2018, Blu Ray, crime drama, David Tennant, Dean Devlin, dvd, Electric Entertainment, film, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent, Mystery, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, Serial Killer, streaming, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

BAD SAMARITAN

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BAD SAMARITAN is a superior example of the serial killer thriller genre.

Opening in 2000 theatres in May 2018, the film did not do well in its three week run ( making only $3,435,047 ) . It’s distributor , Electric Entertainment, who produced several television  and theatrical  co productions) has released three motion pictures ,all of which had high profile stars (BLACKWAY starring Anthony Hopkins in 2016; LBJ directed by Rob Reiner and starring Woody Harrelson in the title role in 2017; and now this film) but have not registered a blip on the radar financially.  The real shame is that two of them films(I have not seen BLACKWAY to honestly comment) are superb motion pictures.

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Back to BAD SAMARITAN . Directed by Dean Devlin (INDEPENDENCE DAY) with  true style , and a clever screenplay by actor writer Brandon Boyce ( his skill as a thriller writer were in full view in  his adaptation of Stephen King‘s APT PUPIL ,Columbia,1998), the film, set in present day Portland Oregon ,makes full use of modern technology .

 

Bad-Samaritan-Robert-SheehanAmateur photographer Sean Falco      (Irish  actor Robert Sheehan , who appeared in Devlin‘s noisy but empty  GEOSTORM ,WB/Electric ,2017)  also  works with his best friend Derek (Carlito Olivero , who began in show biz  as a lead singer in a revamped Menudo ) parking cars at an upper class restaurant. This job also allows them to pilfer the homes of those in the eatery, since it is obvious that they are not home, often using the victim’s own cars to drive to and from the burglary! Sean takes mostly items that won’t be noticed ,such as photographing a gift card’s info and number, as  the card itself isn’t needed to purchase items online.

 

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One day a rich self centered Cale Erendreich  (an absolutely terrific David Tennant, making one forget his DR WHO persona for BBC TV from 2005-2010) drives up in a $200,000 Maserati ,and his attitude spurs  Sean to go to Cale’s home and rob it.  However, when he breaks in, he finds a woman bound and gagged (Irish actress Kerry Condon ,from AMC tv‘s BETTER CALL SAUL ,2015-present). He ungags her but she points out that the house is wired to be control and surveilled remotely by Cale from his phone . In a moment, Sean gets fearful and yells I’m sorry to the imprisoned woman ,and flees.

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         Ah, the glamorous life of a film actress. 

Getting the car back to a waiting Cale, a guilt ridden Sean contacts the police, which brings him to the attention of Cale . Cale decides that Sean needs correcting ,and thus begins to systematically destroy everything that the young man cherishes , while the police find Sean’s stories less than credible, especially when they check out Cale’s home and discover nothing. Bad-Samaritan

 

The tale becomes then one where not only must Sean try and save the unknown woman, but he must also try and hang onto his own existence. Bad-Samaritan-movie

 

Interestingly, three of the main leads are from the U.K., with Tennant and Condon  mastering American accents, while Sheehan is allowed to use his natural Irish accent).

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Cinematography by David Connell (who had worked with Devlin on the tv series, THE LIBRARIANS( Electric , 2014-8) is sharp ,and makes marvelous use of cold blues as well as sterile clean white rooms . The music by Joshua LoDuca   ( tv’s ASH VS THE EVIL DEAD  , Renaissance/Starz,2015-18)is quite superb at underlining  and supporting the suspense ,with several well placed stings to accentuate jump moments.

 

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 Is he more creepy dead eyed and emotionless? 

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or more creepy smirking ?

 

91ycMi9TkHL._SX385_The film is definitely worth seeking out, and has been released on DVD and Blu Ray from Sony Home Entertainment.  The Blu Ray is Region A ,and features a running audio commentary by Devlin and Boyce, as well as deleted scenes as well as optional subtitles.

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It can also be rented/ purchased on AMAZON PRIME (available for free viewing to Amazon Prime Subscribers.  https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Samaritan-David-Tennant/dp/B07F1P5L19/ref=tmm_aiv_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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Seek out the BAD SAMARITAN, and pray that he does not seek YOU out.

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-HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Kevin  G Shinnick

 

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HAMMER FILMS is 83

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A quick overview /tribute.

November 1934; 83 years ago,
HAMMER FILMS began .
In November 1934 comedian William Hinds, founded Hammer Productions Ltd. at Imperial House, Regent Street, London. The company name came from Hinds‘ stage name, Will Hammer, which he had taken from the area of London in which he lived, Hammersmith.
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Their first film was THE PUBLIC LIFE OF HENRY THE NINTH (released in 1935). The title references the hugely popular Alexander Korda film THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII (1934).  Sadly this 60 minute quota quickie ,is a lost film .
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In May ,1935 Enrique Carreras and Hinds co founded Exclusive Films Distributors , moving offices to Wardour Street. This would allow them to handle distribution of their own films and that of others.
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                                                           Enrique Carreras
Hammer then took it’s first step into the genre that it would be best known for.
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THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE (aka PHANTOM SHIP in the U.S.) starred Bela Lugosi .Inspired by an actual mystery from 1872, Lugosi plays a character who goes mad (naturally). The American print is 18 minutes shorter , but is thought to be the only version still extant .
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Hammer also made SONG OF FREEDOM (1936), starring the great Paul Robeson , but these two films, with which Hammer hoped to enter the lucrative U.S. market ,were more expensive ,and so the studio  went back to program quickies like the caper film THE BANK MESSENGER MYSTERY (1936) and the musical comedy SPORTING LOVE (1937,based upon a 1934 stage show of the same name that ran 300 performances in 1934).

