Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kino Lorber Releases the Groundbreaking 3-D Sci-Fi Classic 'THE BUBBLE' (1966) on 11/18

Kino Lorber Releases the Groundbreaking 3-D Sci-Fi Classic The Bubble Fully Restored by the 3-D Film Archive

Available in 3-D Blu-ray edition on November 18th packed with special features   

 

"REMARKABLE is the word for Arch Oboler's futuristic space-age movies." - Chicago Daily News 

Kino Lorber proudly announces the release on its Kino Classics label of Arch Oboler's thrilling and groundbreaking 3-D sci-fi classic, THE BUBBLE, in a special 3-D Blu-ray edition, packed with bonus features.

Originally released in 1966, THE BUBBLE was a milestone in the history of 3-D filmmaking, being the first production shot in the Space-Vision 3-D system, an innovative new process that revolutionized the way 3-D movies would be made for the next 30 years.

Now, this landmark film is back for new viewers to see in its original, groundbreaking Space-Vision 3-D on Blu-ray, restored from the original 35mm negatives by the 3-D Film Archive. The Blu-ray edition of THE BUBBLE will become available on November 18, 2014, with a SRP of $34.95, presented in 3-D (requiring a 3-D player, television and glasses, but which will also display in 2-D on regular setups). 

Bonus features include an essay by noted film preservationist Bob Furmanek, founder of the 3-D Film Archive; screenplay excerpts that detail deleted scenes from the film; trailers; a stills gallery; an alternate opening (presented in both 3-D and 2-D); and a restoration demonstration (presented in 3-D and 2-D).

The new 2k digital 3-D DCP restoration will also have its world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art's "To Save and Project" festival in New York, with screenings onNovember 7 and November 9.
In addition to being a pioneering work in 3-D film production, THE BUBBLE is also a classic of the sci-fi genre. It tells the thrilling tale of a young couple who find themselves stranded in a most unusual town, one in which the populace exists in a kind of zombie-like state. They soon realize, to their horror, that the entire town is enclosed under a giant dome, with the people trapped like insects, and the young couple must make their escape before they too become permanently trapped in this strange place.

Now fully restored by the 3-D Film Archive, this Blu-ray edition will give classic movie buffs, genre fans and 3-D enthusiasts alike the chance to experience this sci-fi classic on their home entertainment systems in the way it was meant to be seen!
THE BUBBLE - reissue Trailer in HD for 3-D Feature
THE BUBBLE - reissue Trailer in HD for 3-D Feature
SYNOPSIS:

THE BUBBLE is the "eerie and enjoyable" (Los Angeles Times) science-fiction spine-tingler that sicked audiences and revolutionized the cinematic world of 3-D! The eye-popping thrills and chills begin when a plane carrying pregnant Catherine (Deborah Walley) and her husband Mark (Michael Cole) is forced to land in a mysterious remote town. The townspeople are quite strange, indeed: they repeat certain phrases and movements ceaselessly and stagger through the streets like brain-dead automatons. Then there is an even more terrifying discovery -- the zombie inhabitants live under an impenetrable dome, trapped like insects in a jar. Can Catherine, Mark and their newborn baby escape or will they become mindless drones trapped in a human zoo?
THE BUBBLE introduced the groundbreaking Space-Vision 3-D system, which pioneered a new way of both shooting and exhibiting 3-D film. These single-strip 35mm stereoscopic techniques were used in almost all major 3-D features for the next 30 years, making THE BUBBLE not only an "amazing" (Hollywood Reporter) sci-fi thriller, but also an important milestone in the history of cinema. Now fully restored from the 35mm negatives by the 3-D Film Archive.
THE BUBBLE
Written and Directed by Arch Oboler
Starring Michael Cole, Deborah Walley and Johnny Desmond
Genre: Science Fiction
Blu-ray Street Date: November 18, 2014
Blu-ray SRP: $34.95
Blu-ray UPC: 738329132224
Technical Specs:
1966 / English / Color / 91 mins. / 2.50:1 / Mono / DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Bonus Features:
3-D (Requires 3-D player, television and glasses - will output in 2-D on regular setups)
Essay by Bob Furmanek
Screenplay excerpts of deleted scenes
Trailers
Stills Gallery
Alternate Opening (3-D and 2-D)
Restoration Demonstration (3-D and 2-D)

