Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974, Francesco Barilli)

For the first time in the USA, we finally get a DVD release of Fracesco Barilli's psychological giallo, The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Il Profumo della signora in nero) from  Raro Video.  Starring the beautiful Mimsy Farmer (Four Flies on Grey Velvet), I really didn't know what to expect from the film.  Is it horror?  Is it an art flick?  Is it good?  Well, I'm here to answer all of these questions and more.

The Perfume of the Lady in Black has Ms. Farmer as Silvia Hacherman, an industrial scientist who just might be going crazy.  She attends a party with her boyfriend Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia) at the home of an African professor, whose talk of voodoo greatly disturbs Silvia.  Though the professor reveals it all as a joke, Silvia's psyche starts to unravel as she begins having disturbingly realistic flashbacks of her childhood.  After more strange incidents occur, she starts to think that maybe someone is trying to drive her crazy.  Eventually, Silvia loses all grip on sanity and starts seeing a younger version of herself along with the man who raped her mother. 

Frequently lumped in with giallo films (as I myself did in the first paragraph), The Perfume of the Lady in Black is a little harder to define.  Part giallo/horror film, part psychological mystery and part arthouse film - there is just so much going on to categorize it under one genre.  One thing that is for sure is that pretty much every aspect of this film is beautiful to watch.  Even the more shocking scenes have a lush and vibrant quality to them that makes it hard to take your eyes off the screen.  Mimsy Farmer also has a natural and innocent beauty that helps the film.  Going beyond how good it looks, the story itself is quite interesting too.  Though it's not the first film to follow a woman on a descent into madness, it definitely throws a few curve balls along the way that keeps you guessing until the end.  As far as the horror aspects of the film, the gore is kept to a minimum other than one shocking scene that will make horror hounds cringe as they are howling for more.  Raro Video previously released this title in Italy several years ago and it is great to have it available domestically.  As with Raro's other releases, it is obvious that the company took great care in releasing a fine product.  The transfer is out of this world and it includes both Italian (with English subs) and English language options.  Also included is a nice little documentary on the film, with director interviews as well as a nifty little booklet.  Overall, a great release for a nice little film that is sure to please psychological horror fans.

RATING:  8/10

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sledgehammer - first ever 'Shot on Video' slasher film coming to DVD from Intervision

Label: Intervision Picture Corp
Pre-book: 04/12/11.  Streets: 05/10/11.  SRP: 19.95
UPC#: 063390095629 Cat#: INT1106.  Run Time: 85 Minutes.  In English
Color.  Fullscreen 1.33:1.  Region Zero.  Mono.

Directed by David A. Prior  Stars: Ted Prior, Linda McGill, John Eastman, Janine Scheer, Tim Aquilar, Sandy Brooke, Stephen Wright. 

Production Year: 1983

Intervision is proud to present the return of the first shot-on-tape slasher movie for the home video market as well as one of the rarest genre films of all! The plot is familiar: A group of friends comes to party at a backwoods house where a legacy of brutality awaits. But within this minimalist '80s melange of food fights, feathered hair and abusive slow-motion lurks a relentless synth score, bizarre sexual subtexts and a disturbing shape-shifting behemoth killer. The result is 87 minutes of fever-dream depravity, now loaded with brand-new Bonus Features that put it all in skull-shattering perspective. Former Playgirl centerfold Ted Prior (RAW NERVE, DEADLY PREY) stars in this nightmare-logic shocker from writer/ director David A. Prior (KILLER WORKOUT) where the lines between twisted horror and historic gore are pounded to a SLEDGEHAMMER.

Bonus Features include:  Audio Commentary With Director David A. Prior, Audio Commentary With Bleeding Skull Creators Joseph A. Ziemba, and Dan Budnik. 

Hammertime: Featurette With DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!!  Author Zack Carlson SledgehammerLand: Featurette With Cinefamily Programmers Hadrian Belove And Tom Fitzgerald. Interview With Director David A. Prior

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bob Dylan: The Never Ending Narrative 1990 - 2006 (2011, MVD)

Of course everyone knows Bob Dylan.  One of the most important musicians of the past 50 years, he has reinvented himself many times.  Dylan has gone through career highs and lows since he first started performing and this film nicely details the latter 15 or so years of his career.  As a fan of rock documentaries, seeing one on Dylan would seem like no big deal but it is great when the focus is put on a very specific point in the artist's career - especially one that most people don't know too much about.

