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Sunday, April 30, 2017

RAMBLINGS.....

This is a time of year I look forward to as it signals that summer is just around the corner, and that is my favorite time of year.

Also around this time of year for the last 3 decades has been the arrival of the new Sinister Cinema catalog. They have always had the best products and as everyone here knows I am an ardent fan.

When I received their new catalog in the mail this week I was shocked to see that this may be the last one. Sinister has been around since 1984 and I have been with them ever since. In fact, the first film I ever bought from them was "Fangs Of The Living Dead" on VHS.

I have watched them grow and have bought many, many obscure films thru them. Now on to why this is happening and my take on it. Some of this may offend certain people, but I care not, this is my blog and I say what I want.

Over the years things have changed, of course. The usual changes in the world always go on, but they have indeed affected the home entertainment market. There is more competition than ever on the DVD field and it helps not that some movies are offered for free on services like You Tube.

I am totally against free anything. I figure if you want to see something you pay for it or you just don't see it, but alas, the internet has changed all that. Now the freeloaders can run wild and steal things from everyone.

I'm not ever going to change my mind about this way of thinking. It astonishes me about how many movies are available for free. This kind of crap has really cut into the business for Sinister.

The other thing that has changed is people. Now, I don't expect anyone under 40 to really understand or agree with me, but it's very true. I see it every day in my line of work.

Allow me to digress for a moment. It must be stated that a lot of the customer base for classic films has disappeared, sadly, due to death and that is, of course, a natural thing.

The people change is the one that to me, has the most impact on classic film viewing and purchasing. Young people today are snowflakes and spoiled rotten. They only want to watch the garbage "blockbusters" that Hollyweird churns out or they cry and whine if they have to pay for anything.

Hence we have a new society that cannot accept anything and have been raised with a very, very narrow view of everything in life. I am not saying everyone should have the same taste, but it's a shame young people want everything for free, hate everything in Black and White and are so spoiled by technology.

I have seen "fanboys" on some horror movie boards whine and bitch about EVERYTHING not being perfect when it comes to some DVD and Blu-ray releases. I mention this because Sinister is not into Blu-ray and some of their prints are taken from the best 16mm film sources around, and I am sure the "fanboys" don't like it because they are not in 4K super duper print and sound quality.

People my age this doesn't bother because we were not brought up with all this technology and liberal mind set. We made do with what we had and made the best of it. The movies I saw were on a small black and white 13 inch TV. If these "fanboys" had to do that today they would need a "safe space" just like when Trump rightly won the election.

Almost everytime there is a new release you see all these complaints about this and that. THIS, in my opinion is what is hurting businesses like Sinister. The younger crowd demands too much and yet don't want to pay for it.

Well I hope Greg can keep Sinister around a bit longer, but if not it has been a great run and I am proud to have been with them each and every one of their 33 years.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

FROM HELL IT CAME 1957 (WARNER ARCHIVE) BLU-RAY

One of my favorite 50s thrillers finally comes to Blu-ray!!!

Many years ago I bought the Warner Archive DVD of this film and enjoyed the hell out of it. Now its on Blu-ray and looking better than ever.

On a small south seas island a man named Kimo (Gregg Palmer) is accused of breaking a tribal taboo and he is put to death. He is then buried in a small coffin and lowered into the ground.

Before his death, Kimo said he'd come back, and sure enough he comes back as a tree monster the natives call Tabonga. The creature then proceeds to kill everyone responsible for his death.

Paul Blaisdell created the creature which surely has to be one of, if not the most bizarre monsters of the 50's. I first saw this little gem on KWGN TV from Denver in the 80's and recorded it on VHS and have loved it ever since.

Tod Andrews, Tina Carver and John McNamara are the three scientists on the island fighting native superstition and monsters. All of them do a very good job, but I really think they should have dubbed Carver's screams.

I know when this was first announced by Warner as coming to Blu-ray all the little snowflake "fanboys" were bitching and moaning. I for one and VERY glad to see this come out, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to any 50's horror fan. In my opinion, these are the kinds of movies Blu-ray was made for!!

ALL HAIL TOBONGA!!!! The only bonus on the disc is the trailer which calls the monster by the WRONG name. They call it Baranga!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Uma Thurman is 47, Michelle Pfeiffer is 59, Eve Plumb is 59, Cheri Caffaro is 72, Zivile Raudoniene is 35, and Akira Takarada is 83.