 

In late 1937, Hammer Films  declared bankruptcy ,but Exclusive continued distribution of other filmmakers’ product .
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After WWII, Hammer resumed production again with more second features  like DEATH IN HIGH HEELS, 1947.t26069
They licensed popular radio dramas and turned them into popular features ,such as The Adventures of PC 49 and Dick Barton.

 

In 1951, they made a deal with American distributor Lippert, who distributed the films in the U.S. ,while supplying an American star . This was both an inexpensive way for Lippert to get product, while giving the British studio exposure in the U.S. and a star name to differentiate their product from other British B films.
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In 1955, they made a deal to adapt the  hugely popular television serial THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT ( first aired in 1953). To emphasis the “x” rating , Hammer dropped the “e” ,releasing the film as THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT. 2qdq649
The film was a huge hit, and led Hammer to start making more films in the science fiction/horror genre . The studio had no love for the market, and indeed ,had they discovered they could make successful musicals, they would have produced them. room to let
                               ROOM TO LET (1950)- not a musical.

Realizing that Frankenstein was in the public domain , they hired popular tv actor Peter Cushing, plus a tall relatively unknown jobbing actor named Christopher Lee (when popular Bernard Bresslaw asked for too much money) ,and lighting struck, bringing to life the monster we now know as Hammer Films to an international market with their signature film, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN ( 1957).

Their place in cinema history was sealed the following year when they paired the Cushing with Lee ,giving the latter the title role in DRACULA /HORROR OF DRACULA(1958).
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Throughout the 1960s, Hammer was the studio for horror.  Though making films in other genres ,including mysteries and swashbucklers, the staple was supplying new thrills to audiences .
In the 1970s, tastes began to change , and Hammer tried to keep up, while still trying to produce the type of film that had made them popular.  It was a near impossible task, but Hammer had some successes ,and indeed , produced some of their finest films during this period.
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With British film production going through one of it’s periodic dry periods, as well as losing their American distribution deals, Hammer had a harder time producing films. They turned to television once again ,producing comedies that turned out to be some of the biggest hits in the U.K. that the studio had ever  produced. However, they didn’t travel well to overseas markets.

The studio tried co productions with The Shaw Brothers, who were producing the very popular martial arts films of the period.  What the British filmmakers discovered was was how primitive the conditions were for their style of film making ( it was difficult to record live sound,due to studios with tin roofs!) ,and after two films , the very disappointing SHATTER  as well as the interesting LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES ,they once again looked to other sources of finance (both filmed in 1974 , but given very spotty releases).

 

Hammer made another big budget film thanks to German investors and EMI ,adapting Dennis Wheatley‘s TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER (1976) . Once again ,bringing in a major Hollywood actor(Richard Widmark,who was not happy with the production), it is an ugly looking production , the most notable exception being it  introducing the world to Nastassja Kinski (who had , though ,already a career in modeling as well as appearing prior in Wm Wenders’ THE WRONG MOVE ,1975). The  ending  of this film  leaves most people confused and /or angry.

 

A lot of other productions were announced but never made ( Kali: The Devil Bride of Dracula ; Nessie ),until the 1979 remake of the 1938 Hitchcock film, THE LADY VANISHES.

 

Once again, some major Hollywood stars were brought in (Elliot Gould,Cybil Shepherd) as well as Angela Lansbury and Herbert Lom .  The film , a costly £2.5 million ( raised thanks to a deal with Rank ) , the film was given mixed reviews, but did decently at the box office. However, it was not enough to save the studio . and it ceased theatrical film production ,being taken over by Roy  Skeggs & Brian Lawrence.
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Hammer ‘s name still had viability, and ,in conjunction with ITC (as well as Skeggs/Lawrence‘s own Cinema Arts),  HAMMER’S HOUSE OF HORRORS produced 13  53 minute episodes for television in 1980.  This was not Hammer‘s first attempt at television, having produced a failed tv pilot for Columbia in 1958, TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN , as well as the 1968 17 episodes series JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN .
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The follow up , HAMMER HOUSE OF MYSTERY & SUSPENSE in 1984   ,were longer (70 minutes ) but only 13 episodes were made, and time slots shifted so audiences who would have enjoyed them had a hard time finding it, and so it was considered a failure.  
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It seemed Hammer only existed now in licensing productions for television airings, as well as leasing to the growing cable television market as well as home video.
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Over the next few decades, rumors kept surfacing that Hammer was returning in some form or another, to produce direct to video product or medium budget theatrical or
cable films.
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Finally , Big Brother creator John De Mol acquired the assets of Hammer, including the name ,and re-launched the studio under CEO Simon Oakes in 2007.
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Their initial production got a lot of press , as it premiered as a multi part series on Myspace .  Called BEYOND THE RAVE (oddly referencing rival  Amicus ‘ studios final anthology horror film, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE, 1973), this 2008 production was released in twenty four minute installments. The production ,however, was trashed by many fans of the studio, who found the characters poorly written ,with many only introduced just to be killed off by the vampires of the tale.
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BEYOND THE RAVE was released to DVD ,with extras including an excised scene featuring Ingrid Pitt (who had starred in Hammer‘s VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) and COUNTESS DRACULA (1971).
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In 2008 ,  Hammer took part in a Swedish -Irish-UK co-production called
WAKE WOOD. The film is a gruesome and dark supernatural thriller that often recalls THE WICKER MAN(1973) . Indeed , it would have been a worthier sequel to that classic than the very disappointing THE WICKER TREE (2011).
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Sadly,  WAKE WOOD  sat for three years ,getting only a token release in four theatres before being dumped onto DVD.   It is a superlative horror film that deserves to be better known.
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In 2009 ,Hammer tried a return to the psychological thrillers that they had made in the 1960s, filming THE RESIDENT in New York City and New Mexico. Starring Hillary Swank, it also was Christopher Lee‘s first Hammer film since TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER 36 years earlier.  The film was a slick production, but sat on a shelf for two years, again getting a token theatrical release before it’s DVD release.

