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( update 1/26/21 -contest ended) MAX CLOUD

Well Go USA Entertainment  MAX CLOUD contest is now over.1.26.2021.No More entries .Winners are being notified and prizes are being sent to them .Follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE for upcoming contests, reviews and articles ).

This time, we are having a drawing for
the new Sci-Fi Action Comedy Adventure Thriller :

MAX CLOUD

  update :01/26/2021  contest is over .  No More entries . Winners have been notified .

 

A combination of JUMANJI and THE LAST STARFIGHTER, MAX CLOUD is about when a video-game enthusiast, Sarah, is transported into her favorite game, she finds herself on an intergalactic prison, home to the most dangerous villains in the galaxy. The only way to escape the game is to complete it.

Teaming up with space hero, Max Cloud (Adkins), Sarah battles the terrifying planet while her best friend, Cowboy, controls the game from her bedroom in Brooklyn. Sit down, plug in, and get ready for a sci-fi adventure like no other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfcbQ3dMo0I

The title will be released on DVD and BLU RAY on January 19,2021 ,
but
WELL GO US ENTERTAINMENT
has given
SCARLET
three BLU RAY copies for a drawing .

Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
MPAA rating : NR
Director : Martin Owen
Media Format : Dolby, Widescreen, Surround Sound
Run time : 1 hour and 29 minutes
Release date : January 19, 2021
Actors : Scott Adkins, Tommy Flanagan, John Hannah, Lashana Lynch
Language : English (DTS 5.1)
Studio : Well Go Usa
Number of discs : 1
2K Blu Ray Region ‘A’
Optional English Subtitles

11.26.2021 – update -CONTEST IS NOW OVER – NO MORE ENTRIES.  WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES ARE GOING OUT.  Thank you.  Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine for future contests, reviews, articles.

Send an email to ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

In the subject line write “MAX CLOUD

In the body of the email
Put in you name and address

Then answer this question :

What is you Science Fiction Comedy or Fantasy Comedy film ?

That’s all you need to do.

Only One Entry Per Person .

Include your name and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE is January 26 ,2021 .
Entries received after that date will not be counted.

11.26.2021 – update -CONTEST IS NOW OVER – NO MORE ENTRIES.  WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED ADND THEIR PRIZES ARE GOING OUT.  Thank you.  Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine for future contests, reviews, articles.

Winners will be drawn randomly and then notified January 26,2021 , with their prizes sent out soon after .

Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary.
Void where prohibited.
All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.”
Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Three(3) winners will be selected randomly.

Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

11.26.2021 – update -CONTEST IS NOW OVER – NO MORE ENTRIES.  WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES ARE GOING OUT.  Thank you.  Follow Scarlet The Film Magazine for future contests, reviews, articles.

Thanks to WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT .

https://www.wellgousa.com/home-entertainment

 

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GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN -Film Detective Blu Ray

GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN (Film Detective Blu Ray)    

Original theatrical Release: Astor Pictures March ,1958 B&W 77 min.

The Film Detective release Jan 19, 2021  Region A  $24.95  https://www.amazon.com/Giant-New-4KRestored-Version-Blu-ray/dp/B08KJ66H5B/ref=sr_1_2?crid=20MY9UTNI5XR2&dchild=1&keywords=giant+from+the+unknown+blu+ray&qid=1608513823&s=movies-tv&sprefix=giant+fr%2Caps%2C177&sr=1-2

Also available on DVD $19.95  https://www.amazon.com/Giant-New-4k-Restored-Version/dp/B08KJ66H59/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=giant+from+the+unknown+dvd&qid=1608513856&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1

Film Detective has released some interesting films of late. Their copy of THE VAMPIRE BAT (https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Bat-Special-Detective-Restored/dp/B01LTIAUJ2/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1LKAB9WDI072G&dchild=1&keywords=vampire+bat+blu+ray&qid=1608514341&sprefix=vampire+bat+blu+r%2Cmovies-tv%2C154&sr=8-1 ) recreated the color sequences to the independent Majestic Pictures 1933 release .

Now Film Detective has given the 4K cleanup restoration to GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN.  G.F.T.U. was a low budget quickie that came and went to theatres back in 1958. It was often a co-bill with SHE-DEMONS, another Astor Picture, both directed by Richard E. Cunha (1922-2005). Cunha also directed two other Astor horror flicks that year, FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER and MISSLE TO THE MOON.

G.F.T.U. is most notable today for it being one of the low budget films that make-up genius Jack Pierce worked upon after Universal International booted him from the studio in 1946. The man who created the definitive look of Frankenstein’s creation was now working on films shot with extraordinarily little resources and less time for creative experimentation. Pierce’s output for 1958 included applying hair to 51-year-old stuntman Gil Perkins to turn him into the TEENAGE MONSTER (Howco,1958) as well as the fuller’s earth coating of 6’ 6” actor Buddy Baer for G.F.T.U.

51 year old teenage monster

The plot: A series of animal mutilations have recently happened in an area called Devil’s Crag (one of the working titles for the film were “Giant of Devil’s Crag “) and now a local known as old man Harold Banks (an inside joke, as that was the name of the picture’s special effects man, as well as visual effects on MISSLE TO THE MOON) has been found murdered.  

The body is brought into town by Sheriff Parker (western star Bob Steele, who had portrayed Curly in the classic OF MICE AND MEN, Hal Roach, 1939) The townspeople talk of the area being cursed, and Indian Joe (western actor Billy Dix, in a wig. Dix also had a small part as a storm trooper in SHE DEMONS.) talks about the area being a burial ground for his ancestor and talks of the curse.

Sheriff Parker goes to Geologist Wayne Brooks (Ed Kemmer ,who had starred in the ABC-TV science fiction classic SPACE PATROL from 1950-5. In 1958, he also headlined Bert I. Gordon’s THE SPIDER, AIP) who has been working in the area. Brooks is also a suspect since it seems he did not get along with the late Banks.

Brooks becomes friends with Professor Cleveland (Morris Ankrum, HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, AIP, 1958, as well as a gruff military type in many 1950s sci fi films), an archeologist, and his daughter Janet (Sally Fraser, WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST, AIP,1958, as well as THE SPIDER, both for Bert I Gordon). Both had arrived when the townsfolk were discussing the murder of Banks as well.

Cleveland has been studying the history of the area to a group of Spanish Conquistadors led by Vargas (Baer). Vargas, a giant of a man, was a violent man who broke away from the main expedition and vanished with a few followers up in the Devil’s Crag some 500 years ago. Meanwhile, Brooks makes an amazing discovery about the soil in the area, wherein he finds a lizard long thought extinct preserved and alive. He theorizes that the soil induces a sort of suspended animation and preserves living creatures.

Having found an old broken cross that he believes is from Vargas’ party, they use a metal detector to search the area for other artifacts. Janet is the one who finds the location of the burial area of the lost Spaniards. A thunderstorm comes through and freshly cleared soil shows more of that preservative dirt that saved the lizard, as well as spotting a giant battle axe. They decide to retire to their camp site for the night and investigate further in the morning.

During the night, Vargas comes alive, and stumbles down to their campsite. Janet, however, has a gun with her, which she fires off, startling the giant. The man out of his time goes staggering off, only to find other victims.

The film has a lot of plot and continuity errors.  We hear of animal mutilations and the murder of Banks as the film begins, but Vargas is not shown rising from the earth until 36 minutes into the 77-minute film. Who then was responsible for the killings before Vargas arises?  During a climatic fight, it begins snowing but in certain shots there is no snow, etc.  The joys of low budget filmmaking. The budget for the film was $54,000 for a six-day shoot, so retakes and time are not luxuries afforded to indie filmmakers. The budget was 30K on hand as well as $24K deferred. That includes renting locations, transport, feeding, housing, as well as film stock, cast and crew salaries, plus optical effects costumes and makeup.

The film has long since slipped into public domain and thus has been seen in prints on television and home video releases varying from good to very scratchy and splice ridden.

Now, FILM DETECTIVE has gotten the original camera negative and made a brand new 4 K transfer. The print is incredibly sharp, complimenting director Cunha’s photography (he did double duty on the picture).

They also have provided yellow easy to read optional subtitles, though there are a few misspellings in the extras section (the director’s name, for instance, or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre).

Other extras with this blu ray release are

A running audio commentary by Tom Weaver, filmmaker, and film fan/filmmaker Larry Blamire (LOST SKELTON OF CADAVRA, Columbia, 2001, inspired by films like G.F.T.U.). Weaver reveals a personal connection to this film, and the kindness that the filmmakers bestowed upon him. The commentary also uses audio clips of the late filmmaker, and some sound effects that seem influenced by Ghoulardi.

