1970s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, BLUE UNDERGROUND, british, Christopher Lee, cult, Donald Pleasence, dvd, fantasy, film, genre, gore, Horror, independent film, international, monsters, review, reviews, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, wierd

DEATH LINE from Blue Underground Blu Ray/DVD combo

DEATH LINE (aka RAW MEAT)Blue Underground Blu Ray/DVD combo (DEATH LINE ,K.L. Productions/released by Rank (U.K.)1972; A.I.P,1973 as RAW MEAT ). color. 87 minutes. Region Free. $39.98 https://www.amazon.com/Death-Line-Limited-Combo-Blu-ray/dp/B06ZZZN1TS/

“MINDDADOORS!”

The 1970s was a time when horror films were changing. Hammer Films biggest hits were their t.v. based comedies,while their final pairing of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee was the barely released THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA . Traditional horror was on it’s way out ,as major studios would soon be pouring millions into the type of films that smaller studios used to make .,among them THE EXORCIST (W.B.). Still ,there were still several intelligent and interesting British horrors made although they too got minimal releases outside of the U.K.,such as THE WICKER MAN (British Lion)and DEATHLINE (K.L.Productions,released by J.Arthur Rank in the U.K. ,aka RAW MEAT via A.I.P. in the U.S.).

 

When people start vanishing in the London subway system ,the police ,led by Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence ,seemingly having a grand time in the role) is put in charge of the investigation. What he discovers involves a cave in from the late 19th century and cannibalism.

The film was writer /director Gary Sherman’s debut feature (he had made a short film in 1966 called THE LEGEND OF BO DIDDLEY). Sherman had the original story idea which was expanded by Ceri Jones into the screenplay. Producer Paul Maslansky had previously backed Michael Reeves debut features (CASTLE OF THE LVING DEAD (1964 Italy,released by Tigon in the U.K. and Woollner Brothers in the U.S. IN 1965;and SHE BEAST (1966 Italy,released by Europix in the U.S. in 1967)as well as John Hough’s debut SUDDEN TERROR(1970,MGM- EMI,NATIONAL GENERAL in the U.S. 1971),so he was a producer willing to take a chance on a creative novice.

 


J.Arthur Rank Film distributed the film in the U.K. where it had some success as a co-bill to the Mark Lester starrer NIGHT HAIR CHILD . However, in the U.S., it was re-titled as RAW MEAT in 1973,with a misleading poster that made it seemed that the underground was swarming with a group of near naked zombies,and the film did sluggish business.

When it was released to television in the early 1980s ,it was in dark murky prints and edited for broadcast. It seemed to have been completely over looked in the U.S. VHS release marketplace, only getting a bare bones (get it?) DVD release by MGM in 2003.

                                                                      BARE BONES-get it?

 

Now ,BLUE UNDERGROUND has done horror fandom a great resurrection, restoring the film and releasing it in a BLU RAY/DVD All Region combo pack.

 

The film has been cleaned up and given a new 1080p transfer from a 2k master,restoring it to a Wide-screen 1.85:1 / 16×9 ratio . The film has some grain,due to it’s low budget but the miracle that the lighting crew did on lighting vast areas of the subway with little lighting equipment is addressed in the commentary track.

Indeed, the commentary track is one of the most fun and informative that I have heard in some time. It involves director Sherman, producer Maslansky, and a.d. Lewis More O’Ferrall discussing the genesis of the film ,its cast, shooting and distribution. There recollections are quite vivid for a project that they worked on some 46 years years ago,and you can sense the affection that they have for the project.

One interesting bit was the cameo by Christopher Lee . It was hard to shoot a dialogue scene between he and Pleasence due to their height difference and so the director used it to his advantage ,for they shot the men in separate takes, and the camera edged higher on Pleasence to show that he was being diminished by his bowler hatted superior, Stratton-Villiers, MI5 (Lee).

Donald Pleasence is credited for a lot of the humor that the character he portrayed displayed in the film.The actor seemed to have been universally revered and respected.

 

Also discussed is Norman Rossington (best known to American viewers for his role as The Beatles ‘ manager Norm in A HARD DAY’S NIGHT(U.A.,1964) but in the U.K. he was a very well regarded and well known performer.

Actor Hugh Armstrong is  rightfully given credit for his exceptional sympathy that can switch to savagery quickly in the role of “The Man”. I doubt he ever forgot his dialogue, as his lines consisted of the one phrase :”Minddadoors” (Mind The Doors,which was often shouted as the doors on the railway carriages closed) .That he can put so many different feelings and emphasis on that one phrase is a credit to his acting skill.

The film script had to be submitted to the London Underground for approval ,and so a false script was provided and given approval. The film’s U.K. release poster also caused some stir with the London Underground as well.

Vic Flair’s original Transparency Art

Interestingly, Marlon Brando was attached to the production but dropped out when his son Christian became ill.

Back to the BLUE UNDERGROUND release. The sound DTS-HD Mono / Dolby Digital Mono .It is perfectly adequate and quite clear,with no need to play around with shifting speakers.

