Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Ray Milland, Diana Van Der Vlis, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles, Morris Ankrum, Dick Miller
Bring on the AIP and Corman! Second Sight out of the UK has announced a Blu-Ray release of Roger Corman’s X – The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (1963). It’s a terrific movie that does wonders with its small budget (you could say that about most Corman movies, I guess).
Ray Milland is researching ways to boost man’s eyesight, who in typical horror movie fashion, tries his serum out on himself — with the usual results.
One of Corman’s best, with outstanding camerawork from the great Floyd Crosby. And Milland is really, really good. Highly recommended.
Directed by Haruyasu Noguchi
Starring Tamio Kawaji, Yoko Yamamoto, Yuji Okada
Under its American TV title, Monster From A Prehistoric Planet, Gappa: The Triphibian Monster(1967) is already available from just about every public domain video company there is. Sounds like we’ll be able to throw all that pan-and-scan junk away — Tokyo Shock/Media Blasters is bringing to Blu-Ray!
The deal with Gappa is this. It’s a Japanese Kaiju film, from Mikkatsu Studios instead of the usual Toho, that never saw theatrical release in the States. American International sent it straight to TV in 1968 as Monster From A Prehistoric Planet. It’s more or less a remake/ripoff of the British (fake Kaiju) monster movie, Gorgo (1961). In it, a sea monster is discovered and brought to London, only to have its angry mother trash the city to get her kid back. In Gappa, the monster is a “bird-lizard” — a giant reptilian chicken with green scales, and both cheesed-off parents come to Japan in search of their offspring.
As a kid, I had the 200′ Super 8mm version from Ken Films — which took the AIP TV material and printed a few minutes of it in B&W. A long way from the widescreen, color original, but since it focused on the monster stuff, I was happy with it. Really looking forward to this Blu-Ray, and a chance to see the way we were supposed to. Coming in February.
Directed by Herbert L. Strock
Produced & Written by Herman Cohen
Starring Robert H. Harris, Paul Brinegar, Gary Conway, Gary Clarke, John Ashley, Morris Ankrum
This news is like Christmas is coming early this year. Scream Factory is not only promising Roger Corman’s Day The World Ended (1955) on Blu-Ray, but How To Make A Monster (1958), too!
When it’s announced that American International Studios is going to quit making horror movies and focus on musicals and comedies, the makeup man (Robert H. Harris) who created the creatures that made the studio successful vows to get revenge.
This sets us up for a very contrived (they had no studio) look at the inner workings of AIP. It’s cool to see Paul Blaisdell’s masks and stuff sitting around, and the crossover from I Was A Teenage Frankenstein and I Was A Teenage Werewolf (both 1957) is terrific.
If all that wasn’t wonderful enough, the last reel was shot in color. When I saw How To Make A Monster on TV in the 70s, the color wasn’t color anymore — the print was B&W all the way, and I felt so cheated. I’m sure that won’t be a problem when this arrives on Blu-Ray next year. Scream Factory will certainly have it all in tip-top shape. Highly recommended.
As a kid, I completely agreed that ditching monster movies for musicals should be a capital offense.
Produced & Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Richard Denning, Lori Nelson, Adele Jergens, Mike Connors, Paul Birch, Jonathan Haze, Paul Blaisdell
Scream Factory just keeps coming up with the gold! They’ve announced a March Blu-Ray release of Roger Corman’s Day The World Ended (1955). It’s got Corman directing — his fourth time at bat. It’s got a perfect B-picture cast — Denning and Nelson are both veterans of the Creature movies and Adele Jergens is always terrific. Plus, it’s got a great Paul Blaisdell monster, which he plays. What more could you want?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: seeing these cheap movies get the white-glove treatment on Blu-Ray makes my heart feel good. Glad there’s enough demand to make such efforts worthwhile — wish 50s Westerns had a fanbase of the same size (or, no offense, willingness to part with their money).
Not sure what the extras will be, but given Scream Factory’s track record, it’ll be quite a haul. And it’ll be a treat (maybe a grainy one) to see it in its original Superscope framing. Highly, highly recommended.
UPDATE: Evidently, that March date was announced too soon. No official release date has been given, but it’s coming — and that’s good news indeed!
Written & Directed by Curtis Harrington
Starring Dennis Hopper, Linda Lawson, Luana Anders
The fine folks at Indicator have given the Cadillac treatment to another sub-compact movie, Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide (1961). And even by Indicator’s lofty standards, this one’s a real class act.
Dennis Hopper, in his first starring role, is a sailor on leave who meets a mysterious young woman who plays a mermaid at a seaside carnival — and who just might be a real, and murderous, one. This AIP horror picture is much more than a see-a-famous-actor’s-early-work curio. It’s dream-like, it’s dreamy and it’s one of those movies where you find something new every time you see it. Plus, it has Luana Anders in it (always a plus).
As usual, Indicator is offering up a stellar transfer and sweetening the deal with plenty of incredible supplements. A few highlights:
• Audio commentary with Curtis Harrington & Dennis Hopper
• Audio commentary with Tony Rayns
• Harrington On Harrington (archival interview)
• Image Gallery
• Limited Edition Second Disc: Dream Logic – The Short Films Of Curtis Harrington (Eight short films spanning Harrington’s seven decades as a filmmaker)
It’s easy to recommend Night Tide. And it’s just as easy to recommend what Indicator is doing with it. I can’t wait to see this thing.
Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt)
(23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969)
Here’s a perfect way to celebrate the great Boris Karloff — stay up all night watching a slew of his movies.
Filed under 1963, AIP, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller, Hazel Court, Jack Nicholson, Jacques Tourneur, Joyce Jameson, Les Baxter, Mario Bava, Nick Adams, Peter Lorre, Richard Matheson, Roger Corman, Vincent Price
Directed by Sergio Corbucci & Giacomo Gentilomo
Starring Gordon Scott, Gianna Maria Canale, Jacques Sernas, Leonora Ruffo, Annabella Incontrera, Mario Feliciani
After their terrific Blu-Ray of Mario Bava’s Hercules In The Haunted World (1961), I was hoping Kino Lorber would keep the peplum coming. Well, with Goliath And The Vampires (1961) coming in early 2020, there’s at least one more in the works. This one has Gordon Scott as Goliath and was co-directed by Sergio Corbucci (there’s some debate about how much input he actually had). Dino De Laurentiis is credited as executive producer — I think it’s the only one of these pictures he did.
AIP released it here in the States, but didn’t get around to it until 1964. Reynold Brown’s poster art was typically beautiful. Like Hercules In The Haunted World, Goliath And The Vampires stirs a little Gothic horror into the usual peplum stew, which I always appreciate.
These movies looked like crap when I saw them on TV in the late 70s and early 80s — usually faded color and always a brutal pan-and-scan job on the ‘Scope camerawork. Can’t wait to see this one looking like it should. Recommended.