1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, American International Pictures, book, BOOK REVIEW, Bruce Hallenbeck, CLASSIC, Classic Hollywood, cult, fantasy, genre, hemlock books, Horror, rare, review, Roger Corman, SCIENCE FICTION, studio history, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, wierd

ROCK ‘N’ROLL MONSTERS: THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL STORY

ROCK ‘N’ROLL MONSTERS: THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL STORY by Bruce Hallenbeck (Hemlock Books) paperback pages 280 published August ,2016

rock-n-roll-monsters-the-american-international-story-2016-book-bruce-g-hallenbeck
U.K. £16.25 http://www.hemlockbooks.co.uk/Shop/category/7
U.S.: $47.85   https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Monsters-American-International/dp/0993398936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477073892&sr=8-1&keywords=rock+n+roll+monsters

arc_1955_logo
Author /film historian Bruce Hallenbeck has published another must have book for lovers of movies. After giving us wonderful books on many of the British companies Amicus and Hammer, Bruce Hallenbeck turns his focus on the little upstart company that grew and challenged the majors in areas where they could not or did not compete. American International Pictures finally began to become a major, only to find that the other studios were now churning out higher end versions of the type of movies that AIP had done, and so the studio vanished into corporate buyouts after 26 years.aiplogo001

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES began when studios began to lose audiences to television. Small independent producers began to create their own films outside the studio system after the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 (1948) forced theatres to divest themselves from owning theatres and keeping out other producers.aip_logo_2_4200

Rock ‘n’ Roll Monsters: The American International Story is a 2016 book by Bruce G Hallenbeck (The Amicus Anthology; The Hammer Frankenstein; The Hammer Vampire), published by British-based Hemlock Books.
In the early 1950s, the traditional American film industry was facing a crisis due to one thing: television. Two men from totally different backgrounds pooled their talents and tapped into the burgeoning ‘teenage’ market, and American International Pictures was born.gw228h126

Founded by James H. Nicholson, a fantasy /science fiction horror fan (he had known Forrest J Ackerman since High School and had even published an early fanzine together) who had worked his way through the industry up to writing campaigns for Realart’s re-releases of Universal horror classics.

manmademonsteratomicmonsterposter
When Realart distributed MAN MADE MONSTER (Universal,1941) under the title ATOMIC MONSTER*, producer Alex Gordon had a script with the same title, he sought a legal settlement. The lawyer he brought had been seeking an entrance into film production by the name of Samuel Z. Arkoff. Arkoff got Gordon a $500 settlement but more important the three men all hit it off with their similar love of making movies. In a strange way, Universal had created a monster that rose to challenge their status as a maker of creature features.james
Nicholson and Arkoff sought completed product to start their new company. They had tested the waters with a small documentary in 1953 called OPERATION MALAYA released by their company AMERICAN RELEASING CORPORATION. **     The man credited as producer on that film also became an important component to the company’s development, Herman Cohen.

operation-malaya
However, the company had its first real success when they met the filmmaker who made them a viable entity, Roger Corman. The filmmaker had a film called THE FAST & THE FURIOUS (1954, released nationally in 1955). He had been thinking of having another studio distribute his film, but after being taken around by Nicholson to the various sub distributors, he was so impressed that he decided to take a chance with the new company.

9160067135_3f4dc900bf_nbeastwithone3
With borrowed money to keep the doors open, the film became profitable enough that company was off and running. The studio was also smart enough to capitalize on a market that the major studios were neglecting, teenagers.

807lobbya315303811152e5286f1d177abdb4be279309333b223d1375797422e8eebfb53
While many of their early films starred older performers, as the company developed, younger actors took the spotlight and became the heroes and heroines. Young audiences responded with their newly available dollars.
As the 1960s began, the studios moved into more expensive productions, and made Edgar Allan Poe a hot property.
Bruce Hallenbeck tells the story of the studio with clarity and affection, and has done a lot of research. His choice of mostly British lobby cards is most welcome to an American fan of the genre such as myself.

abominable_dr_phibes

Towards the final portion of the book, there is a sense of rushing to the end. That may be because of editorial choices wishing to keep the book under the mass of a Stephen King novel. One wishes that the author had been allowed to expand his research into two books, as there is a very rich history. Also, except for a few brief references, Nicholson’s contribution to the success of the company is often overlooked and Arkoff’s a bit overblown. Several people felt that Nicholson was the creative force behind the studio, and several of the artists disliked dealing with the crude Arkoff.

101_0041

That said, the book, like all of Hallenbeck’s studio studies as well as Hemlock Books, is definitely worth picking up.
Recommended.983210008d258dcf6b992681e83b3c4e
-Kevin G Shinnick

 
*-This was a script that Alex Gordon had co-written with Ed Wood that was also known as ‘Bride of The Atom” before finally being titled BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955, released through Banner Productions, oddly, not ARC / A.I.P.)ghost-in-the-invisible-bikini-still-gorilla

**-if you were not a major company, you had your film distributed by several small regional sub distributors.

day-the-world-ended-1955

Please like and share the SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE REVIEWS on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/?fref=ts      and on   https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/

the-raven_1

Standard
1960s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, british, Classic Hollywood, cult, Film Detective, FILM NOIR, Francis Ford Coppola, genre, Horror, Jack Hill, Luana Peters, Patrick Magee, review, Roger Corman, The FilmGroup, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, William Campbell

DEMENTIA 13 blu ray Film Detective

Dementia-13-1

DEMENTIA 13 (Blu Ray) Film Detective, available July 26,2016. Region Free. $14.99 /75 minutes. B&W. https://www.amazon.com/Dementia-Detective-Restored-Version-Blu-ray/dp/B01GQL7FC2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468009990&sr=8-1&keywords=dementia+13+film+detective