SHIVERS (1975)

SHIVERS (1975) 
Label: Arrow Video
Region Code: B
Rating: 18 Certificate 
Duration: 88 Minutes 
Audio: English PCM Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: David Cronenberg

Cast: Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Cathy Graham, Fred Doederlein, Allan Kolman
Tagline: BEING TERRIFIED IS JUST THE BEGINNING…


In director David Cronenberg's daring feature film debut we are brought to the Starliner Towers high-rise on Starline Island. It's an idyllic community set apart from the stress of city living. The wealthy residents affluent lives are about to be turned upside down by the experimentation of professor Emil Hobbes (Fred Doederlein) who feels theorizes that humanity has lost touch with their sensual selves. To that end he has developed a parasite that's spreads like a venereal disease from host to host. He incubates his parasites through a young woman named Annabelle Brown (Cathy Graham) whom he murders at the start of the film just before he slits his own throat. Apparently the doc feels his experiment has gotten out of control but it's too late - seems his human petri dish has been sleeping her way around the high-rise infecting others who are exhibiting an abnormal growth in their abdomen, as diagnosed by the building's clinic doctor Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton) who attempts to thwart the parasites before they can spread to the other inhabitants of the building.

Among the tenant we have Janine (Susan Petrie) and her husband Nicholas (Allan Kolman, SE7EN), Barabare Steel as a sultry lesbian and Roger's super-sexy nurse played by Lynn Lowry (THE CRAZIES) among others. As the parasite spreads the infected are overcome with the insatiable urge to fornicate and spread the parasite further. we have a great scene of Barbara Steele in a bathtub as a parasite work crawls into her lady parts and another gruesome scene of the parasite leaping into a doctor's face, burning him with an acidic secretion he pulls them off his face with a pair of pliers before being bludgeoned to death by the host who them stuffs the parasites back into his mouth. 

The parasites are a few inches long and super-gross. Created by effects wizard Joe Blasco they are old school in-camera effects and awesome, loads of blood mixed in with a perverse sexuality throughout - total Cronenberg. 

Love the scene of one of the hosts vomiting a parasite from a balcony onto an elderly couple below and another of the parasites crawling up the walker of another older couple as the man flicks it off the walking aid and smashes it. 

Another scene features a lesbian kiss and we see the throat of the host bulge as the parasite is transferred from her to the other woman and we see her neck distend - just some great bits of body horror to enjoy here. On top of that we have moments of incest that are just twisted on top of numerous sexual assaults - this is still a subversive and twisted film. 

Paul Hampton and Joe Silver as the docs trying to curtail the spread of the parasites. Silver does a fine job but Hampton comes across cold which might be attributed to his character who at one point rejects Lynn Lowry's advances while she strip nude in front of him, that's just not human! Barbara Steele and Lynn Lowry provide some gorgeous eye candy and at forty years old Steele was still quite a fox. 

For a feature film debut this was quite a film and it contained all the embryonic elements we would come to associate with Cronenberg in later years. SHIVERS remains a seminal work of body-horror and it's vision of parasite driven sex crimes is pretty disturbing stuff. Personally I don;t think I could resist the charms of Barbara Steel or Lynn Lowry if I were thrust into the madness happening at the Starliner Towers. Speaking of Lowry, she had previously appeared in I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970) and George Romero's THE CRAZIES (1973) plus softcore goodies like SUGAR COOKIES (1971) and Radley Metzger's SCORE (1974)  I have only to say... WOW! A gorgeous woman and that final scene with her emerging from the pool is just so super seductive, I'd give up without a fight. 

BLU-RAY:
The Blu-ray from Arrow Video presents the film with a brand new HD restoration approved by director David Cronenberg. It's been quite a while since I last watched the long out-of-print DVD but my impression is that this is quite a step up in terms of texture, fine detail, color saturation with more naturally rendered skin tones. There's no hiding this was a low-budget and the image does show some of the limitations of a cheap production but it's not too shabby. I think I can say without hesitation that this is the best the film has ever looked on home video. 

The PCM Mono audio does an adequate job exporting the audio which is expectantly flat but not unpleasant. Optional English subtitles are provided. 

