Parts Unknown (2018)

After putting their bodies on the line for countless years, the Van Strasser family of professional wrestlers is looking for a brand new way to satisfy an impeccable bloodlust. And that way involves demons and quite possibly the end of the world.

This film is the sequel of sorts to 2016’s Witch Hunters and if you love pro wrestling, you’ll enjoy how crazy this all gets.

An entity known as The Holiness (voiced by Jake “The Snake” Roberts) is speaking to the father of the clan, leading him to greater heights of mayhem.

There’s plenty of violence on hand, with nipples being sliced off and devoured, as well as a razor blade dildo being used exactly how you always hoped that it wouldn’t.

There are more ideas than budget on screen here, but I walked away admiring director Richard Chandler for how much he tried to get out there. This is a movie that starts small and ends huge. It’s ridiculous, but that’s part of the charm.

Parts Unknown is available on demand and on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing, who were kind enough to send us a copy.

The Mentors: Kings of Sleaze Rockumentary (2018)

The Mentors started in Seattle but moved to Australia, where its three original members — Edon “El Duce” Hoke, Eric “Sickie Wifebeater” Carlson (guitar) and Steve “Dr. Heathen Scum” Broy — turned their garage punk metal into its own genre called rape rock. They were pretty much unknown until the PMRC hearings exposed America to the lyrics of their song “Golden Showers,” which features the line “Bend up and smell my anal vapor / Your face is my toilet paper.”

Depending on how seriously you took The Mentors, that pretty much determines how much they upset you.

This documentary covers their career — warts and, well, all warts really — including the claim that Courtney Love paid El Duce $50,000 to kill her husband Kurt Cobain, which led to Hoke telling this story on the Jerry Springer Show and in The National Enquirer and the movie Kurt & Courtney, even naming the person who did kill Cobain (who also shows up in this movie!). El Duce passed a lie detector test, despite the theory that Mentors pal Rev. Bud Green invented this story to sell to supermarket tabloids and get more publicity for the band. Further adding to conspiracy is that Duce died soon after, the victim of a train, murder or just suicide.

The Mentors wear their executioner hoods in honor of Mark of the Devil and Duce appeared in Du-beat-e-o and the the adult film Backstage Sluts alongside Motörhead, Korn and Limp Bizkit members, all telling their best groupie stories while porn stars act them out.

Obviously, while The Mentors still tour, their willingness to offend and pretty much be drunken and drugged manaics don’t really hit into today’s world. That said, at least they woule always keep their masks on.

While I was fascinated by this movie, if you are easily — or even not so easily — offended, perhaps you should skip this one.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

Heavy Trip (2018)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Paul Andolina for being part of our music week. Paul writes often on our site, most often about Nicolas Cage and pro wrestling movies. Now, he’s back to talk about Heavy Trip, a heavy metal movie from Finland. To read more of his work, check out his sites Wrestling with Film and Is the Dad Alive?

Leave it to the Finns to make one of the best movies about heavy metal that I’ve ever seen. Granted I haven’t seen a ton of films about heavy metal but I have been a metalhead for a long time. The store that I used to frequent and buy used metal cds no longer exists but this film certainly brought back the magic of discovering a new band.

Heavy Trip is about a group of guys who have a black metal band that mostly plays covers. They long for a gig but refuse to get one until they have written an original song. They play in a basement space below a reindeer slaughterhouse that is owned and operated by their guitarist Lotvonen’s dad. Rounding out the band is the ever shy Turo, the vocalist, Pasi, the living metal encyclopedia that is the bassist, and Jynnky, who has been dead twice, their drummer. After some failed original riff attempts, Lotvonen is inspired by a reindeer carcass caught in the processor, and the boys finally have their sound. They are really pleased with their song, Flooding Secretions. 

They happen to have a chance encounter with Frank Massegrav, the promoter of Northern Damnation, a huge metal festival in Norway, when he comes to the slaughterhouse to buy blood. He is accidentally doused in the blood and pissed, storms off but not before Jynnky chases down his truck and hands him their demo. Turo goes on to tell the local florist, Miia, about meeting Frank, and says that he has a gig in Norway. Things get totally out of hand when news of this spreads across their small town. Suddenly the band is no longer ridiculed and is openly praised by all the residents. Things end up going tits up at a local gig when it is revealed they don’t actually have a gig in Norway. 

