Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - HELLHOLE and BAD MOON on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scream Factory - HELLHOLE and BAD MOON on Blu-ray

HELLHOLE (1985; Pierre De Morro)
My joke with this movie is, "Hey look, it's the film based on the popular Spinal Tap Song!". Silly I know, but I couldn't help myself.
HELLHOLE is an Arkoff International picture. Not to be confused with American International, Arkoff International is the company that Samuel Z. Arkoff formed after he sold of his shares of AIP. HELLHOLE was the last movie produced by Arkoff International. Previous to this, they had done Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, THE FINAL TERROR and UP THE CREEK. Though far from well-known, the other three Arkoff International productions are certainly more renowned than HELLHOLE. Interestingly, HELLHOLE is the most exploitation slanted of all the Arkoff International oeuvre. It's basically a women in prison movie, with all the nudity (unnecessary shower scenes and whatnot), lesbianism and general sleaziness of the American International/New World Pictures classics like CAGED HEAT and THE BIG BIRD CAGE. It also gets a little boost of cult appeal due to the cast. Roger Corman and AIP regular Mary Woronov plays a much more evil version of Nurse Ratchet here and she's great of course. Also, 80s movie fans will recognize star Judy Landers from her many appearances in various films from the period. Also, Terry Moore is in this and I have been a fan of hers since I saw SHACK OUT ON 101 for the first time. As for the dudes in the cast, you've got Ray Sharkey, Marjoe Gortner, Robert Z'Dar, and Richard Cox - all of whom will be familiar if you watched any serious amount of 80s action movies and television. The story of HELLHOLE is pretty straightforward. A woman (Landers) witnesses the death of her mother at the hands of a disturbing creep called Silk (Sharkey) and suffers a serious fall which leaves her an amnesiac. She ends up in a mental institution where she continues to be tormented by Silk and also by the crazies and the doctors at the place. It's a real skeezefest overall, with copious amounts of nudity - so if that's your bag then this may be worth a look.
Bonus Features:
-NEW Interview With Actress Mary Woronov
-Original Theatrical Trailer
While the features are a little thin on this disc, the Woronov interview is fantastic as she is just one of my favorite people ever.

BAD MOON (1996; Eric Red)
This one had slipped by me. As much as I enjoy many aspects of it, including that it's a werewolf movie and that it stars Michael Pare and Mariel Hemmingway - two actors that I like very much. It even has a post DENACE THE MENACE/pre RUSHMORE Mason Gamble, which is very cool as well. Eric Red (writer of THE HITCHER and NEAR DARK) directs here and he had done the same for the 90s horror gem BODY PARTS prior to this.
This movie has another example of "animal vision" as a stylistic choice. In this case, it is used to represent the POV of both werewolves and dogs. This type of thing is often shown as a skewed perspective and in this case, it looks like a vertically squished 2.35 to 1 framing. You know, kind of like that look you used to see when a Panavision frame was horizontally squeezed into a 4:3 square aspect ratio, but in this case, everything is wider and strange looking as opposed to tall. It's an interesting choice as it is kind of disorienting, though you'd think this kind of "hunter" perspective would be a little more clear. Anyway, it's a stylistic conceit that's a little overdone, but always ups the tension in a scene as it makes us aware of where the werewolf is and the proximity to a potential victim. One thing this movie has a decent amount of is werewolf violence. The other big plus is the large amount of practical werewolf and gore effects. Steve Johnson (while he's no Rick Baker, Rob Bottin or Tom Savini) headed up the FX team here and he does a solid job. Johnson worked on such other films as BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, DEAD HEAT, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD III, PET SEMATARY II, HIGHWAY TO HELL and BRAINSCAN and more so it's clear that he knows what he's doing and the movie benefits greatly from it. As much as I love THE HITCHER and NEAR DARK, I didn't find this to be one of Eric Red's strongest writing efforts. It's still enjoyable nonetheless with this cast and some solid special effects work though, but don't expect Aaron Sorkin-esque dialogue. The movie has one of my own personal big pet peeves in that it has a brother character (Pare) calling his sister (Hemmingway) "Sis", which I've never heard anyone say in real life. I have two sisters myself and I've called them plenty of names on my life, but sis has never ever been one of them. Thats said, if you a werewolf movie fan (and I most certainly am) and a practical makeup/effects fan - this movie is something you might dig.
Bonus Features:
Scream Factory has put together a nice collection of extras here that should absolutely please fans of the movie:
-High-definition Theatrical Cut Of The Film Plus A NEW Director’s Version Supervised And Approved By Eric Red
-NEW Nature of the Beast: Making Bad Moon Featuring Interviews With Writer/Director Eric Red, Actors Michael Paré And Mason Gamble, Special Effects Make-up Artist Steve Johnson And Stunt Coordinator Ken Kirzinger
-NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Eric Red (Director’s Version Only)
-Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Eric Red And Actor Michael Paré (Theatrical Cut)
-Unrated Opening Scene From The Director’s First Cut (Sourced from VHS)
-3 Storyboard Sequences
-Original Theatrical Trailer

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