let the right one in book coverHammer’s next film, however, showed that the studio was back on track . Låt den rätte komma in “ by John Ajvide Linqvist was a very dark but original vampire novel about  12 year old Oskar meets a centuries old vampire Eli,who looks like a child . Set in the early 1980s, the novel explores loneliness,pedophilia,mutilation, divorce ,all while dealing with some really nasty murders.  Translated into several languages, the book was first adapted into a Swedish film in 2008,directed with great economy and skill by  Tomas Alfredson (who later directed the 2011 British film TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY).
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Hammer based their screenplay more along the Swedish film adaptation, calling it LET ME IN . They had acquired the English language rights before the Swedish film had even seen release ,and even offered it’s director the chance to do the English language  version. When he declined, Hammer signed on writer director Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD,2008). 
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The setting was moved to New Mexico , and a few more changes were made to the adaptation ( I will let you debate which version is better). Filmed in late 2009, the final budget was $20 million (the shrieks from the grave you may be hearing is probably Sir Michael Carreras,  who produced most of his films for relatively low budgets).

Released in 2010 to praise (though some did complain it either followed the Swedish film either too much or too little!),it earned $12 million in the U.S. and Canada alone, accruing $24 million world wide. (Oddly,

It was listed as one of the ten biggest bombs of 2010!). Blu Ray ,DVD, and cable sales in 2011 pushed the film into a modest profit.

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Finally, in 2012, Hammer had a well deserved hit in their 2012 adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic ghost story , THE WOMAN IN BLACK.  The 1983 novel was adapted into a stage play in 1987, and is the second longest running West End Play in history (right after THE MOUSETRAP).
Nigel Kneale did a superlative adaptation  for  ITV television in 1989 ,and there have been at least two radio adaptations.
Screenwriter Jane Goldman did a superior adaptation of the story ,with star Daniel Radcliffe supported by a top notch team both in front of and off camera, making this one of the most satisfying cinematic ghost stories in quite some time. Wisely, they made the film in the U.K.,the true home of Hammer.
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Originally conceived as a 3-D film, this idea was wisely scrapped (the dark cinematography would have made this a difficult problem), it was shot in 2010 on a modest budget of $15 million.
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During it’s opening weekend in the US. , it earned $20 million ,making it the highest U.S. grossing opening in Hammer‘s history(released in the U.S. by CBS Films).  The film, which garnered exceptionally positive reviews, eventually earned $127 Million world wide. DVD & Blu Ray sales later that year added to the coffers.
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Ghosts seemed good for their coffers, so Hammer two years later produced THE QUIET ONES.  Produced on a low budget ,again in the U.K., the film got mixed reviews but made $8 million in the U.S. ,with a world wide gross of $17 million for distributor Lionsgate.
THE WOMEN IN BLACK II: ANGEL OF DEATH (2015) was a major disappointment when it was released .While costing about the same amount ( $15 million) ,it took in  a third of the box office that the original had made ,perhaps due to  it being  only a pale ghost to the original film.
This time, the story is set in 1941(35 years after events of the first film), and uses the actual historical event of evacuating children from London into the farther reaches of the country to avoid German bombings. Unfortunately, the village and in particular the home this first group of children are housed is the home haunted by the title character.
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Whereas the scares built naturally and suspensefully in the 2012 film, the remake seems to just drag out the references from the first films (toys springing to activity in the presence of the spirit) but without any attempt at making it emotionally involving.  Indeed, they should have studied THE INNOCENTS (1961) or the studio’s own  LET ME IN  to see how to work children and loss into an horror film.  Several jump scares seemed to have been added later to try and make it more frightening, but they seem at odds with the film itself.
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In the meantime, TURN OF THE SCREW AT THE ALMEIDA LONDON  Hammer has expanded to include  live  stage productions, starting  in 2012 with a well reviewed production of Henry James‘ TURN OF THE SCREW as well as  Hallowe’en events like Hammer House of Horror Live : The Soulless Ones  in 2017 .
Hammer is still a viable production company with hopefully many more frights to come.
I end this quick overview ,though , with a mystery, that perhaps P.C. 49 might be able to solve
In 2012 Hammer Films /Exclusive Media, acquired the rights to make a film about the Winchester Mystery House.  ImaginationDesign Works & Nine/8 Entertainment were co- producers. The film got a big boost when Helen Mirren signed on to appear as Sarah Winchester. Sarah Winchester believed that she was haunted by the spirits of those that died from the firearms manufactured by her family firm ,and so ,from 1884 until she died in 1922, work continued  on the strange house built for spirits.
Originally announced to be shot in the U.S., the majority of the film was filmed in Australia . The directors ,the Spierig Brothers,makers of the cult 2003 Australian horror film UNDEAD , had been attached to the project since 2014. https://variety.com/2014/film/news/winchester-mystery-house-movie-attracts-spierig-brothers-1201268393/
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However, when the $3.5 million dollar film WINCHESTER  was finally released in 2018 to reviews that were mostly bad, Hammer‘s name is no where on the publicity material.  Did it vanish like a ghost or did the studio simply step away? The film still managed to scare up over 11 times its production cost, so you would think they would want their name on it.
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                  Mysteries still  come from the House of Hammer.
Hopefully, the next film that goes into production with the Hammer Banner wears it proudly and is embraced by fans and the general public alike .
-Kevin G Shinnick
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                                            ”  How’s that grab ya ? “
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BORIS KARLOFF COLLECTION (VCI)

