The home of cult movies and genre cinema: from grindhouse to schlock, sexploitation to blaxploitation, kung fu to samurai, manga to J-horror, monster movies, mondo, spaghetti westerns and space operas. With added Steven Seagal.
Given the recent horsemeat scandal, the timing of this release couldn't be better – but then, it's hard to imagine a bad time for welcoming back this prime cut of '80s cult horror. Kevin Connor's salty black comedy concerns Vincent (Rory Calhoun) and Ida (Nancy Parsons), twinkly proprietors of Motel Hello (the neon sign's final “O” is temperamental) and purveyors of Farmer Vincent's smoked meats, which have customers drooling with delight. Outwardly, their business has all the hallmarks of a wholesome Mom and Pop concern. Trouble is, they make use of a controversial secret ingredient – human flesh – and, as a result, their tasty wares have turned half the county into unwitting cannibals.
Arrow Video has been doing a wonderful job recently of bringing out the movies of the great Mario Bava in sumptuous new editions. The latest to benefit from this Rolls Royce treatment is this lively Alpine stalk-'n'-slash flick from 1972, a favourite of the director's many fans. Handsome young American Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) has come to Austria for rest and relaxation and to rediscover his roots – in particular, he's fascinated by his colourful ancestor of three centuries before, Otto von Kleist, aka Baron Blood, a prolific torturer and impaler who is said to have been the subject of a witch's curse. Before long, Peter and his new best friend Eva (Elke Sommer) – an architect who is supervising renovations of the Baron's castle, which, as it happens, is being turned into an hotel – are trying out some ancient incantations in a foolhardy effort to raise the Baron from the dead.
A winning mix of supernatural chiller, conspiracy thriller and police procedural, Ultraviolet ran for six episodes on Channel 4 back in 1997. Even 15 years on, it remains one of the best TV vampire shows ever: there's just some fang about it.
Bradley Scott Sullivan's debut feature starts strongly and messily, with a bloody corpse on the road, a confused and scared cop uncertain what to do, and a blinded girl wandering the woods, one of her eyeballs left behind on the end of a branch like a pickled onion on a cocktail stick. It's quite an opening, and it's all shot with a twitchy, grainy, grindhousey 70 feel.
In the 1980s, Howard Brenton made something of a habit of shocking the establishment. He did it on the stage of the National Theatre with his play The Romans in Britain, which featured scenes of male nudity and buggery, prompting a lawsuit from Mary Whitehouse. And he did it at the BBC with Dead Head (1986), a four-part serial which became front page news courtesy of a kinky naked-but-for-a-pair-of-wellies sex scene.