On the Tim Lucas extra of the recently released BLOOD BATH  Arrow Blu Ray (https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/blood-bath/), we find that  Roger Corman, as always, was looking for inexpensive projects that he could distribute through his Filmgroup company. Several of his protégés pitched ideas. One of them was a young Francis (Ford) Coppola, who, according to biographer Gene D. Phillips: “‘A man goes to a pond and takes off his clothes, picks up five dolls, ties them together, goes under the water, and dives down, where he finds the body of a seven-year-old girl with her hair floating in the current…then he gets axed to death.’ Corman responded enthusiastically, ‘Change the man to a woman, and you’ve got a picture, kid!'”*

dementia-13-1963-movie-francis-ford-coppola-louise-haloran-luana-anders-swimming-evidence-doll-review

 

The other ideas were ignored (among them one offered by Jack Hill) and Corman set aside about $20,000 to make the film in Ireland.
Corman already had some actors in Europe, and he wanted them used, which is why William Campbell, Luana Anders, and Patrick Magee hopped from YOUNG RACERS (Filmgroup,1963) over to Ireland to film DEMENTIA 13 (the two male leads would then jet over Yugoslavia for the troubled but fascinating BLOOD BATH, released in various incarnations and names).ucla
UCLA grad Coppola had by this time only done some short student films, as well as work on two softcore comedies. Corman hired him and Coppola’s first job was helping edit and redub some of the Russian films Corman had acquired for U.S. distribution. He was working as a sound operator on THE YOUNG RACERS when he pitched his idea to the producer.screen-shot-2013-07-26-at-10-33-30-am
With his lead actors in place, Coppola and a small crew went to Ireland to make their Psycho inspired thriller. Luckily for them, Irish actor Patrick Magee was able to convince several members of Ireland’s Abbey Players to take small roles.

Dementia13
When they arrived, Coppola did not have a finished script in hand but had a secretary with him to dictate script ideas. He also met a British producer Raymond Stross (who owned a chain of British movie theatres as well as producing films like the Freddie Francis directed THE BRAIN (Raymond Stross Productions,1962 a UK/West German co-production), inspired by Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak ). Somehow the director  convinced Stross to give him matching funds, all of which Coppola deposited into his own bank account. Corman was furious that Coppola had sold off UK rights without telling him and wanted to withdraw his share of the funding, but since it was in Coppola’s private account, there was nothing that he could do.The-brain-movie-poster
A group of UCLA film students came over, including John Vicario, camera operator and Vicario’s girlfriend Eleanor Neil. Coppola eventually married Eleanor after the film wrapped.

dementia-13-us-movie-stills-x2-8x10-1963-francis-ford-coppola-william-campbell
When the film was finished, Corman felt that the film did not work, and so had Jack Hill brought in to film some additional (violent) scenes that were shot in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California. Hill received credit for second unit work on the picture.Dementia-13-still-4
When it was first released, Corman had a  prologue filmed for  a D-13 test, which involved an actor playing a psychiatrist ask the audience what scared them. (This prologue as well as an audio commentary by William Campbell were on ROAN’s 1996 DVD of the film .)

Dimentia13 2
The story involves a series of violent murders that take place around Castle Haloran in Ireland. They all seem to start when Louise (Luana Anders), the American wife of John Haloran (Peter Read ) tries to hide John’s death by heart attack so she won’t be cut out of the will. Since he died while they were in the middle of a lake, she dumps his body overboard (an eerie scene, for she also dumps over a small transistor radio playing some rockabilly, it’s music garbles as they both float downward.DEMENTIA13

 

This leads into the impressive title sequence animation Paul Julian, who had also worked in similar capacity for Corman on ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS (A.A.1957) and THE TERROR (AIP,1963). He had been a production designer on the Oscar nominated short film THE TELL TALE HEART (UPA,1953). Julian’s eerie art is well matched by the harpsichord and horn score by another Corman regular, composer Ronald Stein.The_Tell-Tale_Heart1953
Returning to the story, Louise convinces the family that John was called away on business. There we are introduced to the matriarch of the family, Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne ) who seems to be cut from the same cool cloth as Judith Anderson was as Mrs. Danvers in REBECCA (Selznick ,1940).

djaevelens_borg_63_d

Every year they have a ceremony that is a macabre memorial to a sister Kathleen, who drowned seven years earlier. Lady Haloran holds a strong powerful hold over her two sons, Richard (William Campbell), a sculptor (a passion that he also had in BLOOD BATH) who wishes to marry Kane (Mary Mitchel), another American woman, and younger brother Billy (Bart Patton), who still misses his little sister.

Dementia-13-photo-3
The ceremony of the three family members ends as it does every year, with the mother collapsing at the daughter’s gravesite. This year the ceremony is observed by Louise, who gets the idea that she might drive the older woman mad so she can break the will in case John’s body is discovered. This sets off a series of violent murders by axe.
Family friend, Dr Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee) begins to suspect that the murders are a result of the death of young Kathleen. The thing is, who is the killer?

Dementia-13-2
The film is an effective gritty little who done it, with a lot of wonderful visuals and a strong cast, particularly actress Eithne Dunne. The Northern Ireland born actress had joined the Abbey Theatre in 1939 . playboy 1946  as pegeen  burgess meredith as christyShe had appeared on Broadway in 1946 with  Burgess Meredith in PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD .PWW

 

However, American actor Karl Schanzer does the worst Irish accent ever as potty game poacher Simon (Schanzer had appeared in Coppola’s nudie cutie TONIGHT FOR SURE (Premier,1962) as well as SPIDER BABY (American General,1968).
Though obviously inspired by PSYCHO(Paramount,1960), it also made me think of many of the Hammer black and white psychological thrillers, especially PARANOIAC(Hammer/Universal,1963).

