Sunday, May 30, 2010

Death Race 2000 (1975, Paul Bartel)


Thanks to the fine folks at Shout! Factory, I received a copy of the new re-release of the Roger Corman Cult Classic, Death Race 2000 (hitting stores on DVD and Blu-Ray June 22nd).  It's been a few years since I've seen it and I was very anxious to watch it again.  Before I saw the film the first time, I had heard the name many times but didn't really know what it was about.  When I finally read the synopsis, I had to see it immediately.

Death Race 2000 is an over the top, futuristic, car racing film.  In the year 2000, the Annual Transcontinental Road Race is a cross country race run by the government.  The contestants earn points by killing innocent pedestrians along the way.  The favored contestant and previous champion is Frankenstein (David Carradine), a man whose body is as much metal as flesh.  Frankenstein is up against a ruthless group of racers, each more blood thirsty than the next.  Heading the pack is "Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone), a belligerent gangster who has no problem slapping around his female companion.  Also in the race are country gal Calamity Jane (Mary Woronov), Matilda the Hun (Roberta Collins) and Nero the Hero (Martin Kove). 

Death Race 2000 is, simply put, a masterpiece.  Everything about the film is pretty much flawless.  The cast is top notch and each play their colorful characters perfectly.  The story is so silly and over the top but irresistible.  The film even throws in some political themes, but more importantly there are the gory deaths, T&A and explosions galore.  For those familiar with director Paul Bartel's filmography (other than the similarly themed Cannonball), he may seem like an odd choice to direct this film but it has much of the same off the wall, tongue and cheek humor that he is known for.  I really can't think of anything I didn't like about this film, which is rare.  I highly recommend pre-ordering the new Shout! Factory DVD or Blu-Ray , which includes some all new special features and a 12 page booklet.

RATING:  10/10

Dennis Hopper R.I.P.


Ballad of Easy Rider (Bob Dylan/Roger McGuinn)

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That's where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

All he wanted
Was to be free
And that's the way
It turned out to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

Flow river flow
Past the shaded tree
Go river, go
Go to the sea
Flow to the sea

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That's where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Deathsport / Battletruck coming to DVD from Shout! Factory



A PAIR OF ROGER CORMAN ROGUE SCIFI CLASSICS
ON ONE COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD COMING THIS AUGUST 2010

SHOUT! FACTORY PRESENTS
DEATHSPORT/ BATTLETRUCK  
DOUBLE-FEATURE COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD        
featuring the long-out-of-print cult favorite DEATHSPORT in widescreen
and the long-awaited debut of BATTLETRUCK on dvd
Slammin’ into Stores Nationwide August 3, 2010
From Shout! Factory

Brace yourself for twice the fun, twice the adrenaline rush, and twice the traction, as Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation, set to release a dynamic duo of Roger Corman classics on one double-feature collector’s edition DVD. August 3, 2010 will see the release of Deathsport/BattleTruck Collector’s Edition, which marks the first time Deathsport being presented in a widescreen format, as well as the first-ever DVD release of BattleTruck (released theatrically as Warlords of the 21st Century). This double-barreled dose of high-octane excitement decisively marks the latest summer installment from fan favorite Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment series.

Deathsport/ BattleTruck Collector’s Edition boasts a stellar selection of new bonus content including all-new cast and crew interviews, commentaries, vintage trailers and more. A must-have for Roger Corman fans and collectors, own two of Roger Corman’s popular cult hits at an attractive price of $19.93 SRP.


The worldwide success of Death Race 2000 fueled Corman’s desire to make Deathsport, which also stars Emmy Award®  and four-time Golden Globe® nominee David Carradine (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, TV’s Kung Fu). It was not a direct sequel but certainly a thematic follow-up.

Set 1,000 years in the future, following the Great Neutron Wars, the world is divided into desert wastes and isolated city-states. Lord Zirpola (David McLean, Kingdom of the Spiders) captures the notorious “Desert Ranger” Kaz Oshay (Carradine) and forces him to fight to the death in his game, Deathsport. Now Kaz must face his past and fight to save himself, his city and the future from the war that Lord Zirpola is about to wage.

Executive produced by Roger Corman, Deathsport is directed by Henry Suso and Allan Arkush. Co-starring in the film are beautiful B-movie starlet and 1970 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claudia Jennings, Jesse Vint (Forbidden World) and perennially popular big-screen bad guy Richard Lynch (Invasion USA, Bad Dreams, The Sword and the Sorcerer).

