Bug (1975 DVD

Ugly films need beautiful music and the lush, soothing sounds of Nico Fidenco make for the ultimate dichotomy of relaxation and revulsion. Fidencos score is less the serene soundscape Riz Ortolani composed forCannibal Holocaust(1980) and more of a funky, porno-lite trip down 70s Lane. Oftentimes the composers on these rough Italian pictures delivered scores that felt like they belong to something more refined and accessible, not a movie destined for banning in multiple countries and cut to ribbons in others. Fidenco provided the score for many entries in theBlack Emanuelleseries and while those films might be past their prime the music is completely timeless.

Swanteks sophomore directorial endeavor unfortunately isnt much more than shock and torture-porn crammed into an abbreviated timeframe been down this road more than a few times.

Sorry, have to call BS. Dean is confused. Phantom of the Paradise was never recut to make it a horror movie more like Carrie… Nor was it ever rereleased in the US. Never happened. The cut that was…

So what comes around in the second-time in the big guys chair? Well, when Id heard that it was a sadistic look into the BDSM scene, Ill admit I was a bit intrigued (no, Im not into that stuff, ya kooks) Id just honestly hoped for a bit more than what was tossed to me. This particular short film is titledPanther Ridge, and it tells the story of a young lady who is getting a fresh start in a new career that of a dominatrix, of sorts. As this presentation begins, shes smack dab in the middle of a dungeon with a very unlucky prisoner and the woman who will be guiding her in her training. Ill tell ya, first days on the job can be stressful, but with the correct forms of relief, you can make it through the day all the while exorcising some pent up demons as well.

As for the DVD itself, it is total bare bones. There are subtitles (which comes in handy when Dillman occasionally mumbles his lines), but theres not even a trailer much less any interviews, featurettes, or commentaries, which is a disappointment becauseBugis worthy of much better treatment. I would have loved to hear from anyone involved about working with the roaches, but regardless of Paramounts lack of love for the film, the creeps and heebie-jeebies it provides stand up to just about anything else Ive seen in this segment of the genre. The bugs themselves are beyond scary.Bugis the stuff of nightmares indeed, but isnt that why we all watch horror movies in the first place?

Starring Chenara Imrith, Kerry Hempel, Seth Goodfellow

Opting to shootBugas a straightforward, take itself seriously horror film instead of a slightly goofy or cheesy bug flick pays off in spades for the filmmakers. Anyone who thinks of William Castle strictly in terms of his gimmicky films likeThe Tinglerand13 Ghostswill be shocked by how deep and thought-provokingBugis. It stands alongsideShanksandMacabreas yet another example of Castles genius and willingness to challenge his audience without flinching. Theres nothing inBugthats even slightly cutesy or funny (except for a bit of unintentionally melodramatic acting). Its to the studio heads shame that Castle wasnt taken more seriously during his lifetime.

stopped reading after things go so hot. would you like me to be your editor? You had ONE job…here, let me do your job for you…. things [dont] go so hot or things [do] go so hot. Thank…

Dr. OBrien M.D. This is an archival interview with Donald OBrien, who played the wild and wily hunter, Donald, in the film.

Girls Night 2delivers an impressive amount of intense scares worthy of a feature length film in just under thirteen minutes.

Severin has provided a new 2K scan from unknown elements, delivering a 1.85:1 1080p image that falls right in line with most of their catalog. The picture has been cleaned up enough to allow for high-def improvements in clarity and coloration to (mostly) shine through, while still retaining a gritty look to remind viewers this is still a grindhouse picture. Film grain is heavy and active, swarming the picture but never becoming noisy. Contrast is variable, as is sharpness, with some scenes looking closer to HD than others. Colors are accurate but a bit anemic, too, with only a few instances of truly popping against the ever-present jungle greens. Detail is swallowed up in darkness, so dont expect to see much of it when night falls, which thankfully isnt often. Ill say one thing Italy sure does make for a fine Amazon stand-in.

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Director Ryan Swanteks graphic-take on a young woman unhappy with her looks inWhite Willowwas in my useless opinion, one of the strongest short films to hit the horror genre in quite some time. It was brutal, unflinchingly ruthless to eyeball, and best of all for a first-time directorial effort, there was no apology for what was put before us lets venture over toPanther Ridge.

Starring Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Monica Zanchi, Donald OBrien

English and Italian audio tracks, with optional English subtitles

an interview with actress Annamaria Clementi (23 min)

an interview with the composer (27 min)

When an unlucky nurse has half of her tit eaten off by a newly-arrived mental patient, a girl found in the Amazon jungles, journalist Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) infiltrates the sanitarium to score a hot scoop. Armed with a camera concealed within a baby doll head, Emanuelle surreptitiously snaps a few shots before making the new girl talk via digital means and Im not talking technology. Emanuelle takes her information to Professor Mark Lester (Gabriele Tinti), a museum curator whom she hopes will fund her expedition. He agrees. Then, she goes and screws some random guy in broad daylight down by the river. Later, she comes back and has more sex, this time with Mark. The next day they leave for the Amazon.