Also available as a Limited Edition Steelbook.
Unfortunately we have no new input from director David Cronenberg on the disc but we do get some decent value added extras produced by High Rising Productions beginning with Parasite Memories: The Making of Shivers – A brand new documentary featuring interviews with stars Barbara Steele, Allan Kolman and Lynn Lowry, special effects genius Joe Blasco and film critic Kier-La Janisse that runs about forty-three minutes. effects artists Joe Blasco recalling his time on the set and reading what he thought was a porno script is awesome - this guy has some great stories about creating the numerous gross effects and the influence on  Ridley Scott's ALIEN just a year later. 

The second making of featurette is a Canadian TV program called ON SCREEN and featuring interviews with Cronenberg and co-producer Don Carmody among others detailing the making of and release of the controversial film. My take away from this one is Cronenberg detailing how actress Susan Petri requested  that Cronenberg take her into the next room to slap her around so she could cry during her scenes, he also goes into Barbara Steele reprimanding him for slapping her around, not realizing she wanted him to do it. 

The video essay From Stereo to Video by Caelum Vatnsdal, author of They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema charts Cronenberg’s career from his experimental beginnings through to Videodrome. Packed with info this comes across more academic and was my least favorite of the features.

Extras are finished up with the theatrical trailer and a collector's booklet for the film with new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, reprinted excerpts of Cronenberg on Cronenberg and more, illustrated with original archive stills and posters. The release is also available as a limited edition SteelBook with the same extras. 

There's been some negative buzz about this release from Arrow since it's release based on what appears to be 25 seconds of missing footage and the fact that this is advertised as a director-approved transfer. Arrow sort of pointed the finger at Cronenberg who in turn had stated he only approved of the color timing and did not actually view the restoration himself. I myself am not so well-versed that I can tell where the cuts were made but I can say that this is very fine upgrade of the film, whether it's complete or not I cannot say. As a sub licensed title from Lionsgate - a distributor who is notorious for not giving license of their films to other entities in the US at least - not sure what the chances are that an new uncut HD master would be struck and released in the future. 

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Limited edition Steelbook packaging
- New High Definition Digital Transfer supervised and approved by writer-director David Cronenberg
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Parasite Memories: The Making of Shivers – A brand new documentary featuring interviews with stars Barbara Steele, Allan Kolman and Lynn Lowry, special effects genius Joe Blasco and film critic Kier-La Janisse (43 Minutes)
- On Screen! – An episode of the Canadian television programme which documents the release history of Shivers, featuring interviews with Cronenberg, co-producer Don Carmody, as well as other cast and crew (48 Minutes)
- From Stereo to Video – A specially-commissioned video essay by Caelum Vatnsdal, author of They Came from Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema, charting Cronenberg’s career from his experimental beginnings through to Videodrome, his first major studio picture (26 Minutes)
- Original Theatrical Trailer (1 Minute)
- Collector’s Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Paul Corupe, creator of the Canuxploitation website, reprinted excerpts of Cronenberg on Cronenberg and more, illustrated with original archive stills and posters


VERDICT:
It was quite fun to re visit SHIVERS which has been quite hard to come by here in the US. It's Cronenberg's first feature film and while it's rough around the edges it has many of the directors touchstones in their embryonic form, this is a body-horror classic from start to finish with loads of squeamish fun and hordes of horny infected people just trying to fornicate for the sake of spreading the parasite. Missing seconds aside this is a top-notch release with a some quality extras. would love to see Cronenberg's follow-up film RABID with Marilyn Chambers get the deluxe HD treatment from Arrow Video. SHIVERS is not available on Blu-ray in the US and this region B release from Arrow is the only way to find it in HD. 


SHOCK WAVES (1977)

SHOCK WAVES (1977) 

Label: Blue Underground 
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Duration: 85 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: ALL
Audio: English DTS-HD Mono with Optional English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Ken Wiederhorn
Cast: Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, John Carradine 


In this underrated Nazi zombie romp we have a curmudgeonly yacht Captain played by John Carradine (THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES) and a group of six on a pleasure cruise. We have passenger Rose (Brook Adams, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) and Keith (Luke Halpin, TV's FLIPPER), plus the yacht's cook Dobbs (Don Stout) and passengers Chuck (Fred Buch) and married couple Norman (Jack Davidson) and Beverly (D.J. Sidney). The husband is the most annoying of the group and rubs just about everyone the wrong way from the start of the film, it should be no surprise that he is a used car salesman. . 