Inspired by the success of The Road Warrior, Corman acquired the award-winning New Zealand-made action blowout BattleTruck for distribution, rechristened it Warlords of the 21st Century and released it to screens in 1982. The film earned an enthusiastic cult audience and has not been available on home video for more than 20 years until now.

After the Oil Wars have ravaged the Earth’s landscape, gasoline has become a precious commodity. On his marauding search to commandeer all of the oil in existence to fuel his massive, heavily-armored battle truck, Col. Straker (James Wainwright, The Survivors) ravages a peaceful commune. Riding to their rescue is a mysterious man on a motorcycle (Michael Beck, The Warriors, Megaforce), who becomes their only hope when he decides to bring the fight to Straker, aided and abetted by Straker’s runaway daughter, Corlie (Annie McEnroe, Beetlejuice, Wall Street). It’s a mechanized, motorized version of the story of David and Goliath, and only one can survive.

The action-packed Battletruck also stars Bruno Lawrence (Smash Palace, The Quiet Earth) and two-time Emmy® nominee John Ratzenberger (Up, Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, TV’s Cheers). Cinematographer Chris Menges would go on to win Academy Awards® for The Killing Fields and The Mission and become an acclaimed director in his own right.

For her performance as Corlie, McEnroe won the Clavell de Plata Award as Best Actress from the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival.

DEATHSPORT/ BATTLETRUCK DOUBLE-FEATURE
COLLECTOR’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT:

DEATHSPORT SPECIAL FEATURES
  • New anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.78:1)
  • Audio commentary with co-director Allan Arkush and editor Larry Bock
  • Interviews with actor Jesse Vint
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • Still gallery
  • Trailer and TV spots

BATTLETRUCK SPECIAL FEATURES
  • Audio commentary with director Harley Cokliss
  • Trailers


Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include Starcrash,  Slumber Party Massacre: The Collection, The Evil, Twice Dead, Not of This Earth, Time Walker, Dead Space, among others.

Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s storied career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers. In 2009 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the medium of film.

Noted for his keen ability to spot young talent, Corman’s most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the legion of producers, directors, writers and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Carl Franklin, Bill Paxton, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich and Sally Kirkland.

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com

Academy Award® and Oscar® are a registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Golden Globe® is a registered trademark of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Emmy® is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS.

Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep Blu-Ray and DVD news!



A GRUESOME TWOSOME OF ROGER CORMAN CLASSIC UNDERWATER SHOCKERS FINALLY UNLEASH THIS SUMMER

SHOUT! FACTORY PRESENTS
PIRANHA
SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY™ and DVD
packed with all-new bonus content, reversible cover and presented in anamorphic widescreen for the first time
&
HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP
SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY™ and DVD
featuring the complete uncut version of the cult classic
 presented in anamorphic widescreen,  revealing bonus content and reversible cover

LEAP INTO STORES NATIONWIDE AUGUST 3, 2010
FROM SHOUT! FACTORY

Just when you thought it was safe to take a dip in the water again…they’re baaaack! This summer, rediscover two enduring Roger Corman underwater thrillers filled with unstoppable action and edge-of-your-seat suspense as Joe Dante’s Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep, directed by Barbara Peters, debut August 3, 2010 for the first time on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. These two definitive Special Edition home entertainment releases from Roger Corman’s Cult Classics are sure to cause a feeding frenzy among thrill seekers and loyal fans of Roger Corman and Joe Dante.  Piranha Special Edition offers 2 highly collectible covers: the Blu-ray and DVD both feature the iconic vintage cover art from the film’s original 1978 movie poster and the spectacular art from the original international poster for the reverse cover; and the Special Edition DVD is further sparkled with a visually stunning 3-D lenticular exterior packaging. Humanoids from the Deep Special Edition also boasts a reversible cover featuring vintage art from the U.S. and international movie posters. 

Both Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD releases of Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep feature anamorphic widescreen presentation of the movie and a spectacular array of special bonus content, including all-new in-depth interviews and commentaries with cast and crew, rare behind-the-scenes footage, reversible cover and more. Each Blu-ray and DVD is sold separately. Blu-ray is priced to own at $26.97 and $19.93 for the DVD.  Dare you to take the plunge with the original Piranha and Humanoids at home before you put on those 3-D shades for the remake of Piranha in 3-D coming to theaters nationwide late August.  See where the phenomenon began!   

Lost River Lake was a thriving resort until they discovered … Piranha!

In 1978, audiences discovered Piranha, widely considered one of the very best films “inspired” by the success of Jaws, and for more than 30 years Piranha has been one of the true cult gems in the Roger Corman canon.