Friday, April 28, 2017

CULT OF THE DEAD 1968 (VCI)

Released in 1971, the Boris Karloff film is also known as ISLE OF THE SNAKE PEOPLE.

Karloff is Carl Van Molder who lives on an island ruled by Voodoo.

Capt. Pierre Labesch (Rafael Bertrand) is determined to stop the voodoo as the mysterious killing on the island. His young officer Lt. Andrew Wilhelm (Carlos East) tries to tell him that voodoo is very powerful and he should proceed with caution.

The killings continue and even encompass some of Labesch's men until a final confrontation when the cult is attempting a human sacrifice to their voodoo god.

This is probably the least interesting of the final four of Karloff, as it is not put together very well at all. The most entertaining thing about this film in my opinion is the performance by the luscious Yolanda Montes as Kalea.

She is the housekeeper of Van Molder during the day and a hotter than hell voodoo dancer at night. I watch this film for her alone.

I can only recommend this for Karloff completists.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Jessica Alba is 36, Ann Margret is 76, and Kari Wuhrer is 50.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

REMEMBERING MARIO BAVA...

On this day in 1980 we lost the Master of Italian cinema.

There has never really been a film of Bava's that I didn't like, but I think Dr. Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs is his least enjoyable.

Bava brought us some GREAT features including BLACK SUNDAY, BARON BLOOD, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, BLACK SABBATH, CALTIKI THE IMMORTAL MONSTER and many more. His legacy still lives on and I cannot recommend his films enough.

REMEMBERING CASEY KASEM....

Today Casey would have turned 85.

Kasem died three years ago this coming June, and he still might be with us if he hadn't fallen into the hands of a greedy, insane left wing female who made his final years miserable.

Casey was the biggest inspiration in my life growing up listening to the radio. He fostered my love for pop music as much as my mother did.

Today I have literally hundreds of broadcasts of Casey's show American Top 40 and that is all I listen to. With Kasem's death came an end to the golden era of radio.

The legacy of Casey Kasem lives on and will do so for many, many years to come.

GUNS OF THE TIMBERLAND 1960 (TCM VIEWING)

Not too bad of a western.

One of the last films for star Alan Ladd.

Ladd is Jim Hadley, the leader of a group of loggers who are met with hostility in a small mountain community.

Hadley's partner is Monty Walker (Gilbert Roland)and he is far more hot headed than Hadley when it comes to dealing with the townsfolk who fear that cutting down all the trees will cause mudslides when is rain and wash out the town.

Laura Riley (Jeannie Crane) is the leader of the townspeople and ranchers and she and Ladd start to fall for each other. The conflicts continue to escalate until there is a raging fire which climaxes the film.

As I said, this isn't too bad of a film, but it isn't a good one either. Frankie Avalon is making his big screen debut here and his two songs really don't add anything to the film and Ladd's daughter Alana appears as the love interest for the Avalon character, and even that doesn't go very far.

The photography is lush and beautiful and the rest of the cast includes Lyle Bettger, Noah Beery, Jr., Regis Toomey and Johnny Seven. The film was written by Louis L' Amour and based on his story.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Sheena Easton is 58.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

RIP JONATHAN DEMME 1944-2017

The director of Silence Of The Lambs has passed away.

Demme started his career working for Roger Corman and directed Caged Heat and Crazy Mama in the mid 70's for New World Pictures.

His later movies really made his name including the above mentioned Silence of The Lambs and Something Wild. His early work is what I will always remember him for.

He also has a small role in the 1977 masterpiece entitled Incredible Melting Man. He died of cancer at the age of 73.

THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES 1972 (ARROW) BLU-RAY

Another classic Italian giallo comes to Blu-ray.

Great film about two sisters who inherit a castle after their father dies. The women are Kitty (gorgeous Barbara Bouchet) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti).

They learn of a mysterious curse in which a dark haired woman in a red cape will kill seven people. As if this isn't mysterious enough, it gets even more bizarre when the woman actually shows up and starts a string of violent killings.

The back drop of this story is set in the world of high fashion in which Kitty works as a photographer. Kitty has a very dark secret of her own involving the accidental killing of her other sibling years before. Could the crazed woman who is slashing people to death be her long thought dead sister?

Director Emilio Miraglia adds plenty of twists and turns in this finely crafted film that has plenty of beautiful women and vicious murders.

The Blu-ray presentation is excellent and I have never seen the film look or sound so good. Bouchet is sexy as hell and her co-star Malfatti is very easy on the eyes. The other cast members include Sybil Danning and Ugo Paplial.