The boat encounters a strange orange haze at sea and is nearly crushed by a ghost ship in the dark of night. Next day the ghost ship appears to have been stranded on a sand bar for decades, it's a complete wreck and only the skeletal frame remains intact. How this could be is a bit of a mystery as are the whereabouts of the Captain who disappeared during the night. With the yacht taking on water the group hop into a dingy and head to a nearby island where they discover an abandoned hotel and it's lone occupant - a former Nazi Commander played by Peter Cushing (CORRUPTION) who is less then welcoming to the stranded vacationers. 


When the Commander learns of the eerie encounter with the ghost ship the night before he reveals that he was a Nazi Commander in charge of a squad of undead super soldiers as the Death Corps, killing machines who proved difficult to control during WWII. At the end of the war the commander sank the ship killing the Death Corps and exiling himself onto the remote island. He surmises that the undead soldiers have awakened at the bottom of the ocean and are now on the island and they are all in danger.

Soon after Nazi zombies emerge from the ocean and begin killing the vacationers one by one, not with the typical eating of the flesh but just over powering and drowning them - which is a tiny bit of a disappointment. The zombies look amazing decked out in Nazi gear with goggles and shocks of blond hair - quite a cool sight. Notably the make-up effects were created by director/producer Alan Ormsby (CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS).

No gut-munching means we don't get much gore and the film is a mostly bloodless viewing. But the surreal tone and eerie atmosphere are chilling from start to finish enhanced by composer Richard Einhorn's fantastic electronic score with it's bubbling menace and cold synth accompaniment. 

The pace is slow and infused with menace with some great atmospheric cinematography. The water-logged zombies walking along the bottom of the sea and emerging from surf are chilling sights. As are the numerous shots of the zombies stalking their prey through the mazes of mangroves, there's just a lot of well composed shots. The addition of Hammer star Peter Cushing definitely classes up the production, an intense presence and his inclusion lends a gravitas to the film that would otherwise be absent.

The film is set-up in such a way that we know from the very start who survives which I didn't care for but I loved Brook Adams in the role of Rose who comes across as the Marilyn Burns (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) of Nazi zombie films, the woman has a great set of lungs, a fantastic screamer.
It was shot on the cheap but quite effective slice of surreal horror that shouldn't be overlooked by legions of horror fans, this is something very special. What it lacks in gore it makes up for in surreal creepiness, a cult-classic of the highest order. 

BLU-RAY:
SHOCK WAVES (1977) makes it's Blu-ray debut from Blue Underground looking far superior to the previous BU DVD with a few limitations. Shot on 16mm the film is grainy no doubt about it but the colors are strong and the image is crisp. There's some white speckling and minor print damage evident from time to time but nothing too distracting. Sourced from the only known surviving elements available I would say this is a very nice presentation from Blue Underground all things considered. 

The DTS-HD Mono does a decent job exporting the audio, not overly dynamic but well balanced and free of distortion, optional English SDH subtitles are provided. I would have loved to seen a CD of the score included or at least the option of an isolated score spotlighting Einhorn's phenomenal score. 


Onto the extras we have the same commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ken Wiederhorn, Make-Up Designer Alan Ormsby and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray from the DVD and it's a keeper. A fun group commentary that never wants for anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories.


They've also carried over the  From FLIPPER To SHOCK WAVES - an interview with Star Luke Halpin, the former child TV star discussing his time on the film and working with Carradine and Cushing,  


On top of the carry-overs we have forty-two minutes of brand new interviews with Producer/Cinematographer Reuben Trane, Composer Richard Einhorn and Star Brooke Adams looking back at the film film. There are some great behind-the-scenes stuff revealed in the interviews, love the tales of the aging Carradine falling asleep on set who by all accounts was quite a trooper, even shooting his death scene in the director's pool submerged underwater. Love the story of the Miami reporter who went to the casting for zombies undercover in hopes of exposing something shady only to be cast in the film as one of the most iconic zombies. 


Additionally there are a selection of TV spots, radio spots, a trailer and a very cool embossed slipcover with that awesome artwork!