In 1990, Bob Dylan released Under the Red Sky, the follow up to the critically acclaimed Oh Mercy.  Under the Red Sky garnered poor reviews for its simple, nursery rhyme lyrics.  Two years later, Dylan returned with a more favorable collection of old blues covers titled Good As I Been to You.  This trend continued with one more album and a well received performance on MTV Unplugged.  By the late 90's and the release of Time Out of Mind, Dylan was getting the best reviews since the mid 70's and his popularity was at a career high.  This documentary tracks Dylan's highs and lows starting with 1990's Under the Red Sky all the way through 2006's Modern Times.

MVD has succeeded in another brilliant documentary on an important musical figure.  A knowledgeable group of some of the leading rock authors and critics (Rolling Stone's Anthony De Curtis, author Clinton Heylin, and many more) pick apart an important and exciting time in Bob Dylan's career.  No stone is left unturned in this informative journey through Dylan's resurrection as one of the most famous musical legends in the world.  The documentary also features many rare interviews and performance footage, making it a must see for any music fan.

RATING:  9/10

Pre Order this disc HERE - release date 4/19/2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Georgia Peaches / The Great Texas Dynamite Chase / Smokey Bites the Dust (2011, Shout! Factory)

Coming April 5, 2011 is an Action Packed Triple Feature from Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics line.  Included in this 2 DVD set is 1980's Georgia Peaches, 1976's The Great Texas Dynamite Chase and 1981's Smokey Bites the Dust.  This release marks the return to DVD of The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, formerly available under Roger Corman's New Horizons, but more importantly it brings the first ever DVD releases for Georgia Peaches and Smokey Bites the Dust.  I have been interested in seeing Great Texas Dynamite Chase for a long time and honestly had never even heard of the other two films so it is very exciting to have them all here in one very inexpensive set.

Georgia Peaches features country legend Tanya Tucker and Teri Nunn (lead singer of the 80's pop band Berlin) as Lorette and Sue Lynn Peach, who are trying to save their deceased father's car repair shop from being taken over by crime boss Vivian Stark (Sally Kirkland) who wants the build on the land.  The two sisters, along with Sue Lynn's hot rod racing, moonshine running boyfriend Dusty Tyree (Dirk Benedict) are set up by Stark and put in jail.  They are soon let out by an agent for the Treasury Department, Randolph Dukane (Lane Smith), in order to go undercover to try to sabotage a cigarette smuggling ring.

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is the story of Ellie Jo Turner (Jocelyn Jones from Tourist Trap and The Enforcer), a bank teller who is sick of her job and her life.  Prison escapee Candy Morgan (Claudia Jennings from Deathsport) robs the bank Elllie Jo works at and instead of trying to stop her, Ellie Jo ends up assisting Candy and they escape together.  Ellie Jo and Candy become partners and rob a series of banks by using sticks of dynamite to threaten the bank employees.

Smokey Bites the Dust stars Jimmy McNichol (Kristy McNichol's brother) as Roscoe Wilton, a young trouble maker who likes fast cars and has the hots for homecoming queen Peggy Sue Turner (Janet Julian).  At their homecoming dance, Roscoe kidnaps Peggy Sue and tells her that he won't let her go until she likes him.  Peggy Sue's father happens to be the Sheriff (Walter Barnes), who immediately goes after the two teens.  As Roscoe and Peggy Sue outrun Smokey (slang term for policeman), an all out race begins involving cops from the surrounding towns.  These cops though seem more interested in capturing the Sheriff (who manages to demolish every car he gets behind the wheel of) than the young kidnapper.  Also on their tail is the high school quarterback (William Forsythe), who is in love with Peggy Sue.

What we have here in this collection is a silly group of movies that, despite some minor flaws, are 100% fun.  Georgia Peaches was originally a TV pilot for a proposed series that never materialized.  The actual film on the DVD sports the title Follow That Car, which was the European theatrical cut of the film (there is a note in the set stating that this was the only version available).  Georgia Peaches has a lot going for it - fun characters, great car chases and a fun story that you find yourself way more immersed in than you should be.  The scenes with the sisters singing on stage are hilariously bad and dated but Tucker and Nunn are very easy on the eyes (despite their gawdy outfits).  Dirk Benedict also shines as Dusty.  The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is probably the best of the lot and the most "Corman-esque" with oodles of nudity and violence.  The beautiful Claudia Jennings, a Corman regular, shows that she was actually quite a good actress and it was a shame that she passed away at such a young age.  A very clever and original bank robbery tale, this one should please any exploitation and action film fan.  Smokey Bites the Dust is one hell of a weird film.  The plot is so simple (and bares more than a passing resemblance to Corman's Eat My Dust!) that to keep it interesting, the film makers threw in everything but the kitchen sink.  We see midgets, gorillas, bratty underage kids smoking cigarettes, arabian sheiks...weird, weird stuff.  The highlight of the film (other than its oddness) is definitely the car chases which I can't say I have seen many films with more car crashes and explosions.  The cast itself doesn't really standout but seeing a young William Forsythe as a super religious quarterback just added to the zaniness of this movie.  For fans of car crashes and strange films.