 

Tales From The Tube – is a short video Interview with Co-Writer/Director Gary Sherman and Executive Producers Jay Kanter & Alan Ladd Jr.

From The Depths – another short video Interview with Star David Ladd (grandson of the legendary Alan) and Producer Paul Maslansky.

Mind The Doors -An Interview With Hugh Armstrong. The charming gentleman talks about how he became an actor and his role in DEATH LINE, which involved a lot of improvisation.

Also included are original RAW MEAT TV and radio spots ,both U.K. and U.S. movie trailers,and a posters and still gallery.

If that isn’t enough for you ,there is a marvelous bonus collectible booklet written by Michael Gingold of Fangoria as well as author Christopher Gallo (THE FILMS OF DONALD PLEASENCE http://www.bearmanormedia.com/the-films-of-donald-pleasence-softcover-edition-by-christopher-gullo).

The DVD cover can be reversed ,as one side is for DEATHLINE and the other is the RAW MEAT poster.

The sound DTS-HD Mono / Dolby Digital Mono .It is perfectly adequate and quite clear,with no need to play around with shifting speakers.No Head Splitting Sound…

DEATH LINE was screened at Lincoln Center as part of their Horror Series in 2002, and director Guillermo Del Toro declared it to be one of his all time favorites. That is a pretty major endorsement for the film.

I think that if you pick up this BLUE UNDERGROUND release of DEATH LINE, that it may become one of your favorites as well.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNVVjYhketY

Highly Recommended !

Kevin G Shinnick

 

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2017, Art house, Drama, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

FEED- review by Sean Fallon

FEED- Sony Pictures- Now Playing Theatrically

Troian Bellisario’s new movie FEED provides a fascinating insider look at eating disorders, while simultaneously giving fans of thrillers an entertaining story. While those who suffer from eating disorders are the primary target audience, outsiders to that type of sickness still get to experience a captivating story, even if our takeaway is vastly different from what Troian Bellisario intended when she wrote the script.

Bellisario plays the central protagonist, Olivia, a high school senior on pace to become valedictorian. She has a twin brother named Matt (Tom Fenton), with whom she is very close. As Matt is driving Olivia home from a party they attended together, they get into an argument, leading to a crash that is fatal for Matt, and emotionally devastating for Olivia.

Olivia still interacts with “Matt,” after the crash. In my instant video reaction at bit.ly/sfffeedv I speak about how “Matt,” could either be perceived as a haunting from Matt’s ghost, a demon impersonating Matt, or as a manifestation of trauma-induced insanity in Olivia’s head. After researching “Matt’s” actual meaning, however, all three of those scenarios, although plausible and loaded with high entertainment value, are not consistent with the intent of Troian Bellisario. “Matt,” actually is supposed to be a personification of the destructive voices that some people with eating disorders hear inside their heads, a concept that makes clear sense to insiders who have had that experience.

The sharp contrast between my list of possible perceptions and the writer’s vision is actually quite eye opening, in that it further shows how we process what we see through the lens of what makes sense to us, which can often blind us to what is truly going on inside other people’s minds and hearts. While Bellisario’s goal was to help provide hope and inspiration for people with eating disorders, an endeavor that was largely successful, she also helped provide outsiders to those illnesses with a greater awareness and understanding of the need to be sensitive to people who display behaviors that we have a difficult time processing or understanding. Thus, in addition to being highly entertained, viewing the movie the way I saw it at the time I saw it, I feel as if God used this movie, and my post-viewing research on its true meaning to help make me a better person. I highly recommend this movie to mature audiences, particularly those who have experienced eating disorders.

Sean Fallon

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2017, comedy, Drama, now playing, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

THE BIG SICK review by Sean Fallon

THE BIG SICK (Amazon Studios/Lionsgate ) 2h 4m . Theatrical release June 23,2017.

 

The movie THE BIG SICK is a romantic comedy based on the true story of comedian Kumail Najiani, and his romantic encounter with Emily V. Gordon. Set primarily in Chicago, THE BIG SICK delves deep into the internal conflict experienced by the self-portrayed Kumail Najiani (t.v.’s SILICON VALLEY;H.B.O.). He comes from a Pakistani Muslim culture, yet falls for Emily a white American, convincingly played by Zoe Kazan. Kumail’s inner turmoil is not of a personal religious nature, as he is not strong in his faith, but it is in knowing that his family would not merely disapprove of Emily not being a Muslim, but would outright disown Kumail if he chooses Emily over his family’s cultural tradition of arranged marriages between Muslims.

 

When Kumail and Emily first meet, they are not forthcoming towards each other about major issues that could adversely impact their relationship. Emily initially fails to mention that she had been previously married, while Kumail fails to mention that his parents are constantly trying to set him up with Muslim women to marry, and would never approve of his relationship with her. When Emily finds out that Kumail could not realistically see a future with Kumail and Emily together, their relationship comes to an unpleasant end.

