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Thursday, November 29, 2018
One of the funniest and nicest people I ever met is Julie Strain. One of the sexiest women ever as well.
We both have one thing in common, we have both had severe head trauma in our younger years. Sadly Julie's is coming back to haunt her and she is entering the last stages of dementia.
I am keeping tabs on her health but I do know she has entered Hospice care and will not leave it. Very sad news indeed.
The worst part is, is that nothing can be done and I have watched friends and family die and it gives you a helpless feeling. She is only 56 which is way too young for this. She is my age, and seeing this happen to her is heart breaking.
No street date yet, but in early 2019 Scorpion is bringing the excellent Fred Olen Ray film "Deep Space" to Blu-ray.
Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, Charles Robinson, Julie Newmar and James Booth star in this delightful little film about some nasty alien beings.
Very grim and brooding story filmed in Kanab, Utah by Howard Koch.
A maniac killer is on the loose in a posh resort and a visiting lawyer named David Hewson (Lex Barker) attempts to help a local Sheriff, Jess Holmes (John Dehner) find the killer.
Hewson is having an off again/on again relationship with a young woman named Beth Dixon (Anne Bancroft) whom he tries to protect from an unseen killer. The killer strikes a few more times and the Sheriff gathers more clues as he closes in.
There is a great twist climax to this very well made noir. Ron Randell steals the show as a bitter, woman hating quadriplegic named Edmund Parry who is cared for by his sister Julia (Marie Windsor). In almost every scene you can almost see the hate coming out of Edmund. Randell to me anyway was a very under rated actor.
The rest of the cast includes the always gorgeous and sexy Mamie Van Doren, Richard Cutting, Diana Van Der Vlis and Stuart Whitman who plays a key role in the twisted conclusion..
This is part of the "Mamie Van Doren Film Noir Collection" turned out by Kino and the entire 3 film set is a winner. The disc set also has trailers for all of the films and a wonderful interview with Mamie about these films and the rest of her wonderful career.
If you like film noir, you'll enjoy this little shocker.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Director Fredrick Hobbs was one of the most creative and original people ever to grace the film business. I have met and know a lot of people in the film industry and in the wrestling business, but never have I met anyone with such bizarre ideas as Hobbs. I had never met Hobbs, but would have loved to.
This early 70's cult film is a totally original film that is very hard to describe. Christopher Brooks stars as a janitor who works in a bar who drives a forklift thru a wall and discovers a magicians magic crate.
He suddenly becomes "Alabama: King Of The Cosmos" and takes his magic show on the road and becomes an international star. As he tours the USA he discovers that the magic may be too much for him and he starts to lose control of it.
About half way thru the film we are introduced to a plot by a cult of vampires to take over the world during the biggest show Alabama has ever put on. It's a world wide broadcast and somehow this will help the vampires. Alabama's mother and a voodoo priest friend accompany him to the big event as does his girlfriend.
Suddenly vampires on motorcycles attack the crowd and a robot replica of Alabama created by the voodoo priest zaps them back to where they came from.
During the course of the film we are introduced to a female Nazi scientist, a voodoo cult, vampires, hippies and even an elephant who plays a key part in the end of the film. Oh my.
This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I recommend it for those who like intelligent (yes you read that right) viewing. Not your usual film by any means. The rest of the cast includes E. Kerrigan Prescott and Steven Kent Browne both of whom starred along with Brooks in "Godmonster Of Indian Flats" another bizarre Hobbs film.
I happened to watch this the same night I watched Kilink in Istanbul and I don't know if my brain if fully recovered yet. Seriously, check it out if you so desire. The quality is beautiful.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
This is what I consider to be the cornerstone of all Turkish cinema. Released on Christmas Day in 1967 this has long been sought by me and finally I have had the chance to view it.
Kilink arrives in Istanbul in a coffin and wrapped like a mummy. His henchmen unwrap him and he goes to work on trying to get his hands on a destructive formula he once collaborated on with another scientist. Kilink kills the scientist but still does not have the formula.
The now dead scientists son, Orhan (Irfan Atasoy) mourns at his fathers grave when suddenly a magical spirit appears and gives him the power to change into a superhero named...well...Superhero. Time after time the bad guys attempt to kidnap the daughters of the scientist but always get defeated by Superhero.
Finally Kilink gets his hands on the women and tortures them on a stretching rack and with whips, but never seems to get the formula. Kilink himself proves to be something of an immortal as he cannot be shot or killed, but he does meet an equal match in Superhero. All Orhan has to do to turn into Superhero is utter the word Shazam. Sound familiar?