For the first time in anamorphic widescreen, Piranha is being seen the way it was meant to be seen: Bigger, badder, bloodier and more BITING than ever! This summer at Lost River Resort, the fish are most certainly biting!

While searching for missing teenagers, rookie skip-tracer Maggie McKeon (Heather Menzies) and booze-soaked river rat Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) stumble upon a top-secret military laboratory conduction genetic research on piranha fish for the purpose of developing the most lethal form of biological warfare imaginable.

When the deadly eating machines are accidentally released from the compound, they’re soon headed downstream, consuming everything -- and anyone -- in their path. With Paul and Maggie in hot pursuit, the piranha’s next stop is the children’s summer camp, where Paul’s young daughter is vacationing, and then the newly-opened, multi-million-dollar water resort. Time is running out, and the piranha are hungry!

Piranha marked the solo directorial debut of Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch), after a long apprenticeship under Roger Corman’s tutelage at New World Pictures, and also marked the first produced screenplay of future indie-film icon and two-time Academy Award®  nominee John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out). Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot cameo appearances by both Dante and Sayles in this film!

The film also featured one of the most star-studded casts ever assembled for a Corman production: Daytime Emmy®  and Golden Globe® winner Bradford Dillman (The Way We Were, Compulsion, Escape from the Planet of the Apes), Heather Menzies (TV’s Captain America and Logan’s Run), Academy Award®  nominee and Golden Globe® winner Kevin McCarthy (Death of a Salesman, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and Emmy® nominee Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove, Robert Altman’s Nashville), as well as Emmy® winner Barbara Steele (The Pit and the Pendulum, Caged Heat, Mario Bava’s Black Sunday), Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood, The Terminator, Martin Scorsese’s After Hours), Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, The Usual Suspects), Belinda Balaski (The Howling, Small Soldiers, Explorers), Richard Deacon (TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mothers-in-Law) and, in his final screen appearance, Barry Brown (Bad Company, Daisy Miller, The Ultimate Thrill).

Not only was Piranha a box-office hit – becoming one of New World Pictures’ biggest worldwide hits – but it also earned rave reviews from critics, who appreciated its fast pacing, energetic cast, clever conspiracy satire, inventive special effects and, of course, the scares. Many critics considered it second-best only to Jaws but far superior to the “official” Jaws sequels -- including Jaws 2, which opened the same year. Piranha won the Saturn Award for Best Editing (shared by Dante and Mark Goldblatt) and was nominated as Best Horror Film.

Like so many Roger Corman productions, Piranha served as a career springboard for many of its participants, including director Dante, screenwriter Sayles, and producer Jon Davison (Airplane!, Robocop and RoboCop 2). Future Academy Award® winner Rob Bottin (Total Recall, The Thing, Se7en) provided special makeup effects in what marked his first screen credit, and the visual effects team boasted not one, but two, future Oscar® winners: Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back) and Chris Walas (The Fly, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gremlins).

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Piranha’s sustained popularity is that this summer will see the release of Piranha 3-D to the nation’s movie screens. While the big-budget remake will undoubtedly put the bite on moviegoers, true fans know where it all began ... with the original, classic Piranha.

 PIRANHA SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • New anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.78:1)
  • Audio commentary with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • “The Making of Piranha” featurette with new interviews from Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski and many More
  • Bloopers and outtakes
  • Piranha trailer with commentary by producer Jon Davison – Courtesy of Trailers From Hell (www.trailersfromhell.com)
  • Stills gallery with photos and posters from around the world
  • Behind-the-scenes stills gallery featuring photos from Phil Tippett’s personal collection
  • Additional scenes from the network television version
  • Radio and TV spots
  • New World trailers


One good bite deserves another!

Two years after the success of Piranha, Corman and New World Pictures went back to the water and came up with a winner. Humanoids from the Deep was yet another box-office bonanza.

In the sleepy fishing village of Noyo, the fish aren’t biting -- and that’s the problem. The town’s faltering economy, dependent entirely on the fishing industry, has exacerbated ongoing, racially-charged tensions between the local fishermen, who want a cannery to be constructed in the town, and the Native American population, who most definitely don’t.

But something else is biting -- and worse. A genetic experiment on salmon has produced a species of aquatic monstrosities that are half-man and half-fish … and constantly on the rampage! The body count is rising. Men are being mauled to death, but the female victims suffer a far worse fate: The monsters are mating with them, trying to propagate their horrific species.

Local fisherman Jim Drake (Doug McClure) and scientist Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) join forces to investigate the cause of this insidious invasion, but time is running out. Noyo’s annual Salmon Festival is about to take place on the town’s boardwalk, and some uninvited guests are planning to crash the party in bloodthirsty fashion, culminating in a bloodbath that pits man against monster.