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BORIS KARLOFF COLLECTION (VCI,2 discs, DVD) Released September 2018. Color.  $14.99

https://www.vcientertainment.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1104

Many years ago, when the late great Boris Karloff passed away in February 2,1969, Jim Warren’s and Forrest J Ackerman’s FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND provided two fitting tributes.

One, was issue #56 of FMOF with a beautiful  Basil Gogos cover of Karloff as his most famous role.

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The other was a paperback by FJA called THE FRANKENSCIENCE MONSTER (Ace,1969, a cover not by Gogos but paperback cover artist Verne Tossey.). At the time,before the ability to google, this was the source for any monster news. Many of us though that Karloff’s final film was a classic of modern cinema, Peter Bogdanovich’s   TARGETS  (August 1968,Paramount).

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However, thanks to Uncle Forry , we found out that 80 plus year old Karloff had signed with producer Luis Enrique Vergara and Azteca Films of Mexico (who in turn had a distribution agreement with Columbia Pictures) for a four-picture deal at a salary of $400,000. The actor could have said no to the projects and easily retired, having a comfortable sum saved up over the years. No one could have blamed him, either, as his lungs were barely functional (due to years of smoking as well as damage from pneumonia he contracted in Italy filming BLACK SABBATH,1963,AIP , leaving him dependent on oxygen tanks to aid his breathing) as well as crippling arthritis that made walking difficult.

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Still, as he often said, he wanted to die with his boots on, doing the job he loved if audiences wanted to see him. An example was when he filmed an episode of THE RED SKELTON SHOW (“He Who Steals My Robot Steals Trash” aired September 24,1968, CBS), rather than do the show before the live audience in a wheel chair as rehearsed, he willed himself to walk with the aid of a cane rather than have the people see him so confined.

Thus, the quartet of Mexican horror films were jobs that he readily accepted, feeling fortunate that audiences still wished to see him.

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Difficulties for the productions arose when it was discovered that Karloff’s health would not permit him to film in Mexico, and his sequences were shot in a small studio in Santa Monica, California in April/May 1968, while the rest of the films were completed in Mexico, often with a double for the star.

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The four films were to be made over a 5-week period, so this extra expense of two crews, duplicating sets, and flying up some of the Mexican cast to work with Karloff must have frayed the already low budgets.  Juan Ibáñez directed the Mexican main unit, while cult director Jack Hill (SPIDER BABY,1967, American General) handled the American Karloff unit, as well as contributing to the screenplays.

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Hill it seems was hampered because the producer wanted to use an early form of video playback by tying a primitive video camera to the top of the 35mm Mitchells used to film the movie. Jerry Lewis had pioneered the idea and it is now the common practice, but Hill felt that it slowed down his process.

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With all these problems somehow the four films were filmed and completed. Karloff did not live to see the release of these films, which seemed to have been held back until 1971 for their limited distributions (Cannon also got around to distribute Karloff’s 1967 Spanish lensed CAULDRON OF BLOOD the same year, which got a wider release in the U.S. than the four Mexican thrillers).

 

Over the years, the films have been released on various video labels, including MPI and United American budget label, as well as several of the titles getting a DVD release by Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia label.

 

VCI has now for the first time put all four films together in an affordable (less than the cost of some single DVD releases) two-disc collection.

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The four titles in the collection are

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(Disc One)

DANCE OF DEATH (aka HOUSE OF EVIL, SERENADA MACABRA)

TORTURE ZONE (edited version of FEAR CHAMBER)

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(Disc Two)

ALIEN TERROR (filmed as THE INCREDIBLE INVASION, Invasión siniestra)

CULT OF THE DEAD (edited version of ISLE OF THE SNAKE PEOPLE, La muerte vivente)

 

The discs seem to be sourced from the old MPI videos, with the same video generated titles (©1987 by the Parasol Group). The prints of the four movies are a bit dark and sometimes the color is a bit off.  The copy  of TORTURE ZONE seemed in the worst condition, with several visible splices.

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It is a shame that they did not seek out the Retromedia or Elite release of FEAR CHAMBER, as both of those are in the original aspect ratio with sharp picture and color quality, as well as extras such as an audio commentary by Jack Hill and a deleted scene.MPI’s TORTURE ZONE is an edited version of this film ,so all of the nudity Is eliminated .

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Only TORTURE ZONE was set in present day, with the rest set at around the turn of the 20th Century. ALIEN TERROR was supposedly the last one filmed, and the only one NOT starring Julissa, giving actress German actress Christa Linder a chance.

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The 2.0 Dolby Digital sound for the films is clear with no noticeable loss in quality of dialogue or the sound effects.

There are no extras to the discs, but again, to get these four films together at such a low price, one should not expect any special edition treatment.