Overall, this set is a great addition to the Corman Cult Classics line and even if you don't have much interest in Georgia Peaches or Smokey Bites the Dust (which are definitely fun films and worth a watch), get it for The Great Texas Dynamite Chase.

Georgia Peaches:  8/10
The Great Texas Dynamite Chase:  8/10
Smokey Bites the Dust:  7/10

This set is available to pre-order directly from Shout! Factory HERE .  Release date 4/5/11

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Embodiment of Evil and Dorm that Dripped Blood - coming from Synapse!

Embodiment Of Evil
RELEASE DATE: 03/29/11.   Blu-ray & DVD Combo pack
Run Time: 94 Minutes.  In Portuguese, Subtitled in English
Color.  Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1.  DTS 5.1 HD

After serving a 40-year prison term, Coffin Joe is finally released from the Mental Heath wing of the Sa~o Paulo State Penitentiary. Back on the streets, the sadistic undertaker is set upon fulfilling the goal which sent him to jail in the first place: find a woman who can give him the perfect child. Accompanied by his faithful servant, the humpbacked Bruno, Coffin Joe leaves behind a trail of horror and is haunted by ghostly visions and the spirits of his past victims.  This is the third film of the "Coffin Joe Trilogy" which began with the classic "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" (1964) and "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse" (1967). Synapse Films is proud to present "Embodiment of Evil" in a beautiful high-definition transfer created from the original camera negative with amazing 5.1 surround sound.

Bonus Features: Theatrical Trailer, Footage of the Fantasia Film Festival North American Premiere, "Making of" Featurette.

DVD / BLU-RAY COMBO.  Color.  88 Minutes.
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.66:1.  PCM Mono

On the eve of Christmas vacation, a college dormitory stands condemned... the dark halls now vacant and unsafe. Student Joanne Murray and her close friends volunteer to help close down the building, unaware a psychopathic lunatic is hiding in the shadows.  As the students disappear one by one, Joanne discovers the horrifying reality that if she is to survive, she alone will have to find a way to slay the brutal murderer. If you think you've seen this film totally uncut, think again!  Synapse Films is proud to present THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD in a never-before-seen alternate version containing additional scenes, extended gore sequences, and a different sound mix.  This transfer was created from the only existing 35mm answer print of the original "Directors' Cut" entitled DEATH DORM, a version of the film thought to have been lost for over thirty years.  BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.66:1) Transfer of the "Directors' Cut"; Audio Commentary Featuring Directors Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter; Interviews with Composer Christopher Young and Make-Up FX Creator Matthew Mungle; Original Theatrical Trailers.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Wake Wood coming from Hammer films and Vertigo Films

A new horror film called Wake Wood is coming soon from Hammer films and Vertigo films.  This one looks very creepy!  WAKE WOOD will be released Friday March 25th in cinemas and on Video-On-Demand across the UK and will be available on DVD from Monday the 28th.  The film will be hitting DVD and Blu-Ray in the US on June 28th 2011.   Go HERE for more info.

Check out the trailer below:


Friday, March 18, 2011

Perfume of the Lady in Black and Antonioni's I Vinti coming from Raro Video

Challenging the linear narrative by weaving multiple story lines and exploring a directorial style way ahead of his time, Director Michelangelo Antonioni’s unique triptych film I VINTI, features three murders, one taking place in Paris, another in Rome, and another in London. All of the perpetrators are affluent youths, each killing for dubious motives. In the France segment, a group of adolescents kill for money, even though they don’t need it; in the London segment, a poet uncovers a woman’s body and tries to profit from the discovery; and in the Italian segment, a student becomes caught up in a smuggling ring, with deadly results. With elements that serve as a precursor to Blowup, Antonioni explores how modern society can produce nihilistic tendencies in the least likely characters.

