Sunday, July 22, 2018

Phil’s Horror Watch: THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1982) from Scorpion Releasing - July 22, 2018

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW Slipcover
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW
Starring Kathryn McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward (as Janis Zido), Robin Meloy, Harley Jane Kozak (as Harley Kozak), Jodi Draigie
Written by Mark Rosman and Bobby Fine (additional dialogue)
Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Paul Trejo and Jean-Marc Vasseur
Directed by Mark Rosman
Originally released by Artists Releasing Corporation (through Film Ventures International)
Released by Scorpion Releasing

Today's film comes to us once again from the early 80's. The film is a genre classic. In fact, it's so popular that it was remade in 2009. And the film has been released over and over again in various formats; mostly DVD and Blu-Ray. The latter leads me to the newest and latest release of this beloved horror treasure. Today's film is none other than the 1983 horror slasher film THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.

The film's official synopsis: Flirtatious young sorority sisters who are days away from graduation set out to throw one last decadent celebration. Unbeknownst to them, the strict matron of their house hides a horrendous secret thought long buried. A gruesome accident is witnessed by a hideous fiend, hidden within the once nurturing dwelling, which triggers a rampage of death and destruction. Before the end, the peril faced by this sisterhood will push them to the brink of annihilation. And rivers of blood will drown all who enter ... The House on Sorority Row.

Original Theatrical Poster (1983)
The film was released in US theaters on January 21, 1983, and took in $617,661 in its opening weekend. It would go on to gross a whopping $10,604,986! On November 14, 2000, Elite Entertainment released the movie on DVD. Then was re-printed and released again on November 18, 2003. Then it became out of print, but was once again re-released on January 12, 2010 as a special 25 year special anniversary edition. Soon this edition became out of stock as well. Then in 2011, Scorpion Releasing released a 2-disc remastered edition on DVD and Blu-ray, this time adding Katarina Waters's Nightmare Theater to it. All this leads up today.  Scorpion Releasing and Code Red released a new Blu-ray edition on May 11, 2018, featuring a new 2K scan of the original master negative with a slipcover and newly commissioned artwork. This new edition is only sold exclusively online and limited to 1,600 units, which is where I purchased my copy of the film.

Special Features include: New scan of the original internegative, New 5.1 Surrond Sound, Isolated score, Watch in Katrina's Nightmare Theater Mode, Interviews with stars Eileen Davidson, Kate McNeil, Harley Jan Kozak, director Mark Rosman, composer Richard Band and producer Igo Kantor, Audio Commentary with cast and director, Audio Commentary with director Mark Rosman, Alternate Ending Story Boards, Still Gallery, Trailer, and Reversible Cover. 

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is a great 80's horror slasher classic! The movie still holds up after all these years, and still attracts new fans year after year after year. There's a reason that the film still lives on, and the reason is that it's that's damn good and entertaining! And it's never looked this good before! So do yourself a favor tonight. Make some popcorn, turn off the lights, and have a good time watching this movie! But don't watch it alone, especially on a college campus! 4 1/2 out of 5 stars! Highly Recommended!!


THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is available on Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing. To purchase a copy, visit roninflix.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Phil attends the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS: DAY THREE event at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 15, 2018

Welcome back to the third and final day of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! Hard to believe that the fun was coming to a close. But before I say goodbye to Charlie, let me tell you all what was happening on the last day of this celebration!

The fun began in the late morning with our Sunday Afternoon Matinees, which screened Chaplin's Essanay films and was divided up in two parts. Here's what happened in the first part:

A NIGHT OUT (1915): After a visit to a pub, Charlie and Ben Turpin cause a ruckus at a posh restaurant. Charlie later finds himself in a compromising position at a hotel with the head waiter's wife. The film was shot on location in Oakland and San Jose.

THE CHAMPION (1915): Walking along a street with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes the training camp of an enormous fighter named Spike Dugan, which states he is seeking sparring partners "who can take a take a punch." The movie was filmed in Niles and around the Essanay Studio.

Then it was time for the museum to show the now classic entitled Google's CHAPLIN DOODLE. Originally released on April 16, 2011 on the Google website, the short was made to celebrate Chaplin's 122nd birthday on that same day. The short was filmed here in Niles and was a real treat to see it on the big screen again. Then the museum held its annual Chaplin Look Alike Contest, which was amazing to see both young and old impersonating Chaplin. After that, it was time for part two of the Sunday Afternoon Matinees:

IN THE PARK (1915): A tramp steals a girl's handbag, but when he tries to pick Charlie's pocket loses his cigarettes and matches. He rescues a hot dog man from a thug, but takes a few with his walking stick. When the thief tries to take some of Charlie's sausages, Charlie gets the handbag. The handbag makes its way from person to person to its owner, who is angry with her boyfriend who didn't protect her in the first place. The film was shot in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Original Theatrical Poster (1915)
A JITNEY ELOPEMENT: (1915): Edna Purviance's father wants her to marry wealthy Count He-Ha. Charlie, Edna's true love, impersonates the Count at dinner, but the real Count shows up and Charlie is thrown out. Later on Charlie and Edna are chased by her father, The Count, and three policeman. The pursuers drive off a pier. The film was shot in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

THE TRAMP (1915): Chaplin's the little Tramp finds the girl of his dreams and works on a family farm. He helps defend the farm against criminals, and all seems well, until he discovers the girl of his dreams already has a boyfriend. The movie was filmed in Niles, Niles Canyon and around the Essanay Studio.

WHEN THE MOVIES CAME  FROM NILES (1964): This hour long film was narrated by Bill Cato: a real life cowboy and actor who worked at the Essanay studio and was also Broncho Billy's occasional riding double. We hear Cato recalling how much fun it was making these films for the studio and how mush pride they had making them. We also hear the voice of Anderson as well.

The weekend long celebration concluded with SHOW & TELL WITH JASON ALLIN.

This was such a fun filled weekend! And I can't wait till next year's Charlie Chaplin Days! In the meantime, there are plenty more excitement happening at the museum. We have a weekly Saturday Night shows, including the extremely popular Comedy Shorts Night. Plus in August the museum will have their annual Bronco Bill Film Festival! So don't delay! Come on down to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, where silent films live forever!!

To learn more about Charlie Chaplin, visit the official website at www.charliechaplin.com. To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS: DAY TWO event at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 14, 2018

Hello again and welcome back to Day Two of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! There was a lot of activities on Saturday, so let's not waste any time and get right down to it!

WALKING TOUR OF NILES: Led by David and Rena Kiehn, the tour consisted of visiting various locations and landmarks in Niles that the Essanay Film Studios used for their films. From the old building that used to be original location of the studio itself, David and Rena gave a fun and informative tour! Those in attendance also received a Walking Tour of Niles booklet.

BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDITS SECRET (2012): In 2012, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum produced a two-reel silent western to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company arriving in Niles. This inspired our museum curators to create a film as special as our little hamlet. Using equipment and techniques from the silent era and locations that are much like they were over 100 years ago, the film presents a fictionalized account of Gilbert Anderson's arrival in Niles, and how the town sheriff joins forces with the movie gunslinger to bring a group of bandits to justice.

WINDOWS TO THE PAST (2017): A 40 minute behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDITS SECRET. Fun Fact: The documentary runs at 40 minutes, which is 10 minutes longer than the film itself.

Then it was time for the Saturday Afternoon Matinees, a series of Chaplin short films, documentaries and a lecture.

Original Theatrical Poster (1915)
THE CHAMPION (1915): Walking along a street with his bulldog, Charlie finds a "good luck" horseshoe just as he passes the training camp of an enormous fighter named Spike Dugan, which states he is seeking sparring partners "who can take a take a punch."

ONE A.M. (1916): After a night on the town, Charlie comes home to the house where he is staying, drunk and unable to find his key. For the next twenty minutes he staggers into, out of, and through the house in an inebriated confrontation with the house itself.

PRESENTATION: CHAPLIN AS A DIRECTOR: Conducted by Professor John Fawell, this informative symposium featured examinations on some of Chaplin's films, including THE KID, THE GOLD RUSH, and MODERN TIMES, his style of filmmaking, comedic timings, and the heart of his films and why they are regarded as not just classic silent films, but works of art in cinema's rich history.

THE MOVIES GOES WEST (1974): a PBS short film hosted by former Essanay actor Hal Angus, who was well in his 80's when he appeared in the film. Angus took us back in time when movies were still being made in Niles while recalling some great information about not only Anderson, but of the Essanay studios and all the fun they had making these silent film classics. We even got to see the old Essanay barn (their first studio in Niles before the state of the art studio was built) before it was condemned and torn down. The old barn door was saved and now it's part of a museum exhibit somewhere.

THE TRAMP (1915): Chaplin's the little Tramp finds the girl of his dreams and works on a family farm. He helps defend the farm against criminals, and all seems well, until he discovers the girl of his dreams already has a boyfriend.

CHAPLIN LOCATIONS IN HOLLYWOOD AND THE BAY AREA: Moderated by Marc Wanamaker and John Bengtson, this was a fun and interesting talk about some of the areas that Chaplin shot his films for the Essanay Studios in Northern and Southern California. Also discussed where the shooting locations for the films THE KID, THE CIRCUS, and CITY LIGHTS.

