Monday, 9 May 2011

MY 10 FAVOURITE CODE RED DVD RELEASES


Code Red DVD is a terrific boutique label that has released a number of hard-to-see genre flicks over the last few years. In an era when small labels are closing left, right and centre, challenged by downloading both legal and illegal, it’s nice to see CR holding on, despite premature notice that they would be closing sometime during the summer of 2011.

The label has also become one of the more controversial DVD houses in the marketplace due to a number of issues that include limited (often contentious) communication with the buying public, changing (sometimes vanishing) release dates, and hard to find ordering information. However, Code Red continues to bring the goods; the controversial 80’s slasher flick “Nightmares” directed by Romano Scavolini is due to street on July 28.

What follows are my 10 favourite Code Red DVD releases so far, in order. Bring on “Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker” and "Savage Streets"!


MESSIAH OF EVIL
Director: Willard Huyck; 1973; CR #: 18
CR Description: One of great, rarely seen horror movies of the 70s finally gets a proper DVD release!!!!!!!!! 100 years ago, a demonic priest from Hell passed through a seaside town, carrying a blood-crazed contagion that reduced all the good citizens to mindless, cannibal zombies. Following a frenzied, flesh-eating orgy, the dark priest walked straight into the sea, promising to return a century later to lead a new zombie apocalypse. This time around, the vile contagion precedes him. As spaced-out followers gather on the beach, awaiting their master's return, the town is already in the grip of a carnivorous epidemic of madness. When innocent young Arletty comes to town searching for her missing father, she realizes too late that the demon priest of the "blood moon" is coming for her. Starring Mariana Hill, Elisha Cook Jr., Joy Bang, Royal Dano; Directed by Willard Huyck.


RITUALS
Director: Peter Carter; 1977; CR# 24
CR Description: Mitzi (Lawrence Dane, SCANNERS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME) invites a fellow doctor, Harry (Award winning Hal Halbrook, INTO THE WILD, CAPRICORN ONE), and three other doctors to go on a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness. They thought they were alone, but someone is watching them. A Harmless trip turns into a nightmare and murder as the psychopath plays a deadly psychological game of survival. Robin Gammell (LIPSTICK) co-stars. Special Make-up by Carl Fullerton (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 & 3). Un-cut and uncensored, from the producer's vault elements!


PETS
Director: Raphael Nussbaum; 1974; CR # 23; OOP
CR Description: Sultry teen vixen Bonnie (cult beauty Candice Rialson) had no idea what was in store for her when she ditched her brother and took to the road, looking for cheap thrills wherever she could find them. Violent petty criminal Pat drags her into a kinky hold-up and lesbian artist Geraldine takes Bonnie under her wing as her personal muse, but the young runaway continues to crave adventure, leading her down a twisted path to a psychosexual encounter with Vincent, a collector of beautiful objects who wants to add her to his permanent collection... Co-starring Joan Blackman (Macon County Line) and Ed Bishop (UFO) in his wildest screen role, you've never seen anything like Pets! Play with them, fondle them, but beware... Pets bite!


SOLE SURVIVOR
Director: Thom Eberhardt; 1983; CR #: 007
Terror stalks the sole survivor of a plane crash in this gripping, innovative horror story by Thom (Night of the Comet) Eberhardt. Television producer Denise Watson (Anita Skinner, winner of a Golden Globe for Girlfriends) is ready to resume her life after surviving a plane crash, until she starts to see strangers, threatening and malevolent, watching her every move. Plagued by night fears, and a series of terrifying near-miss accidents, she seeks help from her neighbor Kristy (Robin Davidson), and her psychiatrist, Dr. Richardson (Kurt Johnson). But is she really losing her mind? Or is she under attack by emissaries of death, intent on repossessing her extra lease of life?


LOVE ME DEADLY
Director: Jacques Lacerte; 1973; CR #: 006
CR Description: Lindsay (Mary Wilcox) has an unusual fascination with the dead. She often finds herself at funerals for people she doesn't even know. Once the mourners have cleared out, she's drawn to the corpse by an unspeakable sexual curiosity. It appears that this obsession with the recently deceased has been brewing within Lindsay for quite some time and might have something to do with her late father. She makes an attempt at a normal relationship with Lyle Waggoner ("Wonder Woman", "The Carol Burnett Show"), but is also lured into a corpse -loving cult by a creepy undertaker. Equal parts sick soap opera and exploitation shocker, LOVE ME DEADLY still has the power to disturb and disgust 25 years after its original release.


