Dave Wain’s essential breakdown of this week’s cavalcade of straight-to-disc treats. Step inside the DTV Junkyard…
Odeon Entertainment, the perennial fixture of the UK Home Entertainment industry changed their name, logo and twisted their remit earlier this year to rebrand themselves as Screenbound; the idea being to both prevent an increased number of theatrical releases becoming confused with the Odeon cinema chain, and to bring a number of companies – A2B Media and OEG Classic Movies for example – under the one umbrella.
So far it seems to have been a success, with the group making their debut appearance at Frightfest this year with ATTACK OF THE LEDERHOSEN ZOMBIES, which arrives on UK DVD shelves this week. I’ll have to admit, a title like that doesn’t see me sprinting to my local retailer on a Monday morning, in anticipation of rabidly ripping the sellophane off. True, we can all heap mountains of praise onto The Walking Dead for bringing the humble zombie into mainstream television, but with the knock-on effect of spawning a never-ending parade of low budget undead DTV’ers, I’ll forever bear a grudge!
Three young snowboarders find themselves left behind on a mountain, seeking shelter in an apres-ski tavern hosting an end of season party. But things go from bad to worse when a scientific experiment to create environmentally friendly snow unleashes an epidemic of zombies and mutant wildlife. As the local lederhosen drunkards run amok, Steve (Laurie Calvert), Branka (Gabriela Marcinkova) and buxom tavern owner Rita (Margarete Tiesel) have to find a way to survive their worst nightmare without schnapping!
Shot in Italy by an Austrian director with a Mancunian lead, Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is cosmopolitan to the core, and refreshingly good fun. Beginning with some awesomely photographed extreme snowboarding that harks back to the days of bawdy comedy blended with a little winter sports – Ski School (1990) and Out Cold (2001) spring to mind, it makes the most of wintry location as well as its cast of one dimensional caricatures of characters; but that’s fine, it bears no ambition to be anything other than whacked-out zombie picture that’s played primarily for laughs.
A witty script with the occasional bit of meta-humour shoehorned in, “How to kill them? Well it depends what kind of zombie movie we’re in”, it’s far removed from the subtle intelligence of Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow flicks. But, in a world saturated with ‘six college grads venturing into the woods for a weekend’ scenarios, I’m sure this dumb, hokey, cornball of a picture can co-exist among its peers as a seventy-five minute alternative of lobotomised idiocy with a little Johann Strauss to boot; it’s impossible to dislike.
Though you may not have seen me tearing up the tarmac to snatch a copy of the above schlocker, the arrival this week in the UK of the new Adrian Garcia Bogliano movie DID have me reaching for the Nike’s. Here Comes the Devil (2012) remains one of my favourite horror movies from the last few years, while his first English language feature, Late Phases stands at the pinnacle of what Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix have put out recently. His new film, Scherzo Diabolico or EVIL GAMES to give it its British title, is a slight departure to what most of us are used to from the prolific Spaniard.
Aram (Franco Barreiro) is immersed in the dullness of his life, waiting for a promotion that never seems to come, while his boss shrugs him off as an inconvenience and his wife has long since lost the urge to engage in any degree of intimacy with him. With pent-up frustration growing, he devises a scheme to get what he feels he is owed, and thus embarks on a crazy scheme of kidnap and ransom.
Caveat emptor before you slip Matchbox Films disc of Evil Games into your DVD player. Firstly, if you’ve given the picture the once over on IMDb and caught sight of the term ‘comedy’ above its title, then narrow that broad description down to it being as black as the Duke of Hell’s riding boots. Secondly, those in possession of the British release, DON’T read the back of the box as there’s a pull-quote there that provides far too much information with regard to the direction of the film.
Barreiro, so brilliant as the father in Here Comes the Devil, is magnificent as Aram here; a diminutive, unassuming man, with a well-groomed moustache and a fondness for classical music, it’s his quiet demeanour that provides the draw to hook you into Bogliano’s movie. Though always compelling, so much of the first half of Evil Games is a head-scratcher that provides more questions than answers into Aram’s complex personality. But, as expected, your faith in the writer-director pays off to produce an absolute humdinger of a final reel that makes this Mexico-set genre-bender one to watch.
All of this week’s discs were released in the UK on the 7th November 2016
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