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29 January 2021

Eureka probes the INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES (review)

After THE WOLF MAN and the MUMMY sequels, Universal gave Lon Chaney Jr. a showcase with the INNER SANCTUM MYSTERY series, a film spinoff of the Simon and Schuster book line and the popular radio show.  In CALLING DR. DEATH, Chaney is a neurologist who must probe his own mind to solve his wife's murder.  In WEIRD WOMAN, Chaney is an anthropologist who discovers his wife is a witch, but she is not the one who is the real danger to him.  In DEAD MAN'S EYES, Chaney is an artist who is blinded in an accident and becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a rich man who willed his eyes to him for a transplant.  In THE FROZEN GHOST, Chaney is a mentalist who encounters murder and madness in a wax museum.  In STRANGE CONFESSION, Chaney is a scientist who snaps when he is betrayed by his slimy boss.  Finally, in PILLOW OF DEATH, Chaney is an attorney whose dead wife taunts him from beyond the grave.

REVIEW LINK: Eurkea Video (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES Blu-ray specs:

  • Disc One:
    • "Calling Dr. Death" (1943):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina Le Borg, daughter of director Reginald Le Borg
      • Theatrical Trailer
    • "Weird Woman" (1944):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by authors Justin Humphreys and Del Howison
      • Theatrical Trailer
    • "Dead Man's Eyes" (1944):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles 
      • Theatrical Trailer
    • Kim Newman on THE INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES
    • This is THE INNER SANCTUM: Making a Universal Mystery Series
    • Radio Adaptations:
      • Episode #1 (1/7/41): "The Amazing Death of Mrs. Putnam"
      • Episode #114 (3/7/43): "Black Seagull"
      • Episode #172 (4/15/44): "The Skull That Walked"
  • Disc Two:
    • "The Frozen Ghost" (1945):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles
      • Theatrical Trailer
    • "Strange Confession" (1945):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles
      • Audio Commentary by screenwriter Peter Atkins and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner
    • "Pillow of Death" (1945):
      • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.37:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
      • English LPCM 2.0 Mono
      • Optional English HoH Subtitles
    • "The Creaking Door: Entering THE INNER SANCTUM" video essay with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr.
    • "Mind Over Matter" interview with actor Martin Kosleck
    • Radio Adaptations:
      • Episode #257 (2/5/46): "Skeleton Bay"
      • Episode #258 (2/12/48): "The Man Who Couldn't Die"
      • Episode #392 (10/18/48): "Death of a Doll"
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the series by Craig Ian Mann
  • Limited Edition O-Card Slipcover

28 January 2021

Second Sight conjures HOST (review)

Six friends using Zoom to connect during lockdown gain a malevolent supernatural acquaintance when they conduct a virtual seance in the lockdown horror film HOST.

REVIEW LINK: Second Sight (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

HOST Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English HoH Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary by co-writer/executive producer/director Rob Savage and producer Douglas Cox
  • Audio Commentary by actors Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Webb, and Edward Linard
  • Cast Interview
  • Behind-the-Scenes
  • "Is There Goblins Now?" the original prank video
  • "Kate Scare" prank video test run
  • BFI Q&A with co-writer/executive producer/director Rob Savage, co-writers Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley, producer Douglas Cox, editor Brenna Rangott, and actors Haley Bishop & Caroline Ward, moderated by Anna Bogutskaya
  • "Evolution of Horror" interview with actor/director Rob Savage, and writers Gemma Hurley & Jed Shepherd
  • The Host Team Séance
  • Rob Savage’s Short Films:
    • "Dawn of the Deaf"
    • "Salt"
  • LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
    • Rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Thomas Walker
    • Perfect-bound booklet with the original story outline and new essays by Ella Kemp and Rich Johnson
  • Six collector art cards
    A seventh art card featuring new key art exclusive to <b><a href="https://secondsightfilms.co.uk/collections/latest-releases/products/host-limited-edition-box-set">Second Sight store</b></a> customers

25 January 2021

88 Films threatens I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER TRILOGY (review)

A killer from an urban legend stalks teenager with dirty secrets in the I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER TRILOGY.

