In a Nutshell: THE UNLEASHED

"Are the dead taunting the living or is the living taunting the dead?" And so begins another night of formulaic horror. If you head over to IMDB you'll discover that Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) lends his name to The Unleashed, an unwanted visitor from 2011 directed by Manuel H. Da Silva. Keep your expectations low however, Malcolm provides a brief voiceover at the start of the movie and that's it. The film descends so fast from this point forward, you'll be forgiven for thinking Da Silva had a dance with the devil in the pale moonlight.

The Unleashed sets its stall out early on, in fact, the film nosedives as soon as we reach present day. Supernatural chaos escalates when a troubled woman with a dark past dabbles with the infamous Ouija board. As far as concepts go, that's as deep as it gets. Starring Trisha Echeverria (American Pie Presents The Naked Mile), Jessica Salgueiro (Night Express) and Colin Paradine (Snow Summit Showdown), The Unleashed is available in the UK courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

Performances are either bland or irritating (particularly the male cast members), the script is horrendously dispirited and the scares - when they do finally arrive - are monstrously clichéd. The effects are acceptable for a low budget horror movie but the scares manifest in the weakest of ways. Resulting in one of the blandest, most ineffective horror movies of recent times. If you're going to reel out the clichés, surely blood and nudity should figure somewhere? Not in Da Silva's world. Overlong, desperately tedious and instantly forgettable, The Unleashed will grab ahold of your spirit and crush it. Avoid.

Red band trailer for ABC’S OF DEATH 2

It may come as a surprise but we really liked the 2012 anthology horror ABC's OF DEATH so it should no surprise that we are more than a little interested in the fact that the red band trailer for the second instalment has arrived.

ABC's OF DEATH 2 is the follow-up to the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning from Nigeria to UK to Brazil and everywhere in between. It features segments directed by over two dozen of the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film. The film is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters; each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death.

Directors: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado, Alejandro Brugues, Bill Plympton, Chris Nash, Dennison Ramalho, Erik Matti, Evan Katz, Hajime Ohata, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Jerome Sable, Jim Hosking, Juan Martinez Moreno, Julian Barratt, Julian Gilbey, Julian Maury, Alexandre Bustillo, Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper, Lancelot Imasuen, Larry Fessenden, Marvin Kren, Robert Boocheck, Robert Morgan, Rodney Ascher, Soichi Umezawa, Steven Kostanski, Todd Rohal, Vincenzo Natali.

ABC'S OF DEATH 2 will open on iTunes / On Demand October 2, 2014 and in theaters October 31, 2014. Not so safe for work trailer...below.

ABC'S OF DEATH 2 red band trailer

The Vault: ACACIA

Billed as a horror movie, Acacia is likely to frustrate anybody expecting the next genre classic. This 2003 shocker has little in common with the likes of Shutter and Ju-on, sharing the sidewalk with offbeat family dramas as opposed to twisted tales of revenge. There is a supernatural edge of course and at times Park Ki-Hyung (Whispering Corridors) delivers an effectively eerie ghost story, but in truth, Acacia spends too much time crawling when it should be creeping.

An artist and her husband are unable to have children of their own so they adopt a young boy named Jin-sung. He's a quiet, unassuming child who develops a strange fascination with the acacia tree in the back yard. Shortly after, the couple discover that they are able to conceive, and with the arrival of a new baby, Jin-sung mysteriously vanishes. Did he run away? Why are his parents acting so strangely, and what the hell is wrong with that blasted tree? Would it not be easier to cut the damn thing down? The finished movie may have been a little short, admittedly...

The moody, atmospheric visuals are quite refreshing and the bizarre behaviour of the main protagonists both baffle and intrigue. However, the 'shock' moments are uninspired and the big 'reveal' can be telegraphed a mile away. It's not a long film by any means, clocking in at just under 101 minutes, but Acacia feels like a drawn out affair for the most part. Almost as dreary as its two leads, albeit intermittently haunting, Acacia sparks to life in a lively final third that still lacks a satisfactory denouement. Frustratingly dour and frequently dull, Acacia has long since been uprooted by superior offerings. A mild curiousity at best.

Take flight with THE ETERNAL ZERO on DVD

Though it was a little bit hit and miss, we have a lot of love for Yamazaki Takashi's Space Battleship Yamato here at 24FPS. Well, he's back, taking to the skies of the Pacific War in The Eternal Zero.

Based on the novel by Hyakuta Naoki, the war drama chronicles a young man's investigation into the life of his biological grandfather, a kamikaze pilot who died during the war. Featuring state-of-the-art special effects by Yamazaki – also the special effects supervisor of the film - Eternal Zero has some of the most realistic aerial battles ever created in the history of Japanese cinema.

