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Monday, March 31, 2014

RIP HARRY NOVAK 1928-2014

One of the most prolific producers of our time has passed away.

Harry was sheer genius when it came to promoting and marketing his films. The titles that he produced is almost unrivaled in the motion picture industry. Films such as "The Child", "Agony Of Love", "Tobacco Roody" and many more are just some of his production credits.

He worked closely with the late Mike Vraney of Something Weird video and between the two of them, they released these little seem gems on an unsuspecting world once again. Novak is a member of a vanishing breed of filmmakers, and his death just about closes out an era that will never be repeated. He was 86.

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN 1967 (MILLENNIUM)

A quick re-visit.

I reviewed this a few months ago when I bought the triple feature of Hammer titles from Millennium and since then they have released this and "Dracula Prince Of Darkness" on Blu-ray. I picked up this title on Blu-ray simply to see the difference and it is really something to see.

Peter Cushing is Dr. Frankenstein and he is again conducting experiments, this time with the human soul. His assistants are Dr. Hertz, played by Thorley Walters and Hans, played by Robert Morris. Hans is soon accused of murder and quickly tried and convicted simply because he will not admit to his love for a crippled woman named Christina, played by the gorgeous Susan Denberg.

Hans is executed in the guillotine and Christina kills herself after seeing this. Dr. Frankenstein uses this as a perfect excuse to experiment on the soul. He captures Hans' soul and then places it in Christina's body after he performs surgery and makes Christina into a very sexy woman. Hans' soul takes over as he wants revenge on the three hoodlums who are responsible for the murder he was executed for.

This is by far the most bizarre in the Frankenstein series from Hammer, but it is top notch all the way. The Blu-ray is excellent in every way with excellent picture and sound quality. There are 5 collector cards with the disc as well as a great documentary entitled "Hammer Glamour" which has interviews with Martine Beswick, Caroline Munro and many others. That is worth the disc alone. Also included are two episodes of "World Of Hammer" entitled "Curse Of Frankenstein" and "Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing". I wish that entire series itself would be released on DVD.

A Highly Recommended Blu-ray that one simply must own. Buy it and see the lovely Denberg as never before.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Christopher Walken is 71, and Richard Chamberlain is 80.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

RIP KATE O' MARA 1939-2014

A fine British actress has passed away.

Kate O' Mara passed away at the age of 74. People who follow and read this blog will remember her best from the original Dr. Who as well as "The Vampire Lovers" and "Horror Of Frankenstein". The latter being the film that introduced me to her charms.

During the 80's she was one of the cast on Dynasty. She died in a nursing home after a short illness and her talents will be missed but her films will keep her memory alive.

HORROR AT 37,000 FEET (PARAMOUNT)

Finally this fun film comes to DVD.

This is a classic TV horror film from 1973. I remember seeing it when I was 10 and have loved it ever since. The memory was fading on this film until I saw it again just a few days ago. I know it has aired on TNT a few times, but I don't watch TV at all.

Roy Thinnes is a man who has brought with him an alter from an ancient abby. It is stored in the cargo hold and soon the evil from within starts to come alive and wants out.

The evil is very cold and freezes a dog in the cargo hold and also one of the flight crew, played by Russell Johnson. Things get worse as the true supernatural powers of the abby are fully realized.

The cast includes Buddy Ebson, Chuck Conners as the pilot, Tammy Grimes, Paul Winfield as a doctor, William Shatner as an ex priest and many more familiar faces. This is low buget yes, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. Directed by David Lowell Rich, the pace slowly builds and then erupts into total evil by the end of the film.

I liked it a lot. I am very grateful to Paramount for finally bringing this out to DVD. If you like Made for TV horror you shouldn't miss this.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

John Astin is 84, Warren Beatty is 77, Dana Gillespie is 65, Greta Thyssen is 81, and Mike Rotunda is 58.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

COMING ATTRACTIONS....

BIG NEWS FROM SHOUT FACTORY!!!!!

Shout Factory has announced that in August it will release the classic WITHOUT WARNING!! This is the first time this film has been released on ANY FORMAT here in the US. It has been available on many bootleg tapes and such, but finally it comes to DVD in a beautiful Blu-ray and DVD.

They will also be releasing LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, MOTEL HELL and DEADLY EYES as part of their "Summer Of Fear" promotion. Scorpion Releasing will be bringing out "SCREAMERS" and "NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN" on May 5th and June 10th respectively.

WITHOUT WARNING could be the DVD release of the year for genre fans!!! A BIG THANKS TO SHOUT FACTORY.

WCW GREATEST PAY PER VIEW MATCHES VOL. 1 2014 (WWE)

More wrestling classics from WWE.

