HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Shemp's Ad-libs Delight Christine McIntyre In "Of Cash and Hash" (3 Stooges, 1955) (video)




"Of Cash and Hash" was Christine McIntyre's final appearance with the Three Stooges.

At the end, Shemp gets to demonstrate the boys' affection for her as a leading lady.

Although the shot is over, Shemp continues to ad-lib...
...much to Christine's obvious surprise and delight.

By the fadeout, Christine's genuine fondness for Shemp is apparent.


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



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Monday, September 24, 2018

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




Italian goremeister Joe D'Amato does it again with the 1980 proto-slasher/thriller ANTHROPOPHAGOUS (aka "The Savage Island").  Like ABSURD, which he directed the following year, this bundle of blood-soaked chills doesn't pour on the gore non-stop, but when it does, it doesn't fool around.

Tisa Farrow (Mia's sister) stars as Julie, who's traveling to an island off the Italian coast to help care for a vacationing couple's blind daughter Henriette (Margaret Donnelly) in their opulent villa. 

She hitches a boat ride with a group of twenty-somethings out for some island-hopping fun themselves, but once they stop over at Julie's island to drop her off, things start going wrong.  And I mean really, really, gore-splatter-cannibalism wrong. 


It's strangely prescient of the 80s cliché of the group of young partiers cavorting off to some isolated location to be stalked and slashed by a psycho killer.  (A cliché that's still going strong today.)

Here, however, the premise hasn't yet become a tired trope, and the characters are mature enough so that their interactions, and later misfortunes, have a dramatic heft that makes them more than just subjects for fun gore effects.

D'Amato (BEYOND DARKNESS, EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, THE ALCOVE) takes his time establishing all of this and letting us get to know such characters as the nervously expectant Maggie and her equally nervous husband, amorous Daniel who takes a liking to Julie right away, and brother-and-sister Andy and Carol, the former a level-headed good-guy type and the latter, a Tarot-reading flake whose unpredictable actions will eventually make a bad situation worse.


The bad situation in question, which they discover upon setting foot on the island, is an empty village in which (as we already know but they don't) the local population has been wiped out by a mysterious killer whose handiwork we saw in an earlier scene of a young couple getting meat-cleavered on the beach.

Taking up temporary residence in the villa of Julie's missing friends, the group makes a shocking discovery in the wine cellar that gets our own blood going as the story continues to build at a leisurely pace. 

More unrest within the social unit leads to creepy scenes within the big, dark house and its environs, including a crypt and a spooky foray into the shadow-strewn streets of the deserted village.  And before we know it, there's a sudden, cannibalistic attack that leaves one of them dead. 


To make a long story short, the character described in the title (if you can figure out what that title means, that is) finally makes himself known and proves a terrifying, stomach-churning force of un-nature with a voracious appetite for human flesh and one of the ugliest mugs in monster-guy history. 

Played by co-writer Luigi Montefiori (as "George Eastman"), who would portray a much less hideous killer in ABSURD a year later, the "Anthropophagous" dude is like something straight out of a nightmare, one of the most repellant stalkers ever to stalk. 

Blood 'n' guts sequences are few, but striking--the fetus scene alone is the stuff theater walkouts are made of. And D'Amato shows some style in unfolding the "dark, scary house", "deserted village", and "burial catacombs" scenes as well, giving us some genuine chills between the gouts of gore.  


The Blu-ray from Severin Films features a really nice-looking 2K scan from the original 16mm negative.  The film can be viewed either in Italian with subtitles or in English.

Severin doesn't disappoint with its usual ample menu of bonuses, here offering interviews with writer-star Luigi Montefiori, actor Saverio Vallone ("Andy"), FX artist Pietro Tenoglio, editor Bruno Micheli, and actress Zora Kerova ("Carol"). Three trailers for the film are also included.  The cover art is reversible.