A second running commentary with co-star Gary Crutcher, who has fond memories of his first film role some sixty-two years later.

Ballyhoo Motion Pictures provides two new featurettes.

The first is YOU’RE A B-MOVIE STAR, CHARLIE BROWN -an interview by Daniel Griffith with co star Gary Crutcher, covering some of the same territory as his running commentary, but fascinating and fun, nonetheless.

THE MAN WITH A BADGE: BOB STEELE IN THE 1950s- C. Courtney Joyner (screenwriter of PRISON, Empire ,1987) and how big a deal it was to have Steele (January 23, 1907 – December 21, 1988) in this film. 

from F TROOP -1965-7.WB-TV

A Booklet enclosed inside the disc case written by Tom Weaver about the making of the picture with some nice photos.

If you love 1950s B movies, this looks to be a must have to add to your collection.

Film Detective has truly gone all out on this one.

ONLY 1,500 copies pressed.

Do not miss out!!

Kevin G Shinnick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnu-FnKoIVk&feature=emb_logo

Please follow SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE
here

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and on Facebook

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If you would like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE,

contact Kevin at

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He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefé Collection . Arrow Video Blu-ray. Region Free

He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefé Collection [Blu-ray] Region Free
4 discs. 12 hours and 16 minutes. Color. 7 films (1966-1977) and a brand-new documentary (THEY CAME FROM THE SWAMP-THE FILMS OF WILLIAM GREFE produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures) plus lots of extras.
$99.95
https://www.amazon.com/He-Came-Swamp-William-Collection/dp/B08GVJLKZL

William Grefe does not have the cult following that a lot of independent filmmakers have. Indeed, my knowledge of him was limited to two of his earliest horror films and little else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9PniGbJEHw


This collection from Arrow is a great correction to that for me and other film buffs. In the set are 7 of the director’s works, along with another brilliant full-length documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures on the  Grefé’s career.


Seven of his works from the beginning and the end of his career are not included, probably due to rights issues, or perhaps if this set is popular enough, that there will be a second collection?



Drive-in movie theatres have been around since around 1915, but officially began with the first dedicated site for that purpose in Camden, NJ in 1933. In the 1940s, after the way, cars became more of an American way of life, and drive ins began to truly take off. At the same time, the Paramount Act in 1948 caused studios to divest themselves of theatres in a landmark antitrust suit.



This opened the doors for many independents in the 1950s to begin producing films to supply drive ins, as those theatres were looked upon as secondary markets or at least the destination for a film that had run its course financially prior.



American Releasing Corp (which morphed into the more familiar American International Pictures) was one of those that benefitted, aiming for the newly mobile teenage audiences that made drive ins profitable.



Independents would deal with local sub distributors who would handle territories that the country had been broken into. Some of these sub distributors would even make their own ultra-low budget films like the Texas-lensed THE GIANT GILA MONSTER and THE KILLER SHREWS (McLendon-Radio Pictures Distributing Company, both 1959).


In the 1960’s, more maverick filmmakers started to shoot their low budget films around the country, many of them working in Florida. Among the first was H.G. Lewis and his BLOOD FEAST (Box Office Spectaculars, 1963).

William Shatner appeared in Grefe’s IMPULSE(1974)


Another was William  Grefé. A Florida native, he began making films in 1963 as well for the local drive- in film circuit. Two racing films (THE CHECKERED FLAG, Motion Picture Investors ,1963 and RACING FEVER, A.A.,1964, the second of which was built around an actual horrible boat accident caught by an amateur photographer) came and went. His third film (and the first in this collection) was a horror film set within the Everglades.


Disc One of this Arrow Blu Ray collection has STING OF DEATH and DEATH CURSE OF TARTU.


STING OF DEATH (Thunderbird,1966)) was an ultra-low budget color (all   Grefé’s films were in color, except for THE DEVIL’S SISTER, Thunderbird ,1966) that was intended for the drive-in market. For couples looking for an excuse to make out in the privacy of their cars, this film was a good reason to do so. A humanoid/ jellyfish hybrid (poor Bill Hobart, in a diving outfit slightly altered and a plastic bag over his head which in one scene almost caused him to suffocate to death!) is out killing people in Florida. A group of young people (including Deana Lund, prior to her stint on tv’s LAND OF THE GIANTS, Fox ,1968-70) draw the attention of Egon (John Vella), who is the evil genius who has a machine attached to an actual Portuguese Man of War that allows him to transform into the creature that is killing everyone. Oddly, the film seemed to inspire ZAAT (Clark, 1971) , another Florida lensed man into mutant aquatic monster hybrid film .

Zaat, a STING OF DEATH ripoff?


Needing a second feature,  Grefé wrote a quick script, got a team together, and filmed his co-feature in a week.

Deanna Lund


DEATH CURSE OF TARTU (Thunderbird ,1966) was an ultra-low budget color (all  Grefé’s films were in color, except for THE DEVIL’S SISTER, Thunderbird ,1966) horror film that got a decent release upon the drive-in circuits, as well as some spots on late night movie channels in syndication. I recall first seeing a black and White picture of Tartu (Bill Hobart, who designed his own makeup, and became one of  Grefé’s stock company behind and in front of the camera.) in an early issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS and becoming intrigued by it.


An explorer (Brad Grinter, later to direct Veronica Lake’s sad swan song FLESH FEAST, Viking,1970 & the bizarre killer turkey flick BLOOD FREAK, Sampson ,1972) uncovers a crypt wherein he is confronted by Tartu and killed. A short time later, Sam (Frank Weed, who also handled all the exotic animals that appeared in Grefe’s films) and a group including a Professor, his wife and their students exploring old Indian sites soon are the next to become involved with the Death Curse.


Tartu can transform himself and pops up as various swamp creatures to pick of various members of the party, including a shark (!) before the final showdown.  Grefé claimed that he dashed the script out very quickly and it shows. Lots of long passages of nature shots where nothing happens, followed by some brief dialogue then back to padding before something happens for a few seconds. Still, the film had a long life, as director Frank Henenlotter recalled it still playing in the 42nd Street Grindhouses as late as 1976, but how much of receipts reached  Grefé is unknown. Actress Mayra Gomez moved to Spain, where she became a bit of staple of Spanish tv in the 1970s.


These two films have quite a cult following, having gotten released on video and DVD by Something Weird video in prints that had gone through the projectors quite a few times, with faded color and scratches.


The Arrow releases have presented the films in such sharpness as to make them look brand new. The colors are vibrant, and the overall pictures are quite sharp. The studio has gone to the original film elements and given us new 2K scans. it is astonishing the care that went into their restoration.


Extras include new intros by the director, as well as running commentaries by Grefe and Henenlotter (the commentaries ported over from the original Something Weird DVD releases). Find out how Neil Sedaka ended up contributing the song “Do the Jellyfish “to STING OF DEATH .

Do the Jellyfish


A new mini doc by filmmaker C Courtney Joyner called BEYOND THE MOVIE-MONSTERS A GO GO! which examines rock n roll monster movies from the 1950s onward, including the AIP Beach Blanket films that added horror stars like Karloff and Price in cameos.


Doug Hobart talks about his experience with running his own spook show in the fascinating THE CURIOUS CASE OF DR. TRABOH: SPOOK SHOW EXTRAORDINAIRE. For those like myself too young to have experienced these, this is a fascinating piece of movie /theatre history and is true ballyhoo (the extras on these discs are all by the film history doc specialists, Daniel Griffith ‘s BALLYHOO MOTION PICTURES, who consistently make some of the best DVD/BLU RAY extras).

Not Dr . Traboh ,but…


Also, on disc one is the some of the original theatrical trailers for STING OF DEATH and DEATH CURSE OF TARTU.


Disc 2 has Grefe’s reaction to the Swinging’ Sixties, THE HOOKED GENERATION (A.A.,1968) and THE PSYCHEDELIC PRIEST (Allied International ,1971).



THE HOOKED GENERATION has three low lifes who want to break into the big time of drug dealing and go full Scarface by killing a bunch of Cubans for their boatload of drugs (it seems while drugs were crimes in Cuba, they had no problem making money off selling them to the Americans), then killing members of the Coast Guard, before having to turn and flee for a final show down between them in the swamps and the police. It is a gritty film with truly unlikeable characters (a rape scene thankfully is not shown).


