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Monday, December 31, 2012

HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND 1959 (MILL CREEK)

This is an interesting oddity.

Strange but fun film about a troupe of dancers and their manager whose place crashes and they are stranded on an island where mutant spiders run amok. They find the body of a man in a huge web and then the manager is bitten by one of the creatures.

He in turn changes into a monster that begins killing off the beautiful women. Alex D'Arcy is Gary, the man turned monster and one of the lovely women in Barbara Valentin. The monster looks interesting and D'Arcy makes for a bizarre monster.

This is an exploitation classic not to be missed by horror fans. If you haven't already seen it, do so soon.

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION 2012 (SONY)

Milla Jovovich again stars as Alice...

In this, the fifth entry in the series Alice is trying to rescue people from an Arctic fortress and fight the Umbrella Corporation. The Corporation actually takes Alice back as they need her to help them fight the zombies that are slowly taking over the world.

This is a very fast moving film, a little confusing at times but fun none the less, and it's always very good to see Jovovich in anything as I find her to be one of the worlds most beautiful women. Bingbing Li is also a very sexy oriental woman helping Alice.

Recommended for fans of the series.

TERROR WITHIN 1989 (SHOUT FACTORY)

Interesting Roger Corman produced sci-fi.

Well made futuristic film about a world where most of the population has been wiped out from a mysterious plague. Only a few people remain as well as a few mutant monsters who kill people on sight.

Andrew Stevens, George Kennedy and Starr Andreeff star in this fast paced and exciting film that has some cool monster costumes. Shout released this on DVD along with another film called Dead Space which will be reviewed here soon.

Not a bad way to kill 90 minutes and it's fun to watch. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Barbara Carrera is 67.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

TOP 40 DVD RELEASES OF 2012 PART 4

10. Heaven's Gate (Criterion) Finally this western classic is released for all to see in it's uncut glory.
9. Queen's Swordsman (Atlas) Bizarre Mexican film about a skunk named "Stinky" and his wolf companion as they fight an evil queen. Rare and unusual to say the least.
8. Octoman (Retromedia)An upright tentacled monster terrorizes a group in Mexico in this wonderful low budget outing finally made available on DVD.
7. Twins Of Evil (Synapse)The ultra sexy Collinson twins stars in this long awaited Hammer horror classic.
6. Island Of Terror (Sinister Cinema) Peter Cushing stars in this excellent horror film about bone eating silicate monsters on a small Scottish Island.
5. House Of Dark Shadows (Warner) One of the best horror films ever!! A movie based on the gothic TV show of the same name. Another Dan Curtis winner.
4. Black Sunday (Kino) Barbara Steele stars in the gorgeous black and white chiller from Mario Bava.
3. NWO: The Revolution (WWE) 3 disc set that tells the story of the most notorious heel group in pro wrestling history.
2. Corman's World (Anchor Bay) Feature length documentary about the life and films of the single most influential moviemaker in my life and many others...Roger Corman. This takes us on a look at his entire career. No true fan would want to miss seeing this.
and finally.....My number one pick for the year is...................
1. Two Headed Shark Attack (Asylum) Chris Ray the son of Fred Olen Ray brings us this tale about a pretty cool looking two headed shark as it seeks a boatload of young people stranded on a small island. It also was a winner to me as far as casting which included Brooke Hogan and CARMEN ELECTRA. yep that always wins in my book.
There you have it..my Top 40 picks for the entire year over the last four weeks.

FACELESS MONSTER 1965 (RETROMEDIA)

An all time classic with Barbara Steele!

Aka Nightmare Castle, this version runs 18 minutes longer and has much more sadism as the doctor tortures his wife and her lover after he catches them together.

Steele plays the role of both the murdered wife and her sister and she actually got to dub her own voice on the soundtrack this time. Paul Muller is her sadistic husband and gorgeous Helga Line is the maid Solange, who is having an affair with the doctor. There are some great lines in this film including one where Solange tells the doctor, "It's not my mind that pleases you when you need me."

Great Euro horror and one of the best of it's kind. Thanks to Fred Olen Ray and Retromedia for finally making this available in uncut form and in widescreen.

THE CREEPING FLESH 1972 (COLUMBIA)

Another great horror from England...

Peter Cushing is a scientist who finds a skeleton in New Guinea that when it gets wet it grows it's flesh back. He takes blood from the finger of the creature and injects it into his daughter who promptly goes mad.

Christopher Lee is his half brother who wants to steal his scientific papers and claim all the glory. He arranges to have the skeleton stolen and the carriage it's in crashes in the rain, and henceforth the skeleton becomes what it really was...the entity of pure evil and now it roams the countryside.

