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Monday, April 26, 2010

Blu-Ray News: The Sadist

An idyllic Sunday afternoon soon becomes a living nightmare when three schoolteachers’ automobile breaks down and leaves them stranded at a deserted scrap yard. It is then that THE SADIST (Arch Hall, Jr., Wild Guitar) comes out to play. Sporting a maniacal smirk, a loaded gun, and a silent 18-year-old girlfriend (Marilyn Manning, Eegah!), THE SADIST holds the three terror-stricken tutors hostage in order to serve his own perverse pleasures, mercilessly taunting them with promises of death.

THE SADIST was written and directed by James Landis (TV’s “Gunsmoke,” Deadwood ’76, Jennie: Wife/Child) and produced by L. Steven Snyder. It co-stars Richard Alden (TV’s “Hogan’s Heroes”), Don Russell (The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?), and Helen Hovey. It was originally distributed theatrically in the USA by Arch Hall, Sr.’s Fairway International Pictures and has a run time of approximately 92 minutes. The film is Not Rated.

Bonus Material
• Arch Hall, Jr. Interview by Ray Dennis Steckler
• Arch Hall, Jr. Video Songbook
• Reflections on THE SADIST by Johnny Legend
• Original Theatrical Trailers for THE CHOPPERS, EEGAH!, WILD GUITAR, THE SADIST

Available now from AMAZON.COM

A few reviews:

“The way the film depicts the killers is similar to the Hollywood films KALIFORNIA and NATURAL BORN KILLERS…the story is told in ‘real time’…Arch Hall really stands out…” --DVD Cult

“A genuinely tense, nerve-wracking trash thriller heightened by Arch’s moronic sneer and the unbelievable structure of his blonde pompadour.” --Jerry Renshaw, The Houston Chronicle

“A movie so much better than it would seemingly have any right to be, it makes you think that sometimes the Gods of Cinema really do smile down on these things.” --Twisted Pleasures

“Perhaps the most underrated psychological teenage thrill killer exploitation flick ever made. Decades ahead of its time…[an] ultramodern masterpiece.” --Adam Becvar (aka Luigi Bastardo),

“THE SADIST still packs a punch and holds up extremely well, remaining one of the best drive-in films of the 1960s…just as good as anything the major studious were churning out at that time.” --George R. Reis,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

DVD Review: Return of the Killer Tomatoes

Another review from Giuseppe, again from the "B-Movie Collection" and this time it's "The Return of the Killer Tomatoes" starring George Clooney. Well, lets ketchup with the review....sorry.

The Review:

It's been 25 years since the Great Tomato War, presumably covered in Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes (1978). Tomatoes are now illegal which makes for interesting alternative pizza sauces (jam, boysenberry, chocolate, etc) prepared by best buds Chad (Anthony Starke) and Matt (George Clooney) at their uncle's pizza place. It's on one of Chad's deliveries to (evil) professor Gangreen's mansion that he meets the beautiful but slightly odd Tara, she 'assists' the professor ("I'm his lover. I also cook, clean, perform 637 sexual acts and use all the popular home appliances"). Chad's smitten but what he doesn't know is that Tara is really a tomato! The prof has been performing illegal genetic experiments and has succeeded in creating a machine which transforms tomatoes into people, soon he will have an army strong enough to take over the world.

Yeah if you haven't realised already this film is a bizarre over the top comedy. But the truly odd thing is it's actually funny! The prof's assistant Igor is a handsome trained news anchorman waiting for his big break, Clooney runs 'meet Rob Lowe' competitions to get women (including Playmate Teri Weigel), Tara turns back into a tomato whenever she hears music (but she loves the farm report), there's a mutant fuzzy tomato (called FT) that throws itself on a grenade to save the day, oh and look out for Michael Jackson, Carmen Miranda, Don Johnson and The Pope. At one point the film simply stops as the production has run out of money, there's a cast and crew meeting and it's decided product placement is the solution, next thing you know everyone's drinking brand name beers, eating candy bars and the mad prof has a Pepsi logo on his back. Similarly when a totally unrelated ninjas versus cowboys fight breaks out in the pizza place Clooney calls a cut and ejects them from the film - meta enough for a Charlie Kaufman fan?

