Tag Archives: VOD

The Seven Guardians of the Tomb Aren’t Evil, They are just Misunderstood

11 May

7-guardians-poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

Anyone who has arachnophobia is best advised to avoid Seven Guardians of the Tomb, an Indiana Jones styled adventure wannabe horror film starring Li BingBing and Kelsey Grammer. It wants to be like Tom Cruise’s hackneyed take of The Mummy. The sad part is that I was buying the idea when I first heard about this work. I thought the story might follow along the lines of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The hunt was on ever since I happened upon mention of this film in a newsletter. It’s finally available on video and on-demand outlets—with my TV service and elsewhere Amazon Prime.

Star power helps draw attention to the film. BingBing is a wonderful talent not only on stage but also on screen. Her role is underutilized with this product. Grammer, no matter what role he takes on, always lends perfect gravitas. He’s amusing as Mason, a character with strong ties to Jia’s (BingBing) family. She has more than enough reasons to not be happy about this fact. When he contacts her to say Luke (Korean superstar Wu Chun), her brother, went missing during an archaeological dig, they form an uneasy alliance.

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What is Hiding in “Asylum of Darkness?” A Movie Review

11 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)mv5bmjeyodm2ndiynl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjq3odm5mdi-_v1_uy268_cr30182268_al_

Arriving on VOD April 11th.

Does being insane allow one to see the world in a totally new light? Only Jay Woelfel’s horror flick Asylum of Darkness can tell, and oh boy, can he tell! Although the soap opera effects budget and narrative seem distracting, perhaps that was this director’s intention. He’s made a very melodramatic and vaguely supernatural film. With Richard Hatch (in one of his final film appearances) enjoying himself in the role of a doctor (psychologist) trying to calm Dwight Stroud (Nick Baldasare) down, the chuckles are well-earned. This product has a feel of Creepshow meets Dark Shadows.

From inside a padded room, a very beleaguered Stroud narrates, still unaware of all that he’s going to experience in the next few days. Insanity offers foresight into the terrors to come, and this film recalls the style of David Lynch. Not only does this narrative keeps the viewer and Stroud off-kilter but also requires the audience to fully pay attention to the story to realize what is going on in this crazy person’s life.

The tale he tells suggests the world is filled with secret agendas and monstrous beasts in disguise (as humans). The question of who Dwight Stroud truly is gets asked. Is he simply nuts, a serial killer, or someone else? This film moves Donnie Darko style and injects a good measure of Twilight Zone uncertainty into it. There’s a painter Dwight knows whose works “come to life.”

The problem with indie films these days is that it is hard to get noticed by the masses. On the Internet Movie Database, two entries suggest this movie was most likely made in 2012 than recently. In light of Hatch’s death early this year, perhaps acknowledgement for this film can come for those curious in seeing what Hatch has done the past few years after the short, Prelude to Axanar, was made. He’s been very supportive of the indie film-making scene by appearing in them, and this movie is no exception.

3½ Stars out of 5

It is Never Safe or Good to Enter “The Void,” A Movie Review

7 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

* Mild Spoiler Alert

Nearly everything I ever wanted to see in an H.P. Lovecraft inspired film can be seen filling The Void. This indie Canadian horror movie made its world premiere in 2016 at Fantastic Fest, and six months later (set to release April 7th), it is getting limited theatrical distribution in the United States (showtimes can be found on Screen Media films website) and is now available worldwide via VOD on outlets like iTunes.

This movie produced by Casey Walker (A Little Bit Zombie, one of many people involved) and written/directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie (who are also part of the maverick horror company Astron-6) show several heads are better than one to create a movie about cults on the loose and serving a greater cosmic force — or they have watched one too many Re-animator movies. I see a bit of Clive Barker influence with their editing style and visual direction (their use of real prosthetics is to be commended) for this film. When it comes to crafting a tale involving surviving a night at a ward, perhaps the familiar idea of taking the fight to a hospital from Hellraiser II is not needed. Technically, these filmmakers are paying homage to the horror movies they loved from their childhood (the 80’s), like John Carpenter’s The Thing, but sometimes I wonder if coming up with a new idea is even possible these days without conjuring up recollections of past products.

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Does the Bare Necessities Reveal a Grizzly Truth? – An Interview with Tom Reissmann

30 Mar

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Available to view on demand on Vimeo
starting March 30th. 2017

Whether created by animation or live-action, the great bear has come to symbolize one of several things. As a symbol of strength and courage — or perhaps a constellation you see on the night sky — this animal’s importance to nature and in a grander a cosmic scheme must never go unnoticed. In the cartoon world, we have beloved characters like Yogi the Bear (created by Hanna-Barbera in 1958) and Baloo from Disney’s The Jungle Book (1967) / Tail Spin (1990). Jump ahead a little more than a decade, this studio made Brother Bear (2003) which looked at how man should respect nature and understand tolerance. The main character, Kenai, was transformed into a bear, and had to learn for himself why this animal is so revered within his tribe. In Haida culture, this gentle creature is known as the “Elder Kinsman” and is treated as a noble guest instead of a thief because it stole from the river, which also provided sustenance to the locals.

If only the people who hunt them can treat and think of these gentle creatures the same way. In this documentary, the hunters sort of say they do, but that’s for the viewer to decide. I was offered the opportunity to get a sneak preview of a very thought-provoking and insightful program. It looks the role this animal and where it stands within different organizations. From the hunter’s perspective to governmental and First Nations, everybody has an opinion on a hot political topic in this year’s British Columbia election: to finally ban grizzly bear hunting. They are sought after more often as trophys these days, which is sad. For those just wanting to take a snapshot, it it even helpful to the local economy? A lot is said to view the pros and cons of both, and this film nicely walks the fine line than lean towards a specific stance.

In Africa, the lion is said to be on top of the food chain. In North America, it is the bear. Destroy the alpha, and there will be problems. This fact and many other details are revealed in this documentary that’s now available online to view. And writer/director Tom Reissmann had other facts to reveal about the making of this film:

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