This is one hell of a nifty film for horror fans and you just have to love the painting at the very beginning if the film!! Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Barbara Steele is 75, Marianne Faithfull is 66, and Yvonne Elliman is 61.

Friday, December 28, 2012

DJANGO AND SARTANA'S SHOWDOWN IN THE WEST 1970 (TIMELESS)

Another great spaghetti western.

Franco Borelli is Django and Hunt Powers if Sartana. they team up and defeat a mad killer who talks to himself in the mirror and actually plays cards with his reflection and accuses himself of cheating!!

This mad killer is known as Black Bert Keller and is played by Gordon Mitchell in a role I will never forget him playing. Some have said this is one of the worst westerns ever made, but I don't understand that.

Simonetta Vitelli is a buxom beauty they kidnap in order to flee across the border to Mexico with, but they never actually leave!! Strange film, but fun for spaghetti western fans.

GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE 1989 (ECHO BRIDGE)

This fine film finally comes to DVD.

At last, this Godzilla film finally makes it to DVD in fine form and for the very low price of $6.99!!

Godzilla fights a monster that is a combination of his own DNA and a plant. The monster called Biollante is very interesting and gruesome at the same time. This film bombed at the boxoffice and Toho believed it was due to the fact that Biollante wasn't familiar to many monster fans, and that could be very true.

There are a lot of great battle scenes in this film and if you are a true Godzilla fan, you will not be disappointed. The disc has a making of documentary and some other cool things as well. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Martin Milner is 81, and Taryn Terrell is 27.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

RIP GEN. H. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF 1934-2012

One of the last great Military leaders of my day has passed away at the age of 78. Norman Schwarzkopf died today. He led two very successful campaigns, one in Grenada in the 80's and the one big one was the 1991 Gulf War.

RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE 1944 (COLUMBIA)

Bela plays a vampire of a different name.

Bela Lugosi is Armand Tesla, a vampire resurrected during WW2 by a stray bomb dropped by the Germans. Lugosi is his menacing best and he also has a werewolf slave named Andreas.

Freda Inescort is Lady Jane Ainsley a woman who is hunting Tesla and is determined to drive a stake thru his heart, as she did many years ago before the war. Nina Foch is the lovely daughter of Ainsley that the vampire is trying to victimize.

Wonderful 40's horror with an exceptional cast. Highly Recommended!!

DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT 1973 (SHOUT FACTORY)

Another great Euro classic!!

Mark Damon stars as a young man who goes to Castle Dracula to do some research and finds the incredibly sexy Rosalba Neri living there. She is actually the bride of Dracula and is getting ready to sacrifice 5 virgins on the night of the full moon!

She also bathes in the blood of the young women to stay young and has a zombie maid named Lara who is also pretty damn sexy. This is typical euro horror in all it's glory. This is an episode of Elvira's Movie Macabre and Elvira pokes fun at the film, but not as much as usual.

This is the uncut version with all the nudity and violence intact and it is a recommended addition to your DVD collection.

THE LIVING SKELETON 1968 (CRITERION)

One of the best Japanese horror films I have seen!!

Criterion finally releases this obscure Japanese horror film about the ghost of a woman killed by pirates seeking revenge in a small seaside town. This film is filled with very atmospheric imagery such as skeletons floating below the water, lots of bats and ghostly images.

Nobody tells a ghost story better than the Japanese, and there are some interesting plot turns in this horrific story. Kikko Matsuoka is a very lovely woman and handle the dual role of her and her twin sister very well.

Not widely seen in the US for years, I am very pleased Criterion decided to include it in their Eclipse series 37 entitled "When Horror Came To Shochiku". This is simply a must for horror film fans, and I guarantee you'll love this black and white gem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Bill Goldberg is 46, Maryam d'Abo is 52, Barbara Crampton is 54, and El Zappato (a legend in his own mind) is 50.

RIP CLIFF OSMOND 1937-2012

Noted actor and acting coach Cliff Osmond passed away on Dec. 22nd after a four year battle with pancreatic cancer. I will always remember him for such memorable roles as the sadistic policeman in "Sweet Sugar", the policeman in "Invasion Of The Bee Girls" and the episode of the Twilight Zone entitled "The Gift". He appeared in hundreds of TV shows and movies during his almost 40 year career. Another real actor that will be missed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DRESSED TO KILL 1946 (TREELINE)

Another great Sherlock Holmes film.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are back as Holmes and Watson, this time investigating the theft of three small music boxes.

