December 29, 2011

Filthy Review - Chop

Chop (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Horror and comedy, two genres that in all reality should not mix yet they do lend themselves so well to each. When done correctly I should hasten to add. Shaun of the Dead lovingly paid homage to the zombie sub-genre, whilst managing to be laugh out loud funny. Tucker and Dale vs Evil, whilst not as universally adored still managed to put a great twist on the Hillbilly killers genre. These are two films that blended the two genres and nailed it. Alas for every one that works there are untold that fall flat on their faces, without the aid of a blood-soaked banana skin.

When I approached Chop, the latest release in the rather quite good Bloody Disgusting Selects imprint, it was with a quiet sense of optimism. The reason for this? Not because I am a huge fan of horror/comedies, because I really am not, but because it marks the directorial debut of Trent Haaga. Most recently Haaga penned the delicious zombie hybrid movie DeadGirl. That was, and still is, a cracking, twisted and pitch black horror movie that isn’t without its comedic moments. With Chop though, the humor is very much at the forefront.

If the above mentioned films put a comedic twist on zombies and Hillbillies then Chop takes a little dig at the torture porn phase of graphic horror. Well, that is how I saw it anyway. The story follows a scruffy looking fella named Lance, who whilst on his travels falls foul to his car giving up on him. Eventually a passing driver picks him up, and this is when Lance’s troubles really begin. Now, I made the mistake of reading the back of the DVD case and wish I hadn’t. You see, I am the sort of person that doesn’t want too much of the story spoiled for me. Give me a rough outline and I am good to go. Let’s just say that the kindly driver that picks Lance up has less than good intentions planned for him.

What follows is a nice blend of black humor and plenty of violence, most of which is aimed towards Lance. The jokes don’t always work, but the majority do and some of them are laugh out loud funny. The main reason the humor does work so well is due to the performance from Billy Bakshi, as Lance, who has great comic timing and knows how to play the laughs.

One thing that did keep my attention, and kept it well, was the fact that I had no idea as to why Lance was being put through the ordeal. His tormentor doesn’t let on, instead insisting that Lance reveal it to him. When it is finally revealed you will either laugh your ass off, or look blankly at the screen with a strange mix of bewilderment and anger. I thought it was finely absurd, but it isn’t going to float everyone’s boat.

Overall Chop is a well-made movie with the majority of the performances being decent enough. It isn’t the best release in the Bloody Disgusting Select series, and it certainly doesn’t join Shaun of the Dead or Tucker and Dale in the upper echelon of comedy/horror. However, it is a solid directorial debut from Haaga and a fun way to pass an hour and a half. If you like your violence mixed with humor and a few twists thrown in, this could be your thing.

Chop is available now on DVD, VOD and Digital Download through Vivendi Entertainment.

December 23, 2011

The Lair's Top 10 Shorts of 2011

Short films are so often overlooked. Well, not by me. Quite frankly there are some superb examples out there, and below is my Top 10 that I have seen this year, and not necessarily released this year.

10. Ice Scream 

9. Sons of Chaos (Review)

8. Rosa

7. Snow Angel (Review)

6. Deviling (Review)

5. Axed (Review)

4. Worm (Review)

3. Deus Irae (Review)

2. Bobby Yeah (Review)

1. Prick (Review)

Who Dares Wins, The Wild Geese and more! New Arrow Releases

Here's some news regarding some new releases heading our way from the fine folk at Arrow. From our exclusive feed with Cult Labs I can tell you that they have four new releases across their Arrowdrome and Arrow Video imprints.

The films are Who Dares Wins, starring Lewis "The Man" Collins, and which is a movie I totally dig. Next up is The Wild Geese, starring everyone's favorite eyebrow legend Roger Moore. Then we have The Deadly Spawn and Don't Go In The House. Now, I am no fan of Don't Go In The House but I do know it has its following, so they are sure to be happy campers. Me, I will take Who Dares Wins all the way! Full details on the releases below. (Please note that prices are in English Pounds and the release dates are DD/MM/YY format, so expect them in March.

