Showing posts with label tom savini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tom savini. Show all posts

22 March 2015

DVD Review - Doc Of The Dead (2014)

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Documentary, Horror
Altitude Film Distribution
DVD Release Date:
30th March 2015(UK)
Running Time:
81 mins
Alexandre O. Philippe
Buy:Doc Of The Dead [DVD]

The zombie has become the monster of the 21st century, encompassing all our foetid woes of death, infection, geo-politics, economy issues, even anxieties around gender, sexuality, and pets. Alexandre Phillip, the man who brought us The People vs. George Lucas, peels back years of zombie history to poke around at the inner-workings of a lucrative and mind-boggling global craze in Doc of the Dead.

Doc of the Dead spends a lot of time covering ground most horror fans will have considered for themselves or heard elsewhere, but its still an enjoyable watch, including fantastic clips and comparative case study. Even though it dodges the nitty-gritty around a flourishing industry/community, it does manage to conjure some interesting ideas about the walking dead’s lingering appeal. The zombie is able to absorb multiple political discourses because it is the monster most like us. A pity then that the worldwide appeal and reincarnation of the zombie is somewhat abandoned with very few non-British or American films discussed. Zombie culture has burst the banks of cult following and successfully navigated the blockbuster environment, but it relied on worldwide saturation of the form rarely explored here.

Phillipe is quite clearly a zombie fan and often lets his boyish enthusiasm parade on screen. Short sketches of zombie reportage and survivalist upset the balance of a well-cultivated series of interviews and observations. Phillipe’s overexcitement in the presence of zombie icons is appreciable but hardly keeps the discussion as concise as it could have been. Featuring interviews with the likes of Tom Savini, George A.Romero, Simon Pegg, and Max Brooks, Doc of the Dead pulls it out the bag when it comes to a star-studded genre cross-section. It could have done more though. Phillipe seems more interested here in examining the evolution of the zombie through artists’ work, which is interesting, but leaves you hungry. More exploration of the zombie’s reactionary function would have been enough to put more bite in this pleasant, often-hilarious, but meandering examination.

The definitive zombie culture documentary has perhaps not quite arrived, but Doc of the Dead is a great look at the development of the western zombie. A terrific selection of well-edited interviews and clips is at the forefront of this eclectic exploration.

Scott Clark

21 April 2013

Knightriders BluRay Review

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Considering who wrote and directed it, Knightriders (1981) is not the film you might expect. In fact this action / drama by George A. Romero, better know for his notorious zombie gut-munchers, is rather prosaic nay, dare I say, boring.

The 'Knightriders' are a group of travellers led by Billy (Ed Harris), the self-styled 'King William', who put on medieval tournaments, complete with craft fairs and jousting for the entertainment of local townspeople. However, despite the best efforts of Billy and his friends to live by the rules of a simpler age, the influences of the 20th century world inevitably puts them under increasing strain, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Of the nineteen films Romero has directed during his career to date at least fourteen of them could be considered straight horror films. Which is where the problem lies. Film folk - be they actors or directors - often find it difficult to go against the grain when their career seems to have been largely built on a certain style or genre. Since appearing on the international scene with the classic chiller Night of the Living Dead (1968), Romero had established something of a reputation as one of the leading purveyors of visceral, in-your-face horror. Some would say that he should stick to what he does best, which he on the whole has. However when he has taken the odd diversion it's often been been less successful, as with such dubious outings as the comedy / drama There's Always Vanilla (1971). Unfortunately Knightriders also falls into this latter category.

Not that there's intrinsically anything wrong with the film. It's just in retrospect it's somewhat weird and tedious. After a promising opening featuring Harris in a dreamlike forest sequence, the film takes on a more dramatic mantle focusing on the relationships of the travelling group led by Harris, and the difficulties they face as they endeavour to lead their lives in keeping with the ideals of the court of King Arthur. And this is really where the film comes unhinged. It may, like the medieval jousting tournaments which Billy and the boys reenact for the inhabitants of the towns they visit, be mildly diverting for sixty minutes or so, but it rather outstays its welcome at nearly two and a half hours.

