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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NIGHT OF THE DEVILS 1972 (SINISTER CINEMA)

One of the best releases of the year.

I had never seen this film until I bought it from Sinister, and what a damn good film it is.

This early 70's Italian shocker concerns a man who discovers a very dark secret of the people living in a small cabin deep in the woods.

The movie opens with the man running from something we cannot see. Soon he is in a mental hospital and the doctors cannot figure out what is wrong with him. When a lovely young woman comes to visit him and identify him he goes berserk and is out in a straight jacket.

We then find out, thru the man's flashback in his mind about what happened. The man (Gianni Garko) seeks help with his damaged car and finds a small cabin the woods in which a family lives. They seem to live in fear of something and never go out at night, nor do they let anyone in after dark.

The terror and mystery slowly build and the man, Nicola finds himself falling in love with Sdenka (Agostina Belli). Nicola discovers that there seems to be a plague of vampirism striking the family.

This is a wonderful tale based on the story by Tolstoy about the Wurdurlak, which was also adapted by Mario Bava for his film "Black Sabbath".

There are some great scary and shocking scenes in this fine little thriller. It also has a very neat and unexpected twist ending.

I can't recommend this film enough. It seems that Sinister struck their print from the Raro Blu-ray, but I am not sure. All I know is the sound and picture quality is top notch.

If you like horror films, this is a MUST!! You can't go wrong with this one, and Belli is simply gorgeous.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Tammy Sytch is 44.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

INQUISITION 1978 (SINISTER CINEMA)

One of my favorite Paul Naschy films.

Naschy stars as a witch hunter who, along with two others arrive in a small plague ridden village.

They arrive in order to investigate allegations of witchcraft. Naschy soon falls in love with a very beautiful woman in the village who happens to have a pact with the devil.

She soon starts he road of vengeance against Naschy. This is a very well made Spanish horror film with lots of nudity and torture.

The witchfinders, of course, subject some of the beautiful women to tortures such as the stretching rack, burning and the infamous nipple ripping scene.

Daniela Giordano is perfect as Catherine, the beautiful witch who seduces the witchfinder and condemns him to death by fire. The print from Sinister is very good, and a huge upgrade from the bootleg I have owned for years.

This is a must for all Naschy fans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Christina Lindberg is 66.

Monday, December 5, 2016

RIP VAN WILLIAMS 1934-2016

The Green Hornet has died.

The man best known for playing the crime fighter "Green Hornet" died Nov. 28th from renal failure.

Williams career lasted until the 70's and then he became a fire fighter in Malibu. He was also the mentor of actress Pat Priest and they remained close friends up until his death.

I will always remember him for his role in the Green Hornet as I grew up watching that show and still to this day wish I had those episodes on DVD.

Van passed away in Scottsdale, AZ at the age of 82. He was the last surviving cast member of The Green Hornet show.

MARK OF THE DEVIL PART 2 1972 (SINISTER CINEMA)

The sequel to one of the most infamous films of all time.

The ads would have you believe that this was banned in 19 countries, but I don't believe that for a second.

This film does not really have the impact of the first one, but it is shocking and somewhat violent for it's time.

Anton Differing and Reggie Nalder star as "witch hunters" who travel the country and finding people they accuse of witchcraft. They kill those people to gain political power and money for the church.

Gorgeous Erica Blanc is a Countess whose child is accused of being a "devil spawn". The Countess vows revenge for this, but is arrested along with a nun who befriended her son.

The Nun is tortured, raped and burned at the stake for her "crimes" and the Countess is tortured on the rack for a confession. She and her son are sentenced to death but the jailer lets them both out as an act of kindness.

The quality of the print from Sinister is excellent and if witch hunting films are your cup of tea, you might like this. As with the fist one, the major criminals in the film never gets their dues, but that is how it works, even today.

Not a bad film at all, and I can easily recommend it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Morgan Brittany is 65, and Howard Ryshpan is 84.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

KILL BABY KILL 1963 (SINISTER CINEMA)

Fine Mario Bava chiller.

It has been a very long time since I saw this little gem.

Giacomo Rossi Stuart stars as a young doctor who comes to a small European village and finds it harbors a very dark secret.

The secret turns out to be the fact it is haunted by the spirit of a murderous child. The ghost of a dead girl named Melissa is filled with hatred from her mother and therefore kills anyone who crosses her path.

Erika Blanc is a young woman who is somehow tied into this string of tragic events, and she looks absolutely gorgeous in this film.

Bava uses weird lighting colors and fog to bring the viewer into a very bizarre world as only Bava could. The photography is beautiful and there are lots of stunning scenes including the one where Stuart runs into a room repeatedly until he is literally chasing himself!

The print from Sinister is beautiful and it was nice to finally be able to see this film again. I had forgotten how beautiful it really looked. Recommended for any horror fan.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

TOP 50 RELEASES FOR 2016 PART 1

Here we are again. This is the first of five looks at the TOP 50 DVD/BLU-RAY releases of the year.

It was quite a year indeed. There were plenty of great titles that came out and it was difficult making this list. Some you may agree with, some not.

Shout Factory and Sinister Cinema had a lot of new items that made my survey. Shout has 11 and Sinister has 9. My survey period is from Nov. 2015 to Nov. 2016. Let's take a look at the first 10...

50. DOLEMITE (VINEGAR SYNDROME)BLU-RAY...The excellent Rudy Day Moore classic about an ex con fighting for justice finally made it's way to Blu-ray, and what a classic it is.