THE PSYCHEDELIC PRIEST (original title: Electric Shades of Gray) is an interesting film.  Grefé on the commentary tells us that producer Stewart (Terry) Merrill wanted to make a film about a priest in the Height Ashbury drug scene. The only problem is he had nothing beyond that idea.  Grefé found that it was not a problem, and, with money in hand, began to improvise his film with actor John Darrell (who IMDB seems to feel moved to England and later appeared in several episodes of the Shakespearean series THE WAR OF THE ROSES, BBC 1990-91 !) and mostly a cast pulled off the streets and campuses.

Someone slipped him a Doctor Pepper??



Father John (Darrell) is seen talking to several college students about pot smoking and drugs. They offer him a soda, with him unaware that it is spiked with L.S.D. He goes back to church where he has a bad trip, convincing him to drop out (becoming the embodiment of Timothy Leary’s famous 1966 phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out”). He decides to take a car and travel the open road, wherein he picks up a young hitchhiker who travels awhile with him. He rebukes her admission of love, which is followed by her death. John also witnesses a racial murder perpetrated by some small-town sheriffs, causing John to spiral downwards into harder drugs.


In the final act, he finds his faith again before the end credits crawl, making one think of those religious scare films so “popular “in the 1960s ,70s and 80s. For example: here is a clip from Rock: It’s Your Decision (1982), wherein a young man finds being denied access to rock n’ roll saves him from…. SATAN. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_aHgKWwAy0 .

However, after finishing the film, producer Merrill got into a fight with the distributor, and so the film ended up shelved for decades, until it was saved by Something Weird Video in 2001.


Both films have been remastered from the best elements available and given a 2K scanning. That said, the films could only be improved so much, especially the 16mm PSYCHEDELIC PRIEST.

Extras include

new introductions to each film by the director

Mike Vraney & Lisa Petrucci


Running commentaries by  Grefé and Henenlotter wisely carried over from their old Something Weird releases (the late Mike Varney and his wife Lisa Petrucci saved more films from vanishing forever that they deserve a special Oscar for film preservation, though the movies they preserved would not be nominated for Academy Awards, playing instead in grind houses, drive ins and even in porn theatres).


A new mini documentary by film historian Chris Poggiali called BEYOND THE MOVIE: THAT’S DRUGSPLOITATION! that explores films that would be called counterculture.


Another new mini doc, again by Poggiali, called BEYOND THE MOVIE: THE ULTIMATE ROAD TRIP-which gives you the history behind THE PSYCHEDELIC PRIEST.


BEHIND THE SCENES footage from THE HOOKED GENERATION.


A still gallery from THE HOOKED GENERATION.

DISC 3


THE NAKED ZOO (1971) This was  Grefé’s attempt to cash into the WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (WB,1962) style of thriller (also known as “Hag Horror”, a cruel comment about films where aging Stars and Actresses were forced into material they once may have turned up their noses at). This SUNSET BOULEVARD (Paramount ,1950) type film has Rita Hayworth (GILDA, Columbia, 1946) as Mrs. Golden, who is taking care of her wheelchair bound husband (Ford Rainey, a reliable character actor who appeared on television in various series from 1951 up to 2017!). When a young writer Terry Shaw (Steve Oliver, who appeared the following year in WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS, Fanfare,1971) shows up, the love starved woman’s infatuation leads to seductions and murder. The lovely Fay Spain (HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS, SpA Cinematografica,1961, who died way too young from cancer in 1983) adds a bit of sex appeal.

Fay Spain



Poor Hayworth looks older than her 52 years in this film, due no doubt from a lifetime of abuse both mental, physical, emotional, and financial from her husbands, driving her into alcoholism as well as possibly the first stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Indeed, 2 years later, her scenes in WRATH OF GOD (MGM,1972) had to be shot one line at a time.




MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH (Cannon, 1976) -having had a hit with STANLEY (Crown Int, 1972)  Grefé wanted to do another nature gone wild film. He had an idea to use a shark as the main creature but at the time, no one would foot the bill for such a film. Then JAWS (Universal,1975) shattered all box office records, and suddenly everyone wanted a film featuring the finned terrors.  Grefé obliged with this film.

Richard Jaeckel (who won an Oscar nom for his role in SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, Universal,1971) is Sonny Stein. During the Vietnam War, he was saved from the enemy by a Mako Shark. Now working as a marine salvager, a shaman gives him a charm to help him have a psychic link between the sharks and himself. Oddly , none of the sharks shown in the film are Mako sharks.


Seeing how people around him treat the sharks, he uses them to extract revenge, including killing an underwater dancer (an attraction totally unique to Florida) when a shark is introduced into her tank.

Also in the film is Harold “Odd Job” Sakata, who had almost really died while filming Grefe’s IMPULSE (Camelot,1974). Here he ends up on the wrong end of a fishhook.



Once again, ARROW gives us a 2K restoration of both films from original film elements.
Also new to these releases are brand new audio commentaries by director  Grefé.


New intros for each film by  Grefé.


An interesting offering is a 92-minute DIRECTOR’S CUT of THE NAKED ZOO, as well as the version released theatrically and altered by the distributors, who added a performance by Canned Heat as well as some nude insert shots, so I guess the Non-Director cut.

A retitled -reissue of THE NAKED ZOO



A new mini doc BEYOND THE MOVIE: THAT’S SHARKSPLOITATION! By film historian Michael Gingold about the spawn of JAWS, including piranhas and alligators.


New to this release: THE AQUAMAID SPEAKS! – An audio interview with Jennifer Bishop, the hapless actress almost bitten by a shark for real in MAKO.

Jennifer Bishop


Another new audio interview: SHARKS, STALKERS, AND SASQUATCH, with Mako writer Robert Morgan, who has spent decades talking about Bigfoot, whom he claims he first saw in 1957.


MAKO-The Super 8 Digest version. For you kiddies, before vcrs, streaming, the internet, this was often the only way to get your hands on a film.


Original trailers

Still and Promo Galleries

DISC 4
WHISKEY MOUNTAIN (1977) is an action thriller film set in the backwoods. A group of young people go into the mountains looking for a stash of old Confederate gear, only to come across a bunch of hillbilly drug dealers who do not take kindly to interlopers. Fast paced with lots of stunts, starring Christopher George (tv’s RAT PATROL, U.A. 1966-68) as well as the indie ecological horror film GRIZZLY (Film Ventures,1976).



THEY CAME FROM THE SWAMP: THE FILMS OF WILLIAM GREFE (2016) -this for me was the highlight of the collection. Daniel Griffith, of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, has done this 127-minute tribute to William  Grefé, highlighting the take any risk but get it on film style of the filmmaker, and indeed, of many indie cinema makers. This is an extended version of this documentary tribute that had been previously been released in a special two-disc DVD edition (the second disc featured WHISKEY MOUNTAIN).


Interviews with  Grefé, and many of the surviving cast and crew of his films, as well as filmmakers like Frank Henenlotter (BASKET CASE, Analysis, 1982) and Fred Olen Ray (THE PHANTOM EMPIRE, American Independent Productions 1988). Besides his own films,  Grefé worked as a second unit director on major films shot in Florida like LIVE & LET DIE (U.A.,1973) as well as promotional shorts for various companies. It is a fascinating look at D.I.Y. guerilla filmmaking.


Extras on this disc include


2K restoration of WHISKEY MOUNTAIN from original film elements.

Christopher George

New audio commentary by  Grefé on WHISKEY MOUNTAIN.


New intro to WHISKEY MOUNTAIN by  Grefé.

THE CROWN JEWELS– A new mini documentary about Crown International, who released several of  Grefé’s films, like STANLEY (1972).


ON LOCATION: GREFE IN MIAMI– a new archival tour of various locations used by  Grefé.

BACARDI AND COKE BONANZA (1981) a short film shot by  Grefé about how-well – Bacardi & Coke go together.


WHISKEY MOUNTAIN trailer.


Bonus Exploitation trailer Gallery.

Each of the discs has reversible disc cover sleeves with original artwork

Collectors Booklet with an interview with the director.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDRa_KWgVdU&feature=emb_logo


Arrow once again has gone all out with amazing restorations that put many major studio releases to shame.

Recommended for fans of  Grefé’s work, Regional Filmmakers, Indie Movies.

-Kevin G Shinnick


BALLYHOO MOTION PICTURES: https://ballyhoomotionpictures.com


ARROW VIDEO: https://www.arrowvideo.com


The films not in the collection by the way are for the Grefe completists
THE CHECKERED FLAG (1963), RACING FEVER (1964), DEVIL’S SISTERS (1966), WILD REBELS (1967), STANLEY (1972), IMPULSE (1974), THE GODMOTHERS (1975).