Amid the film’s non-stop action and carnage, however, are also subtle messages about corporate corruption, preservation of the underwater ecology (years before Greenpeace hit the headlines!), and the importance of community. If the residents of Noyo are to survive, they will have to put aside their cultural and political differences and band together. If not, Noyo is doomed.

Humanoids from the Deep proved to be expectedly commercial, but also proved unexpectedly controversial. Credited director Barbara Peters (billed as Barbara Peeters) contended that many of the film’s gorier scenes had been added to the film after principal photography. That may be true, but some of these scenes are the ones most fondly -- and fearfully -- remembered by the film’s legion of followers. Then the MPAA (Motion Picture of America) threatened to slap the film with an X rating unless some of its more shocking moments were edited down or eliminated altogether. Nevertheless, these controversies didn’t count where it mattered the most -- at the box-office, as Humanoids from the Deep became one of New World Pictures’ most popular releases up to that point.

Even more surprising is that the film received good reviews. Although he called it “fast, occasionally hilarious gutter trash,” esteemed film critic Leonard Maltin also awarded it three out of four stars!

This release of Humanoids from the Deep will truly be something spectacular. This version has never been seen before in the United States, as it was taken from the inter-positive from the uncut international version in high definition.

The cast of Humanoids from the Deep is headed by genre favorite Doug McClure (Warlords of Atlantis, The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot), Golden Globe® nominee Ann Turkel (The Cassandra Crossing, 99 and 44/100% Dead) and Emmy Award® nominee Vic Morrow (Blackboard Jungle, The Bad News Bears, 1990: The Bronx Warriors).

Future Oscar® winner Rob Bottin again provided the film’s spectacular -- and spectacularly gory -- special effects, including a climactic birth scene that rivals the one in the original Alien! The film’s menacing and foreboding score was composed by James Horner (Titanic, Aliens, A Beautiful Mind), himself the future recipient of two Academy Awards®. Production assistant Gale Anne Hurd would go on to become one of the most successful female producers in Hollywood history, with such blockbusters as The Terminator, Aliens, Armageddon and Terminator 2: Judgment Day to her credit.

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY AND DVD FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • New high-definition transfer of the Uncut international version presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1)
  • Never-before-seen deleted scenes
  • Trailer, TV and radio spots
  • Leonard Maltin’s interviews with Roger Corman on the making of the film
  • “The Making of Humanoids From The Deep,” featuring new interviews with composer James Horner, second unit/assistant director James Sbardellati, editor Mark Goldblatt and more!
  • New World trailers

With the release of both Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD, this is sure to be a shocking summer. But remember: Stay out of the water!

Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include Starcrash, Slumber Party Massacre: The Collection, The Evil, Twice Dead, Not of This Earth, Time Walker, Dead Space, among others.

Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s illustrious career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers. In 2009 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award® for his contribution to the medium of film.

Noted for his keen ability to spot young talent, Corman’s most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be
the legion of producers, directors, writers and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Hopper, Bill Paxton, Carl Franklin and Sally Kirkland.

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com

Academy Award® and Oscar® are a registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Golden Globe® is a registered trademark of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Emmy® is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS.

Lights Camera Dead and F.A.R.T. The Movie - coming soon from MVD




SRS Cinema and MVD Visual is pleased to announce the DVD release of Lights Camera Dead and F.A.R.T. The Movie for North American distribution on July 27. Both films are in the horror / cult vein, and have received previous critical acclaim.

 Hi Res  Cover Art
Lights Camera Dead is a dark-comedy that tells the tale of die hard filmmaker "Ryan Black" and an ever so pretentious screenwriter, "Steven Dydimus", who will stop at nothing to complete their self-proclaimed zombie masterpiece "The Music Box".

Halfway through shooting a fed up cast and crew quit, thus shutting down production. But not for long . . . the fast, efficient filmmakers devise a plan to "finish off" their flick . . . and there will be blood!




Hi Ress Cover Art
F.A.R.T. The Movie... The cult classic is available on DVD for the first time! Russell has two passions: watching television and farting! He also loves Heather. Heather HATES farting. The eternal triangle! One day she warns him, "if they ever allow farting on television, you'll never leave the house!" One evening he goes to sleep in front of the TV, and "it" happens. Virtually everything on TV is fart related, from sitcoms and commercials, to newscasts and dramas. So bad you'll love it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio - R.I.P.