The films success is due in most part to the acting being spot on; John Astin (so very right in The Addams Family so very wrong in most everything else) is perfectly cast as the cackling professor, Anthony Starke throws himself into his role with as much deadly seriousness as he can get away with and even young Clooney is surprisingly good as droopy eyed Lothario Matt but the true standout is Karen Mistal as Tara delivering killer lines with an earnest innocence ("Can I cook you something? How 'bout a blowjob, maybe iron your pants?").

Perfect post-pub entertainment - make it a fully interactive drinking game experience by having another tipple every time someone says tomato!

The Disc:

Presented 1.33:1 full frame, that's the way it was shot. The image looks very good for a low budget 80's feature, strong colours, well saturated. Audio is standard stereo.

DVD Review: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

As part of the newly announced "B-Movie Collection" from Boulevard Entertainment due on May 17th, here is a review of the fantastic Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, from new DVD Trash scribe Giuseppe Rijitano.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

The Film:

Beware of spectacular cleavage! Well in the movies anyway, I'm looking at you Halle Berry (Catwoman, Swordfish, etc) and you Salma Hayek (After The Sunset, Bandidas, etc) like a siren's song the trailer tempts us poor mortals in with the promise of comedy and/or action all draped between a pair of tanned funbags - but we're inevitably left watching utter shit. Well this particular pair may be paler and from the 80's but I'm going in fully prepared!

Believe it or not; Cassandra Peterson's late night TV horror movie hostess creation Elvira was once so popular she was given her own feature film - well it was 80's USA, Pee Wee Herman was huge, go figure.

We're introduced to Elvira just as she quits her job hosting late night reruns of black and white Roger Corman classics on TV; there's been a change in the ownership of the network and the new head honcho hasn't read the rules on sexual harassment ("It's milkin' time!") so she's off to fulfil her dream of performing in her own Las Vegas show. Trouble is; first she needs to drum up $50,000. As luck would have it Elvira's great aunt has just passed away and there's an inheritance waiting for collection so next stop Fallwell, Massachusetts.

Once she gets there however Elvira finds herself in a conservative little town, seemingly stuck in the 50's, and run by a Mary Whitehouse-type bunch of old biddies. Worse still her aunt's only left her a decrepit house, a recipe book and a poodle in her will. In the hopes of restoring the house and selling it for a profit Elvira uses her charms to coax the teenagers of the town into aiding her in it's repair ("Just grab a tool and start bangin boys!"). Also it turns out Elvira's aunt was an actual witch and the recipe book is really a spell book which evil uncle Vincent (warlock) would dearly love to get his hands on. Roll on the inevitable witch burning and sorcerer's duel!

This is lightweight lowbrow comedy not embarrassed to employ slapstick and straight to camera dialogue gags. What was only mildly shocking in the 80's is ridiculously inoffensive today. That said highlights do include a gross out Elvira-makes-dinner sequence in which the main course tries to eat the diners and then meets the garbage disposal face first and a Flashdance parody (surely a Footloose one would have been more apt)! It all really comes down to Peterson, if you find her portrayal of Elvira (looks like a goth chick, speaks like an acid tongued valley girl cheerleader) amusing or irritating. I came down on the side of amusing in the end. She has a certain charm, above and beyond her bustline, primarily in her comic timing/delivery and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of one liners and put downs at her disposal. It also helps that the cast is made up of a veritable who's who of 80's supporting comedic talent plus the film looks great ($20 million budget reportedly).

Ultimately it's hard not to like a film that refuses to take itself seriously on any level. My final recommendation - far superior to an episode of TV's Charmed!

The Disc:

Anamorphic widescreen, the picture is soft (especially compared to the clean, colourful Region 1 USA release). DTS (unimpressive), 5.1 and 2.0 tracks included. Couple of text bios thrown in as well.