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

700-year-old Howth Castle near Howth Road, Dublin, Ireland adds major production value to the film, and is practically a character in the story. The castle was later used for some flashback scenes in DUCK YOU SUCKER (U.A., 1971). The locale of James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake “is Howth Castle and Environs. Legend has it that due to an affront to a guest in 1576, an extra plate is set out at every meal, a custom still honored at the castle today.castle_2_lge

Additional scenes were shot at Ardmore Studios in Ireland. The film was allocated nine filming days, but additional shooting days were required, especially for the reshoots by Jack Hill.

Though critical reviews were mixed at the time of its release, but the film was not very expensive and so easily made a profit. The film was also released in the U.K. as THE HAUNTED AND THE HUNTED. The BBFC made several cuts, ironically the footage shot by Jack Hill was among them. These cuts were later restored to British prints.dementia_13_poster_04
The Blu Ray from FILM DETECTIVE is huge improvement from previous released copies of this film that I have seen. No longer will you need to watch all those dark muddy public domain prints that have long been available. Details are sharp though at time grain seems to exist in the original negative. This is supposedly the first time that the film has been released in its proper 1:78:1 aspect ratio.dementia1307
The mono sound is clear though a bit low, a problem easily corrected by increasing your television volume.

Dementia-13-photo-4-400x305
The only extra is clear easy to read English subtitles, that follow the dialogue and action.

While appreciative of such a lovely print, I do wish that FILM DETECTIVE had gotten someone to do a commentary track for the film,or ported over the extras from Roan’s out of print DVD (Campbell’s commentary and the D-13 prologue) .

That said, the most important thing is that this film can finally be seen in a viewable version.

Recommended.

Kevin G Shinnick
*-Godfather: The Intimate Francis Ford Coppola ( University Press of Kentucky )- by Gene D Phillips .Page 22

images

DEMENTIA 13 (Filmgroup,1963) Blu Ray released by Film Detective
Producer: Roger Corman
Associate Producer: Marianne Wood
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola
2nd Unit Writer and Director: Jack Hill
Cinematography: Charles Hanawalt
Film Editing: Stuart O’Brien, Morton Tubor
Art Direction: Albert Locatelli
Set Decoration: Eleanor Neil (Coppola)
Sculptures: Edward Delaney
Music: Ronald Stein
Cast: William Campbell (Richard Haloran), Luana Anders (Louise Haloran), Bart Patton (Billy Haloran), Mary Mitchel (Kane), Patrick Magee (Dr. Justin Caleb), Eithne Dunne (Lady Haloran), Peter Read (John Haloran), Karl Schanzer (Simon), Ron Perry (Arthur), Barbara Dowling (Kathleen Haloran).
BW-75m.

 

FEEL FREE TO LIKE AND FOLLOW https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews

And

https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com/

 

Standard
1960s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, BLUE UNDERGROUND, Christopher Lee, circus, crime drama, cult, genre, john moxey, KLAUS KINSKI, obscure, review, thriller, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

CIRCUS OF FEAR /FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS

BLU-BD-7060_lCIRCUS OF FEAR / FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS (Blu-ray) (Blue Underground, June 28 2016) $29.98 1966(91 min.),1967 (104min.) color. 2 films on one disc.

https://www.amazon.com/Circus-Fear-Golden-Dragons-Blu-ray/dp/B01DALQ0YK/181-1307412-0049847?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
BLUE UNDERGROUND has gone all out with their restorations of obscure but fun films that deserve to be in your collection. This current release of CIRCUS OF FEAR (1966) and FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS (1967) continues their winning streak of superlative quality restorations.
Billed as an EDGAR WALLACE DOUBLE FEATURE, the Wallace connection is tenuous at best.

ED
Writer Edgar Wallace (1875-1932) was a prolific writer of plays, newspaper articles, short stories, and novels. He was also a screenplay writer, writing the script for the 1932 HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (Gainsborough,1932). He died of diabetes in 1932 while he was working on the original story that developed into KING KONG(RKO,1933). Besides working on KING KONG, he is best remembered for his numerous crime dramas, which, unlike so many of his contemporaries, made the Police the hero, rather than amateur sleuths.
His works had been very popular in Germany in the late 1920s until the early 1930s. A few of his stories had been adapted into very popular films. However, when the Nazis came into power, his works were banned.
However, from 1959 to 1972, German “krimi” (an abbreviation for the German term “Kriminalfilm”) were extremely popular in Germany and several other European nations, especially if the name EDGAR WALLACE were somehow stuck onto the poster or/and film.
Harry Alan Towers was the ultimate globe hopping film producer, producing films of various quality and subject matters from 1962 up until his death in 2009, putting together deals in various countries with international funding.
This collection more rightly should be named an “Harry Alan Towers” double feature, but I am sure that there will be more films to come that might earn that title.

First up is CIRCUS OF FEAR (1966). I recall seeing this film in a theatrical release. It must have been in Ireland where I saw it, because I do recall it being in color. In the U.S. when it was released in 1967, it was cut to a short 65 minutes, retitled PSYCHO-CIRCUS (A.I.P.), and printed in black and white. What has always stood out in my memory was the opening caper, a daring day time robbery on Tower Bridge that led to an escape along the Thames as a mournful jazz score fills the soundtrack.circus-of-fear
Seeing the film on BLUE UNDERGROUND’s cleaned up new Blu Ray (I do not have access to their 2003 DVD release as a comparison) is a revelation. I always recall the film being very muddy with very dark color. This print has very vibrant imagery with a wonderful sharp sound track.

-The_Four_Just_Men-_(novel)
The film is supposedly based upon the 1926 novel “The Three Just Men “by Edgar Wallace. I say ‘supposedly” as the film resembles nothing in the novel at all (to see for yourself, read it at
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0701211.txt )

The “Just Men” series began originally in 1905 as “The FOUR Just Men”, and concerned a group of men who punished wrong doers in ways that are outside of conventional law enforcement. One of the characters “died” during the first world war, but they continued on, recruiting others along the way.
Nothing in the film smacks of the books storyline, but the producers chose to sell the film as a Wallace adaptation.