This movie has some absolutely nutters scenes, including the band taking their promo shot by speed camera, a mental patient that turns violent when met by sudden movements who can only be calmed by metal, a fight with a wolverine, Turo puking on the town’s mayor while performing the first time in front of a live audience, and the entire third act of the film is bar none the greatest road trip segment put to film.

This movie is not only a great comedy but probably one of the funnest movies I’ve seen that involves metal in any capacity. I would highly encourage anyone who is a fan of metal to check it out. It’s irreverent, it’s heartfelt, and it is entirely metal. You can check it out on Amazon Prime.

Why Don’t You Just Die! (2018)

Andrei is a detective and the world’s most horrible father. He has brought together a group of people who all want revenge on him, including his angry daughter, a brutal criminal and a cheated cop. They all want revenge. So who is gonna get it?

Kirill Sokolov’s debut film calls to mind the cinematic styles of those he refers to as his favorite directors: Sergio Leone, Martin McDonagh, Park Chan-wook, Martin Scorsese, and, foremost amongst these greats, Quentin Tarantino.

Somehow, this movie takes a Russian spin on a Western action film, which gives it the signposts that will be able to guide audiences through it, but allows those looking for something unique their own avenues to travel throughout the film.

Matvey has a mission. His girlfriend feels that her father — the aforementioned Andrei — has shamed her. So he must kill the old man with a hammer. Easier said than done.

Andrei has a lot of fight in him. Matvey can take an inordinate amount of damage before dying. This “meet the parents” tale is filled with an overwhelming amount of violence, blood and gore. Which is a long way to say that this is awesome.

The Arrow release also includes four short films by the director: Could Be Worse, The Outcome, The Flame and Sisyphus is Happy. It also has the trailer, behind the scenes footage and even the storyboards used to make this.

I had no idea what to expect from this film and ended up really enjoying it. Consider this a recommendation for you to grab this for yourself. You can get it from Arrow Video, who was kind enough to send us a copy.

Wrestlemassacre (2018)

I’ve spent around half my life as a pro wrestler. So when a movie comes out about a man who takes his wrestling knowledge and becomes a killer comes around, I’m going to do what i can to find it and watch it and share it with you.

Randy (Bruiser Brody lookalike Richie “The Cuban Assassin” Acevedo) is a groundskeeper who is obsessed with being a pro wrestler like his father (who is played by Nikolai Volkoff). When he decides to try out at “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant’s wrestling school, he gets treated like a green boy and goes off the deep end, wiping out anyone he can get his hands on and making a belt out of human faces to defend against all manner of scum.

This movie is packed with real wrestlers, like The Sandman and Tony Atlas as mob goons, Manny Fernandez as one of Randy’s lawn technician friends, NOAH Global Tag League co-winner Rene Dupree and more.

What I loved about this movie was that all of the fights have completely worked wrestling punches and holds, yet body parts fly through the air, blood gets sprayed non-stop and people still sell damage like a comedy match.

Sure, this is a digitally shot low budget movie, but it has plenty of charm and a completely out of nowhere ending that amused me way more than I thought possible. As the dirtsheets say, ****.

Our friend Paul Andolina watched this as well, so you can check out his thoughts on his site.

You can learn more at the official Facebook page. Wrestlemassacre is now available on DVD and on demand from Wild Eye Releasing.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR company.

Accommodations (2018)

Edie Somner (Kat Foster) is married with children yet on the edge of divorce and dealing with the ups and downs of her husband’s career when she decides to stop accommodating everyone else and bring some type of meaning to ger life. That’s the story behind the first movie from writer, director and producer Amy Miller Gross.

The need for Edie to get more out of her life may be lost on me, as I’ve never made $275,000 a year, much less run up a decorating bill like that. As a result, her issues — she never gets to write what she wants and gives up so much of her life to everyone else — is lost on me. Wake up at 3 AM and write about movies all night like I do, I guess.

