DARK ENTERTAINMENT
(Posted: 20 April 2011)

From the ashes of Sick Films (distributor) and Darkdisc (webstore) rises Dark Entertainment. Dark Entertainment has the people from above mentioned companies along with a few more to make it a stronger force (like one of the directors of "Insane") than ever before. Dark Entertainment is part distributor (www.DarkEntertainment.se) and part webstore (www.Skrackfilmsbutiken.se).

Sick Films released such titles as "Die Zombiejäger", "Death Academy", "Chainsaw Cheerleaders" and "I Never Left The White Room" and it came as a surprise when they announced they were closing up shop and evolve into Dark Entertainment. Luckily though, I think Dark Entertainment are gonna be much more powerful. The titles that Sick Films released weren't always great or my taste (even though "I Never Left The White Room" was exactly my taste) but they always tried their best to give them great releases. My biggest "problem" with Sick Films was never the titles, it actually was the cover art. Some of them looked very poorly made. But with Dark Entertainment all that has changed, they look very professional ("Brain Dead" and "La Petite Mort" are the ones I have seen so far) and are still as solid releases smacked with extra material.

They have so far only released "Brain Dead", "La Petite Mort" and "Frankenstein vs. The Creature From Blood Cove", but have really interesting titles on the way. Here's the list of upcoming releases:
Gutterballs (2011-04-27)
Torched
(2011-05-11)
Hanger
(2011-05-11)
Live Feed
Syner
(2011-05-25)
Död Vid Ankomst
(2011-05-18)
Slaughter Disc
Evil Ed
Visions of Suffering
Philosophy of a Knife
Ingression
Hannah House
Stink of Flesh
The Dead Next Door

Not all fantastic titles, but personally I am excited to see more Ryan Nicholson titles released in Sweden other than just "Live Feed", as well as the fine films by Andrey Iskanov. Classics such as "The Dead Next Door" and "Evil Ed" are just fine films that you can't blame them for releasing either. They will have a focus on releasing Swedish underground/independent films and I'm all for that.

I have had the pleasure of checking out four of their finished releases, three of which I will go through a bit in this article (scroll down). Those titles are "Brain Dead", "La Petite Mort" and "Gutterballs". The focus won't be on the films themselves that much, but briefly about the overall release. My reviews for some of their other upcoming releases you will find in the standard review section in the near future.

Dark Entertainment are showing a lot of potential this far. Time will tell how fast they will climb in the ladder of great distributors, but so far they have climbed much, much higher than Sick Films ever managed to. With their additional paper slipcase packaging on every release, much improved artwork, numbers on the side and that each release has a letter on the side together making "DARK ENTERTAINMENT" (I assume, the first four are saying "D-A-R-K"), they are just waiting for people to go Pokémon on them ("Gotta catch 'em all!").

 

A LOOK ON THREE RELEASES:

BRAIN DEAD

The very first release from them was "Brain Dead". Not the Peter Jackson zombie flick, but the Kevin Tenney zombie flick. It took a while before it got a release in US, and now a few years later it is also getting a release in Sweden thanks to Dark Entertainment. I must say I really prefer the Swedish cover for it over the Breaking Glass Pictures release that, to me, looked only like a poor Photoshop job.

Already with their first release they make it a standard to include a documentary ("Behind The Screams"), audio commentary and trailers. But it also has deleted scenes, a small written biography about the director and also a written statement straight from the director.

Years have passed since Kevin Tenney's heyday, but he still remembers how to cook a fun splatter movie. With a thin plot, the movie quickly focuses on the gore and zombies, and with a heavy dose of comedy. It's not all good comedy, but comedy nonetheless!

Read Preston's original review for "Brain Dead" here.

LA PETITE MORT

The artwork for this one isn't as eye-catching as the one for "Gutterballs", but I think it's more than fair. A girl being tortured sums the movie up rather nicely, and with additional folds to make it look like a poster it kinda gives you the idea what they were going for.

The release also gives you "Making of La Petite Mort", audio commentary, deleted scenes, photo gallery and trailers. I'm a huge fan of extra material and that can often be what makes me decide which release I want. "La Petite Mort" isn't exactly a film that I would bother to pay extra for to get bonus material, but when the release is as cheap as this one I doubt you will find any reason not to choose this.

It's easy to draw parallels to "Hostel", and with the way they have Ryan Nicholson presenting it (like Tarantino presented "Hostel), it would be appropriate to suggest that part of the film is actually trying to out-do that movie. Clearly it's a much more fun movie to watch. If you want to be challenged intellectually, then this isn't for you. If you just want gore (by none other than Olaf Ittenback) with your Germans, then by all means, pick it up!

Read Preston's original review for "La Petite Mort" here.

GUTTERBALLS

The release of Gutterballs comes with a fantastic artwork, and probably their best one so far. It also puts focus on the fact that it's the "FULL UNCUT VERSION". Which it is. This is my third release of the film, the other two being the French 2-disc NEO Publishing release, as well as the original Plotdigger release. I don't have the standard US Balls Out release, but from what I understand this Dark Entertainment release is the same cut as that one. I skimmed through my past releases and tried to compare but it was just too hard. All in all, as far as the cut goes, this is the version to get. Ryan Nicholson is releasing a PIN-etration Edition which will contain more penetration, but the Dark Entertainment release is the official uncut.

The disc features a documentary entitled "Behind The Bag" which is different from the other two releases (they had one called "Behind The Balls") and an audio commentary. By no means a "smacked with bonuses" release, but a documentary, trailer and audio commentary is very fair bonus material and there's no need to ask for more.

And finally, the movie is one of my favorite homages to a bygone era when things were in-your-face, sleaze and brilliant. It's a slasher movie in true 80's spirit but with the smut from the 70's. The gore is fantastic and it's just one hell of a good time. And it has Dan Ellis, the coolest Canadian ever.

Read Preston's original review for "Gutterballs" here.




 

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