 

Soon, Emily is hospitalized with an undiagnosed condition. Kumail finds out, and under the influence of a doctor, claims to be Emily’s husband, granting him permission to sign a paper consenting for the hospital to place Emily into a medically induced coma, for the sake of diagnosing and curing her ailment. Soon, Emily’s parents arrive at the hospital, enhancing the quality of the production with excellent acting performances by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter.

 

 

The window that the movie provides into Islamic culture is one that requires further clarity, if the viewing audience is intended to take away a positive perspective. Islamic parents disowning their children for religious reasons paints Allah, the Islamic understanding of the God of Abraham, as being a god who is ultimately unloving and disinterested in the well-being of his children, and merely requires obedience for his own sake. This is very different from the Christian understanding of our all-loving God whose love never fades, no matter how far we have strayed, a God who wills for all to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, a God who so loves the world that He sent His only son, so that he who believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life, a God who we can refer to as “Our Father.” These two very different views of God, however, could be shown as reflecting the different views that Ishmael and Isaac had towards Abraham, Ishmael being the child of a slave woman, with Isaac being the beloved free-born son of the promise of God.

 

While making light of ISIS in stand-up comedy is in extremely poor taste, and truly good comedy does not require profanity, the movie definitely will have the audience laughing at various parts, while also captivating the audience with the emotionally deep drama of the plight of Emily in the hospital. It is there where the audience will truly be captivated by the story, pulling for a positive outcome for all involved. I recommend this movie for mature audiences. Beyond the high entertainment value, it brilliantly demonstrates how cultural clashes disturb both internal and external tranquility, yet conveys a tone that desires for true love to overcome.

 

The real Life Husband & Wife

-Sean Fallon

See the official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z_o-8pkiVo

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2000s, Art house, Drama, dvd, Gay, independent film, James Franco, Religious, review, Uncategorized, Zachary Quinto

I AM MICHAEL

We welcome writer SEAN FALLON reviewing a controversial true story drama, I AM MICHAEL . -We look forward to more of his intelligent reviews . – Kevin G Shinnick

 

I AM MICHAEL (Passion River )DVD $19.99.Color .98 Minutes. 2015 Also available currently to view on Netflix .

 

The movie I AM MICHAEL is based on the true story of Michael Glatze, a former advocate for gay rights, who converted to Christianity, renounced homosexuality, became a Christian pastor, and married a woman. The film, starring James Franco, and directed by Justin Kelly, seems very subtle in its tone, despite addressing such a loaded topic that generates such strong feelings from so many people.

 

Franco and the real Michael Glatze

In today’s society full of hatefully divisive rhetoric found both by some left-wing gay rights advocates and some right-wing evangelical preachers who grossly misrepresent Christianity, it is imperative that people distinguish the difference between rejecting gay marriage and hating gay people. This movie fails to clearly make that distinction, despite a small attempt. “I’m not condoning hate. In fact, this is about love. Choosing a gay identity will condemn you to an eternity of suffering and I want to save people from that,” are theologically flawed words that influenced Michael Glatze, but address the reality that love can be the motivator behind objections to gay marriage.

 

According to true Christian theology, the mere state of being gay is not sinful. It is the unrepentant practice of illicit sexual behaviors, whether heterosexual or homosexual, that 1 Corinthians 6:9 warns will prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God. Christians believe that God loves the gay community, we are called to love the gay community, God is all knowing, God is all loving, God has communicated that practicing homosexuality is harmful to those who do so, love can not condone behavior that harms our fellow man, Christians are called to be courageous, and courage requires standing up for what is truly loving, as defined by God, even if mainstream society will persecute us for doing so, while branding us with nasty labels.

 

Quinto & Franco in happier times.

 

Michael Glatze (James Franco)tells a young male teenager, “If you are a moral person, then you will choose heterosexuality, in order to be with God.” Glatze makes no attempt to help lead the teenager to Jesus, through love. Rather, he makes an ill-conceived, insensitive, and theologically flawed attack on the teenager’s morality and decency, based on feelings that the teenager did not choose to have. Not everyone can just “choose” heterosexuality. People who experience same sex attraction can instead choose to avoid sexual sin by living a chaste and celibate life, a difficult challenge, but possible by God’s grace. While the movie addresses the reality that there are people who simultaneously are openly gay and openly Christian, it fails to address the aforementioned way of celibacy through which those people can still live in obedience to God. Not surprisingly, the teenager who Michael Glatze spoke to is later seen in a store with a gay male partner.

Whether you are a Christian, gay, both, or neither, you will likely find this movie that is by no means family friendly to also be ultimately unsatisfying and unsettling in its wishy-washy approach to such a sensitive issue. Furthermore, many may find the male on male kissing scenes, profanity, and controversial dialogue to be very off-putting. Despite great acting performances by James Franco and Zachary Quinto, I could not in good conscience recommend this movie, since it essentially asks people to choose between sin and heresy, without properly defining the truly Christian road that rises above both.

 

Review by Sean Fallon

 

 

The Reel & REAL Michael & Rebekah Glatze

 

 

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