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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

RIP FREDRIC HOBBS 1931-2018

The artist and sculpture creator has died.

Hobbs is best known for his very, very odd little collection of films he directed in the 60's and 70's.

His films include "Troika", "Roseland" and his two most popular "Alabama's Ghost" and "Godmonster Of Indian Flats".

Hobbs never made another film after Godmonster and that is a shame. Never in my life have I seen such a bizarre film. It is soon to be released on Blu-ray and I can only hope for "Alabama's Ghost.

Hobbs passed away on April 25th, 2018 at the age of 85. A one of a kind film maker.

THE MAZE 1953 (KINO) BLU-RAY

Yes, I have reviewed this before from the wonderful Sinister Cinema edition, but this Kino release on Blu-ray is about as good as it gets.

Kino released this with both the 2D and 3D versions and this is only based on the 2D version as I cannot watch anything in 3D. You can tell, however, just by watching the 2D version that director William Cameron Menzies really knew what he was doing with atmospheric sets and depth.

This effective little thriller stars Richard Carlson as Gerald MacTeam who is happily engaged to a lovely young woman Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst). One day shortly before their marriage Gerald receives a message from an ancestor in Scotland. He tells Kitty he will return in time for their wedding which is 2 weeks away.

Well needless to say he never returns and Kitty and her Aunt Edith travel to the Scottish castle where Gerald was last known to be going. They find Gerald there looking about 20 years older and graying hair. He treats them coldly and tells them they must leave.

Kitty is not willing to give up that quickly and refuses to leave. During the night mysterious noises are heard and strange lights are seen in a huge Maze in the center of the grounds of the estate.

Slowly Kitty and Edith get closer to the truth, or so they think. This film is infamous for it's ending and truly bizarre monster. To be honest, it's a bizarre movie all around. The rest of the cast includes Michael Pate, Hillary Brooke and Katherine Emery as Aunt Edith.

The presentation is a wonder to behold. I have never seen the film looking so good. This Blu-ray also includes the original 3D trailer and a short interview with star Veronica Hurst. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Paula Abdul is 56, Daria Nicolodi is 68, and Rosalba Neri is 80.

Monday, June 18, 2018

THE PSYCHOPATH 1966 (KINO) BLU-RAY

A long sought after Amicus film finally arrives on Blu-ray.

Freddie Francis directed this shocker written by Robert Bloch.

Patick Wymark stars as Inspector Holloway who is given the task of investigating a bizarre series of murders in which each victim is killed horribly and a doll resembling the person killed is left at the scene.

The movie opens with the brutal slaying of a man who belonged to a group of 4 men who all seem to share a secret. Holloway digs deeper into the case and soon almost faces death himself. He questions the other three men, Frank Seville (Alexander Knox), Martin Roth (Thorley Walters) and Martin Roth (Robert Crewdson) but learns very little.

One by one the men die and Holloway suspects an invalid woman named Mrs. Von Sturm (Margaret Johnston) who collects and makes dolls as well as talkng to them and treating them like they were alive. Her son Mark (John Standing) takes care of her and becomes a suspect himself.

Frank's daughter Louise (beautiful Judi Huxtable) tries to aid Holloway in this bizarre case and things quickly spiral out of control. If you've ever seen this movie you know how disturbing the final five minutes are, and it just sticks in your mind.

I was very pleased to see Kino come out with this little and sadly forgotten Amicus thriller that actually ranks right up there with anything Hammer studios was turning out at the time.

The Blu-ray presentation is excellent and I recommend this film highly. Watch it late at night with no lights on and see if it doesn't work on you a bit.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

A.J. Khan IS 41.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

OSS 117: PANIC IN BANGKOK 1964 (KINO) BLU-RAY

Kerwin Matthews returns as a suave secret agent.

In this outing, Hubert Bonisseur AKA OSS 117 is sent to Bangkok to investigate the murder of an agent who was looking into an extremely dangerous organization run my a mysterious Dr. Sinn (Robert Hossein).

