Results tagged “Blu Ray”

Hack-O-Lantern (1988) Blu-ray Review: Every Night is Halloween

Massacre Video brings us a High-Def release of this cult Satanic Panic '80s horror oddity.
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Only a short time ago, finding a copy of Jag Mundhra's low-budget '80s horror flick Hack-O-Lantern on VHS was similar to discovering the source of The Nile. Granted, said copy would usually be a well-worn one, as the direct-to-video film ‒ which also once bore the title Death Mask before seeing later distribution on home video under the title Halloween Night ‒ was certainly not the sort of moving picture to have made rounds on the retail videocassette market. Rather, Hack-O-Lantern was the sort of schlocky cheesy tripe which could have only hailed from the glorious days of rental pricing;

The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991) Blu-ray Review: Try Hard

The ridiculously fun 'Die Hard' knock-off with a mulleted Ken Wahl finds its way to BD thanks to Kino Lorber.
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Any time you depict a filthy rich jock as someone the average moviegoer should be able to sympathize with, you're bound to run into some trouble. In the instance of Sidney J. Furie's 1991 non-hit The Taking of Beverly Hills, we get just that ‒ played to the hilt by former Hollywood heartthrob and Wiseguy star Ken Wahl. Sporting a perfect urban mullet (which perfectly compliments this thick bushy eyebrows) throughout, Wahl plays a football hero nicknamed Boomer. While Boomer's career may have recently ended due to a leg injury (an eerie omen to our lead actor's fate: Wahl effectively

Not as a Stranger (1955) Blu-ray Review: Robert Mitchum, Sociopathic Surgeon

Kino Lorber brings us Stanley Kramer's first directorial effort starring Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra.
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Any movie which conjures up the mental image of a motorcycle bound Lon Chaney Jr. going out in a drunken blaze of glory certainly deserves a special place in history. However, when that same movie also happens to star Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra ‒ along with a first-rate supporting cast including Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Lee Marvin, Harry Morgan, and the aforementioned Mr. Chaney ‒ its significance in the world of film increases substantially. Now toss in the superb production values and social commentary filmmaker Stanley Kramer was (and still is) so well known for, and

The Aftermath (1982) Blu-ray Review: A Little Movie with a Long Wake

VCI Entertainment re-releases Steve Barkett's wild, low-budget post-apocalyptic cult classic co-starring the one and only Sid Haig.
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Were you to whisper the name "Steve Barkett" to the average moviegoer, a lengthy pause with near-audible chirping crickets in the background may follow. Say Barkett's name to an aficionado of low-budget sci-fi and horror movies from the days when people still shot independent movies on film, however, and you're entirely likely to get a different reaction. From a much more personal perspective, I actually met a former colleague of his at a coffee shop; an encounter which would later result in me inheriting several reels of film from two of Mr. Barkett's films. Well, let me rephrase that slightly

The Violent Years (1956) Blu-ray Review: Ed Wood's Teenage Girl Gang Terrorists

With everything from original production materials to a bonus feature Ed allegedly worked on, this AGFA/SWV BD is packin' a lot of Wood.
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The list of filmmakers best known for helming the worst movies ever made is a long and varied one. In fact, it grows more and more with each passing year. But even as contemporary contenders and waning wannabes vie for some sort of misplaced honor (or misattributed attention) in the awkward world of unintentionally terrible motion pictures, one name still manages to frequently take the lead: that of amateur auteur Edward D. Wood, Jr. Since Wood's untimely passing in December 1978, his delightfully delirious titles ‒ including the early (if totally bizarre) LGBT drama Glen or Glenda? and the sci-fi/horror

Deathdream (1974) Blu-ray Review: We Are the Dead of Night, We're in the Zombie Room

Blue Underground brings the creepy Bob Clark/Alan Ormsby cult classic back to life with a gorgeous new 2K scan.
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While W.W. Jacobs may have never been much of a household name either before or after his death in 1943 at the age of 79, the late English author nevertheless left a lasting mark on the world of horror thanks to his 1902 horror story The Monkey's Paw. The quintessential tale carrying the classic "be careful what you wish for" analogy, Jacobs' "immortal" tale would go on to be transformed into a variety of many mediums over the years, beginning with a stage adaptation just one year after the story was first published. But it was the world of film

The Pirates of Blood River (1962) Blu-ray Review: A Dish, Out of Water

Twilight Time unsheathes an enjoyable Hammer Films outing with ex-Sinbad Kerwin Mathews and a smoothly sinister Christopher Lee.
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Your friends might argue a pirate movie won't float without water. Or an actual pirate ship. Heck, even an award-winning 2005 pornographic cash-in of Disney's Pirates of the Carribean had a boat, for porn's sake! But then again, so did Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island and Roman Polanski's Pirates ‒ a pair of box office failures regularly cited as two of the worst pirate films ever made today. And, while forcing your friends to watch those two flicks may provide an easy win to such a foreseeable argument. Ultimately, however, the best way to succeed in winning a disagreement over whether

Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953) Blu-ray Review: Sunken Leisure

Young Robert Wagner sinks to new depths ‒ literally ‒ in this early CinemaScope effort, now available in a beautiful, uncut, widescreen HD transfer from Twilight Time.
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The advent of CinemaScope in the 1950s brought with it many changes to Hollywood. Sadly, in the case of 20th Century Fox's 1953 Technicolor adventure film Beneath the 12-Mile Reef ‒ the third movie to be filmed in the studio's lavish new way of luring moviegoers back in theaters ‒ director Robert D. Webb seemingly forgot to include enough subject material to fill up the width of the widened screen. The story ‒ a pivoting, bore-a-minute tale pitting sponge divers against fishermen ‒ finds young Robert Wagner as the son of aged Mexican-American actor Gilbert Roland. Naturally, they're cast as

Captain from Castile (1947) Blu-ray Review: A Power-fully Fun Swashbuckler

Twilight Time foils foes with a splendid classic Hollywood adventure tale starring Tyrone Power.
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Even at 141 minutes in length, Henry King's lavish big-budgeted adaptation of Samuel Shellabarger's 1945 novel Captain from Castile only covers the first half of its source material. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you ‒ the 1947 swashbuckler epic from 20th Century Fox still captures the grace and beauty of classic historical adventures. It also serves as a great reminder of how outrageously preposterous Hollywood's old-school casting agents could get back then, as evidenced by co-star Lee J. Cobb (The Exorcist, Lawman) as a roaming adventurer named Juan García. One wonders if it didn't inspire Russell Mulcahy's casting

Waiting for Guffman (1996) Blu-ray Review: The Waiting is the Artist Part

The brilliant mockumentary from Christopher Guest and Co. gets a beautiful new High-Definition transfer from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Before he gave us his unique looks at dog shows and folk groups, This Is Spinal Tap co-creator and star Christopher Guest formed his first "solo" mockumentary turned his eyes towards the stage for this hilarious mockumentary revolving around one very memorable community theater presentation by way of Samuel Beckett's immortal play Waiting for Godot. Set in the fictional small town of Blaine, Missouri, 1996's Waiting for Guffman finds Guest as an ambiguously gay theater director from New York named Corky St. Clair. Clad in some of the worst fashion violations ever conceived, Corky takes on the helming of "Red,

The Green Slime (1968) Blu-ray Review: Would You Believe It When You're Dead?

The Warner Archive Collection gives the campy U.S./Japanese cult classic a stellar new HD transfer.
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Apart from the occasional World War II movie, there haven't been terribly many instances in film history wherein the US and Japan collaborated on something together. When they did, the results tended to vary, ranging from epic successes such as Tora! Tora! Tora! to movies almost as disastrous as WWII itself. And it is there, on the latter list of atrocities, that you will find a barely moving motion picture; one which has been sitting ‒ quite comfortably, at that ‒ in the same illustrious spot for several decades. An unofficial sequel to the mid '60s Gamma One quadrilogy from

The Long, Hot Summer (1958) Blu-ray Review: Climax Change

Twilight Time heats things up with Martin Ritt's Southern Gothic tale starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Tony Franciosa, and an inarticulate Orson Welles.
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Though the notion of someone ‒ anyone ‒ being labeled as a "barn burner" in this day and age may give you an inkling as to how outdated The Long, Hot Summer may be, the various tawdry emotions and tempers depicted in this mish-mash of several William Faulkner works sprinkled with a dash of Tennessee Williams is just as fresh as ever. Especially to anyone who may have lived in a small town. Beating Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to screens by just five months, The Long, Hot Summer finds acting legend Paul Newman as a vaguely regular rogue

Night Moves (1975) / Scarecrow (1973) Blu-ray Reviews: The WAC Gets Hacked

The Warner Archive Collection rescues two neglected classics with Gene Hackman, including his one and only pairing with Al Pacino.
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One of the most difficult acts to follow from 20th Century film history, the great Gene Hackman returns to astonish classic filmgoers (and maybe a few Millennials curious as to why everyone else shakes their head over the mere mention of Welcome to Mooseport or Heartbreakers) in two recent Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive Collection. Night Moves (1975, Warner Bros.) The inimitable Mr. Hackman ‒ at the height of his career as a leading man here ‒ stars in this gripping neo-noir from director Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, The Chase). One of several thrillers written for the silver