Who Dares Wins (Arrow Video)


Paranoia, black ops and espionage combine in Who Dares Wins, a violent and edgy anti-terror classic starring Lewis Collins (The Professionals) and Edward Woodward (The Equalizer).
The anti-nuclear movement is plotting a bloody outrage on British soil and, having already fatally lost their undercover operative at a violent protest, the secret services call on the aid of the SAS. Captain Peter Skellen (Collins) risks his career, his family and his life to infiltrate the terrorist group before they can unleash an attack that will devastate the country.

Relive a classic cold war thrill ride which remains relevant to this day… Who Dares Wins, a violent lesson in how to deal with the enemy within.


- Reversible sleeve with 3 original poster artworks and newly commissioned artwork cover
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Ali Catterall, author of British Cult Movies Since the Sixties


- High Definition Presentation of the film
- Audio commentary with producer Euan Lloyd and director Ian Sharp
- The Making of Who Dares Wins, featuring Euan Lloyd, Ian Sharp, Lewis Collins, Judy Davis and more!
- The Last of the Gentleman Producers: A Documentary on the life of the legendary producer Euan Lloyd, featuring Sir Roger Moore, Ingrid Pitt, Kenneth Griffith and more!
- Two Original Trailers
- Plus more special features to be announced!

Starring Lewis Collins, Judy Davis, Edward Woodward, Richard Widmark
Directed by Ian Sharp
Produced by Euan Lloyd
Original Art by Graham Humphreys
1.77:1 Aspect Ratio
Uncompressed PCM Mono Audio
Optional English SDH subtitles
Feature and extras 1080/24p Region B
RRP £24.99
Blu-ray Released 05/03/12

The Wild Geese (Arrow Video)

One Last Pay Day… One More Chance To Die!

Legendary hell-raisers Richard Burton and Richard Harris, along with a coolly detached Roger Moore are aging mercenaries with a taste for fine liquor, drawn together for a late but extremely lucrative pay day in The Wild Geese, an African adventure soaked in booze, gunfire and bloodshed.

Colonel Allen Faulkner (Burton) is secretly back in London to accept the task of reinstating an African leader deposed in a violent military coup, but without the combat skills of his two old friends, there isn’t going to be a mission. With his two reliable loose cannons in place, Faulkner and the team enact a text book rescue operation but disaster is close at hand when the cynical multinational who set up the whole deal turns the tables, striking a new deal with the local despot which sees The Wild Geese trying to escape with their lives intact.

The Wild Geese are ready for one last mission so finish your drinks and relive this classic old school British action adventure today.


- Reversible sleeve with 3 original poster artworks and newly commissioned artwork cover
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Ali Catterall, author of British Cult Movies Since the Sixties


- High Definition Presentation of the film
- Audio commentary with Roger Moore, producer Euan Lloyd and second unit director John Glen
- World Premiere Newsreel Footage
- Original Trailer
- Plus more special features to be announced!

Starring Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Krüger and Stewart Granger
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Produced by Euan Lloyd
Original Art by Graham Humphreys
1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
2.0 Stereo Audio
Optional English SDH subtitles
Feature and extras 1080/24p Region B
RRP £24.99
Blu-ray Released 12/03/12

The Deadly Spawn (Arrow Video)

They Crawl, They Breed, THEY EAT!

Something awful is coming, hurtling through the void in a meteor that’s on a collision course with Earth. What terrifying entry in the annals of horror will be unleashed when the sinister intergalactic payload smashes into our planet? Answer? THE DEADLY SPAWN!
Two foolish campers witness the crash and investigate. They become the first eviscerated victims of the alien menace. Soon, a small, heartland American town will be under siege as the carnivores from outer space multiply and feast on the locals.

