Category Archives: Direct 2 Video Dungeon

“To be worthy of recognition, be humble.” – Debasish Mridha

deadly-vhs-award

Last year while doing battle with a bout of spring cleaning I came across a folder full of awards that I racked up from Jr. High/Middle School ranging from basic citizenship awards to being on the honor roll to having a strong immune system and not missing a single day of school in 7th grade. As I stood there thumbing through them I sort of chuckled as I began to wonder if these awards truly held any merit other than making use of cursive lettering and being printed on a thick/embossed piece of paper.

Surprisingly my immune system has held up rather well as its been around four years since an absolutely vicious strain of the flu virus knocked me to my knees. In terms of the person I’ve matured into I’ve never felt the need for affirmation of any sort to serve as a constant reminder of who I’ve become. While it may be a tad bit cliched to say this I’ve always tried to put my best foot forward and let my actions define how the rest of the world, in general, sees me.

As I was gearing up for Schlocktoberfest 2K16 this past September it was brought to my attention that I had become a recipient of The Deadly VHS Award  which is given to outstanding cult, exploitation, and horror movie bloggers. Modesty is  without question the single most important trait which keeps the rest of my personality in constant check. My deepest gratitude goes out to Fringe Void/The Devil’s DVD Bin for this prestigious award and for your years of friendship, continuous feedback, and unwavering support! Your presence on this blog has given me both the drive and determination to keep pushing forward and to above all else to stare defiantly into the face of procrastination. Once more thank you for this distinct honor my friend, words can only express gratefulness to a certain extent and this award goes beyond them.

To accept The Deadly VHS Award recipients must follow these steps:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Attach the award to your post.
3. Briefly explain your site.
4. List a few of the movies that shaped you and made you who you are today.
5. Select 3-5 other bloggers you want to give the award to.

  1. (Again) Thanks to Fringe Void/The Devils DVD Bin for acknowledging my little corner of the internet. This is modesty continuing to shine through as one will never see me refer to myself as a preeminent  horror movie virtuoso, I just do what I do and am beyond humbled to be given an award for an art form that brings some of the greatest passions in life. ***If you haven’t already please make sure to check out Fringe Void and The Devil’s DVD Bin as you won’t find a better set of websites to truly tap into the obscure/weirder side of horror.

2. *See Above*

3. The Direct 2 Video Dungeon began as an experiment sometime in 2011/2012. Quite honestly I didn’t know what to expect I just wanted to start blogging about some of my favorite direct to video features and before I knew it the blog started to take on a life of its own pulling down a substantial amount of web traffic. Mid-2013 is when other challenges in life began to rear their ugly head and it was becoming a chore to maintain the Direct To Video Dungeon so shortly thereafter I made the gut wrenching decision to shut things down. Thankfully this wasn’t a permanent vacation as D2VD 2.0 rebooted in time for Halloween 2014 with Schlocktoberfest a full 31 days devoted to exploring both mainstream and low budget horror. In the next two years the formula would be tweaked a little bit but October has proven to be my favorite time of the year where I can let variety off the leash and let it run uninhibited. As for what is coming next I can say with the utmost confidence that this blog will never fade into obscurity. The content featured will always remain and my general plan of attack going forward is to update whenever free time permits.

4. This next part is going to be the most difficult of this post – naming a few movies that shaped me and made me the person I am today. I could most likely write an entire book on this subject however I promise to keep it relatively short. Anyone who has become a longtime visitor of the Direct 2 Video Dungeon knows I share a deep affinity for the King of the Monsters – Godzilla. As for favorite interpretations the original 1954 Gojira goes beyond a masterpiece but other favorites include 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla, 1965’s Invasion of the Astro Monster aka Monster X, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, 1984’s Godzilla/The Return of Godzilla, 1991’s Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and while it has had its fair share of critics 2014’s Hollywood blockbuster attempt on the property brought a sense of awe I haven’t felt since first discovering the king on TNT’s MonsterVision in the mid-1990s.

Outside of monster movies I grew up a child of the eighties it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise the influence the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the Indiana Jones and Back To The Future trilogies left on me. I am definitely what you’d consider a genre fan mainly focusing my attention on science fiction but every now and then will go through phases where weekends will be dedicated to Spaghetti Western or Film-Noir marathons. I’m also someone that when I come across a Jimmy Stewart film on TCM will immediately stop what I’m doing to sit and watch no matter what it is. My philosophy has always been that Jimmy Stewart never made a bad movie.