I Am Your Black Queenis an audio-only archival interview with Gemser.

Commence brutality upon this poor tied-up fool and the lass roped up across from him, for they know not what lies in store for them next, but rest assured theyll be making a blood donation whether they want to or not. Unfortunately my self-imposed hype proved to be insurmountable as Swanteks second time up to the plate resulted (for me, anyway) in a big swing and a miss. What worked in his maiden voyage withWillowwas the notion that you were going to witness the repercussions of a tortured soul as she looked in the mirror, whereas this time were watching some poor sap get the snot beaten out of him, and I could honestly see the same thing in a number of other productions for a longer stretch of time (if you dig that sort of thing). Ill await Mr. Swanteks third production when its time, and hopefully itll pack more of a sustained punch than this quickie.

A theatrical trailer (in SD) is also included.

So many of these Italian cannibal pictures feel interchangeable because the formula is incredibly simple send a group of naïve outsiders into the Amazon and let an indigenous tribe kill and eat them, usually in the most horrific manner possible. What sets this film apart from so many others is in the title: Emanuelle. Gemser is not only easy on the eyes but she has this magnetic presence on screen, not because she is a great actress but her looks, abilities, and personality combine to create one of exploitation cinemas most capable and sultry sirens. It is entirely due to her ingenuity here that anyone survives at all. She isnt a rag doll, tossed around and used for sex and companionship; Emanuelle is a woman in charge of her own sexuality and she calls the shots. This film was made during a time when women were often used as set dressing or spent most of a film being subservient, so its a nice change of pace to have one in the lead who takes control and it feels natural, not forced.

The World of Nico Fidenco The legendary composer sits down for a new interview, covering his career and theEmanuelleseries. In Italian with English subtitles.

BRAND NEW 2K REMASTER OF THE FILM prepared for this release

Bug, the last film credited to impresario William Castle (he served as writer and producer only, handing over the directorial reins to Jeannot Szwarc), could easily be overlooked and dismissed as just another silly nature-run-amok film. But that would be a serious disservice to the film and an even more serious loss for horror fans.Bugis anything but typical of its subgenre.

an interview with actress Monica Zanchi (19 min)

After taking famed sex icon Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) to Bangkok (1976), America (1976), and Around the World (1977) legendary sleaze director Joe DAmato decided to mash up two of Italys most notorious genres by sending his beautiful muse down to the Amazon rainforest, cinematic home to countless hordes of cannibal tribes. The Italian cannibal craze of the late70s was just beginning to take hold, offering DAmato a ripe opportunity to satisfy both the bloodlust and, well, regular lust of exploitation devotees worldwide. For the most part the film plays out expectedly, with a reasonably large group of people meeting in the Amazon and trekking off on a quest. By the end, that group has dwindled down to only a few members, all of whom probably have a lot of regret about traipsing through the jungle. Aficionados will get a bit of a been there, eaten that vibe from the film, which hits every trademark of the genre sans animal cruelty, but Emanuelle herself spices up this cannibal comfort food with an alluring performance capped off by one helluva genius ending. The film also holds the dubious distinction of showing a penis being eaten less than 15 minutes after the opening credits. You set a high bar, Joe.

Upon arrival, the two are met by Isabel (Monica Zanchi) and Sister Angela (Annamaria Clementi), both of whom have altruistic plans of their own in the rainforest. Their trek soon brings them across Donald (Donald OBrien), a hunter who is on safari with his wife and a guide. Now that the film has brought together a large group of people, some of whom are more reprehensible than others, its time to pick them off and watch in delight as cannibals of the Amazon gut them, skewer them, and devour their flesh while the soothing sounds of Nico Fidenco play in the background.

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an audio commentary by actress Laura Gemser (11 min)

Audio is available in both English and Italian DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono, both of which offer a similar audible experience. The standout here is unsurprisingly hearing Fidencos score in lossless glory. The ADR work is typically poor and obvious, but everything is understandable and there are no noticeable issues with hissing or audio damage. Subtitles are available in English.

A Nun Among the Cannibals Actress Annamaria Clementi provides a new interview about her role in the film and what it was like working with DAmato. In Italian with English subtitles.

The film contains no music just weird electronic sounds that represent the bugs and are only heard when they are onscreen. As a result, there are times when the tension is almost unbearable. The FX and pyrotechnic teams deserve a special mention some of the fire scenes are pretty crazy even by todays standards. Typical of its time, a few of the effects inBugare amateurish and obvious, but Ill take that over excessive CGI any day. Szwarc provides some very nice angles and viewpoints throughout. The man obviously knows a lot about tone and mood as well, not surprising considering his previous experience working with Rod Serling on TVsNight Gallery.Bugis about as grim a film as you can find.