I am not going to reveal too much here because I believe everyone should see this film and I don't want to spoil anything for those that haven't seen it.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND FILM loaded with extras and interviews with some cast members, trailers and much more. Thanks to Arrow for making this available.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Claudine Auger is 76.

RIP GUSTAVO ROJO 1923-2017

The Uruguay born actor that appeared in over 160 films and TV shows in his 72 years career has died.

Although he acted mostly in Mexican TV shows and movies his face should be very familiar to readers of this blog.

His genre films included "Tarzan and The Mermaids", "Death Ray Of Dr. Mabuse", "No Survivors Please" and his most famouse US movie "Valley Of Gwangi" in which he played Carlos.

He passed away at the age of 93.

RIP KATHLEEN CROWLEY 1929-2017

One of my favorite actresses has passed on.

Kathleen appeared in many TV shows and movies in her 19 year career. When I first saw her in a film I was a teenager and I fell in love with her looks and her wonderfully sexy voice.

She appeared in such TV fare as "Bravo", "Batman", "Family Affair" and many others.

People who read this blog are probably more familiar with some of her genre films including "Target Earth" and one of my favorite all time horror films, "Curse Of The Undead" as well as "Flame Barrier".

Crowley died on Apr. 23rd at the age of 87.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE TORTURE ZONE 1968 (VCI)

Another of the four films Boris Karloff shot scenes for before he died.

This film is also known as The Fear Chamber, and I hadn't seen this film in years. I know many people dislike this film, but I find it to be a pretty good little sci-fi film.

Karloff is Dr. Karl Mantell whose assistants find a living rock under a volcano and bring it back to the lab.

it's discovered that the being lives off of certain human hormones that can only be brought about by fear. Unbeknownst to Mantell his assistants set up a torture chamber and kidnap women to torture and bring about the fear, thus get the hormones.

The evil is finally uncovered and stopped, and yes, there are several gaping plot holes but you really have to put your mind on hold for these types of films.

The rest of the cast includes Julissa, Carlos East, Isela Vega and the unforgettable Yerye Beirute.

This was the final film Karloff appeared in as it was the last he shot scenes for.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Gina Torres is 49, and Talia Shire is 71.

Monday, April 24, 2017

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE 1971 (ARROW) BLU-RAY

This film has been reviewed on here a couple of times, and I bring it back once again as the Blu-ray has finally been released from Arrow.

It is about time this classic Euro horror/giallo gets a decent release.

Anthony Steffen stars as Alan Cunningham, a man recently released from as asylum who is having trouble adjusting to normal life. He picks up a beautiful red headed prostitute, takes her back to his castle and proceeds to torture and kill her in his little play room.

At the same time he is being haunted by the spirit of his dead wife Evelyn, who died in childbirth. This film is a bizarre mixture of Giallo and supernatural horror and has plenty of plot twists and some gaping holes.

Alan manages to pick up a sultry dancer named Susie (Erika Blanc) who he also apparently kills after whipping her and then chasing her as she attempts to escape the castle.

In a double twist ending we find that Alan may not be involved in any of this activity talked about above, but it may have been a set up by evil friends who want Alan's money.

I won't give away anything just in case you haven't seen this wonderful little film. Director Emilio Miraglia does an excellent job at bringing tension to almost every scene, and the actors are a good mixture of familiar faces we have all seen before. The cast includes Giacomo Rossi Stuart as Alan's one real friend and family doctor, Marina Malfatti as Gladys, the new wife of Alan and Enzo Tarascio as George a man with many secrets.

The Blu-ray presentation on this film is nothing short of stunning. Finally presented in the proper aspect ratio with a very color saturated picture and great sound.

The disc is also loaded with extras including a new interview with Erika Blanc, new interview with critic Stephen Thrower, an archival interview with Erica Blanc, the US and Italian trailer, and an interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi.

This is a Euro horror fans dream!! One of the best releases of the year so far!!! With all the garbage I read about these new movies coming out and earning billions of dollars, all I can say is you can keep all of this modern trash you call movies and I will stick to gems like this. They knew how to make movies back in the day and with hardly any money.

And how can one go wrong with ANY film starring Erika Blanc? My God, her dance scene in this film is enough to excite any normal male viewer, and her scenes in Steffans torture chamber are worth much more than anything being made today.

