Monday, May 22, 2017

New Commentary Tracks for Naschy Films!

As I have already gleefully announced here, 2017 is turning out to be the year Paul Naschy came to Blu-Ray in a serious way! Last year got things off to a good start with CRIMSON (1976) and COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE (1973) getting special edition releases with beautiful new transfers and some tasty extras. But this year promises to be even better as the Naschy trickle becomes a flood with Mondo Macabro's INQUISITION (1978) due any day now along with the forthcoming set of five Naschy classics from Scream Factory streeting in late June. It's a great time to be a fan of Spanish Horror!

Of course, for Troy and myself, these releases are of special significance. We were asked to contribute a commentary track for INQUISITION and were thrilled to do so. It was hard, headache inducing work and we are still nervous about the reception our efforts will receive. Overall, we're confident we've produced an entertaining, informative track that will add to the viewer's experience.  INQUISITION is a great film and one that has been very hard to see for the last few decades. We're very excited for people to finally get a chance to see this lesser known Naschy film especially in hi-def!  It's a gorgeous looking movie that has been hidden behind fuzzy VHS transfers for far too long. This is the work of a mature filmmaker exploring dark religious history and the insidious nature of fear meaning there is more than just thrills and shocks to engage the audience.

Adding to the Naschy news a few weeks ago Scream Factory quietly updated their website's listing for the upcoming set and, much to our surprise, announced that some fresh extras had been added. That's right! Your favorite Naschy podcasters have also recorded three new commentary tracks for the films in The Paul Naschy Collection! We were asked to add our voices to the new Blu-Rays and we leapt at the opportunity. In a way, we've kind of been prepping for this for seven years.

The tracks are for HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1972), BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1974) and NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1981). We chose these because they are some of Naschy's best, showing different sides of his screen persona and also a bit of his range. Discussing these films allowed us to dig into Waldemar Daninsky, Carlos Aured's excellent giallo and our personal favorite of his horror movies. How could we refuse?

We would've liked to have recorded tracks for all five films in the set but we had to carefully manage our time to get them done and in a form we could be proud of - even if, when listening, I will always hear the things left out, the side roads not explored and the anecdotes left unrecorded for a lack of time. But, in general, we're very happy with the finished product and can't wait to hear fan reactions to these loving audio tributes to our cinematic hero. Who knows what other Naschy movies might get new high definition releases if these sell well! Fingers crossed, fellow Spanish Horror aficionados! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jess Franco Poster Art - Part 35!

This is another in the long line of poster images for the mind-bendingly awful film OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1982). The film is an epic of boredom and idiocy but the posters used to advertise it are often amazing.    

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #77 - Percy's Progress (1974)

Would you believe that Vincent Price appeared in a film about a penis transplant? Of course you would! It was the 1970's and the shackles of censorship were (mostly) off. Madness! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

What I Watched In April

The James Gunn scripted THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (2017) is a blast of high concept horror that, with a less commercially successful pedigree, would have been a low budget film that turned up on NetFlix and slowly built a cult following. As it stands, the movie is a low budget effort with very good actors that flopped theatrically and will slowly build a cult following. See the difference there? Yeah, the actors in this one make all the difference in the world. In fact, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT is a great example of how a strong cast of solid character actors can elevate a piece of exploitation cinema. 

The plot is basic and brilliant - an office building full of employees is locked down so that no one can leave and then an impersonal voice over the intercom system informs everyone that a certain number of them must be dead in a certain amount of time or all of them will be killed. As you might expect, mayhem ensues. Part Office Space, part Battle Royale the film is well written and tightly directed with enough depth of characterization to make events more tense than average. As stated, the cast is excellent and the dark progression of violent demands on the trapped co-workers twists many everyday annoyances that haunt all of us in our work lives into grim signifiers. The ending is well played and carries a couple of good surprises making this a dark ride but one I can recommend.

