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Justin’s Staff Picks

Scroll down to read an archive of Justin’s staff pick write-ups.

Attack of the Beast Creatures

“Another VHS oddity that was in terrible viewing condition for years, thankfully rescued by the American Genre Film Archive and released on Blu-Ray! The movie has obviously never looked better and seeing a boatload of weirdos getting picked off one-by-one by little red puppet monsters is a true joy.”

Enter Santo: The First Adventures Of The Silver Masked Man

“Tremendous boxset from Indicator that collects the first two movies from the most popular luchador in Mexican history, El Santo! Watch as the man in the silver masks breaks up drug rings and beats up crime lords. A total blast.”

Burning Paradise

“Jaw dropping Hong Kong martial arts epic, with loads of violence and incredible set design! A real gem!”

Chrome, Alien Soundtracks

“A mind-blowing album, totally fried, operating on a different planet, so many strange ideas on display. The first collab between the gods Helios Creed and Damon Edge. Essential weirdness.”

Poison Idea, King of Punk

“An essential repress of one of the greatest debut records from one of the greatest punk bands of all time.”

Neptune Frost

“Super unique new film from Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, an afrofuturist tale of hackers and anti-colonialists. Also, it’s a musical!”

Ebola Syndrome

“One of the nastiest and most offensive of all of the 1990’s Hong Kong CAT III films, and that’s saying something!! Vinegar Syndrome’s lavish 4K edition of EBOLA SYNDROME is one for the history books. Anthony Wong is a king.”

The Blue Iguana

“A forgotten cult film of the 80’s, Blue Iguana has the same vibes as Wild at Heart or Repo Man, but has remained pretty obscure until now! A weirdo crime/comedy with a great cast, including Dylan McDermott, Dean Stockwell, Jessica Harper, and of course, FLEA. Soundtrack cuts by Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys, Fela Kuti and L.A. Guns (!?).”

The Cornshukker

“Extremely strange little micro-budget backyard Eraserhead homage that languished on VHS for decades before being seen by more than a couple hundred people. The blu-ray is almost sold out, so don’t sleep on it!”

John Cale, The Academy in Peril

“Fascinated by the fact that John had enough pull in the early 70’s to release total puzzlebox records like this and Church of Anthrax on a major label!! Totally essential, a soup of John’s influences from the classical, avant-garde and rock n roll worlds.”

Eyes of Fire

“One of the most atmospheric and genuinely creepy folk-horror films of all time, a real special film full of ancient sorcery and earthly terrors. The Severin blu-ray was much needed, as it languished on VHS tapes for decades. A great way to kick-off the Halloween season. A stunner!”

Lon Chaney: Before The Thousand Faces

“I’m a huge fan of the great Lon Chaney Sr, one of the most talented and expressive actors of all time, who could stir up many emotions and tell complex stories with simple movements of his face. As far as silent cinema goes, there’s no one better. Very excited for these new blu-ray sets of hard-to-see films from his filmography, this one collecting three films from almost 110 years ago.”

Wicked World

“Hands down one of the strangest movies of all time. Barry J. Gillis and his friends were behind the ‘horror brainbomb’ THINGS in 1989, and this is their followup, a bizarre, experimental, vulgar and toxic nightmare in a damaged brain. Not for the faint of heart.”

Ilya Muromets

“Absolutely stunning Russian fantasy epic from 1956, utilizing dazzling vistas and scenery, hundreds of extras in huge battle spectacles and an incredible looking stop motion, three-headed, fire-breathing dragon. A real hidden gem unearthed and presented in HD from the folks at Deaf Crocodile!”

Shriek of the Mutilated

“Absolutely bonkers Bigfootspoitation from the minds of exploitation auteurs Michael & Roberta Findlay. One of the classic WTF movies, very glad Vinegar Syndrome has given it such a lavish modern release!”

Bloody Muscle Body Builder In Hell

“Micro-budget tribute to The Evil Dead from Japan, indeed featuring a body builder (albeit not Lou Ferrigno sized) battling the undead evil spirits in a small abandoned house. Lots of fun effects and a real sense of style on display despite the small budget!”

Chan Is Missing

“A really cool and visually intriguing little black & white indie from 1982 that would launch the career of Wayne Wang, and provide a necessary glimpse into the lives of Chinese Americans in the heart of San Francisco during a very fertile time for art in that city.”

Human Lanterns

“Really cool Shaw Brothers horror film from 1982 that combines ghoulish imagery with superb lighting and set design. Recommended if you’ve ever wanted to know what a wuxia film would look like with Suspiria lighting. 88 Films continues their stellar run of martial arts/Hong Kong fantasy movies with this release!”

The Ravager / The Bushwhacker

“Something Weird Video continues its legacy by partnering with the new Mondo Macabro sub-label American Arcana for this double feature of two truly bizarre exploitation films of the late 60’s: THE RAVAGER, wherein a disturbed Vietnam vet attacks young couples with explosives, and THE BUSHWHACKER, wherein a crazed mountain man attacks tourists. Unhinged cinema!”