Circus of Fear (Psycho-Circus) (John Llewellyn Moxey, Reino Unido, 1966).avi_000194694

The film’s story has a gang commit a darng robbery with the help of one of the guards, Mason (Victor Maddern, best known here as the deformed Hunchback assistant Carl in BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (Artistes Alliance/U.I. 1958)) and flee with their loot but only after Mason shoots the second guard.

Circus_of_Fear07

The police, led by Scotland Yard Inspector Elliot (Leo Genn, very impressive in the 1965 TEN LITTLE INDIANS (Warner -Pathe/Seven Arts), also produced by H.A. Towers) and Detective-Sgt. Manley (Lawrence James, who starred in the original ITV Play of the Week “The Night of the Big Heat “, June 14,1960, later made into a theatrical film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing), are quick on the scene and after the gang. Two of the gang in a van are chased by police cars until the driver loses control and crashes. One man dies but the survivor tells the police that the guard was murdered by Mason.

circus10

The other surviving gang members (including a very ratty looking Klaus Kinski, star of many a Krimi since 1960’s THE AVENGER/ Der Rächer; Kurt Ulrich Filmproducktion) are none too happy with Mason. However, Mason is told to bring the unseen mastermind’s share of the loot to another lonely location. Upon arriving, Mason is swiftly dispatched by a knife tossed with deadly accuracy. The camera dollies to a close-up of the dagger’s hilt that displays a silver triangle upon it, a mark that is to play an important role in the unfolding mystery.
psycho-circus-horizontal

Twenty minutes into the film and we jump suddenly to Barberini’s Circus (actually Billy Smart’s Circus, which also had appeared previously in CIRCUS OF HORRORS (Anglo -Amalgamated /A.I.P.,1960,) and later BERSERK(WB,1967)). The circus plays into our story as we discovered that the spot where Mason was murdered was their winter quarters and the police wish to investigate to see if one of the performers is involved in the heist. Kinski, playing a character named Manfred, also shows up at the circus, ostensibly to seek work, so the gang is thinking along similar lines.

624full-circus-of-fear-screenshot
Among the many suspects are Christopher Lee (need I say who he is ?)as Gregor , a lion tamer whose features are supposedly destroyed from an animal attack, thus requiring him to wear a black hood at all times, and “Skip” Martin as Mr. Big ( Hop Toad from MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (A.I.P.,1964) as well as being very evil as Michael in VAMPIRE CIRCUS (Hammer/Fox 1972),as well as the lovely Suzy Kendall (BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE,UMC,1970) and Margaret Lee (THE BLOODY JUDGE ,AIP ,1972 also produced and written by H.A. Towers). More mayhem ensues before the killer and leader of the crime gang is uncovered.

cf1
This is an entertaining programmer that moves along at a brisk pace, courtesy of its director John Moxey (HORROR HOTEL, Vulcan/Trans-Lux,1960). Done for a modest budget, it doesn’t skimp on the mystery or the thrills, though it would be wrong to label this film as a horror, which it is often referred to, due to the presence of Lee, Kinski, and director Moxey.

Circus of fear - psycho circus - 1966 - lobby003001

Besides giving us a brand spanking new Blu-Ray transfer of the film in 2K 1080p HD anamorphically enhanced 1.66:1 widescreen, the English DTS-HD audio is clean clear and crackle free. The removable subtitles are quite easy to read, and replicate the dialogue fairly accurately.

cf19
Now this alone would have been enough to recommend buying this Blu Ray, but BLUE UNDERGROUND has added a few nice extras.
First is a commentary track with director Moxey that is moderated by David Gregory. This 2002 session is ported over from the 2003 DVD release. Moxey and Gregory have a nice conversational tone, with the director quietly and modestly describing the making of the film. Nice little tid bits of shooting on a Sunday to avoid traffic problems (good luck doing that on a film shoot now) on the bridge and his opinions of working with the international cast and crew (very complimentary) as well as clearing up the mistaken belief that there were TWO directors on this film. There are long stretches without any commentary, as I feel that the director had not reviewed the film prior to recording his comments. Still, he is a delight and it is wonderful that we can have his thoughts about a film that was 37 years in his past.

Circus_of_Fear34

(“Wait ! I lost my hood!”)

Also as extras we get the international trailer as well as the B&W American trailer, the different ways both trailers circus-of-fear-movie-poster-1966-1020251277sell the film is funny and interesting. Finally, there is a still and poster gallery.

The Second film on this Blu Ray is FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS (AIP,1967). This is one of those films that try to emulate better movies but doesn’t quite make it. Here, it is Robert Cummings  as a man who is mistakenly drawn into international murder and intrigue, a la Cary Grant in NORTH BY NORTHWEST (MGM ,1959). Sadly, the film doesn’t take itself seriously, and it’s leisurely pace make its limited budget seem more obvious. Still it gives many aging actors a chance to have a nice vacation in Hong Kong courtesy of Producer Harry Alan Towers.

fgd99

 

Here, once again using his Peter Welbeck nom de film, the producer doesn’t so much as reference any particular Wallace book as a character that he created.
In 1911, Wallace wrote ‘Sanders of The River “, about the adventures of District Commissioner Sanders. Sanders appeared in a total of 12 novels between 1911 and 1928 (“Again Sanders”) The character was the very epitome of the great British White hunter/soldier /adventurer who sadly seemed to be too the very worst of Colonial Africa’s white man helping the poor savages.

five-golden-dragons (1)

(Sanders NEVER went up the river with companions like these!)

Rupert Davies’ character in the film is  Police Commissioner Sanders, so that was enough to convince investors that yes this was another Edgar Wallace tale.

