HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, September 25, 2017

ALL THE SINS OF SODOM/ VIBRATIONS -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Hardly as lurid as the title suggests, ALL THE SINS OF SODOM (Film Movement Classics) is pioneering sexploitation filmmaker Joe Sarno's visually seductive offering of forbidden sex-infused drama to inquisitive film audiences in the still-restrictive world of 1968 adult cinema. 

It's the work of a filmmaker who's already a master of exceeding the limitations of his budget and resources by sheer talent and imagination alone, crafting a quietly gripping story that takes place almost entirely within the confines of a New York photographic studio with a cast you can count on your fingers and backdrops often consisting only of artfully-lit walls ("limbo sets" as he called them).

Sarno's story is simple, giving him plenty of room to flex his creative skills.  A photographer named Henning (Dan Machuen) seeks a female model who can convey a kind of primal seduction, both evil and hypnotically compelling.  He thinks he's found such a girl in Leslie (Maria Lease), but although her sweet, bubbly personality causes him to fall for her, she ultimately lacks the qualities as a model that he's so desperately seeking.

Enter dark, mysterious Joyce (Sue Akers)--sort of a cross between Raquel Welch and Gina Gershon--referred to Henning by his sisterly agent (Sarno's real-life wife Peggy Steffans) due to what she recognizes in Joyce as an inner core of wanton, narcissistic sexuality and irresistible animal magnetism. 

Henning will be ecstatic over what he comes to regard as the perfect model for his project, teaming her in steamy photo shoots with Leslie, but won't see it coming when Joyce eventually reveals herself to be a negative force in the lives of both him and everyone else she comes into sexual contact with--including the hapless Leslie and another female model, both helpless to resist Joyce's eerily seductive influence.

Much of this takes place in a shadowy world in which the simple studio often looks like something out of a David Lynch fantasy.  Sarno, who disliked hardcore porn, pushes the limits of what would be known as "softcore" or "hard R" while still making each erotic sequence a valid part of the narrative rather than a story-halting intrusion. 

Sex between Henning and Leslie early in the film is in his brightly-lit bedroom and is stark and functional.  Later, under Joyce's wild, earthy, and perhaps even evil influence, the action is strewn with inky shadows and emanates a sort of fever dream quality as various combinations of participants seem helplessly trapped within Joyce's web of desire.

Sarno displays an instinctive eye for shooting the most exquisite arthouse stuff, seemingly without even trying. His cameraman Steve Silverman's razor-sharp, low-budget black-and-white photography here is gorgeous--moody, evocative, dreamlike (the print is beautifully restored from an unearthed original negative)--and Sarno directs with both a confident expertise and a sublime simplicity.  Even when his scenes only involve two or three actors in a stark set, they're a visual indulgence.

He fully exploits the abilities of his actors, who perform their roles here with surprising subtlety, sensitivity, and depth.  This is especially true for likable Maria Lease ("Leslie"), who would go on to have quite a career in movies (DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS) and TV on both sides of the camera.

Sarno's dialogue is terse, realistic, rarely overplayed.  He could definitely go big and loud (VAMPIRE ECSTASY, SIN YOU SINNERS) or comically colorful (CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE) when he wanted to, but this time it's all about taking in faces and moments and losing yourself in them. 

You'll see the ending of ALL THE SINS OF SODOM coming, but it's no less effective for its inevitability, nor is the journey there ever less than a rich cinematic treat for the adventuresome viewer.

Sarno's VIBRATIONS, made earlier the same year as ALL THE SINS IN SODOM (1968) and using the same interiors, isn't quite as dark and serious, but it's a delightfully engaging watch with plenty of sexual angst nonetheless.

Somewhat lighter and brighter (except for some lush bedroom scenes which give us that shadowy look with its stark contrasts and artful compositions), Steve Silverman's black-and-white photography is crisp and beautiful and positively gleaming with a nostalgic late-60s glow.  

Simplicity in set design and story is again the order of the day as Barbara (winsome Maria Lease again) moves into a small New York apartment to pursue her fading ambitions as a poet while earning money typing up manuscripts for other frustrated writers. 

Complications ensue when her irresponsible, oversexed sister Julie (Marianne Prevost) shows up looking for a place to stay as well as some action--including rekindling a long-ago incestuous relationship (a subject Sarno would revisit years later in CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE) that the reserved Barbara now wants no part of.