Game of Survival

“I’m always a fan of ultra low-budget sci-fi from the 80’s, and if you paint up a bunch of muscleheads as Road Warrior knock-offs and cast a pro kickboxer in the lead role, chances are I’m going to love it. Culture Shock Releasing has been doing a fantastic job recently digging through the video store archives and restoring fascinating trash for a new modern audience.”

The Films of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years

“A monumental blu-ray release from AGFA & Something Weird, this collects Doris Wishman’s 70’s exploitation features in new stunning restorations. Absolutely insane low-budget curiosities that include two Chesty Morgan movies, a deranged penis transplant proto-slasher, an early trans documentary and even a demented softcore picture co-staring Jerry Lewis impersonator Sammy Petrillo. ESSENTIAL!!”

Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century

“An absurd Italian rip-off of the 1976 King Kong, only instead of a giant gorilla, we get a giant dude in a bigfoot costume. It’s just as magical as it sounds. Directed by Spaghetti Western auteur Gianfranco Parolini!”

Alien Private Eye

“Extremely goofy and low budget (but very charming) sci-fi action/noir featuring real kickboxers and muscular meatheads wearing terrible clothes, shooting lasers and dancing like MJ. It’s a real hoot.”

Love and Saucers

“An incredible and shockingly sincere documentary about artist David Huggins, who lost his virginity to an exterrestrial alien being, and ever since has devoted his life to painting tableaus depicting his visitations and abductions. This new blu-ray is phenomenal, has tons of extras, including a 25 minute interview with R. Crumb about Huggins’ art! Mandatory viewing.”

The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter

“One of the greatest Shaw Brothers kung-fu movies ever made, a violent epic by the master Lau Kar-Leung.”

Extreme Prejudice

“Walter Hill’s lost 1987 masterpiece FINALLY gets an HD release and I’m so, so stoked. Stacked cast, tense action; it’s one of the best crime films of the 1980’s, hands-down.”


“A wildly entertaining Australian biker movie set at the beginning of the Ozploitation movement and five years before MAD MAX, this has just about everything you’d want from a movie in this genre!”

Reform School Girls

“A tremendous women-in-prison film with punk vibes and cult appeal. Stars the icon Wendy O. Williams in maybe her best acting role!”

The Abominable Dr. Phibes / Dr. Phibes Rises Again

“One of my favorite roles the late great Vincent Price ever portrayed was Dr. Anton Phibes, a horribly disfigured doctor who must avenge the death of his wife by destroying the surgeons that caused her demise. Both the original movie and it’s sequel are absolutely insane pieces of early 70’s British Horror, with truckloads of inventive gags and pitch-black humor throughout. They’re super bizarre and trippy cult favorites that deserve to be seen by anyone remotely interested in horror history.”

Monster of Camp Sunshine / Honeymoon of Terror

“Totally absurd mash of counter-culture 60’s comedy, monster movie and nudist camp exposé. A thoroughly ridiculous experience.”

Slap Shot

“Hands down one of my favorite comedies of all time. Paul Newman somehow manages to be both a sleazy drunkard and effortlessly charming, and all the action scenes in the hockey rink are outstanding and hilarious. Offensive, vulgar and occasionally sweet.”

Red Spirit Lake/We Await

“An absolutely essential and much needed collection of two of filmmaker Charles Pinion’s shot-on-video films from the mid-90’s, that are equal parts ‘punk rock, Cinema of Transgression, avant-garde surrealism, pornography and backyard splatter films’. Both movies are filled with great cameos by underground figures like Richard Kern, Kembra Pfahler and Alyssa Taylor Wendt, and great soundtracks, with the likes of Neurosis, Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, Lydia Lunch, the Lunachicks and Crash Worship. I’m so so hyped on this release.”

Come Drink With Me

“One of the first Shaw Brothers wuxia kung-fu features, it still holds up!! Cheng Pei-Pei is mezmerizing as the mysterious Golden Swallow. Incredible action scenes, and it really set the template for all kung-fu movies after it!”

Killing Spree

“A gore-soaked suburban nightmare shot on 16mm video, a true endurance test in all the right ways. Basically the movie version of an early 90’s Florida Death Metal album. Inventive special effects, a truly unhinged soundtrack and lots of terrible acting. It’s great!”

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

“One of the greatest absurdist comedies of the 1990’s finally makes its way to high-def with this blu-ray, long overdue. I grew up a huge fan of the Canadian sketch comedy show Kids in the Hall, and I remain a huge fan of Kids in the Hall. This is their one shot as a collective for big-screen glory, and I think it’s a classic.”

Keith Emerson, Inferno OST

“Keith Emerson’s score to Dario Argento’s INFERNO is maybe one of his most mature and accomplished film scores, it switches on a dime between lush orchestral pieces to genuinely unnerving experimental sound design. Not usually a huge Emerson fan, but this one works for me!”

The Unknown Man of Shandigor

“Fantastic mid-60’s Swiss spy/scifi/comedy with some remarkable cinematography and a really cool sense of style. Kind of like if a young Jess Franco made Dr. Strangelove. Featuring a pretty great performance by Serge Gainsbourg!”