 

mr porter (unknown)The film opens in Hong Kong with a character named Porter (uncredited) who swiftly is tossed off a balcony by Gert (Klaus Kinski again). Unfortunately, Porter has sent off a note to be delivered to Bob Mitchell (Robert Cummings, from Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER, WB,1954). The police intercept the note and go to interview Mitchell, who claims that he knows little about the dead man other than a brief meeting in Manila. He also doesn’t know the meaning of the note with the words “Feel The Bern” (Just kidding – it read ‘Five Golden Dragons”).
fgd101However, two German sisters, Ingrid (Maria Rohm, THE VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU (Warners-7 Arts,1967) and real life wife of producer Towers) and Margret (Maria Peschy, THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU, Anglo -EMI/Int Cinema Group 1972) that he meets do know it’s meaning. Margret thinks Bob is there to kill them so she tries to beat him to the punch. When Bob convinces her that he knows nothing about the phrase, she explains that she used to work for the crime cartel known as The Five Golden Dragons. When they killed her boyfriend, she fled, and feared that they had now found her.

 

five-golden-dragons

(Do you feel warm in here?)

We next see the leaders of the illegal gold syndicate meeting in ridiculous dragon masks and Asian robes. Each sits at a table facing a multi doored miniature pagoda. They each have a key to open the door in front of them, and should they be a fake and not open it properly, a gun within will shoot the imposter. Removing their masks, we see that the first three are actors who have seen better days :

five golden dragons

 

dan duryeaDan Duryea (SCARLET STREET, Universal ,1945),

 

 

 

 

 

 

george raftGeorge Raft (SCARFACE, United Artists,1932),

 

 

brian dunlevyand Brian Donlevy (THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, Hammer/U.A. 1955). Dragon #4 is played by Christopher Lee (also from CIRCUS OF FEAR, and probably getting sick of wearing these masks). The fifth Dragon remains a mystery.chris lee

Meanwhile, Margret IS found dead and sadly for Bob Mitchell it is in his bed. He escapes but now he is being pursued by Shakespeare quoting Police Commissioner Sanders (the wonderful Rupert Davies, the disapproving Monsignor from DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, Hammer/WB, 1968) and his Chinese counterpart Inspector Chiao (Roy Chiao ,whose career involved him dubbing a lot of Hong Kong films into English).

51713591

Bob finds himself at the Blue World, a nightclub managed by a sinister Peterson (Sieghardt Rupp, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, U.A.1964). He is intrigued by the lovely chanteuse Magda (Margaret Lee, another CIRCUS OF FEAR alum). Bob thinks that these two can lead him to the Five Golden Dragons, and they do, but not in the way he would like.

b3d420b09031063c54502adf32b
Another multi nation co-production, this film is trying to be a Hitchcock thriller, James Bond spoof, and crime caper spoof, and fails miserably at all.

five-golden-dragons_326573_28105

(Klaus Kinksi demonstrating his actual dating techniques )

Bob Cummings is supposedly a young playboy but the actor at the time was in his fifties. He looks good admittedly, but it still seems odd that all these women fall for him. Did Hong Kong have a dearth of younger actors? Was Frankie Avalon too busy to walk over from the set of THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU (AIP,1967) that Towers was also producing at the same time in Hong Kong and seemingly used many of the same sets. Supposedly the lead was offered to actor Tony Randall (who starred in OUR MAN IN MARRAKESH (AIP, Anglo- Amalgamated,1966) for Towers, who turned him down. Cummings was an actor of great personal charm in many of his films but he seems very uncomfortable and forced here (though whether that is him the direction or the script it is hard to determine). This was in fact his last theatrical film, with less and less work on television.

fgd103
The plot makes very little sense and our hero contributes almost nothing to the story, with the police actually doing all the real work.

five-golden-dragons_326575_16368

The transfer is quite lovely to look at in its new HD anamorphic transfer. Subtitles are clear and easy to read and follow the action well. Extras are scarce here except for a photo gallery and an original trailer.

5-altin-canavar-ffive-golden-dragons-die-pagode-zum-

Of the two films on this disc, CIRCUS OF FEAR is definitely the more enjoyable movie. For one, it moves! Still, for the price, BLUE UNDERGROUND is keeping B movie fans in Blu Ray heaven. A major studio would never invest the time and energy that BLUE UNDERGROUND has given to releases like this and so they are to be commended.

CIRCUS OF FEAR– recommended.
FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS– nice restoration. Recommended for completist. Look at it as a really cool extra for CIRCUS OF FEAR.

-Kevin G Shinnick

EddiArentinCircusofFear

Standard
1960s, American International Pictures, Arrow Video, BLOOD BATH, Blu Ray, cult, fantasy, genre, ghosts, Horror, Jack Hill, obscure, Patrick Magee, Portrait In Terror, rare, review, Roger Corman, Rondo Awards, Stephanie Rothman, t.v., The FilmGroup, TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, vampire, VAMPIRES, wierd, William Campbell

BLOOD BATH

4280

BLOOD BATH (Arrow) Limited Edition 2 disc Blu Ray (b&w,1963-67) released May ,2016. $33.97
https://www.amazon.com/Blood-2-Disc-Limited-Special-Blu-ray/dp/B01BIEHMHA/189-2814066-0356520?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Arrow Video has become one of the premier companies for uncovering rare and unusual cult films and going the extra effort to not only to clean up the films for release, but tracking down the best possible elements worldwide, as well as a bevy of extras that boggles the mind. One suspects that the team at Arrow not only wishes to keep their wonderful company going, but are also film geeks extraordinaire themselves.