While we would all like to get the best possible and most complete versions, certain films have limited audiences and the profitability is to say the least, narrow.

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One wonders, for example, if VCI had gone out of their way to get new prints, cleaned up and loaded with extras, would fans shell out $29.95 for each of these films?

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DANCE OF DEATH -this film is perhaps the most traditional horror film, with obvious influences of the Roger Corman Poe films. The film even claims to be based upon a Poe story, though none that I am familiar with.hoise of evil                                                  original Spanish language credit

 

Wealthy toymaker Matthais Morteval (Karloff) summons his family to his mansion to discuss how his estate will be divided. Recent murders in the nearby hills has a macabre touch, wherein the victims have had their eyes removed makes Matthais suspect that a member of his family is the killer.

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Karloff has an ancestral portrait that looks exactly like him (these old families have strong genes), and Karloff gets to play huge pipe organ. Matthais supposedly suffers a fatal heart attack half way into the film, and shortly thereafter, one by one his greedy relations die. Keeping with the Corman Poe- like feel, the film ends with a huge fire, as Matthais, obviously not dead, plays his final concerto as the walls burn around him. It is quite amazing that the octogenarian actor is working so close to such huge plumes of flames, controlled or not  .

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Karloff perhaps passed away before being able to loop dialogue, or the final lines were an afterthought , but they are not his voice.

People who dismiss the Karloff Mexican quartet of films have obviously not seen them, as DANCE OF DEATH was quite entertaining.

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TORTURE ZONE – (which in the original titles also claimed to be Poe inspired, though I would say more Lovecraft, like Karloff’s own DIE, MONSTER DIE! 1965 ,A.I.P. ). This one is a bit of a mess, no two ways about it. Psychedelic zooms & colors, and jump cut edits do not make this film any more interesting, and indeed, show how little sense the plot has.  A living rock is discovered within the depths of the earth. Scientist Karl Mantell (Karloff), who spends much of this film either sitting behind his office desk or behind a lab computer table, discovers that the creature feeds on the blood of young women, particularly those who are frightened. Naturally, our loveable scientist and his staff create a fear chamber to terrorize young women who come seeking employment. The rock (no, no that one) starts to grow tentacles, and only then does Mantell seek to stop it.

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Mantell is supposed to be a kindly scientist, but his actions here are in opposition to that appearance. Still, at least, Karloff gets to survive to the end credits. The topless scenes that are edited out of this print were probably shot later, added to try and keep audience attention. Probably one of Karloff’s worst movies, though, as always, he is worth watching.                                                                              .firrreee

Karloff tries to blow up all prints of FEAR CHAMBER .

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ALIEN TERROR– Another period piece, this one is another science fiction/horror hybrid. In an 1890s European country, Professor John Mayer (Karloff) is working on a new power source, when a lab accident sends a pulse off into space, attracting the attention of an alien spaceship passing by. The alien comes across a Jack the Ripper style killer and takes over his body. More killings continue as the alien tries to get to the professor’s invention and destroy it. Mayer uses his invention to defeat the killer, and later, when the alien hops into his niece, he uses the machine again to drive it from her. Mayer lets the machine destroy itself and, in the process, burns down his home.c3f80e4ebb33139abba0d67198ef960c

 

The final shot of the surviving cast members watching the house burn has an obvious Karloff stand in facing away from the camera with hair that looks like it was streaked with shoe polish.

A confusing picture, as if two different scripts were dropped into a blender, yet it held one’s interest and it tried to be original. As mentioned, this was Karloff’s last work in a motion picture.karloff_at_03_dvd

An alien Spaceship, lit and designed to look like a Dario Argento sequence !

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CULT OF THE DEAD – On the island of Korbai, Carl Van Molder (Karloff) is a major plantation owner. A police captain comes to Korbai to try and bring order when it is discovered that voodoo is rampant. This is a much more entertaining film than Karloff’s earlier film VOODOO ISLAND (1957, U.A.), which was one of the only roles I felt the great actor seemed to walk through.

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In this film, Karloff seems fully invested in the part and brings his great screen presence to each scene.  The voodoo scenes are well staged, though once again at the end of the film, a voice not Karloff’s is used for the line: “I’m dying! “followed by some sputtering coughs. The picture ends with a big explosion as the hero and heroine escape with their lives. This too was an entertaining piece of cinema fluff and does not deserve all the scorn heaped upon it.

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To sum up, two of the films (DANCE OF DEATH and CULT OF THE DEAD) I would say are quite entertaining, a third (ALIEN TERROR) is just odd enough to hold your interest with a feeling of “WTF?” throughout and only one (TORTURE ZONE) is close to a complete disaster. Karloff is always giving his all in each work, and for that alone these are well worth seeing.

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Are the prints the best? No.  However, unless some deep pocket cinema collector seeks out original negatives, gives them a 2 K scan and restores them, and licenses the Elite and Retromedia commentaries, this VCI set will be the best way of getting affordable copies of these final films by the Master of Horror, Boris Karloff.

 

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Recommended for – Karloff completists. Fans of Mexican Horror. Cult films lovers.

 

-Kevin G Shinnick

 

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2018, Action Adventure, BLU RAY /DVD COMBO, CONTEST, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, SCIENCE FICTION, Uncategorized, Universal

*Contest now ended *DEATH RACE:BEYOND ANARCHY contest

deathrace

 

UPDATE: OCTOBER 16,2018 . NO MORE ENTRIES. CONTEST HAS ENDED. WE HAVE A WINNER.

