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Saturday, December 7, 2019

TOP 45 RELEASES OF 2019 PART 1

This year has been a little different for me. Besides a lot of personal issues I have had some health problems and my living situation has changed so I haven't been able to watch a lot of the movies I wanted to.

However, I have compiled my list of 45 top releases on Blu-ray and DVD for this year past. There were thousands of releases this year and it was very hard to keep up. Companies like Shout Factory really had a high number of genre releases and leads the pack by far with the most entries in my survey this year.

You may be surprised by some of my choices again this year, but I hope you find it interesting over the next five weeks. This weeks will be the shortest with only five listing.

45. FORT YUMA GOLD.DAMNED HOT DAY OF FIRE 1966/1968 (Mill Creek) This Blu-ray double feature of Spaghetti westerns was a very entertaining release and a must for western fans.

44. THE BUSHWACKER/THE RAVAGER 1968/1970 (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray... Very odd released of two obscure films. This was a fun release and a surprise to boot. If you're looking for something very off the wall this was the release for you. Lots of bondage, bad gore effects and so much more. They don't make them like this anymore....sadly.

43. OUTLAWS AND CON MEN (Mill Creek) DVD...Another good group of westerns from Mill Creek. This set consists of Django Shoots First, Django's Cut Price Corpses, Bad Man's River and the weakest entry is Sting Of The West with Jack Palance. However, it's a good collection and should be appreciated by fans.

42. BYLETH: THE DEMON OF INCEST 1972 (Severin) Blu-ray... Mark Damon stars in this twisted piece of Euro horror. If I recall this made my list last year from Sinister Cinema as well. Good little film.

41. THE WITCHES 1966 (Kino) Blu-ray... Hammer horror starring Joan Fontaine as a woman haunted by an African voodoo tribe. Well made and gripping horror that was a very welcome release in 2019.

Ok, that's it for this week. Next Saturday there will be the usual 10 entries and it will continue thru the first Saturday of 2020.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Tammy Sytch is 47.

Friday, December 6, 2019

RIP LEONARD GOLDBERG 1934-2019

One of the most creative producers in Television history has died.

Goldberg produced hundreds of TV movies in the 70's including "Satan's School For Girls", "A Cold Night's Death", "Cry Panic" and "Hit Lady".

Among the many TV shows he produced were such classics as "Starsky And Hutch", "The Rookies", "S.W.A.T", "Charlie's Angels", "Fantasy Island", "The Love Boat" and many more.

I grew up watching almost all of the TV shows and movies he produced and I;ll tell you...they don't have people like this in the TV industry anymore.

Goldberg dies on Dec. 4, 2019 at the age of 85.

RIP ROBERT WALKER, JR. 1940-2019

Actor and son of the late Robert Walker has died.

Walker Jr. started his career in 1957 in TV on the show "First Performance" and then later appeared in many, many shows including :The Monroes", "Route 66", "The Big Valley" as well as "Star Trek" in the memorable episode entitled "Charlie X".

He also appeared in "The Time Tunnel" as Billy The Kid and Quinn Martin's "The Invaders". His movie credits include such films as "The Spectre Of Edgar Allen Poe", "Hex" and my favorite role of his was in the 1972 horror film "Beware The Blob".

He passed away on Dec. 5th, 2019 at the age of 79.

SUBMARINE SEAHAWK 1958 (SHOUT TV)

Another very good AIP film I had never seen until now.

This is an interesting WW2 film about a by-the-book officer who gets his first command on the Submarine Seahawk doing reconnaissance.

Nobody seems to have much faith in Lt. Cmdr. Paul Turner (John Bentley), but he proves to everyone he knows exactly what he;s doing. A young officer on his first submarine mission, Lt. David Shore (Brett Halsey), clashes with Turner over just about everything.

The mission goes smoothly as the Seahawk discovers where the Japanese are hiding their fleet of ships in a planned attack in the Pacific.

As you can tell this is a very simple story, but it is told well even though there are a few huge plot holes, but I got so wrapped up in the story I really didn't notice. Spencer G. Bennett handled the directing chores very well as he always did on films like these.

The use of stock footage is kept to a minimum and the movie moves along very well. The rest of the cast includes Wayne Heffley, Paul Maxwell, Nicky Blair, Frank Gerstle, Jan Brooks, Mable Rea and Marilyn Hanold in a very small but memorable role as Nancy.

It was great to finally see this obscure gem and if you get the chance and like this particular genre of movies, then check it out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Christina Lindberg is 69, and Steven Terrell is 90.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

YESTERDAY 2019 (UNIVERSAL)

Strange film, but an entertaining one.

Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, a young musician who is struggling to make something for himself. His friend.manager Ellie (Lily James) has faith in him, but Jack just cannot seem to catch a break.

One night the entire world suffer a momentary blackout and Jack is hit by a bus on his way home. He survives and when he awakes in the hospital he's a little worse for wear, but alive. He is soon dismissed from the hospital and gets together with a few friends.

To his surprise he discovers that nobody has ever heard of The Beatles! This sets up one of the greatest ideas I have seen in a movie for a while. Jack knows most of the Beatles songs by heart and before you know it he becomes a music sensation.

In this "alternate" world there is also no such thing as cigarettes or Coke or Harry Potter. Jack sometimes finds it hard adapting to his new world but fame and fortune are his, however he finds he is not happy.

He takes a trip to visit an elderly man named John Lennon, and that meeting gives Jack a new direction in life.

I don't know anyone in this film, but they do a great job and Danny Boyle directs it very well. I love the scene where Jack meets the only two other people in the world who've heard of John, Paul, George or Ringo.

I can't recommend this enough if you like 60's pop music and movies with a totally different take on things. RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Morgan Brittany is 68.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

RIP JAVIER AGUIRRE 1935-2019

The well known Spanish director has died.

Aguirre became most famous in America during the early 70's with two horror hit starring Paul Naschy.

He helmed "The Hunchback Of The Morgue" and the all time classic "Dracula's Great Love". These two films are his best known in the United States. He passed away on Dec. 4th at the age of 84.

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN SEASON 2 1953-1954 (WARNERS)

This is the 2nd season of the the classic show starring George Reeves as the man of steel.

The show was still in glorious black and white but several things had changed. First the actress playing Lois Lane changed from Phyllis Coates to Noel Neill and secondly the stories became a little lighter in tone, but still had a very adult cutting edge.

So, here without further ado is the second season rundown of episodes.

FIVE MINUTES TO DOOM 9/18/53...Dabbs Greer stars as a convicted killer named Winters who desperately tries to get Clark and Lois to believe that he is innocent before he is executed. A tense and very well made episode.

THE BIG SQUEEZE 9/25/53... Dan Grayson (Hugh Beaumont) is given the Citizen of the Year award by The Daily Planet. Grayson is pleased until an old friend from his past shows up and threatens to reveal his secret past.

THE MAN WHO COULD READ MINDS 10/3/53... Lois and Jimmy try to catch a phony swami who is setting up a string of burglaries thru his nightclub act and soon Superman must save both reporters from certain death.

JET ACE 10/10/53... Perry White's nephew Chris who is a test pilot. Chris is kidnapped by gangsters who want information on a certain jet Chris is testing.

SHOT IN THE DARK 10/17/53...A young shutter bug takes a picture of Clarke changing into Superman and Clark has to figure out how to keep his identity a secret. Billy Gray stars.

THE DEFEAT OF SUPERMAN 10/24/53...A criminal named Happy King returns to Metropolis to rid himself of Superman. He has a German scientist help him and he had acquired a small piece of Kryptonite. A very well made episode.

SUPERMAN IN EXILE 10/31/53...Superman saves Metropolis from a nuclear disaster, but in doing so he is contaminated with cosmic rays and must stay away from everyone or else they will die.

A GHOST FOR SCOTLAND YARD 11/7/53...A long dead magician's ghost seems to be haunting a mansion and certain people in Scotland. Jimmy, Lois and Clark investigate.

THE DOG WHO KNEW SUPERMAN 11/14/53...Superman rescues a dog named Corky from a deep well and his identity is threatened by the all too friendly dog. Believe it or not this is a rather bittersweet episode and very well done.

THE FACE AND THE VOICE 11/21/53... A criminal named Boulder has plastic surgery to look just like Superman in order to pull off robberies. George Reeves plays the dual role.

MAN IN THE LEAD MASK 11/28/53...A criminal mastermind convinces other criminals in Metropolis that for 50.000 dollars they can have new face and new fingerprints thanks to a very talented surgeon.

PANIC IN THE SKY 12/5/53...After colliding head on with an approaching asteroid, Superman loses him memory. Will he recover in time to save the Earth?

THE MACHINE THAT COULD PLOT CRIMES 12/12/53... Sterling Holloway stars as a scientist who has invented a machine he calls Mr. Kelso. This machine can plot crimes down to the very second and Superman must stop criminals who plan to use it for evil purposes.

JUNGLE DEVIL 12/19/53...Clark and Jimmy head into a dangerous jungle to find a missing expedition. The trouble really begins when they discover the expedition has been captured by hostile natives.