Sinn and his men are causing people to die of a virus. They are stealing the vaccines and then replacing them with the virus with plans on infecting the entire world.

Mathews is suave as the handsome secret agent who meets and falls in love with Sinn's daughter Lila played by the lovely Pier Angeli who would team with Mathews again on "Octaman" before her untimely death.

The two work well together here and the movie moves a a quick pace although I have read many reviews that say it is slow, but I guess to each his own. The Blu-ray presentation is beautiful and in the correct aspect ratio. The film is also in French with English subtitles.

I don't really know if anyone reading this blog is a fan of this series of films, but if you are, you should find this entire set of five films from Kino a welcome addition to your Blu-ray library.

Over the next few days all of the five films on the set will be reviewed. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Peter Lupus is 86, and Sho Kosugi is 70.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

OSS 117 UNLEASHED 1963 (KINO) BLU-RAY

I have heard a lot about these little spy films, but have never seen any of them. I finally got the set from Kino which contains five movies from the series.

This first entry stars Kerwin Mathews as Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, otherwise known as agent OSS 117.

The plot revolves around an agent who was killed on a scuba trip and the resulting investigation into the who's, why's and how's. Mathews does a good job in the title role and his character is very laid back.

During his investigation 117 meets the very sexy Brigetta (Nadia Sanders) with whom he falls for quickly. He suspects she is the key to finding out what happened. She seems to want to help him, but then turn against him at the same time. Slowly but surely, 117 gets to the bottom of things.

This was, of course, released to a wider audience after the release and worldwide popularity of "Dr. No" and I have reasd a lot of comparisons, which simply arr not true.

There is an underlying evil where ever OSS 117 goes and while the film does not have a lot of action, when it happens it happens in a generous proportion.

This nifty little thriller was released in 1963 and is the only one on the Kino set in Black and White, however don't let that deter you. The rest of the cast for this French thriller includes Irina Demick and Daniel Emilfork in a great role.

The print looks excellent and is in original French language with English subtitles.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Joan Van Ark is 75, and Dagmar Lassander is 75.

Friday, June 15, 2018

REMEMBERING CASEY KASEM 1932-2014

On this day 4 years ago broadcasting lost it's greatest personality.

I was at work when I got the call Kasem had passed away. He died under very sad circumstances, and those that caused it will pay eventually.

I ALWAYS listened to AMERICAN TOP 40 and thanks to that show I became the music junkie I am today. I wrote down every song and kept my own charts for years along with Casey.

The man made my Sunday mornings special and for 3 hours every week I was in utopia. When the show went to 4 hours I was ecstatic. Casey also made Saturdays special when I watched Scooby Doo for as you know he was the voice of Shaggy.

I have seen every TV and movie appearance Kasem made from Charlie's Angels to the Incredible Two Headed Transplant. I also used to watch Americans Top 10 which Casey hosted on TV.

Today thanks to Casey and my mother, I am a music nut that has almost every American Top 40 show from the 70's which is 520 episodes, and about half of the shows from the 80's.

Casey Kasem will always be the greatest voice radio ever had. He left a legacy behind which will live for many, many more years and all I listen to is AT40 shows anymore. Modern radio is dead, but Casey keeps my obsession with music from the 50's thru the 80's alive and well.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Judy Pace is 76, Joy Bang is 73, Antony Carbone is 93, Pamela Martinez is 29, and Richard P. Rubinstein is 71.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

PETS 1973 (VINEGAR SYNDROME) BLU-RAY

A surprise release on Blu-ray that I discovered via a review on DVD Drive-In and from an email sent by Vinegar Syndrome.

This was part of a VS sale they called "Half Way To Black Friday Sale". There was a limited number of these DVD/Blu-ray combos and I, of course, had to get one as I love this film.

It was released a few years ago on DVD from Code Red and this is a great improvement. There are no original elements left but this release was made possible using multiple 35mm archival prints, and I must admit I am very impressed with the results.