CONGRATULATIONS: MICHAEL MARTIN at a APO address. His prize will be sent to him shortly .  Big thanks to UNIVERSAL HOME ENTERTAINMENT. 

Enter for a chance  to win a free Blu-Ray /DVD of UNIVERSAL HOME ENTERTAINMENT‘s newest entry into the successful action sci fi series , DEATH RACE: BEYOND ANARCHY .

Danny Trejo, Danny Glover , Zach McGowan , Fred Koehler , Christine Marzano .

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No guards, no rules, no track, no fear- only the DEATH RACE .

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Extras on the disc include
*Inside The Anarchy
*Time Served: Lists & Goldberg
*On The Streets of DEATH RACE; BEYOND ANARCHY
*Feature Commentary w/Director/Co-writer Michael Paul and star Zach McGowan

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UPDATE: OCTOBER 16,2018 . NO MORE ENTRIES. CONTEST HAS ENDED. WE HAVE A WINNER.

CONGRATULATIONS: MICHAEL MARTIN at a APO address. His prize will be sent to him shortly .

To enter :
send an email to scarletthefilmmag@yahoo.com

In the heading put : DEATH RACE BEYOND ANARCHY CONTEST

In the body of the letter , answer this question :

What is the BEST futuristic car film ?

Please add your name and address with your entry so we can notify you if you
win .

                     The winner will be chosen at random on October 15th, 2018 .

 

UPDATE: OCTOBER 16,2018 . NO MORE ENTRIES. CONTEST HAS ENDED. WE HAVE A WINNER.

CONGRATULATIONS: MICHAEL MARTIN at a APO address. His prize will be sent to him shortly .

DEATH RACE BEYOND ANARCHY deathrace
Special features
Includes a digital copy of Death Race: Beyond Anarchy – Unrated Version (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
Inside the Anarchy
Time Served: Lists & Goldberg
On the Streets of Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Don Michael Paul and Star Zach McGowan
Product details
Actors: Zach McGowan, Danny Glover, Frederick Koehler, Christine Marzano, Danny Trejo
Directors: Don Michael Paul
Writers: Don Michael Paul, Tony Giglio
Producers: Mike Elliott, Greg Holstein
Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish
Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 2
Rated:
NR
Not Rated
Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 2, 2018
Run Time: 111 minutes

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Thanks to Universal Home Entertainment 

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PATIENT ZERO (2018)

PATIENT ZERO (Vertical Entertainment) R -now playing limited theatrical and available as V.O.D. 87 Min. Rated R. horror/science fiction.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn-wBZwQdRA

Imagine if you will Bub from Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD (1985, U.F.D.) were fully cognizant of his situation, and able to have a full conversation about it (MY DINNER WITH BUB? ). Throw in a bit of 21 DAYS LATER (2002, Fox) and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from PATIENT ZERO.

Filmed in 2015 by Screen Gems, it sadly sat on a shelf until now. Why? Screen Gems opened the abysmal ULTRAVIOLET (2006) wide, and that was nowhere near as good as PATIENT ZERO.

In 2013, Mike Le’s script for PATIENT ZERO was called “the Most Liked “unmade script of the year in the annual Black List poll. A bidding war between several studios took place, with Screen Gems winning the rights to make a feature of the script. Matt Le had prior only worked on a few reality shows and later some forgotten thrillers like AMNESIAC (2014, XLrator) (get it? forgotten? Amnesiac?) and DARK SUMMER (2015, IFC). The frenzy was no doubt due to Paramount’s mega zombie blockbuster WORLD WAR Z that came out that year.
Patient+Zero

Director Stefan Ruzowitzky had directed the German horror thriller AUTOPSY (Sony,2000) and won the 2007 foreign language Oscar for his film THE COUNTERFEITERS (released in the US by Sony)and so there a bit of buzz around his second English language film (his first ,ALL THE QUEENS’S MEN ,2001,Sony,starred Matt LeBlanc & Eddie Izzard ,was a fun little film that came & went).

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Adding to the buzz was the casting of Matt Smith (popular from DOCTOR WHO, portraying the character from 2010-13, with a guest appearance in 2014, BBC) and Natalie Dormer (GAME OF THRONES, appearing from 2012 to 2016 in the HBO series) and Stanley Tucci (Oscar nominated for THE LOVELY BONES ,2009, Dreamworks).

The majority of the film was shot in a massive set at Shepperton Studios that was built to resemble an underground military missle silo built into caverns.

In the near future, a new pandemic has broken out, driving people into a bloodthirsty rage. The world is so caught off guard by how quickly this spreads that a large group of survivors, men, women and children, take refuge in said underground military bunkers. There, they work frantically to try and seek some sort of cure, and if they can, discover Patient Zero, the first of the infected (Odd Doctor Who trivia (Matt Smith’s first full episode as the Doctor, “The Eleventh Hour”, he spent a good bit of time looking for PRISONER zero. Back to the review.).

Morgan (Matt Smith, sporting a Midwestern accent) has been bitten but unlike many, has not turned into one of the rampaging creatures (referred to as “the infected”). Instead, he can communicate with the transformed in their own language (that this is never explored in more detail made me wonder if the film had been drastically cut down) as well as using music to set off the murderous victims of the plague.

153694078162355269 Then one day, they bring in The Professor (Stanley Tucci), who not only is unaffected by the music, but also speaks in a calm clear manner. However, we also feel that underneath his demeanor is this seething rage, waiting to get out, and tear out the throats of all around.