There is more action, adventure and gunplay in the brief 70 minute running time than you find in ANY US film of the same nature. This is obviously a rip off the the 40's serials and it is played out the same way. This is much more fun than anything Hollyweird has produced over the last two decades, especially with all their superhero crap.
Kilink is a very odd looking bad guy who wears a skeleton costume and is extremely ruthless. The movie ends with Kilink escaping with the oldest daughter of the professor so he can obviously torture her more and get the secret of the formula. This film set up the long running Kilink series. As usual there are plenty of beautiful women gracing the screen which is always a big plus.
I hope some day to get the other two films. The print quality is not very good as this film has NEVER been taken care of, but it is great to see this wonderful slice of Turkish pop culture. Subtitled in English. I cannot see why any film fan would not want to see this bizarre outing. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Monday, November 26, 2018
Vinegar Syndrome has released two 80's gems on Blu-ray and they are available now.
First off is the 1980 gem entitled "The Children" in which a bus load of kids are exposed to a radioactive mist and become people burning zombies.
The other is "Mausoleum" from 1983 starring the gorgeous Bobbie Bresee as a young woman possessed by a demon. This is one of my favorite films of all time and it's already sold out!!
It's always good to see films like this sell out quickly, but no worries. More are being pressed. These arrived too late to be included in my Top 70 for the year, but they will be in the 2019 survey for sure.
Two highly recommended releases.
The picture quality is slightly better than on the MGM release, but this film is just a great as ever. I am pleased that Kino has gone ahead and released several of these little gems from United Artists and I hope they continue to do so. Here is my review of this film from July of this year with a few revisions.
MAMIE VAN DOREN!!
I have never seen an Imperial Picture directed by Edward L. Cahn that I disliked. This is another winner.
Richard Coogan is Det. Whitey Brandon who is intent on smashing a top crime syndicate headed by Vince Malone (Brad Dexter). Bradon causes Malone so much trouble that he has his mob send in a beautiful call girl named Carol Hudson (Mamie Van Doren) to set him up and destroy him.
The plan works perfectly and Bradon is taken off of the force and disgraced. However, Brandon isn't going to lay still for this and he sets out to wipe Malone off the map. Carol has her mind changed when her teenage sister comes to visit and is sexually assaulted by one of Malone's men named Phil Evans (Barry Atwater).
Soon after Carol and Whitey work together with the police to bring about the syndicate downfall. In my opinion Cahn never made a bad film and this is a totally enjoyable little crime drama with many familiar faces.
Mamie flaunts every inch of her beautiful body for the viewer, at least as much as was allowable in 1959. She is perfect for the role and does her usually excellent job.
The film is fast moving and I wish it was better known today, but it is available from MGM so I would recommend picking it up. The rest of the wonderful cast includes Carol Nugent, Frank Gerstle, Nestor Paiva, Russ Bender and narrated by John Dehner, who did the narration for many, many Cahn films, and it's always nice to hear him move the story along.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
As a camera operator Roeg worked on many genre films including "Dr. Blood's Coffin", "Room 43". and "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure". He came to most movie companies attention after his second unit work on films such as "The Masque Of The Red Death" in 1964 for Roger Corman.
Roeg directed many films including "Performance" which is a disturbing film starring Mick Jagger, "The Man Who Fell To Earth" and "Don't Look Now".
His career spanned over 60 years and he will always be remembered for some of the most unusual films ever made. He died Nov. 23rd in London.
Guy Madison is Mike Harway, a reporter investigating the killing of one scientist and the kidnapping of another.
He agrees to help the beautiful daughter of the missing scientist. Christine is played by Luisa Baratto whom you probably remember from "Bloody Pit Of Horror".
The trail takes them to Africa where a madman in a bizarre silver mask named Devilman is conducting experiments on brain transplants and mind control. Mike and Christine falls captive to the madman and they also discover her missing father is being controlled by Devilman and is used for the experimental surgery.
The rest of the cast includes the ubiquitous Luciano Pigozzi and Valentino Macchi. The print is a beautiful widescreen presentation with beautiful color.
This is a rather obscure film and just the kind I always seek out. Madison makes a great hero and Baratto is gorgeous as usual. I don't have too much information about this lovely woman except that she made 11 movies between 1965 and 1969 and then disappeared from film, which was our loss.
If you're an action fan I can recommend this. It will keep your attention.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
There were so many great titles turned out by various companies that I had trouble making a list this year. I am counting down the 70 best DVD/Blu-ray releases for the year. I have never had so many. Please keep in mind that this is my opinion only, and I welcome comments on what some of your favorite releases were.