49. BLACK SLEEP (KINO) BLU-RAY...Fun 50's shocker starring Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Basil Rathbone and a host of others. A mad scientist experiments on unwilling victims and creates mutants. The quality is better than I have ever seen for this film.

48. THE BEES (VINEGAR SYNDROME)... John Saxson stars in this incredible "nature on the rampage" film. This is a lot of fun for those so inclined.

47. SYMPTOMS (MONDO MACABRO) BLU-RAY...Angela Pleasence stars in a very bizarre film about a very bizarre young woman living on a desolate country estate. Long lost film finally released on Blu-ray.

46. INVASION USA (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY...Chuck Norris is a one man army who must save America from a madman who wants to take it over and ruin it. Not a lot of plot, but who cares...this film delivers the goods.

45. NIGHTMARES (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY... Four fun little stories comprise this film. It was a box office disaster when first released, but it is well worth seeking out. Watch out for that rodent!!

44. YONGARY (KINO) BLU-RAY... I was very happy to see this little Korean gem hit Blu-ray. A giant monster invades Korea and the military tries to stop it. A great Godzilla inspired film.

43. HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS/GHOST WARRIOR (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY... Great little double feature of somewhat obscure horror titles. The first concerns a family that moves into an old house in Japan and are soon possessed by evil spirits. Ghost Warrior is a bizarre film about a 400 year old frozen Samurai who comes back to life after his frozen body is thawed out in Los Angeles. That plot alone makes this Blu-ray a MUST.

42. HUMAN TORNADO (VINEGAR SYNDROME) BLU-RAY... Rudy Ray Moore returns a Dolemite is this funny and action filled sequel. This also has some pretty memorable sequences and is a very enjoyable film.

41. KILL PANTHER KILL (SINISTER CINEMA)... Very enjoyable Kommissar X entry which also stars gorgeous Erica Blanc. Lots of action and intrigue as Tom Roland (Brad Harris) and Joe Walker (Tony Kendall) hunt criminals looking for stolen diamonds. The print quality is excellent.

Well there you have it. The first ten of my top 50 releases of the year. Questions and comments are very welcome either here or in private. Next week, the countdown continues.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Holly Marie Combs is 43, and Heather Menzies-Urich is 67.

Friday, December 2, 2016

THE RACKET 1951 (WARNER ARCHIVE)

One of my all time favorite films finally comes to DVD.

This classic film noir stars Robert Ryan as Nick Scanlon, a top syndicate man who runs an entire city that is slowly being taken over by a huge crime syndicate.

Needless to say Scanlon won't play by their rules. To make matters worse for him, a police Captain names McQuigg (Robert Mitchum)is hounding him as well.

Scanlon wants McQuigg out of the way and will do whatever it takes. On top of all this a crime commission has been formed to put the syndicate out of business.

There is plenty of murder and deception as Scanlon finds his one man empire crumbling as the pressure mounts. Ryan and Mitchum play well off of each other, and when you have Lizabeth Scott as the love interest you have the making of a film noir classic.

The rest of the cast includes Ray Collins, William Talman, Robert Hutton and William Conrad.

Warner Archives should be commended for bringing this excellent film to DVD. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Lucy Liu is 48, Britney Spears is 35, Cathy Lee Crosby is 72, and Arch Hall, Jr. is 73.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

ALICE, OR THE LAST ESCAPADE 1977 (SINISTER CINEMA)

One of the best releases of the year from Sinister Cinema.

Sylvia Kristel stars as a young woman who leaves her husband one rainy night after telling him that she does not love him and cannot stand him anymore.

On her drive her windshield suddenly breaks and she is forced to find shelter at a mysterious mansion. In it lives an elderly gentleman and his butler. They make he comfortable and are very kind. When she wakes up in the morning, nobody is around.

She tries to leave the estate but every road leads right back to the manor. She meets some very odd people who say things to her that make no sense.

Once she manages to leave the manor she goes to an even more bizarre diner, and shortly thereafter things become much clearer to her.

I won't give away the fantastic ending, but this film really needs to be seen to be believed! It's in French, but has English subtitles.

I was blown away by this film and it reminds me of a cross between "Carnival Of Souls" and a "Twilight Zone" episode. The print is excellent and I cannot recommend this enough. SEE IT!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Pat Delaney is 79.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

SUDDENLY 1954 (MILL CREEK)

Frank Sinatra stars in this film noir classic from 1954.

I have been on a film noir run recently and this is one of the best.

Sonatra stars as a hitman hired, along with two others, to assassinate the President of the United States as he passes thru a small California town called Suddenly.

The three gangsters take over the quiet home of a young woman, her son and his grandfather and wait for the arrival of the train. The woman is played by Nancy Gates and her father is played by James Gleason who is damn near perfect in the role.

Sterling Hayden is the cop who is also involved when he comes to the house and gets shot by one of the gangsters. This is a tight and well made film that Sinatra actually had pulled from circulation and then tried to destroy all the prints.

I have no idea why he would want to do this. All of the performances in this film are very good and it's a film that shouldn't be missed. I think it holds up very well today as a matter of fact.

It's in the public domain and so is available from hundreds of little companies. Some prints a better than others. This one from Mill Creek was pretty average.

The rest of the cast is rounded out by Paul Wexler, Willis Bouchey,Paul Frees and Kim Charney.