Make sure you follow SCARLET here https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com
and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews

If you would like to contribute and/or comment, contact Kevin at
ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

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POSSESSOR Blu Ray Contest (update: 12.08.20 -contest closed .winners contacted.Follow Scarlet for future articles and contests)

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES

UPDATE : 12.9. 2020- CONTEST CLOSED WINNERS HAVE HAD PRIZES MAILED OUT TODAY. Our Prize winners are Shakeia Rieux , Andrew L. Blumetti  , and ANONYMOUS .

Well Go USA ENTERTAINMENT is letting us do another contest !

This time, we are having a drawing for
Brandon Cronenberg‘s new Sci-Fi Thriller,

POSSESSOR .

Christopher Abbott in Possessor



The title will be released on DVD and BLU RAY on December 8,2020 , but
WELL GO US ENTERTAINMENT
has given SCARLET three BLU RAY copies for a drawing .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0Gh9nOIV3w

POSSESSOR is a 2020 science fiction psychological horror film written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg. An international co-production of the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, the film stars Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.


Using brain-implant technology, corporate assassin Tasya Vos , using brain implant technology m takes control of other people s bodies to execute high-profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment, Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her.

POSSESSOR -104 minutes Color . Well Go USA Entertainment
Language: English with English SDH REGION “A”

Blu Ray Extras
BONUS FEATURES:
Deleted Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Trailers


Review
“This sleekly executed work is of its time, exhibiting the chilly aesthetic and psychotropic overlay seen in some of the best indie sci-fi/horror films of recent years.” —Hollywood Reporter

“mind-melting visual impact and an elegantly cruel atmosphere” —Screen Daily

Brandon Cronenberg s ultra-violent thriller is unlike anything you’ ve ever seen before” —SlashFilm

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES

Send an email to ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com

In the subject line write “POSSESSOR Contest

In the body of the email
Put in you name and address


Then answer this question :

What is you Favorite Canadian Horror ,Science Fiction, or/and Mystery Film .




That’s all you need to do.

Only One Entry Per Person .

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES

Include your name and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE is December 7,2020 .
Entries received after that date will not be counted.

Winners will be drawn randomly and then notified December 8, 2020, with their prizes sent out soon after .

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES

Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary. Void where prohibited. All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.” Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Three(3) winners will be selected randomly.


Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES

Thanks to WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT .

https://www.wellgousa.com/home-entertainment

UPDATE: 12.08.2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED AND THEIR PRIZES WILL BE SHIPPING OUT SOON. FOLLOW SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE FOR FUTURE CONTESTS AND ARTICLES





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THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS -Film Detective Blu Ray



THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS (1971) Film Detective. Release November 13,2020. B&W. 81 minutes. Region A.

Ltd Edition (1,500 copies) Blu Ray $29.99 https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Madness-BONUS-Blu-ray/dp/B08HGPPRRS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=22CB1CDJH7Z7V&dchild=1&keywords=the+other+side+of+madness+blu+ray&qid=1606010306&sprefix=the+other+side+of+madness%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-2

DVD $21.95 https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Madness-BONUS-CD/dp/B08HGRZRJ9/ref=tmm_dvd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1601923760&sr=1-1



Back before we had non stop reality show and true crime recreations , including entire T.V. networks and podcasts dedicated to same, there were a lot of films released in the late 1960’s and 1970’s that dealt with shocking murders, a few being made by Hollywood, but more often rushed and amateurish , concentrating on salacious details to pad out the running time, or just making things up around the few details that were known at the time.

THE BOSTON STRANGLER (Fox,1968) and IN COLD BLOOD (Columbia,1967) were two of the big budget studio pictures that set the tone about true crime recreations, having the benefit of big budgets and major studio backing. Independent filmmakers were not going to leave such a profitable subgenre go unmined.



THE ZODIAC KILLER (Adventure ,1971, which has been restored and released on Blu Ray by AGFA/Something Weird) was made with the idea that it might even capture the infamous murderer , making it quite unique , though wildly conjectured . GUYANA: CRIME OF THE CENTURY (1979) was another quite inaccurate and exploitive film based upon the Jim Jones/Jonestown massacre, that got distribution by a major studio (Universal).


Somewhat in between is THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS, now being released on DVD and Blu Ray by Film Detective in a 50th Anniversary Edition. The film was possibly the first* to deal directly with the Charles Manson cult , the savage murder of a pregnant Sharon Tate and four others in her home, and then two other murders soon after ( all taking place between August 8-10,1969). So savage and senseless were the killings , that it became an international fixation on the police search and eventual arrest and trials of Charles Milles Manson (né Maddox) and his insane cult followers.


Manson had spent at least half of his life in and out of institutions, he ended up in California in 1967. The changing mores and the urge of many to question authority as well as explore alternative ideas was perfect for a con artist like Manson. People who feel adrift often join gangs or cults to feel that they belong to something greater than themselves, and Manson was obviously able to convince several people, mostly women, that he was the solution.


Manson’s dogma was a Doomsday Cult that would result in a Race War (Manson was a White Supremacist), that would somehow end up with Manson and his true believers leading the remnants of the human race. A failed musician, he read dark meaning into the Beatles song ‘Helter-Skelter”. In British English, a helter- skelter is a fairground attraction consisting of a tall spiral slide winding round a tower, but the phrase can also mean chaos and disorder . The murders were supposed to start the war. Later, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, another cult member tried and luckily failed to assassinate President Gerald Ford.


On July 15, 1970, the trials of Manson, Leslie Van Houten, Susan Arkins and Patricia Krenwinkel began (Tex Watson was tried later). One of the people who was fascinated by the case and attended the actual trials was producer /film collector Wade Williams. Williams was so fascinated by the case that he somehow even got to interview Manson in prison, even buying the rights to two of his songs. He chose first time director Frank Howard(who also was the cinematographer and editor on this, his only credit) to helm the script written by J.J. Wilke Jr. (screenplay), Duke Howzer (additional dialogue). They gathered a cast of unknowns for whom the majority that this film would also be their only known film credit.



The film was shot in black and white to give it the look of a documentary, as had been used in IN COLD BLOOD or THE HONEYMOON KILLERS (Cinerama, 1970). The film chooses to jump back and forth from the courtroom (using actual court transcripts) to the events leading up to the murders, wherein Manson gathers his followers. There is a surreal moment wherein we are shown what to expect when the projected race war happens, with black militants murdering everyone in the suburbs(one wonders if this film was viewed by donald trump ?) , but it is rather clumsily staged.

The director fades into color for a brief sequence about Sharon Tate’s acting career. The costumes used are obviously referencing Polanski’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (MGM ,1967). Interestingly, since the trials were still going on while the film was being made, the real names were not used , and thus Tate is only referred to as ‘The Starlet “. Debbie Duff, the actress who portrayed her, certainly has a resemblance to Sharon Tate. Duff is one of the few performers who had more than one credit (HONKY, Getty & Fromkess Pictures Corp,1971). The name Charlie is used several times, though actor Brian Klinknett (who appeared in SLIME TOWN BLUES, NB Releasing,1974) is only referred to as “Killer “in the credits.

Debbie Duff
Sharon Tate


The actual murders, which, while not gory, are staged with almost fetishistic attention to details. The poor acting detracts from the frisson that the film works so hard to create. One character, after escaping from his bonds, stiffly walks toward the insane killers saying, ‘What the hell is going on?” before being shot dead is a prime example. The film often has stretches without dialogue (which, given how bad some of the actors are, is a bit of a blessing), with the court room scenes doing most of the heavy lifting in that area.

Much of the score is by Sean Bonniwell ,but Charles Manson himself is heard singing his composition “Mechanical Man “, a monotonic recitation with twangy guitar joined halfway through by mournful chanting ,showing Manson was also delusional about his dreams of being a rock star. The new Film Detective release has a bonus CD of “Mechanical Man “and “Garbage Dump” for you to listen apart from the film to judge for yourself.


The film ends with a credit crawl that makes one think of REEFER MADNESS (G& H, 1936) with its warning about the need to control drugs, which completely avoids the complexity of cults.



In a 1970 Box Office article, producer Williams stated that the film was in post-production for a November ,1970 release. The film’s production company, Auric Ltd, had announced it would be in “Auramation”, a “special cellular film treatment designed to heighten or depress the emotions …by subliminal monochromatic suggestions.”. Checking out the Blu-Ray, I saw no subliminal effects, so it may have been either ballyhoo or dropped.