Then later that night, it was time for the centerpiece of the celebration with a Chaplin classic:

THE KID (1921): The film stars our favorite Tramp who happens to find an abandoned baby on his morning stroll. He cares for the baby and raises him as his own. Jackie Coogan plays the Kid, who was just five years old when he made the film. Chaplin discovered Coogan on the theater stage and casted him on the spot. Years later Coogan would also be known as Uncle Fester on The ADDAMS FAMILY television show. Purviance also starred in the film as the mother who abandoned her son and regretted her mistake. The film was released to the world on February 6, 1921. The film is highly regarded as on of the finest films ever made in cinema's history. The film was also introduced by Chaplin cameraman Rollie Totheroh's grandson David Totheroh!!

David Totheroh talks about his grandfather cameraman Rollie Totheroh and Chaplin.
Another fun-filled day at the museum for our CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS event! And there was still more fun to come the next day!! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the opening night of the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 13, 2018

Hello silent film fans and welcome to the Opening Night of the Charlie Chaplin Days here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! During the year of 1915, the world of cinema was making history. D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION  changed the landscape of cinema forever. Producer/distributor William Fox founded the new Fox Film Corporation. Also in the small town of Niles, California, a little comedian came into town, made about five films in three months, and then left. However, those five films helped paved the way for Charlie Chaplin's signature character The Tramp to become one of cinema's most beloved icons. This past weekend, the town of Niles, as well as the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, celebrated its most famous actor with its annual CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS, which took place this past weekend!

The festivities kicked off Friday night with a symposium entitled AN EXPLORATION OF PHYSICAL COMEDY. It included a panel of distinguished individuals who know a lot of this paticular subject. The panel was moderated by funny man Dan Kamin, Paul Mular, Jeffrey Weissman, Jason Allin, John Fawell. They discussed the comedic style and methods of not only Charlie Chaplin, but other comedians from the silent film era, including Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and the often forgotten Lupino Lane. Also, there was a short video of Steve Massa talking about the comedic timings of Chaplin and others. The crowd for that night's symposium were very much into the topic and there was a Q&A with them!

(L-R) Dan Kamin, Paul Mular, Jeffrey Weissman, Jason Allin, John Fawell.
Overall, it was a great night and a great way to kick off the weekend!! And there was more fun events to come at the museum! To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, on how to become a member, and to view their weekly film schedule, visit their website at http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org./ 
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Phil sees ANT-MAN AND THE WASP at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD - July 13, 2018

While the world is still reeling from the aftermath of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Marvel Studios has released their newest film ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to theaters. Usually, I like to celebrate Friday the 13th with a horror movie marathon, but since my girlfriend and I were out and about doing errands, we decided to take in a movie. And since were in Fremont, the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD was close by. And were were going to see it in the luxurious XD theater with the Luxury Loungers and XD Dolby Atmos surround sound!! Yeah, we were going to have a good time today!

The film’s official synopsis: In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he's confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangaline Lilly)  and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

The first ANT-MAN was such fun-filled action packed superhero romp, I had high expectations for the sequel. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype, and more. Paul Rudd does a great job as Scott Lang again, bringing his haplessly heroic loser to life once again. But he steps it up immensely, as he’s Hank’s and Hope’s only hope of defeating their newest adversary: Ghost (played spectacularly by Hannah John-Kamen). Both Michael Douglass and Evangaline Lilly return as they lay their emotions out for all to see, as they both discover something (or someone) that they thought was lost forever. And Lilly kicks some major ass in the film! Also returning are Scott’s loveable and goofy friends Luis, T.I., and Kurt. Making his MCU film debut is Lawerance Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, an old colleague/rival of Hank’s from his days at S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, Fishburne is known for portraying Perry White in the DC Extended Universe films like MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Peyton Reed returns to the directing chair for this sequel, continuing what he started in the first film. He finds the right balance of action, humor and character development that pushes the film's story to a satisfying conclusion. But here's the kick: the villain survives (as far as we know) and she may not be a villain in the upcoming MCU films, that is if she survived from Thanos' eradicating half of the universe. Reed is an awesome director, and I hope he stays with the franchise for a very long time!

And since this is a Marvel Studios film, there are two bonus scenes: the mid-credits scene (which ties in directly to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) and one at the end of the credits, which I found cute. But this last scene isn't required viewing. And if you have to use the restroom, then go after the mid-credits scene is over.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is another MCU action-packed, hilariously funny, superhero popcorn flick that will have audiences and kids rushing to their local theater on these hot summer days!! It's awesome to see what the future holds for this franchise, but let's not forget that we haven't seen the last of Ant-Man, as we now enter the MCU post Thanos, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is currently playing in both 2D, RealD 3D, and XD in theaters nationwide, including at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://cinemark.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Phil sees THE FIRST PURGE at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - June 6, 2018

I recall seeing THE PURGE (the first film) at a special advance screening at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge way back in 2013. While I sincerely enjoyed it, I thought it would be a one-off film. Never did I imagine that it would become a horror franchise, and now a television mini series on the USA Network this fall. So this past 4th of July, Blumhouse and Universal Pictures released the latest chapter of the series. Or should I saw prequel. Yes my friends, I went and saw THE FIRST PURGE over at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge.