GIRLS IN CHAINS
Director: Donald M. Jones; 1973; Code Red # NA; OOP
CR Description: They were abducted and violated... but the worst was yet to come! In a remote country house, a malevolent form of sleaze and terror is being bred. A crazy mother encourages her two sons - raving lunatic Frank (Gary Kent) and his not-all-there brother Johnny (John Stoglin) - to kidnap young women and chain them up in the basement. The girls are treated like animals and then subjected to games that grow increasingly sinister and depraved. When the brothers tire of their playthings, the girls must be replaced. This lost exploitation classic is every bit as morally corrupt as you've heard. Directed by Don Jones (The Forest) and shot by cinematographer Ron Garcia (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me), Girls In Chains is an entertaining slice of early '70s sleaze guaranteed to delight and disturb. Originally known as Schoolgirls In Chains, Exploitation Digital, in association with Code Red DVD, is proud to bring Girls In Chains to DVD for the first time ever!


THE VISITOR
Director: Giulio Paradisi; 1979; CR # 025
CR Description: Katy Collins (Paige Conner, Little Darlings) is no ordinary 8 year-old girl. Indeed, she is unique, carrying within her the power of Sateen, an inter-spacial force of immense magnitude. Katy's primary mission on earth is to carry these genes forward, a task accomplished by convincing her mother, Barbara (Joanne Nail, Switchblade Sisters) to bear a similarly endowed male child with whom Katy would eventually mate. Opposing this scheme is The Visitor (John Huston - Academy Award winner, Chinatown, The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon), a sage of galactic stature who has come to this world not to kill Katy, but to end her "confusion". Find out what happens in this unforgettable, supernatural suspense thriller from the maker of the box office hit Beyond The Door.


THE UNSEEN
Director: Danny Steinmann; 1980; CR # 11
CR Description: A television reporter (Barbara Bach) and her two friends head to Solvang, California to cover a Danish festival. When there is a mix-up at the hotel and they are left without hotel rooms, the girls accept the invitation of a friendly museum owner to board at his large farmhouse, because the rest of the motels in and around town are sold out. But unknown to the women, something is living in the basement of the house. Their stay soon becomes a horrific nightmare when, one by one, they encounter the 'unseen'.


DEVIL TIMES FIVE
Director: Sean MacGregor; 1974; CR # 004; OOP
CR Description: Five extremely disturbed, sociopathic children escape from their psychiatric transport and are taken in unwittingly by a group of adult villagers on winter vacation.


BEYOND THE DOOR
Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis; 1975; CR # 015
CR Description: Jessica, wife of a record producer and mother of two foul-mouthed children, is pregnant but senses something strange about the baby brought on by the reappearance in her life of an old lover, Dmitri (Richard Johnson) - whose life the devil has promised to extend if he makes sure Jessica delivers her devil spawn.


TRAPPED
Director: William Fruet; 1983; CR #: 016
A suspenseful thriller in the tradition of DELIVERANCE and WRONG TURN, directed by cult director William Fruet (DEATH WEEKEND, KILLER PARTY, SPASMS), written by John Beaird (MY BLOODY VALENTINE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME) and photographed by award winning cinematographer Mark Irwin (SCANNERS, VIDEODROME, THE BLOB, THE FLY, SCREAM)! An innocent camping weekend turns into terror and murder for four young university students! Henry Chatwell (Henry Silva - OCEANS 11, SHARKEY'S MACHINE, CHAINED HEAT) tortures, stalks and kills his wife's lover, all witnessed by the students. Unable to contact the sheriff, the students return to their campsite where they are taken captive by Chatwell. Chatwell's verdict is that the students must die! Realizing he has gone too far, two villagers release the students who are one by one recaptured, expect for Roger (Nicholas Campbell - THE DEAD ZONE, TV’s DaVINCI'S INQUEST). Chatwell goes after Roger with an axe and the fight is on. When you are trapped like an animal...it's kill or be killed!


6 comments:

Wes M said...

Fantastic list Dave. I think Code Red is a wonderful label - sure, they miss release dates but they put such love and care into their discs, its entirely forgivable. I tried to order Rituals a few days ago but no where seemed to have it in stock. Really looking forward to Nightmares (In A Damaged Brain)...

Dave S said...

Wes - I ordered Rituals through Planet Axel (my first order from these guys). After waiting 26 days (despite a 4-6 day delivery estimate), I was told it "got lost in the mail". I'm currently awaiting restocking so that they can reship. Very frustrating.

Wes M said...

Ah, shit... I hope that works out Dave and you get your disc.

Greg Goodsell said...

Glad you liked LOVE ME DEADLY and SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS. I spent a good deal of my own time and money recording commentary tracks for both of them – and Code Red DVD repaid my kindness by neglecting to mail me copies! Didn’t get a single comp from them, other than the one I recorded for THE FOREST. I felt left out in the cold until SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS DIRECTOR Don Jones told me he didn’t get a complimentary copy of the DVD, either. FUCK YOU CODE RED!

Dave S said...

Sorry to hear that Greg. But I'm happy to say that I did very much like both Schoolgirls in Chains and Love Me Deadly, AND their commentary tracks.

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