Of note is that some parts of the film were shot on the actual Spahn Movie Ranch, where the Manson Cult had lived from 1968-69. Indeed, some of the remaining Manson followers appear in the footage. Shortly after the scenes were shot, the Spahn Ranch burnt to the ground. The ranch, established in 1947, had been used in several films, including THE CREEPING TERROR (Crown Int.,1964). Spahn was 80 years old, going blind and living at his ranch when he allowed the Manson Family to move in, rent-free, in exchange for labor .He was unaware of their nefarious activities.


The film was submitted to the MPAA in October ,1971 and slapped with an “X’ rating. To give it a chance for wider distribution, some further cuts were made to the film, garnering a re-release an R Rating. No record of what was cut, but the film went from an announced 91 minutes at a Cannes screening to its present length of 81. The film’s original rating may have hurt its box office originally, so the later R rating probably was too little too late. In 1976, the film was retitled as THE HELTER SKELTER MURDERS. For a time, the film was banned outright in Los Angeles.


Released theatrically by Prestige Pictures (BLACKENSTEIN,1973), it sat virtually unseen after it is 1976 reissue until the ever- hungry video market was born, which was desperate for product, any product. Media Home Entertainment released it on VHS as THE HELTER-SKELTER MURDERS (1989) before Wade Williams took it back, releasing it on his Englewood Entertainment label in both VHS and DVD.


Now, Film Detective has made a new deal with Wade Williams to release his vast library in brand new restored versions for the current DVD /BLU RAY market. THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS is their first release to mark it is 50th Anniversary in 2021.


First off, they have gone back to the original 35mm camera negative, they have given a clean up and a new 4K transfer that is a vast improvement over the previous home video releases. Sound is in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Optional subtitles are available in either English or Spanish.

Then there are the extras

There is the already mentioned CD of Manson performing “Mechanical Man” & “Garbage Dump”, taken from the original 7” vinyl soundtrack.

Ballyhoo Motion Pictures has created two original featurettes for this release:

– ‘The Other Side of Manson: An Interview with Producer Wade Williams”-an interview with the producer.

Wade Williams with Martin Scorsese


– “Mechanical Man: Wade Williams Meets Manson” – the story of how he got to have a meeting with the madman.

Two Trailers: the original release and as THE HELTER SKELTER MURDERS.

A 12-page booklet packed in the case with liner notes by filmmaker Alexander Tuschinski (MISSION CALIGULA ,2018) examining the film and its history.



THE OTHER SIDE OF MADNESS is of interest to those who wish to study the infamous history of Manson and his followers, especially from the context of it’s closeness to the actual crimes and trials, as well as use of actual songs by the master monster himself and footage of the Spahn Ranch.

-Kevin G Shinnick


*-A film called THE COMMUNE (1970) was purportedly the first to deal with the actual crimes, but I can find no information about this picture .



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If you would like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE ,
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PENINSULA (Blu Ray/DVD combo from Well GO USA) review.

Train to Busan presents PENINSULA (Well Go Entertainment Blu Ray/DVD combo)

Release Date: November 24,2020. 1 hr 56 min.Color. English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1) English Subtitles. $29.98 S.R.P.                     https://www.amazon.com/Train-Busan-Presents-Peninsula-Blu-ray/dp/B08FXMKNRY/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=train+to+busan+presents+peninsula&qid=1605892861&sr=8-3

If TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016) was comparative to ALIEN (Fox,1979) with it’s characters trapped aboard a speeding bullet train, then PENINSULA would be their ALIENS (Fox ,1986). As we are experiencing the second wave of COVID-19 at the time of writing this review, these films about a fast spreading deadly infection seem to have more reverberance within the viewer. Sadly, said current pandemic limited many people’s ability to experience this horror action thriller on the large cinema screen.

That said, WELL GO USA has once again done a beautiful job with their home video release of these films.

Four years after the original film, things have gotten exponentially worse. Marine Captain Jung-Seok ( Gang Dong-won ,HAUNTERS, 2010 ) is still guilt-ridden by actions he had to take during the original outbreak .  Now ,having escaped South Korea and living in Hong Kong , he and his brother in law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon, THE WAILING, 2016) who also survived are approached by Chinese Mobsters to go back into the restricted infected areas to bring over a truck full of money.  If they succeed they would get half of the $20 million inside .

Jung-Seok and Chul-Min are joined by two other Koreans and brought over at night via boat to the restricted area. After that , they are on their own to survive and bring back the truck full of bounty .

They find the truck , but of course , things are not going to go easy for them, as the zombie hordes are hot in pursuit .As if things are not difficult enough  , they are ambushed by a group of rogue survivors. Two of the party are killed, with Jung-Seok rescued by two sisters. Chul-min, unfortunately is trapped inside the truck ,which is brought to the militia’s headquarters.

Jung-Seok once again is confronted by his decisions from four years back, while Chul-min has to take part in some freaky Fight Club meets Thunderdome survival games of humans versus zombies. Some of the militia discover the money and plan on sneaking off with it. So, who will survive and who will end up with the millions ?

Director Yeon Sang-ho returns to direct this sequel in this more expansive story ,yet never forgets the human story lines. Kudos to original screenwriter Park Joo-Suk  who teams up with Yeon Sang-ho for this expansion on the story .

You can tell that the team really love the genre , with influences and imagery that make one think of 28 DAYS LATER (Fox,2002) as well as films like THE CHURCH (La chiesa ,ADC ,1989,) , yet make it their own . The action scenes are spectacularly filmed, with a sense of urgency and pulse pounding movement that makes you really fear if any of the characters will survive.

PENINSULA
THE CHURCH

Well-Go USA Entertainment delivers a beautiful Blu-Ray DVD combo pack . The two disc set has been beautifully mastered ,with the muted colors marvelously reproduced as well as deep blacks where by anything can (and often does) leap out at you from all angles.

The sound design is superb in Dolby Digital 5.1 in both English dubbed and Korean. The English dubbing is good , though I preferred the original voices . Luckily, the optional subtitles are clear and easy to read , and do not interfere with the non-stop action .

Also on the discs are a making of featurette ,interviews with the creatives and actors(in Korean) as well as trailers.

Even if you have not seen the original , you will enjoy PENINSULA.  If you have seen TRAIN TO BASAN, you will really enjoy it.

RECOMMENDED.

Kevin G Shinnick

Note: Train To Busan Presents PENINSULA is also available on DVD as well as a 4K UHD Blu Ray .

The original TRAIN TO BUSAN is also available on Blu Ray . https://www.amazon.com/Train-Busan-Blu-ray-Gong-Yoo/dp/B01M32LRPX/ref=sr_1_6?crid=2IYEH76GNZ9UJ&dchild=1&keywords=train+to+busan&qid=1605904932&s=books&sprefix=TRAIN+TO+BUSAN%2Cstripbooks%2C160&sr=1-6

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SILENT RUNNING (Arrow Blu Ray)

SILENT RUNNING (Arrow Video Blu Ray)
89 minutes Color.
Original release Universal Studios March 10, 1972 U.S.A.
Arrow Blu-Ray Release November 17th,2020 $39.95
https://www.amazon.com/Silent-Running-Blu-ray-Bruce-Dern/dp/B08GVJLKZG

paperback movie adaptation of SILENT RUNNING


Ray Bradbury often felt his only science fiction story was FAHRENHEIT 451. “I use a scientific idea as a platform to leap into the air and never come back.” Most of his stories were not hard science fiction, but just the launching point for the story that he wished to tell. SILENT RUNNING is quite like that. While filled with wonderful imagery of a future world of spaceships and androids, the story is more an allegory of our relationship with our planet and our need to protect it.


The story of SILENT RUNNING is that in the near future (a voice over tells us that “at the beginning of a new Century” ),Earth has launched all their remaining forests and surviving species into space in the hope of preserving them .



Among the Fleet is the Valley Forge, run by a crew of four with support by various Droids. It seems that they have been in space for quite a while, and boredom has set in among three of the crew. They race around the ship with reckless abandon. The fourth, Freeman Lowell (Free man, sort of on the nose), played by Bruce Dern, is introduced to the audience swimming among what appears to be a forest, but is within one of the domes. He dons a robe, giving him more of a Christ like image as he cuddles a rabbit.



The fleet receives word that they are to destroy the domes and return the space crafts to commercial service.