They find a trio of murderers who are trying to get a secret code. One of the murderers is a very attractive woman who want Holmes out of the way quickly. Patricia Morison is excellent in the role of cold blooded Hilda Courtney.

Highly Recommended for mystery fans.

ONE BODY TOO MANY 1944 (TREELINE)

Another Bela Lugosi classic.

Jack Haley stars as an insurance salesman who comes to an old house to sell a man insurance and finds the man already dead and a killer lurking around.

Lugosi is the butler and has little to do, but he does try to poison people who like coffee!! Jean Parker, Blanche Yurka, Lyle Talbot, Douglas Fowley, Fay helm and Lucien Littlefield round out the very good cast.

This is a fun little film which is entertaining as films are supposed to be. Recommended!!

TNA VICTORY ROAD 2010 (NAVARRE)

Going back to the archives of pro wrestling I watched this interesting card from 2010.

There is some pretty good action here with such matches as Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez in a steel cage, Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal, Madison Rayne Vs. Angelina Love and much more.

If you're a wrestling fan and are so inclined, you might want to check this out if you haven't seen it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Kathleen Crowley is 81, and Maria De Aragon is 70.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MACABRE 1958 (WARNER ARCHIVE)

William Castle directed this under appreciated movie.

A doctor receives a mysterious phone call from someone who claims to have buried his daughter alive and he has five hours to find her.

This is a tense little film that has more plot twists and turns than most movies ever could have. William Prince is the doctor, Jacqueline Scott is his secretary, Jim Backus is the town Sheriff and Ellen Corby is the child's caretaker.

Castle insured everyone for 1000 dollars against death by fright, the gimmick worked and Castle was off to Exploitation Heaven. One of his best and for some reason not talked about a whole lot. Thanks to Warner Archive for putting out a beautiful print of this film. Recommended!!

RIP CHARLES DURNING 1923-2012

One of the greatest character actors in the world has passed away at the age of 89 from natural causes.

Durning's career started in 1953 when he was in a small role in the TV show "You Are There" and it never stopped as he was in such great films as "Dark Night Of The Scarecrow", "Dog Day Afternoon", "When A Stranger Calls" and hundreds more.

He has left us a wonderful legacy. RIP

DIRTY HARRY 1971 (WARNER)

An all time classic!!

Clint Eastwood stars as Harry Callahan, a tough as nails detective who is hunting a psycho killer calling himself "The Scorpio Killer".

John Vernon is the Mayor, Harry Guardino is Police Lt. Bressler and John Larch is the Chief and they all work against Callahan. If all people were like Harry, there wouldn't be as much crime in real life as there is.

This is a well made thriller directed by Don Siegel and spawned three more films. Andy Robinson is excellent as the "Scorpio Killer" and makes it seem very real. This is an all time classic that shouldn't be missed by movie fans and especially Eastwood fans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Dick Miller is 84, and Barbara Mandrell is 64.

RIP JACK KLUGMAN 1922-2012

Actor Jack Klugman, best known for his role as Oscar Goldman in the Odd Couple TV show has died at the age of 90. He also starred in the long running TV show Qunicy. I remember him best for his four appearances in the original Twilight Zone and movies like 12 Angry Men, of which he was the last surviving cast member from the movie.

A true acting great with a hell of a lot of talent. He will be missed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

BLOODY BROOD 1959 (MILL CREEK)

Interesting little crime thriller.

Peter Falk stars in this thriller about a young man seeking the killer of his brother who ate a hamburger laced with ground glass.

Falk plays Nico, a man who is responsible for the murder and much more. This is a tight little thriller which is well acted and well directed. If you like low budget B thrillers, then this is for you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Donna Martell is 85.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

HOUSE OF THE DEAD 1978 (MILL CREEK)

Strange but fun film.

A married man who is having an affairis dropped off on the wrong street during a rainstorm and finds shelter in a strange funeral home in which the owner spins four bizarre tales about each of the corpses in his funeral home.

The tales involve child demons, living buildings, a killer who likes filming himself killing women and two detectives who try to solve a bizarre murder before it happens. Pretty cool stuff and not boring by any means. The cast includes Burr DeBenning, John Ericson, Charles Aidman and others.

If you like horror anthology films you will probably like this one.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Susan Lucci is 66, Joan Severance is 54, Holly Madison is 34, and Charles Herbert is 64.