RaroVideo U.S.’s restored version of Antonioni’s I VINTI, one of the director’s final masterpieces will arrive on DVD for the first time ever on March 29.  The extensive DVD extras include an exclusive rare short film by Michelangelo Antonioni entitled, Tentato suicidio and an 8-page booklet containing critical analysis of the genesis of the film.

-The first draft of the story/film script for I Vinti by the writers of I Vinti: Michelangelo Antonioni
-Giorgio Bassani and Suso Cecchi d’Amico published by the film magazine “Cinema” 7/25/1954
-A developed and revised final story - the original screenplay of the three episodes obtained from the Bologna Cinemateque
-A Critical Anthology of the film that includes an analysis of the film, and a collection of different critiques of the movie
-The original exclusive, un-cut and elongated version of the Italian Episode from the film that was presented at the Venice Film Festival
-An interview with the producer, Turi Vasile, an interview with one of the protagonist, Franco Interlenghi.
-An exclusive rare short film by Michelangelo Antonioni entitled, Tentato suicidio,
22 Minutes, 1953.
-An 8 page booklet containing critical analysis of the genesis of the film

RaroVideo U.S. has also just released THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK on DVD March 15. Director Francesco Barilli’s hallucinatory horror-thriller stars Mimsy Farmer who portrays Sylvia, a chemist who begins to suffer from strange visions; a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror appears to her and strangers follow her everywhere she goes. Barilli’s psychological investigation into the workings of the mind becomes apparent when it is revealed that as a child, Sylvia committed a horrible crime. The slow progression from successful scientist to a woman on the verge of insanity shows an in-depth look at the intricacies of the haunted mind. This is a remarkable film, weaving reality, fantasy and memory into an almost seamless fabric. It is one of the best examples ever of an Italian horror genre film and one of the finest studies of psychosis and madness ever filmed.

-Documentary “Portrait in Black”
-Director’s Biography
-Director’s Filmography

Federico Fellini's The Clowns and The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection are available now from RaroVideo U.S. The label will continue to spotlight the works of major Italian directors this year with plans to release Pasolini’s The Anger (La Rabbia) and Carmelo Bene’s Our Lady of the Turks (Nostra signora dei Turchi). 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Saw the Devil (2010, Jee-woon Kim)

I Saw the Devil is the latest film by Jee-woon Kim, best known for such classics as A Tale of Two Sisters (remade for American audiences as The Uninvited), The Good the Bad and the Weird and A Bittersweet Life.  After playing some festivals, Magnolia Pictures will be releasing the film this Friday (March 18th 2011) for a limited theatrical run before a DVD and Blu Ray release.

I Saw the Devil is about Kyung-Chul (Min-sik Choi, best known from the film Oldboy), a serial killer who preys on young victims and then mutilates their bodies.  His latest victim, Joo-yeon (San-ha Oh), who happens to be the daughter of a retired police chief, is found in pieces in a river.  Her fiance, Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun aka Storm Shadow from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra) immediately tries to track down her murderer.  Using his connections as a secret service agent, Soo-hyun finally discovers that Kung-Chul is the killer and instead of killing him, he makes him suffer a series of unspeakable acts.  Kung-Chul, being the nearly-indestructible psychopath that he is, starts playing his own games and it's only a matter of time before one man is left standing.

I Saw the Devil is a brutal revenge tale overflowing with shocking violence and non-stop action.  Jee-woon Kim manages to keep the film moving at a quick pace (even with a 2 hour and 20 minute running time) without boring the audience.  Also the characters here, especially the deadly Kyung-Chul, are well constructed and the series of twists keep you guessing until the end.  Viewers may think the film is a more straight forward horror film by the title, and thought it's not, there is enough blood and gore to satisfy.  If you are a fan of Jee-woon Kim's other films or other Asian revenge titles (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), you won't be disappointed.