Meanwhile, buzzing noises and moans of sexual pleasure emanate from the apartment next door, which, according to mousey landlady Edna (Sarno's wife Peggy Steffans again), an enigmatic young woman named Georgia (Rita Bennett) is renting to use as a storage room. 

But it turns out she's using it for intense sexual escapades (with the help of some fast friends including a big, noisy vibrator) which will just naturally come to include hot-to-trot Julie and then, after much agonizing and soul-searching, the timid but love-starved Barbara herself.

Acting honors once again go to Maria Lease as her sadly neurotic Barbara character is put through the emotional mill, no thanks to her perverted fun-girl sister.  She yearns for a normal love life, perhaps with her nice neighbor who's paying her to type up some of his literary tripe and has expressed romantic interest (which slutty sis promptly derails). 

She's pretty much matched by Marianne Prevost as reprehensible but perversely amusing sister Julie.  ALL THE SINS OF SODOM alumni Dan Machuen and Sue Akers return as two of the girl next door's adventurous sex partners, who end up treating the ever-willing Julie like a brand new ride at Disneyland. 

VIBRATIONS has more sex scenes than ALL THE SINS IN SODOM--a lot more--and they're way steamier.  Eventually, the bits of story between them become shorter and shorter until finally the sex scenes themselves become the story.  I'm not sure if the way things turn out constitutes a "happy ending" per se, but it's poetic justice for the sisters.  Especially Julie, who definitely gets quite a buzz out of it all.

Bonus features:
"All the Sins of Sodom" commentary by Peggy Steffans-Sarno
Interview with Director, Joseph W. Sarno
"Vibrations" commentary by film historian Tim Lucas
"Vibrations" mini-commentary by Peggy Steffans-Sarno
Collector's booklet featuring liner notes by Tim Lucas
Trailers from these and other Sarno films

All The Sins of Sodom Trailer

Vibrations Trailer


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Slasher Horror Feature "CRAZY LAKE" Promises a Rip-Roaring Good Time


“What Doesn’t Kill You...Rips You Apart!”

West Hollywood, California (Tuesday, September 19th) - Directors Jason Henne and Christopher Leto were influenced by slashers, from the ‘80s. Now, they deliver their own slasher to horror fans, this October. Titled Crazy Lake, this film brings several friends together at a remote camping spot. It is all fun and good times, until an escaped convict enters the area. Rob Mello (Magnificent Seven), Skyler Joy (21 Jump Street), Libby Blanton, Marco DelVecchio and many more star in this brutal, new take on the genre.  Crazy Lake will be out this October!

Distributor Indican Pictures just released the official trailer and poster for Crazy Lake. The poster promises blood and terror, on the nearby docks. Meanwhile, the trailer shows more of the characters and their good times. But, the fun is replaced by tall tales of experiments and criminals, until a local legend is brought into the picture. Now, it is a struggle, for the friends, to just stay alive.

After its World Premiere at the Sunscreen Film Festival in Florida, the film is scheduled for an October home entertainment release. Indican will show the film through Video-on-demand and on DVD this October 3rd. Henne and Leto promise a rip roaring and bloody good time on the shores of Crazy Lake!


The film’s official synopsis: A group of coeds looking for fun on spring break have their beach plans cancelled and opt for plan B – fun at a cabin on the lake. Sometimes plan b can be a real killer!
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017 (VOD, DVD).

Directors: Jason Henne, Christopher Leto.  Writer: Jason Henne.

Cast: Rob Mello, Skyler Joy, Libby Blanton, Marco DelVecchio, Tom Latimer and Ashley Nicole Allen.

More film details will be posted at Indican:

Crazy Lake at Facebook:

About Indican Pictures
Indican Pictures acquires and distributes feature films to a broad range of entertainment outlets by providing a diverse selection of movies across: theatrical, home video, TV, VOD, PPV and streaming platforms.


Friday, September 22, 2017

SOUL ON A STRING -- DVD Review by Porfle

Beautifully photographed in the Himalayas, the story of Chinese director Yang Zhang's SOUL ON A STRING (2016) is often overwhelmed by the sheer sweep of its sumptuous visuals--the sometimes confusing multi-faceted plot is easy enough to lose as it is. 

But when it focuses on its three or four main characters and their metaphysical journey of enlightenment, the extremely leisurely pace and lack of a conventional storyline ultimately lead the patient viewer to a rather satisfyingly cathartic resolution.

