggest she’s being possessed. I actually found the first half of the film to be a lot better and more interesting than the second half. It contained more of the creepy, atmospheric scenes like the room full of moths. But of course eventually the interesting parts give way to more clichés and predictable sequences and soon you can already see how the film is going to end.

One good thing I can say about THE POSSESSION is that it looks good. It has some good cinematography, a creepy atmosphere in parts and the special effects looked decent. It also has some solid acting from Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the father and not too bad a performance by Natasha Calis playing the possessed girl Em.

But that’s about as far as the positives go. With nothing new or original this is a movie that never really needed to be made. It also had a lot of unresolved plot points and missed opportunities throughout the story. If you’re a hardcore fan of these possession / exorcism movies and you need to see them all then by all means go ahead. But if you’re (like me) more than a little tired of all of these disappointing supernatural flicks of late then I would recommend staying away. At least it's not as bad as some of the other similar films which came out last year (I'm looking at you THE APPARITION!) but it definitely was not great.


Directed by: James Glickenhaus
Starring: Robert Ginty, Christopher George, Steve James

Vigilante revenge flicks have always been a favorite of mine. Whether somebody has been raped or tortured or had their families killed it always feels good to see the victim get even, and then some.
THE EXTERMINATOR takes this most basic of premises and although it doesn’t really add anything new it still comes across as a decent DEATH WISH-like vigilante film.

The movie opens with an explosive Vietnam War prelude with bullets flying and bombs exploding all over the place. A small group of American soldiers find themselves surrounded and captured by the Viet Cong and after one of them is killed (in a surprisingly satisfying decapitation sequence) another soldier Mike (James) attacks the enemy and saves his fellow soldier John's (Ginty) life. Obviously taking place on a sound stage, this sequence was actually shot in only 4 days as an afterthought, perhaps to try and add something different to the film but more probably to give it a bit of an APOCALYPSE NOW vibe.

Post Vietnam and the two surviving American soldiers John Eastland and his pal Michael are settling into their civilian lives, but when Mike is mugged by a gang of street thugs calling themselves the Ghetto Ghouls, his neck is broken and he is left paralyzed and unable to speak. John swears revenge on the gang and becomes The Exterminator. But wreaking revenge on his pal’s muggers is only the first step. Next he needs a quick way to come up with some money for Mike’s family since Mike obviously can’t work anymore. Eventually he finds himself involved with an abused prostitute and soon he’s wiping all kinds of scum off of the streets. But of course not all of this goes unnoticed and soon the police and CIA are hot on his trail.
The traumatic experience of war is something I hope I’ll never have to go through, but we’ve all heard stories and seen films which show what can happen to a soldier’s mind (FIRST BLOOD being a perfect example). I suppose this was the reason the extra Vietnam scenes were added in afterwards, to give John a better excuse for flying completely off the handle.

And of course the film wants you to side with John Eastland so it throws in the type of villains you have to hate; thugs, gangsters and child molesters, leaving you to cheer on The Exterminator as he blows them all away. Well that’s the theory anyway, but John isn’t exactly the kind of guy you feel like cheering on. He’s much too bland a character and after he achieves revenge he really has no cause to kill anymore, so why does he?

After the decapitation at the movie’s beginning, I had expected the violence to continue throughout, but it’s really nowhere near as brutal or graphic as I had expected (or hoped) which was a bit disappointing.
There is a nice scene involving an industrial sized meat grinder but for an exploitation flick which was banned in more than one country you would expect to see a lot more explicit violence.

There is an unnecessary romantic sub-plot involving the cop James Dalton (George) jammed in there and also an underdeveloped plot involving the CIA which was very sloppily inserted in the film. The script and dialogue are pretty terrible (when asked what Vietnam was like, all that Detective Dalton can reply with is that “It was bad”) and the acting ranges from average to shit.

THE EXTERMINATOR isn't such a bad movie really, and for an exploitation flick it ticks all the boxes. It probably could have been a bit more violent in my opinion, but mostly by the time the credits roll the movie will make you realize just how much better a film like DEATH WISH is. Recommended for exploitation fans but others may be disappointed.

Filming Begins On WOLF CREEK 2

I don't know about you but I loved WOLF CREEK. Did it really warrant a sequel though? I kinda think not,  mostly because every scenario I come up with in my head has the sequel being pretty much a rerun of the first film. But no matter what I think the sequel is most definitely going ahead anyway, so let's hope it turns out good. Filming has just started in the Flinders Ranges in Australia with John Jarratt returning as the psychotic killer Mick Taylor.