Topping the Japanese box office for eight consecutive weeks, The Eternal Zero is the fifth highest-grossing live-action Japanese film of all time, and it's yours to own from September 5th on a limited edition Hong Kong version English subtitled DVD.

Synopsis: After his grandmother's funeral, law student Kentaro (Miura Haruma) discovers that his grandfather Oishi isn't actually his biological grandfather. Surprised by the revelation, Kentaro and his sister Keiko begin digging into the story of their biological grandfather Miyabe Kyuzo (Okada Junichi), a kamikaze pilot who died during a mission. While some of the soldiers Kentaro meet insist that Kyuzo was a coward who refused to enter aerial fights, others say that Kyuzo was a brilliant pilot and a devoted family man who only wanted to return home to see his wife (Inoue Mao) and child. From the testimonies of the soldiers, Kentaro pieces together the shocking truth about Kyuzo.

New trailer for [REC] 4: APOCALYPSE

It seems like we've been waiting an eternity for this, but finally, [REC] 4: Apocalypse has a tasty new trailer. In case you’ve been living in an abandoned apartment complex for the past seven years, the [REC] films play out in much the same way as the early entries of the Alien saga. The first film is very claustrophobic, tightly constructed and dripping in tension, much like Ridley Scott’s original entry in the Alien franchise. [REC] 2 plays out in similar fashion but ups the ante with extra firepower and more attention to action. It’s also in many ways the superior picture. Thankfully that’s where comparisons end.

[REC] 3 shares nothing in common with Alien 3, in fact some might argue it’s the polar opposite. Alien 3 took us into darker, more forsaken territory, whereas [REC] 3 – a film that runs parallel with the original movie in the series – is happy to drown itself in colour, joviality and the occasional chainsaw massacre. Paco Plaza (driving solo while collaborator Jaume Balaguero focused on part 4) made a brave decision with Genesis, dropping the first person perspective early on in favour of a more traditional approach. It was a move that upset the hardcore faithful, but you have to respect the guy for trying to keep things fresh.

Which brings us to part four. The last in the series and a return to full-on scares and raw tension. Unless it makes lots of money, because as with any horror franchise, all bets are off when it comes to sequels. Due out at the end of October, we really can't wait for this. Check out the trailer below.

Synopsis: The television reporter Ángela is rescued from the building and taken to an oil tanker to be examined. However, unbeknown to the soldiers, she carries the seed of the mysterious demonic virus.

Takashi Miike’s LESSON OF EVIL on UK DVD!!!!!!

Sometimes you get news that - mentally at least - makes you jump up and down, shouting hell yes, this would be one of those times! Takashi Miike’s superbly dark Schoolroom thriller...Lesson of Evil, has been picked up for a UK DVD release.

Adapted from Yusuke KISHI’s horror novel, Aku no Kyōten, a commentary on tough high school life and dark student–teacher relationships, it has plenty of black humour, absurd violence, and a splash of fantasy added for good measure.

This is Miiki back at his blood curdling (happy days) best, order it! Lesson of Evi’ lands on DVD & BLU-RAY September 29th.

Synopsis: Cool and charismatic English teacher Seiji Hasumi (ITO) is popular with students and teachers alike. He inspires trust and respect from his class, greeting many with an affectionate, if irritating, ruffle of the hair. But his actions soon take a turn, revealing something dark behind that charming smile. Students become suspicious when friends slowly start to disappear, but little do they know that absolute jaw-dropping carnage is just around the corner.

 

THE EXTREME FOX skulks on to Hong Kong DVD

You may remember us bringing you news of The Extreme Fox way back in November of last year. It won't suit everybody, that's for sure, but to us this looks like a joyous throwback to yesteryear. It’s all looking rather good fun, in a very old school kind of way, and seems to owe more than a nod of inspiration to - in both look and storyline - Ching Siu-tung’s 80s classic A Chinese Ghost Story.

Based on a story in the famous Liaozhai Zhiyi (a.k.a. Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio) by Pu Songling, 2014 fantasy romantic comedy The Extreme Fox is directed by Qian Sheng Wei (Jiang Shi Fu Huo) and stars Alex Fong (Delete My Love) as a Ming dynasty scholar who has a fateful encounter with Chrissie Chau's (Mr. & Mrs. Player) beautiful fox demon. The Extreme Fox is available to buy on English subtitled DVD (HK version) from September 18th, 2014.