Can a gang of plucky kids stand up to these invaders from another world? Will the planet be overwhelmed? Find out in THE DEADLY SPAWN, A classic serving of low budget schlock from the golden era of independent American horror.


- Digitally remastered windowboxed transfer in the original full frame aspect ratio
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Craig Kraaken
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Calum Waddell and Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs) and an interview between Tim Sullivan and Special Effects Director John Dods.
- Two Audio commentaries with writer and producer Ted A. Bohus and editor Marc Harwood.
- A Comic-style prequel with its own musical score
- Alternate opening sequence with new effects and credits
- In the Workshop of S/FX Director John Dods
- A selection of archive TV interviews featuring the filmmakers
- Stills gallery featuring behind-the-scenes images, pages from the script, artwork and more!
- Outtake Reel
- Audition Tapes
- Original Theatrical Trailer

Original Art by Craig Kraaken
1.33:1 Full Frame Aspect Ratio
Original Audio
Region 0 NTSC
RRP £15.99
DVD Released 19/03/12

Don't Go in the House (ArrowDrome)


Most horror killers like to slash and slice their victims but little Donny prefers setting them alight in Don’t Go In The House, a sleazy reminder of just how shocking horror movies could get in the video nasty era.

Donny is a disturbed kid… A mother’s boy if you will. That is until mother expires and Donny’s world crumbles in on itself. Now, lonely, adrift and enslaved to dark voices in his head, Donny seeks female companionship but drinks and dancing are the last thing on his mind. Mother’s telling him he’s a bad boy and the voices won’t let him rest. Maybe if he just gets a girl home and into his steel lined burning chamber, the chatter might quiet down…

Now see Don’t Go In The House – complete and uncut – and revel in the surreal sleaze, low rent Hitchcock melodrama, off Broadway acting and extreme, heat-seared violence of an independent horror classic that still retains its ability drop jaws, rattle cages and offend sensibilities over 30 years later.



Region 2 PAL
RRP £9.99
DVD Released 26/03/13

December 21, 2011

Filthy Review - Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

As a wee young lad I remember spying Pierre Boulle’s Monkey Planet on my Dad’s book shelf. This led to me watching the subsequent movies it inspired and, although only Planet of the Apes really sticks in my memory, I became a fan. As much as Charles Heston et al stuck in my mind, they also ingrained themselves in the public consciousness. From the merchandise they spawned to the influences and homage’s in movies made since.

Inevitably Planet of the Apes was remade, in 2001, with Tim Burton at the helm. Now, this should have been a good thing, Burton is one of the more visually arresting director’s working today, but despite this the movie ended up being not very memorable. I certainly didn’t hate it, I just really don’t remember an awful lot about it.

This all brings us around to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Boulle’s work is once again the reference point, but this time directed by the relative newcomer in English director Rupert Wyatt. Expectation levels, from myself, weren’t all that high. However, the trailers that preceeded this movie’s release did indeed show a lot of promise.

In the movie Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease by experimenting on apes. He is driven due to his own father suffering from the illness. The experiments work far better than he anticipates, and to skirt around too much plot, result in one particular ape’s, named Caeser, intelligence sky-rocketing. This enhanced intelligence will ultimately backfire, of course, on its creator once Caeser finds himself imprisoned.

What we end up with though is one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in quite a while. The story may be familiar, the central them itself is nothing new, but the execution is just wonderful, with everything held together by a quite astounding performance by Andy Serkis as Caeser. I promise you that you will find yourself mesmerized by the subtleties of this performance.

Serkis is ably supported by the seriously underrated James Franco, as well as supporting turns by veterans Brian Cox and John Lithgow. I personally would have liked to have seen both Cox’s and Lithgow’s roles expanded slightly, as I felt they were underused in terms of what they are both capable of.