In terms of horror I’m a bit of a late bloomer not truly embracing the genre until my mid-20s. I come from the John Carpenter school of film making. While I won’t deny Carpenter made his name with Halloween my favorites of his are 1982’s The Thing which in my opinion is the greatest special effects picture ever made and 1980’s The Fog. Its with these two seminal works where I truly found my love for slow burns, tension building, and pure atmosphere.

5. My  Nominees for The Deadly VHS Award:

  • Direct To Video Connoisseur (Unfortunately the domain for DTVC has lapsed and wasn’t renewed. Matt where have you gone? I hope you’re doing well in life and planning your return soon.)
  • The B-Movie Shelf (One of my key influences I’ve always been impressed with the vast array of selections covered by the B-Movie Shelf.)
  • GoodBadFlicks (Okay technically Cecil over at GoodBadFlicks falls into the YouTuber category he still maintains a blog with his latest reviews/musings. He’s quickly become one of my favorite online personalities offering witty reviews and opinions as well as a web series where he gathers trivia about the making of a highlighted film presenting it in a professional/informative/never boring manner. Chances are  he probably won’t see this  but you never know who’s watching/reading – Keep up the stellar work Cecil!)
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And another ones gone… And another ones gone… Another one bites the dust!

I don’t know what’s more difficult, devoting a full 31 days of the year to Schlock or working on the post game summary.

Boom! Done! Finished! Hasta La Vista Baby! Elvis has left the building! This year’s Schlocktoberfest was brought to you by the letter C which stands for Creature Feature and holy hell I think I set a personal record as there were 8 films that consisted of giant monsters, Giant Octopuses, Sharks of the Mega and 2 headed variety, carnivorous tentacles, 7 foot wasps, and hostile aliens.  If you’re sensing a bit of deja vu with several of these entries its because I went back into the archives and condensed older reviews from the first version of The Direct 2 Video Dungeon. This is also why you might have spotted a lot of this year’s list focusing on productions from 2012 with several coming from The Asylum.

The variety was off the charts – regular zombies, vampiric zombies, homicidal paper boys, psychotic grandparents, a couple generic slashers here and there and an reanimated corpse that dresses up as Uncle Sam. Go ahead and pick your poison.  Oh plus a book and soundtrack review that ended up taking the place of the horror based video games I covered last year (my gaming habits have been pretty sporadic lately and didn’t have enough time to look for any games that fit into the Schlocktoberfest mold).

Before I get to my top 10 Schlocktoberfest 2K16 picks I would like to once again thank all of you who came along for this wild ride. Schedules can be difficult to work around and there were days where life got in the way but I was still able to throw together an update of some kind. I know that in the last two years I’ve stated that I had plans to update this blog more often and thanks to procrastination getting the better of me that never happened. Well I do plan to be back very soon as I have a couple ideas I want to expand on so you’ll most likely be seeing me around sometime in Mid-November. As of right now I intend to enjoy the rest of my Halloween and start November off by catching up on the latest episodes of Elementary, West World, Gotham and the season 3 finale of The Strain. Until the next time – keep a stiff upper lip.

Schlocktoberfest 2K16 Must Watch List: 

1 – Stranger Things – Technically not a movie unless you view this Netflix hit as it was intended through binge watching and even then each episode is presented in chapters so really this is what I’d refer to as an episodic live action book. A series starring children with adult tones. Horror, science fiction, drama, romance wrapped up tightly in an coming of age bow. You’ve had an entire month to watch this so if you flat out ignored my recommendation never come to this blog again…. EVER!

2 – The Witch – Beyond effective delivery, stunning performances, spine tingling results. If you grew up with a basic of witch folklore prepare to have all of your senses jolted.

3 – The Poughkeepsie Tapes – Blending the popular docudrama style of Discovery Channel’s New Detectives with the found footage genre there were moments where I felt a twinge of legitimate fear that wouldn’t subside until two or three days later. Can only hope John Erick Dowdle wasn’t blowing smoke about getting a distribution deal with MGM finalized as this needs a proper DVD/Blu-ray release.

4 – Godzilla vs. Destoroyah – 2016 featured another big return for Japan’s native son and when Funimation signed a deal with Toho to distribute Shin Godzilla for a limited U.S. theatrical engagement I don’t think The King’s handlers knew what was going to happen. One week and $1.5 million later and Shin Godzilla decided to stay take in the sights and sounds of the good old U.S.A. for a little while longer. I still missed out so Funimation when you announce pre-orders for Blu-ray I’ll be ready. Godzilla vs Destoroyah on the other hand is a real treat for G-fans as at the time it was intended to be a hiatus for Toho and what a send off the effects are completely jaw dropping, the story features a few new concepts all the while paying tribute to Godzilla’s humble origins. If you don’t have this in your collection you’re not a true Godzilla fan.