MY FRIEND SUPERMAN 12/26/53... Tito Vuolo stars as Tony, a man who runs a small diner who claims that Superman is his close friend. A couple of low life crooks on the take try to prove that this is true.

THE CLOWN WHO CRIED 1/2/54...A circus clown who is going to raise money on a children's telethon in Metropolis is knocked out and replaced by another clown who plans on stealing the incoming cash.

THE BOY WHO HATED SUPERMAN 1/9/54...A young man seeks revenge on Superman after his uncle is arrested and put in jail.

SEMI PRIVATE EYE 1/16/54...Lois Lane and a private eye named Garrity (Elisha Cook, Jr.) are kidnapped and Jimmy Olsen plays private eye and tries to find them and crack the case.

PERRY WHITE'S SCOOP 1/23/54...Perry White (John Hamilton) decides to tackle a newspaper story himself and show his reporters how it's done. He finds himself way over his head after he uncovers a murder racket.

BEWARE THE WRECKER 1/30/54... An insane criminal known as The Wrecker terrorizes Metropolis with a series of explosions and mass destruction. Superman races to stop the mysterious killer.

THE GOLDEN VULTURE 2/6/54...Jimmy finds a message in a bottle and the hunt is soon on for stolen treasure and a pirate ship secretly docked in a Metropolis harbor.

JIMMY OLSEN, BOY EDITOR 2/13/54...Jimmy becomes the editor of The Daily Planet for one day and soon finds himself over his head in dealing with a gangster who has no love the the paper or it's employees.

THE LADY IN BLACK 2/20/54...Jimmy is staying at the house of a friend and bizarre things begin to happen such as painting on the wall change, strange sounds are heard and a mysterious woman in black hands Jimmy a sack full of 1000 dollar bills. A Very interesting episode.

STAR OF FATE 2/27/54...A mysterious box from Egypt causes a fight between two men who both want it. The box contains a rare jewel, however when it is opened the person who opened it is cursed with almost instant death.

THE WHISTLING BIRD 3/6/54...Sterling Holloway stars as a scientist named Uncle Oscar who has developed a formula for a high explosive, and a group of gangsters want it.

AROUND THE WORLD WITH SUPERMAN 3/13/54...A blind girl enters and wins a contest help by The Daily Planet. She does not believe in Superman and Lois, Clark and Jimmy discover so much more about her and her mother's troubles. This is, believe it or not, one of the best episodes made and one of my personal favorites.

So ended the second season of the show. In season 3 it would return in color and with only 13 episodes, and that is how it would remain for the next four years.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Jeff Bridges is 70, Tony Todd is 65, Tyra Banks is 46, Max Baer, Jr. is 82, Jimmy Hunt is 80, and Brooke Adams is 35.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

COMING ATTRACTIONS...

Severin has several new releases that were out for their black Friday sale only.

They released a Blu-ray of the obscure horror film entitled "Revenge Of The Living Dead Girls" which I saw many years ago and thought was kind of interesting. I cannot even remember where I got the DVD from anymore.

The main title of interest was BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW which has never had a US release at all. There was a lot of complaining in fan based social media about the cost and everything else, as usual, but it is available for purchase, or at least it was.

BOSC comes out too late to make my list of top discs this year, but it is in the running for my final tabulation in 2020. These two titles were for sale from Nov. 29th thru Dec. 2nd and in case you missed them I firmly believe that they will re-release these two titles soon as regular catalog titles.

I for one am very happy to see BOSC finally coming to Blu-ray.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Holly Marie Combs is 46, and Melody Anderson is 64.

Monday, December 2, 2019

HELL SQUAD 1958 (SHOUT TV)

Burt Topper directed this interesting WW2 film.

American International Pictures distributed this obscure drama about five US soldiers stranded behind enemy lines in the deserts of Tunisia.

They have no radio communication and are hopelessly lost. A lone plane flaying over the area opens fire and kills one of the men early on,but the others can take no time to bury their fallen comrade.

Wally Campo stars as Pvt. Russo, one of the lost men and one who always is trying to find a match to light his cigar with. Slowly, one by one the men are killed by German soldiers disguised as Americans and by a hidden machine gun pit in the middle of a mine field.

The final confrontation between Russo and Lt. Mas Schlechter (Brandon Carroll) is a very well filmed and acted scene. I liked this film a lot, and hope that more people get a chance to see it.

AIP picked this up for distribution and it's sad that this is so rarely seen. The relatively unknown cast makes the drama even that much more real as almost everyone can identify with the protagonists.

I'm glad I finally got the chance to see this film after reading about it for many years. The film runs only 64 minutes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Lucy Liu is 51, Cathy Lee Crosby is 75, and Arch Hall, Jr. is 76.