From Switzerland to Mato Grosso Actress Monica Zanchi gives a new interview that covers her career.

Starring Marina De Sousa, Vincent Conty

an interview with actor Donald OBrien (19 min)

Starring Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Richard Gilliland, Jamie Smith-Jackson, Alan Fudge

The film opens by introducing us to Jim and Carrie Parmiter (Bradford Dillman and Joanna Miles), a seemingly happy, normal couple who live in a small town out in the California desert. But trouble starts right away. A massive earthquake hits the area and opens up a large section of the Tacker familys farmland. Some very unusual looking cockroaches come crawling out of the fissure in the earth, and it isnt long before we see just how unusual they are: These bugs are able to set things on fire. The body count (both animal and human) starts rising, and Gerald (Richard Gilliland), Norma Tackers boy friend, turns to Jim for help. As luck would have it, Jim is a scientist who teaches at one of the local schools (and happens to sweat more than just about anybody seen on screen), and soon hes hard at work trying to figure out what makes these particular bugs tick. At first, the biggest mystery is how they get from one place to another so quickly since they are unable to fly, but once Jim starts putting the pieces together, all hell breaks loose. Disaster follows disaster, and thenBugswitches gears completely. At a few points I was wondering why no authority type figures (the military, agricultural agencies, other scientists, etc.) were arriving on the scene. Luckily for us, this film isnt about that kind of reaction to the bug infestation.Bugavoids the usual overblown macho scenario, and I couldnt be more appreciative. There is to be no us versus them. Instead, the focus becomes Jims descent into madness and the part the bugs play in it. It is one mans story of revenge and obsession that ultimately affects us all.

Dillman and Miles were ubiquitous in the 70s; between the two of them, they appeared on just about every TV drama of the day. Even so, their performances are adequate at best; however, Dillmans transformation from a slightly scattered nutty professor to a completely deranged bug-breeding pimp is a sight to see. As a bit of 70s trivia, Jamie Smith-Jackson, who plays Norma, first achieved fame in the made-for-TV movieGo Ask Alice, one of this writers personal favorites from the era.

If you love Halloween as much as I do, you probably also love horror films that take place on Halloween. French Writer/Director David Teixeira uses Halloween as the backdrop for his eerie short horror filmGirls Night, which we reviewedhere. The film tells the story of three friends who decide to play Bloody Mary and end up butchered by a creepy masked killer. Filmmaker Teixeira skillfully uses atmosphere and impressive cinematography to heighten the scares.

Teixeira is back withGirls Night 2which will be released in October just in time for Halloween. The only survivor of the massacre, Jess (Marina De Sousa), is suffering from nightmares and insomnia because she was blamed for the murder of her friends. Its a year later and Halloween and she is staying with Pierre (Vincent Conty). To calm Jesss nerves they decide to watch a short film their friend David (David Teixeira) made, but Jess cant stay awake. In her dreams the masked killer is back and wielding a pair of scissors. The film ends in utter confusion and a bloody mess. Is it real or is it a dream and who is the killer? Youll have to watch the short to find out.


Directed by Joe DAmato (Arisitide Massaccesi)

Dont go thinking this is some kind of strong female-led picture that celebrates womanhood or anything. DAmato never likes to peer too high from his gutter view, and Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is a sleaze sensation; a cornucopia of cannibalism and carnal acts that culminates in the titular literally becoming a god temporarily. DAmato takes two of humanitys greatest loves eating and screwing and builds a story around them. Besides all of the aforementioned fornication, nipples are eaten as anamuse-bouche, penis tartare is part of the starter course, a vagina makes unexpected friends with the business end of a machete, a woman is gutted like a deer, and one guy learns a thin rope can still be strong enough to tear the human body in half. Nobody gets out of this thing unscathed except, maybe, for Emanuelle who seems unfazed by every atrocity the world throws her way.

The performances are strong and believable and actress Marina De Sousa is remarkable as Jess. Like the original,Girls Night 2delivers an exciting amount of intensity and panic in only around thirteen minutes. I highly suggest experiencing both of these short films while wearing headphones to really amp up the terror.Girls Night 2is currently a semi-finalist at Los Angeles Cinefest and winner for Best Foreign Film at the $2 Dollar Film Festival. The award winning short filmGirls Nightis available onYouTubeand you can watch theGirls Night 2teaser trailer below.

There is no point to making complaints about plotting when watching a film with this title. DAmato promises viewers nothing more than a sleazy time intended to induce equal parts creep and kink into a span of time. Severins release offers a cleaned-up picture and a solid selection of extras that catch up with a few of the principal cast and crew.


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