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS has a simple, uncluttered plot that sets out to scare, startle, and sicken us, and it does exactly that with a singleminded determination.  It also boasts one of the ickiest cannibalistic creeps I've ever seen, whose final horrific act sets a standard of "WTF?" of which goggle-eyed gorehounds may never see the equal.


Special Features:
Don’t Fear The Man-Eater: Interview with Writer/Star Luigi Montefiori a.k.a. George Eastman
The Man Who Killed The Anthropophagus: Interview with Actor Saverio Vallone
Cannibal Frenzy: Interview with FX Artist Pietro Tenoglio
Brother And Sister In Editing: Interview With Editor Bruno Micheli
Inside Zora’s Mouth: Interview with Actress Zora Kerova
Trailers
Reversible Wrap


Buy it at Severin Films






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Shemp Gets Slapped Silly For Real In "Brideless Groom" (3 Stooges, 1947) (video)




A case of mistaken identity gets Shemp in trouble with Christine McIntyre.

The script called for her to lay into him, but she was afraid of hurting him.

Several takes with Christine's tentative slaps were wearing Shemp out.

So he finally told her to go for it without holding back, and get it over with.

Which she did!


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




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Sunday, September 23, 2018

ABSURD (aka "Rosso sangue") -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




Italian director Joe D'Amato's work ran the gamut from steamy sexploitation (THE ALCOVE with Laura Gemser) to graphic gorefests (ANTHROPOPHAGOUS, BEYOND DARKNESS and EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, the latter also with Gemser).  But while his 1981 horror thriller ABSURD (aka "Rosso sangue") features an ample number of gory sequences, it has as much in common with John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN as with the usual wall-to-wall splatterfest.

The story begins with a family being menaced by an escaped madman (Luigi Montefiori, aka "George Eastman") who, as a result of a scientific experiment, is now both maniacally homicidal and practically indestructible.  Somehow making it from Greece to the U.S. with a priest (Edmund Perdom) hot on his trail, he suffers a serious injury and ends up killing a nurse before fleeing the hospital. 

"Absurd" is definitely the word when rumpled police detective Sgt. Engleman (Charles Borromel) finds out that he can't get anyone to help him look for the rampaging killer on the loose because there's a big football game on TV. Thus, in his words, the only people available to join the hunt are "a priest, a cop on the verge of retirement, and a rookie." He then gives the priest, whom he has just met, an unmarked patrol car and a gun.


The aforementioned family includes a mom and dad with a young son, Willy Bennett (Kasimir Berger) and a teenaged daughter, Katia (Katya Berger), who is confined to bed in some kind of highly-restrictive spinal traction.  When the 'rents run off to watch the football game at a friend's house, the kids are left alone with babysitter Emily (Annie Belle) until you-know-who shows up to turn ABSURD down the same alley where HALLOWEEN took us some years before.

The killer is even named Mikos after Michael Myers, but aside from that he has no distinguishing characteristics (mask, razor glove, personalized killing weapon) and is just a big, glowering crazy guy who's driven to homicide in a big way.  The priest character is similar to HALLOWEEN's Dr. Loomis, although once Mikos makes his way to the Bennett house the priest and cops pretty much disappear until the end of the movie.

Till then, D'Amato alternates the film's slower scenes with a nicely-wrought suspense that builds to some genuine thriller-level moments.  Again, the "babysitter protecting the kids from the madman" stuff is reminiscent of HALLOWEEN--some of the music even sounds as though John Carpenter might've written it--and when things get going nice and proper the tension is well maintained.


As for the more splattery moments, D'Amato doesn't let the gorehounds in his audience down.  While not quite Tom Savini quality, the effects are adequately effective when a nurse gets a power drill through the skull, a hapless janitor has his noggin pushed through an electric saw, and a nanny has her head fricaseed in a blazing oven. 

Various other blood 'n' guts moments pop up here and there as well, but not enough to qualify the film as a non-stop gorepalooza. (Still, ABSURD was one of the original 74 video nasties banned in 1984.)