Blood-Bath-poster

This is proven by their limited release edition of BLOOD BATH (AIP ,1966). BLOOD BATH is a fun little vampire film by way of A BUCKET OF BLOOD (Alta Vista/AIP,1959) along with imagery that harkens to THE THIRD MAN (London Films ,1949) as well as foreign locales that add to the production values.

third-man-4

(The Third Man ,Dutch Angles in a Viennese Street)

bloodbathblu00001

                                                                  (OPERATION TITIAN, the shadow knows)

 

It was therefore surprising that BLOOD BATH was in fact a Shapeshifter of a film, or at least, was just one variation of a total of four different edits and incarnations with reshoots and redubs. Patrick Magee goes from major character to minor while Sid Haig suddenly appears. Bill Campbell goes from looking for a lost art masterpiece to crazed madman to a vampire played by another uncredited performer who looks nothing like him.

rogercorman-1

operacija-ticijan-(1963)
All the existing variants (Jack Hill’s BLOOD BATH remains lost) are presented here in fine restorations.
The original OPERATION TITIAN (1963, aka Operacija Ticijan) was a Yugoslavian thriller that ran 95 minutes. Roger Corman, while scouting for new foreign films that he could redub and resell to the American market, was approached with a proposition, invest $20 grand and provide the American (or at least, English speaking leads), and Corman would have the U.S. rights the finished product. The idea of such a small investment for a finished film intrigued Corman, and so he provided two actors already in Europe and had worked with him on DEMENTIA 13 (Filmgroup,1963), William Campbell (perhaps today best known for his brilliant turn in the classic STAR TREK episode, “The Squire of Gothos” (Paramount/NBC ,1967). Irish actor Patrick Magee is best known by his turn in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (WB,1971) as the vengeful Mr. Alexander. The final film was considered unreleasable by Corman and so he set about trying to save his investment.hKki1BNKACrNef5zUMrucPhCJyn

 

 

PORTRAIT IN TERROR – was the first variant. Stephanie Rothman shot some new footage, approximately 10 minutes, basically adding some violence (one murder is padded out by five minutes!) , the original musical score is replaced with music from LAST WOMAN ON EARTH (Filmgroup,1959) and DEMENTIA 13 (Filmgroup,1963). Still the main body of the film was trimmed and so the film still ran only a little under 82 minutes. It was sold in 1967 by AIP Television as part of a package and received no theatrical release.

bloodbathblu00005
BLOOD BATHCorman still felt there was possibilities in his property, and so invested even more dollars into trying to make a film that would make him a return on investment. Jack Hill got to shoot a new film as long as he used at least 30 minutes of footage from OPERATION TITIAN. He had about 5 days for shooting the project. Actor Campbell was brought back at a higher salary to shoot what he was told was new footage but instead was shocked to discover the plot had turned him into a mad killer! Hill finished his cut but left to film another project instead.

blood1

Hill’s cut was never released and is unavailable but we do have the version that Stephanie Rothman shot using 4 minutes from OPERATION TITIAN and 37 minutes from Hill’s. The original mad killer plot of Hill’s version was changed now to a vampire who looks nothing like Marshall. This is explained by having that he is possessed! Magee is nonexistent in the new film, save for one shot of him from the original film of him covered in wax. New characters were added, new footage, some with doubles and redubbing’s ensued and this is the version which we now know. This was released theatrically with QUEEN OF BLOOD (AIP ,1966). Corman must have been seething, as the movie had by this point probably more than films had shot himself completely. Still, he finally had a version that was released to U.S. theatres and later to television.

who is this actor trackofthevampire_vampface

         (Who IS this uncredited actor who plays the Vampire?)
However, since in its current state, BLOOD BATH was deemed too short (under 70 minutes) for sale to television, so once again new footage along with outtakes from OPERATION TITIAN (restoring Magee somewhat to the storyline) added 15 minutes to the movies running time, along with a new title, TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE (AIP,1967). Strangely ,it was released as part of the same tv package as PORTRAIT IN TERROR, so in effect, tv stations were buying the same film twice!

Track Of The vampire shill
The print and picture quality are superb throughout, especially given the movie(s) strange history. There is some speckling on OPERATION TITIAN, due to what appears to tape marks that could not be removed from the master print. Watching the films’ back to back is an interesting experience, one that left me wondering which film was I now viewing! However, it is also an exercise I recommend for any budding filmmakers that show how important editing is to a film.Blood Bath vlcsnap-2016-05-29-00h53m34s852_zpsbw37yczt

 

Subtitles follow the dialogue fairly well, as well as noting key sound effects (piano plays)
Now if all this wasn’t worth getting this set, ARROW has added some wonderful extras.

IMG_20160620_171732878
First up is ‘The Trouble with Titian Revisited”, a brand new documentary on the muddled history of the film, running 81 minutes, or as long as most cuts of the film!! This brilliant piece, which I feel will be a leading contender for the Rondo Awards next year, is an expansion and video essay of the three-part examination by Tim Lucas from Video Watchdog issues 4,5, and 7. Indeed, it was that series of articles from which many of us first became aware that the film had undergone so many incarnations. Lucas himself narrates.

51+EXJhFnJL71mHbJmuDTL._SL1276_

 

Next, Sid Haig speaks for under 5 minutes on his remembrances of the film, giving most of the credit to Jack Hill, plus how his beard changed length over the course of filming.

IMG_20160620_171730840
A 3-minute video interview with the Jack Hill recalls has the director recall his involvement with the project and how it changed.IMG_20160620_171553931
Finally, there is a short still gallery which includes some interesting behind the scenes shots of shooting Jack Hill’s version as well as the QUEEN OF BLOOD / BLOOD BATH press book. The address given for AIP in NY ,165 W 46th Street, NY NY 10036 is now the home of ACTORS EQUITY, which is a bit ironic when you consider how often Corman and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) clashed.

IMG_20160620_171509155

Included is a reversible Blu Ray cover featuring original art by Dan Mumford ,with the other side using original lobby card art for BLOOD BATH .  There is also a reversible poster of both .

bloodbathblu00014

Also ,an informative collectible  booklet that provides nice information on stars Haig ,Magee & Campbell ,as well as a nice little piece concerning he films.