Over the next 7 Saturdays I will be bringing you 10 titles at a time as we get to what I consider the number one release of the year. Sinister Cinema leads the pack with 20 entries, but close behind is Shout Factory and Kino. There are many little companies including Code Red, Retromedia, Smores and many more. I hope you enjoy it.
70. BATTLE OF THE WORLDS 1960 (SINISTER CINEMA)...Finally this film can be seen uncut, widescreen and beautiful color in the original Italian version. Claude Rains stars as a scientist fighting an alien invasion.
69. TERROR AT BLACK FALLS/NAKED HILLS 1962/1956 (ALPHA)...These two obscure westerns from Alpha proved to be a pleasant surprise. The first is about a revenge killing and the second stars David Wayne as a gold hungry miner.
68. PROJECTED MAN 1966 (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY...A neglected British horror film got a wonderful Blu-ray treatment and is a joy to behold. The only trouble is they used the US cut of the film while the Sinister Cinema print is the British print and about 5 minutes longer. But, it was good to see this is a beautiful restored print.
67. DURANGO KID COLLECTION 1945-1952 (MILL CREEK)...10 classic B westerns featuring Charles Starrett as the title character. A great collection and top quality prints. No lover of westerns should be without it.
66. THE WORLD WILL TREMBLE 1939 (SINISTER CINEMA)...Great obscure film about a young scientist who invents a machine that can predict when you will die. This causes world panic.
65. THE TERRIBLE SNOW GIANT 1962 (CREEPY CLASSICS) In Spanish with no subtitles. This is an ultra rare sequel to another ultra rare Mexican film about a monstrous yeti living in a cave. This cannot hold a candle to the original, but it's a rare gem that must be seen.
64. FANTOMAS VS. THE IRON CLAW 1969 (SINISTER CINEMA)...This Turkish crime/adventure film is about two masked men fighting each other. The Iron Claw is for justice and Fantomas is a master criminal. This film takes pages straight from a republic serial of the 40's. Great fun. English subtitles are included.
63. PERSEUS THE INVINCIBLE 1963 (SINISTER CINEMA)...Again, Greg Luce and his company brings us a film that has been on many PD labels. This time however, it's a beautiful widescreen, subtitles print about a hero fighting a Medusa, Stone Men and a sea monster.
62. ROCK ROCK ROCK 1956 (SINISTER CINEMA)...Tuesday Weld stars in this rock n' roll film also starring Chuck Berry and Alan Freed. If you don't like this, you must be dead.
61. ONE EYED SOLDIERS 1967 (ALPHA)...The stunningly beautiful Luciana Paluzzi and Dale Robertson star in this wild tale about a mysterious key and a secret formula. Very weird, but a hell of a lot of fun.
Well that wraps up the first of the 70 best releases for 2018. More to come next Saturday.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Today in 1887 the one and only Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt) was born.
One of the greatest actors to grace the screen both big and small. I have only seen one Karloff film I didn't like, but the man was a huge inspiration for me as a child.
His portrayal of the Frankenstein monster made it a household word. A one of a kind man whose contributions to cinema are still making ripples to this day.
James Hong stars as Elson Po, a very rich man who is in charge of a winery and who has a cover as a film maker to lure young people to his beautiful island retreat.
Why does he want to do this? Because he has a formula that grants him eternal life, but needs the blood of young people for it to work properly. At least that is what I assumed watching this film.
Once our group arrives on the island PO takes an immediate liking to a young woman named Jezebel Fairchild (Karen Lorre) whom he wants to make his new wife. What happened to the old one you ask? Well she was messing around with one of Po's security men and he was killed and she was chained in his dungeon, where he now keeps her to drain her blood.
This is a pretty bizarre film and it seems to just go all over the place. It is never explained as to why PO has the ability to stay young with blood and an amulet that he wears. There are also zombies that roam the island and many other things as well.
The movie had 2 directors, one was Hong himself and the other is William Rice. That is always a sign of a troubled production. Hong also wrote the story and screenplay along with three others, another bad sign.
I can't help but like this film and I have since the very first time I saw it years ago. I fully understand the problems of low budget film making and I think this film had more than it's share of trouble. However, Hong has a long line of credits to his name and I am sure he did the best he could with whatever trouble arose.
If you like weird assed horror, zombies and chicks in chains then this should appeal to you. If you've never seen the film, give it a try, you might be surprised. I do love that wild closing shot!!
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Not since the VHS days and a company called Video Yesteryear out of Sandy Hook, CT did this movie flash on my tv screen.