Another great 3 disc set from WWE that highlights WCW and some of their greatest PPV matches. Hosted by Booker T, disc one starts in Nov. 1987 with Starrcade 87 and goes thru July 1990. You have the Starrcade 87 match Ron Garvin Vs. Ric Flair, Starrcade 88 classic between Sting & Dusty Rhodes vs. The Road Warriors and much more.

Disc two starts in July 1991 and ends in Oct. 1994. On this disc are matches that include Vader vs. Cactus Jack in a violent Texas Death Match from Halloween Havoc 1993 and Wargames 1992 where the Sting Squadron took on the Dangerous Alliance. There is much more included on the disc that any wrestling fan will enjoy.

Disc three starts at the groundbreaking Bash At The Beach in 1996 when the Outsiders, Scott Hall & Kevin Nash took on Randy Savage, Lex Lugar and Sting. This was the match that Hulk Hogan went black and white and formed the NWO. No other match in the history of the sport ever garnered so much controversy as well as acclaim. Also on this disc is Slamboree 1998 when Brett Hart took on Randy Savage an a heck of a lot more.

All in all this is a great set, and anything the WWE turns out with the WCW label is ok in my book. If you're a wrestling fan you have to get this set. Over 7 hours of memories of the greatest wrestling company that there ever was.Since this is Vol. 1, I can only hope Vol. 2 follows quickly. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Lucy Lawless is 46, and Bud Cort is 66.

Friday, March 28, 2014

SPIRITISM 1962 (BEVERLY WILSHIRE)

Very obscure Mexican horror film.

This is a very well made Mexican horror film based on the tale of the "Monkey's Paw". A woman who is used to a comfortable living seeks the help of supernatural when her and her husbands finances hit rock bottom because of a business investment for their son.

The story takes a while to develop, but once it does it becomes a very well crafted little film about ghosts and the powers of Satan. The woman uses the gift giver her by a dark angel and when her son dies in a tragic accident she wishes him back to life with terrifying results.

This title is long OOP, and the print from Beverly Wilshire leaves a lot to be desired, but if you can find it check it out. you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE 1961 (BCI ECLIPSE)

Aka Devil Doll Men.

One of the creepiest Mexican horror films ever made, this bizarre tale focuses on a group of people who has stolen an ancient voodoo idol and are now cursed to die for it.

A voodoo priest uses doll sized killer with very sharp needles to kill the four men and their family members. When they are killed the people are also turned into dolls and used for other killings.

These little killers are really something to see, and every scene they are in is well done with shadows and lightening flashes. It is something every horror fan who has seen this film will remember. The lovely Elvira Quintana and Ramon Gay are the heroine and hero respectively an both in real life met very untimely deaths.

The set from BCI is a two sided disc and features both the US and Mexican versions of the film. the Mexican version is slightly longer, and fills out a few scenes that the US distributor cut out. Directed by veteran Benito Alazraki, this is one Mexican film that really delivers the creepy goods.

I first saw this on the USA Network with Commander USA many years ago and seeing it again has made me like it even more.

DAUGHTER OF DRACULA 1972 (SINISTER CINEMA)

A nice looking Jess Franco vampire film.

A young woman, played by Britt Nichols goes to her family estate to see her dying grandmother and is informed that the family has a vampire curse and that she may become one of them.

She moves into the castle anyway with her uncle and cousin. Soon she is seeing vampires everywhere. Howard Vernon is Count Karlstein, aka Dracula and he never seems to leave his coffin for some reason.

Sometimes the story is hard to follow and the subtitles are wrong, but it is still a very good film for what it is and the picture quality is superb. There is ample nudity of the lovely ladies, but that is a staple in almost all Franco films. It may not be the best vampire film out there, but I would recommend this to any horror or Franco fan.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Julian Glover is 79, Mariah Carey is 44, Talisa Soto is 47, Michael York is 72, June Wilkinson is 74, and Jody Fair is 80.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NIGHT OF THE COMET 1984 (SHOUT FACTORY)

Re-reviewing this now on Blu-ray.

I reviewed this a while back and now Shout Factory has finally made this available on Blu-ray and it looks better than ever.

Two young valley girls manage to survive after the rest of mankind has been wiped out after a meteor shower either turns them to dust or changes them into decaying zombies. Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney are Regina and Samantha, respectively and after finding everyone dead start adjusting to their situation.

They meet Hector, a young man played by Robert Beltran and the three of them try to survive the best they can. The girls love using guns and go on a shopping spree, of course. Little do they know they are being watched by a group of scientists who want their blood in order to slow down their own decomposition.

