BLU-RAY REVIEW: WAKE UP AND KILL

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As much as I love the Italian horror genre, the cinema di Italia has plenty more to offer (such as the 4,567 Spaghetti Westerns that I, a horror reviewer by trade, have inexplicably reviewed for this site) for cinephiles lookin’ for a lil’ somethin’ different. And as coincidence would have it, I have an Italian flick from their rough and tumble crime genre right here in my hot lil’ hands by the name of WAKE UP AND KILL (although if that is the option I would rather stay asleep thank you very much)!

So what is ol’ WAKE UP about? It’s about 120 minutes…thank you, thank you; your laughter is reward enough. O.k., as much as you beg and plead for more mirth (and you do…YOU DO), I have to give you a quick synopsis; Luciano Lutring (Robert Hoffman) is a petty thief who’s robberies become ever more daring and violent (for instance this dude becomes known as “the machine-gun soloist” since he starts carrying around a machine gun in a violin case). Eventually ol’ LL becomes a folk-hero as he only targets the wealthy for his crimes which always gets a big “huzzah” from the vox-populi.

Filled to the brim with charismatic criminals, crime sprees, car chases and plenty of action, WAKE UP AND KILL is a fun lil’ flick that really delivers. It’s fast paced (even at almost two hours long) and engaging throughout. Just for subject matter alone this would be a welcome addition to your collection if ya dig on tales of Robin Hood or Bonnie and Clyde.

And, since this is an Arrow release, you can bet the picture looks fantastic (it features a new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative). In addition to the Italian version of the film, you also get the shorter English language cut as well, plus for grins they chucked the trailer on here as well.

So why not go on a shopping spree instead of a crime spree and pick up a copy of WAKE UP AND KILL right here!

BLU-RAY REVIEW: REQUIESCANT

Hey there creepies! Continuin’ my trend of bein’ a horror-hound that seems to only review spaghetti westerns for this site; let’s take a look at the new release from those beautiful lil’ devils at Arrow Video entitled REQUIESCANT!

Let me tell ya, REQUIESCANT is a strange one as far as yer typical pistols and pasta flicks are concerned. At it’s core it’s a basic revenge picture; there’s this dude played by Lou Castel (named Requiescant…go figure) that’s a peacenik, raised by a preacher after Confederate soldiers murdered his family that discovers he has a natural talent for sharp shootin’. Now it doesn’t take a braniac to figure out which die-rection this lil’ yarn is takin’. But, while the path is well tread, the way there is not. Die-rector Carlo Lizzani takes a ramblin’ road tellin’ this tale…a road laced with heavy philosophical pondering…especially in regards to the Communist movement in Italy (so class struggle is front and center). Also of note is that the villain of the piece, George Ferguson (Mark Damon) that looks for all the world like he would be at home in a Gothic vampire flick playin’ the main fang banger. It’s an odd aesthetic choice that stands out in an already off-kilter flick.

Now this bein’ an Arrow release, I was a bit shocked that it was so light in the extras department (a few interviews and a trailer is all you get), as usually their releases are packed fat with a bonanza of bonuses; but the transfer is as beautiful as can be, so that is a huge plus. All in all, REQUIESCANT will make a fine addition to anyone’s spaghetti western collection; it’s different enough to stand out from the crowd but well made enough to take it’s place next to your Leone’s and Corbucci’s!

Head here to pick up REQUIESCANT when it’s released on October 13th!

BLU-RAY REVIEW: RETALIATION

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Hey creeps! Remember a few weeks back when I turned ya on to a lil’ flick about bad dudes doin’ really, REALLY bad things entitled MASSACRE GUN? Well, if ya dug that gem, I got some great news for ya; the dynamic diabolical duo of actor Jô Shishido and die-rector Yasuharu Hasebe collaborated on more than one silver-screen slaughterthon; case in point this new release from those sexy devils at Arrow films entitled RETALIATION!

RETALIATION’s story is right there in the title folks; an ex-con by the name of Jiro returns to find his old crime family in shambles so he turns to the Hasama family for a lil’ helpin’ hand. Long story short, they give him a promise which they of course break (they are an evil crime syndicate after all), which leads Jiro to…well, to retaliate, so ya know, RETALIATION!

Released only a year after Hasebe’s previous violent epic MASSACRE GUN (1968 to be exact ya demandin’ B@$tards!); RETALIATION really ups the ante in terms of violence; i.e. there’s more slicin’ and dicin’ goin’ on here than Saturday night at the local Hibachi place (and my lord, you absolutely do not want to be a lady in this film). No holds are barred as the tempera paint blood rains down like an all-Yakuza production of the finale of CARRIE! And unlike MASSACRE GUN, this flick is presented in lurid color (made all the more vivid by that award winnin’ ARROW Films transfer quality)!