The scenes between Smith and Tucci work wonderfully well, as if in a zombie film version of the Clarice /Hannibal Lector scenes from SILENCE OF THE LAMB (1991, Orion).

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Scientist Dr Rose (Natalie Dormer) is trying to get Morgan to hurry up while trying to placate Col. Knox (Clive Standen, star of the recent NBC Universal series TAKEN (2017-18) based upon Luc Bresson’s films) whose attitude is shoot them all let god sort it out.

Morgan also wants to find a cure, not only for himself but also his wife Janet (model /actress Agyness Deyn). Can they before the bunker is overrun by the ever increasing infected? Plus, watch out for those damn raging rats!!!

I don’t understand the general dismissal of this film. The cast is good, and the production values are decent.

The accent that Matt Smith uses is a bit jarring, and since most of the cast is British, why didn’t they just set the story in the U.K.?

Also, as I mentioned, there are a lot of very interesting ideas brought up but then never fully developed in the finish film, making me feel that there was some drastic editing to the movie.

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However, once Stanley Tucci shows up, PATIENT ZERO hums along quite nicely, with the exchanges between Morgan and The Professor holding our attention. The idea that the disease is merely releasing the rage contained in all of us is a good one and adds a bit of brains to the usual zombie fare.

I don’t think you will be disappointed if you watch this film without comparing it to films like DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978, UFD). It is a nice variation to the apocalyptic zombie film, with some novel additions.

I do hope that a Blu Ray with commentary track is in its future, as I would love to hear about the behind the scenes of PATIENT ZERO.

Currently, director Ruzowitzky is working on The Last Voyage of the Demeter, which is based on Bram Stoker‘s Dracula . I look forward to his new additions to genre films.

Check out PATIENT ZERO.
Kevin G Shinnick

ZOMBIES
Apocalypse
Matt Smith
Natalie Dormer
Stanley Tucci

Climax

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BOSS (Kit Parker Blu Ray/DVD combo)

BOSS (Kit Parker Blu Ray/DVD combo)
Dimension ,1975 color. Rated PG .87 mins. Region A/1. Release August 28,2018. Also known as BOSS NIGGER; THE BLACK BOUNTY HUNTER

https://www.amazon.com/Blu-ray-Williamson-DUrville-William-Armstrong/dp/B07C5K53N4/ref=tmm_blu_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.

If you ever wondered what BLAZING SADDLES(1973,W.B.) might have looked like done as a straightforward film, BOSS should give you an idea.

Fred “The Hammer ” Williamson, the former football star’s initial forays into acting were in such films as M*A*S*H (1970, Fox) as well as Diane Carroll’s boyfriend on T.V.’s JULIA (1968-71, Fox/NBC). The Larry Cohen actioner BLACK CAESAR (1973, AIP) featured him as a man who climbs his way up in the underworld, and THREE THE HARD WAY (1974, A.A.) solidified his status as an action star.

 

 

Williamson decided the first film he would co-produce himself would be based upon 20-page treatment he showed to director Jack Arnold (they had worked together on the Warner Brother actioner BLACK EYE,1974). Dimension Pictures decided to release the film and so production began on a town set left over from the big budget Gene Kelly film THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB (1970, National General) in Santa Fe New Mexico.

 

 THE CHEYENNE’S SOCIAL CLUB set used for BOSS

Boss (Williamson) and his sidekick Amos (D’Urville Martin, who directed DOLEMITE, Dimension,1975) a former slave, are two bounty hunters who decide to become the law in a small town when they save a woman named Clara Mae (Carmen Hayworth) from a pack of outlaws. On one of the men they killed while saving her they find a letter from the mayor of the town of San Miguel that invites the possessor of the letter to become the new sheriff. The bounty hunters also find out that a man they are tracking, Jed Clayton (cult baddie William Smith, best known for playing Falconetti on the miniseries RICH MAN POOR MAN ,1976, Universal TV, as well as the vampire hunting son in GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE ,1972, Millenium), also spends time in the town and so they decide to escort Clara Mae there.

Boss gives the letter to the mayor (western great R.G. Armstrong) who is forced to accept them as the new law. They set upon their task with zeal as they confront members of Clayton’s gang, killing and wounding several of them.

 

 

The new laws that the bounty hunters post does not make them popular with the racists town folk, resulting in a few well-dressed town folk (including the bank President) having to pay a fine or a stay in the cell in the sheriff’s office. The “N” word is tossed about as readily as at a trump rally, but the two bounty hunters put their bigoted butts behind bars or make them pay for their words. Not everyone is a racist in town, exemplified by local school marm Miss Pruitt (Barbara Leigh, who later co-starred with William Smith in SEVEN,1979,AIP).

 

Things escalate as they always do with a final showdown between boss and Clayton.

Black westerns were nothing new (going back as least as far as Norman Film Manufacturing Co’s CRIMSON SKULL ,1922), but in the 1960s and 1970s, they went from black only cinemas to mainstream theatres. Films like SGT. RUTLEDGE (1960, WB) began to finally acknowledge that people of color made up a lot of the history of the American West. Indeed, the character of The Lone Ranger may have been inspired by the exploits of the first black Marshall Bass Reeves.

The 1970s though allowed black stars to shine and take the lead in a variety of films, including westerns.

No longer the sidekick, black performers were front and center of the action.

Williamson was born to play the action hero, with his good looks and natural athleticism, one could readily accept him facing down the bad guys. He was wise enough to surround himself with familiar western faces like R.G. Armstrong (PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, 1973.MGM, as well as numerous Sam Peckinpah films) and Don “Red” Barry (star of many Republic Westerns, here playing a bad guy).

