Sunday, July 5, 2015



    For Halloween viewing this Oct., Kino has announced the release of A.I.P.'s THE OBLONG BOX from 1969. This was one of a quartet of intriguing horror films directed by Gordon Hessler that continued A.I.P.'s Poe series after the highly successful Corman films. Along with SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN and CRY OF THE BANSHEE from 1970 and 1971's MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE they all suffered cuts and edits by A.I.P in relation to sexual content and/or bloodshed along with running times and in the case of both CRY (at the times of its initial U.S. theatrical release)and SCREAM (upon its home video release) they were re-scored. Luckily (and surprisingly) they were all restored to Hessler's original vision by MGM for their much loved Midnight Movie series of DVD releases.
    Originally to be directed by Michael Revees (WITCHFINDER GENERAL), his tragic death before filming necessitated Hessler being given the directors reins. For that CRY OF THE BANSHEE has always been saddled with "it's not as good as Reeve's could have done". It has its faults with a rather dis-jointed script, but the MGM's DVD release of Hessler's original cut restores approximately 10 minutes of footage exercised (restoring some fleeting nudity and violence) and also puts various sequences back into his preferred running order.
   With only a fleeting reference to Poe's original short story, the plot concerns Victorian colonialism & a disfigured vengeful protagonist and is the first pairing of Christopher Lee and Vincent Price (although the only share one short scene together). Kino's upcoming release will feature a new HD transfer and more then likely will be the full directors cut.

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