5 – Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies – Don’t really have to say much here. Abraham Lincoln kills zombies and does so in such a kick ass way you’ll be completely shell-shocked  when you realize this was an Asylum production. Thank you Bill Oberst Jr. without your screen presence this production would have been brain dead long before the zombies reached it.

6 – 10 Cloverfield Lane – Goodbye handheld camcorder hello Hitchockian suspense. The not so much a sequel as it a completely different concept that no one saw coming. What a pleasant surprise give John Goodman a fallout shelter set off an apocalyptic event and watch the tension build to a fever pitch.

7 – The Final Girls – Would have been much higher up on the list if not for a PG-13 rating. I’ll say it one more time for good measure – A PG-13 slasher flick?!?!?!? Never in all my 35 years of life would I have thought such a thing could exist. Oh well it dusts off some old ideas applies some polish and presents them in like new condition.

8 – Deep Rising – Oh Stephen Sommers how I miss thee, this is back when you presented some actual fun ideas. There’s not one person in the entire cast where I feel their talent was wasted. There are one liners galore, thrills, chills, gross out moments and plenty of laughs. Don’t get any second ideas here just because Deep Rising is in the number 8 position doesn’t mean it’s not as good as the films above in fact its the second highest rated creature feature next to Godzilla so if you’re looking for something completely campy but is so much fun don’t pass this one by.

9 – Don’t Breathe – Want to really throw audiences for a loop? Make a movie where 90% of the time the characters don’t even talk to one another. Don’t Breathe locks in the tension in a way where you don’t care if there’s dialogue you’re too concerned with monitoring your own pulse and wondering if your heart is going to into cardiac arrest by the time the credits roll.

10 – The Millennium Bug – Demented hillbillies, a normal everyday family getting off the grid to avoid any Y2K catastrophe and oh yeah a grotesque behemoth who’s rudely awakened from his  peaceful hibernation. If you miss the days of Stan Winston and Rick Baker this indie creature feature isn’t afraid to raise its practically created middle finger towards every CGI heavy production polluting the entertainment industry.

The calm before the storm…

Hey all,

With less then a week remaining until October its time to drop in and post a quick little update on a few things before the Direct 2 Video Dungeon’s 3rd Annual Schlocktoberfest takes form.

First off remember when The Return of Godzilla was featured in last year’s marathon? I made note of the fact that at the current time it wasn’t officially available in North America and if one wanted to view it you would have to go the bootleg route. Well thanks to the folks over at Kraken Releasing The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1984) dropped on to store shelves via DVD and Blu-Ray a couple weeks back. I’ve always been a firm supporter of going through the legal means of owning all forms of entertainment so if by chance any of you picked up the bootleg DVD please do the right thing and click on the Amazon link embedded in the artwork below and pick up your own official copy that way Kraken can continue to work hand in hand with Toho to bring some other obscure Godzilla classics to North America.

The Return of Godzilla

While on the topic of new releases classic gamers will be ecstatic to find out that Super Castlevania IV is now available for the Nintendo 3DS. Truthfully I haven’t done any handheld gaming since the days of the original Game Boy however the fact that Nintendo is releasing one of their most iconic hits on the latest version of their extremely popular handheld console proves that a classic vampire slayer will forever remain immortal. Plus do I have to even mention the fact that you can pick this up for a mere $8! All I can say is good luck trying to find a used original cartridge and a working SNES for that much (you simply won’t).

For those of you wanting to know where Schlocktoberfest 2K16 will focus you’ll just have to wait and see what direction I choose to go in. If anyone has any suggestions that they would like featured this year by all means throw them my way via the comments section in this post.

That’s it until Saturday. See you then!

Happy Halloween!!!…

Hey gang,

Well here we are – Schlocktoberfest 2014 is officially in the books. I just wanted to take this time to say that this was some of the most fun I’ve had in quite a while. At the end of September I was throwing ideas around on how to bring The Direct 2 Video Dungeon back in a way that would celebrate the build up to Halloween all the while having an easy way to update the blog. The idea hit me like a bolt of lightning to incorporate my twitter account & tweeting completely random (sometimes funny) thoughts while watching a movie. I must admit reading some of these tweets back to myself makes me think I tend to ramble a little too much but than again this is what made Schlocktoberfest 2014 a success.

In terms of the method I used to compose this year’s list a majority of the entries were found on Echo Bridge Entertainment’s Midnight Horror Collections (Volumes 2 and 8 specifically) as well as a random 10 movie horror pack from them as well. The screening process I used was a combination of Internet Movie Database ratings, trailers/previews on Youtube, reviews on independent horror movie blogs & word of mouth. A majority of these features were downright excruciating to try & get through and ultimately had to be cut all together.

