'Pop Skull,' 'Acolytes,' 'Combat Shock'

Pop Skull
"In its unsettling blend of visual and aural disturbances and eruptions -- including some radical strobe effects -- Pop Skull powerfully points toward a new subgenre: acid horror," wrote Robert Koehler in Variety. "Director-lenser-editor and co-writer Adam Wingard constructs a subjective universe that, true to the title, places viewers almost entirely inside the frazzled mind of a 20-ish Alabama guy haunted by murders, forlorn over a breakup and popping way too many pills." Sounds good to me!

The DVD includes an audio commentary with the director and star Lane Hughes, plus five short films and a music video by Wingard, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and deleted/alternate scenes.

Hailing from Australia, Jon Hewitt's film follows two young victimized men who are determined to kill their nemesis ... and then they cross paths with a serial killer who may be able to help them out. "Seems simple, yes? Think you know where it's going, yes? You don't," wrote our friend Todd Brown at Twitch. "Acolytes is very much one of those films that wraps its strengths and weakness up into one interconnected package ... Once [certain bad] decisions start piling up the film begins to twist and turn but it takes a little patience to get to that point." Having those reservations in mind, this could be a decent rental pick in a slow week for new horror releases.

A Vietnam vet, "horrible fish-men mutations," and more ... after the jump!


Combat Shock
Troma may have claimed "schlock value" cinema as its very own, but as a DVD label they've become known for exhuming lost minor curiosities (e.g. Luther the Geek) that turn out to be well worth the loving attention.

Their latest release, Combat Shock (1986), examines a Vietnam vet, and how the horrors he suffered during the war follow him home. Quiet Earth asked: "What is it? Possibly an inspiration for Jacob's Ladder. Most definitely, a thoroughly enjoyable excursion into mental deterioration ... Combat Shock more than deserves the pedigree of cult status, ranking with the likes of other favorites like Phantasm or Phase IV in its miasma and almost accidental brilliance."

'Island of the Fishmen'Island of the Fishmen
Sergio Martino's 1978 flick stars the divinely lovely Barbara Bach, who, two short years after dallying with James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me, found herself playing the daughter of mad scientist Joseph Cotten. How off his rocker is he? Well, he's "experimenting on horrible human-fish mutations." While the cracked professor "is convinced that he's doing his research for humanitarian motives, [military doctor] Rackham has other plans, since he has discovered an incredible secret lying beneath the island." What secret could be more interesting than "horrible human-fish mutations"? Looks like fun!

Sergio Martino is also behind Torso (AKA I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale), which features Suzy Kendall and Tina Aumont in a tale of four young women heading to an isolated country villa after a series of sex murders on their college campus. "As they succumb to their own erotic desires, their weekend of pleasure becomes a vacation to dismember at the hands - and blade - of the lecherous maniac," leers the product description.

The Vampire's Bite Lunch Box
Finally, I leave you with a timely collectible that "contains two horror filled titles, Vampire Clan and Ring of Darkness, encased in a tin lunch box. Take a real bite into lunch." Right now this looks like the back-to-school item to beat for any horror-loving kid.

The Vampire's Bite Lunch Box

categories Dvds, Horror