In honor of the passing of the Heavy Metal legend Ronnie James Dio, singer for such bands as Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell, Dio, Rainbow and Elf.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer of Fear (1978, Wes Craven)


In collaboration with a selection of the finest film blogs the infranet has to offer, B MOVIES AND BEYOND is proud to contribute this quality post to Blair Week, a six day extravaganza expounding on the virtues of Linda Blair and her legacy of quality motion pictures. Don't believe me? Just read on...



Summer of Fear was originally a made for TV movie called Stranger in Our House and was first aired on Halloween night 1978.  It was then released theatrically in Europe under the title Summer of Fear.  This was the third film that Wes Craven directed, after Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes.  Considering the shocking subject matter of those two films, it is surprising to me that he was chosen to direct a made for TV movie.  This wasn't the last made for TV movie Craven made either, as he also directed the genre offerings Deadly Blessing (1981), Invitation to Hell (1984) and Chiller (1985).  I had read about this film a long time ago and finally decided to check it out.  I figured even if the movie was bad, it had a young Linda Blair, which is always a good thing in my book.

The Bryants are a well off family living in California.  Their perfect life is soon thrown a curveball when cousin Julia (Lee Purcell) comes to live with them from the Ozarks after her parents die in a car crash.  Julia seems like a nice, young southern belle.  That is until bad things start happening to teenage Rachel Bryant (Linda Blair).  Julia ends up stealing Rachel's boyfriend away from her, which causes her to do a little digging about her innocent cousin.  Rachel, with the help of her professor neighbor, suspects Julia of witchcraft.

Summer of Fear was a solid made for TV movie with some nice touches.  It was very watchable, even the parts that didn't have a lot going on.  Blair (though not really a good actress and what was up with that hairdo?) is always fun to watch and Lee Purcell was a beautiful femme fatale.  The rest of the cast were all very well too, including Jeff East (the teenage Clark Kent from Superman: the Movie) and the debut of Fran Drescher (The Nanny, c'mon admit you watched it).  Though the film wasn't too scary and didn't rise above PG rated action through most of its running time (the DVD says its rated PG-13), the climax was great.  It was tense, suspenseful and had a very unexpected twist.  Though very dated and tame, the film was a fun watch with some neat little surprises.

ALL HAIL LINDA BLAIR!

RATING:  6/10

Our colleagues are bringing fresh Linda related content all week long:
 

 Satan's Hope Chest - Chained Heat and Savage Island
Camp Movie Camp - Grotesque and Nightforce
The Horror Section - Hell Night
Full Moon Reviews - Bailout
Illogical Contraption - Repossessed
Lines That Makes Things - original Linda inspired artwork
Breakfast In the Ruins - Exorcist II
B Movies and Beyond - Summer of Fear
The Manchester Morgue - Rollerboogie
Happy Otter - The Chilling
Ninja Dixon - The Witchery
Unflinching Eye - Linda's fall from grace.
Lost Video Archive - Savage Streets and Born Innocent














 

Anthrax - Oidivnikufesin (N.F.V.) (1988)


What is this?  A music video?  This isn't a B Movie or even a movie at all.  Has Starmummy finally lost it?  Well, for your information, the reason I am reviewing this video is simple:  Because I fuckin' want to!  So there.  I've had this VHS for awhile and was glad when it was finally released on DVD in the USA as a bonus disc on the Among the Living reissue last year.

Anthrax circa 1987 many fans will agree was the absolute pinnacle of the band's career.  They were touring in support of their latest album, Among the Living and were showing a step up in quality from their previous album Spreading the Disease (which itself was a great album).  Anthrax's second singer, Joey Belladonna, had proven that he was a perfect fit for the band with his energy and impressive range.  Guitarist Dan Spitz showed his technical side while rhythm guitarist Scott Ian (back when he had hair) shows that he can shred like the best of 'em.  Drummer Charlie Benante and his nephew, bass player Frank Bello keep the beat going at the speed of lightning.  The selection of songs they play includes some of their best (Metal Thrashin' Mad, Caught in a Mosh, Among the Living) and also has the band playing their hilarious goofball rap anthem I'm the Man.  The film is interspersed with behind the scenes footage of the band and their crew (including future White Zombie drummer John Tempesta who was a drum tech for Anthrax).

Oidivnikufesin (read it backwards) is one of the finest concert videos I've seen.  It features one of the greatest thrash bands of all time at the top of their game.  The band members are all energetic and never run out of steam.  The setlist doesn't have a single dud and the camerawork captures every angle of the show perfectly.  The only gripe I have with the DVD is that the picture quality is a little fuzzy, as if it was ported directly from the VHS.  I recommend everyone go out and pick up the reissue of Anthrax's best album Among the Living, which comes with the DVD debut of this monumental metal masterpiece.