A highly recommended film!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Stacy Haiduk is 49.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

RIP ERIN MORAN 1960-2017

The actress who became famous from "Happy Days" has passed away.

Erin Moran will always be remembered as Joanie from the sitcom Happy Days. It ran for 10 years and her character grew from a small role into a major character.

After the show went off the air she starred in a short lived series called "Joanie Loves Chachi" which only ran for 17 episodes.

Acting roles were scarce but she did star in the 1981 sci-fi gem "Galaxy Of Terror". She was 56 when she died and as of this writing the cause has not been released.

DANCE OF DEATH 1968 (VCI)

One of four films Boris Karloff shot scenes for before he passed away. This is also known as HOUSE OF EVIL.

This was the first one that was released and it wasn't until 1978 that this film got some exposure. It seems that several relatives of a man who recently died have gathered at his castle for the reading of his will.

There they find a collection of toys that have been imbued with life and kill the relatives one by one.

This film is not as bad as some people think and I do enjoy watching it once in a while. Jack Hill directed the Karloff segments and Juan Ibanez handled the Mexican film version.

Karloff's character is called Matthais Morteval which sounds evil unto itself. The rest of the cast includes Julissa, Andres Garcia and Beatriz Baz.

Worth checking out if you're a Karloff fan and just a fan of off the wall films.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Lee Majors is 78, and Valerie Bertinelli is 57.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ALIEN TERROR 1969 (VCI)

One of the last film Boris Karloff did in Mexico before he passed away. Known also as SINISTER INVASION.

Bizarre film about an alien visiting the Earth in the late 1800's because he has been attracted by a ray shot into space by Prof. Mayer (Karloff).

The alien wanders around while an alien intelligence takes over the mind of a sex killer named Thomas who then proceeds to infiltrate the Mayer home.

The film is not well put together, but the Karloff inserts are the highlight, of course. Thomas is played by Yerye Beirute, a name not remembered but a face well known in all of these Mexican/Karloff efforts.

The main alien just walks around a lot while voice over "thoughts" are transmitted so we can hear what is going on. This is recommended for Karloff fans as well as Mexican horror film lovers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Jack Nicholson is 80, Glen Campbell is 81, and John Waters is 71.

Friday, April 21, 2017

RAMBLINGS....

I put a poll on my blog today and will be curious to see how it goes.

It just asks if you put a lot of thought into watching movies. Why do I ask this?

Because I have friends and people I don't even know asking hundreds of questions about simple little movies. In other words, if they watch ATTACK OF THE 50' WOMAN they always ask questions about things that aren't explained.

It takes all the fun out of these kinds of movies if you over think them. Agree or disagree. That is why I put the poll up, just to see where people stand on this.

If interested it's there until 5/15/17. Thanks.

RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11 1955 (CRITERION)

Finely made film noir/crime drama.

The title is very explanatory as to what happens in the film.

The convicts is a prison are tired of mistreatment and go on a violent rampage while taking several guards prisoner.

The film was the creation of producer Walter Wager after he got out of prison for shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his wife.

It's a gripping film that starts right off and never lets up for a moment. The leaders of the uprising are James Dunn (Neville Brand) and "Crazy" Mike Carnie (Leo Gordon).

It's a very brutal look at prison life and all of the performers are top notch. Criterion has turned out an excellent print of the film that is well worth seeking out.

The cast includes Frank Faylen as the police commissioner, Paul Frees, Whit Bissell, Alvy Moore, Dabbs Greer, William Schallert, and Robert Osterloh.

A great, hard hitting drama that every film fan should see.

Wager got Don Siegel to direct and that was, of course and excellent choice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Dee Hartford is 89, and Ed Leslie is 60.

RIP YVONNE MONLAUR 1939-2017

The very beautiful French actress has passed away.

Monlaur died on April 18th at the age of 77. Her career was not a long one, but she will forever live in the minds of people who read this blog as one of the loveliest women to appear in a Hammer Film.

Her most famous role was that of Marianne in the 1960 Hammer film "Brides Of Dracula". Her other films of note to followers of this blog are "Terror of The Tongs", and "Circus of Horrors".

Yvonne was a very kind woman who loved her fans and always had kind words with them when she appeared at conventions. She will be missed, but her small circle of films will be with us for a very, very long time.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

MASK OF DIMITRIOS 1944 (DVD-R)

Excellent film noir.