REVIEW LINK: 88 Films (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER TRILOGY Blu-ray specs:

  • Disc One - I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English HoH Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by director Jim Gillespie & editor Steve Mirkovich
    • Audio Commentary By The Hysteria Continues
    • "My Own Summer" interview With director Jim Gillespie
    • "He Knows What You Did" interview with actor Muse Watson
    • "Joyride" short film with optional audio commentary by director Jim Gillespie
    • "Now I Know What You Did Last Summer" 1998 making-of featurette
    • "Hush" Music Video by Kula Shakar
    • Theatrical Trailer
  • Disc Two - I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English HoH Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary By The Hysteria Continues
    • "He Still Knows What You Did" interview with actor Muse Watson
    • Making-of featurette
    • "How Do I Deal" music video by Jennifer Love Hewitt
    • Theatrical Trailer
  • Disc Three - I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English HoH Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by director Sylvian White
    • Audio Commentary by film historians Dave Wain & Matty Budrewicz
    • Making-of featurette
    • Theatrical Trailer
  • Limited edition rigid slipcase with brand new artwork by Joel Robinson, 6 artcards, a double-sided foldout poster, and a 44-page booklet with new writing by Emma Platts & Jimi Fletcher.

Severin Films goes Grand Guignol with THEATRE BIZARRE (review)

Udo Keir introduces six GORE-iffic tales directed by six popular horror director.  In Richard Stanley's MOTHER OF TOADS, an anthropologist and his girlfriend encounter pagan superstition in the Pyrranees.  In Tom Savini's "Wet Dreams" a man's nightmares of jealousy and mutilation might be all too true.  In "Buddy Giovinazzo's I Love You" a paranoid man is pushed to his limits by his unfaithful wife.  Douglas Buck's "The Accident" sees death through the eyes of a child who witnesses a road accident.  In Karim Hussain's "Vision Stains" an author experiences the lives of her victims through the fluid in their eyballs.  Finally, in David Gregory's "Sweets" an ill-matched couple take the "joys of mastication" to gory extremes.

REVIEW LINK: Severin Films (US) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

THEATRE BIZARRE Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English SDH Subtitles
  • 2011 audio commentary with director Jeremy Kasten and actor Udo Keir on "Theatre Guignol" wrap-arounds, director Richard Stanley, actress Victoria Maurette, and cinematographer Karim Hussain on "Mother of Toads", director Buddy Giovinazzo on "I Love You", director Tom Savini, producer Michael Ruggiero, and co-producer Robert Lucas on "Wet Dreams", director Karim Hussain, actress Kaniehtiio Horn and editor Douglas Buck on "Vision Stains", and director David Gregory on "Sweets"
  • 2020 audio commentary by "Theatre Guignol" wraparounds director Jeremy Kasten, title music composer Marcus Howell, choreographer Amanda Marquardt, special effects make-up artist Brian Kinney, associate producer Adam Neubauer, and actors Amelia Gotham, Jeremy Gladen, Liberty Larson, and Nicole Fabbri, "Mother of Toads" director Richard Stanley, "Wet Dreams" director Tom Savini, producer Michael Ruggiero, and co-producer Robert Lucas, "The Accident" director Douglas Buck, "Vision Stains" director Karim Hussein, "Sweets" director David Gregory, actress Lindsay Goranson, and hair and make-up artist Aubrie Davis
  • "Backstage: The Making of The Theatre Bizarre" 2020 documentary
  • French TV On-Set Report with director Richard Stanley
  • "Making of Vision Stains"
  • "Making of The Accident"
  • Shock Till You Drop "Choice Cuts" Interviews:
    • director Buddy Giovinazzo
    • director David Gregory
    • director Jeremy Kasten
  • "Boswell Scores" interview with composer Simon Boswell
  • Extended Cut of "The Mother of Toads"
  • 2 Theatrical Trailers

Arrow Video resurrects Asia Extreme with VERSUS (review)

Although he’s not as well known as the likes of Shinya Tsukamoto or Takashi Miike, Ryuhei Kitamura defined Asia Extreme with VERSUS (2000) in which an escaped convict battles immortal samurai and zombies over the 666th portal to hell.

REVIEW LINK: Arrow Video USA/MVD Visual (US) Region A/B Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

VERSUS Blu-ray specs:

  • Disc One - Original Cut (120 mins):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
    • Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English Subtitles (for Japanese track) and English SDH Subtitles (for English track)
    • Audio Commentary by director Ryuhei Kitamura, actors Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki, Shoichiro Masumoto, producer Keishiro Shin and second unit director Yudai Yamaguchi (in Japanese with English subtitles)
    • Audio Commentary by director Ryuhei Kitamura and Producer Keishiro Shin, moderated by Napalm Films marketing director Vanessa Shin (in English)
    • "Body Slamming Body Horror" visual essay by Jasper Sharp
    • "The Encounter" archival interview with editor Shûichi Kakesu
    • Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary by Ryuhei Kitamura, Tak Sakaguchi, Minoru Matsumoto, and Shoichiro Masumoto
    • "Versus: FF Version" condensed recut of the film
    • Archival Featurettes:
      • "First Contact: Versus Evolution"
      • "Tak Sakguchi's One-Man Journey"
      • "Behind Versus"
        • "Part 1: Birth of a Dark Hero"
        • "Part 2: Versus The Legend"
      • "Team Versus"
      • "Deep in the Woods"
    • Festival Screenings
    • "Versus Side Stories" Shorts:
      • "Nervous"
      • "Nervous 2"
      • "The Making of Nervous 2"
    • Photo Galleries:
      • Promotional Stills
      • Posters
      • Japanese Press Book
      • Japanese Press Kit
    • Promo and Theatrical Trailers
  • Disc Two - Ultimate Versus Cut (130 mins):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
    • Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
    • Optional English Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by director Ryuhei Kitamura and actors Tak Sakaguchi, Hideo Sakaki and Shoichiro Masumot (in Japanese with English subtitles)
    • "Sakigake! Otoko Versus Juku" behind the scenes featurette
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film and a reprinted interview with Kitamura by Tom Mes, and notes on the making of the film by Kitamura

17 January 2021

Kino Lorber sings with the DEANNA DURBIN COLLECTION I (review)

The short career of Winnepeg's Sweetheart gets an overview in the DEANNA DURBIN COLLECTION I with the fourteen-year-old actress conniving to get conductor Leopold Stokowksi to audition a one-hundred man band in ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL, scheming for the romantic happiness of both of her older sisters in THREE SMART GIRLS GROW UP, and maturing into a screwball comedy dame in IT STARTED WITH EVE.

REVIEW LINK: Kino Lorber (US) Region A Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

DEANNA DURBIN COLLECTION I Blu-ray specs:

  • Disc One - One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
    • Optional English SDH Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by film historian Stephen Vogg 
    • Bonus Trailer
  • Disc Two - Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
    • Optional English SDH Subtitles 
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Bonus Trailers
  • Disc Three - It Started With Eve (1941):
    • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
    • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
    • Optional English SDH Subtitles
    • Audio Commentary by film historian Samm Deighan
    • Theatrical Trailer

 

11 January 2021

88 Films develops DARKROOM (review)

A family gathering turns murderous when an axe-wielding killer lurks in the DARKROOM in this eighties slasher from producer Nico Mastorakis.

REVIEW LINK: 88 Films (UK) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

DARKROOM Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English HoH Subtitles
  • "Developing Fear" interview with actor Aarin Teich
  • "Exposing the Truth" interview with actor Jeff Arbaugh
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer 
  • Reversible Cover
  • The first 3,000 copies come with a limited edition slipcover and four collectible postcards

88 Films goes on a BLIND DATE (review)

Joseph Bottoms is a blind man who undergoes a surgery to implant him with a high-tech device that allows him to see by sonor, and he may have just come face to face with The Scalpel Killer in Nico Mastorakis' eighties thriller.  Kirstie Alley, Marina Sirtis, Lana Clarkson, Valeria Golino, and Keir Dullea also star.

REVIEW LINK: 88 Films (UK) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

BLIND DATE Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English HoH Subtitles
  • "The Films of Nico Mastorakis" four-part feature-length documentary
  • Music Videos
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible Cover
  • The first 3,000 copies come with a limited edition slipcover and four collectible postcards

88 Films trades in KNOCK-OFF (review)

Jean Claude Van Damme, HK director Tsui Hark, and Rob Schneider(!) take on terrorists operating within Hong Kong's knock off industry in the nineties action flick KNOCK OFF.

REVIEW LINK: 88 Films (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

KNOCK OFF Blu-ray specs.

  • Strictly limited to 3,000 copies (no standard edition)
  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • English/Russian/Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Optional English HoH Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary by action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
  • Interview with writer Steven E. de Souza
  • The Making of KNOCK OFF
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible cover
  • Numbered slipcover
  • A3 Poster
  • Four postcards

Arrow Video transgresses YAKUZA LAW (review)

From JOYS OF TORTURE director Teruo Ishii comes an anthology of Yakuza warfare and depravity in three different time periods where the strict laws of Yakuza mean brutal and dire consequences for those who break them and those who manipulate them.

REVIEW LINK: Arrow Video USA/MVD Visual (US) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

YAKUZA LAW Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • Japanese LPCM 1.0 Mono
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary by author and critic Jasper Sharp
  • "Erotic-Grotesque and Genre Hopping: Teruo Ishii Speaks" interview
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible Cover
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tom Mes

 

Arrow Video ignites an INFERNO OF TORTURE (Review)

From the director of HORRORS OF MALFORMED MEN Teruo Ishii comes a series of intertwining stories of torture and depravity during Japan's Edo period focusing on a geisha house and warring tatoo artists.

