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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Olive Signature Announcement: "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS" (1956) On Blu-Ray 10/16/18



(Death of a Salesman, The Misfits, Innerspace)
(Airport, Sink the Bismarck, The Crimson Pirate)
(Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, In the Heat of the Night, The Sand Pebbles)
(The Defiant Ones, The Enforcer, The Hanging Tree)
(The Bachelor Party, A Hole in the Head, TV’s The Addams Family)

Directed by
(Dirty Harry, The Shootist, Jinxed)

Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers features the talents of Academy Award® winner Ted Haworth (Best Art Direction, Sayonara – 1958) along with nominees Kevin McCarthy (Best Supporting Actor, Death of a Salesman – 1952), Carolyn Jones (Best Supporting Actress, The Bachelor Party – 1958) and Ellsworth Fredericks (Best Cinematography, Sayonara – 1958).

YEAR: 1956
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
VIDEO: 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio; B&W

New High-Definition digital restoration
Audio Commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
Audio Commentary by actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, and filmmaker Joe Dante
"The Stranger in Your Lover's Eyes" – A two-part visual essay with actor and son of director Don Siegel, Kristoffer Tabori, reading from his father's book A Siegel Film
"The Fear is Real" – Filmmakers Larry Cohen and Joe Dante on the film's cultural significance
"I No Longer Belong: The Rise and Fall of Walter Wanger" – Film scholar and author Matthew Bernstein discusses the life and career of the film's producer
"Sleep No More: Invasion of the Body Snatchers Revisited" –  Never-before-seen appreciation of the film featuring actors Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with comments from film directors and fans, John Landis, Mick Garris, and Stuart Gordon
"The Fear and the Fiction: The Body Snatchers Phenomenon" – Never-before-seen interviews with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter, along with film directors John Landis, Mick Garris and Stuart Gordon, discussing the making of the film, its place in history, and its meaning
1985 archival interview with Kevin McCarthy hosted by Tom Hatten
“Return to Santa Mira" – An exploration of the film's locations
"What's In a Name?" – On the film's title
Gallery of rare documents detailing aspects of the film's production including the never-produced opening narration to have been read by Orson Welles
Essay by author and film programmer Kier-La Janisse
Original theatrical trailer

“They’re already here! You’re next!” With these chilling words, Invasion of the Body Snatchers sounded a clarion call to the dangers of conformity, paranoia, and mass hysteria at the heart of 1950s American life. Considered one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, Invasion of the Body Snatchers stars Kevin McCarthy (Academy Award® nominee, Best Supporting Actor, Death of A Salesman – 1952) as Miles Bennell, a doctor in a small California town whose patients are becoming increasingly overwrought, accusing their loved ones of being emotionless imposters. They’re right! Plant-like aliens have invaded Earth, taking possession of humans as they sleep and replicating them in giant seed pods. Convinced that a catastrophic epidemic is imminent, Bennell, in a terrifying race for his life, must warn the world of this deadly invasion of the pod people before it’s too late.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, directed by the accomplished Don Siegel (Dirty Harry, The Shootist) and co-starring Dana Wynter (Airport), Carolyn Jones (A Hole in the Head), Larry Gates (The Sand Pebbles) and King Donovan (The Enforcer), was photographed by Academy Award nominee Ellsworth Fredericks (Best Cinematography, Sayonara – 1958) with production design by Academy Award winner Ted Haworth (Best Art Direction, Sayonara – 1958).

STREET: 10/16/18
CAT: OS018
UPC: 887090601801
SRP: $39.95

Copyright © 2018 Olive Films, All rights reserved.


BLOOD CHILD -- Movie Review by Porfle

Get ready to duck, because BLOOD CHILD (Random Media, 2017) throws everything it can get its hands on at the viewer, including the bloody kitchen sink.

We know right away that Ashley (Alyx Melone) is either nuts or dabbling in the supernatural when we see her and her obsequious maid from Singapore, Siti (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie) cavorting in the backyard with a little girl in a red dress not long after Ashley's tragic, traumatic miscarriage.

It's made pretty clear that not only does Ashley not have a daughter, but Siti has a penchant for the black arts and has somehow cooked up a phantom replacement for Ashley's lost child.