It all starts when Tabei, a reclusive mountain man and inveterate bad boy, kills a deer and discovers a sacred stone in its mouth.  After being killed by a bolt of lightning and then revived by some local monks, Tabei is given the sacred duty of traveling to Palm Print Mountain, the sacred home of the Lotus Master, and delivering the stone to its rightful place.  In doing so, he'll  be given the opportunity to "cleanse his heart" and make amends for his former sins. 

During the long, grueling journey by foot, Tabei acquires two unwanted companions--Chung, a love-starved young woman eager to escape her current circumstances, and Pu, a mute feral boy with apparent psychic abilities.  Though surly and abusive at first, we pretty much know that Tabei will eventually find the two to be a civilizing influence as was the case in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES when the title character began to amass a surrogate family and, through them, learn to regain his humanity.

The trouble is, Tabei is being stalked not only by thieves who covet the stone but also by two brothers out for revenge after the long-ago killing of their father by Tabei's own father.  Needless to say, the film will have much to say via these characters about pointless quests for revenge and needless violence in general. 

In the meantime, though, Tabei's run-ins with these dogged pursuers will supply the story with one of its main sources of tension as several scenes seem to be leading up to some kind of gunfight or swordplay (Tabei even makes a stop at a retired swordmaker's house a la KILL BILL).

Surprisingly, no such action ever takes place.  SOUL ON A STRING isn't that kind of adventure--it's story for story's sake, not just as a lead-up to periodic bursts of kinetic violence.
After awhile, I actually found myself hoping that such clashes would be avoided in favor of just getting on with the story, which, after a slow first half, starts to get really engaging.  Tabei's journey becomes much more than just getting from one place to another as he begins to discover the true meaning of life and the importance of things he once overlooked.  His slow-burn love story with his surrogate family also becomes quite engaging after awhile.

Yang Zhang spares no effort to make all of this as gorgeous as his incredible locations will allow, as he shoots in places that would make John Ford green with envy (invocations of Monument Valley abound).  He infuses SOUL ON A STRING with a myriad of visual and thematic references to such genres as Italian and American Westerns, samurai films, and fantasy quests (as in the LORD OF THE RINGS series). 

Bringing the Western feel into focus is the presence of a tall, mysterious man in black who looks like a gunfighter out of a Leone film but turn out to have an altogether different motive for tracking down Tabei. It's part of the film's heavily metaphysical underpinning, one which also includes the jarring juxtaposition of the ancient world with the modern in what makes it seem as though the story takes place on the very edge of some strange rift in time.

The DVD from Film Movement is in 2.35:1 widescreen with 5.1 and 2.0 sound (Tibetan with English subtitles).  As a bonus, there's a compelling short film by Oalid Mouaness, a political parable entitled "The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf, and the Boy."

Like a candle slowly burning and getting brighter as it reaches the end, SOUL ON A STRING begins as a pretty but flickering diversion and ends with a richly illuminative glow.  It has the breathtaking locations of a conventional epic, yet amidst that splendid backdrop is a human story that I found haunting and effective.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

"THE LEGEND OF 420": The Evolution Of Marijuana in Mainstream Society -- In Theaters Oct. 6


Directed by Peter Spirer
Opening in Select Theaters October 6, 2017

Available on VOD and iTunes
October 3, 2017

THE LEGEND OF 420 explores the controversial use of marijuana and the evolution of mainstream society. From a dangerous narcotic, listed as a Schedule 1 Drug substance since the 1970s, to the rush to decriminalize it today. What has changed and why? Has the Government made the war on drugs a war on people? Cultural icons and experts will weigh in, contributing their own personal stories, discussing the impact of cannabis on the zeitgeist.

In Northern California, we will follow the growers. What does it take to produce “quality stuff?” What is the difference between one plant from another. What are the true medical benefits? Why are people serving life sentences for marijuana convictions? What will the Cannabis Industry look like in five years?

There are now CBD infused dog biscuits, Bud and Breakfast hotels and professional cannabis cuisine and soon there will be cannabis-themed malls & amusement parks. Will it retain its integrity as a homegrown industry or will it capitulate to Big Business? “Fruity Pebbles” themed cupcakes for the “holiday” at the local baker? Yep…must be “420.”

THE LEGEND OF 420 is directed by Peter Spirer and written by Michael Andrews. The film is produced by Kelly Bevan and Peter Spirer. Executive producers are Phil Hunt and Compton Ross. Cinematography is Eric Anderson and film editing by Ryan Bloom.