On a first glance it might be the visuals that you take away from this movie, and they are quite stunning for the most part. They do show a few flaws in the latter stages but not enough to spoil the movie for you. The visuals, however, are not the movie’s strongest point though in my eyes. That would go to the emotional depth that Serkis manages to infuse into his role as Caeser. Relying on purely on the actions of his character, we aren’t talking about the talking Apes of Franklin J. Schaeffer’s movie here, he manages to convey everything to the audience.

In a time when many so-called blockbuster movies prove to be nothing more than soulless affairs, here is one that defies the expectations and delivers on just about all fronts. Quite simply I thought this was an excellent film. Highly recommended.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Release Date Pushed Forward

The upcoming release, from Oscilloscope Pictures, of We Need To Talk About Kevin has had its release date pushed forward due to the buzz surround the movie. It will now hit NY on January 13th and LA on January 20th. This makes a nice change from films having their release dates pushed back. Below is the full press release, as well as some exclusive stills and the trailer. Personally, I cannot wait for this.


New York, NY (December 21, 2011) - New York-based distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that the company has pushed up the New York theatrical release for the Tilda Swinton starrer WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Set to play at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Angelika Film Center, the picture will now open in New York on Friday, January 13th, 2012 and at the Arclight Hollywood Theater in Los Angeles on Friday, January 20th, 2012.

A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son. Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller). Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the film explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is measured against Kevin's innate evilness.

"We had an amazing one-week qualifying run in December where the film's attendance exceeded even our highest expectations. The reviews were stellar and the word of mouth is only growing. It's an intense psychological thriller that audiences feel the need to talk about afterwards. By definition this is an ideal 'Word of Mouth' film," said David Fenkel, President of Oscilloscope Laboratories. "Theaters are excited to have a quality arthouse genre film to bring in younger audiences"

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN has already garnered several accolades and nominations this awards season, including numerous BEST ACTRESS recognitions for its lead star Tilda Swinton:
National Board of Review (WINNER - BEST ACTRESS)
European Film Awards (WINNER - BEST ACTRESS)
British Independent Film Awards (WINNER - BEST DIRECTOR)
San Francisco Film Critics (WINNER - BEST ACTRESS)
Women Film Critics Circle (WINNER - BEST FILM BY A WOMAN)
Houston Film Critics (WINNER - BEST ACTRESS)
Broadcast Film Critics Awards (NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS)
British Independent Film Awards (NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS)
British Independent Film Awards (NOMINEE - BEST FILM)
British Independent Film Awards (NOMINEE - BEST SCREENPLAY)
London Film Critics Circle (NOMINEE - BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR)
London Film Critics Circle (NOMINEE - ACTRESS OF THE YEAR)
Washington DC Film Critics (NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS)
San Diego Film Critics (NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS)
Indiana Film Critics (NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS)

December 20, 2011

Ready To Get Chopped? Three New Clips From Chop

The latest release in the Bloody Disgusting Selects series, in collaboration with The Collective, and released by Vivendi is the horror comedy Chop. The movie, which is the directorial debut of Trent Haaga, has previously been covered here at the Lair, and now I have some new clips to share with you. I'll have my review up in time for the movie's release on December 27th, so probably the day before Christmas Eve all going well. 

Just be warned, some of the language might scare your Granny!

Lance Reed, a seemingly innocent man, is forced by a psychotic stranger to confront his duplicitous past. The mysterious stranger, seeking retribution for a past crime, forces Lance to reveal his inner most secrets by systematically removing his limbs!  As time runs out and Lance’s limb count dwindles, he must recall what he’s done to the stranger before he doesn’t have a head to remember with. Jam-packed with laughs, gore and some insane twists, CHOP is the directorial debut of DEADGIRL screenwriter Trent Haaga.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - Blu-ray and DVD Details

The New Year is shaping up to be a good time for Blu-ray and DVD releases, with the latest being Martha Marcy May Marlene. It's another movie that has been on my radar for awhile now, and I am eager to catch it. Twentieth Century Fox will be releasing it on both formats on February 21st 2012. Stills and a clip below.