WOLF CREEK also stars Ryan Corr (Packed to the Rafters), Shannon Ashlyn (Puberty Blues, Devil’s Dust), and Philipe Klaus (Devil’s Dust, Rake)

Synopsis:Lured by the promise of an Australian holiday, backpackers Rutger, Katarina, and Paul visit the notorious Wolf Creek Crater. Their dream Outback adventure soon becomes a horrific reality when they encounter the site’s most infamous local, the last man any traveler to the region ever wants to meet; Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). As the backpackers flee, Mick pursues them on an epic white knuckled rampage across hostile wasteland. Only one will remain to be dragged back to his lair to witness the true magnitude of his monstrosity. And if the last man standing is to have any hope of surviving where no one else has survived before, he'll have to use every ounce of cunning to outwit the man behind the monster and become every bit as ruthless as the monster inside the man.


CALIGULA (1979) Review

Directed by: Tinto Brass
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Guido Mannari

What can be said about Caligula? Chances are if you have heard of this you would probably know of its lavish catalogue of perversions. Sweet Jesus everything gets covered here; incest, pissing, necrophilia, fisting, etc. To call this film flat out pornography would not do it justice even in its slightest. The film does have a good deal of hardcore sex but the sex is not the subject matter of the piece although that being said there are lots of unnecessary orgy scenes. 
The cast is exceptional. There is a line up of legendary British actors including Peter O Toole, Helen Mirren, Malcom Mcdowell to name a few. The set designs are amazingly detailed, costumes are exquisite and Malcom Mcdowell's role as the tyrannical emperor Caligula is brilliantly realised. This is an amazing film and an oddity in the history of adult cinema.

The story begins with the ill emperor Tiberius in his last days. His grandson Caligula is awaiting his death as he is heir to the throne. Caligula's confidante Macron speeds the process by strangling Tiberius. So it begins. As the power and influence goes to Caligula's head during his rein his sanity takes a turn for the worst. He sends many of his senators to the gallows for no particular reason along with his brother and his friend Macron. He also had an excessive and decadent life style that was rendering Rome in debt. In one scene Caligula decides to consolidate Rome's surplus by running an imperial brothel with the senators wives as the whores. Which of course pisses the senators off. The rest of the film is the undoing of Caligula as his senators turn their backs on him and plot his eventual bloody demise. 

Although this film is considered pornography it has some brilliant cinematography which definitely lifts this film out of gutter to some where between low art and high art. I think the only thing that held this film back is the unnecessary scenes of hardcore sex. It seems they drag on for too long. If it was toned down a fraction I believe that the public and critics alike would have received it better. I'm talking about Palme d'or material. 
For those of who are familiar with the HBO television series Rome, you would find it hard to believe that this film is LESS gratuitous than that puddle of excrement. 
As a period piece this film is exceptional. 

Although massively unsuccessful in America (the market it was aimed at) it must have had some fanfare in Italy as it spawned an unofficial sequel. There are many different cuts and versions of this film. The 160 minute cut is the full film as its creators intended for viewing. The other cuts vary between 80-100 minutes which I'm sure would have been a butchered bloody mess. Mcdowell has since proclaimed that he is embarrassed about the film. That's a bit harsh. If I was him I'd be more embarrassed for being in piles of shit like Class of 1999 and Cyborg 3.

This film deserves to be watched and appreciated in its entirety. 

This might be stretching the friendship but I'm going to give this film 4/5 stars


DEATH RACE 2000 (1975) Review

Directed by: Paul Bartel
Starring: David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Griffeth

In the far off futuristic year 2000 the United States of America is no more. Now a fascist police state, the United Provinces is run by Mr. President who satisfies the citizens with a new type of gladiatorial sport, the Annual Transcontinental Road Race. Far from being an ordinary race this one takes place across three days and finishing first isn't the only way to win. The competitors are encouraged to run down as many pedestrians as possible, with different age groups giving the drivers a certain amount of points. Teenagers are worth 40 points, toddlers and children under 12 earn 70 points and the big score is anybody over the age of 75, giving the driver a whopping 100 points each.

Five drivers and their navigators take part in the race but it is the mysterious driver Frankenstein (Carradine) who takes centre stage. The masked, caped man is the government's champion and has supposedly been rebuilt many times over after losing arms, legs, eyes and other body parts in previous races. He wears a mask to hide his horribly disfigured face.