RT: 87 minutes


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE" -- A True Hollywood Mystery, Coming 10/3

Part Detective Story, Part ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’…”


In 1982 He Heard About an Ancient Egyptian City Buried in the California Desert…For 30 Years He’s Been Fighting to Dig it Up

The Mystery Debuts on Digital & VOD – October 3, 2017!

Los Angeles, Calif. – September 2017 – Leading independent cinema distributor Random Media and Lost City Productions debut a Hollywood detective story that will thrill any fan of movies and history -- THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE on Digital and Video-on-Demand on October 3, 2017!
A fascinating documentary that pays tribute to Cecil B. DeMille, one of Hollywood’s most innovative and commercially successful filmmakers, it is the story of a more than 30 year quest to unearth from the sandy coast of Central California, the remains of one of De Mille’s most monumental undertakings: the Egyptian city constructed for his first spectacle, 1923’s The Ten Commandments.

Watch the Trailer:  

THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE follows the decades long quest of Peter Brosnan, who first heard rumors of the burial of DeMille’s City of the Pharaoh, a huge set encompassing 20 sphinxes and four 35-ton statues of Ramses, in 1982.  Too daunting to be constructed inside a 1920’s-era studio soundstage, DeMille and his production staff found their “faux-Egypt” on the beaches of Santa Barbara County.  When they finished shooting, rather than leave the sets to be repurposed by second-rate hacks hoping to steal a little of his thunder, DeMille had the sets buried in the sand, counting on time and coastal elements to eventually destroy them.

Fascinated by this bit of movie lore about “the last of the great sets” and optimistic that much of the set may have survived, Brosnan and film-school friends Bruce Cardozo and Richard Eberhardt set out to arrange for an excavation and make a documentary.  What followed was decades of on-again, off-again excavation efforts, as the project faced seemingly insurmountable funding stumbles and bureaucratic obstacles.  

What an extraordinary story… a rare combination of film and cultural history.” --  Leonard Maltin

THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE documentary is the story behind the excavation, highlighting Brosnan’s multiple agonizing years of starts and stops, as funding, red tape and weather halted the well-publicized story that wouldn’t die, even when Brosnan was ready to walk away, over and over again.  It concurrently interweaves the history of famed director DeMille with fascinating firsthand accounts from dozens of people who were involved in the groundbreaking 1923 production, including studio executives, extras, spectators and the filmmaker’s granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley.

A fascinating documentary about the 30+ year quest, against funding struggles and bureaucratic red tape, of filmmaker Peter Brosnan to unearth from the sandy coast of Central California, the remains of one of Cecil B. DeMille’s most monumental undertakings: the Egyptian city constructed for his first spectacle, 1923’s The Ten Commandments.

Have you seen “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston?  Did you know that in 1923 Cecil B. DeMille made a silent version of the movie?   Because Egypt was far away from the studio and estimated to be much too costly, DeMille shot the film in Santa Barbara County, California, about 150 miles north of Hollywood, and built an enormous ‘City of the Pharaoh’ set, literally taking over the economy of the surrounding community and creating a fantastic spectacle.  Designed by Paul Iribe, the “father of Art Deco,” it was the largest set in motion picture history.

When filming wrapped, the city mysteriously vanished.

In 1982, Peter Brosnan was sitting in a bar when someone told him that there were ancient Egyptian Sphinxes buried somewhere in the California Dunes.  It sparked his imagination and he embarked on what turned out to be a thirty year battle to prove the existence of these Sphinxes and the discovery of the Lost City.

After searching in the California desert, Brosnan located what he believed was the site of the 1923 filming. Over 33 years in the making, “The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille” is an extraordinary tribute to a director whose innovative and fearless style continues to inspire modern day filmmakers, almost 60 years after his death.

THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE explores the spirit of a man, Peter Brosnan, who walked away from this project three times in frustration, only to be called back a fourth time. The result is an iconic tale of a reluctant hero, who finally surrenders to his destiny and accepts that he was chosen to follow this quest and tell this story.