The film's official synopsis: After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

Ok, so let me say this about the film. It is, without a doubt, the most ghetto ass horror film of the series!! And I don't mean "ghetto" because the movie takes place in the ghettos of Staten Island, nor because it's cast is mostly African Americans, or that it contains a hip hop/rap soundtrack. None of this means it's "ghetto." I'm calling it "ghetto" because it is one of the most lazy, disenchanting, hollow, horror film I have seen in a long time!! Now, let me explain my disposition.

Given the political and social climate the country is currently in, I am completely shocked that the film doesn't address the issues that are plaguing America today. We are on the verge of a revolution, fighting against the tyranny of the Trump Regime. We are facing trade wars, alienating our closest allies, families being ripped apart, children being kept in cages, environmental polices being undone; this country is coming apart at the seams. Now, with the previous three installments, there was some form of political and social commentary, especially with PURGE: ANARCHY and PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. However, there wasn't any of that in this movie. None whatsoever!! How the hell do you make a PURGE movie and not have any commentary about the state of the country currently?!? To me, that is offensive! Whenever the country falls into despair or when it is under conservative control, horror films have been there to offer not only escapism, but comment on what is wrong with the world. From addressing racism in George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to commenting on AIDS in David Robert Mitchell's  IT FOLLOWS, there has been a conscience voice within our films. Whether you agree with the filmmakers or not, you have to respect them for voicing their concerns and opinions! This movie doesn't have a voice!! And that pissed me off!! But wait, there's more!!

The other reason I called it "ghetto" was that it offers nothing to the series, nor to its fans. Screenwriter James DeMonaco's script totally sucked shit; containing no real attributes to help make this movie relatable. The story was awful, there was no real character development and all of them were just basic stereotypes, and the story lacked any real sense of threat or danger. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy that wrote all the other PURGE films, but it felt like he only did this to get a paycheck. It showed in every single frame of the film!

Even more grotesque is director Gerard McMurray's set-ups and compositions, which looked unimaginative, sloppy and amateurish at best. Granted this is only his second feature length movie and his fourth film he's directed (he made two shorts prior to making features), it looked so damn bad that I was completely taken out of the movie almost right at the start. Of course, DeMonaco's lackluster script helped speed up my checking out. How McMurray got the job to direct is beyond me, but his style is still very green.

Overall, THE FIRST PURGE is a total piece of shit, waste of my time type of movie!! I was so looking forward to watching this movie, only to regret my decision immediately after the opening credits!! That's how early I knew that this was going to suck, and how painful it was to sit through the whole damn thing!! So stick with the first three films, and just forget about seeing this in theaters!! But if you really want to see it, then just watch the trailer! 1 out of 5 stars!! It sucked shit!!


THE FIRST PURGE is playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Phil sees AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR for the fourth time at the AMC Saratoga 14 - June 20, 2018

So it’s official; I have seen AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR four times now. This historic event encapsulates my love of this movie. And since it will be coming out on Blu-Ray and DVD before you know it, I thought it would be nice to have my girlfriend finally see it, even though she was way behind seeing all the other MCU films.

So before I took her to see the movie, I had her watch some of the key films that lead into the third installment of the series: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, DOCTOR STRANGER, and THOR: RAGNAROK. I was disappointed that she didn’t get to watch BLACK PANTHER, but we ran out of time, and since we hardly ever have time alone, we had a very small window to go out to the theaters. Plus, she had gift cards to the AMC Theaters, so we headed over to the AMC Saratoga 14 to watch this soul crushing installment of the MCU.

*HEADS UP! SO I DIDN’T TELL MY GIRLFRIEND ANYTHING ABOUT THE MOVIE. SO, SHE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. FOR MOST OF THE FILM, I WAS WATCHING HER FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND ENJOYING HER BITTER HATRED FOR THANOS.*

When the movie ended and the screen went black and the credits started to roll, my girlfriend just sat there in her seat, repeating this phrase, "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!! THAT’ S HOW THE MOVIE ENDS?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?" Needless to say, she was quite upset, especially since I had her watch all those other MCU films so that she can get to know the characters, storylines, and references. So I think she felt like she was cheated.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is playing in 2D, Real 3D, and in IMAX in theaters nationwide, including at the AMC Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.amctheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!