RATING:  9/10

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, John Carpenter)


Big Trouble in Little China, another John Carpenter film, is one of the oddballs in Carpenter's oeuvre.  Known mostly for horror films, Big Trouble is an action fantasy.  Originally conceived as a western, it was then brought into modern times.  The setting of the film (San Francisco's Chinatown) actually reminded me a little of Blade Runner, but the comparisons end there.  I saw this film a few years ago for the first time and thought it was too far fetched and silly.  I was expecting a more straight forward action film without the fantasy.  I decided to give it another shot hoping to enjoy it more now that I knew what I was in for. 

Jack Burton is a rough and tumble truck driver who, to put it nicely, tends to bite off more than he can chew.  In other words, he's kind of an idiot, but a fearless one.  After winning a bet with his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), Burton agrees to take him to the airport to meet Wang's green eyed girlfriend Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) before collecting his payout.  A group of gangsters kidnap Miao Yin and while trying to catch them, Jack and Wang (hee hee...Jackin' Wang...sorry) get stuck in the middle of a gang fight.  They try to escape but meet up with the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan.  They soon find out that Lo Pan needs to marry a green eyed woman to become human again, so they must rescue her.  Along the way, they meet up with Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), a lawyer who also has green eyes and also becomes a target for Lo Pan.

Fortunately, this time Big Trouble in Little China won me over.  I still think the film was silly and far fetched but in a good way.  The whole ancient Chinese magic mixed with kidnapping plot was very original and an off beat combo.  All of the performances were great, especially Kurt Russell (with his John Wayne accent) and (pre-Sex and the City/post-Porky's and Police Academy) Kim Cattrall.  Carpenter's use of state of the art special effects and crazy stunts are great fun to watch and barely seem dated 24 years later.  All in all, I'm glad I gave Big Trouble in Little China a second chance.

RATING:  7/10

Saturday, May 8, 2010

They Live (1988, John Carpenter)


I remember a few years ago I was scrolling through a horror T shirt website when I stumbled upon a shirt that caught my eye.  It had a guy with a plaid shirt and a mullet with the quote "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum".  The quote sounded familiar but honestly I had no idea what film it was from.  It wasn't until some time later when a co-worker was talking about They Live and recited the same quote.  They Live was a film I have been familiar with for a long time but just never got around to watching.  I actually saw Roddy Piper (the star of the film) at a horror convention a few years ago but had no interest meeting him (much to the disappointment of my previously mentioned co-worker).

Roddy Piper stars as George Nada, a homeless drifter looking for some work and a place to sleep.  He finds work at a construction site and befriends co-worker Frank (Keith David).  George notices some weird stuff happening at a local church and investigates.  He finds a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see that the world is being taken over by aliens.  He must find a way to stop them before they take over the world.

They Live was a mixed bag for me.  I liked the story and its political views (which are as relevant now as they were in 1988).  I also liked Carpenter's slick direction and many of the images used in the film (especially the aliens and the other visions seen through the sunglasses).  The shoot outs and the seemingly unending brawl between Piper and David were both very well done.  I thought the last third of the film was great.  My main problem with the film was the characters.  Piper, David and Meg Foster were all fine but their characters didn't really engage me.  They just seemed kind of hollow and weren't as interesting as what was going on around them.  I was told that this is a film a lot of people love who grew up with it and have watched it many times.  Maybe that could be part of the problem, being a They Live virgin.


RATING:  6/10

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965, Noriaki Yuasa)



Above you can see me doing my best Gamera impression.  Some say we were separated at birth, but I think it's just a case of dead ringers.  Regardless, as you can see I am holding a copy of the new Gamera The Giant Monster DVD being released on May 18th by the fine folks at Shout! Factory.  They were kind enough to send me a copy to review on my blog, which I am very excited to do.  I'll admit that, though I would say I am a B movie lover (in case the title of this blog didn't tip you off), I am not very knowledgeable about the realm of "Kaiju" (Japanese for Strange Beast) films.  I saw Roland Emmerich's Godzilla remake in the theater in the late 90s but other than that, I don't think I've ever sat through an entire Kaiju.   After watching Gamera, that will definitely change.