SPECIAL FEATURES: 
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ken Wiederhorn, Make-Up Designer Alan Ormsby and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray
- NAZI ZOMBIES ON A BUDGET - Interview with Producer/Cinematographer Reuben Trane (21 Minutes) HD
- NOTES FOR THE UNDEAD - Interview with Composer Richard Einhorn (14 Minutes) HD
- SOLE SURVIVOR - Interview with Star Brooke Adams (7 Minutes) HD
- From FLIPPER To SHOCK WAVES - Interview with Star Luke Halpin (* Minutes) SD
- Theatrical Trailer (3 Minutes) HD
- TV Spot (1 Minute) SD
- 2 Radio Spots (1 Minute)
- Poster/Still Gallery (144 Images) 


VERDICT: 

A classic slice of slow-burn Nazi zombie cinema starring Peter Cushing dripping with eerie waterlogged zombie super soldiers on a gorgeous tropical island. This might be the first of the Nazi zombie films and im my opinion is the best of the bunch. A must-own release for horror fans, there's a lot of skin-crawling goodness packed into this 70's shocker and it's a damn fine release from Blue Underground!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS (1994)

PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS (1994) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Duration: 88 Minutes
Rating: R
Audio: DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.85":1)
Director: Jeff Burr
Cast: Amy Dolenz, Andrew Robinson, Soleil Moon Frye, Hill Harper, J. Trevor Edmond, Linnea Quigley, Kane Hodder

SYNOPSIS 

When five teenagers unwittingly resurrect a demon, nobody is safe from the creature’s bloody rampage. But this monster is different – inside its demonic form dwells the soul of a boy murdered years ago. Can the evil creature be killed without destroying the innocent boy trapped within?

REVIEW:

PUMPKINHEAD II is a direct-to-video sequel of the original which I hold in pretty high regard. The first film created a great myth of a vengeful demonic spirit and had loads of atmosphere and a fun backwoods horror entry. Jeff Burr's sequel is a bit less than that but is not without it's charm as a gory creature feature though minus a lot of the atmosphere of the original. 

Again we have a group of snot-nosed teens running for their lives from Pumpkinhead, though this time the foolish teens have resurrected the demons themselves after murdering a local witch. The creature is not only out for them but also a group of town father's who murdered a young boy forty years earlier. 

The cast is loaded with b-movie faces, we have Andrew Robinson from HELLRAISER as the Sheriff, I consider him the poor man's Terry O'Quinn for some reason. There's also Hill Harper of C.S.I.: NY in an early role and Punky Brewster herself Soleil Moon Frye! A the sheriff's daughter we have the super cute Ami Dolenz from WITCHBOARD 2 and J. Trevor Edmond as her bad boy boyfriend. My favorite cameo is Roger Clinton - none other than former president Bill Clinton's wacky brother - as the guitar-strumming mayor of the podunk town.

None of the cast are why you're watching this straight-to-video sequel, you're here for the creature effects and gore, right? Of course, so let me just say on that level the film does not disappoint as we have the venerable KNB FX Group on hand to keep the blood flowing. The Pumpkinhead creature design is very true to the original in design and with a body count of 10 there's no shortage of bloodshed for the gorehounds.  

Things that irked me just a little are a script that needed more polishing, the excessive use of an annoying Pumpkinhead POV and overused strobe light effects - between the two I thought I might have a seizure watching this one. Making up for these shortcoming are some great gore, damn decent creature effects and a brief naked cameo from Linnea Quigley of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD loving up a hillbilly!

BLU-RAY:
PUMPKINHEAD II: BLOOD WINGS arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory looking quite solid. A fine layer of fine film grain with good color saturation and black levels. The film lacks the style and storytelling of the original but does look damn decent in HD and the DTS-HD MA Stereo audio handles the dialogue, effects and score nicely. 

Extras are few but dense, we have a commentary from director Jeff Burr from the previous DVD plus an hour long video interview with Burr as he discusses his early love of horror and making the film which was a director-for-hire gig with the script already finished and the production underway. It's an interesting listen as he speaks about the issues on set and trying to make a fun monster-on-the-loose romp, he's very candid about it. 