The adult actors range from passable to good (prolific actor Purdom is a venerable presence), and the two kids deliver as well.  Much of the early action centers around Kasimir Berger as Willy, who's up to the challenge with his energetic performance.  Later, his real-life sister Katya comes through when the story hinges on her character's ability to tear off her restraints and struggle out of her sick bed. 


The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin Films contains the film in two versions: the 94-minute English cut and the 88-minute Italian cut with English subtitles.  The amount of gore seemed about the same in both to me, so I couldn't really discern the differences between the two.  Both are 2K scans from the original negatives.

Bonuses include a new interview with Luigi Montefiori ("Mikos"), an archive interview with Joe D'Amato himself, an interview with filmmaker/extra Michele Soavi, and a trailer.  Disc two is a CD containing the film's score by composer Carlo Maria Cordio (first 2500 copies only).  The cover insert itself is reversible.

Although you won't mistake it for a Hitchcock flick, ABSURD has its share of chills and suspense along with the more giddily gruesome stuff.  It's D'Amato wielding his filmmaking abilities in fine form and entertaining us horror fans right up until the wickedly delightful fadeout. 


Special Features:Rosso Sangue: Alternate Italian cut (with optional English subtitles)
The Return of the Grim Reaper: Interview With Actor / Writer / Co-Producer Luigi Montefiore (George Eastman)
D’Amato on Video: Archive Interview With Director Aristide Massaccesi
A Biker (Uncredited): Interview With Michele Soavi
Trailer
First 2500 copies includes Bonus CD Soundtrack
Reversible Wrap

Available Sept. 25, 2018

Buy it at Severin Films





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Criswell's Nuttiest Moments From Ed Wood's "Orgy of the Dead" (1965) (video)




This bizarre 1965 horror/sexploitation film was written by Ed Wood.  

Famous faux psychic Criswell stars as the Emperor of the Night.

"Monsters to be pitied! Monsters to be despised!"


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



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Saturday, September 22, 2018

MOLLY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




One thing zombie flicks and post-apocalyptic dystopia movies have in common is that, thanks to templates such as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and MAD MAX, there's very little need for exposition. We're just suddenly there in these established worlds, and all that's required is to learn the specifics of the individual storyline being presented for us to follow.

This is true for the post-apocalyptic dystopia action-thriller MOLLY (Artsploitation Films, 2017), which comes to us by way of the Netherlands and brashly shoulders its way into the ranks of the best, or at least most brashly entertaining, films of that genre. 

An earlier trailer might've gone like this: "In a world...where society has been replaced by anarchy...and the innocent are injected with a drug that turns them into savage beasts pit-fighting to the death as gamblers cheer them on...one girl...with special powers and a fierce will to survive...fights to bring down an evil dictator while protecting an orphaned child she found alone in the wasteland...etc...etc..."


The girl with "special powers" (which I won't spoil here) is Molly (Julia Batelaan), who's like a cross between a myopic valley girl and Velma from "Scooby-Doo" (complete with glasses).  She looks like a normal teenaged nerd-girl all weighed down by a huge backpack and other gear, but circumstances have forced her to become a wandering warrior who must keep her guard up 24/7 against those who wish to either rob, kill, or capture her.

Local big-wig Deacon (Joost Bolt) wields the aforementioned drug and runs the pit fights, turning captives into vicious drug-fueled maniacs called "supplicants" and staging death battles during which he cleans up on the gambling front (with bullets as the main currency).  With Molly having become something of a legend in those parts, he orders his warriors to hunt her down and capture her for his fighting pit.

It took a while for me to settle in and "get" this movie.  At first, it looks like it's just going to be another mildly entertaining genre offering at best, albeit one with an intriguing main character.  The fight choreography seems a bit off at times, and the story seems a bit lean.


Gradually, however, the imagination and skill behind this above-average effort began make themselves more and more apparent until, by the second half, I was getting swept up in what was fast becoming a dazzling feat of modestly-budgeted filmmaking.