Giuseppe Rijitano

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Inglorious Bastards sells big in the UK!

Wow, a Castellari movie sells over 300,000 copies in the UK! Similar in name alone compared to Tarantino's movie that is still impressive!

From the Guardian:

"An obscure dubbed Italian film from 1978 titled Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato has become a surprise hit on DVD in Britain, selling more than 300,000 copies.

This success is explained by the film’s English title - Inglorious Bastards. Fans of Quentin Tarantino have rushed to buy the movie whose name alone inspired his misspelled second world war fantasy Inglourious Basterds.

Distributor Optimum Releasing picked up the UK rights for next to nothing four years ago, as soon as Tarantino announced plans for his film. It released the DVD last August after Tarantino’s movie premiered in Cannes but before its UK opening.

The strategy clearly paid off. Even at a budget price of £4, Inglorious Bastards has grossed well over £1m. Its sales of over 300,000 units must make it one of the bestselling Italian films ever on DVD in the UK. By way of comparison, Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds has sold 788,000 units, albeit at a higher price.

Yet Tarantino has made clear that the title is the only real connection between the two films. Both are set in the second world war, but Enzo G Castellari’s original is about a group of arrested soldiers who escape when their prison train is bombed in Italy, and decide to fight their way to freedom in neutral Switzerland.

The question is, did anyone buy the Italian movie by mistake? There’s no evidence of that from the comments on Amazon. Most say they bought the film out of curiosity to see the “original” on which Tarantino based his opus. While some admit to disappointment, there are also many reviewers willing to praise its cheap and cheerful charms. The DVD extras include Tarantino interviewing Castellari.

By the way, the Italian title literally translates as That Damned Armoured Train. The Inglorious Bastards was just one of several titles under which the film was released at various times in the US, including Counterfeit Commandos, GI Bro, Deadly Mission and Hell’s Heroes.

Optimum has a track record of releasing DVDs with similar titles to high-profile movies. It pulled the same stunt with Zodiac and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blu-Ray News: Showgirls

Coming June 15th (US) on Blu-Ray is "Showgirls", a film so shockingly bad it's amazing and now in HD! Might have to pick this up when it hits a bargain bin somewhere, so I hope the HD image is excellent! Count the pubes time!


- "The Greatest Movie Ever Made": Audio commentary by Showgirls connoisseur David Schmader
- Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper
- Lap Dance Tutorial Featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores
- Showgirls Fact-Up Trivia
- A Showgirls Diary

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Posters: 80's Horror, Italian Trash and Christy Canyon

Some more lovely Japanese posters have made their way into my collection:

 Savage Fury II (Christy Canyon)

More pics of my other Japanese buys: HERE and HERE

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

DVD Review: Agent 69 Jensen

Another updated review of mine is up at Cinema Nocturna, this time for the vey funny and bawdy Danish crime and smut capers starring Torbin Bille and Anna Bergman.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Book News: Giallo and Thrilling all'Italiana

From Glittering Images:

Sadistic black-dressed maniacs, naked women for the assassin, the extravagant aesthetics of murder, titles worthly of a bestiary of fantastique, all this and more characterize the Italian-styled thrillers and giallos. From the most prestigious authors to the more obscure and rare films. The most complete illustrated filmography on the genre, more than 300 titles with relative index and notes. Moreover, a detailed bibliography and discography make this reference book a veritable "must" for the fan.

Available in May 2010

Blu-Ray Review: The Ipcress File

My updated review of the The Ipcress File on Blu Ray is up over at Cinema Nocturna, go check it out!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

DVD and Blu Ray News

A raft of new and interesting titles heading to DVD and Blu-Ray over the next few months:

July 27th sees Shriek Show releases "Buio Omega" aka Beyond the Darkness, the Joe D'Amato shocker starring Cinzea Monreale.

Also coming soon from Shout Factory are some Roger Corman produced titles, with the highlights being:

July 20th - Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror

Also look out for Death Race 2000 and Starcrash both on DVD and Blu-Ray