IMG_20160620_171633624

If you are interested at all in how films can be made remade and changed (currently the major motion picture SUICIDE SQUAD (WB,2016) is undergoing major reshoots months after it wrapped initially in an attempt to change the tone of the film), then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy this limited edition set.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
-Kevin G Shinnick

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
•Limited Edition collection of the complete ‘Blood Bath

p4684_i_h12_aa
•High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of four versions of the film: Operation Titian, Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire

Operation Titian vlcsnap-2016-05-28-17h38m29s009_zpshozirx8l
•Brand new 2K restorations of Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire from original film materialsbloodbath3
•Brand new reconstruction of Operation Titian using original film materials and standard definition inserts

trackofthevampire_victiminwax
•Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on all four versions
The Trouble with Titian Revisited – a brand new visual essay in which Tim Lucas returns to (and updates) his three-part Video Watchdog feature to examine the convoluted production history of Blood Bath and its multiple versionsIMG_20160620_171732878
Bathing in Blood with Sid Haig – a new interview with the actor, recorded exclusively for this release
•Outtakes from Track of the Vampire, scanned from original film materials
•Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artworks
•Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford

bloodbathblu00013
•Limited edition booklet containing new writing on the film and its cast by Peter Stanfield, Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt and Cullen Gallagher

Standard
1960s, American International Pictures, Blu Ray, Boris Karloff, cult, Dick Miller, fantasy, Film Detective, genre, Horror, Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Haze, Karloff, Roger Corman, The FilmGroup, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized, wierd

THE TERROR (1963) Blu Ray from Film Detective -review

THE TERROR (1963) Color. NTSC .79 min. $14.99 Blu Ray -Film Detective  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F5SXHSI/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1/184-0196101-0815836?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=0Z1A4BV8BWV7VTMB1PEG&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_i=B00NX19C2U

blu ray the terror
In 1959, Roger Corman and his brother Gene formed Filmgroup to make films that would give them a bigger cut of the profits of the films that they were making (Roger had formed Palo Alto Productions to produce his first films). They distributed a few of the films but decided they need Allied Artists and American International Pictures to get them a wider distribution in the long run. Finally, the Corman’s decided to fold Filmgroup. The Corman’s never bothered to copyright the films they made for and distributed by Filmgroup (they had bought some foreign adventure and fantasy films which they also distributed or represented under the banner), and so all of these titles have fallen into Public Domain status.
This is why films like QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966), THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960), and NIGHT TIDE (1961) have been widely distributed by many fly by night video distribution companies using prints of questionable sound and picture quality.

hqdefault

In this batch of P.D. films were also THE TERROR (1963). This one seemed to appear in a lot more of the bargain bins due to the fact that
a)-it had recognizable star names (Karloff, Nicholson)
b)- it was color.
The problem is a lot of these budget videos and later DVDs were from 16mm dupe prints, and were often splicy and muddy color and sound. Since it was so long available in this fashion, studios try and stay away from releasing better prints because they fear the average buyer is unaware of the differences in quality.

The-Terror-1963-film-images-3c1b1bea-1368-4258-a76b-7f89524b369
Therefore, it is a pleasure to say that FILM DETECTIVE has gone that extra step to find original 35mm elements to release a Blu Ray that makes the film look as if it was lensed recently.

Film-Detective-672x436
Legend has it that as Corman was finishing his A.I.P. film THE RAVEN (1963) a few days ahead of schedule, the director realized he Still had Boris Karloff contractually signed for four more days to work, as well as having some impressive standing sets left over from previous films (kudos of the great Daniel Haller, Corman’s answer to Hammer’s brilliant set designer Bernard Robinson). He had writers Jack Hill and Leo Gordon cobble something together to utilize the star and the sets. Corman was known for shooting his films quickly, including THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) over two days and one night. He finished Karloff’s scenes in the required four days *

karloff-the-terror-1963
The film, (known during shooting as “Lady of The Shadows”) however, was not quite complete, and like a Frankenstein monster, it was patched together with new scenes over a 9-month period with various (uncredited) directors such as 26-year-old actor Jack Nicholson, Jack Hill, Monte Hellman and Francis Ford Coppola, and I am sure several others did pick up shots. **

 

The plot has Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson, who had played Peter Lorre’s nebbish son in THE RAVEN that same year) a soldier in Napoleon’s army who has been separated from his regiment (with Big Sur California substituting for undetermined Prussian territory.)

images-263

 

Exhausted and hungry, he is surprised to see a beautiful woman named Helene (Sandra Knight, Nicholson’s wife at the time). She shows him a source of fresh water then has him follow her. Suddenly she begins to walk as if in a trance into the ocean. Andre tries to rush in and save her when he is attacked by a falcon and sinks under the waves (Nicholson claimed that he nearly drowned filming this sequence).

The-Terror-1963-film-images-fca457c8-0e18-4f1e-a2fd-ac935249a9c

He awakes in the home of Katrina (Dorothy Neumann) and her mute servant Gustav (Corman regular Jonathan Haze). When Andre inquires about the Helene, the old woman shows him her pet, the very bird that attacked him, also named Helene. Andre awakes at night and goes off looking for the girl, eventually finding her in the forest. Silently she leads him through the woods when suddenly Gustav appears, and says there is danger (a continuity error, as hadn’t we just been told he was mute?). Tossing a rock, he shows that the girl was leading him to a quicksand trap. Gustav, in a harsh whispery voice says that Helene is possessed but if the soldier wants to find her, to go to the castle of Baron Von Leppe and find Eric who knows the full story.