As soon as Molly befriends the little orphan girl Bailey (Emma de Paauw), who is then kidnapped as bait to lure Molly into the clutches of Deacon and his band of rough boys, our heroine's rescue mission in the bad guys' rusted-metal offshore lair becomes a dizzying non-stop assault of blazing action and breathtaking filmmaking.

Earlier fight scenes had a choppily edited shaky-cam look to them in order to convey Molly's fear and disorientation during sudden surprise attacks that came out of nowhere.  But during the extended finale, which takes place on several levels of iron walkways in a harsh industrial setting, the direction and cinematography suddenly shift into sort of a cinematic overdrive that had me goggle-eyed with amazement.


Fights still lack finesse, but this gives them the dirty, messy, awkward feel of real life-or-death battle. And when this mass of sweaty humanity starts plunging into fierce conflict in close quarters, directors Colinda Bongers and Thijs Meuwese shoot it all in amazing long takes with disguised edits that give the illusion of one unbroken action scene lasting a good 20-30 minutes or so.

(Molly's set-to with Deacon's main assassin Kimmy, played by Annelies Appelhof, is a real highlight, as is her final showdown with the Deacon himself.)

It's especially impressive in that the filmmakers don't have quick edits and jerky camerawork to use as a visual crutch.  The sequence boasts beautiful photography and camera moves (no shaky-cam, lens flares, etc.) and precision choreography that must've required both exhaustive practice and multiple retakes.

This is, to be honest, some of the best action filmmaking I've ever seen.  I was constantly reminded of a previous fave, HARD REVENGE MILLY, which this actually surpasses in my estimation.  Which, for me, is no small thing.  The hallway fight scene from OLDBOY also comes to mind.


Through it all, the character of freckled, bespectacled Molly is enigmatic but likable, and human enough to panic when she loses her glasses during a fight.  Where the heck did she come from, we wonder, and how did she become this fabled bow-wielding warrior who defeats opponents twice her size and ferociousness, with nothing more than a sort of frantically puckish resolve to survive? (Plus those special powers, of course, but I won't go into that.)

The Blu-ray from Artsploitation Films is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English 5.1 surround sound and optional English subtitles.  Bonus features consist of a directors' commentary, a half-hour "making of" featurette, and a trailer. 

I had a great time watching MOLLY, especially since so many films of this genre have been both blatantly derivative and inescapably dull.  Okay, this movie is sorta blatantly derivative too--but dull it ain't.  Following the satisfying resolution, there's an epilogue which promises a possible sequel, and, for once, I'm actually looking forward to it.




Artsploitation.com


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THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL -- DVD Review by Porfle




If you grew up watching "The Carol Burnett Show", you know why so many people regard it with such warm nostalgia.  It was funny in a smart, yet comfortingly lowbrow sort of way, with a cast of likable and often brilliant performers we enjoyed spending time with. 

It has now been half a century since the show premiered, an occasion marked last year by a CBS-TV retrospective now available on DVD as THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL (Time-Life). 

The most likable castmember of all, of course, is Carol herself, one of the brightest, funniest comediennes of all time and a genuine television icon.  Her famous rapport with her studio audiences is hinted at with some amusing exchanges that demonstrate how unassuming and down-to-earth the comic superstar has always been.


The show whisks us through a series of montages that give a hint of her versatility with brief snippets of skits in which Carol plays such characters as Scarlett O'Hara, Norma Desmond, and the ever-popular Eunice.

Likewise, the rest of the cast each gets the spotlight briefly with their own highlight clips.  Vicki Lawrence, who got her start on the show, appears in person to reminisce with Carol as we see some of her best moments as "Mama."  A white-haired Lyle Waggoner also drops by to bask in the shared nostalgia for these wonderful old times.

