Category Archives: Dick Miller

Blu-Ray News #226: Piranha (1978).

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, Paul Bartel, Richard Deacon, Bruce Gordon, Stephen The Swimming Swine

I’m so happy to be putting this post together. Because yet another movie that I love dearly, Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978), is getting a real Cadillac of a Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory this June.

One of the prop piranhas.

It’s often called “the best of the Jaws ripoffs.” But it’s more than that. It’s scary. It’s funny. It parades a terrific cast of veteran character actors across the screen. And it just plain entertains. Released the same summer as Jaws 2 (1978), it’s the better picture by far. After all, what could possibly beat a plot like this — scads of piranhas are released into a river, and at the end of the river lies a kids’ summer camp. Pure genius.

Year ago, I was outbid on a 16mm print of this movie that turned up on eBay. This extras-packed Blu-Ray will certainly help right that wrong. Here’s what you’ll get —
4K Remaster from the original camera negative
New Audio Commentary with Roger Corman
Audio Commentary with  Joe Dante & producer Jon Davison
“The Making Of Piranha” – Interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski & more
Behind-The-Scenes Footage, Bloopers & Outtakes, Additional Scenes from the TV version
Stills, Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots

All that, and it comes in one of those fancy steelbook packages. I can’t wait sink my teeth into this. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, DVD/Blu-ray News, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World Pictures, Roger Corman, Shout/Scream Factory

RIP, Dick Miller.

Richard Miller
(December 25, 1928 – January 30, 2019)

Dick Miller, one of my favorite character actors, has passed away at 90. In the early days, he was a member of Roger Corman’s stock company, and he continued to appear in pictures from Corman’s “student” directors like Joe Dante and Jonathan Kaplan. Dante used him in about everything he did.

That’s him in Rock All Night (1957) up top. Boy, will he be missed.

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Screening: Piranha (1978) On Shout TV.

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller

I love Piranha (1978), Joe Dante’s Jaws ripoff — produced by Roger Corman and written by John Sayles. I’ve seen it countless times.

Shout TV has a special event planned to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary — August 3 on Shout TV’s Twitch channel. To me, this is certainly a movie worth celebrating.

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World, Roger Corman, Screenings, Television, William Schallert

Screening: Piranha (1978).

Directed by Joe Dante
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, Paul Bartel, Richard Deacon, Stephan The Swimming Swine

A 35mm print of Joe Dante’s wonderful Jaws ripoff Piranha (1978) will be run as part of the festivities at the Hudson Horror Show on Saturday, May 20th at 7:55 and 10:40PM.

The Empire South Hills 8
1895 South Rd, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

One of the prop piranhas by Phil Tippett. How cool is that?

Piranha‘s a real favorite, and I’d love to be there. This was one I never caught in the theater.

The Hudson Horror Show’s entire lineup is in 35mm. God bless ’em!

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Filed under 1978, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Kevin McCarthy, New World, Roger Corman, Screenings

Blu-Ray News #114: White Line Fever (1975).

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan
Starring Jan Michael Vincent, Kay Lenz, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, Don Porter, R.G. Armstrong, Dick Miller

Growing up in the South in the 70s, White Line Fever (1975) was a very big deal. It seemed like every kid I knew was crazy about either White Line Fever or Jaws (1975) — or they hated their moms for not letting them see them.

Jonathan Kaplan was clearly (and admittedly) inspired by Sam Peckinpah here, and it shows, especially in the cast: Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones and R.G. Armstrong. This thing was a huge hit, with every redneck kid in the fifth grade wanting a Ford cabover truck like Jan Michael Vincent’s Blue Mule.

Mill Creek’s bringing it to Blu-Ray as part of its Payback Time Triple Feature. The other two are Chuck Norris in Silent Rage (1982) and Blind Fury (1989) with Rutger Hauer. I worked in a few video stores in college back in the 80s. If I had a nickel for every time someone rented Silent Rage, I’d be trying to buy that Bullitt Mustang from the previous post.

Not sure why, but the CED Videodisc seemed like the perfect image for this post.

