Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Jess Franco's NIGHT OF THE BLOOD MONSTER (aka THE BLOODY JUDGE) arrives on 4K UHD + Blu-ray 3/26 from Blue Underground!


Label: Blue Underground 
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 103 Minutes 
Audio: English: 1.0 DTS-HD MA with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Dolby Vision HDR 2160p UHD Widescreen (2.35:1), 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Jess Franco 
Cast: Christopher Lee, Maria Schell, Leo Genn, Hans Hass, Maria Rohm, Margaret Lee, Howard Vernon, Diana Lorys

Jess Franco's landmark epic of violence and sadism, NIGHT OF THE BLOOD MONSTER (aka THE BLOODY JUDGE), is coming to 4K UHD & Blu-ray on March 26, 2024!

Christopher Lee (THE WICKER MAN) gives one of his most unforgettable performances as Judge Jeffreys, the infamous 17th Century witchfinder whose unholy obsession with a luscious wench (Maria Rohm of EUGENIE) fuels a jaw-dropping spree of torture, brutality and flesh-ripping perversion. Howard Vernon (SUCCUBUS), Margaret Lee (FIVE GOLDEN DRAGONS), Maria Schell (99 WOMEN) and Oscar nominee Leo Genn (QUO VADIS) co-star in this landmark epic of sexual violence and sadism, complete with a superb score by Bruno Nicolai (COUNT DRACULA) and directed with spectacularly deviant glee by the one and only Jess Franco (VENUS IN FURS).

Blue Underground is proud to present the most complete and uncensored version of NIGHT OF THE BLOOD MONSTER (also known as THE BLOODY JUDGE) from a brand-new 2023 Dolby Vision HDR 4K master, painstakingly restored from various European vault elements featuring additional nudity, bloodshed and what Christopher Lee himself calls “scenes of extraordinary depravity!”

Special Features: 
- WORLD PREMIERE! Brand-new 2023 4K master of the complete uncensored version
-  Audio Commentary #1 with Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
- Audio Commentary #2 with Film Historians Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw
- Audio Commentary #3 with Film Historians David Flint and Adrian Smith
- Bloody Jess – Interviews with Director Jess Franco and Star Christopher Lee
- Judgement Day – Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of “Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco”
- In The Shadows – Interviews with Filmmaker Alan Birkinshaw and Author Stephen Thrower on Harry Alan Towers
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes
Limited Edition embossed slipcover and reversible sleeve with alternate artwork [First Pressing Only]
• Trailers and TV Spot
• Still Galleries

Pre-Orders coming soon...

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One (2023) arrives on 4K UHD + Blu-ray 1/23

Heroes from across the multiverse team up in one of the most pivotal DC stories of all time in the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One

Available exclusively on Digital on January 9

4K UHD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-ray arriving on January 23

Parts Two & Three of the Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Trilogy to debut later in 2024

Based on DC’s iconic comic book limited series ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ by Marv Wolfman and George PĂ©rez, join DC Super Heroes from across the multiverse in the first of three parts of DC’s new animated film Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One, which marks the beginning of the end to the Tomorrowverse story arc.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the all-new, action-packed DC animated film features some of DC’s most famous Super Heroes from multiple universes including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, who come together to stop an impending threat of doom and destruction. The film will be available to purchase exclusively on digital on January 9 and on 4K UHD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-ray on January 23.

Fans of this superhero adventure will also be able to indulge in a range of bonus features including interviews with the filmmakers on how they created a comprehensive universe across seven films.

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two and Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three will be available later in 2024.

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One features returning popular voice cast members: Emmy winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) as Superman & Earth-2 Superman, Stana Katic (Castle, Absentia) as Wonder Woman & Superwoman and Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys, The Winchesters) as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Aside from the returning voice cast, a star-studded ensemble takes shape including Matt Bomer (White Collar, American Horror Story: Hotel) as The Flash/Barry Allen, Meg Donnelly (Legion of Super-Heroes, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,) as Supergirl & Harbinger, Jimmi Simpson (Star Trek: Prodigy, Westworld) as Green Arrow and Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek) as Lex Luthor.

Additional cast includes: Jonathan Adams as Monitor, Ike Amadi as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter, Amazing Man & Ivo, Geoffrey Arend as Psycho Pirate & Hawkman, Zack Callison as Dick Grayson/Robin, Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Matt Lanter as Blue Beetle & Ultraman, Ato Essandoh as Mr Terrific, Cynthia Hamidi as Dawnstar, Aldis Hodge as John Stewart/Green Lantern & Power Ring, Erika Ishii as Doctor Light/Dr. Hoshi & Huntress, David Kaye as The Question, Ashleigh LaThrop as Iris West, Liam Mcintyre as Aquaman & Johnny Quick, Nolan North as Hal Jordan, Amazo & Homeless Man, Lou Diamond Phillips as The Spectre & Owlman, Keesha Sharp as Vixen and Harry Shum Jr. as Brainiac 5.

Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One is produced by Jim Krieg and Kimberly S. Moreau and executive produced by Butch Lukic, Sam Register, and Michael Uslan and directed by Jeff Wamester from a script by Jim Krieg. Casting and voice direction is by Wes Gleason.

Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One will be available on January 9 to purchase digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more. On January 23 the film will be available to purchase on 4K Ultra HD in limited edition steelbook packaging and Blu-Ray Discs online and in-store at major retailers. Pre-order your copy now.

Death is coming. Worse than death: oblivion. Not just for our Earth, but for everyone, everywhere, in every universe! Against this ultimate destruction, the mysterious Monitor has gathered the greatest team of Super Heroes ever assembled. But what can the combined might of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern and hundreds of Super Heroes from multiple Earths even do to save all of reality from an unstoppable antimatter Armageddon?!

- Physical and Digital
- Crisis Prime(r): The filmmakers reveal in detail their intricate plan to create a comprehensive animated universe across seven films, concluding with the events of the three-part adaptation Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- The Selfless Speedster: Explore The Flash’s legendary role in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic series, the creative process that brought him to life in the animated adaptation, and the vocal performance behind his heroic and romantic story. 
Digital Only
- Silent Treatment – Film Clip from Justice League Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two

Digital purchase $19.99
4K Ultra HD Steelbook + Digital Version* $47.99 US
4K Ultra HD Steelbook $54.99 Canada
Blu-ray + Digital Version* $29.98 USA
Blu-ray $39.99 Canada
4K/Blu-ray Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Parisian French
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, Dutch, French
Running Time: 92:39

Rated PG for action/violence throughout and brief language

*Digital version not available in Canada

Monday, December 4, 2023

THE TERROR (1963) + THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960) (Film Masters Blu-ray Review)

60th Anniversary Edition 2-Disc Blu-ray

Label: Film Masters
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 79 Minutes 15 Seconds / 72 Minutes 47 Seconds
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0, Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: Roger Corman
Cast: Sandra Knight, Jack Nicholson, Boris Karloff / Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Jack Nicholson

Roger Corman's The Terror (1963) is set in France in 1806, French soldier Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson, The Shining) of Napoleon's army has become separated from his regiment, and on a desolate stretch of coastline he encounters a hauntingly beautiful woman named Helena (Sandra Knight, Frankenstein's Daughter) who walks into the ocean surf and disappears. Thinking she must have been overcome by the waves Duvalier attempts to rescue her and nearly drowns himself, all the while being dive bombed from above by a vicious hawk from above and beaten by white frothy waves. Losing consciousness after the attack he awakens inside the woodland villa of Katrina (Dorothy Neumann, The Undead), a witchy old woman, with whom he inquires about the young woman he encountered, to which she replies that he must have imagined her during his near fatal drowning for there is no young woman in the area.

Undeterred Andre further searches for the woman through the forest until he comes to the dilapidated castle of Baron Von Leppe (horror icon Boris Karloff, Black Sabbath) whom reluctantly allows Andre to enter after he flashes his Napoleonic credentials. As if Nicholson and Karloff weren't enough for a ticket to this film legendary b-movie character actor Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood, Gremlins) also appears as the Baron's mysterious major domo! Inside the castle Andre happens upon a portrait of a woman whom bares an uncanny resemblance to the mysterious woman he seeks. The Baron informs him that he is mistaken, that the woman in the portrait was his wife, who died twenty years prior. Andre is obsessed with the young woman and continues to search for the woman's identity despite everyone's insistence that she is merely a figment of his distressed mind. He continues to encounter her but starts to wonder if perhaps he has gone mad; is she an apparition, a restless spirit, who is she, and how does the witchy Katrina figure into the story?

The acting here is suitably melodramatic with pre-New Hollywood Nicholson giving a decent performance as the haunted man, he's definitely charming but not nearly convincing as a Frenchman. Karloff seems a bit lost at times, he gives it a good go though but it's obvious this is just another paying gig in his advanced years. While the film is uneven, it's a wonder that the film is as watchable as it is given it's strange production schedule. The towering Gothic castle, a macabre cemetery steeped in fog, creepy crypts and eerie red, green and blue colored lighting really go a long way towards creating an entertaining and atmospheric spookfest. While it's a bit slow at times but the film's final 15 minutes are wonderfully twisted and stuffed with Poe-esque obsession and madness.

The legend of this film holds that once wrapping on The Raven, which starred Boris Karloff as Dr. Scarabus, Corman immediately went into production on The Terror utilizing sets from The Raven and A Haunted Palace. He tossed Karloff a few extra bucks to remain on for four additional days of shooting. While Corman shot the bulk of the film with Karloff in four days the film's production went on for nine more months, making it one of the longest Corman shoots ever I would imagine. In those nine months Corman left it to a handful of aspiring directors on staff to shoot second unit, and they're notable names, too. They included star Jack Nicholson who would go onto direct the Going South among others, Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather)who that same year would direct Dementia 13 and reportedly shot for 11 days only get 10 minutes of footage in this film, Jack Hill (Spider Baby, Coffy) and Monte Hellman (Beast from Haunted Cave). Not too shabby. I love the opening credits that roll over images from some very creepy painting, it certainly sets that Poe tone from Corman's Poe cycle of films, even though this is not an official Poe adaptation, it's still drenched in haunting obsession.