Some serious laughs come when the show focuses on the contributions of Harvey Korman and Tim Conway.  In addition to cracking each other up, these two had studio audiences in convulsions on a regular basis with such classic bits as "The Dentist", the "Family" (the infamous elephant outtake is shown), and the recurring sketch in which Conway played the befuddled Mr. Tudball to Carol's screamingly funny inept secretary Mrs. Wiggins.


Coming as a welcome sight are visits from some of Carol's old friends, including Steve Martin, Steve Lawrence, Martin Short, and Bernadette Peters, along with longtime costumer Bob Mackie.  (Tom Selleck and Pat Boone are in the audience.) Clips from past shows offer more familiar faces such as Jim Nabors, Eydie Gorme, Dick Van Dyke, and Jimmy Stewart.

Unfortunately, the roster of more current personalities assembled to help Carol celebrate her anniversary is hardly as stellar.  Getting things off to an icky start is Stephen Colbert, who introduces the show and later returns to, of all things, duet with Steve Lawrence. 

Jim Carrey shows up to creep everyone out.  Jay Leno and Harry Connick, Jr. are merely bland.  Various ex-SNL regulars and other mostly uninteresting personalities also parade past to amp up the show's "yawn" factor. 


Bonus features for the disc includes some red carpet footage, backstage interviews, and anniversary wishes from some of Carol's celebrity friends.  There's also an illustrated booklet as well. 

Carol Burnett's many fans can't help but derive some degree of pleasure from THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL.  But I would like to have seen more of the classic performances in their entirety and less yakkity-yak from a bunch of  talking heads.


Type: DVD Single
Running Time: 95 mins.
Genre: TV DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (16 x 9)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/Stereo 2.0

Captions


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Mirror POV Trick in "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" (Fredric March, 1932) (video)




How do you shoot a POV mirror shot without showing the camera?

The camera lens represents Dr. Henry Jekyll's first-person point of view.
The "mirror" is actually a clear-glass window in the wall.

On cue, Fredric March (Jekyll) approaches it from the far side...
...in a reverse-duplicate room. 
Then his butler Poole (Edgar Norton) joins him in the mirror-room "reflection."

Later, the same window technique is used to give us another POV "mirror" view of Jekyll...
...and then, of his savage alter-ego, Hyde.


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



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Friday, September 21, 2018

Opening Scene: "The Flesh Eaters" (1964) (video)




"The Flesh Eaters" is a low-budget horror flick starring Martin Kosleck.

The gore FX for this lurid thriller were pretty horrific for 1964.

But the first scene kicks the film off in pleasantly goofy (yet morbid) style.


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




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Thursday, September 20, 2018

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



I have to agree with the Medveds that EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (Scream Factory, 1977) is one of the dumbest horror films ever made.  And yet that's what makes it so watchable--the fact that it's so incredibly, entertainingly dumb.

It's also one of the worst-ever sequels to a classic film.  The nightmarish original from director William Friedkin (THE FRENCH CONNECTION, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., THE BOYS IN THE BAND) was considered by many upon release as the most terrifying film of all time.  Even a lot of first-time viewers nowadays tend to agree.  But for its hapless follow-up, reactions are largely negative.

Linda Blair is back as "Regan", this time several years older than the little girl we first met.  Still suffering the after-effects of her previous ordeal, Regan is undergoing unorthodox treatments from super-shrink Louise Fletcher which are intended to isolate and solve her "mental" problems.  This involves a flashing mutual-hypnosis machine called a "synchonizer", which connects their minds and adds a sort of sci-fi element to the story.


Meanwhile, there's a new priest in town--the great Richard Burton as Father Lamont, a troubled holy man ordered by the Cardinal (Paul Henried) to investigate what happened to Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) leading up to his strange death.  This eventually leads him to Regan, and then to Africa for an encounter with mysterious locust expert James Earl Jones.

What follows is a strange mishmash of conventional horror, sci-fi, African mysticism, and leftovers from the original story that alternates between either dull and meandering, and just plain fascinating as an ill-conceived screen artifact.