Ashley's husband Bill (Biden Hall), a semi-dickish business executive whose friends are all cretins, and her obnoxious BFF neighbor Naomi (Charlotte Cattell), both find Siti creepy and both begin to experience nerve-wracking visions of Ashley's "blood child" suddenly popping up in dark, spooky places.

When Ashley's home pregnancy test reads positive one day, the semi-happy couple are joined by Ashley's mom Renee (Lisa Kovack), who will finally experience enough weird stuff going on in and around the house to put her foot down and demand Bill take action.  But will it be too late to save Ashley's unborn baby from her jealous, clinging ghost daughter?

What makes BLOOD CHILD watchable is the fact that writer-director Jennifer Phillips has embellished this rather simple story with such a non-stop string of shocks, stings, and spooky "gotchas" that some of them occasionally work, while the rest generate enough fun and interest to keep us watching.

The best scares come whenever the ghoulishly-grinning ghost girl appears lurking in a dark corner or under a couch in the middle of the night, or popping up behind someone's back in a mirror.  Of course, these moments don't work every time and aren't always pulled off that effectively, so it's all a bit hit and miss.

This is also true for the usual mysterious odors, loud noises, and other stuff that the typically skeptical characters dismiss with "it's just an old house" until enough freaky stuff happens to finally convince them.

The cast is adequately frantic even when their reactions don't make sense, as when an extremely disturbing experience is followed by a shot of everyone sitting around the dinner table.

The script just keeps barreling along despite all improbabilities, serving up more derivative ghostly goings-on to grab our attention until the usual ironically-downbeat ending.

There's a shocking bit of gore here and there, and plenty of creepy action that scarcely lets up.  There's isn't a lot of finesse to be found in BLOOD CHILD,  but horror fans not in an overly demanding mood should find it a pleasantly unpleasant diversion. 

Available Nationwide on Digital HD and Cable VOD


One of Shemp's Funniest 3 Stooges Scenes: "Sing a Song of Six Pants" (1947) (video)

"Sing a Song of Six Pants" (1947)

Shemp Howard is at his best in this memorable scene... the Three Stooges play the world's worst tailors.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Monday, September 17, 2018

LOST CHILD -- DVD Review by Porfle

Capturing the green, light-dappled ambience of the Ozark backwoods in all its sometimes blissful, sometimes ominous solitude is just one of the things co-writer (with Tim Macy) and director Ramaa Mosley does to a turn in the quietly riveting psychological thriller LOST CHILD (2018).

Mosley also takes advantage of the local color in casting as well as giving us leads who convincingly portray these pastoral characters with hardly a hint of stereotyping.  The rich characterizations help propel the languidly-moving story which, in an almost stream of consciousness style, slowly swirls around us and draws us in like an undertow.

Leven Rambin (THE HUNGER GAMES) plays Fern, seperated from her brother Billy after a childhood trauma and now, after fifteen years in the military, returning home to search for her errant brother.  Haunted by PTSD and unsure about her future, she moves into her deceased father's backwoods hovel and tries to track Billy down when she isn't boozing herself into forgetfulness and looking for love in all the wrong places.

The film takes its time settling us into a laconic pace that gives things plenty of time to unfold.  Some of these include Fern's encounters with a shotgun-wielding hermit who orders her away from his crumbling shack and another isolated loner who likes to start fires.  His knowledge of local supernatural legends will come into play later on in a big way.

Just when we've been properly acclimated to LOST CHILD's aura of slow-burning tension, out of the shadowy woods comes the title child, a scruffy but sweetly needy little boy named Cecil (Landon Edwards).  Cecil seems to have no home or family, at least none he cares to divulge, but in no time he latches onto Fern with a heartrending hint of desperation.

The last thing Fern wants is a dependant, but she takes him in for the night and, after some encouragement by young social worker Mike (Jim Parrack, SUICIDE SQUAD, "True Blood"), with whom she recently shared a one-night stand, lets him live with her until a foster family can be found.

The story starts getting really good when the more superstitious locals inform Fern of the legend of the "Tatterdemalion", a childlike forest wraith who latches onto people and drains them of their lifeforce.  Her growing affection for the boy clashes with an even stronger suspicion that the stories are true when she starts getting sick and other strange things start to happen.

What could've easily devolved into a lower-grade horror story is deftly handled here, with touching human drama intermingling with the constant presence of an eerie, unsettling unknown that gradually settles in until we start feeling those tingly chills.