Andre confronts Katrina, who tries to stop him from going to the castle, then pleads that he not tell the Baron that he knows of her whereabouts.

chc3a2teau-extc3a9rieur-04-mod

He comes upon the castle (impressive matte paintings by Albert Whitlock, lifted from THE PIT & THE PENDULUM(A.I.P.,1961)) and he spies Helene in windows. Andre demands to be admitted “In The Name of the Government of France”. He is greeted by Baron Victor von Leppe (Boris Karloff) himself, who says that he was at his devotions and did not hear earlier.The Terror-Corman

 

Karloff is superb in his role, alternately haughty as well as subtly humorous. Considering that he didn’t have a full script makes his performance all the more impressive.

large_terror_blu-ray_5

The Baron admits the soldier, noting that the name Duvalier was once of a noble house until the French Revolution. Andre admits his father was the Count Duvalier, until he lost his head (the film seems set in 1806, so his father was executed between 1793-94). He says that he saw the girl in one of the windows but the Baron says he is mistaken. He points out a painting of a young woman (by artist Bert Schoneberg) and the soldier says that it is a portrait of the woman whom he is seeking. The Baron asks him to observe the date of the painting, which is 1786. It is a portrait of the Baron’s late wife, Ilsa. The Baron says that the castle is unoccupied except for the Baron and his servant Stefan (the ever reliable Dick Miller, billed here as Richard and giving a subtler performance than usual) and that Andre is the first visitor to the castle since the turn of the century.

pitandpendulum04-Albert Whitlock

Duvalier wanders the castle grounds and cellars, finding the crypt of Ilsa, which has ominously had its cross removed from above the entrance. He is startled at one doorway by the appearance of Helene (or is it the spirit of Ilsa) who when he looks back has gone.

terrornicholson

It seems Stefan followed Andre during his search and tells the Baron that the soldier may have heard things in the village. The Baron feels Andre must leave as soon as possible but under his own accord due to his rank and position. Stefan confronts Andre at the Baroness’ crypt, telling him that the Baron removed all religious articles when she died and that the crypt has been sealed for 20 years. He also tells him that the soldier’s horse has bolted and run away. Andre feels he is being lied to and asks who is Eric?

the-terror-mexican-lobby-card (1)

Dark secrets come out about who Eric is, and how the Baron’s wife died, plus a tale of revenge and the hidden tale of how  Katrina is involved. It all ends with gory murder (a character gets his eyes clawed out by the falcon in a for the time graphic fashion and falls to his death) and the castle falling into ruin (this time by flooding as a change of pace from the usual fire that ended Corman’s Poe films) and a character rotting away before our eyes (the putrefaction effect, uncredited seems similar to that of Vincent Price melting in the previous year’s TALES OF TERROR (A.I.P.,1962) makes me feel that it was by Lou LaCava).

terror01

The picture quality on this FILM DETECTIVE Blu Ray release is superb. The blues and reds in the Pathe color print are incredibly vibrant, shaming the current trend of shooting in drab metallic tones. This release truly shows off the superb cinematography of John M Nickolaus Jr and the uncredited Floyd Crosby. Wide shots and two are employed throughout, with close-ups used powerfully and sparingly. The clearer picture also clearly shows when stuntman Dennis Jakob, with dark hair, substituted for Karloff in the climatic flooding sequence. Still, the flooding sequence must have been a great strain on the 76-year-old star, who would later develop pneumonia filming in the cold sound stages of Italy for BLACK SABBATH(AIP,1964). Also, we can see near the end that Sandra Knight’s mid drift is blurred, due to the fact that she was pregnant during filming (giving birth to daughter Jennifer September 13,1963).

large_terror_blu-ray_11

Harry Reif’s set decorations give the production a lot of value. The costumes by Marjorie Corso are simple but effective (especially nice is the uniform worn by Nicholson as well as the rich blue robe worn by Karloff). Kudos to editor Stuart O’Brien on assembling so many disparate scenes and making a somewhat cohesive whole. The mono sound is very good (though a bit low on certain dialogue sequences, easily corrected by adjusting the volume). The score by Ronald Stein (with some additional bits by Lex Baxter) is lush and effective. All of these technicians and artists make THE TERROR look a lot more lavish and expensive than it is. Subtitles for the dialogue are excellent.

large_terror_blu-ray_12

The only quibble I have is that I wish that they had gotten someone like David J Skal or Tim Lucas to do an audio commentary for the film. One of the things that DVDs and Blu Rays offer that streaming does not allow are extras like that, and companies should use that for their advantage.

large_terror_blu-ray_3a

IMDB lists a running time of 81 minutes, though this disc runs 79 minutes 14 seconds. I see nothing that would be cut nor any time compression. During the film’s original U.K. release, the bloody eye scene was trimmed, but this print seems to be complete.

large_the_terror_07_blu-ray_
All in all, Film Detective is to be commended for the loving care with which they have restored this film.

RECOMMENDED.

-Kevin G Shinnick

the-terror-3

*-Karloff’s salary included a $15,000 deferred payment that he would receive once the movie made over a certain amount. In May 1966, Corman told the Horror Icon that THE TERROR never hit the profit threshold, and so the star would not be getting any money. However, he said he WOULD pay the actor the $15,000 if he worked a few days on another project. The star agreed (today there would have been lawsuits galore) to the undetermined future film. Luckily, it turned out to be TARGETS (Paramount,1968), Peter Bogdanovich’s first full feature debut. The film made extensive use of clips from THE TERROR.

Other films have used clips from the film, including CAMPFIRE TALES (Sub Rosa,1991), AVENGED (Uncork’d ,2014), and TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (Concorde ,1989). In the latter film, a sort of AIRPLANE! (Paramount,1980) for horror fans, Dexter Ward (Steve Altman), enters a room and encounters Karloff courtesy of footage from THE TERROR. This is a doubly clever idea, considering the piecemeal way that the Corman film was made.


**- Corman tried to regain copyright on the film in 1990 for release through his New

Horizon -Concorde company. To do this, he rehired Dick Miller 27 years later to film new footage for the beginning and the end of the film as a framing device. Miller claimed that the payment for these scenes was the most he ever got from Roger Corman! Sadly,I have been unable to find this version on VHS or DVD. thehaunting 1963 corman

(In the U.K.,the film was also known as THE HAUNTING . Confusing to say the least ,as there was also the THE HAUNTING (MGM ,1963) .

Standard