I really shouldn’t put my mindset into this film. So how about this: there are some pretty funny moments in this film, including a scene where the AirBNB guests that the Somners have staying in their home are staging a large orgy when Edie comes home blasted on NYC’s finest cannabis and her husband does Molly with his potential new boss.

Larisa Oleynik (10 Things I Hate About YouThe Secret World of Alex MagicThe Baby-Sitters Club) is in this, as is Mark Linn-Baker (yes, Cousin Larry from Perfect Strangers).

If you know want to know what it was like to be rich and dealing with issues in New York before the tribulations of 2020, this movie has you covered.

Accommodations is now streaming Amazon, Fandango Now, GooglePlay, iTunes and MovieSpree.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR company. That has no bearing on this review.

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

Susanna Fogel wrote and directed this film. She also was the writer of Booksmart, which is a movie I recommend you check out.

It’s all about Audrey Stockman (Mila Kunis), who is dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) via text. Her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) convinces her to burn all of his stuff, but she soon learns that he was a spy. Now, she’s thrust into the world of espionage.

This is a fun movie, filled with everything I love from spy movies. I really liked Ivanna Sakhno, who played Nadejda, a gymnastic hitwoman. There’s a great fight between her and McKinnon that was a blast.

There are also some great cameos, like Gillian Anderson as the spy boss Wendy and McKinnon’s parents, played by Jane Curtin and Paul Reiser. Working in Edward Snowden was also pretty fun, too.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime, where it offers a bubbly and goofy break to the hardcore spy action that we’ve been watching this month.

 

Rootwood (2020)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the woods . . .

Just down the road from Burkittsville, on the outskirts of the New Jersey Pine Barrons, two college students—grungy fanboy William and the purple-haired, retro-hippie geek girl Jessica—host “The Spooky Hour,” a podcast about paranormal phenomena and urban legends. One of their fans is Laura Benott, a Hollywood film producer who thinks they’re perfect for her pet project: a documentary about the curse of The Wooden Devil, a mysterious creature who haunts the Rootwood Forest on the outskirts of Los Angeles—and is responsible for the disappearances of dozens of campers and curiosity seekers.

And our Shaggy and Thelma see dollar signs and fame. So you know what that means: buy extra Scooby Snacks, call Daphne (in this context: the Kardashian- fashionista, Erin), and load in The Mystery Machine (in this context: a film equipment-stocked camper). We’re going to hunt for some mythical, legendary witches and devils of The Blair Witch Project (1999) and The Last Broadcast (1998) variety. (And don’t come a knockin’ for any ghouls from The Evil Dead, not in these woods.)

So who is our Satanic agent of Pan in this Blair Witch-inspired, found footage-cum-mockumentary hybrid tucked inside a traditional narrative film: a forest ranger who pledged his soul to protect the woods—and became The Wooden Devil. (All expositional, natch.)

As is the case with most found footage romps and mock-documentary chronicles, there’s a lengthy (30 minute) set up—much of it in handheld or ear-perched POV shots—of “character development” until we get to the first sense of the “horror” of The Wooden Devil: a paint-peeled image of a devil on a remote, graffiti-scrawled water tank and a blood-stained noose found in the knothole of a tree. Eventually, Erin starts ranting about seeing some “bat creature thing” off camera and Will and Jess—stumbling around in the dark with POV cameras rolling—find the ubiquitous stone circle with a symbol made of twigs at its center. And that damned noose keeps showing up in the most unlikely places.

Rootwood is a film that takes its time; it rolls out like an old, low-budget Drive-In horror film of the ‘60s and ‘70s (watch for twisty ending: for all is not as it seems). This is a film that dispatches with the CGI-painted shock-scares of today’s modern horror and goes for the well-shot in-camera effects (courtesy of lush cinematography from Thomas Rist, he of the German-language documentary Let It Bleed: 40 Years of the Rolling Stones) with everything just on the peripheral, in the shadows. In today’s big-budget, major-studio horror landscape, it’s a nice change of pace to see filmmakers take the mystery-suspense route. The well-scored music and crisp sound effects by Klaus Pfreundner and Tim Heinrich, respectively, add to the slow-building foreboding.