Then onto RE-CREATING THE BEAST – featuring new interviews with special effects artists Greg Nicotero, Gino Crognale and actor Mark McCraken and this is a fun one as they recall trying to stay true to Stan Winston's original design and the tons of fun they had on set making the film. So much fun that they were kicked off set at least once for being a bit too slap-happy. 

Last up we have 17-minutes of behind-the-scene footage of setting up and shooting numerous creature shots with the infamous image of actor Mark McCraken in the Pumpkinhead suit wearing sneakers in a few of the shots. 

SPECIAL FEATURES: 

- Audio Commentary with director Jeff Burr
- RE-CREATING THE BEAST – featuring new interviews with special effects artists Greg Nicotero, Gino Crognale and actor Mark McCraken (33 Minutes)
- MAKING MOVIES – an interview with director Jeff Burr (62 Minutes)
- Behind-the-scenes footage


VERDICT: 
A fun backwoods creature feature  that offers up some trashy b-movie mayhem that passes the time just fine with a few brews and a couple of friends. It pales in comparison to the original but nonetheless proved to be a fun sequel.  

THE DEVIL'S BUSINESS (2011)

THE DEVIL'S BUSINESS (2011) 
BD/DVD Combo
Label: Mondo Macabro
Region Code: ALL
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 75 Minutes
Video: Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English DTS 5.1 Surround
Director: Sean Hogan
Cast: Billy Clarke, Jack Gordon, Jonathan Hansler, Harry Miller



In the indie Brit horror film THE DEVIL'S BUSINESS (2011) we have a seasoned hitman named Pinner (Billy Clark) and his nervous ward Cully (Jack Gordon) breaking into a home and waiting for the owner Krist (Jonathan Hansler) to return home from the opera. It turns out that they've been sent there by gangster boss Bruno (Harry Miller) to put a hit on Krist for reasons unknown to either but which are revealed eventually.

As they wait in the dark Pinner amuses the inquisitive newbie with the story of a hit he performed on a stripper some years earlier, it's a hypnotic tale which sets a haunting tone and atmosphere right from the start, it also helps they're alone in the house with the lights turned out. As Pinner seems about ready to wrap up the story there's a loud noise from outside - which startled me as I was so into the story he was telling. The hitmen search the house and find nothing at first until they uncover some weird occult altar and a dead baby in the basement, now things start to get very strange as this crime films turns into an occult chiller.


A very tightly scripted movie that is basically three men in a single location, a very simple set-up and execution. The film will either be made or unmade largely on the performance of our leading man Billy Clark as the seasoned Pinner, and were in luck because he's quite a presence and has a quiet menace about him. His young ward Cully played by Jack warden is green and nervous and just can't keep his mouth shut, the two play off each other wonderfully. Krist, the mysterious target of the hit, is played by Jonathan Hansler and he proves to be more of a supernatural threat than either hitman could have imagined at the start of the night, what started as a seemingly routine hit turns quite deadly and otherworldly.

BLU-RAY:
THE DEVIL'S BUSINESS is presented in the scope aspect ratio and is framed quite nicely. The film is set over the course of one night and and thankfully the black levels are excellent with good contrast and a crisp image with some nice use of colored lighting which makes for a visually pleasing experience even though this is obviously shot on the cheap, it doesn't mean it cannot look stylish. Audio options include English 2.0 and 5.1 and both are clean and well balanced with composer Justin Greaves score coming through nicely.


Mondo Macabro stack the disc with a wealth of interesting extras beginning with an audio commentary from the producer an director. There's over an hour of additional interviews with producer Jennifer Handorf, director Sean Hogan, actor Billy Clark and composer.. Finishing u the extras we have three music videos and an outtake.

No shortage of extras on this is a dual-format release from Mondo Macabro which includes a standard-definition DVD with the film and the same extras. 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Devils' Business EPK (9 Minutes) 
- Interview with writer/director Sean Hogan (26 Minutes)
- Interview with Producer Jennifer Handorf (13 Minutes)
- Director and Producer audio commentary
- Interview with actor Billy Clarke (13 Minutes) 

- Interview with composer Justin Greaves (16 Minutes)
- 3 Music videos by Crippled Black Phoenix and Se Delan (15 Minutes)
- Outtake (1 Minute) 

- Mondo Macabro trailers (9 Minutes) 