It's a delicate balance, and one which director Mosley manages to maintain with the help of a top-notch cast.  Especially impressive is young Landon Edwards in his screen debut as Cecil--he nails the role with utter conviction and a natural intuitiveness.

His exchanges with the equally talented Leven Rambin as imperfect but likable Fern, whether they're bonding emotionally or clashing over his strange, inexplicable behavior at times are richly compelling.  As for the rest of the cast, their effortless authenticity offers unyielding support.

The DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures is in 2.39:1 widescreen with English Dolby 5.1 sound. Closed captioned but not subtitled.  Extras include four behind-the-scenes featurettes and trailers for this and other Breaking Glass releases.

LOST CHILD works as a creepy campfire tale at times, but one that leads us through a gamut of feelings and impressions.  It's ultimately an engaging human story that's light and dark in turn, like a nightmare that's so captivating that you'd rather see how it plays out than wake up from it.

THEATRICAL: September 14, 2018
New York - Cinema Village
Los Angeles - Laemmle Monica
Missouri - Glass Sword

DVD/VOD RELEASE: September 18, 2018


Bridesmaid Blooper in Bela Lugosi's "The Corpse Vanishes" (Monogram, 1942) (video)

In the Bela Lugosi thriller "The Corpse Vanishes"...

...a young bride dies moments after her vows.

Naturally, the bridesmaids are totally grief-stricken.

Well, maybe not totally...

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

EPIDEMIC -- DVD Review by Porfle

The press release describes this film as "a tender, female-centric coming of age drama."  Fortunately, that's just someone having their little joke, because EPIDEMIC (2018) is actually pretty much what the title implies--a horror thriller about some nasty little bugs that get loose and make people violently ill before doing all sorts of horrible biological nightmare stuff to them.

Dana (Amanda K. Morales) is all tense because it's her 30th birthday and she's invited her estranged, alcoholic dad Rufus (Andrew Hunsicker) to the party.  She and husband Mike (Joe Walz) have also invited another couple, Troy (Marquis Valdez) and Mandi (Gina Destra), along with a nerdy loner to the festivities.  But Dad is so distraught over the impending reunion that he pulls into a parking lot on the way and gets drunk in his car.

Which is just as well, because Mandi, who earlier discovered a secret room in her basement containing a deadly, incredibly contagious virus (which she immediately uncontains), infects her fellow party-goers with the most vomitous, facial-disfiguring insta-plague of all time.  Everyone exposed to it monsters out and, either immediately or over time, goes slap drooling nuts.

While these rampagin' contagion flicks often strive for disaster movie proportions, EPIDEMIC keeps things focused pretty much on our main group of characters, especially Mandi and her tortured dad who yearns to make amends with her but can't overcome his life-destroying alcohol addiction.

Shelley Brietling enters the dramatic fray later on as Mandi's frantic stepmother Claudia, and between them and the rest of the cast, this movie is brimming with good performances.

I like co-writer (with Adam Romanchik) and director Stephen Michael Giglio's low-key approach, which allows him to make a modest but nifty-looking shocker within a very limited budget.  A smaller scale means both a much more intimate story (which pretty much evolves into classic tragedy) and the ability to concentrate on just a few really cool makeup effects.

Gorehounds may be disappointed, since this isn't a slasher/meatgrinder fest and there's more emphasis on story than sheer visceral horror.  But those disease victims in the advanced stages of infection sport a pleasing array of shocking visages while taking part in some nice jump scares and various creepy hallucinatory images along the way.

The DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English stereo sound. No subtitles.  Bonus features consist of a director's commentary, trailers for this and other Breaking Glass releases, an interview with Andrew Hunsicker (Rufus), and some outtakes.

Short, terse, and effective, EPIDEMIC wastes little time drawing us into the slimy, nervewracking bio-horror while still managing to let us get to know and feel for the characters.  I was infected by its low-key charm and am still recovering from the after-effects. 

DVD/VOD RELEASE: September 4, 2018


Visible Clapper Blooper in "Manos: The Hands Of Fate" (1966) (video)

Many would consider this entire movie to be a blooper.

But even in a film of this dubious quality...

...a visible clapper is a bit much.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

All The Narration: "Beast Of Yucca Flats" (1961) (video)

"Flag on the moon.  How did it get there?"