Odile Versois is Marie, a young woman who is set up for a phony robbery charge in France and brought to England under false pretenses by a very shady man named Nick Biaggi (Herbert Lom) in order to become a prostitute.
Eddie Constantine is a cabbie who agrees to marry Marie in a sham wedding so he can get money from Nick and this will also help Marie get a passport she everything is legal with her in England. Constantine's character of Johnny McVey falls in love with Marie and this does not sit well with Nick.
Tings get very rough as Johnny is beat up by Nick's thugs and then it becomes all out war between Nick's crime ring and the cabbies of London. Lom's character is totally over the top, and one of the best performances of his career.
However the standout of the entire movie is gorgeous Diana Dors as a prostitute who works for Nick that finally gets her revenge on him for disfiguring her sister with acid. Dors looks fantastic in extremely tight dresses and much less. She was at her peak during this time and was always someone I enjoyed watching in films.
Action, sleaze, suspense and Diana Dors.....what the hell more could one want. The title refers to a certain room in which Lom takes uncooperative women. The print from Sinister is very good and I can recommend this for ant crime film fan.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
This filmed in Vale, Colorado thriller stars Britt Ekland as a sexy young wife named Michelle Partay who is married to a very wealthy man named Roland.
Roland (Eric Braeden) is a ruthless businessman who takes over every business he can buy and destroys many lives in the process. This is best explained in a tense board room scene in which Roland gives a rival, whom he is destroying, a chance to opt out by playing Russian Roulette!
But believe me that isn't the half of it. A young man, Tom Moore (Michael Blodgett) goes to great lengths to meets Michelle and she warns him to stay away from her. One very cold morning he arrives at her secluded home and before he can leave Roland comes in and flat out tells him that he is going to kill him.
Tom leaves the house on skis but is pursued by Roland in his helicopter. Roland manages to kill Tom is a very unique and gruesome way before returning home and attacking his wife. This is one of the most demented scenes I have ever seen. Some time later Roland invites another man to his house and then attempts another murder.
Braeden is in top form as a maniacal madman who kills anyone who gets in his way or who even talks to his wife. I had never heard of this film and I don't see why it isn't better known. There are some incredible scenes and some great skiing stunts.
Ekland is always a total pleasure to watch and here she is as lovely as ever. The rest of the cast includes Barry Brown, John Davis Chandler and Paul Feliz. If you enjoy crime dramas and suspense films, I heartily recommend this gem. The IMDB states the running time is 110 minutes, but in reality it's 85 minutes.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Again, this is a rare gem that only a company like Sinister would ever bother to put out.
Several people from different backgrounds and countries are brought together by and international gangster to pull of a heist that is quite interesting.
The men are brought together to steal jewels from a very highly guarded bank vault in Russia. Even though this is a spoof of "caper" films, the way the crime is pulled off and the planning are very well done and handled with high style.
Fernando Sancho is Prof. Higgins, the leader of the rag tag group and he is a very familiar face for those of us who watch Spaghetti Westerns or low budget US horror films.
Ingrid Schoeller is stunning as Tamara Maslova, a female Russian agent who actually wants to escape to the west. Her striptease scene is far too short. The rest of the cast includes Eduardo Fajardo, Andrea Aureli and Claudio Perone.
If you like these kinds of films, I suggest you check this out. The print quality is very good.
Kino has announced that they are preparing the 1945 horror classic "Dead Of Night" for Blu-ray.
Considered by many to be the greatest horror anthology of all time, this is expected to be on the market early in 2019 and it will be a welcome addition to any real horror fan's collection.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The time is 1950 and Japan was recovering from the ravages of WW2. Some women took to being prostitutes just to survive, but according to Japanese law, that is a crime.
There is a reformatory called "White Lily" which tries to teach the women better morals and how to make a living. One young woman who is brought there is named Keiko Yukawa (Mitsuko Miura). She is different than most as she sees nothing wrong with being a prostitute and she questions the entire worth of the facility.
The film also explores the other inmates and problems with everything from suicide, pregnancy and syphilis. This may have all the ear marks of a standard WIP movie, but it is entirely different.
The print from Sinister is in very good shape and has English subtitles. The film really held my attention and just drew me in. It's a rare one without much known information, however one of the producers was Tomoyuki Tanaka who went on to produce Toho's highly successful Godzilla films of the 60's and 70's.
Akira Ifukube did the music and of course he did many, many Godzilla movies as well as other Japanese fantastic cinema films. If you're looking for something interesting and thought provoking, this is a film I would highly recommend. Every year around this time I get a lot of films from Sinister Cinema, and so for the next couple of weeks I will be looking at a lot of bizarre films from this outstanding company.