Synopsis: Wang Sheng, a Ming-Dynasty scholar who just failed the Imperial Examination, works together with his fellow villagers through many strange but fantastic approaches to change his hometown’s backwardness and his own fate. He accidentally meets with a Fox Spirit and involves himself in a series of weird adventures, both physically and emotionally, only to completely change his own life.

THE LEGEND ENDS this September

Based on the popular manga series "Rurouni Kenshin", written & illustrated by Watsuki Nobuhiro, we first bought you news of Kyoto Inferno hitting Japanese cinema screens a little while back now.

Both that and the upcoming second sequel were directed by Ohtomo Keishi, who directed the first Rurouni Kenshin film in 2012. The third instalment, fittingly entitled The Legend Ends, is set for release on September 13, 2014. We now have a final trailer for the new film with English subtitles and it certainly looks like a fitting end to the trilogy. Check it out at the link below.

Synopsis: This time out, Kenshin Himura (Takeru Sato) goes up against pure evil in the shape of Makoto Shishio (Tatsuya Fujiwara), who is attempting to overthrow the Meiji government. The fate of the country hangs in the balance as Kenshin Himura takes up the sword that he vowed never to draw again.

 

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends trailer

Everybody loves clowns & candy floss… right?

Arrow Video is certainly coming up with the goods in September. Another childhood favourite is making its way to Blu-ray on September 15th. That would be the 1988 cult classic Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Playing colourful homage to such ’50s B-movie drive-in classics as The Blob (1958) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) while providing plenty of original shocks and scares itself, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is energetic, punk and every bit as funny as it is scary.

This new release comes loaded with bonus features including an audio commentary with the Chiodo Brothers, as well as a 20 minute making of feature looking at the film’s production, interviews with the makers of the film and behind-the-scenes footage. A tour of Chiodo Bros Productions, brand new interviews with stars Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder, as well as interviews with composer John Massari, creature fabricator Dwight Roberts and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren Jr. Now all we need is an official release of 1989's Clownhouse. Come on Arrow, sort it out...

Synopsis: When Mike and his girlfriend Debbie turn up at the local police station warning that a gang of homicidal alien clowns have arrived in the town of Crescent Grove, the cops are naturally sceptical. Talk of popcorn-firing guns and a spaceship shaped like a circus tent out in the woods hardly helps to convince them. Before long, however, reports start coming in from anxious locals reporting similar run-ins with the colourfully-dressed, large shoe-wearing assailants. There can no longer be any doubt – the Killer Klowns from Outer Space are here and they’re out to turn the population into candy floss!

The Vault: AB-NORMAL BEAUTY

Back in 2004 the Pang Brothers could do no wrong. It's been a long time since their last big hit, but back in the day, Oxide and Danny were churning out more screen gems than HBO. Ab-normal Beauty had more than one trick up its sleeve. Not only was it a companion piece to Danny's Leave Me Alone, in which Ekin Cheng's character kills a girl in a car crash (the same car crash depicted in this movie) but it also stars sisters Race and Rosanne Wong - of 2R pop fame - as lesbian lovers.

Jiney (Race) is a photography student. One day on her way to school she witnesses a car crash and, without hesitation, starts to take pictures of the incident. All of a sudden she is experiencing satisfaction like never before and finds herself becoming obsessed with photographing grisly death. Jas (Rosanne) is clearly concerned about her welfare, what with Jiney's fragile mind unravelling at considerable pace. Add a gormless love interest who hasn't quite figured out that she's gay and you have a recipe for jealousy, manipulation, murder and madness.

The cinematography is hypnotic at times and Oxide's direction is as assured as it's ever been. The Pang's rarely shy away from bombastic soundtracks, and the same can be said for Ab-normal Beauty. As always, from a technical standpoint, Oxide rarely puts a foot wrong. Race in particular is mesmerising to watch, though to be fair, her sister Rosanne is almost equal to the task. Jiney's back-story is compelling enough but it's her breakdown that will keep you hooked. It's not all good. The final act feels a tad contrived, if not a little tacked on, but there's a lot to like about this early Pang effort. Come on guys, isn't it about time we had another hit?

Something strange is happening in THE BURBS

Colour us excited. Arrow Video is set to release The 'Burbs, Joe Dante’s iconic cult classic, on September 15th as both a deluxe Blu-ray and limited edition Steel-Book featuring an updated version of the original artwork.

As well as the all-new high definition Blu-ray presentation of the theatrical cut, there will also be an original work-print cut of the film, transferred from director Joe Dante’s personal copy, on home video for the very first time, which includes deleted and alternate scenes.

