15th Feb2019

From VHS to VOD #8

by Phil Wheat


Welcome back to our ongoing From VHS to VOD column – our guide through the strange and obscure – the odd, unseen and unreleased (well unreleased on disc formats) films available on streaming and on-demand services.

Once again we’re taking a look at the obscure movies hitting Amazon Prime Video – available for streaming and/or purchase, some of which have been made available in the UK for the first time since VHS and a LOT that have been added to the service in their original uncut form! And yes, despite the recent reported cull of genre titles from Amazon Prime’s vaults there’s still a HUGE amount of obscure films to watch right now without ever leaving the couch (feel free to sit around in your pants too if that’s how you roll).

Bermuda Triangle (1978)

The passengers and crew of a boat on a summer cruise in the Caribbean stray near the famed Bermuda Triangle, and mysterious things start happening.

I’m not sure this film, by infamous Mexican director Rene Cardona Jr. (Cyclone, Guyana: Cult of the Damned), ever even got a VHS release here in the UK. It certainly played on regional TV in the late 80s/early 90s – which is where I first saw this strange horror film. Set around the titular phenomenon the film doesn’t ACTUALLY use the mysterious locale as a plot device, rather blaming everything on a cursed doll! Bermuda Triangle actually has one hell of a cast – including the legendary John Huston and Hugo Stiglitz (from Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City), who appears in numerous Cardona films; blonde bombshell Gloria Guida and Bond girl Claudine Auger.

Bizarre, nonsensical and all-round Cardona classic, Bermuda Triangle is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Blood Tracks (1985)

Blood Tracks follows a film crew producing a rock music video who decide to shoot at an abandoned factory above the snow line. When an avalanche strands them, a murderous family living in the factory attacks and kills many of them.

One of the most-requested slashers of the 80s never to make it to DVD or Blu-ray (unless you count the grey-market version(s) released in Europe), Blood Tracks is pretty much a hair metal take on The Hills Have Eyes, complete with cannibals and gore-galore, all set on a snowy hillside. This is the kind of movie that defines the term slasher-movie, when the going gets slow the blood starts flowing, which means this is a must-see for fans of the genre (like me).

Thankfully Blood Tracks is now available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video, so you can all see what the [gory] fuss is all about!

Battle For the Lost Planet (1986)

To escape his captors an industrial spy hijacks a space shuttle only to find the controls malfunctioning. Catapulting through outerspace, he sights alien battleships approaching earth. Many years later when the arc of his flight path returns him to earth, he discovers the planet is completely under alien domination, totally devastated by thermo-nuclear battles. Desperate and alone, he searches for any human existence. Finding a group of survivors, together they fight the aliens to save mankind.

An early movie from filmmaker Brett Piper, Battle For the Lost Planet feels very much like a film out of time, packed with stop-motion monsters, old-school effects and miniature work that echoes the work of Ray Harryhausen and John Dykstra; with the storytelling sensibilities of late 70s/early 80s Glen A. Larson. Piper’s films may be an acquired taste but it’s a taste I love – just check out my review of his 2015 film Queen Crab.

You can get the jump on the forthcoming Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray and watch Battle For the Lost Planet on Amazon now.

Mutant War (1988)

The sequel to Battle For the Lost Planet finds our hero Harry Trent wandering Earth’s post-apocalyptic landscape full of mutants, monsters, and fragmented human tribes. Harry’s attempt to help a young girl rescue her sisters, leads him to a group of armed mutants led by a human madman attempting to breed them and take over the world.

Well I couldn’t highlight the fact Battle For the Lost Planet is on Amazon Prime and leave out the sequel could I? Mutant War takes everything that was in Piper’s previous flick and turns it up to eleven – more effects, more stop-motion monsters and a more outrageous plot. The real bonus of this film is the appearance of one Cameron Mitchell!

Like its predecessor, you can watch Mutant War on Amazon now.

That’s all for this installment, do make sure to check out previous installments of From VHS to VOD right here.


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