Lowell snaps and kills his three coworkers, then plunges his ship through the rings of Saturn to make it appear that his ship is lost. He then programs the three remaining droids (whom he names Huey ,Dewey ,and Louie) first to perform surgery on his injured leg and then ,as his isolation sets in, to interact with him in such things as playing cards. Lowell starts feeling the loneliness again and takes to speeding around the station like his former co- workers did, smashing into one of the droids.



The forests also begin to die, and he does not know what he can do to help them. Then, he gets a radio message that the fleet has found his location and are racing to save him.

Realizing that the forests need more light, he rushes about to install lamps to correct this problem.   He then jettisons the forest into space and to prevent it being followed, he commits suicide by destroying the Valley Forge with one of the nuclear bombs aboard.  The final shot is the forest floating and flourishing in space, cared for by Dewey.

Back in the 1970s, the studios were looking for films that would appeal to young movie goers.  EASY RIDER (Columbia 1969) was a film that made oodles of money, and the suits could not figure out why. Their solution was to give up and coming filmmakers a limited budget and see what they could come up with.  Warner Brothers gave George Lucas financing to expand his student film ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH: THX 1138 4EB into a full length feature.  

Universal seemed the most willing to risk money on filmmakers, setting budgets of $1 million dollars and creative control. They even thought that bringing in two of the EASY RIDER actors would guarantee better returns.   Dennis Hopper went off in many ways with his money for THE LAST MOVIE (Universal,1971), a financial and critical disaster.  Peter Fonda directed a more traditional western, THE HIRED HAND (Universal ,1971) was also a flop, playing in many areas as the bottom half of THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS (Universal,1971).  


Another young filmmaker who was given a chance to go off and create something for a million dollars was Douglas Trumbull. Trumbull had been instrumental in the mind-boggling visuals and effects seen in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (MGM,1968). After doing some of the effects for Robert Wise’s adaptation of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (Universal,1971)*, Universal was so impressed as to offer him a chance to direct a sci- fi film.


Douglas had the original outline ,which was expanded into a screenplay by Steven Bochco ( later a T.V. industry unto himself ,with such shows as HILL STREET BLUES (MTM,1981-87)) Deric Washburn (an off- Broadway playwright turned screenwriter), and Michael Cimino (later to co-write with Washburn the classic THE DEER HUNTER ,Universal , 1978, and direct films like the film that sank United Artists, HEAVEN’S GATE ,1980) , Trumbull was able to stretch his budget by film aboard Korean War aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge (LPH-8), which was docked at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California. The domes were filmed on a studio set in an aircraft hangar in Van Nuys, California.



The film was basically a showcase for an actor, and he wisely took a chance on Bruce Dern. The stage trained performer was mostly cast as villains in films, so this was a great change of pace for the actor. The three other visible performers were Cliff Potts (who was a Universal contract player at the time),Ron Rifkin (who is currently a recurring character on LAW & ORDER: SVU ,Universal 1999-present) , and Jess Vint III (Dern recommended him for the role in SILENT RUNNING after seeing his work at an Actors Studio class . Since then Vint has worked as an actor, director, screenwriter for both major studios and indies) .


Two voices heard over the radio belong to Roy Engel (President Grant on the tv series WILD WILD WEST ,CBS,1966-69) and Joseph Campanella, who seemed to appear in every T.V. series during the 1960s and 70s (including playing different characters in IRONSIDE,Universal,1969-75) .



The most brilliant bit of casting was for the four droids. To get away from the man in the suit look, the droids’ design led many to believe that they actual working AI. In fact, the four suits were worn by 4 amputees (Mark Persons, Steven Brown, Cheryl Sparks, and Larry Whisenhunt) with the casings built to accommodate them. That they were able to imbue the blank shells with personality is a credit to the performers inside, Dern, and the director.



The cinematographer Charles F Wheeler had worked a lot with specials effects films (like TORA! TORA! TORA! Fox,1970) and this was one of the first films to use fluorescent lights for a film, since they were filming on an actual aircraft carrier. Wheeler later did similar duties on STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (Paramount, 1979).


Another big plus was the music by Peter Schickele (best known for his brilliant comedy albums as P.D.Q. Bach). Indeed, I still own the Green Vinyl Varese Sarabande album.


Joan Baez ,who had worked with Schickele provided two songs to the film’s soundtrack.



The film was released in the U.S. on March 10, 1972 to mixed reviews and disappointing box office. Over the years, the film has gained a well-deserved cult following, due to its various television showings, as well as video and DVD releases.

Concept Art for the Droids



Now, Arrow Video gives us the best presentation of this movie that we have ever seen.


The movie has been given a 2K restoration supervised by Trumbull himself in 1080p Hi Definition. The film is flawless, with beautiful color.


The sound is presented in crisp DTS-HD mono. The effects, music, and dialogue are clear.

The optional white English subtitles are clear and easy to read.


Arrow also packs the release with several extras.

First off, there are TWO commentary tracks.

The first is carried over from the 2002 Universal DVD release, featuring Dern & Trumbull. You can hear their deserved pride in the film and friendly banter as they watch the film .



The second and new to this release track features Kim Newman (the author of the wonderful ANNO DRACULA books) and Barry Forshaw (BRITISH GOTHIC CINEMA book). This track, I must admit, annoyed me quite a bit. Both are knowledgeable on film and literature, but they seem to talk around the subject of the film rather than about it. They also do not seem to regard the film too highly. They seem to miss that the film is more allegory than hard science fiction. One wishes that Arrow had gotten someone with more respect for the film, like Mark Kermode, who lists it as among his favorite movies, and even wrote a book about it.



Also new to this release is an isolated music and sound effect track, for those who do not have the o.s.t. album of Schickele’s score, plus one can see how much the sound effects of forest and mechanics sounds mix to make the film work .



NO TURNING BACK -A short 14-minute featurette with Movie Music historian Jeff Bond discusses the importance of Peter Schickele’s score to the film.



FIRST RUN -Another short featurette examines the script and how it changed with the input of the various writers.

Those Zero Gravity toilets can be tricky….


A Theatrical trailer is included, which makes the film look more like an action sci-fi adventure, plus plugs Joan Baez’ contributions.

A photo gallery is also available .

Other extras carried over from the 2002 DVD are :


THE MAKING OF SILENT RUNNING – A promotional film made to promote the film prior to it’s release , showing the actual Valley Forge , and the behind scenes of making the film, including the robot concepts ,designs and actors working within the molds.



SILENT RUNNING BY DOUGLAS TRUMBULLTrumbull looks back on the film.


DOUGLAS TRUMBULL THEN & NOWTrumbull examines his career, including his ideas on theme park rides video games, and his Showscan process. Trumbull directed the four-minute film for the BACK TO THE FUTURE ride at the Universal Theme Parks, which he says is how to bring the audiences into the action. It is not mentioned here, but back in 1895, inventor and early effect film maker R.W. Paul had a remarkably similar idea, to be based upon H.G. WellsTHE TIME MACHINE that had been published the previous year. People would get into an enclosed ride box, where it would be tilted and moved as various projections were shown inside.

DOUGLAS TRUMBULL
R.W..Paul’s THE MOTORIST(1906)



A CONVERSATION WITH BRUCE DERN -the actor discusses his role in the film and its importance to his career.


First Pressing Only: An Illustrated collector’s booklet written by Barry Forshaw and Peter Tonguette (PICTURING PETER BOGDANOVICH) .


SILENT RUNNING is a unique film ,whose message of ecological preservation has become more important today, as we have experienced political leaders who have rolled back dozens of hard won protections of our air and water, and we are rushing toward ecological disasters with the world heating up and ice caps melting.



HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Kevin G Shinnick

*-THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN is also available on Blu Ray from Arrow Video. https://www.diabolikdvd.com/product/the-andromeda-strain-arrow-us-blu-ray/



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EVIL BOY DVD CONTEST
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CONTEST CLOSED – EVIL BOY DVD from WELL GO USA-winners to be notified thank you. 9.1.2020 update

EVIL BOY DVD CONTEST

Enter to possibly win a copy of WELL GO USA‘s release of the Russian Horror Film ,EVIL BOY .

 

WELL GO USA has  graciously given SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE  two copies of EVIL BOY for a giveaway contest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKnKjhqEaR4

UPDATE CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED. THANK YOU-9.1.2020 UPDATE

You don’t even have to leave your house.   

 

email : ScarletTheFilmMag@yahoo.com your entry (duplicates will automatically be disqualified) .