As is usual Film Masters offer a bonus film on this set, we get the Corman directed comedy cult-classic The Little Shop of Horrors, also restored in HD. The madcap tale about the happenings at a flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Mel Welles, The Last American Virgin) where lonely flower shop employee Seymour (Jonathan Haze) has cultivated a man-eating plant named Audrey II, named after ditzy co-worker/crush Audrey (Jackie Joseph, Gremlins) that develops a taste for blood, growing larger as it's fed more people. The low-budget comedy penned by Charles Griffith (Deathrace 2000) is quite a fun romp, shot on shoestring budget the flick is populated by some wild characters including including a flower-earing Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood), a gleefully sadistic dentist Pheobus Farb (John Herman Shaner, The Two Jakes) and a masochist dental patient named Wilbur Force, played by a seemingly impossibly young Jack Nicholson (Chinatown). The scene stealer here is Mel Welles as the frustrated flower shop owner, his heightened perpetually put-upon performance is comedy gold. This is a anarchic comedy gem chock full of absurdity, which became a musical theatre production in the 80's before being remade as a music film starring Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters) and Steve Martin (The Jerk), but it all started right here.

Audio/Video: The Terror (1963) arrives on region-free Blu-ray from Film Masters in 1080p HD framed in 1.85:1 widescreen, this is advertised as being from 35mm film elements and it does look quite filmic Grain is intact and doesn't show any tell tale signs of grain manipulation. The source is in terrific shape with not a lot of blemishes, though occasionally there's some soft focus or shots slightly out of focus, and the stock footage sticks out a bit, bit otherwise we get quite a nice transfer with rich, bold colors, and deep blacks that far surpass my old Film Chest Blu-ray edition. The bonus feature The Little Shop of Horrors is presented on it;s own dedicated Blu-ray disc in 1080p HD framed in 1.85:1 widescreen. The black and white image is superior to any past presentations I have seen on DVD, grain looks unmolested and depth and clarity while modest are pleasing. The source showcases more blemish than the main feature with some speckling and faint vertical lines, but this is easily the best I have ever seen this flick look on home video.

Audio on both comes by way of both uncompressed English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional English subtitles. The DTS tracks are strong and full-bodied while still sounding appropriately vintage, dialogue, score and atmospheric effects sound great without any problematic hiss or distortion.

Extras for The Terror include a 44-min Ghosts in the Machine: Art & Artifice in Roger Corman’s Celluloid Castle offering a fresh perspective of The Terror, an Audio Commentary with C. Courtney Joyner and Dr. Steve Haberman, plus the 2-min Recut Trailer, based on the original theatrical trailer.

Extras on The Little Shop of Horrors include a new Audio Commentary with Author Justin Humphreys and the film’s star Jonathan Haze; the 17-min Ballyhoo Motion Pictures produced Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story part two featurette directed by Howard S. Berger; and the 2-min Recut Trailer, also based on the original theatrical trailer.

The 2-disc Blu-ray release arrives in a standard dual-hub keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork featuring the key artwork from the original illustrated movie poster. Inside there's a hefty 24-Page Illustrated Booklet with an essay about the Karloff/Poe connection by C. Courtney Joyner and Mark McGee writes liner notes for The Little Shop of Horrors.

Special Features:
Disc 1: The Terror
- “Ghosts in the Machine: Art & Artifice in Roger Corman’s Celluloid Castle” provides a fresh look at The Terror (44:12)
- Audio Commentary with C. Courtney Joyner and Dr. Steve Haberman
- Recut trailer, based on the original theatrical trailer (2:10)
Disc 2: Little Shop of Horrors
- Audio Commentary with Author Justin Humphreys and the film’s star Jonathan Haze
- Ballyhoo Motion Pictures continues Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story with part two of the featurette; a featurette by Howard S. Berger (17:14)
- Recut Trailers, based on the original theatrical trailer
- 24-Page Illustrated Booklet with an essay C. Courtney Joyner on the Karloff/Poe connection; Mark McGee pens liner notes for The Little Shop of Horrors

After years of sub-par releases both of these Roger Corman directed classics from the 60's have been beautifully restored and  have never looked better than they do on this Film Masters double-feature Blu-ray - plus we get a pair of fantastic audio commentaries and other in-depth extras that further stack the deck in it's favor, this comes highly recommended!

Screenshots from the Film Masters Blu-ray:
The Terror (1963) 


The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)