To see the upcoming showings, click HERE

RATING:  9/10

I Saw the Devil [Blu-ray]

I Saw the Devil

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (2011, Fernando Di Leo)

Following their release of Fellini’s I Clowns, Raro Video’s new US distribution brings us one of the most exciting box sets focusing on a particular director to come around in a long time.  Fernando Di Leo (1932-2003) was an Italian writer/director who worked in many different genres, from Westerns to War films to Gialli.  Most would agree though, that his best work was in the Italian Crime genre, particularly the “Milieu Trilogy” of Milano Calibre 9 (Caliber 9), La Mala Ordina (The Italian Connection) and Il Boss (The Boss).  These films, which were released from 1972-1973, have frequently been called the best Italian Crime films ever made (there is a quote on the front of this box set from Quentin Tarantino regarding his love for Di Leo).  Though previously released under Raro Video’s Italian label overseas, the only release stateside of these great films were on grey market discs by Popflix or Video Asia.  Finally, on March 16th, we can see these films properly when the Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection is released.

The first film in this set is Caliber 9, the story of Ugo Piazza (Gastone Moschin, aka Don Fanucci from Godfather part II), a thug who was just released from prison.  He is accused by his former gang, led by Rocco Musco (Mario Adorf) of stealing and hiding $300,000 before going to jail.  Needless to say, they want their money back and despite Piazza’s continual denial, they take him back into the “family” knowing that if he is dead, they will never find the money.  Along the way, the Police are also after Ugo, as is the American crime boss who was supposed to receive the stolen money.

Next is The Italian Connection.  This time Mario Adorf takes on the lead role of Luca Canali, a small time pimp who is accused of stealing a shipment of Heroin en route to New York from Italy.  Two American gangsters (Henry Silva and Woody Strode, who are said to have influenced John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson’s characters in Pulp Fiction) are sent to Italy to find Canali but the real thieves want him dead before the Americans discover the truth.  Canali wages his own war after his family becomes a target for the mob.

The third film in Di Leo’s Milieu trilogy, The Boss, brings Henry Silva back, this time as mob hitman Nick Lanzetta.  Lanzetta wipes out an entire mob family at a porno theater, which disrupts the peace between mafia families.  Nick’s boss, Don Carrasco (Richard Conte) defends him but also tries to make peace with the remaining crime bosses.

The last film in the box set is I padroni della citta/Rulers of the City (aka Mister Scarface).  Jack Palance plays mob boss ‘Scarface’ Manzari, who is trying to snuff out ex-worker Rick (Al Cliver) and Rick’s new partner in crime Tony (Harry Baer).  Tony was sick of working for crime lord Luigi (Edmund Purdom) so he and Rick found a way to steal a large amount of cash from Manzari and get away.  Being the show off that he is, Tony makes it a point to let the ruthless Scarface know who ripped him off, which starts a manhunt culminating in an abandoned slaughterhouse massacre.

These films prove that Di Leo is easily one of the best and most influential directors of Italian Crime films.  When Di Leo films a chase scene, whether it’s in a car or on foot, you feel like you are right there with the characters, running for your life, dodging bullets and punches, desperate for revenge.  The action in these films puts most in the genre to shame, but just as important in making these films crush their competitors are the characters.  Mostly based around stories by Italian author Giorgio Scerbanenco, Di Leo’s screenplays are filled with a colorful collection of hoods, pimps, crime bosses, scumbags, femme fatales and just about anyone else you wouldn’t want within 100 feet of you.  Instead of just a body count, these characters are surprising complex which makes even the most despicable lout sympathetic.  Rulers of the City has some great characters (especially Tony) but it is a little lighter than the trilogy and therefore loses a bit of its impact.  It is still a great film though.  Caliber 9, The Italian Connection and The Boss all follow the same basic outline of a criminal who is double crossed and therefore goes out for revenge and captures our sympathy along the way.  Moschin, Adorf and Silva all do flawless jobs portraying these roles and the reappearance of several actors throughout the trilogy displays their versatility.

Raro Video should be applauded for this release.  Not only do they collect four brilliant Italian Crime films from one of the genre’s best directors, but they put it out in an affordable box set filled to the brim with bonus features.  This set comes in a cardboard outer sleeve with slim cases for the four discs, each with its own artwork.  Also included is an informative booklet full of candid photos from the making of the films included as well as essays and interviews with Di Leo.  Each disc features impeccable transfers of the films with optional English language or Italian Language with English subtitles.  Also included on each disc are photo galleries and documentaries on the films as well as a bonus documentary on the work of Fernando Di Leo..  Most Italian Crime fans probably already know how great these films are but for those who don’t or for action, mob or Tarantino fans, these films will blow you away.  Welcome to the US Raro Video.  I wish all DVD companies could put as much love into their releases as you do.