On the other hand I purposely made sure to even the playing field by including several well known cult classics that defined their specific genres. Since we’re on the topic of genres I feel there was a good representation of zombies, werewolves, hostile alien invaders, presidential vampire hunters and giant monster destruction.

Before wrapping things up here is my top 10 recommendations from the last 31 days that are well worth your time this Halloween season:

1. John Carpenter’s The Fog – I always make it a tradition to watch one John Carpenter film on Halloween. The Fog has high replay value, solid acting, & bone chilling atmosphere.

2. Godzilla (2014) – I was shocked the amount of hate Godzilla has received since hitting theaters this past May. Japanese Kaiju movies are a special breed that you either get or you don’t. Gareth Edwards made a true love letter to die hard fans and while yes it could of been improved a little more the final result is downright breathtaking.

3. All Hallows’ Eve – The only thing I sort of regret with this is featuring it on the very first day of Schlocktoberfest. I also was getting my bearings in terms of where I wanted to go with the 1 Horror Movie A Day In October concept and only posted several tweets about the movie as a whole. Anthology horror is for the most part a mixed bag (no pun intended) & centering the stories around Halloween is a even more daunting task but All Hallows Eve is a gory blast from start to finish.

4. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – We’ve seen the slasher formula become stale and repugnant. A group of teenagers left to their own devices make idiotic choices while being stalked & done in by a murderous psychopath. Behind The Mask flips the idea where you get to know the slasher & even like him to a point that you realize there’s no method to his madness instead he’s like a mailman or street sweeper everyone has to have a skill/trait that their good at.

5. Dog Soldiers -Werewolves that are big, nasty, vile creatures that won’t think twice about ripping you to shreds and look like actual wolves (okay these look like wolves that have been doing massive amounts of HGH) this is a fun action film that just so happens to blend in red corn syrup and silver bullets with a style and grace all its own.

6. The Faculty – More along the lines of Sci-Fi thriller than actual horror there isn’t one thing I’d change about this sometimes overlooked late 90’s sleeper. The cast is spot on, you can cut the tension with a knife, and even though Robert Rodriguez sort of ripped off one particular standoff scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing that moment is actually almost as gripping.

7. Killjoy 3 – A surprisingly fun thrill ride in the killer clown genre. Trent Haaga steals every scene he is in through a nonstop assault of one liners and unnerving mannerisms. Its tacky, low budget, and wasn’t really necessary but I’ll give the devil (or in this case the demon) his due Killjoy 3 is highly entertaining.

8. Prom Night/Terror Train – Before everyone says that its cheating to include two movies in one spot I want to point out that I was torn between what one had the better execution. Both take quite a while to get going but once they do all bets are off not to mention when you’re paying tribute to the definitive scream queen of that era, Jamie Lee Curtis, it was difficult to pick out the stand out performance. Terror Train had a thrilling conclusion that kept you guessing right up to the very end whereas Prom Night had Jamie Lee showing a little more skin helping her shed her tomboy image. Watch both and then decide which one is better chances are you’ll be stewing over that answer for quite a while.

9. Alien Abduction – Cliched? Yep! Predictable? Very Much So. Been done way too many times before? Indeed! So why is this making the list? One reason and one reason alone – effective jump scares. Make a bowl of popcorn, turn off the lights, & put this on. How many times the popcorn goes flying will most likely surprise you but hey sometimes we all need a cheesy little jump scare to make us feel more human.

10. The Coed and the Zombie Stoner – The Asylum is always ridiculed for their attempts to cash in (or mockbust) and this will never be uttered in the same sentence as Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. For extremely low budget fare it does capably hit its marks and maybe I laughed much more than I should have. Considering I’ve seen my share of low budget trash The Coed and the Zombie Stoner proves that The Asylum will satisfy its core audience all the while continuing to p!ss off those who just don’t get it.

And there you have it. At this time I’d like to thank everyone for joining me on this wild ride. I’m sure many of you who followed the first incarnation of the Direct 2 Video Dungeon are wondering where things will go from here??? Well the blog will remain active. I’m currently developing a new review format and will return within the next couple months. I’m going to continue doing this at my own leisure so when the D2VD is updated, its updated.

Until then please feel free to share your thoughts on Shclocktoberfest 2014. What were your favorite entries? What would you like to see in next year’s installment? Any suggestions? Pass them along my way!

Take care & Happy Halloween!

– The Dungeon Master