Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SHADOW OF THE HAWK 1976 On Blu



    One of the more interesting and up till now examples of missing 70's horror SHADOW OF THE HAWK will be released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek on Sept. 18. Paired up with 1979's NIGHTWING., SHADOW OF THE HAWK was one of the numerous Canadian tax shelter movies that were made during this period. Most often doing their best to hide their Canadian origins, they're a fascinating (especially in the case of  horror/thriller films) sub-genre with examples such as MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1982), RITUALS (1976) and of course David Cronenberg's early work.
   Directed by George McCowan (FROGS 1972) SHADOW OF THE HAWK is an interesting (and sometime daffy) story with young executive Jan-Michael Vincent whose grandfather Chief Dan George enlists his help in fighting a malevolent Native American spirit. It would make a great dbl. feat, with William Gridler's THE MANITOU from 1978 (still sadly missing from DVD) and features Jan-Michael wrestling a bear!  The story doesn't hold up to close inspection and the special effects are a bit more ambitious then the budget allows, but it's a fun piece of 70's horror.
   NIGHTWING is one of the plethora of nature runs amok movies from this time and a good cast helps elevate it although it has the look of TV movie from the period. 




Wednesday, June 6, 2018

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC Coming on Blu!!!



     In a surprise (some would say shocking) announcement Scream Factory is unleashing John Boorman's much maligned EXORCIST sequel on Blu-ray. Streeting on Sept. 25 it will include both including the 117 minute initial release cut and the 110 minute re-edited version that was put into wide release after the film's disastrous opening.
    Always on my Halloween watch list and rightly almost universally ridiculed, I've always found an almost a perverse fascination in it as a mind bogglingly example of WTF cinema with some sequences almost laugh out loud hilarious. Featuring a gorgeous looking Linda Blair, a scenery gobbling performance by Richard Burton and a fresh off her Oscar win Louise Fletcher along with a returning Max von Sydow as Father Merrin. Plus, you've got James Earl Jones, Paul Henried (CASABLANCA) in his last role and swarms of locusts.




Tuesday, June 5, 2018

THE EVIL 1978 On Blu


    On Sept. 18 Scream Factory will release this 1978 late night cable staple on Blu-ray. Directed by Gus Trikonis who had an interesting career in early 70's exploitation including THE SWING BARMAIDS (1975). NASHVILLE GIRL (1976), THE STUDENT BODY (1976) and MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS (1977) it was probably seen by him a move forward into more mainstream projects (he was also a co-writer on the screenplay). Barely released theatrically by New World it showed up constantly on late night TV during the 80's and its video box would haunt the shelves of mom & pop video store everywhere.
   Starring Richard Crenna (FIRST BLOOD), Joanna Pettet (A CRY IN THE WILDERNESS) and 70's horror mainstay Andrew Prine (ANDREW KING OF WITCHES & BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD) it features the standard plot of group of people trapped in a house with unsavory past, but the film does add some different elements to proceedings and the characters back stories. Going into some real bizarre territory in its finale (complete with an unforgettable cameo by Victor Buono) the film has always been somewhat unfairly maligned.
   Previously available from Shout on a dbl. feature DVD with TWICE DEAD the new Blu will feature a new 2K scan from the only surviving elements along with an audio commentary with Trikonis, write Donald G. Thompson and director of photography Mario Di Leo moderated by Walter Olsen (ported over from the DVD) plus a trailer and TV spot.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

RIP Janine Reynaud (1930-2018)


    A smoldering redhead who lent an unforgettable presence to Euro sex, horror and exploitation films of the 60' & 70's Jannie Reynaud has passed away. Starting out as a model she is perhaps best known foe being an early muse of Jess Franco and for her role in his SUCCUBUS (1968) and the two psychedelic  spy "Red Lips" spoofs KISS ME MONSTER & SADIST EROTICA (1969).
  She also appeared in THE CASE OF THE SCORPIONS TALE (1971) and in the creepy Gothic CASTLE OF THE CREEPING FLESH (1968). Her performance in 1971's FRUSTRATION (aka THE CHAMBERMAID'S DREAM) in amazing and is a film which is in dire need of a Blu-ray upgrade. A recent resident of Texas see was married for a brief time to the equally enigmatic French actor Michel Lemoine.




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

MONSTER SHARK aka DEVILFISH 1984 On Blu


    On July 3 Code red via Kino will release director Lamberto Bava's wonderfully cheesy and entertaining monster from the deep opus on blu-ray. One of the more ludicrous Italian Jaws knock-offs this feature a weirdly fascinating octopus/monster shark hybrid, copious amounts of beer swilling and floppy rubber tentacles.
    Featuring a new color corrected scan, reversible cover-art and commentary by star Michael Sopkiw (2019:AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK) this will be one of my more anticipated releases of the year. Plus you have Dagmar Lassander in the cast!!



Monday, April 23, 2018

S.F. Brownrigg Dbl. Feature on BLU


   VCI has announced a Blu/DVD double feature for two of S.F. Brownrigg's low budget Texas horror oddities for release in HD on Aug. 14. Working in Texas during the 70's (he'd cut his teeth working for bottom-of-the-barrel auteur Larry Buchanan) Brownrigg made a fascinating series of horror thrillers that played under various titles on triple and double features that snaked through the drive-in circuit.
    Usually featuring claustrophobic settings, dysfunctional families and close-ups of sweaty faces they've been fixtures and low budget labels and those multi-pack horror DVD ("50 Chillers for $9.95") and have been long over due for upgrade. DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (1973) has been the subject of a couple of blu-ray releases in the past couple of years and VCI's previous double feature DVD of that and DON'T OPEN THE DOOR (1975) were the best looking these vfilms have ever looked, so it'll be interesting to see what VCI's blu turns out to be. Here's hoping!





    

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD 1975



    Kino has released the final specs for their upcoming release of THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD. Directed by J. Lee Thompson (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE) it was based on a bestselling book of the the time by Max Simon Elrich - who also wrote the screenplay for the film.
   Released in 1975 it's been long OOP on home video with only bootleg DVD's floating around all derived from the ancient VHS release. Kino will be releasing a new 4K transfer from Paramount along with a slew of extras.
   Although it does have its faults with a plot sometimes slipping into romantic melodrama it is a long missing and interesting piece of 70's horror. One of the best things going for it is the presence of actor Michael Sarrizan. One of the most under rated actors of his time he seemed to have an infallible knack for picking interesting movies such as THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY, HARRY IN YOUR POCKET and THE FLIM-FLAM MAN and bringing a unique presence to each role.
    The film also stars the wonderful Margo Kidder (who that same year was also in 92 IN THE SHADE and THE GREAT WALDO PEPPER) and a drop dead gorgeous Jennifer O'Neill.