Admittedly the film looks good, and is interesting as it stars Harris in his first lead part along with a major role for the wonderfully broody Tom (effects wizard) Savini and cameo appearance by the master of horror, Stephen King. That it also features jousting tournaments on motorbikes is a plus if only for the novelty factor.

Like the idealistic lifestyle which Billy and his troupe strive for, Knightriders is full of good intentions. Unfortunately, as is also often the case, it ultimately fails to reach the exacting standards it sets itself.

Released by Arrow Video on both High Definition Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD, Knightriders comes with a host of extras including cast interviews, theatrical trailer and a reversible cover sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh.


Cleaver Patterson

Rating: 15
BD Release Date: 22nd April 2013 (UK)
BuyKnightriders On Blu-ray

17 March 2013

Ride To Live, Live To Die George Romero's Knightriders Going Blu-Ray This April

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Arrow Video are pleased to announce that George A. Romero’s landmark non-horror offering “Knightriders” will make its UK DVD & Worldwide Blu-ray debuts when released on Monday 22nd April 2013.

Specially restored by Arrow’s acclaimed team of experts, the deluxe editions of “Knightriders” include both DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film along with a host of special features and collector’s items.

Made immediately after the zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead”, George A. Romero’s “Knightriders” is both quite clearly the work of the same director (there are lots of familiar faces from his other films) as well as a marked change of tone. There’s still plenty of mind-melting action, but rather than flesh eating maniacs, its medieval jousters riding modern-day motorcycles who get to have all the fun!

Starring up-and-coming actor Ed Harris in his first ever leading role (Harris who would go on to become a major Hollywood star, nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes for his roles in Apollo 13 and The Truman Show), “Knightriders” depicts a troupe of travelling medieval entertainers, led by Harris, trying to live their lives according to the ideals of King Arthur – No easy feat in Reagan’s America, where the outside world and its financial realities constantly encroach on their dreams.

Instead of flesh and bone, the trusty steeds on which these Knights’ ride are made of steel and engine! They have traded the horses of King Arthur’s men for motorcycles.

With the self-adopted title of “King William”, the group’s leader Billy (played by Harris) becomes gradually more unstable, as he blurs the lines between the medieval knight his act portrays, and the realities of everyday life in the 20th century.

With a memorably eccentric cast of characters (including make-up effects genius Tom Savini in a major role, and a cameo from novelist Stephen King) and a complex, nuanced script, “Knightriders” is Romero’s warmest and most personal film to date.

George A Romero’s directing career began in the 1960s when he began shooting short films and commercials. In one of his early commercial films for American children’s television series “Mister Rogers Neighbourhood”, Mister Rogers has his tonsils removed, it is said that the gruesome nature of this scene inspired Romero to go on and make Horror movies.

Since then, Romero has been at the helm of some of the biggest and most important Horror films in history, including Night Of The Living Dead, The Crazies, Season Of The Witch, and Dawn Of The Dead, which in-turn inspired thousands of could-be directors and turned millions of fans onto the genre.

It is a testament to his longevity and continued importance that many of Romero’s classic films have been remade and restored, the latest being Arrow’s highly anticipated Blu-ray edition of “Knightriders

A real must-have collector’s item, the deluxe edition of “Knightriders” includes the following bonus material and special features:

- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations.
- Uncompressed original Mono 2.0 PCM audio.
- Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Audio commentary with George Romero, Tom Savini, John Amplas and Christine Romero.
- ‘The Genesis of a Legend’ – Star Ed Harris remembers his first leading role.
- ‘A Date with Destiny’ – Co-star Tom Savini reflects on the film.
- ‘Medieval Maiden’ – Interview with actress Patricia Tallman.
- Theatrical Trailer.
- TV Spots.
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh.
- Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens, an archival interview with Romero, and a new interview with composer Donald Rubinstein, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

Pre-Order /Buy: Knightriders On Blu-Ray