This is a fun film and one that every fan of sci-fi should watch. There is plenty of horror, comedy and pathos for everyone. Director Thom Eberhardt does an excellent job of showing us an abandoned Los Angeles, and back in the good old days it was done just by shooting the opening scenes on Christmas morning instead of using CGI.

Trivia: In one of the scenes you see window washers on a skyscraper. That is one of the hazards of low budget filmmaking. The film on Blu-ray is beautiful and I commend Shout for turning out such a gem with the loving care it deserves.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Leonard Nimoy is 83, Diana Ross is 70, Sara Jean Underwood is 30, and Scotty Morrow is 68.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ATTACK OF THE WITCHES 1968 (RISE ABOVE)

Santo is back in this well made Mexican horror.

Santo fights an evil witch and her demons from hell in this very entertaining film. Sexy Lorena Velazquez is the leader of the coven and she makes a formidable opponent for Santo.

Edaena Ruiz is a sexy demon named Medusa that has a great scene where she tries to seduce Santo, but to no avail. He will not fall for that. This is basically the same plot as Santo vs. The Vampire Women, but it works nonetheless.

The opening of the film will jar first time viewers as nothing is explained for about the first 10 minutes and it seems that we have joined in a movie that has already been going for a while. The print looks good and Rise Above should be commended for bringing this film out to the public.

THE FLESH EATERS 1964 (RETROMEDIA)

This is the unreleased version from Retromedia.

This is a classic that has never received the attention it rightly deserves. A small plane carrying the pilot, an actress and her assistant is forced to land on a small island after some engine trouble and an impending storm. They discover that the island is inhabited by a lone scientist who is conducting some unexplained experiments on the island.

They also discover that very small flesh eating creatures inhabit the waters surrounding the island. Soon a beatnik named Omar joins them, and then the terror really begins. Martin Kosleck is Prof. Peter Bartell, a former Nazi scientist who has created the little monsters and will do anything to further the experiments. Byron Sanders is the pilot, Grant Murdoch, Rita Morley is Laura Winters, the alcoholic actress, lovely Barbara Wilkins is Jan Letterman, the assistant and Ray Tudor is Omar, the beatnik who dies a horrible death at the hands of Bartell.

The film was shot over a troubled three year period from 1960-63 and was partly financed from money won on a rigged game show and was produced by Arnold Drake who was a comic book legend. The photography is excellent for a low budget production, and the Nazi flashbacks are quite memorable as well.

It's a classic film no matter how you look at it, and this version has all of the censored gore scenes in it, but the beginning is slightly different. I think they had to shoot extra scenes to make the film longer after all the gore was cut out on it's first release and on TV, but I could be wrong. Anyway the scene missing in the beginning are just a bit of bickering between Sanders and Wilkins.

This unreleased DVD also contains original storyboards, 35mm trailer, commentary with Arnold Drake, Tom Weaver and Fred Olen Ray as well as an interview with Liane Curtis, daughter of Jack Curtis, the director of this horror classic. Finally it also contains the original color sequences!

It's sad this was unreleased, but another company claimed rights to the film and Retromedia had to stop the release. If you can find this version of the film, the Uncut 1964 theatrical version, then by all means see it. One of my favorite films of all time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

SANTO VS. THE ZOMBIES 1962 (SOMETHING WEIRD)

This is the first Santo film I ever saw.

Santo, who is called "The Saint" in this dubbed version fights a mad doctor and his army of zombies. Armando Silvestre is the police Lt. Savage who is also on the case.

Sexy Lorena Valesquez is a woman whose father has been turned into a zombie by the mad scientist. There are some interesting scenes in this fun South of The Border thriller such as when Santo stops the villains from taking children from an orphanage and using them as experimental subjects, and also later when an opponent of Santo's is changed into a zombie and enters the ring. Santo rips the zombies control belt off and the zombie promptly dies.

This is fun stuff, and I will never forget first seeing this when I was in my teens when it popped up on TV. I ha never seen such a film before, but I had read about them in Famous Monsters. After seeing this I was hooked, and still am. Recommended.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

William Smith is 81, Mark Calaway is 52, and Lynn Borden is 75.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

TANK COMMANDOS 1959 (DVD-R)

I got a chance to re-watch this after a few years.

A young Italian boy helps a group of US demolition soldiers in war torn Italy find a way to destroy an underwater bridge which the Germans use to get their tanks over.

Burt Topper directed this sometimes slow, but still good film. Donato Farretta is the young boy named Diano and what happens to him at the end of the film is something that took be by surprise when i first saw it.