Gamera is a giant turtle creature that is awoken when a plane carrying an atomic bomb crashes into the arctic where the turtle has been asleep for a very long time.  It destroys a Japanese research ship, but three people manage to get away and alert the world.  Soon a UFO is spotted and we presume it must have some connection to Gamera.  Is he from Outer Space?  Gamera then appears in a Japanese town, destroying their water tower but saves a boy who believes that Gamera is really his pet turtle Pee Wee.  The boy's father and sister made him get rid of Pee Wee because the boy was obsessed with it and wasn't making friends with other kids.  Despite the boy's pleas that Gamera is friendly, a ploy is thought up by scientists to freeze Gamera and then blow it up.  Instead of killing Gamera, it is knocked on its back, which the head scientist says will cause Gamera to starve to death due to its immobilization.  We soon find out that this ain't no ordinary turtle (duh) as do we learn how the UFO is connected to this anarchic amphibian.

Wow, what a crazy, silly, ridiculously awesome film.  There were a lot of interesting concepts that were thought up for Gamera that I had never seen before.  The UFO connection (which I won't spoil), the sympathetic young boy and Gamera's power source are all kooky enough to make it more than just your typical monster.  Shout! Factory has done a great job with the film, featuring a commentary by August Ragone, a Japanese cinema historian and the first ever DVD release of the original Japanese version of the film.  Like I said before, I haven't seen many Kaiju films but Gamera will definitely make me check some more out.

RATING:  7/10

Shout! Factory to release Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror on DVD and Blu-ray

Shout_Logo_color


A DIABOLICAL DUO OF UNFORGETTABLE ROGER CORMAN SCIENCE FICTION SHOCKERS UNLEASH FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIGH-DEFINITION BLU-RAY™ AND AVAILABLE ON DVD THIS SUMMER!

SHOUT! FACTORY PRESENTS
FORBIDDEN WORLD
2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY and DVD
highlighting widescreen presentation of the newly remastered theatrical version and the debut of unrated director’s cut,
plus extensive bonus features
&
GALAXY OF TERROR
SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY and DVD
digitally remastered and presented in widescreen,
 jam-packed with all-new bonus content

IN STORES NATIONWIDE JULY 20, 2010
FROM SHOUT FACTORY

Space, the final frontier …it’s also the fiercest, most fearful frontier. No one can hear you scream ... but now they can hear you shout! This Summer, Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation, have a treat in store for aficionados of sci-fi, horror classics and Roger Corman fans when Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror debut for the first time on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD on July 20, 2010. Forbidden World 2-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD contain two versions of the movie – the newly remastered theatrical version and the never-before-seen unrated director’s cut. Each Blu-ray and DVD boasts a shocking selection of extensive bonus content including all-new interviews and audio commentaries with cast and crew, rare behind-the-scenes footage and much more. These two inter-stellar shockers mark the latest installments from fan favorite ROGER CORMAN’S CULT CLASSICS home entertainment series from Shout! Factory. Each Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD is sold separately. Blu-ray is priced to own at $26.97; and DVD is available at $19.93.
Available for the first time on both Blu-ray and DVD, audiences can experience the 2-Disc Special Edition home entertainment release of Forbidden World as it was originally envisioned, in a never-before-seen, unrated director’s cut, as well as a newly remastered theatrical cut.

On the remote planet of Xarbia, a scientific experiment has gone horrifically wrong. An experimental life-form known as Subject 20,” created by an elite group of scientists to prevent a major galactic food crisis, has instead mutated into a man-eating organism. It’s getting bigger, it has the ability to change its genetic structure at will and, worst of all, it’s hungry. Very, very hungry!

Two-fisted, hard-living, hard-loving bounty hunter Mike Colby (Jesse Vint, Macon County Line, Deathsport) is called in to combat this monstrous menace, but soon suspects that the scientists are keeping something from him. He soon discovers why: Subject 20 is half-human.

In classic Agatha Christie tradition, Subject 20 begins killing off the scientists one by one, while Colby and the remaining survivors desperately try to figure out a way to destroy it -- before it destroys them.

Also released theatrically as Mutant, Forbidden World has it all: Gratuitous gore, unexpected nudity, surprising bits of black comedy, and an assortment of inspired and inventive special effects (done on a Roger Corman budget, of course). Nevertheless, the film earned three Saturn Award nominations: Best Low-Budget Film, Best Special Effects and Best Makeup. The film marked the directorial debut of two-time Primetime Emmy Awards® winner Allan Holzman (Survivors of the Holocaust), who like so many Hollywood luminaries got his start under Corman’s auspices.

