Category Archives: 1964

Blu-Ray News #248: Godzilla – The Showa-Era Films (1954-1975).

If I had a nickel for every minute I stared at this FM cover as kid…

For their 1000th release (or spine number), The Criterion Collection has gone very big with a great big giant box of Godzilla movies. Not those new things — no thank you — but the real ones.

Of course, this being a Criterion release, you can count on each of these the films — all 15 Godzilla movies released from 1954 to 1975 — shining like a jewel. And naturally, there will be tons of extras, from alternate versions to commentaries to documentaries and trailers and so on. Does my heart good to know the work of Mr. Honda and Mr. Tsuburaya will get the level of respect these folks will give it.

The films are:
Godzilla (1954)
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1963, 2.35 AR)
Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964, 2.35 AR)
Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964 2.35 AR)
Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965, 2.35 AR)
Son Of Godzilla (1967, 2.35 AR)

Destroy All Monsters (1968, 2.35 AR)
All Monsters Attack (1969, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Ss. Hedorah (1971, AKA Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster, 2.35 AR)

Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973, 2.35 AR)
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974, 2.35 AR)
Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975, 2.35 AR)

I absolutely love some of these movies. One of them I hate with a passion. Son Of Godzilla is criminally lame, and at 10, I considered it the worst movie I’d ever seen (that was before The Witches Of Eastwick). The very thought of making my way through this thing (yes, even Son Of Godzilla)  makes me happy.

Stomping its way to TVs everywhere in October. Make sure yours is one of them.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1954, 1955, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, AIP, Criterion Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eiji Tsuburaya, Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Ishirō Honda, Kaiju Movies, Toho

Blu-Ray News #182 UPDATE: Jonny Quest: The Complete Original Series (1964-65).

Warner Archive has put a July release date on their complete, unedited set of Jonny Quest cartoons. “All 26 episodes… are yours in a 3-disc set, as originally first broadcast in prime-time on ABC-TV during the 1964-65 season.”

There are people scattered across the Free World going absolutely nuts about this piece of news. I’m not that far gone by a long shot, but I’m plenty stoked.

2 Comments

Filed under 1964, 1965, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #232: The Golden Arrow (1962).

Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Starring Tab Hunter, Rossana Podestà, Umberto Melnati, Mario Feliciani, Dominique Boschero, Renato Baldini

The only time I’ve ever run into The Golden Arrow (1964) was back in the 70s on the afternoon movie. You can imagine how badly the Technirama was butchered to shoehorn it onto TV. So I’m really stoked to see it coming on Blu-Ray from Warner Archive.

This Italian epic comes from director Antonio Margheriti, who made a string of wonderfully delirious science fiction movies (the Gamma 1 saga) a few years after this picture — The Wild, Wild Planet (1966) is probably my favorite of the bunch. He’d already done a few Barbara Steele and peplum movies, too. Then there’s his 60s spy movie Lightning Bolt (1966). If your taste in movies runs toward 60s Italian weirdness, Margheriti’s your man.

Tab Hunter seems to be having a blast in this, though it’s a shame he didn’t get to supply his own voice. His leading lady Rossana Podestà made all kinds of cool Italian movies, and I’d really love to see her 7 Golden Men (1966) make it to DVD. It’s an ultra-stylish caper picture with a liberal dose of that 60s Italian weirdness I just mentioned. The Golden Arrow is scheduled for a May release.

4 Comments

Filed under 1964, Antonio Margheriti, DVD/Blu-ray News, MGM, Peplum, Tab Hunter, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #225: The Hemisphere Box Of Horrors.

You know, anybody can do a 4K scan of some perfectly-preserved studio picture made 10 years ago — or do what little is needed to put last summer’s digitally-shot blockbuster on a silver circle. But to take some cheap little independent, international piece of junk — that’s been beaten to crap wherever it’s been reposing for the last 40 years — and make it look as though it was made yesterday, well, that’s really doing something.

And that’s why I thank God for folks like Severin Films. With their upcoming The Hemisphere Box Of Horrors Blu-Ray set, they take a handful of films from Hemisphere and give them the love and respect few people would say they deserve.

The Blood Drinkers (1964, AKA The Vampire People)
Directed by Gerry De Leon
Starring Ronald Remy, Amalia Fuentes, Eddie Fernandez, Eva Montes
Some of this Filipino vampire picture was shot in black and white, some in color. The B&W scenes were tinted in various shades and promoted as “blood-dripping color. 

Curse Of The Vampires (1966, AKA Blood Of The Vampires)
Directed by Gerry De Leon
Starring Amalia Fuentes, Romeo Vasquez, Eddie Garcia
There’s a woman chained up in the dungeon of a jungle mansion. Turns out she’s a vampire who bites her son — and soon the entire family is on the prowl for blood.

Brain Of Blood (1971, AKA The Creature’s Revenge, The Oozing Skull, The Undying Brain)
Directed by Al Adamson
Starring Grant Williams, Kent Taylor, Reed Hadley, Regina Carrol, Angelo Rossitto
You can always count on Al Adamson for something terrible — and a lot of fun. It’s got everything from brain transplants to torture chambers to chained-up women to sinister dwarfs. Something for everyone. This was Reed Hadley’s last film.

