Here are the Top 10 titles we dug the most for the month of November. It was a slow month for The Wall but some cool shit still managed to mug us and grab some bills from the wallet. As always, click the cover art to jump over to Amazon and snag the title.
10. MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED
Mark Hartley, the director of NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, is back to explore B-movie feasts from the far east and while it’s not nearly as good as NQH, it’s still worth the coin. I just wish he had spent more time on one subject instead of jumping around so much. You are guaranteed to walk away with some new titles to check out though.
9. BLACK MOON RISING
This is jam-packed with all kinds of tough. John Carpenter produced, Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Hamilton star, Bubba Smith co-stars, and Robert Vaughn is the villain. That’s enough to slap your momma. Film number two on the list that I wish we could have on Blu.
8. THE ANGEL COLLECTION
After Roger Corman sold New World Pictures, the new owners decided to class up the joint with a production about a “high school honor roll student by day, hooker by night!” This is straight-up, full-on sleaze… and I dig the hell out of it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first sequel but ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER features Richard Roundtree so of course we are going to dig it.
7. HOLLYWOOD MAN
You know when you rock THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 and that soundtrack camps out in your skull for a week or four? HOLLYWOOD MAN pulls the same job, the film is tough as nails too so it’s win/win for fans of 70’s action.
6. NO BLADE OF GRASS
I saw NO BLADE OF GRASS (1970) back in the early ‘90’s on a grainy VHS tape that was being passed around my geek community of acne covered, mullet wearing film freaks (I paint a picture of a good looking crew). It was one of those copies that had been played so often the auto-tracking clicked on about every 20 minutes in search of a clearer picture. The director of the film was Cornel Wilde. Though NO BLADE OF GRASS would make a significant impression on me, Wilde fell off my radar until earlier this year when I saw NAKED PREY (1966) and since then I have been on a search for a copy of NO BLADE with no luck.
This film has been called the exploitation film with a message. It touches on themes of global warming (which was way ahead of its time) and a society spinning out of control. This is a smart, violent film with a very strong narrative that is unique to the exploitation genre. I wish this thing was on Blu-ray and wish it had some special features but Warner Archives doesn’t roll like that. Instead we get standard def and I don’t know about you, but I am just a happy bastard to even have this on my shelf. Dig it.
5. ONE-EYED JACKS
4. LOONEY TUNES PLATINUM
COLLECTION VOLUME 1
Bugs and crew are finally getting the long awaited Blu-ray treatment in a special 3 disc set. This set includes 6 cartoons that were never released on the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTIONS and features 25 classics from the immortals: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Road Runner, and Wile E. Coyote. It also has 25 one shot classics (including the one with that damn singing frog) and a number shorts featuring secondary characters Marvin the Martian and Tasmanian Devil.
3. EVIL DEAD 2
By my count, THE EVIL DEAD films have been collectively released on various home video formats 42,351 times. This is only the second time however that THE EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN has hit Blu-ray. Since it’s the film’s 25th Anniversary, it gets the special Pick of the Week slot.
Sam Raimi with the help of Scott Spiegel, created a stoogey-slugfest of a film that is more comedy than horror. I am a pretty huge fan of the first film but this is creatively the best film in the series and one of the best films to come out of the 80’s. I wonder where this series would be without Stephen King stepping up and doing some Pauline Kael style championing of the first film…
If there was one box that stood out at my video store it was FRANKENHOOKER (with DEAD PIT being a close second). FRANKENHOOKER was the first “talking box” that we had and it was well played in the aisles of horror. “Wanna date” the box would scream. I heard that over and over until the battery died about a year later. The box may no longer speak, but the film still stands as an early 90’s horror-comedy classic.
Frank Henonlotter is a funny fucker. Humor is stamped all over his work from BASKET CASE to BRAIN DAMAGE. Those films have their share of shocking scenes and dance on the boundaries of the macabre, but they always know when to wink at the camera. I think both of those films are better than FRANKENHOOKER but I also think that FRANKENHOOKER understands what it is more so than Henonlotter’s previous films; a comedy with some horror riffs that ultimately play as a tribute to flicks like THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE. Henonlotter now works for Something Weird Video, finding and rescuing the flicks we all crave and treasure (he also directed the 2010 Herschel Gordon Lewis documentary THE GODFATHER OF GORE). I don’t know about you, but I would dig the hell out of another pic from the man that created a room full of exploding hookers.
As always, Synapse Films has done an incredible job with this release; it’s packed with 3 featurettes and one of the best audio commentaries I have heard this year featuring Henonlotter and Make-Up Effects Designer Gabe Bartalos. This is the uncut version of FRANKENHOOKER presented in a 2K high-definition transfer created from original vault materials and digitally re-mastered 5.1 surround sound. There is a reason Synapse is one of the best labels around, and FRANKENHOOKER is exhibit A.
- Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1
- DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround
- Audio Commentary with Director Frank Henenlotter and Make-Up Effects Designer Gabe Bartalos
- A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth – Patty Mullen Featurette
- A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects of FRANKENHOOKER Featurette
- Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers FRANKENHOOKER- Featurette
- Jennifer Delora’s FRANKENHOOKER PHOTO SCRAPBOOK
- Theatrical Trailer
1. HORROR EXPRESS
It started when producer Bernie Gordon wanted to maximize his investment in a train he bought for his 1972 film PONCHO VILLA; this Corman-esque move lead to HORROR EXPRESS. This may be better known as the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing movie that almost wasn’t. Shortly after agreeing to be in the film, Cushing’s wife passed away and the happy-go-lucky actor plunged into depression. It was his old friend and co-star Lee who heavily leaned on Cushing’s notorious work ethic and got him back in the film. The result is a fun as hell 90 minute rail ride full of Lee/Cushing goodness, blood, thrills, chills, and Telly Savalas aka The Bald Headed Bastard.
HORROR EXPRESS has been a midnight movie staple for as long as I can remember thanks to its status in the public domain. Severin has gone back to the film’s original 35mm negatives and it goes without saying that it has never looked better. Having said that, it never looked great in the first place and the source print looks like it has some scratches but who the hell cares. This a Severin release doing what Severin and only a few others could do; take a genre favorite and roll out the red carpet on the extras which includes a 1973 audio interview with Peter Cushing. This a solid release for a film that was long overdue for a little respect. Since BMX BANDITS, Severin has slowed down a little bit. It’s releases like this though that show how fucking money they are as a distributor. Nice work Severin.
- Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express: New interview with director Eugenio Martín
- Notes from the Blacklist: Producer Bernard Gordon discusses the McCarthy era
- The Guardian 1973 audio interview with Peter Cushing
- Telly and Me: New interview with composer John Cacavas
- Introduction by Fango editor Chris Alexander
- Theatrical trailer
NOVEMBER IS A WRAP BASTARDS…
Now to get ready for December. I don’t know about you, but I am stoked for INTRUDER to drop on Blu-ray. That is one that is going to have a spot in the Top 10 releases of the year.
SEE YOU ON FORTY DEUCE,
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