VERDICT: A surprising entry from Mondo Macabro who typically specialize in exotic horror and sleaze of the vintage sort from around the world. A very well crafted slice of creepy cinema from Sean Hogan with a fine performance from Billy Clark that defines the film. Loads of atmosphere and chills to be had here inside of an interesting genre mash-up combining elements of a crime thriller with a nice occult edge. 


www.mondomacabrodvd.com


 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Naked City On UK BD/DVD 10/27 from ARROW VIDEO

 

BD/DVD COMBO RELEASE – October 27th 2014

THERE ARE EIGHT MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY. THIS IS ONE OF THEM

Arrow Films’ Arrow Academy label is proud to announce the release of Jules Dassin’s classic film noir The Naked City, making its worldwide Blu-ray debut on 27th October. The Naked City is the latest Dassin title to join the Arrow Academy collection following Rififi and Brute Force.

The Naked City, shot partially in documentary style, was filmed on location on the streets of New York City and features landmarks such as the Williamsburg Bridge and the Whitehall Building. Winning two Academy Awards, one for cinematography and another for film editing, the film has more recently gone one to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Its visual style was inspired by New York photographer Weegee, who published a book of photographs of New York life entitled Naked City (1945). Weegee was hired as a visual consultant on the film, and is credited with helping to craft its imagery.
Both Screenwriter Albert Maltz and Dassin were to subsequently fall foul of the notorious House Un-American Activities and Dassin, himself, was forced to leave the US. It’s ironic that having so clearly proved himself capable of telling us of the eight million stories of his American home, he was forced to leave that very place having only told one.
 This deluxe edition will include an all-new high definition transfer of the film, alongside a wealth of extras including New York and The Naked City a newly-filmed look at New York's relationship with the moving image by Amy Taubin, a 40-minute interview with Jules Dassin at LACMA with Bruce Goldstein in which the director discusses his career and The Hollywood Ten and also the 1950 documentary short on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House of Un-American Activities, including The Naked City’s screenwriter, Albert Maltz.

The disc will also feature the striking artwork by Vladimir Zimakov and an extensive booklet, including essays on the main feature by Alastair Phillips (co-author of the BFI Screen Guide, 100 Film Noirs), on Oscar-winning cinematographer by Barry Salt of the London Film School, and on the spin-off TV series by Sergio Angelini.

Synopsis
Jules Dassin followed up his explosive prison picture Brute Force with another slice of hard-boiled crime fiction. Within a decade he’d make Thieves’ Highway, Night and the City and Rififi, thus confirming Dassin’s position as one of the all-time-great film noir directors.

New York, the middle of summer. A blonde ex-model is murdered in her bathtub and detectives Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) and Halloran (Don Taylor) are assigned to the case. Their investigation will lead them through the entire city, from Park Avenue to the Lower East Side, culminating in a thrilling climax atop the Williamsburg Bridge.

Inspired by the work of the infamous tabloid photographer Weegee, The Naked City was the first major Hollywood production to be shot entirely on the streets of New York, making use of more than a hundred authentic locations. Both its editing and its cinematographer would earn Academy Awards, while the film itself would be recognised by the Library of Congress as one of American cinema’s most significant motion pictures.

This deluxe package will be full of special features and bonus material including:

·         New high definition digital transfer of the film
·         High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
·         Original mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
·         Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
·         Audio commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald
·         Jules Dassin at LACMA – a 40-minute interview with Bruce Goldstein in which the director discusses his career
·         The Hollywood Ten – a 1950 documentary short on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House of Un-American Activities, includingThe Naked City’s screenwriter, Albert Maltz
·         New York and The Naked City: A personalised history of NY on the big screen by critic Amy Taubin
·         Gallery of production stills by infamous photojournalist Weegee
·         Theatrical trailer
·         Reversible sleeve featuring the original poster and newly commissioned artwork by Vladimir Zimakov
·         Collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Alastair Phillips, Barry Salt and Sergio Angelini, illustrated with original production stills

SPECS:

Region: 
B/2
Rating: 
PG
Cat No: 
FCD1006
Duration: 
96 min
Language:
English SDH Subtitles
Subtitles: 
English
Aspect Ratio: 
1.33:1
Audio: 
1.0
Colour: 

Black & White
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