Easily the most noteworthy thing about this eccentric low-budget film... its bizarre narration.

Monotone, redundant, and at times downright disorienting.

Read our review of the movie

Porfle Presents: Coleman Francis' 2001: A Space Odyssey

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Universal Pictures, Miramax and Blumhouse Productions' "HALLOWEEN" with Jamie Lee Curtis -- New Pics, Poster, Info


A MALEK AKKAD Production
In Association with ROUGH HOUSE PICTURES 


In Halloween, JAMIE LEE CURTIS returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.  Master of horror JOHN CARPENTER executive produces and serves as creative consultant on this film, joining forces with cinema’s current leading producer of horror, JASON BLUM (Get Out, Split, The Purge, Paranormal Activity). 

Inspired by Carpenter’s classic, filmmakers DAVID GORDON GREEN (Stronger), DANNY MCBRIDE (HBO’s Eastbound & Down) and JEFF FRADLEY (HBO’s Vice Principals) crafted a story that carves a new path from the events in the landmark 1978 film, and Green also directs. Based on characters created by Carpenter and DEBRA HILL, Halloween is also produced by MALEK AKKAD, whose Trancas International Films has produced the Halloween series since its inception, and BILL BLOCK (Bad Moms, District 9).  

Curtis is joined on screen by JUDY GREER (Jurassic World, Ant-Man) as Karen, Laurie’s daughter who was taken away from her when Karen was a child, and who fluctuates between sympathy for her mother and frustration at the nonstop paranoia; newcomer ANDI MATICHAK as Allyson, Karen’s teenager who is attempting to navigate the rift between her mom and grandmother; WILL PATTON (TV’s Falling Skies, Armageddon) as Officer Hawkins, who was a young cop the night Michael Myers was taken into custody 40 years prior; HALUK BILGINER as Dr. Sartain, the psychiatrist who’s overseen Michael’s incarceration for decades; VIRGINIA GARDNER (Hulu’s The Runaways) as Vicky, Allyson’s best friend since they were young girls; and stuntman/performer JAMES JUDE COURTNEY (Far and Away), who portrays Michael Myers/The Shape. 

As well, NICK CASTLE (1978’s Halloween) appears in a cameo as The Shape. Accompanying Green behind the scenes is a seasoned group of creative talent, including director of photography MICHAEL SIMMONDS (Paranormal Activity 2, Cell), production designer RICHARD WRIGHT (Mud, All the Real Girls), Academy Award® winning special effects makeup designer CHRISTOPHER NELSON (Suicide Squad, Avengers: Infinity War) editor TIM ALVERSON (Insidious: The Last Key, Orphan), costume designer EMILY GUNSHOR (TV’s The Last O.G., Salt) and composers CODY CARPENTER (TV’s Masters of Horror) and DANIEL DAVIES (Condemned), who are joined in those duties by John Carpenter.

ZANNE DEVINE (I, Tonya), DAVID THWAITES (Black Swan), JEANETTE VOLTURNO (Get Out), COUPER SAMUELSON (The Purge series), RYAN FREIMANN (The Hatred), and Curtis executive produce the film alongside John Carpenter.  Green and McBride serve in the same capacity under their Rough House Pictures banner.   Universal Pictures distributes Trancas International Films, Blumhouse Productions and Miramax’s Halloween worldwide.


Resetting the Timeline: Halloween Begins

Malek Akkad—whose family’s production company, Trancas International Films, has produced the Halloween series since its inception—was open to a fresh take on the story and found a likeminded creative partner in Jason Blum.  His fellow producer, whose Blumhouse Productions—responsible for delivering smash-hits from Get Out and Split to the films in The Purge series—has a first-look deal with distributor Universal Pictures. 

Long impressed by Blum’s ability to marry abject terror with impeccable quality, Akkad was keen to embark upon a project with a fellow filmmaker who had a deep passion for his father’s co-creation…and someone who could help him breathe unexpected new life into the franchise. Akkad gives us a bit of background on how it all began, an incredulous 40 years ago: “The original film came about when my father, Moustapha Akkad, and a gentleman named Irwin Yablans started a distribution company, Compass International Pictures.  They were looking for some projects that they could self-finance and distribute and were fans of John Carpenter’s early work: Assault on Precinct 13.  They had a meeting with him, and he had a concept for a low-budget film called The Babysitter Murders.  They took a risk, and the rest is history.”