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Filed under 1975, Chuck Norris, Columbia, Dick Miller, DVD/Blu-ray News, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Sam Peckinpah, Slim Pickens

Blu-Ray News #89: The Film Detective’s Roger Corman Collection.

the_san_bernardino_county_sun_sat__sep_28__1963_

The Film Detective has gathered up three Roger Corman pictures and repackaged them on Blu-Ray at a special price. Sounds like a good idea to me.

The Terror (1963)
Directed by Roger Corman (along with Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Jack Nicholson)
Starring Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Dick Miller

A crazy patchwork quilt of a movie. Boris Karloff’s scenes were shot as the wonderful sets for Corman’s The Raven (1963) were being torn down. The rest was made up, with a script by Leo Gordon and Jack Hill, and shot later by a revolving door of cast and crew. It all comes together much better than you’d think, and with repeat viewing almost starts to make some sense. Almost. The Film Detective has this one looking good — and in 1.85 (which AIP called Vistascope).

Dementia 13 (1963)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring William Campbell, Luana Anders, Patrick Magee

With just $40,000 and nine days, Francis Ford Coppola made one of the best Psycho ripoffs, even though you can feel the fact that it was written in a hurry. However, Coppola the director saves Coppola the writer.

bucket-of-blood-np

A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone

A goofy/funny/scary little gem of a movie with a rare lead role for Dick Miiler. Of course, he’s terrific. The Film Detective offers it up 1.85, the way it oughta be.

It’s easy to recommend this set. I grew up on these things, and it’s great to see them treated with the respect some people (like me) feel they deserve.

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Filed under 1959, 1963, AIP, Dick Miller, DVD/Blu-ray News, Francis Ford Coppola, Leo Gordon, Monte Hellman, Roger Corman, The Film Detective

DVD Review: Not Of This Earth (1957).

Not Of This Earth TC

Produced and Directed by Roger Corman
Screenplay by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna
Photographed by John Mescall
Music by Ronald Stein
Titles by Paul Julian

Cast: Paul Birch (Paul Johnson), Beverly Garland (Nadine Storey), Morgan Jones (Harry Sherbourne), William Roerick (Dr. Rochelle), Jonathan Haze (Jeremy Perrin), Dick Miller (Joe Piper)

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Beverly Garland is one of my favorite actresses, thanks to terrific performances in movies like this. Sure, she was capable of much, much more, as she proved later. But Beverly was such a pro, and so good, she can pick up a cheap picture like Gunslinger (1956) or The Alligator People (1959) and carry it on her back for 60-plus minutes. In Not Of This Earth (1957), Paul Birch is on hand to help out, and the two of them helped Roger Corman knock out what is probably the best of his early monster movies.

Not Of The Earth LCPaul Johnson (Birch) requires a lot of medical care, so he hires a nurse (Garland) to tend to his ongoing need for transfusions. Turns out, he’s from the planet Davanna, whose populace is dying of a blood disease, and he’s come to check out the earth as a possible supply.

Of course, this is pretty silly stuff, but Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna’s script really works, the cast puts the dialogue over (Birch somehow makes the alien’s stilted lines feel natural), location shooting in real homes and around Griffith Park add some production value, and it leaves us with a genuinely creepy ending. Good stuff.

Then there’s Paul Julian’s titles. He was a world-class background artist for Warner Bros. cartoons, and his work for Corman really classes things up. They’re so cool, so simple and so effective. Also worth noting is the beautiful advertising art by Albert Kallis — one of my favorite posters ever.

Not Of This Earth is available as part of Shout Factory’s Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Triple Feature. The other two pictures are Attack Of The Crab Monsters (1957) and War Of The Satellites (1958). We get crisp anamorphic transfers for Earth and Attack, while Satellites is full-frame — but nice and sharp. You’ll never pull these movies out to show off your spiffy new TV, but Shout Factory has ’em looking better than you ever thought they would.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 3.48.38 PM

Allied Artists sent out Attack Of The Crab Monsters and Not Of This Earth as a double feature. Watch them back to back — it’s only a little over two hours. Recommended.

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Filed under 1957, Beverly Garland, Dick Miller, Monogram/Allied Artists, Roger Corman