The direction by Jack Arnold is effective , using creativity to make his film look as exciting as possible. One example was clever editing when a horse was to run over a small child.

 

BOSS was released previously by VCI /Sprocket Vault /Kit Parker in 2008. This Kit Parker BLU RAY has been given a 1080p resolution release, with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film has been cleaned up, but there are still some color shifts due no doubt from the negative fading. A full restoration for this film probably would have been prohibitively expensive, and the print is quite watchable, and I am sure in much better condition than the worn-out prints shown in many grindhouse and drive in theatres of the period.

The audio is an English 2.0 mono track. It is clear, and the dialogue is easy to understand, along with all the sound effects and music. For the hard of hearing, there is an optional white lettering subtitle in English.

The extras on this Kit Parker BLU RAY release are all ported over from the VCI release.

A CONVERSATION WITH FRED “THE HAMMER” WILLIAMSON with Joel Blumberg. Shot ten years ago, it is amazing that Williamson appears to have hardly aged in the 33 years since he shot the film. He brags that a film he did for Universal ,THAT MAN BOLT (1973), was the first major studio film to have a black action star, forgetting MGM produced SHAFT in 1971. Still, he was among the first, and indeed with his own production company (PO BOY) was able to call the shots that he was the hero and got the girl.

 

A BOSS MEMORY (8 min) with producer/ director & UCLA film prof Myrl A. Schreibman ( he was the associate producer on BOSS).Schreibman got into film working with Jack Arnold .After Arnold had directed BLACK EYE, Arnold brought Schreibman aboard for this film .He talks about their filming the big fight scene between Smith (who as cast because he looked like he would be an equal match in a fight) & Williamson while a dust devil storm raged outside with ho

wling winds.

JACK ARNOLD TRIBUTE by producer Myrl Schreibman– For any fan of 1950s science fiction, Jack Arnold was the go -to guy in the 1950s (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON,1954, Universal )before he transitioned to TV on such shows as GILLIGAN’S ISLAND ( 1964-1967,CBS).Schreibman lets us know that Arnold began as actor, but when in the Army ,trained in their film division under famed filmmaker Robert Flaherty(NANOOK OF THE NORTH, 1922,Pathe) .Returning to civilian life, he did a documentary called WITH THESE HANDS (1950 ,ILGWU ) about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. The featurette was Oscar nominated, which led to his career at Universalhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=1OKcJcJ4TfA

 

The disc also has the original theatrical trailer :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWDTw7IjeiI

 

The BLU RAY also has a reversible cover, using the more politically safe version, or the or original poster and art.

This is a fun action adventure and a good addition to any fans of
Westerns
-Blaxploitation
-Fred Williamson.

Kevin G Shinnick

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GONJIAM HAUNTED ASYLUM blu ray/dvd combo- update 9/3/18 10 pm e.s.t. Contest winner announced. Contest closed.

CONTEST CLOSED . THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SENT AN ENTRY .

WE HAVE A WINNER ! CONGRATS TO RONALD OLIVER.

His fave cinematic ghost story was
Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (1980)

RONALD feels the film
“is the greatest ghost story movie ever made, because it’s more than a great ghost story, it’s also a picture of mental and familial breakdown, and a critique of male violence all wound up into
this great film adaptation. Jack Nicholson was/is brilliant as Jack Torrance, as is Shelley Duvall as his wife, Wendy. And of course, their son, little Danny (Danny Lloyd)..and the rest of the cast are equally great in their roles as well. In my opinion, this is a classic!”

RONALD’s copy of GONJIAM HAUNTED ASYLUM will be mailed out to you later this week! Congratulations !

Thanks to WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT (http://www.wellgousa.com) ,we have another BLU RAY/DVD combo contest  give away.

CONTEST CLOSED !

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This time it is GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM

(being released on home media September 18th,2018).

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“Deeply unsettling”-Dread Central

The crew of  a horror web series travels to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast. They soon encounter more than they expected as they move deeper inside the nightmarish old building .

A  new entry into the popular “found footage” horror subgenre .

Directed by Jung Bum-Shik (EPITAPH, HORROR STORIES).

South Korea . Color . Subtitled.  93 minutes, Unrated  $29.98 .Region A/1

“…definitely a creepy experience. If you love movies about haunted places then you should love this Korean horror movie!”- https://www.heavenofhorror.com

       If you would like to enter our contest :

Please name what you think is the GREATEST GHOST STORY FILM EVER MADE .

Is it THE HAUNTING (1963)? THE CHANGELING (1980)?Kwaidan (怪談 Kaidan) (1965).A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (Hangul: 장화, 홍련)S.Korea 2003? THE MIMIC (2018) S.Korea? THE UNINVITED (1944)? A GHOST STORY(2017)? Or some other title. from a country not mentioned here. 

Write down your pick

along with your name and address

(so if you are picked we can send you your prize) and send it to

                                                   SCARLETTHEFILMMAG@yahoo.com

Only one entry per person ,please .

The winner will be picked September 3,2018 and notified shortly thereafter .

     GHOUL LUCK !!

CONTEST CLOSED ! Winner announced.
*************************************************************************************
CONTEST CLOSED ! Winner announced!

If you do not win, or if you would rather not enter but wish to purchase the title now     https://www.amazon.com/Gonjiam-Haunted-Asylum-Blu-ray-DVD/dp/B07D591SZ7

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