Carpenter remembers those early years.  “The distributor asked me to make this film for 200,000 bucks, and I said, ‘Sure I can.  I just want creative control and my name above the credits.’”  Reflecting on his creation with co-writer Debra Hill, Carpenter understands why audiences continue to be terrified by this embodiment of fear.  “Michael Myers, with his mask and his gas-station attendant’s uniform, is a character who is between a human being and the supernatural.  He is the ultimate force of evil.  He is ruthless, and there’s no reasoning or praying to God to save you.  He has a single purpose, and that’s to kill you.  Michael Myers is a relentless force of nature.  He’s just coming, and you got to get out of his way.”

A massive fan of the first Halloween, Blum feels that it’s one of the most perfect horror films ever made…and had no interest in developing the project without running it by the director who’d inspired much of his own career.  “Getting John Carpenter’s blessing was a prerequisite for Blumhouse being involved in this movie,” Blum reflects.  “I wasn’t going to pursue making a Halloween movie without him.  So, the first person I went to was John.  I asked him, ‘Do you want to jump in?’  He happily agreed to do just that.” Blum promised Carpenter—who calls Blum “the LeBron James of horror cinema”—that they wouldn’t move forward until he was happy with the director they had in mind…as well as the script that was being developed.

To that end, Blum knew one filmmaker he thought might be interested.  What he found was that David Gordon Green would not only want to helm Halloween, he’d want to collaborate with his longtime writing partners to craft the screenplay.   “We believe strongly at Blumhouse that you don’t need a great horror-movie director to make great horror movies,” the producer says.  “You need a  of horror cinema”—that they wouldn’t move forward until he was happy with the director they had in mind…as well as the script that was being developed.

great movie director.  I’ve admired David since his first film, George Washington, and I’ve reached out to him on multiple occasions hoping to lure him in.  Halloween was when it finally happened.  David fits very much into our philosophy: If you’re a great director, we can help you make a great scary movie.” When it came to a chapter that would wake up the franchise, the producers leaned into this idea of this filmmaker not known for horror. 

“After having met so many directors and hearing several pitches, Miramax and I were able to bring Jason on board, and he deserves credit for bringing David to the picture,” lauds Akkad.  “I have been a fan of David’s for years, and before even meeting I thought it would be an amazing opportunity.  Jeff, Danny and David came in and pitched their take; the rest is becoming history.”

For Blum, it is the not knowing the why behind Michael Myers’ motivation that is so terrifying.  He also wholly agreed with the collaborators’ idea that this should be Laurie’s final confrontation with Michael, and that the film would reset the series.  “This was 100 percent their pitch to me.  The idea I brought to Jeff, Danny and David was to make a new Halloween movie.  I told them they should imagine what would excite them and what they would most like to see.  It was their idea to make this movie a continuation of the first Halloween.”

Green recalls that hearing from Blum was one of the more pivotal episodes of his career.  “I remember that moment vividly, getting up in the morning and seeing this email from Jason asking to have me in the Halloween franchise.  I immediately felt strange, like when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff and your legs start to give out.  It triggered a lot of my enthusiasm from when I was a kid and would sneak into movies I shouldn’t have been watching.  Halloween was the pinnacle of all of them.” 

Block, who has produced fare as varied as the thought-provoking District 9 and Elysium to the crowd-pleasing Bad Moms films, agreed with his fellow producers that Green was the ideal choice to direct the new film.  “You see few directors move in genres as effortlessly as David has in the course of his career.  He has this scholarly understanding and elevation of all that has come before.  He has digested it and taken it a giant step forward; that’s set up a new bar of excellence.”

The producer shares that the matchup between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode is one for which audiences have waited a long time, and Green surpassed his expectations.  “You go to a movie for an absolute thrill ride and for the surprise.  The journey, particularly in this one—and this confrontation that has been brewing for 40 years between these two—upon his release is very satisfying.”


Bela Lugosi Meets Killer Octopus in "Bride of the Monster" (1955) (video)

In Ed Wood's classic horror thriller "Bride of the Monster"...

...Bela (with stuntman Eddie Parker) runs afoul of Bela's own killer octopus.


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!