Friday, October 26, 2012

Arnold Goes Back to the Barbarian!

Crazy but seemingly true.  Though I'm not a huge fan of Arnold's Conan (especially his second stab at the role!) at least it gives Robert E. Howard's character another shot at a bigger budget adventure after the recent weak Lionsgate 3D effort.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Screen Classic Horror!

Last night, I caught TCM's one-shot digital theatrical double-feature presentation of the restored FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935).  It was a powerful experience and both films have never looked so good!  The detail and sharpness, especially in Jack Pearce's make up, was astounding.  Beforehand there was a previously taped interview with Bela Lugosi Jr., Sara Karloff and make up wizard Rick Baker conducted by TCM's Robert Osborne.  Now it's onto the Universal horror blu-ray collection which I've held off on until this screening.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Peter Cushing Books!

The always Hammer obsessed folks at Titan Books have some cool Cushing offerings in the works for early 2013!  David Miller's out-of-print PETER CUSHING COMPANION gets a face-lift as PETER CUSHING: A LIFE IN FILMS and Cushing's own dual autobiographies will be combined to become THE PETER CUSHING MEMOIRS!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gordon Liu Update!

Shaw Bros. kung fu superstar Gordon Liu (36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN) is making slow but steady recovery from a stroke he suffered last year.  Read more...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dark Shadows Movies Creep to Blu-Ray!

October 30th!
I saw both films upon their initial theatrical releases.  I remember the cinema during HOUSE was packed with a screaming audience.  They completely lost it when the shriveled up old-age Barnabas appeared!  It was my first time really being aware of make up maestro Dick Smith's work before he really hit it big time with THE GODFATHER (1972).  In contrast, I was in a mostly empty theater for NIGHT and felt it was a total let down.  I'm anxious to re-examine it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Exorcist Soundtrack on CD!

A classic, unnerving score from various composers is budget priced and limited!
I grew up on the original vinyl soundtrack LP upon the film's initial release (it was my second R-rated film after seeing THE GODFATHER the previous year).  While Tubular Bells was a top 40 radio hit, this album introduced me to works of Penderecki!

R.I.P. Sylvia "Emmanuelle" Kristel (1952-2012)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hammer Defends CURSE Blu-Ray!

There's a heated discussion going on all over the Hammer and BD blogosphere concerning the new CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN DVD and blu-ray release in the U.K.  Here's how Hammer defends their creative/technical decisions and explains the entire process.  Very interesting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Arrived Just In Time For Halloween!

This is the limited edition U.K. all-region blu-ray collection of 8 iconic Universal monster movies featuring all their classic characters- Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man, The Phantom, and The Creature.  The set actually contains 9 movies if you count the Spanish language DRACULA included as a bonus!  I'll be re-experiencing, commenting and reviewing these discs in the weeks and months ahead.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rare Godzilla Finally Stomps to DVD & BD!

GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (1989), one of the most elusive Big G releases in North America (along with GODZILLA 1985 aka RETURN OF GODZILLA and the recently released GODZILLA VS. MEGALON), will finally see a bare bones release from Echo Bridge who issue a lot of Miramax library titles at budget prices.  The street date is December 4th and it should sell for under ten bucks!  I still have the old laser disc and privately screened a 35mm print before its U.S. acquisition and initial VHS release.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vintage 007 On The Big Screen!

This past weekend I caught a double bill of DR. NO and GOLDFINGER at the historic Landmark Loews Jersey City movie palace.  Both films are classic Connery Bond adventures with DR. NO being the first, setting the stage for the series to follow.  GOLDFINGER definitively crystallized the franchise with the format and style that pretty much all the subsequent films adopted to varying degrees.
I know most nostalgia and hardcore cinephiles don't want to hear this bit of sacrilege but-  good riddance to 35mm projection!  With blu-ray at home and 4K digital theatrical projection, it can be a chore to sit through the unspooling of older 35mm prints.  What's worse is that the viewer is a virtual slave to the projectionist's skills or lack thereof.  Both 007 features were constantly plagued with focus adjustments and framing errors where heads were routinely cut off!  Also, reel changes and the variances of projection bulb luminosity have now become an assault on the senses and definitely distract from the total viewing experience.  How this was tolerated and accepted as 'normal' in the good ol' days I'll never know! Those scratchy head and tails are pretty hideous too.  Anyway, 35mm projection can still be pleasant and hipster-nostalgic if the projectionist is good and the 35mm print is pristine or so rare that you just don't care.  Having the Bond blu-rays at home it was the communal big screen experience that counted.  What also enhanced the weekend's presentation was the cool lobby display of 007 memorabilia and the excellent and highly knowledgeable onstage introductions by CinemaRetro magazine editor Lee Pfieffer.   Be on the lookout for their upcoming Bond special issue! 
For Halloween, the Loews is going all out with a Friday and Saturday horror marathon:  William Castle's HOMOCIDAL, CARNIVAL OF SOULS, MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, DRACULA, HORROR OF DRACULA and THE SENTINEL!  Sadly, all of these screenings compete with the local Chiller Theatre Expo!