But as simple as things may seem at first, there is a rogue element involved; a rebel group who's aim is to stop the race and take down the oppressive government. They've even managed to plant one of their own as a death race navigator...

Let's get something out of the way first; DEATH RACE 2000 is a badly made film. Roger Corman pretty much cobbled it together in a hurry to take advantage of the publicity for ROLLERBALL. He wanted a futuristic action, sports film and so optioned the short story The Racer by Ib Melchior and had it adapted into a screenplay. But when I say it's badly made that in no way means that it is a bad movie. It is in fact a very entertaining piece of b-movie exploitation, full of droll humor and satire and has deservedly gained a cult following and became the inspiration for the classic videogame Carmageddon. Some even argue that Darth Vader was modelled somewhat on Frankenstein which given their similarities seems entirely possible.

The acting is campy, the story and dialogue border on the ridiculous and the fight scene between Frankenstein and his rival Machine Gun Joe (Stallone) is the most hilarious and badly choreographed you will see, but I can't seem to help loving the shit out of this movie. And the droll humor comes thick and fast, with some hilarious moments like the 'Euthanasia Day' at the geriatric hospital and the government blaming the rebel attacks on the French. I also love the Wile E. Coyote type tricks that the rebels use, like the ol' fake tunnel gag.

Many people would say that DR2K glorifies violence but I think I'd have to disagree. To me it's just one big parody, in fact it parodies a lot of things but mostly America's obsession with cars, violence and sports. There's obviously an attempt at a political message here too but it's not as strong as it could be and I'm glad because I think if it were it might have detracted from the rest of the film.

For pure trashy, b-grade exploitation DEATH RACE 2000 is a brilliant movie and I think the best part about it is that even through Corman's aim was to piggyback off of ROLLERBALL, his DEATH RACE went on to become a much better and more widely celebrated film. A must-see for fans of exploitation, trash and b-movies. It also has one of Stallone's best performances (which admittedly isn't saying much).


In all honesty another AMITYVILLE film is pretty high on the list of things the horror genre really needs at the moment. But can taking the story out of the infamous Long Island house and into a mental institution breathe some new life into this tale? Only time will tell. In any case thanks to Dread Central we have the first official poster and a selection of stills from the upcoming film and with any luck we should see a trailer some time next month.

THE AMITYVILLE ASYLUM is written, produced and directed by Andrew Jones and stars Sophia Del Pizzo, Lee Bane, Eileen Daly, Paul Kelleher, Jared Morgan and Sarah Louise Madison.

Synopsis:Lisa Templeton begins a new job as a cleaner at High Hopes Hospital, a mental institution in Amityville, Long Island. Initially delighted to get the job, Lisa soon realises that all is not as it seems. Intimidated by staff and the psychotic ramblings of the patients, she is further unnerved by apparent supernatural occurrences on the night shift. To preserve her sanity, Lisa must uncover the mysterious history of the institution and its inmates. But the truth is far more terrifying than she could ever imagine”


When journalists go poking their noses around secretive communities you know that something bad is going to happen. Inspired by true events THE SECRET VILLAGE is an upcoming indie thriller which follows a journalist on a mission to unravel the mysteries of a small town.
The film is directed by Swamy Kandan from a screenplay written by Kandan & Jason B. Whittier and stars Jonathan Bennett, Ali Faulkner, Richard Riehle and Stelio Savante.
Below you will find the official trailer and poster along with a selection of stills. Be sure to check out the movie's official Facebook page for further details.

Synopsis: “In this chilling suspense thriller, a journalist Rachel is determined to unravel the mystery behind an outbreak of strange events in a small town. She meets with a local who is willing to share the events which are reminiscent of the Salem ergot poisonings. However, with the local’s sudden death, and her friend’s disappearance, all leads come to a dead end. Rachel is left alone to unravel the villagers’ secret.”


There's been Texas chainsaws, nail guns, meat cleavers, slumber parties, hospitals, women's prisons and even a microwave massacre. In fact there are so many films with the word 'massacre' in their title that it makes you wonder how and why Hair Metal wasn't given the massacre treatment. Well thankfully that problem has now been remedied because director Danny Draven (REEL EVIL) is working on his next feature HAIR METAL MASSACRE.
For the second time in as many days Danny has released some official artwork for his upcoming feature, check out the first here and the second below. And don't forget to visit the official Facebook page for more details.