And if ya dig the flick proper, there’s also a S-ton of extras; i mean just look at this copy and pasted list of goodies:

Brand new interview with star Jô Shishido
Interview with renowned critic and historian Tony Rayns
Original theatrical trailer
Gallery featuring rare promotional images
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, newly illustrated by Ian MacEwan and featuring original archive stills

So, if ya like your flicks bloody, bawdy and beautiful (yeah, I forgot to mention ol’ Y.H. die-rects the hell out of this thing!) I recommend ya pick up a copy of RETALIATION right here!

BLU-RAY REVIEW: MASSACRE GUN

Hey creeps! Do ya e’er have the urge to kick back and watch some real bad cats do even worse unto others? Sure, who doesn’t? If we didn’t the Tarantinos of the world couldn’t drink Cristal and buy movie theaters. And while I dig Reservoir Dogs and the like, sometimes ya gotta step back and take a gander at some OG bad@$$ery, and there are few finer examples of that than Yasuharu Hasebe’s 1967 bullet ballet MASSACRE GUN!

MASSACRE GUN details the wrong side of the tracks antics of Kuroda (Jô Shishido playin’ the part with buckets of kinetic stoicism…wrap your heads around that one…) who decides to rebel against his crime boss employer (a man who laughs through gritted teeth so ya know he’s the most business of businessmen) after said boss forces him to murderize his lover. Kill-crazy Kuroda is joined in his revenge by his two brothers, and the family that plays together slays together as they manage to engage in a major war against the underworld!

Drenched in bullets, babes and bad guys, MASSACRE GUN is one hard core flick! Fingers are crushed, bullets rip through flesh and messages are delivered via coffins; kinda like a Tuesday here in the Crypt O’ XIII…minus all the violence…and the black and white Yakuza action…o.k., it’s nothing like that here, but the film is damn good! And, because this film is brought to us by those luvable scamps™ at Arrow Films, the picture is crystal clear (and I’m sure the colors would pop if this flick had any), and the disc contains a full complement of bonus-y bonuses (interviews, trailers etc.).

So, MASSACRE GUN needs to be in your collection today, especially if you like bad things happening to bad people…and soulful jazz…or good movies…just buy the damn thing already!

BLU-RAY REVIEW: DAY OF ANGER!

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Hiya creeps! Let me tell ya, yer ol’ pal Daniel XIII is as excited as a Brony on Free Pony Ride day that the amazingly amazin’ UK video distributor Arrow Video has decided to give the ol’ U.S. o’ A. some lovin’ by releasin’ some great genre titles in the comin’ months, like the subject of this here review, DAY OF ANGER!

Now, while you might be all agog, sayin’ to yerself; “But Uncle Mr. Sexy Daniel XIII; I thought you were strictly a horror hound, what are you doing reviewing a western!” Well, kiddos, I do loves me some grue and gore fer sure, but I am a connoisseur of other fare that wouldn’t be outta place in yer local grindhouse or drive-in; Spaghetti Westerns, sleazy crime films, far out sci-fi…I dig ‘em all! And lo and behold; DAY OF ANGER is a western of the pasta and sauce variety! So, let’s dig in our spurs and head out on the ol’ dusty trail and turn our putrid peepers on Tonino Valerii’s 1967 gem (I kinda gave away that the flick is good right there, but yer just playin’ Trivia Crack anyway, so just keep readin’! By the way, the answer is “Ziggy Stardust”…not that I’m starin’ in yer windows or anything…’cuz I ain’t).

Sooo, DAY OF ANGER; what’s it all about? Well, the long and short of it is this; our hapless hero Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma) is a bullied street cleaner in a desolate western town called Clifton. It isn’t long before a master gun slinging bad@$$ named Talby (the legendary Lee Van Cleef) blows into said town, as is the spaghetti western way. Soon ol’ Scotty decides to change his lot in life and becomes Talby’s student; and the two of them proceed to tear Clifton a new one. Some other junk happens as well, but honestly if I told ya everything you’d drink that free milk and ne’er buy this cow!

And what a cow…err, flick this is! Packed fat with colorful characters, insane-o action (there’s a horse stunt in here that’ll blow yer lil’ mind) and a joltin’ jazzy score; DAY OF ANGER is a real gem of a picture! And while the film in and of itself is 10 gallons o’ fun, the folks at Arrow have really gone all out delivering a gorgeous transfer full of vivid color and crisp images…not to mention you get a few different cuts of the film and a bevy of interviews!

Trust me on this one cats, if ya dig on spaghetti westerns this release of DAY OF ANGER will truly blow ya away! Head here and grab a copy today!