Caliber 9 : 10/10
The Italian Connection : 10/10
The Boss : 10/10
Rulers of the City : 8/10

Overall Rating: 10/10 

Thursday, March 10, 2011







Grand Theft Auto is a nonstop orgy of comic destructiveness.” —Variety

Put the pedal to the metal and burn rubber with the clutch-popping excitement of this new special edition of Eat My Dust! Young Hoover Niebold is dying to impress Darlene. She’s into going fast, he’s into Darlene — but when they both get into a red-hot race car, the reckless fun accelerates into a wild ride. They’re off on the open road for a tire-squealing, fender-bending adventure to who-knows-where — and all Smokey can do is EAT THEIR DUST! Starring Ron Howard, Christopher Norris (Airport 1975), Dave Madden (The Partridge Family) and Ron’s brother and father — Clint Howard and Rance Howard.

Cross Romeo & Juliet with a demolition derby and you have Grand Theft Auto, Ron Howard’s directorial debut. Can Sam and Paula — a young runaway couple traveling in her father’s stolen Rolls-Royce — get hitched in Vegas before their parents, a jealous boyfriend, a private detective and a mob of bounty hunters catch them? The race is on! Starring Ron Howard, Nancy Morgan (The Nest), Marion Ross (Happy Days) and Ron’s brother and father — Clint Howard and Rance Howard.

About the films, Roger Corman says  “Eat My Dust! [was] one of my biggest moneymakers during the ’70s — due to a combination of action and comedy and a teenage leading man, Ron Howard, who was a superpopular star due to Happy Days. . . .  Plus lots and lots of car crashes! I had thought Ron would be too expensive for my budget, but was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to star. Ron reasoned he’d work once as an actor for me and then come back as a director. And he did! Ron made his directorial debut for me on Grand Theft Auto. After Eat My Dust! opened to really huge figures, Ron said he’d do a sequel for exactly the same money, plus he’d do another job for free. . . .  He’d direct the film for nothing! Ron and his father Rance came up with a winning idea for Grand Theft Auto, a chase movie where Ron could be the legitimate lead but not be in every scene, so he could concentrate on his directing. Ron has gone on to direct a series of critically and financially successful films, including the Oscar®-winning A Beautiful Mind. I’m proud to have been a vehicle to launch Ron Howard on his esteemed directorial career.”

Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases in 2011. Upcoming highlights include Action-Packed Collection, The Ron Howard Action Pack, The Women in Cages Collection, Battle Beyond the StarsBlack Oak Conspiracy, Savage!, and many others.

Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s illustrious career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing and legendary 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, and he chronicled his incredible true-life story in the best-selling, award-winning autobiography How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, written with Jim Jerome in 1998. 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, Robert Towne, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Hopper, Bill Paxton, Monte Hellman, Carl Franklin and Sally Kirkland.

EAT MY DUST! Special Features:
  • New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • New Interview With Star Ron Howard
  • How To Crash On A Dime – The making of Eat My Dust!
  • Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman
  • The Illustrated Man – A Conversation With Corman Poster Artist John Solie
  • Theatrical Trailer And TV Spot

GRAND THEFT AUTO Special Features:
  • New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Introduction By Roger Corman
  • Audio Commentary With Ron Howard And Roger Corman
  • Audio Commentary With Actor/Cowriter Rance Howard, Second Unit Director Allan Arkush, Editor Joe Dante And Key Grip Ben Haller
  • A Family Affair – An Interview With Rance And Clint Howard
  • Interview With Ron Howard And Roger Corman
  • Leonard Maltin Interviews Roger Corman
  • Theatrical Trailer And TV Spots

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Clowns (1970, Federico Fellini)

8 ½ is one of my favorite movies.  Fellini’s use of absurdity, autobiographical themes and chaos thrown into a mixed-up, dream-like state in that film comprise a masterpiece.  It could actually be said that all of these elements are also present in Fellini’s lost classic I Clowns (The Clowns), just released on DVD for the first time in the US from Raro Video.  That such a highly regarded film by someone like Fellini hasn’t been released on disc in the states previously is amazing, but it’s great to finally have it.

I Clowns begins with Fellini’s recollections of first seeing a circus put up out his bedroom window as a child.  We see a full clown act which we assume delights young Fellini, but soon find out that it traumatized him.  It is explained how these clowns remind him of the sad characters he would see day to day, such as the town drunk or the flashback-prone war vet.  Fellini then stages a documentary (or a documentary of a documentary) to try to find out the truth behind the history of clowns and if “the clown” is dead, per se.  We see the crew travel all over Europe to meet with various characters, historians and the great clowns themselves.