Peter Lorre stars as a mystery writer named Cornelius Leyden who becomes interested in a noted criminal when his body is washed ashore in the Bosphorus.

Leyden questions many people about the noted criminal called Dimitrios Makropoulos and starts putting his life story together. It seems Dimitrios was a schemer, liar, traitor and a murderer.

During the course of the investigation, Leyden comes to know a Mr. Peters (Sidney Greenstreet) who has a very intense hoping that Dimitrios is still alive.

After several flashbacks reveal what a total ass he really was, it is discovered that Dimitrios is still alive. When I was a child my mother recommended this movie to me and it took a few years for me to finally find it, and what a joy to behold.

This is a finely crafted film that keeps you guessing at the many plot twists as well as shocked at all the dastardly deeds Dimitrios does during the course of the film. The very underrated Zachary Scott turns in one of the performances of his career as the creepy title character.

A highly recommended film noir.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Carmen Electra is 45, Judith O' Dea is 72, and Gary Raymond is 82.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

KILMA, QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS 1975 (DVD-R)

Bizarre and obscure little gem.

This is a ZIV production and I have never seen it anywhere but on the bootleg DVD I have which was made from a VHS tape long ago.

A sailor played by Frank Brana escapes from a mutiny on a ship and finds himself washed ashore on an island.

He finds a cave full of old weapons and a few skeletons but before you know it he is attacked by a strange tribe that lands on the island.

Much to the sailor's surprise the invading tribe is met by a tribe that lives on the island. Amazon women led by the very beautiful Kilma (Blanca Estrada).

The sailor, Dan Robinson ends up saving Kilma's life and the two slowly fall in love. Dan then warns them that the ship he escaped from may be coming to the island and that the women all have to be ready...and sure enough the pirates do show up.

In between the quiet times and the pirates showing up we learn that an alien race had entrusted the Amazons to keep safe a strange globe filled with light that will help the aliens return someday.

It's all very bizarre, but the women are all gorgeous and wear little clothing, which is the way it should be. If you can find this little gem, put your mind on stop and enjoy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Tim Curry is 71.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS 1972 (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY

One of my all time favorite films from the 70's and thanks to Shout, has finally made it to Blu-ray.

Gorgeous Anitra Ford stars in this wonderful little film about mysterious deaths in a small California town called Peckham.

It seems men are dropping like flies from sexual exhaustion and the local authorities are baffled. The local police are led by Capt. Peters (Cliff Osmond) who receives some help from the Government because some of the deaths involve men working at a super secret plant outside of town.

Agent Neil Agar (William Smith) is sent in and it is soon discovered that some of the women at the facility, due to experimentation have turned into bees. Anitra Ford is Dr. Susan Harris who is actually the leader of the Bee Girls.

Sexy Victoria Vetri is Julie Zorn, and she becomes Agar's best friend and helper in the investigation.

This film is fun from start to finish and offers the viewer everything they could want. There is action, nudity, hilarious dialogue and some very interesting special effects.

The Blu-ray presentation is gorgeous and it is the most complete print ever made available. EVERYONE should have this film in their collection. One of the top releases of the year.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Eric Roberts is 61, Hayley Mills is 71, and Melody Thomas Scott is 61.

Monday, April 17, 2017

CREEPING FLESH 1973 (MILL CREEK) BLU-RAY

Another great Hammer Horror.

It's been a while since I saw this film, and it's coming to Blu-ray is a very welcome happening.

Peter Cushing stars as a scientist who returns from an expedition in New Guinea with a huge skeleton and he believes it may be the scientific find of the century.

During his research he discovers that if the bones get wet they grow new flesh. He also discovers from the blood of the new flesh there may be a cure for insanity which he fears his daughter might inherit from his wife, who died in an asylum.

His evil half brother James (Christopher Lee), who runs the asylum is plotting on stealing the fame that Emmanuel (Cushing) might receive. Emmanuel injects his daughter with the blood from the creature and all it does is speed the insanity up and soon she is running around and killing people.

James learns of this and attempts to have the skeleton stolen during a rain storm and before you know it, a huge monster is roaming the land. It is the essence of all evil and there is no stopping it.

The creature, once seen is not forgotten, and the twist ending is also very cool. It's always good to see Lee and Cushing together and this is one of their very best films.

The Blu-ray is beautiful looking and Mill Creek should be commended for bringing this to the format. If you haven't seen this movie, you should, and if you've seen it, watch it again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Olivia Hussey is 66, and Michael Forest is 88.