At times it feels sort of like one of those soupy 70s-era Dino De Laurentiis or Carlo Ponti productions.  (The overcooked score by Ennio Morricone doesn't help.) Hard to believe it was directed by John Boorman, the same man who gave us DELIVERANCE and EXCALIBUR but has none of William Friedkin's knack for pulling off this kind of horror.


To be fair, Friedkin had much better material to work with.  The weak script was rewritten multiple times, with tepid echoes from the first movie interlaced with such elements as locust attacks (an odd parallel to the evil invading our world) which can only be repelled by that rare someone with a special spiritual power.

This figures very importantly in the wildly bizarre finale as locusts descend on Regan's crumbling old Washington, D.C. townhouse like something out of an Irwin Allen disaster flick (sort of a cross between EARTHQUAKE and THE SWARM), while Father Lamont wrestles furiously in bed with Regan's evilly seductive doppelganger.

As for me, the sequel's undisputed highlight is the infamous tap-dancing scene.  Few examples of unintended hilarity are as sublimely funny as seeing Regan, stricken by the old evil spirit again during a school talent show, valiantly struggling to finish her tap-dancing routine (top hat, tails, cane--the whole works) to the tune of "Lullaby of Broadway" as her body is wracked with violent spasms.


Linda's fans will naturally enjoy seeing her again as an older Regan.  Unfortunately, this was made during that awkward teen phase when Linda wasn't all that convincing in anything beyond the likes of ROLLER BOOGIE or SAVAGE STREETS.  Her chirpy demeanor and weak line delivery constantly work against Boorman's attempts to build realistic tension.

Louise Fletcher (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, DEAD KIDS) and Richard Burton (THE KLANSMAN, THE WILD GEESE) both do what they can with the tepid material. Burton, one of film's greatest actors when given the chance, is especially watchable even though the last act mostly requires him to wander around in a trance.  Kitty Winn returns from the first film as Sharon.  Ned Beatty and a very young Dana Plato are also on hand.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Scream Factory contains both the original 118-minute cut and the 102-minute reedited version, which was released after the film failed to meet audience expectations first time around.  Both are 2k scans from the original film elements.  Image and sound quality are very good.  English subtitles are available.


Each disc contains ample bonus material, including three commentary tracks (one with director John Boorman) and a revealing interview with Linda Blair.  Also included are trailers and still galleries, plus a reversible cover insert.

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC is a somewhat exhilarating experience at times--not because it's good, but because it's so flamboyantly bad.  Once you've seen the full version, you'll want to watch the edited cut just to see what they did in the way of damage control.  Either way, it's one of 70s cinema's most interesting failures.


DISC ONE (118 Minute Cut Of The Film):

NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
NEW Audio Commentary With Director John Boorman
NEW Audio Commentary With Project Consultant Scott Bosco
NEW What Does She Remember? – An Interview With Actress Linda Blair
NEW Interview With Editor Tom Priestley

DISC TWO (102 Minute Cut Of The Film):

NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
NEW Audio Commentary With Mike White Of The Projection Booth Blog
Original Teaser Trailer
Original Theatrical Trailer
Still Galleries Including Rare Color And B&W Stills, Behind-The-Scenes, Deleted Scene Photos, Posters, And Lobby Cards

Buy it from Shout Factory




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Reacts To Gunshot Before He Gets Shot: "Bloody Mama" (Roger Corman, 1970) (video)




"Bloody Mama" (Roger Corman, 1970)

Ma Barker (Shelley Winters) and her sons wade through a dense hail of police bullets.

One of the Barker boys is so distraught...

...he reacts to a gunshot before it hits him. 


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




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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME IN CONCERT: ENCORE -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle




It's a well-known fact that many of us worship rock stars.  Even rock stars worship other rock stars, and one of their favorite activities seems to be getting together in huge gatherings in order to worship, entertain, and bore each other.