I'm an unabashed fan of the super-silly Fast & Furious franchise films! With each entry in the series they become more and more ridiculous and less credible but, perversely, more fun. What started as a story about sophisticated thieves using fast cars to facilitate their crimes has morphed into a tale about a government sanctioned, ever expanding super-spy team. Madness!

This time out the twist is that, at the behest of a mysteriously threatening lady (the amazing Charlize Theron), model of dependability Dom (Vin Diesel) turns traitor to his friends running off with an EMP weapon capable of wiping out the electronics of an entire city. The rest of his team have to figure out why he has done something so contrary to his personality and stop his new cohorts from carrying out whatever bizarre plan they have in mind.

It plays out with speed, humor and insane car chases while the central mystery's solution makes all things clear and provides for another deepening of the emotional manipulation at the heart of the series. Playing on the heartstrings is part of this series' structure and family is the core driving characteristic in these movies now, reflecting producer Diesel's way of looking at life. It's a positive element that allows for relationships to grow and the group of friends to enlarge even if it requires some selective memory from film to film. Don't get me wrong - I like seeing Jason Statham brought into the action on the side of the angels (and he gets a great John Woo inspired sequence here) but didn't he flat out murder a member of their team a couple of movies back?

Still- these are perfect popcorn munching, drive-in evening action flicks that I'm glad are still being made. Dumb fun can sometimes be exactly what is needed, especially if it can be done without being too insulting to the viewers intelligence. Bring on number 9!

The List 

BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1974) - 7 (rewatch)
FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK (1941)- 8 (Errol Flynn comedy mystery)
THE UNCERTAIN DEATH (1973) - 7 (Larraz drama of plantation madness in India)
JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET (1962) - 4 (rewatch)
WOMEN OF SAN QUENTIN (1983) - 6 (TV movie about prison guards)
THE SPELL (1977) - 5 (evil witch-child TV movie)
THE BEYOND (1981) - 9 (rewatch)
WORLD WITHOUT END (1956) -6 (rewatch) (silly, sexist, colorful SF)
BATMAN: BAD BLOOD (2016) - 7 (animated tale)
MASSACRE IN DINOSAUR VALLEY (1985) - 4 (terrible Italian made cannibal film)
THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) - 6 (rewatch)
PLAY MOTEL (1979) -4 (ridiculous sexploitation/crime story) 
IT (1990) - 6 (rewatch)
PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES (1956) - 3 (rewatch on Blu)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown!

This hilarious and violent short by Jim Reardon is well worth seeing. Reardon went on to direct a number of Simpsons episodes and the comic sensibilities on display prove he was right for the job. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Now that I've seen this 60's monster mess I understand why it took me so long to catch up with it. Usually a monster film from this period will have fans regardless of it's low quality but I have never had anyone recommend seeing FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER and that has kept me away. With good reason!

This micro budget affair relates the tale of an alien Queen who travels to our planet in search of women to replenish her homeworld's war depleted supply of fertile breeding stock. This is complicated by NASA's (at least I think it's NASA) newest astronaut - an android that can actually pass as human. The aliens shoot down the missile containing our humanoid robot and then land near him to begin their round up of female baby-pods. The heavily damaged but still sort-of functional android wanders around until his scientist creator (the great James Karen) locates him and then kind-of places him in the way of the invading aliens.

The running time of this incredibly boring SF effort is a much padded 76 minutes and at least 20 of those minutes are made up of stock footage. Seriously. The rest of the film is a series of poorly directed, barely scripted scenes that advance the story in fits and starts. This is easily one of the dullest and dumbest science fiction films of the 1960's and it's a terrible monster film to boot! The burned and damaged android is our Frankenstein Monster and the alien race has sent along a creature for just such occasions! Time to rumble - but not until the last couple of minutes of this overstretched, laborious, snooze inducing muddle. There are worse monster films from the 1960's but this one is still pretty damned bad. But that poster art is amazing!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Euro-Trash Poster Art Explosion!

Imagine the marathon viewing session it would take to watch them all!