The rest of the cast includes Wally Campo, Robert Barron, Anthony Rich and Larry Hudson. If you like war dramas then I could recommend this to you. It doesn't have tons of action, but it will hold your attention. If you can find this film somewhere, check it out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Corinne Clery is 64, and Lori Williams is 68.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SANTO AND THE VENGEANCE OF THE MUMMY 1971 (RISE ABOVE)

More fun South Of the Border horror..

A professor enlists the aid of Santo when he goes on an expedition to find the tomb of a long dead Indian warrior named Nanoc. Once they arrive at the tomb and take the jewelry and maps for study, members of the party start to die one by one.

It seems Nanoc has come back from the dead and is now killing people with his bow and arrow. The corpse is quite agile and can run at a good pace when needed. Santo gets into a fist fight with the Mummy which has to be seen to be believed, and it is all brought to a conclusion some time later in an ending that is somewhat of a letdown.

Mary Montiel and Alma Rojo are the two very attractive women in the party an they do make the film watchable when nothing else is going on. Not the best of Santo films, but not the worst either. if you get a chance, see it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

William Shatner is 83, and May Britt is 81.

Friday, March 21, 2014

DESTINATION EARTH: ALIEN INVADERS 2009 (PASSPORT)

A very good trailer compilation.

I like this DVD a lot. There are a lot of great movie trailers on here including "Invisible Invaders", "Invasion Of The Saucer Men", "Target Earth", "The Flame Barrier", and "Cosmic Monsters", plus many, many more.

If you like sci-fi trailers this is a 90 minute treat and a lot of fun. This is a rather short review,but with trailers there isn't much to say except...ENJOY.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BEGINNING OF THE END 1957 (HEN'S TOOTH)

A classic from Bert I. Gordon.

Lovely Peggy Castle is a reporter who accidentally stumbles upon a mystery in Illinois when she discovers that the National Guard is hiding the fact that an entire town was wiped out overnight.

Audrey Aimes (Castle) works on the story with the help of Dr. Ed Wainwright, played by Peter Graves. They uncover the mystery and soon discover that a horde of giant locusts are responsible and now they are heading for Chicago.

The local National Guard headed by Col. Tom Sturgeon (Thomas B. Henry) believes they can handle the situation until they are wiped out and the Army is called in headed by Gen. John Hansen, played with the usual aplomb by Morris Ankrum. Before too long Chicago is swarming with the giant monsters that seemingly cannot be stopped.

This is the stuff of pure fun. Sure the effects are cheap, but who cares, the story and the actors make up for it anyway. With Morris Ankrum in charge, we will always win. This is one of my favorites from the ear of the big bug movie and one that I can recommend to you.

The rest of the cast includes Than Wyenn, James Seay, Frank Wilcox and Hank Patterson.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Kathy Ireland is 51.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

THE COSMIC MAN 1959 (IMAGE)

Not too bad of a sci-fi film.

John Carradine is an alien who comes to Earth bringing peace and only a scientist believes that he is benevolent, while the military sees him as an enemy or a military advantage.

The alien is invisible at will, but decides to become visible and tries to communicate with the scientist and a young crippled boy. His message is never fully understood, but the scientist, Karl Sorenson, played by Bruce Bennett, tries to help the alien, but must also fight the military.

The military is represented by Col. Matthews, played by Paul Langton and Gen. Knowland played by Herbert Lytton. The cast is rounded out by Angela Greene and Scotty Morrow.

Interesting and sometimes bizarre, this film is recommended to fans of 50's sci-fi, an the print quality is very good from Image.

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS 1970 (SHOUT FACTORY)

One of the best of the Hammer vampire films.

Ingrid Pitt stars as Carmilla, a young woman who is actually a vampire who comes to a peaceful little town and victimizes a young woman.

First she kills the daughter of a General (Peter Cushing) and then moves onto a young woman whose father has left for a while. Her reign of terror sweeps over the entire household. Pitt is excellent as Carmilla and Madeline Smith is the young woman who is Carmilla's next victim. Roy Ward Baker does a good job directing the cast which also includes George Cole, Kate O' Mara, Ferdy Mayne, Dawn Addams, Douglas Wilmer and Pippa Steel.

I have reviewed this before but this is the first time the film has been on Blu-ray and it looks very good. The color and sound is top notch and Shout has given some pretty good extras. However I found the short featurette entitled "Resurrecting The Vampire Lovers" to be much to concerned about sexuality than the actual film itself. It is trite and of no value, but then again it won't effect your viewing of the film.

I can't recommend this enough to horror fans or Hammer Fans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Ursula Andress is 78, Patricia Laffan is 95, and Jan Shepard is 86.