Grim Pickings

Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…

17 January 2017

GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with the theatrical release of a sequel no one saw coming and a whole slew of home entertainment releases including a fluorescent nightmare courtesy of Nicolas Winding Refn.

In Cinemas

Neatly filed between sequels we never thought would happen and sequels no one was hanging out for, Vin Diesel returns to reprise his 2002 role (after opting out of the initial 2005 sequel, XXX: THE NEXT LEVEL) in XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. The third explosive chapter of the blockbuster franchise that redefined the spy thriller finds extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming out of self-imposed exile and on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments. Packed with the series’ signature deadpan wit and bad-ass attitude, XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE will raise the bar on extreme action with some of the most mind-blowing stunts to ever be caught on film.

Prolific local genre filmmaker, Daniel Armstrong’s third feature film, SHEBORG MASSACRE has its South Australian premiere this Saturday January 21st at Adelaide’s Murder City Carnivale of Cinema. When an alien fugitive crash lands into a local puppy farm and begins turning people into mutated robot killing machines with a taste for puppy flesh, Dylan (Whitney Duff), and Eddie (Daisy Masterman), two self-proclaimed political activists, are all that stand between the Earth and total domination. Forced into a ‘dare to be great’ situation that neither are prepared for, the two BFF’s must fight their way past cops, city officials and cybernetic dog butchers in order to destroy the evil Sheborg and save the planet! Grab your tickets here!

Cult of Monster’s own Jarret Gahan will be in attendance at Adelaide’s Murder City Carnivale of Cinema this Saturday January 21st for the South Australian premiere of his documentary, GONE LESBO GONE: THE UNTOLD TALE OF AN UNSEEN FILM! A retrospective documentary on filmmaker Andrew Leavold’s debut feature LESBO-A-GO-GO. This is the tale of a man with big ideas but no budget who assembled a crew and set out to make a faux sixties exploitation film, the kind of film he would want to see though sadly at the time due to the niche nature of the subject matter very few else did. Despite its entrapment in distribution limbo for over a decade, LESBO-A-GO-GO has garnered a minor cult reputation internationally and this documentary explores the film’s sordid production history as well as its enduring legacy. A no-holds-barred tell-all tale with interviews from cast, crew and industry professionals interspersed with never-before-seen alternate takes, bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage from the film. Grab your tickets here!