Featuring the Award Winning Short Film “Mary Last Seen”
Only On Blu-ray and DVD February 21

From 2011 Sundance Film Festival “Best Director” winner Sean Durkin, in his feature film debut, and featuring breakout star Elizabeth Olsen in her “Best Female Lead” Film Independent Spirit Award nominated role, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE arrives on Blu-ray and DVD February 21 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
After escaping from a dangerous cult and the watchful eye of its charismatic leader, a young woman named Martha (Olsen) tries to reclaim a normal life with her family. But the haunting memories from Martha’s past trigger a chilling paranoia — and nowhere seems safe as the fragile line between her reality and delusions begin to blur.
Supported by unforgettable powerhouse performances from Academy Award® nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, American Gangster) and Sarah Paulson (Down With Love, What Women Want), theMARTHA MARCY MARY MARLENE Blu-ray and DVD is rich with feature special features, including “Mary Last Seen,” the chilling short film by writer/director Durkin that started it all.
●    Mary Last Seen
●    Spotlight on Elizabeth Olsen
●    The Story
●    The Making of Martha Marcy May Marlene
●    A Conversation with Filmmakers
●    The Psyche of a Cult
●    "Marcy's Song" Music Video by John Hawkes
●    Theatrical Trailer
●    Mary Last Seen

December 19, 2011

Filthy Review - Straw Dogs

Straw Dogs (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

If you read this expecting a comparison piece with Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 movie you will be sorely disappointed. That is an excellent movie and that is that. I am not here to review it, compare it with this redux or complain about remakes. No, I just want to share my humble thoughts on director Rod Lurie’s Straw Dogs. All I will say is the fact that this movie exists in no way, shape or form effects the original movie.

David Sumner (James Marsden) and his wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) move to Blackwater, Tennessee, which happens to be Amy’s hometown, so that David can work on his screenplay for a movie he is working on.

It soon becomes apparent that it is a very tightly knit community, and everyone knows Amy. David though is the outsider and is treated as such, not necessarily in a mean way, but some of the folk do like to mess with him. The main protagonist is Charlie (Alexander Skaarsgard) and his band of buddies, who are all incidentally hired on to work on the barn on David and Amy’s property.

After some unwanted attention upsets Amy she turns to her husband for support. This doesn’t go quite as she hopes it would, so begins a tale of possible provocation and ultimately attacks on the quiet life they had both hoped for.

There is also a concurrent plot thread concerning Dominic Purcell’s character Jeremy and his infatuation with a school girl and the subsequent run-ins with her violent father, played by James Woods. All of which will eventually come to ahead in this violent tale.

Some may know the story, and others may not, but from my point of view I found it to be an enjoyable movie that managed to slow-burn the tension up until the finale. Sure, it was a little glossy and it was lacking in any real subtlety in its approach to any of the storylines, but by the time it reached the closing credits I wasn’t cursing at the screen for offending my eyes.

The cast were decent enough, although it was Skaarsgard who put in the most convincing performance. He casts a menacing figure and his mix of Southern charm and underlying violence was played out well in my opinion. James Woods overacts the hell out of his role, which is surprising seeing as he is capable of much more. I would have preferred a more subtle approach in his role. Although, this is a movie of stereotypes, with the city folk heading out to the uncivilized South. In that respect I did see a lot of similarities with the recent redux of I Spit on Your Grave, although that was a far more violent movie.

The violence here is kept very much under the surface, to begin with. It does come though, from the uncomfortable assault to full on bloodshed, and doesn’t let up until the very end.

As I mentioned, it is a glossy film, albeit one that is trying to be gritty and there is really nothing wrong with that. There are faults with the movie, and you will question both David’s and Amy’s actions throughout. As I said though, I enjoyed the movie. It didn’t tax my brain and passed a couple of hours quite nicely. There will be those that despise it for their own reasons, but I didn’t. Take from that what you will.

Straw Dogs is released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 20th through Sony Picutres Home Entertainment