I Clowns is nothing short of a brilliant example of a behind the scenes look at a documentary being filmed.  In typical Fellini fashion, we know this is just a film but he tricks us into feeling like we are right there seeing all the events unfolding.  The way the interview footage (which again we are never sure what is real) is intertwined with the breath-taking circus performances (some including Fellini himself) is very clever and unconventional, but it makes for a fascinating watch.  Also joining the festivities is famed Italian composer Nino Rota as the band leader.  Even if this was a bare bones disc, it would be a must have for film aficionados.  Fortunately this disc, the first put out by the Italian Raro Video’s US distributed label, goes above and beyond with a Criterion-worthy release.  Other than the film, which has a beautiful, full screen (this was originally made for TV) 35mm print, the disc includes an exhausting set of bonus features.  We have Un Agenzia Matrimoniale, a short film by Fellini as well as a documentary on Fellini’s fascination with the Circus in his films.  Lastly, this release also includes a 50 page booklet including original drawings and reflections of the film by Fellini himself.  Needless to say, this is a magnificent release by a well respected European company that is finally gracing us Americans with some incredible output.

RATING:  9/10

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Capone (1975, Steve Carver)

Coming March 29th from Shout! Factory is the 1975 Roger Corman produced story of Al Capone, succinctly titled Capone.  This new disc marks the first US DVD release of this film, which is very surprising based on the great cast.  I myself had never even heard of the film until recently but it instantly became a must see for me.

Capone stars Ben Gazzara as the man himself, Alphonse Capone, who starts his life of crime as a simple hood trying to get recognized by the big boys.  After mob boss Johnny Torrio (Harry Guardino) sees the potential in Capone, he appoints him his right hand man.  Al's violent streak is looked down upon by the other crime bosses, but after wasting most of the competition, he himself becomes a respected leader.  Along the way Capone becomes involved with a flapper named Iris (Susan Blakely) and acquires his own right hand man, Frank Nitti (Sylvester Stallone).

Honestly, I don't know much about the historical facts of Al Capone's life.  It's probably been 20 years since I've seen the Untouchables and with many films about Capone out there, who knows which are accurate?  Though I'm sure this film adds some fiction in with the facts, it was convincing enough to make for a great watch.  Oddly enough, the screenplay was written by Howard Browne, who also wrote the 1967 Roger Corman film The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, also based around Al Capone.  Capone (the film) actually has a lot going for it, especially for cult movie fans.  There is loads of blood, profanity, nudity and violence (all Corman staples), as well as a great cast (which also includes John Cassavetes and Corman regulars Dick Miller and Martin "Kreese from The Karate Kid" Kove).  Gazzara is in top form here as the gravel voiced, puffy cheeked gangster and Stallone does a great job playing the impassive Frank Nitti.  Shout! Factory's DVD is (unsurprisingly) another stunning release, with a pristine widescreen transfer, an informative commentary with director Steve Carver (another Corman regular), and some vintage trailers.

RATING:  9/10

Pre Order now from Shout! Factory HERE - release date 3/29/11

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Saw the Devil Opens March 4th in Theaters!

Watch  the Trailer

“ONE FANTASTICALLY HYPNOTIC MOVIE. I Saw the Devil cements Ji-Woon Kim’s place among the (young) modern masters. It may be the most hypnotic serial killer story since The Silence of the Lambs, and it's CERTAINLY ONE OF THE BEST THRILLERS I'VE SEEN IN A FEW YEARS.”
— Scott Weinberg, Fearnet
“An unflinching gaze into the heart of pure evil and a perverse genre entertainment par excellence. It takes the serial-killer thriller as far into the realm of pulse-pounding mayhem as it has ever gone. Fans of hardcore Asian action and horror will simply eat it up.”
— Rob Nelson, Variety
“9.5 out of 10. A hugely entertaining thriller. This is filmmaking on a whole new level. A masterpiece.”
— Jacob Hall, CHUD
“9 out of 10. Nothing short of staggering. A cool, confident, and sometimes stunningly beautiful film.”
— Jeremy Kirk, 
“ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING. Shockingly violent and stunningly accomplished, it transcends the police procedural, pushing the boundaries of extreme Asian cinema in ways that will surprise and thrill fans of the genre.”
— Mr. Disgusting,
“Damned if it isn’t riveting from the word ‘go’.”
— Noel Murray, The Onion

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Press Kit
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I SAW THE DEVIL is a shockingly violent and stunningly accomplished tale of murder and revenge from Korean genre master KIM Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird and A Tale of Two Sisters). Oldboy's CHOI Min-sik plays Kyung-chul, a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. The embodiment of pure evil, he has committed horrifying and senselessly cruel serial murders on defenseless victims, successfully eluding capture by the police.