The "entertaining" part is what makes Time-Life's new 2-disc Blu-ray set ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME IN CONCERT: ENCORE worth watching if you happen to like some of the many stars on hand to perform during the four separate induction ceremonies (2010-2013) that it documents.

The "worship" part gets a bit cloying at times as those chosen to induct certain stars into the hallowed hall tend to gush at length over the seemingly godlike objects of their slavering admiration.


That's also where the "boring" part comes in and hits hard--these people are musicians, not speakers, and their amateur efforts to wax both humorous and profound are the stuff fast-forward buttons were made for.

The same goes, unfortunately, for many of those artists' sleep-inducing and sometimes self-important acceptance speeches.  The best one, in fact, is given by lead guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush, whose entire speech consists solely of the words "blah, blah, blah" expressed with varied emphasis and intonation, which serves not only to liven things up a bit but also to spoof the overall dullness of the event's endless speechifying.

Naturally, your interest in said speeches will vary with your degree of devotion to each particular musician.  What really counts, however, is the musical performances by the inductees themselves or by other artists' covering their most popular songs.


This 2-disc set is jam-packed with musical performances which should have fans rocking and rolling Hall-of-Fame style.  I couldn't stand many of them (strictly personal tastes, of course) but the audience seemed to find them highly "entertaining."  I responded likewise to some of my old faves.

The list of inductees and musical performers includes: Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, Heart, Alice Cooper, John Mellencamp, The Hollies, Leon Russell, Dr. John, Iggy and the Stooges, Abba, Genesis, Phish, Paul Shaffer, Tom Waits, Darlene Love, Small Faces/Faces, Beastie Boys, Freddie King, Randy Newman, Albert King, Quincy Jones, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, Public Enemy, and several others.


An illustrated booklet contains the entire program for each of the four ceremonies.

Image and sound quality on the two Time-Life Blu-ray discs are fine, so your enjoyment of ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME IN CONCERT: ENCORE will depend entirely on how excited you get perusing the list of participants.  For some it should be of sporadic interest. For others, it will provide hours of pure entertainment.

Street Date: September 21, 2018
BD/DVD SRP: $39.99/$34.99




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Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper in Monkees' Film "Head" (1968) (video)




A young Jack Nicholson co-wrote the Monkees' wildly surrealistic film "Head."

He even made a brief cameo appearance...
...along with future "Easy Rider" co-star Dennis Hopper.

The bizarre film was similar to the 1967 Nicholson-penned "The Trip" (1967) with Peter Fonda.

But Monkees' teenybopper fans didn't know what to make of it, and it helped deep-six the band.


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




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Film Movement Classics' Third Steamy Release in the Joseph W. Sarno Retrospect Series: CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SIN IN THE SUBURBS & WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES On 10/2




"[Sarno is] one of the true pioneers if celluloid erotica and one of sexploitation's most sincere and critically-acclaimed stylists" -- Anthology Film Archives.

THIS OCTOBER, FILM MOVEMENT CLASSICS DELIVERS THREE BRAND NEW HD RESTORATIONS IN ONE STEAMY BLU-RAY IN THE JOSEPH W. SARNO RETROSPECT SERIES

CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE
&
SIN IN THE SUBURBS
&
WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES


These Celluloid Classics Make their Blu-ray Debut in a Collection Featuring
New 2K Theatrical Masters and Exclusive Bonus Features Such as Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas, Joe and Peggy Sarno and More!

Street Date: October 2, 2018
BD/DVD SRP: $39.95/$29.95

SYNOPSIS
A pioneer of sexploitation cinema, American film director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno's (1921-2010) prolific career spans the evolution of the genre. "One of the true pioneers of celluloid erotica [1]," he was also dubbed the "Chekov of soft-core" by The Village Voice.  Film Movement Classics has partnered with Film Media and Something Weird to debut three new Sarno classics, remastered in HD and on Blu-ray for the very first time with the third installment in the Joseph W. Sarno Retrospect Series with CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE & SIN IN THE SUBURBS & WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES. Packaged together for the first time, this exclusive collection featuring specially-produced extras, audio commentary and more, will be available for cineastes everywhere on both Blu-ray ($39.95srp) and DVD ($29.95srp).