Director: Peter Brosnan Screenwriter: Peter Brosnan Producers: Peter Brosnan, Daniel J. Coplan Executive producer: Francesca Judge Silva
Presented by:  Cecelia DeMille Presley
Co-producers: Bruce Cardozo, Richard Eberhardt
Director of photography: Alessandro Gentile Editor: George Artope
Still Photography: Kelvin Jones
Time Lapse Photography: Michael DeLavallade Composer: Steve Bauman Running Time: 88 minutes
Produced by: Lost City Productions
Distributed by: Random Media

About Random Media:
Random Media is a content company that acquires and distributes films on a worldwide basis through movie theatres, conventional brick and mortar retailers, digital platforms, cable and satellite companies and television networks.  Random Media's library includes such acclaimed films as Escape From Tomorrow, The Visit, Meth Head, Desert Cathedral and Killswitch: The Battle To Control The Internet.


"SUPERMAN THE MOVIE": Extended Cut & Special Edition 2-Film Collection available on 10/03/17!

Superman The Movie: Extended Cut & Special Edition 2-Film Collection available on 10/03/17!

Available on Blu-ray™ and Digital for the very first time, Superman The Movie: Extended Cut can now be enjoyed in widescreen high definition, along with the Special Edition in one collection!

Superman The Movie: Extended Cut, the TV version of the film originally aired in 1982 as a 2-night special in the U.S., includes nearly 40 mins. of extra footage not seen in the 1978 theatrical release.

The legacy continues in the Special Edition, a captivating version of Superman The Movie with 8 mins. of extra footage, specially directed by Richard Donner.

Extended Cut: 
Three-hour long TV version, now in widescreen high definition
Available on Home Entertainment for the very first time
Nearly 40 mins. of extra footage not seen in the theatrical release:
   • The pay-off of the subplot of a Kryptonian security officer being sent to capture Jor-El
   • Lex Luthor  sings “ You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” while he has Otis drop Eve       Teschmacher into the lions’ den
   • After Superman saves Lois at the end and flies off, he's seen rescuing Eve Teschmacher from the lions' den
   • A little girl who sees the teenage Clark Kent running faster than the train is revealed to be Lois Lane

Special Edition:
Features 8 more mins. of footage not in the 1978 original theatrical release


T2's Robert Patrick Stars in True Crime Thriller "LAST RAMPAGE" -- Opens this Friday, Sept. 22


Friday, September 22, 2017

In the summer of 1978 convicted murderer Gary Tison (Robert Patrick) and his cellmate Randy Greenawalt (Chris Browning) staged a daring escape from an Arizona State Prison, with the help of Tison’s three teenage sons. Their murderous rampage through the southwestern desert shocked the nation with its brutality. While Sheriff Cooper (Bruce Davison) hunted them down, Tison’s wife (Heather Graham) vehemently defended her family in the press.

LAST RAMPAGE features a chilling tour-de-force turn by Robert Patrick as Gary Tison in a terrifying story about the dark side of family loyalty.

Director Dwight Little’s true crime thriller is based on James W. Clarke’s bestselling book, Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison. The script was penned by Alvaro Rodriguez (“MACHETE”, “FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES”) and Jason Rosenblatt. Produced by Eric M. Breiman and Robert Patrick. Executive Producers are Dwight Little and Alex Hertzberg. Music by Richard Patrick and Tobias Enhus.

Robert Patrick, Heather Graham, Bruce Davison, and Chris Browning star in LAST RAMPAGE, which is distributed by Epic Pictures.

Established in 2007 by Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson, Epic Pictures Group has grown to become one of the most creative and dynamic independent studios, focusing on filmmakers’ vision driven projects, shaping them from script to launch via its domestic distribution division Epic Pictures Releasing.

Throughout the past 10 years, Epic produced many genre cult hits including the 2015 Sundance premieres “ENTERTAINMENT” and “TURBO KID” and all-star horror anthology “TALES OF HALLOWEEN”. More recently Epic produced the psychological horror “THE LODGERS,” sci-fi thriller “RADIUS,” action horror “REDCON-1,” and the adventure thriller “THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT” starring Sam Elliott.

RT: 93 minutes / Rated R



Frida Cinemas -  Anaheim
Galaxy Highland 10 - Austin
Apple Cinema - Boston
Patio Theatre - Chicago
Texas Theatre - Dallas
Sie Film Center - Denver
Premiere Renaissance - Houston
Laemlee Music Hall  - Los Angeles
Sonora Cinemas - Phoenix
Paradise Valley - Phoenix
Monroe 12  - Seattle
Digital Gym  - San Diego
Colonial Theater - Sacramento
Village East Cinema  - New York
Main Street Cinemas - New York
Movieland Coram -  New York
Icon 10 San Angelo  - San Angelo