In the heading write

“EVIL BOY CONTEST “

and in the body of the email ,
Answer these two questions

1)What is considered the First Russian Horror Film ?

2)Name another Evil Child film

(try not to go for an easy one !)

Include your name ,email , and mailing address so winners can be notified and their prize mailed.

DEADLINE TO ENTER :Monday August 31,2020 . Entries received after that date will not be counted.

UPDATE- SEPTEMBER 1,2020- CONTEST CLOSED. WINNERS TO BE NOTIFIED. UPDATE. 9.1.2020.   



Only one entry per person.
No purchase is necessary. Void where prohibited. All federal, state, and local regulations apply.
You must be at least 18 to enter.
You must live in the United States or Canada.
All prizes are awarded “as is.” Prizes are nontransferable and cannot be exchanged. No substitute prize will be awarded to a winner who declines to accept a prize.
Two (2) winners will be selected randomly.

UPDATE 9.1.2020-Contest closed. Winners will be notified. Thank you for your entries. –
Please allow 4-8 weeks to receive the prize.

EVIL BOY

 


Several years after their son’ s disappearance, a grieving couple adopts a feral boy, who begins to eerily resemble their child more with each passing day. While the mother believes they have found their son, her husband is certain he died. As strange accidents begin happening around the boy, the pair soon wonders whether they’ve adopted something not entirely…human.

Language: 1. Russian 2. English (dubbed)
Subtitles: English subtitles

BONUS FEATURES:  Trailers


 Actors: Elena Lyadova ( Leviathan (2014), Elena (2011), The Geographer Drank His Globe Away (2013), and Orlean  (2015) ,                    Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Sevastian Bugaev
Directors: Olga Gorodetskaya (Gone Away (2014) and The Dive (2015).)



Format: NTSC, Subtitled, Dolby, Surround Sound, Widescreen
Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Subtitles: English

Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Not Rated
Well Go Usa
DVD Release Date: September 8, 2020
Run Time: 90 minutes
$24.98 msrp

Our thanks go to https://www.wellgousa.com

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THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (Film Detective Blu Ray)

THE SIN OF NORA MORAN (Film Detective Blu Ray and DVD. July 29,2020) Film original release December 13,1933(US). Produced by Majestic Pictures. Crime /Drama. B&W. 65 minutes. With 20 Minutes of Special Features. Blu-Ray $24.99. DVD $19.99. https://www.moviezyng.com/the-sin-of-nora-moran-bluray-dvd-zita-johann/810044715644

THE SIN OF NORA MORAN is a pre-code above average programmer probably mostly known for it’s beautiful poster by Alberto Vargas. The beautiful artwork really has nothing to do with the film, but oh does it draw your interest.

That said, THE SIN OF NORA MORAN is an entertaining drama from the early 1930s. At times, while watching it, I kept thinking of I WANT TO LIVE (U.A.,1958). The film is told in flashback form to tell the tragic story of Nora, played by Broadway actress Zita Johann. This was one of the seven films that she made between 1931-34, the best known being THE MUMMY (Universal,1932).

Nora ‘s early life was filled with tragedy, so when the star struck woman gets the chance to join the circus as part of a lion taming act for Paulino (John Miljan) she accepts. Paulino is a sadistic bastard, whose act it seems to consist of whipping and even punching a lion! It is no surprise then that Paulino is not above raping the poor woman. She survives and goes onto becoming a dancer in a small night club. There, she meets D.A. John Grant (Alan Dinehart). Things look like they are going better for her at last. Alas, it was not to be. It seems that Nora will die because of love.

The film is very daring for the period, with a woman who seems to be suffering from the aftereffects of the sexual attack upon her. Add to that, the unique jumping from present to past and back again in telling her story is quite unique. It had been done before (Griffith’s INTOLERANCE, Triangle, 1916) but very rarely, and I cannot recall any other sound films of that period doing so. The Griffith connection continues with the casting of with Griffith regular Henry B Walthall as Father Ryan, as well as Johann herself who appeared in THE STRUGGLE (U.A. ,1931).

 



Writer Willis Maxwell Goodhue had written several Broadway shows, mostly comedies. The film claims to have been based upon a Broadway play, but I can find no record of it playing upon the Great White Way. I suspect it is based upon an unproduced script of his called “Burnt Offering”. Filmed under the title of THE WOMAN IN THE CHAIR, its publicity claimed that it took five months to make the picture, a claim that I find a bit hard to believe. KING KONG (RKO,1933) took EIGHT MONTHS to make, and that was due to its extensive effects.


Majestic Pictures was a poverty row studio that was active from 1930 until 1935, when it and several other studios were absorbed into Republic Pictures. During their time, they produced THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933), perhaps their best-known picture, as well as THE SCARLET LETTER (1934). Larry Darmour, the founder of Majestic, had begun releasing the Mickey McGuire shorts in 1927, starring an incredibly young Mickey Rooney. After Majestic folded, Darmour went on to take over Columbia Pictures serial unit from 1938 until her passing in 1942.


Producer /Director Phil Goldstone worked in the industry from 1920 until 1942. His best-known contributions were as a producer for both WHITE ZOMBIE (uncredited; Halperin/ UA ,1932) and THE VAMPIRE BAT (Majestic ,1933). His most infamous title as director seems to be DAMAGED GOODS (Grand National,1937), a film about sexually transmitted diseases.

It is therefore quite surprising to witness his adventurous camera set ups and editing tricks of playing around with the timeline as he does. A scene near the end reminds one of Hitchcock whereas we see from a character’s point of view as he commits suicide by pistol (though not as successfully as the Master, it is indeed impressive for a small indie of the period).



The film fell into obscurity for many decades until film historian and filmmaker Sam Sherman (editor of the late lamented SCREEN THRILLS ILLUSTRATED ,and head of Independent International Pictures) was shown a 16mm print of THE SIN OF NORA MORAN and became fascinated with the picture. He even went so far as to get a print for himself and tracked down the lead Zita Johann, who was at that point already retired and living in West Nyack NY. She herself did not care for the film’s playing with time, preferring the original straightforward narrative that had been planned. Over time she began to appreciate the ambition of style that the film possessed. She even briefly came out of retirement to appear in a cameo in one of Sherman’s I.I. titles. Sherman also was able to repackage the film under a new title for tv distribution, VOICE FROM THE GRAVE, making it sound more like a horror film.



Now, thanks to Sam Sherman, film preservationist David Shepard, The Film Detective, and the UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVE, an original 35 mm camera element was found, and a new 4K print was struck.



This release from The Film Detective is the definitive version of this film. Unlike other prints found elsewhere, the film is incredibly sharp and clear. The cinematography by Ira H. Morgan (who also filmed THE DEVIL BAT and DAMAGED GOODS, as well as working on Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES(!) (U.A.,1936) is as clear as many a major production of the era, with strong blacks and clear levels of gray shadings. The mono sound has been cleaned up and was as far as I noticed crackle free. Dialogue, sound effects and music did not blur or overpower each other as many indie films of the period do.


There are optional English subtitles for the dialogue.

The music by Heinz Roemheld is uncredited. In fact ,it seems that for most of his career, his music was written for stock music libraries ,being used into films into the 1960s. One of the films he did receive screen credit was for THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD (U.A.,1957) . The unusual thing about his score here is that it is used throughout the films entire 65 minutes running time.


Many films of that period were still coping with sound, and many used music sparingly, if at all. KING KONG (RKO,1933) was a major film that same year that showed a running musical score could work with a film’s storytelling.


Roemheld’s score is no where near as memorable as Max Steiner’s classic compositions. Indeed, at times it sounds a bit like music one would hear in an Our Gang short of the period, especially in a sentimental moment. At other times, it is quite sparse and effective.


As a bonus on the disc, Ballyhoo Pictures put together a nice 20 minute documentary, ‘The Mysterious Life of Zita Johann” (“mysterious” being misspelled on the back cover of the case )wherein Samuel M. Sherman talks about Johann and his connection to the film and the actress.

Inside the case there is also a booklet written by Sherman and illustrated with some rare movie clippings, lobby cards and photos.

 

All and all, a nice little collectable of a by gone era of filmmaking.

 

 


If that is not enough, for the limited edition blu ray release (1500 copies) ,within one of the packages will be a special certificate for one lucky purchaser to win a free 27” x 41” hand pulled lithograph of the Vargas poster , printed on Coventry 100% cotton archival paper with a certificate of authenticity .

 

No, it was NOT me.

 

 

 

the original Vargas sketch (here in a Lithograph) was more undraped

 

Kudos for all involved for the extraordinary amount of care given to this picture. Would that every movie be given this kind of treatment.