Sarno first explored the dark side of the American dream in his 1964 drama SIN IN THE SUBURBS, hailed by DVD Drive-In as "a ground-breaking masterpiece." 10 years later, his return to this theme resulted in one of the most critically and commercially successful films of his career, CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. Presented with these two major works is Sarno's immediate follow-up to SIN IN THE SUBURBS, WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES.

In CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, New York sophisticates Carole and Eddie spice up their sex life by swapping partners with their close friends, Anna and Pete. An unexpected visit from Carole's young, attractive and recently widowed mother, Jennifer, throws a temporary wrench into their plans.

Confessions of a Young American Housewife Trailer


SIN IN THE SUBURBS stars Audrey Campbell as Geraldine Lewis, a lonely housewife and mother who distracts herself with racy friends and a secret affair.  Discovered in the arms of another man, Geraldine immerses herself in a secret sex club, only to make a shocking discovery!

Sin In the Suburbs - Official Movie Trailer


And, a sultry snapshot of Times Square in the early '60s, WARM NIGHTS AND HOT PLEASURES follows three ambitious college girls eager to make their mark on Broadway. After renting a room from a men's magazine model, the girls are immersed in a lurid world of wild parties, risqué men's clubs and sleazy casting couches. Soon, each one must decide how far she is willing to go for stardom.

Joe Sarno's Warm Nights and Hot Pleasures - Teaser


BONUS FEATURES
Sin in the Suburbs -- Commentary by Tim Lucas, Commentary by Joe and Peggy Sarno, Michael Vraney and Frank Henenlotter
Confessions of a Young American Housewife -- Commentary by Tim Lucas, Mini-commentary by Joe Sarno, Deleted scenes    

ABOUT JOE SARNO
Director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno's (1921-2010) career spans the genre. His early black and white films are praised for their chiaroscuro lighting and their complex psycho-sexual plots, but it was his more explicit art-house film, INGA, shot in Sweden in 1968, that brought him international attention. Never a fan of explicit triple-X filmmaking, Sarno continued to write and direct adult films through the 1970s and '80s, often working under a pseudonym or offering his director's credit to the film's female lead. Among his most noted films are SIN IN THE SUBURBS, INGA, ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN, and CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE. Recently, Sarno's work has been the subject of retrospectives at several noted institutions and festivals, including Anthology Film Archives, New York Underground Film Festival, the Lake Placid Film Festival, the Vienna Filmmuseum, The Cinemateque Français, The Turin Film Festival, and the Warhol Museum.

ABOUT THE JOSEPH W. SARNO RETROSPECT SERIES
Through Film Movement's partnership with Film Media, a preservation and restoration company dedicated to outstanding independent cinema shot on film, new 2K theatrical masters are being created for the Joseph W. Sarno film library. For years, only poorly-preserved prints were available for retrospective screenings; now, cinema aficionados will be able to screen Sarno's classics, restored to a pristine state for optimal viewing.

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Type:  Blu-ray/DVD
Running Time: 234 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Audio: Stereo

About Film Movement
Founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club, Film Movement is now a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.  Film Movement's theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.



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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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




LIMITED TO 5,000 BLU-RAY UNITS 

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS – OLIVE SIGNATURE

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

Directed by
DON SIEGEL
(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
GENRE: SCI-FI
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH (with optional English subtitles)
LABEL: OLIVE FILMS
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 80 mins
RATING: N/R
VIDEO: 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio; B&W
AUDIO: MONO

OLIVE SIGNATURE FEATURES
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).

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

Copyright © 2018 Olive Films, All rights reserved.




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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



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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...

...as 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!




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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



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