REVIEW LINK: Arrow Video/MVD Visual (US) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

INFERNO OF TORTURE Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • Japanese LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary by Japanese film expert Tom Mes
  • "Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan’s Cult Counterculture" condensed version of Jasper Sharp's Miskatonic Institute lecture
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible Cover
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D (Desjardins)

 

Umbrella Entertainment goes on WALKABOUT (review)

When their father suddenly tries to murder them, a British teenager and her younger brother escape into the Outback and meet an Aboriginal boy who shows them how to survive.  The journey changes all three of them, but not in ways one would expect in Nicolas Roeg's second feaure film starring Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, and David Gulpilil.

REVIEW LINK: Umbrella Entertainment (AUS) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVD Drive-in)

WALKABOUT Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 Widescreen
  • English/Aboriginal DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
  • Audio Commentary by director Nicolas Roeg and actress Jenny Agutter

Umbrella Films reaches the POINT OF NO RETURN (Review)

Ozploitation cinematographer Vincent Monton steps into the director's chair for this little-seen action flick in which a mercenary serving a prison sentance makes a daring escape to discover who murdered his brother.  Marcus Graham and Nikki Coghill star.

REVIEW LINK: Umbrella Entertainment (AUS) Region 0 PAL DVD (DVD Drive-in)

POINT OF NO RETURN DVD specs:

  • 16:9 Anamorphic 1.78:1 Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Umbrella Entertainment liberates CULT GIRLS (Review)

Rescued during the raid of a pagan cult and raised in a Catholic convent, Daalia is haunted by the guilt of being separated from her younger sisters and leaves the convent to find them.  She believes that only a hermit death metal rocker can provide the answers she seeks, but little does she know that the cult's still-active followers are stalking her and plan to use her in a rebirthing ceremony.

REVIEW LINK: Umbrella Entertainment (AUS) Region 0 PAL DVD (DVD Drive-in)

CULT GIRLS DVD specs:

  • 16:9 anamorphic 2.40:1 widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Audio Commentary by director Mark Bakaitis and casting director Nathan Hill
  • "Video Deities: The Making of CULT GIRLS"
  • MERCY KILL 1993 short film
  • Music Videos

08 January 2021

Second Run gets extreme with LIBERTÉ (review)

Three aristocrats ousted from the court of Louis XVI flee to Germany where they plot to export and impose the philosophy of libertinism in Albert Serra's idiosyncratic follow-up to his prestigious THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV.

REVIEW LINK: Second Run (UK) Region ALL Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

LIBERTÉ Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • French/German/Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Optional English Subtitles
  • Introduction by director Albert Serra
  • "Albert Serra on LIBERTÉ" director interview
  • 24-page booklet featuring a new essay by curator and author Jason Wood, and an interview with Albert Serra by film critic Manu Yáñez-Murillo

Masters of Cinema gets THE LAST WARNING (review)

Years after a famous actor was murdered on stage in the middle of his performance and his body never found, a producer reunites the cast and crew to restage the play with a lurking phantom threatening that history will repeat itself in THE LAST WARNING.  From the director of THE CAT AND THE CANARY and shot on the sets of Lon Chaney's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

REVIEW LINK: Eureka/Masters of Cinema (UK) Region B Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

THE LAST WARNING Blu-ray specs: 

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
  • Arthur Barrow Music Score DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • English Intertitles
  • Audio Commentary by horror and fantasy authors Kim Newman and Stephen Prince
  • "Paul Leni and THE LAST WARNING" video essay by John Soister
  • Collector's Booklet featuring an essay by Philip Kemp and Arthur Barrow's notes on the score
  • The first 2,000 copies come with a limited edition slipcover

02 January 2021

Kino Lorber is HELL BENT (Review)

Before John Wayne, Harry Carey was John Ford's archetypal hero in a series of mostly-lost silent adventures.  In HELL BENT, Carey is an outlaw who finds a reason to go straight when he falls for a dance hall girl whose brother becomes entangled in a stagecoach robbery.

REVIEW LINK: Kino Lorber (US) Region A Blu-ray (DVDCompare)

HELL BENT Blu-ray specs:

  • 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.33:1 Pillarboxed Fullscreen
  • Music DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
  • English Intertitles
  • Audio Commentary by film historian Joseph McBride
  • Archival 1970 audio interview with John Ford by Joseph McBride, author of "Searching for John Ford: A Life"
  • "A Horse of a Mary?" video essay by critic Tag Gallagher

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