This is accompanied by A Tale of Two ‘Burbs, an all-new video featurette comparing the differences between the work-print and theatrical cuts of the film. Alongside this, this deluxe edition will also include a brand-new feature-length documentary, There Goes the Neighbourhood: The Making of The ‘Burbs. Pre-order your copy now, but don't look in the furnace...

Synopsis: Family man Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is looking forward to a week of putting his feet up at home in the quiet, leafy cul-de-sac of Mayfield Place. But his plans are scuppered by the arrival of new next-door neighbours, The Klopeks, whose behaviour and habits are more than just a little kooky. But things go from kooky to downright sinister when local old boy Walter disappears, leading Ray and his buddies to suspect their new neighbours of killing and eating him! Sure, the Klopeks are a strange bunch what with their digging up the backyard in the middle of the night – but they’re not devil-worshipping cannibal killers… are they?

Trailer for Japanese horror comedy HUNGER Z

Well here’s a Zombie, horror comedy flick, with a new twist, from director Naoto Tsukiashi. In Hunger Z the walking dead have inherited the earth (mainly because they’ve eaten everything else) and food is in short supply. Solution....start farming humans? Novel! Trail at the link.

 

 

 

Hunger Z trailer

Hunger Z official site

New red-band trailer for AS ABOVE SO BELOW

Finding yourself trapped in small dark places with demons might not sound like the freshest idea in movie land, but being trapped in small dark places with your own demons? Well, that opens up a whole new can of worms. An extended red-band trailer has landed for As Above So Below, John Dowdle’s claustrophobic horror movie set among the catacombs of Paris.

It starts out straightforward enough, with a team of explorers hoping to expose the secrets of an uncharted network of tunnels, only to discover they are not alone. Events turn sour when things get personal, and judging by the icky new trailer, it's going to get very nasty indeed. Horrors from their pasts come back to haunt them and American horror gets a shot in the arm. Co-starring Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and Edwin Hodge, As Above So Below opens in the UK on 29 August 2014.

Synopsis: Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, As Above, So Below reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.

As Above So Below Trailer

In a Nutshell: THE QUIET ONES

The most surprising thing about Hammer's latest offering is that, despite being a shaky cam horror at heart, the film succeeds in areas where most horror movies fall short. In fact, it's the over familiar scare tactics that threaten to derail John Pogue's supernatural shocker. Pogue cut his teeth on the largely ignored horror sequel, Quarantine 2, and he struggles to add anything fresh to the mix on this, his second foray.

Jared Harris and Sam Claflin star in this British horror film inspired by real events. Personally, I can't wait for the day I see a film that opens with the words, 'This film is not based on fact. We made it all up'. Professor Coupland (Harris) encourages a group of university students, including Brian McNeil (Claflin), to test the theory that poltergeists are created by negative human energy. Brian and his fellow students use a disturbed patient (probably a fan of thrash metal) as their subject. As you might expect, things get bumpy and very loud.

The main characters and the relationships that form are, somewhat surprisingly for a lightweight horror yarn, both well defined and engaging. Jared Harris (Mad Men) really does belong to the world of Hammer, his face just fits the role. The young guns give good face too, particularly Erin Richards, who lights up the screen with her movie star looks. The calmer moments are where the film excels, giving the actors room to breathe and the sound department a few seconds off.

The Quiet Ones sure looks the part then, and strong performances will likely keep you watching, but all the good work is undone by half-baked scares. Lots of them. For all its early promise, The Quiet Ones is just too darn loud and eager to please. Solid but ultimately desperate.

A midnight snack for the HUNGRY GHOST RITUAL on DVD

We first brought you news of this back in May. Well, don't you just love Hong Kong movie turn-a-rounds, because Hungry Ghost Ritual is out to buy on English subtitled DVD on September 11th. Pre-order your copy today. Here's what we said when the teaser was released and check it out at the link below...

"Award-winning Hong Kong actor Nick Cheung's directorial debut Hungry Ghost Ritual hits Hong Kong cinemas next month and we have to say the teaser trailer does it nothing but good, on the want to see it front. Because it teases so well.

Refreshing to see a trailer that relies mainly on atmosphere rather than giving everything away... Watch it with the sound turned WELL up. Hungry Ghost Ritual opens on June 10."

Synopsis: After ZONG is forced to take over the old troupe, strange and abnormal phenomenon starts to happen involving a very hungry ghost. As he struggles with the evil spirits, the reasons that lie beneath the incidence become even more terrifying.

Hungry Ghost Ritual Teaser Trailer