Don’t Go in the House

“One seriously mean piece of work, an infamously censored and banned film, and a member of the UK Video Nasties list, Don’t Go in the House is notorious for sure, but it’s also an extremely effective horror film with real shocks and powerful artistry. This new Severin release looks great and comes in a beautifully designed slipcover. It rules.”

New York Ninja

“The folks at Vinegar Syndrome found a unfinished, unedited 35mm print of an unnamed movie shot in 1984, and using all their resources, created a new cult classic, by carefully editing the scenes, creating a script, recording a period-appropriate soundtrack, and hiring a voice cast of famous character actors from 80’s genre films. The best part is: it’s a success!”


“Andrzej Żuławski’s seminal mind-melter really does get better and better every rewatch, and this new blu-ray from Umbrella looks and sounds superb. A rare type of film that defies genre, carries an enormous emotional weight, and is both nightmarishly ugly and utterly entrancing. There’s no other movie like POSSESSION.”


“A stark, transgressive and mindaltering exploration into obsessions with film, art, addiction, and sexuality. Released in 1979 in its native Spain, but unavailable for decades to see in the United States, this Altered Innocence release is already my favorite blu-ray release of the year. One of my legit favorite movies of all time, so so glad this is now available for more people to discover!”

Premutos: The Fallen Angel

“An absolutely bonkers German splatter film from 1997, directed by the great Olaf Ittenbach, featuring some of the most jaw dropping special effects and horror violence you will ever see. Perhaps one of the goriest films of all time. There’s nothing that will prepare you for this one.

The Collingswood Story

“A really fascinating and early entry into the found footage genre, Collingswood Story takes place entirely on an early 2000’s desktop computer webcam, which nowadays looks both antiquated but also very unique. Some good scares and a believable story!”

Get Crazy

“The greatest New Years Eve party movie finally gets an HD disc release! Allan Arkush’s follow up to Rock N Roll High School, featuring an insane cast, including Lou Reed and Lee Ving. One of my absolute favorites.”

Theater of Blood

“A perfect follow-up to Vincent Price’s role in The Abominable Dr. Phibes, the wild horror/comedy Theater of Blood features the legend Price as a Shakepearen actor who murders theater critics who were a little too harsh on his performances. Super weird/creative/hilarious, a must-see.”


“Mid-70’s obscurity about senior citizens fighting back against corrupt landlords in bizarre and brutal fashion. Never in HD until this release!”

Franco Noir

“Two early film noirs from exploitation titan Jesus Franco, both of which display his undervalued directorial chops.”

The Black Cat (AKA Demons 6)

“This is somehow both a sequel to Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA and also the unofficial part 6 of the DEMONS franchise?? Either way, it’s a total mind-melter, filled with insane practical gore effects, an unnecessarily meta and self-referential plot that makes very little sense, tons of neon lights and colored gels, and completely unhinged performances. Has to be seen to be believed.”

Tough Guys Don’t Dance

“A darkly humorous neo-noir written and directed by author Norman Mailer, featuring some truly unhinged bugnuts performances by Ryan O’Neal, Isabella Rosselini and Wings Hauser. A remarkably unusual movie.”

Scary Tales

“Spooky and crappy low-fi murderdrone VHS synth Baltimore set high weirdness!”

Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat

“A super goofy vampire horror/comedy/western(?) with David Carradine and Bruce Campbell that’s the perfect intro to the Halloween season. A lot of fun.”

The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs

“A truly tremendous and important collection of the late, great Marlon Riggs’ documentaries and shorts, focusing on identity, race, sexuality, politics and death. I’ve been going through the films in this set over the summer, and they’re some of the most powerful and touching documentaries you’ll ever see. Most of them were originally broadcast on public television, but Criterion does an incredible job restoring them, making them look and feel just as urgent as documentary filmmakers who have enormous budgets, something Marlon never had. Essential viewing.”

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Audio Rip)

“Totally seering, insane cyberpunk cacophony of metal and flesh. Listening to the movie is just as affecting as watching it.”

Deep Cover

“Bill Duke’s gritty neo-noir DEEP COVER is an overlooked classic, and with this new Criterion Collection blu-ray, hopefully it hits a wider audience. Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum turn in career-best performances, and the raw authenticity bleeds through every frame.”


“One of the most influential and important westerns of all time, directed by the legendary Sergio Martino and starring Franco Nero in the role that made him famous, the infamous loner Django, who drags a mysterious coffin behind him through the west. ESSENTIAL.”

Just Before Dawn

“One of the greatest backwoods slasher movies of all time, and an excellent use of the forests of the Pacific Northwest on film. An essential early 80’s horror movie.”

Surf II

“One of the wildest comedies of all time and a real lost gem, finally on blu-ray, featuring an insane surf/new wave soundtrack, zombie punks, horny surfers, gross-out gags, evil soda tycoons and diabolical supervillian Eddie Deezen.”

  October 8, 2021  |  Staff Picks