The cast also includes delectable damsels-in-distress June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap, the original V) and Dawn Dunlap (Barbarian Queen, David Hamilton’s Laura) and character actors Linden Chiles (Helter Skelter, Who is the Black Dahlia?), Fox Harris (Repo Man, Sid and Nancy), Michael Bowen (Kill Bill – Volume 1, Jackie Brown) and Scott Paulin (The Right Stuff)

You too can embark on a never-before-seen, never-more-explicit journey to Forbidden World. It’s a journey you won’t soon forget!

FORBIDDEN WORLD   2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
Disc 1 on Blu-ray Disc
  • New anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) in high definition transfer from the Inter-Positive films elements of the R-rated theatrical cut
  • Interview with producer Roger Corman
  • Interviews with cast and crew including director Allan Holzman, composer Susan Justin and actor Jesse Vint.
  • A look at the special effects of Forbidden World with John Carl Buechler, Robert Skotak, Tony Randal and R. Christopher Biggs
  • Poster and still Gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Additional New World trailers

Disc 2 on DVD
  • The never-before-seen, unrated Director’s Cut (4:3 - Full Frame)
  • Audio commentary with director Allan Holzman

FORBIDDEN WORLD 2-DISC SPECIAL-EDITION DVD BONUS CONTENT:
  • New anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) in high definition transfer from the Inter-Positive films elements of the R-rated theatrical cut
  • The never-before-seen, unrated Director’s Cut (4:3 - Full Frame)
  • Audio commentary with director Allan Holzman
  • Interview with producer Roger Corman
  • Interviews with cast and crew including director Allan Holzman, composer Susan Justin and actor Jesse Vint.
  • A look at the special effects of Forbidden World with John Carl Buechler, Robert Skotak, Tony Randal and R. Christopher Biggs
  • Poster and still Gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Additional New World trailers



With its unforgettable catch-line “Hell has just been relocated!Galaxy of Terror, known at various times during development as Planet of Horrors and MindWarp: An Infinity of Terror, is the quintessential example of Corman magic. Working behind the scenes was production designer James Cameron, who achieved some measure of success shortly thereafter .

In the distant future, the crew of the starship Quest is dispatched to the barren planet of Morganthus to search of the missing crew members of the starship Remus, which has crash-landed there. Instead, they encounter something far more mysterious and insidious, as the crew members fall victim to their worst fears -- each one more horrifying than the last. If any of them are survive the Galaxy of Terror, they must unlock the secrets of this deadly world.

The star-studded cast of Galaxy of Terror includes some popular veterans and a talented supporting cast, many of whom achieved greater fame subsequently. Topping the cast are Golden Globe® winner Edward Albert (The House Where Evil Dwells, The Domino Principle), Erin Moran (TV’s Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi), and Primetime Emmy® Awards winner Ray Walston (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, TV’s My Favorite Martian, Picket Fences).

In supporting roles are Robert Englund, prior to portraying Freddy Kreuger in the original Nightmare on Elm Street series, future filmmaker Zalman King (Wild Orchid, TV’s Red Shoe Diaries), two-time Gemini Award winner Bernard Behrens (The Changeling, The Man With Two Brains), Grace Zabriskie (The Grudge, TV’s Twin Peaks, Big Love) and cult icon Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects, Kill Bill - Vol. 2).

GALAXY OF TERROR BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
  • Commentary with Cast and Crew
  • New Worlds – producer Roger Corman, screenwriter Marc Siegler and director Bruce D. Clark discuss the origins of the film
  • The Crew Of The Quest – Actors Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Taaffe O’Connell and Grace Zabriskie discuss their experiences as crew members of the U.S.S. Quest
  •  Planet Of Horrors – A detailed look into the creation of the film’s memorable sets and alien landscapes
  • Future King – Memories of co-production designer (and future visionary filmmaker) James Cameron from members of the cast and crew
  • Old School – A journey into the complicated mechanical and makeup effects with artists Allan A. Apone, Douglas J. White, Alec Gillis and others
  • Launch Sequence – Co-editor R.J. Kizer walks us through postproduction and a profile on composer Barry Schrader
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Extensive photo galleries including posters, production sketches and designs
  • Theatrical trailer with commentary from writer/director Joel Olsen, courtesy of   Trailersfromhell.com
  • Original screenplay

Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include Attack Of The Crab Monsters, the original Not Of This Earth (1957), Piranha (directed by Joe Dante), Humanoids From The Deep (starring Doug McClure and Vic Morrow), Deathsport (starring David Carradine and Claudia Jennings), Battle Truck (released in the U.S. as Warlords of the 21st Century), among others.


Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s illustrious career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers. In 2009 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the medium of film.

Noted for his keen ability to spot young talent, Corman’s most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be
the legion of producers, directors, writers and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich and Sally Kirkland.

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com