Candice Rialson is a gorgeous young woman named Bonnie who, from the opening frames of the film, is in for hard times. The film opens with her riding with her very abusive brother (Mike Cartrel). She escapes from him by getting three black men to jump him and beat him up.

The next morning she meets up with a lovely woman named Pat. Pat is looking to steal money for food and both women meet a man named Dan who owns a fancy car and a small dog. Bonnie and Pat talk the man into giving them a ride. Pat pulls a gun on him and the make him drive to a secluded area and tie him up.

Pat steals the car and drives to Dan's house to steal money while Bonnie guards Dan whom she rapes and both get satisfaction from it. Pat throws Dan's dog off of a cliff and then runs out on Bonnie.

Wondering farther Bonnie meets Geraldine Mills (Joan Blackman) who is an artist. She convinces Bonnie to move in with her so she can paint her portrait. After a while Bonnie grows bored as there is never a man around. Geraldine has her own desires for Bonnie, but Bonnie needs a man. When one breaks into the home Bonnie keeps him in her room for a night, and when Geraldine finds out the next day she cold bloodily kills the man.

Bonnie is heartbroken and goes to the home of a bizarre art collector named Vincent Stackman (Ed Bishop) and soon becomes part of his bizarre zoo of animals. Stackman tricks Geraldine into coming over and intends to whip and control her as well. Stackman believes women should be kept as pets who are taught to obey men.

Well needless to say Bonnie turns the tables on both of them and locks them in her former cage and takes off in Stackman's car. She picks up a male hitchhiker and drives off and then the movie ends.

This is a film that absolutely defines the exploitation genre. Rialson made her speaking role film debut and really shows everyone how it's supposed to be done. She comes across as brassy, naive, cunning and sexy. Very few actresses ever had the sex appeal Candice did and when she takes off her top...well....need I say more.

Director Raphael Nussbaum who really didn't want to direct the film pulls it off very well. The print looks as good as can be expected under the circumstances and there are not the huge splices that appeared in the Code Red print. It's not perfect, so I am sure the "fanboys" will complain, but this is the BEST presentation of this film we will all probably ever see.

The rest of the cast includes K.T. Stevens, Berry Kroeger and Brett Parker. My burning question is why did lovely Teri Guzman who is excellent as Pat only make two films? There is not much about her listed anywhere as far as I can find. And what can I add about the incredibly sexy Candy Rialson? A talented woman who left the business in 1980 and never returned. She sadly passed away on March 31, 2006 from liver disease at the age of 54 and I don't think she ever knew what a huge impact she had on a lot of us and what a huge fan base she really had/has.

A top release of the year, and if you can find it BUY IT!! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES 1976 (WARNER)

Excellent western directed by it's star, Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood is Josey Wales, a man trying to raise a wife and son after the Civil War. One day, out of nowhere comes a group of men called "red legs" who kill his wife and son and leave him for dead.

Wales joins another group hunting them down. The group gets most of the job done and then decides to quit since the war is long over and they accept a peace settlement from the US Government. All surrender except Josey Wales, who wants everyone associated with the murder of his family to pay.

Josey sees his friends killed in an ambush set up by the Union Army, and that sets him off. He rides into the camp an kills almost everyone. The news spreads fast and Josey is labeled a killer and has a huge price put on his head.

On his adventure Wales meets up with an Indian named Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) who joins him on his mission. It seems everywhere Wales goes, people end up dying since he has a price on his head.

"Wales eventually settles down with a rag tag group of people including a woman named Laura Lee (Sondra Locke), Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams), Grandma Sarah (Paula Trueman) and a few others. His past catches up to him and the final showdown takes place between the small group and the people looking to kill Wales.

This is an excellent example of a great western. Eastwood stars and also directed, which he shows he has considerable talent for both. The film has some great comedic moments between Eastwood and Chief Dan George and also contains some of the best action sequences ever in a western film.

A Highly Recommended gem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Malcolm McDowell is 75, and Richard Thomas is 67.