Director Marcel Walz received recognition for previous project: a 2016 re-imagining of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s 1963 cult classic, Blood Feast. Screenwriter Mario von Czapiewski made his debut with the 2012 German-produced/language feature Cannibal Diner. Felissa Rose (Laura Benott, the film producer) got her start in the business in her early teens as “Angela” in 80s cult favorite, Sleepaway Camp. And you horror hounds have seen scream queen Elissa Dowling (Jennifer) around on several low-budget films of the SyFy Channel variety; we previously reviewed her 2015 film, We Are Still Here.

To say Rose and Dowling are the hardest working ladies in show business is an understatement: Rose has a mindboggling 30 films in various states of production; Dowling’s working on 17 films of her own. Sara French (Erin the fashionista), in thirteen short years, has already appeared in 75 low-budget direct-to-DVD films. Professional ex-hockey player Tyler Gallant is relatively new to the acting game and shows a lot of promise in front of the camera; I can see him appearing on episodes of two of my favorite TV series: Blue Bloods and Law and Order: SVU, sometime soon.

On a release rollout since 2018, Rootwood will be available on demand and DVD in the U.S on April 7 from High Octane Pictures. You can learn more at the film’s official Facebook page and High Octane’s catalog at their Facebook page. Some of the High Octane catalog we recently reviewed at B&S About Movies includes The Alpha Test, American Hunt, A Wakefield Project, and Jurassic Thunder.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Disclaimer: This movie was sent to us by its PR department. As always: you know that has nothing to do with our feelings on the movie.

REPOST: The VelociPastor (2018)

NOTE: We were sent a DVD of this and felt that it’s a movie worth having our readers check out again, now that it’s streaming for free on plenty of platforms. If you want to know more, we also did a review with director Brendan Steere

After a devastating family tragedy, Father Jones loses his faith and moves to China, as you do. A dying woman gives him a dragon tooth and soon, he learns that he can transform into a raptor. At first, he’s horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight ninjas.

If you don’t want to watch this movie after that first paragraph, you may want to rethink coming to our site. This is a $35,000 epic begging for you to devour it.

When he comes back to America, he saves a prostitute named Carol (Alyssa Kempinski) from some muggers by tearing them apart. They make love, which goes against his vow of celibacy. And then, when her pimp confesses that he’s the one who killed our hero’s parents, well, all bets are off. The VelociPastor has a new mission from God and it involves killing lots of people, including a rogue sect of ninja Knights Templar.

I completely expected to hate this movie, seeing it as SyFy or Troma level dreck. To me surprise, it’s cunningly in on the joke and understands exactly the kind of movie that it is. Throw in an utterly bonkers overly edited lovemaking sequence and you have a movie I’ll be telling people about for the next few weeks.

The funniest part of the film — there are many — was when the church brings in an exorcist, played by animator/musician/toy designer/renaissance man Voltaire. Look — any movie where ninjas battle prostitutes and priests is going to be anything but boring. Pretty cool for a movie that came out of a trailer from 2011!

The VelociPastor is available on DVD and blu ray from Wild Eye Releasing. You can also watch it on Amazon Prime, Tubi and Vudu.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a copy of this on DVD by Wild Eye Releasing, which was really nice of them. And even though they threw a sticker in, it still has no bearing on our review.

Dead Sound (2018)

Four best friends from boarding school — rich kids, of course, the kind you most want to die — are headed to Block Island for the kind of graduation party that only exists in movies. But oh no — they miss the last ferry and get the trip from hell thanks to a crew that has no intention of letting them live, much less make the party.

Jeff Kober, who was in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes 2, as well as Tank GirlThe First Power and the TV series Kindred: The Embraced plays the main villain. Matty Cardarople, who plays Keith the video store guy on Stranger Things, and Brett Azar, who was a T-800 in the Terminator: Dark Fate, also show up.

It also has the based on a true story tag, so…you knew I had to watch it.

Dead Sound is available on demand and on DVD March 3 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR team.