The Black Cat (1966)
Directed by Harold Hoffman
Starring Robert Frost, Robyn Baker, Sadie French, Scotty McKay
This horror picture, shot in Texas, was picked up for distribution by Hemisphere. It was paired with The Blood Drinkers. This is one I’ve been wanting to see for eons.

MV5BN2I2YWY5MWEtZTA0NC00OWRlLThjM2YtMmE2MjgwOWQ5NzUwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTAyNDU2NDM@._V1_

The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism (1967, AKA The Blood Demon, The Snake Pit And The Pendulum, Castle Of The Walking Dead)
Directed by Harald Reinl
Starring Christopher Lee, Karin Dor, Lex Barker
Count Regula (Christopher Lee) is executed for killing 12 virgins in his dungeon. Years later, he comes back for revenge. This West German production, co-starring Karin Dor and Lex Barker, is a lot better movie than it’s plethora of lurid titles would indicate. (The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism has to be one of the greatest movie titles of all time.) This one and The Black Cat are exclusive to this set and will not be sold separately.

All these pictures will get the usual Severin treatment with lots of extras — interviews, cut scenes, trailers and more. For those of us who can’t get enough of these things, highly recommended.

23 Comments

Filed under 1964, 1966, 1967, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Severin Films

Blu-Ray Review: Strait-Jacket (1964).

Produced and Directed by William Castle
Written by Robert Bloch
Cinematography: Arthur E. Arling
Film Editor: Edwin Bryant
Music by Van Alexander

Cast: Joan Crawford (Lucy Harbin), Diane Baker (Carol), Leif Erickson (Bill Cutler), Howard St. John (Raymond Fields), Rochelle Hudson (Emily Cutler), George Kennedy (Leo Krause), Edith Atwater (Mrs. Fields), Lee Majors (Frank Harbin)

__________

WARNING: STRAIT-JACKET VIVIDLY DEPICTS AX MURDERS! That, my friends, is the genius of William Castle. With a tagline like that, how could Strait-Jacket (1964) not have played to theaters packed with kids?

Another sign of his genius is that his gimmick for this picture didn’t require a special viewer or wired seats. It was simply its casting. The axe murderer is none other than the great Joan Crawford. You see, Joan  chopped off the heads of her cheating husband (Lee Majors) and his floozie. And oddly enough, as soon as she’s released from the nuthouse 20 years later, people start getting chopped up.

Naturally, everyone suspects Joan, even Joan herself. But being that Castle’s producing and directing from a script by Robert Bloch, we can expect some sorta twist — even if by the second reel, we have a pretty good idea what that twist’s gonna be.

I love Strait-Jacket. You can feel Castle’s ghoulish glee in every swing of the axe, every lopped-off head, every cryptic line of dialogue. He had a way of making movies fun, which has to be the main reason his pictures are still so popular.

Even the Columbia lady’s head gets chopped off.

Of course, Crawford’s terrific — even though it’s ludicrous having her play her younger self in the early scenes. We feel for her, even though we really just wanna see another head roll. The rest of the cast is functional, which is all they’re called upon to do. George Kennedy snarls his way through the whole thing, and we can’t wait for his appointment with the axe. It’s wonderful.

Mill Creek has brought Strait-Jacket to Blu-Ray in a bargain-priced double bill with Berserk!, a Herman Cohen picture from 1967. In that one, Joan’s the owner of a British circus where people keep winding up dead.

Both films look terrific here — Columbia’s HD masters of their old films are almost always gorgeous. Strait-Jacket really shows off Arthur E. Arling’s crisp B&W photography, giving it an edge over Berserk!‘s color. There are no extras, but with high definition at such a low price, who’s gonna complain?

It’s very easy to recommend this set. I wish the rest of the home video world would take a good look at what Mill Creek is doing with these Blu-Ray pairing of pictures from Crawford, Castle, Hammer and others.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1964, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Joan Crawford, Mill Creek, Robert Bloch, William Castle

Dialogue Of The Day: Goldfinger (1964).

Q (Desmond Llewelyn): Now this one I’m particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.
James Bond (Sean Connery): Yeah, why not?
Q: Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!
James Bond: Ejector seat? You’re joking!
Q: I never joke about my work, 007.

4 Comments

Filed under 1964, Dialogue Of The Day, Guy Hamilton, James Bond, Sean Connery

Blu-Ray News #191: Blood And Black Lace (1964).

Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Paul Frees, 30 of the most glamorous girls in the world

VCI is bringing Mario Bava’s Blood And Black Lace (1964) to Blu-Ray here in the States with a slew of extras, some of them carried over from VCI’s previous DVD.

This picture is worthwhile for Bava’s use of color alone. Then consider that the whole thing was done for about $150,000. It’s really incredible.

This is one of the great Paul Frees’ finest hours, as he provided most of the male voices for the English-dubbed version.

Coming in October. Highly recommended.

1 Comment

Filed under 1964, DVD/Blu-ray News, Mario Bava, VCI