Check out THE FILM DETECTIVE’s gorgeous print of THE VAMPIRE BAT, which replicates the brief hand colored sequences that were used in certain release prints of the time. https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Bat-Special-Detective-Restored/dp/B01LTIAUJ2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490377335&sr=8-1&keywords=vampire+bat+the+film+detective+restored+version

RECOMMENDED.

-Kevin G Shinnick

the end

 

Please feel free to share this review. 

Would you like to contribute to SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE ? If so, contact Kevin at Scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com 

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LAUREL AND HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS

LAUREL & HARDY: THE DEFINITIVE RESTORATIONS (Blu-Ray) (MVD /Kit Parker Films/Sprocket Films) B&W, Color .4 Discs. 511 Minutes. Not Rated. Release date June 30,2020. $79.95 srp. (also available on DVD). REGION FREE.
https://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hardy-Definitive-Restorations-Blu-ray/dp/B084P3S7NJ

         BUY IT. A MUST HAVE COMEDY COLLECTION.

       What? Oh, you need more in a review. Oh, very well.

Laurel & Hardy remain iconic touchstones of cinematic comedy. As recently as January 2020, Stan Laurel (and Charlie Chaplin ) were the subjects of a London stage show (https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/the-strange-tale-of-charlie-chaplin-and-stan-laurel-review-at-wiltons-music-hall-london–expressive-physical-comedy ) as well as magnificent tribute film in 2018 (STAN & OLLIE ,BBC FILMS). Their body of work inspires and continues to influence comedians and comediennes.

recent London Mime Show

A comedy duo (officially since DUCK SOUP, Roach,1926, even though they had appeared together in THE LUCKY DOG, 1921,Sun-Lite) who remained friends until Oliver Hardy’s passing in 1957,and who will forever be linked in the minds of film fans as a tandem force.


Their films can be watched and enjoyed by all ages, due to their child like innocence as well as their constant battles with everyday events. 



Now, a collection of their works has been restored and presented to both new and old fans alike in a release that should please all. The shorts are well represented, with some odd omissions. For example, they do a magnificent job on the one silent presented, THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (Roach/MGM,1927),but skip their first talkie (UNACUSTOMED AS WE ARE, Roach/MGM ,1929),as well as many other classics . Were there legal issues or lack of acceptable elements, or just the ones that UCLA has restored so far? Perhaps if this set sells well, we might expect a second edition, or even a third that would include their silent (yes please).



The restorations of these films are nothing short of miraculous. New 2K/4K masters have been made from the best elements available, and while they still have a few specks here and there, plus the sound is variable due to the technology of the time , one is doubtful one will ever see these classics in any better presentation.


THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (Roach /MGM ,1927), on Disc One, to me, made the disc a special delight. Robert Youngson used the remaining footage available in his 1965 compilation LAUREL & HARDY’s LAUGHING 20s (MGM,1965). For years, that tantalizing footage had fans wishing to see the entire short.

 

In the 1980s, most of the first reel was discovered. Missing still is a sequence wherein Eugene Pallette (best known as Friar Tuck in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, WB,1938) is an insurance agent who sells Ollie a policy ,wherein if Stanley sustains injury, there will be a nice payout. This footage is set up nicely with a few remaining stills and a title card explaining the set up. It then jumps to Ollie dropping banana peels to make Stan fall, only to have it backfire and make long suffering foe Charlie Hall as a pie man topple, leading up to the huge street filling pie fight. In the extras, Anita Garvin identifies herself as the woman who falls and sits upon a pie, stands, and tries to regain her dignity. She did this brilliant comic gem of a moment in an unpaid appearance during her lunch break as a favor to Stan!

 


Also, on Disc one, there is BERTH MARKS (Roach/MGM,1929) their SECOND talking picture. Even though sound had just become popular and wider used just two years earlier, the team was already using it and drawing attention to its humorous potential. Notice how they use the stationmaster (Pat Harmon, a familiar face in films ,often in unbilled roles) who yells out the train destinations in an incoherent though loud way, then asked if Pottsville is one of the stops, he yells louder and even less coherently!


BERTH MARKS is available in two versions on this disc ; the 1929 release version with original sound, as well as the 1936 re issue with added music and different sound effects. The 1929 version has not been seen for 84 years so it is a real significant find.


The brilliant fourth L&H feature, SONS OF THE DESERT (Roach,MGM ,1933) was called “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2012 and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Once you watch this pre-code comedy, you will see why. The print is so much sharper than previous releases, with nice shades of gray and good sound.



There are extras galore on this and the other discs .

There are fact filled running commentaries by either Randy Skretvedt or Richard W. Bann on the various shorts and films. Seriously, you will learn about where certain sequences were shot, actors who appear, often as uncredited extras, just a wealth of information.

Also included are video interview from the 1980s.


Actress Anita Gavin (1906- 1994) gushes with real affection for her time at Roach, and of her working with Stan.


Producer/actor/director Joe Rock (aka Joseph Simberg,1893-1984). Rock basically saved Stan from an unhappy marriage that was ruining his career. Freed of her, Stan starring silent vehicles included the wonderful spoof DR PYCKLE AND MR PRIDE (Selznick,1925). It is too bad that the sound is so terrible in this interview, with a buzz so loud that words are often drowned out.


Roy Seawright (1905-1991) was Hal Roach Studios Head of Animation , the man responsible for all of those animated effects in the films, as well as the stop motion in BABES IN TOYLAND /MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (Roach /MGM ,1934) .

(not from the blu ray, but an interesting bit of film history below )

https://www.pbs.org/video/appraisal-1934-babes-toyland-stop-motion-soldiers-xfnzcd/

A shipboard interview with Oliver Hardy (1950). This was when the boys were going with such high hopes to film ATOLL K/UTOPIA (1951), a disastrous final film for the comedy team.


The only known existing  original trailer from SONS OF THE DESERT (Spanish).


A plug for Skretvedt’s book (which appears on several of the discs.)?

That is just the first disc!


Extras on Disc 2 include audio interviews with many associated with the comedy team, while disc 4 has several of the comic duos’ feature trailers, as well as music tracks from Marvin Hatley (1905-1986), best known for his work for the team.


There are also thousands of rare photos posters, scripts, and production notes from their many shorts and features.

  (TWICE TWO ,1933 )


Disc 2 also has BRATS (1930, available in two versions) ,HOG WILD (1930) ,COME CLEAN (1931), ONE GOOD TURN(1931),and ME & MY PAL (1933)  ,all Roach/MGM releases , all looking vastly sharper than they have in other releases.

 


Disc 3 has 8 shorts, including THE MUSIC BOX (Roach/MGM,1932), winner of the FIRST Academy Award for Best Short Live Action (Comedy) and was preserved in 1997 in National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The other shorts on Disc 3 are HELPMATES(1932) , THE CHIMP (1932) ,COUNTY HOSPITAL (1932) ,SCRAM! (1932), THEIR FIRST MISTAKE(1932) ,THE MIDNIGHT PATROL(1933) ,and BUSY BODIES (1933) (all Roach /MGM ).


Disc 4 has the feature WAY OUT WEST (Roach/MGM,1937). This is the comedy which will have your sides ache in the sequence where they chase each other around the room with a purloined deed. This is the film that is referenced so perfectly in the beginning of STAN & OLLIE, with an exact copy of their dance.

It also has three other Hal Roach produced shorts(TOWED IN A HOLE(Roach/MGM 1932) ,TWICE TWO(Roach /MGM 1933),THAT’S THAT(1937 , a private reel of out-takes compiled for Stan’s birthday and was not publicly distributed), as well as their only existing professionally shot color footage in TREE IN A TEST TUBE, a 1942 short made for the U.S. Dept of Agriculture!


The  packing really beings up my one tiny nitpick – the case has a flip book to hold the various discs, which often shift making the box  hard to close. Be careful so as not to scratch or damage the discs.


This is hours and hours of entertainment and information in a well-made release. Hopefully, it will be a success so that we may see 4 K releases of their other Hal Roach films (including the silent era)  to Blu Ray.


Stan: What do you want?
Policeman: I don’t want you. I want that other monkey.
[Stan whistles to Ollie]
Ollie: What?
Stan: He doesn’t want me! He wants the other monkey!
[Ollie looks around]
Stan: You!
Ollie: Oh.
-from THE MUSIC BOX


You don’t want that other monkey. You want this collection!! Must own.

Kevin G Shinnick

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