Home Entertainment

After premiering at Cannes last year, Nicolas Winding Refn’s fluorescent nightmare THE NEON DEMON went on to blaze the international film festival circuit and ended up on a number of critics’ top ten lists for 2016. When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has. THE NEON DEMON stars Elle Fanning (SUPER 8), Jena Malone (DONNIE DARKO), Abbey Lee (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD) along with Keanu Reeves & Christina Hendricks. You’ve got until January 29th to enter our competition for a chance to score yourself a copy on Blu-ray!
Mickey Keating (POD, RITUAL) offers up his latest genre opus, this time round a throwback to seventies sniper thrillers. Part crime caper gone awry, part survival horror film, this 1970s set thriller depicts a harrowing fight for survival after a pair of wannabe crooks botch a bank heist and flee into the desert, where they inexplicably stumble upon Carnage Park, a remote stretch of wilderness occupied by a psychotic ex-military sniper. Stay tuned next month for the Monster Pictures release of Keating’s DARLING on February 22nd.
Fresh from winning the Monster’s Choice Audience Award at this year’s MONSTER FEST, the third feature from filmmaker Addison Heath and the fourth release on the Fatal Visions imprint, MONDO YAKUZA arrives on DVD. Ichiro Kataki, a violent Yakuza gang member travels to Melbourne, Australia after his beloved sister Yuko is brutally murdered by a group of criminals. Hell bent on vengeance he teams up with Cassidy Arizona, a lady of the night with a vendetta of her own. You can also catch MONDO YAKUZA this weekend on the big screen at the Murder City Carnivale of Cinema on Friday January 20th where composer THE SCREAMING MEANIES will be fielding a post-film Q&A.
Ti West (THE INNKEEPERS, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL), one of the most promising names in contemporary genre cinema tries his hand at a western in the vein of Clint Eastwood’s 1973 film, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. Ethan Hawke stars as Paul, a lone drifter who wanders into the forgotten town of Denton, Texas – dubbed by locals as the “valley of violence”. There, he picks a fight with the wrong man, Gilly (James Ransone), the troublemaking son of the town’s unforgiving Marshal (John Travolta). As tensions arise between Paul and Gilly, an inevitable act of violence starts a disastrous chain reaction that quickly drags the whole town into the bloody crosshairs of revenge. Only the world-weary Marshal struggles to stop the violent hysteria, but after a gruesome discovery about Paul’s past…there’s no stopping the escalation.
David Durston’s 1970 grindhouse classic arrives locally on Blu-ray in a two-disc special edition courtesy of Ex Film. It’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD meets Charlie Manson’s Family in this gore-drenched 1971 drive-in classic. After consuming rabies-infected meat pies, a Satanic LSD-addled hippie cult goes on a psychotic rampage! Heavily censored since its original release, this infamous landmark of cinematic brutality is presented here in all its blood-splattered glory in a definitive 2 disc Blu-Ray set, packed with hours of extras. You’ve got until Sunday (January 22nd) to enter our competition for your chance to WIN a copy!
In recent years, Greek cinema has enjoyed a renaissance and what has become known as ‘Greek Weird Wave’ has led the way with films like Yorgos Lanthimos’ DOG TOOTH and THE LOBSTER enjoying critical, festival and box office success around the globe, Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ SUNTAN is no exception. Kostis, an introvert, unhappy and sleepy forty-something, starts working on the Greek holiday island of Antiparos as a doctor. A group of young tourists drags him out of his shell with excursions to the nude beach and exuberant alcoholic evenings in clubs, while the frivolous Anna especially turns his head. Messy and muddled sexual shenanigans ensue and Kostis spirals into the maelstrom of a mid-life crisis fuelled by desperation and obsession.
Marcus Nispel heralds from Germany, is 53, likes long walks on the beach and when not destroying established franchises with horrible remakes like FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) & THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003), he makes the odd original film and we’ve got it on good word that this one ain’t too shabby! During an all-night, drug-fuelled party at an abandoned asylum known for the horrific treatment of its patients, a group of ordinary teens decide to experiment with the occult, mysteriously leading to a violent possession. In an effort to find help, the group rushes to escape, only to find themselves locked inside with no means of communication. In an attempt to save their friend possessed by the demon, the amateurs try to perform an exorcism. Instead of solving the problem, they unleash an even more powerful and vengeful spirit, one with a distinct motive and which wants them all dead. What started as a harmless paranormal experiment turns into a fast paced bloody paranormal nightmare.
Padraig Reynolds, the genre-bending director responsible for 2011’s RITES OF SPRING returns with the fast-paced supernatural thriller, WORRY DOLLS. In the aftermath of the hunt for a serial killer, an ancient curse consumes a city, causing a series of brutal murders and pitting a detective against the clock to save his daughter’s life. Director A practical- effects driven nightmare steeped in ancient Indian folk lore and filled with horrific kills. Not to be missed! Check out our interview with director Reynolds right here!
Gonzalo López-Gallego (OPEN GRAVE, APOLLO 18) returns with THE HOLLOW POINT, a cast-driven gritty crime thriller that wowed audiences at last year’s MONSTER FEST. An ageing retired sheriff (Ian McShane) with violent tendencies and his young replacement with a dark past (Patrick Wilson) must join forces to protect the residents of their town and investigate the source of a botched Mexican arms deal that leaves several dead and a bag of money missing. As the story twists and turns, a mysterious and vicious cartel hit man (John Leguizamo) arrives in search of the missing loot, systematically eliminating anyone who crosses his path. After discovering that the new sheriff’s girlfriend is on the hit man’s list, the lawmen must abandon their law enforcement ideals in order to even the playing field.
EL TOPO (Blu-ray Only)
Two Alejandro Jodorowsky (EL TOPO & THE HOLY MOUNTAIN) classics arrive on Blu-ray this week loaded with special features courtesy of Siren Visual. It was the landmark cult film that began the whole Midnight Movie phenomena of the counterculture crazy 1970’s. EL TOPO was the most talked about, most controversial quasi-western head trip ever made, transforming the way risk-taking audiences, seeking mainstream Hollywood alternatives, watched edgy underground films. Classic Americana and avant-garde European cinema sensibilities meet Zen Buddism and the Bible as master gunfighter and cosmic mystic El Topo (played by writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky) must defeat his four sharp-shooting rivals on an ever-increasing bizarre path to allegorical self-enlightenment and surreal resurrection.
The scandal of the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s flood of sacriligious imagery and existential symbolism is a spiritual quest for enlightenment pitting illusion against truth. The Alchemist (Jodorowsky) assembles together a group of people from all walks of life to represent the planets in the solar system. The occult adept’s intention is to put his recruits through strange mystical rites and divest them of their worldly baggage before embarking on a trip to Lotus Island. There they ascend the Holy Mountain to displace the immortal gods who secretly rule the universe.