On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Ju-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancee of elite special agent Dae-hoon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird's LEE Byung-hyun). Obsessed with revenge, Dae-hoon decides to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. And when he finds Kyung-chul, turning him in to the authorities is the last thing on his mind.

The lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse. Pushing the concept of revenge to its most extreme limits, KIM Jee-woon brilliantly transcends the police procedural and serial killer genres in surprising and thrilling new ways.





* AND *



Shout! Factory will release two exciting multi-feature DVDs this April, the Action-Packed Double Feature Dirty Mary Crazy Larry /Race With The Devil on April 5, and the triple feature Action Packed Collection of Georgia Peaches, The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, Smokey Bites The Dust on April 12.

April 5 - Roger Corman Cult Classics: Action-Packed Collection: Georgia Peaches, The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, Smokey Bites The Dust

Two sisters running an auto repair shop and their moonshine-running boyfriend are extorted into becoming undercover government agents to outwit the Dragon Lady of the Southern crime belt in Georgia Peaches. Starring singer Tanya Tucker, Dirk Benedict (The A-Team), Sally Kirkland and Terri Nunn (lead singer for the group Berlin), this action-packed comedy was produced by Roger Corman as a pilot for a possible television series.

Candy (Claudia Jennings, Gator Bait, DeathSport) and Ellie Jo (Jocelyn Jones, Tourist Trap) are a pair of sexy bank robbers who blast their way into small-town banks with a carload of dynamite in The Great Texas Dynamite Chase! When they take Slim (Johnny Crawford, Valley Of The Giants) hostage, it begins a thrill-packed crime spree across the state of Texas. Also starring Tara Strohmeier (Candy Stripe Nurses), Bart Braverman (Alligator) and Priscilla Pointer (Carrie).

Smokey Bites The Dust follows the rivalry between a small-town Southern sheriff and a small-town delinquent who steals cars and then destroys them with the sheriff’s daughter by his side. Starring Jimmy McNichol (Night Warning), Janet Julian (King Of New York, Humongous), William Forsythe (Raising Arizona) and Walter Barnes (High Plains Drifter), this action-packed comedy was directed by Charles B. Griffith (Up From The Depths) and co-produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, The Incredible Hulk)

Special Features:
  • Theatrical Trailers

April 12 - Dirty Mary Crazy Larry/Race With The Devil

Larry (Peter Fonda) is a former NASCAR racer looking to score some quick cash. Mary (Susan George) is a sexy groupie aching to take a fast ride. Together with mechanic Deke (Adam Roarke), they pull off a cold-blooded supermarket heist and hit the highway in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Now there is a maniacal lawman (Vic Morrow) on their trail, an entire police force in pursuit and hundreds of miles of roadblocks between their ’69 Charger and freedom. Buckle up for the action classic that blows the doors off all other car chase films as it speeds toward one of the most jaw-dropping finales in movie history. Directed by John Hough (The Legend Of Hell House, The Incubus).

For old friends Roger (Fonda) and Frank (Warren Oates) and their wives (Lara Parker, Loretta Swit), it was supposed to be “the best damn vacation they ever had.” But their RV road trip takes a deadly detour at a secluded campsite when they accidentally witness a satanic sacrifice in Race With The Devil. Now horror hits the highway as the couples are pursued by satanic cultists through some of the most intense car chases and into one of the greatest twist endings in drive-in movie history. Directed by Jack Starrett (The Losers, Cleopatra Jones), who was also an actor and played the memorable role of the vicious Deputy Galt in First Blood.

  • Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Audio Commentary With Director John Hough
  • Ride The Wild Side – Featuring interviews with director John Hough and actors Peter Fonda and Susan George
  • Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots And Radio Spots   

RACE WITH THE DEVIL Special Features:
  • Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Audio Commentary With Executive Producer Paul Maslansky And Actress Lara Parker
  • Hell On Wheels – Interview with Peter Fonda
  • Theatrical Trailers, TV Spot And Radio Spots