The Illustrated Man (1969) Blu-ray Review: Rod Steiger's Shorts, Illustrated

The Warner Archive Collection puts an awful lot of effort into an awful Ray Bradbury adaptation.
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In 1951, genre novelist (and all-around legendary icon) Ray Bradbury published The Illustrated Man ‒ a collection of eighteen short stories based around a former carnival sideshow freak whose body is covered in an assortment of mysterious tattoos which come to animated life as they relay bizarre tales hailing from different corners of time and space. Were that not already a recipe for box-office poison, the people behind Warner Bros./Seven Arts' 1969 feature adaptation of the same name threw out more than just five-sixths of Bradbury's tales: they also threw out all of the coherency. There is also a very

Trailer Trauma 4: Television Trauma (2017) Blu-ray Review: TV Spots-a-Go-Go

Garagehouse Pictures unveils its most ambitious compilation ever ‒ and the result is nothing but incredible.
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Once more, Garagehouse Pictures has assembled another magnificent gathering of movie trailers for fans of genre flicks to drool over. This time, however, they have put together something entirely (well, partly) different from previous trailer compilation outings: a Blu-ray devoted entirely to television spots for a variety of exploitation movies released to theaters over the course of several decades. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking, "An entire Blu-ray of nothing but TV spots?" Well, yes, dummy, that's exactly what this is! Sure, it may seem like a rather ambitious project to put together, but you have to

Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983) Blu-ray Review: Still the Man

Mill Creek Entertainment releases Antonio Margheriti's wild fantasy movie mashup, complete with an all-new commentary by star Reb Brown.
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The early 1980s brought with it many marvels in the world of film, including a swarm of trend-setting horror, science fiction, and fantasy films ‒ the likes of which still inspire filmmakers to this day. Naturally, such a surge in genre fables did not go unnoticed in countries like Italy, where imitation was considered the sincerest form of infringement-worthy flattery. But just simply copying the premise of one popular American (or Australian) flick in particular was too easy of a task for certain Italian exploitation filmmakers, leading them to mash various movies (and genres) together in order to make something

The Sword and the Claw (1982) Blu-ray Review: Witness the Unbelievable

The AGFA returns with a double-billing of ham-fisted fighting flicks which may cause you to question your sanity.
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Imagine if a small gathering of very serious grade schoolers miraculously collected enough money to write and produce an entire motion picture. Now let's envision they cast their teachers, parents, and the latter's various associates from the PTA, borrowing plot points and music from other, legitimate Hollywood productions with nary a concern for copyright infringement to be had. Now picture them fusing their tale with the very sort of feverish storytelling one might expect from a bunch of little kids, but set amidst production standards akin to that of a posh community theater project (or perhaps something you might see

The Inexplicable and Unexplainable Worlds of Erotica and Exploitation

Existing in strange little worlds all their own, these four bizarre ventures into filmmaking prove sex doesn't always sell.
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Some movies seem to exist solely to defy a simple explanation. Others simply seem to exist in worlds of their own, immune to laws of gravity, gravitas, and ‒ in the instance of the movies mentioned in this piece ‒ good taste. And it is here that we shall take a peek into four very unique Blu-ray releases. Featuring titles from two of Europe's most hailed cult filmmakers ‒ Jess Franco and Lucio Fulci ‒ this edition also finds room for a rogue Latvian sex-horror manifestory metaphor and a sleazily sinful "softie" from the '70s which is nothing more than

Valdez Is Coming (1971) Blu-ray Review: They Just Messed with the Wrong Mexican

Despite casting Burt Lancaster as a Latino, this early revisionist western from Kino Lorber still deserves a look.
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Originally envisioned as a project for director Sydney Pollack and the starpower of Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster, novelist Elmore Leonard's Valdez Is Coming was once set to contend against the Spaghetti Western craze dominating screens throughout the latter half of the '60s. That didn't happen, of course. In fact, Valdez wouldn't come until 1971 ‒ when the European variation of the genre was quickly being paved over by the American revisionist western ‒ with an entirely different cast and crew attached to the project. With Pollack out, Broadway/TV director Edwin Sherin took over directing. It would be the first

Hell Night (1981) Blu-ray Review: A for Effort

Scream Factory goes all-out for the minor low-budget college slasher flick with Linda Blair.
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One of several dozen slasher movies to find its way to screens during the slasher horror movie boom of the late '70s and early '80s, Tom DeSimone's Hell Night always seems like the one that gets left out in the cold. Granted, there's very little to outwardly discern the 1981 shocker starring The Exorcist's Linda Blair from any other movie of the era featuring a group of annoying college kids being murdered in an isolated setting. (Well, other than the fact that it stars Linda Blair, of course!) In fact, were one to make a check-list of '80s college slasher
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