TOP 40 DVD RELEASES FOR 2012 PART 3

20. Dark Crimes (Mill Creek) Great set of 50 film noir movies from the 30's to the 60's. One of the best 12 disc sets ever turned out by Mill Creek.
19. Encounters With The Unknown/When Time Began (Saturn) Great double feature with two rare films. Lots of fun for obscure movie lovers.
18. Vengeance of Fu Manchu (Warner Archive) Great adventure film with Fu again attempting to take over the world and destroy Nayland Smith, his arch enemy.
17. Space Children (Olive) 50's classic about a giant brain taking over the minds of children in order to have them disarm a new bomb being developed at a secret plant.
16. The Hearse/Blood Of Dracula's Castle (Scorpion) Sexy Katerina Waters hosts this great double feature that includes the longer version of Dracula's Castle which includes the werewolf scenes.
15. Screaming In High Heels (Vicious Circle) Fascinating documentary about the three original scream queens..Linenna Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer. One of the best of it's kind and not to be missed by fans of 80's horror.
14. Eclipse Series 37 (Criterion) This set contains four classic Japanese horror films from Shochiku Studio. The films include X From Outer Space, Goke The Body Snatcher From Hell, Genocide, Living Skeleton. The best set of the year and not to be missed.
13. Blood Beast Terror (Redemption) Peter Cushing stars in this film about a blood sucking monster terrorizing the English countryside. It turns out to be a genetically created deathshead moth!! Very off the wall but fun.
12. Maleficarum (Pachamama Films) The most talked about movie on my blog and certainly the most bizarre. This stars the lovely Amy Hesketh as a young woman tortured, along with her friend after they are accused of being witches. Amy is the modern Jess Franco!! Not to be missed.
11. Confessions Of An Opium Eater (Warner Archive) The second most talked about movie on my blog stars Vincent Price as a man who fights the tong wars and frees slave girls in Chinatown. Very visually bizarre film directed by Albert Zugsmith.

My Top 10 will be presented next weekend!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

VICE GIRLS 1997 (DVD-R)

Not a bad little film.

Three very sexy undercover policewomen must find a pornographer who is filming and killing young runaways.

Lana Clarkson, Liat Goodson and Kimberly Roberts are the three women and policewomen never looked so damn hot. Directed by actor Richard Gabai who also plays the insane killer. Hoke Howell is a retired cop who runs a bar and helps the women out.

Lots of classic exploitation elements including Clarkson topless and lots of wild action and bizarre characters. Recommended if you can find this little gem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Brianna Meighan is 30.

Friday, December 21, 2012

DIVINE ENFORCER 1992 (DVD-R)

A very off the wall film.

A new priest arrives at a parish and begins taking the law into his own hands as he starts wiping out drug dealers, rapists and trying to find a seriel killer who likes to torture women.

Jan Michael Vincent, Eric Estrada and Jim Brown stars along with the always sexy Judy Landers and Robert Z'Dar and Don Stroud as Otis the homicidal serial killer. One of the oddest films I have ever seen, it could have been so much better with this cast, but it's a passable time waster.

BIRTHDAY WISHES TO....

Ed Nelson is 84.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HEAVEN'S GATE 1980 (CRITERION)

This is simply a wonderful 2 disc set.

This is the first movie I ever worked on when employed by United Artists and what a true learning experience it was. I have so many wonderful memories and so many good friends I met on the set of the movie and we have stayed friends ever since...some even went on to be in a few of my productions.

Kris Kristofferson is James Averill, a man born to wealth who prefers the life with the poor out in the wilds of Wyoming. He loves Ella Watson, played by Isabelle Huppert and wants to marry her, but never gets around to actually asking her. Christopher Walken is Nate Champion a hired gun who kills immigrants that steal cattle to eat.

The cattlemen decide to kill all the immigrants who are invading the land in and around Johnson County. This is based on the factual battle in 1890 in Johnson County Wyoming. Director Michael Cimino was WAYYYYYY ahead of his time with this western that bombed at the box office and sank the company. This is a beautiful film with stunning photography by Vilmos Zsigmond.

Don't listen to all the badmouthing of this film, it is simply stunning and way ahead of it's time. As a matter of fact it is one of the most violent westerns since Sam Peckinpah brought us the Wild Bunch. Brutal, fun, sad and moving, this film has it all and Criterion brings us the 3 hr. 46 min. version in all it's glory. This set also has interviews with Kristofferson and David Mansfield who acts in the film and wrote to beautiful music score.

If you're so inclined I highly recommend this film. One of the best ever. Thanks to Criterion for putting out this gorgeous version. The rest of the cast includes John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Joseph Cotton, Mickey Rourke, Jeff Bridges and Brad Dourif.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN....

Two of the most beautiful women I ever laid eyes on both were born on this day and both are sadly not with us anymore. Mala Powers and Claudia Jennings.