Blu-ray Review: Black Christmas (Collector’s Edition)
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Black Christmas
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Bob Clark
Screenwriter: A. Roy Moore
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 98 Minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2016

“Oh, why don’t you go find a wall socket and stick your tongue in it, that’ll give you a charge!”

Considered to be one of the first “slasher” films, 1974’s Black Christmas served as an influence for John Carpenter’s Halloween and has since become a cult classic. Directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story), the movie was inspired by a series of murders that took place in Montreal, and the urban legend “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs.”

At a Christmas party at the Pi Kappa Sigma house, Jess Bradford (Olivia Hussey) receives an obscene phone call from “The Moaner,” a disturbed individual who has been calling the house. Jess and her sorority sisters Barb (Margot Kidder), Phyllis (Andrea Martin), and Clare (Lynne Griffin) listen in on the call. The feisty Barb provokes the caller, who responds by telling the girls that he is going to kill them.

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Blu-ray Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Blu-ray Edition (1984)
Starring Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley
Directed by Wes Craven
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release date: April 13, 2010

What gives the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street such a potent effectiveness is its character Freddy Kruger. Director Wes Craven conjured up a character in Freddy who is unacquainted with reality, but has a sufficiently perceptive realization to a world where he is the embodiment of malignancy. He reigns supreme in the world of dreams, always constructing, devising, and manipulating situations that make it impossible for anything else that is not evil to prosper. Psychology may not seem like the appropriate term to equate Freddy with, but he knows his limitations, victims’ weaknesses and the little ways he has to seize his victims in order to satisfy his urges for human flesh. He is self-appointed to this world and this world only. The devilish delights he finds here come at the expense of those doing the dreaming. This is what makes Freddy the most plausible of all modern day horror characters; He endures in a world where anything goes, where humans become unconscious and succumb to the illogical sequences that dreams are known to possess. Freddy integrates himself into any dream in which he believes could further advance his infatuation with preying on the weak minded.

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DVD Review: Trapped Ashes

Trapped Ashes (2006)
Directed by Sean S Cunningham, Joe Dante, Monte Hellman, Ken Russell, John Gaeta
Written by Dennis Bartok
Starring John Saxon, Rachel Veltri, Scott Lowell, Lara Harris, Henry Gibson, Jayce Bartok
Lionsgate Films
Release Date: July 15, 2008

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, anthology horror movies poured from low budget production houses throughout Europe, including the time-honored Black Sabbath from Mario Bava and EC Comics inspired Tales From The Crypt by Freddie Francis. Anthology horror on the big screen took on new life in the US in the 1980s with Creepshow and sputtered out in the early 1990s with Tales From The Darkside: The Movie. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, a ghostly anthology series called Troublesome Night has been going strong since 1997 and most recently the East Asian anthology films Three and Three: Extremes have been chilling audiences around the world.

But is there hope for a revival of this horror niche here in the United States? Writer Dennis Bartok would like to think so. Bartok, who has spent much of his career on the fringes of the film community as the head of programming at American Cinematheque in Los Angeles and as an interviewer for DVD featurettes, makes his screenwriting debut with Trapped Ashes, and with the help of some Japanese financing has brought along some top-name talent to back him up.

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