Category Archives: Indicator/Powerhouse

Blu-Ray News #267: Night Tide (1961).

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.

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Filed under 1961, AIP, Curtis Harrington, DVD/Blu-ray News, Indicator/Powerhouse

Blu-Ray News #257: Hammer Volume 4 – Faces Of Fear.

The folks at Indicator have done a terrific job with their Hammer Blu-Ray sets — and I expect just as much from this one.

Scream Of Fear (1961; UK title: Taste Of Fear)
​Directed by Seth Holt
​Starring Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee

Hammer made a string of Psycho-inspired thrillers in the early 60s. One of the best of the bunch is Scream Of Fear, which borrows more from Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques (1955) than it does from the Hitchcock picture. Susan Strasberg is terrific as the handicapped young woman who is being systematically scared to death by a conniving couple. Jimmy Sangster’s script, Seth Holt’s direction and Douglas Slocombe’s black and white photography are all top-notch.

The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Eunice Grayson, Francis Matthews, Michael Gwynn

The Revenge Of Frankenstein (1958) is the second entry in Hammer’s Frankenstein series, coming after The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957). Hammer went a different route than Universal — they follow the Doctor, not the Monster, which lets the stories go in all sorts of different directions. And more important, it established Peter Cushing as a leading horror star through the 70s.

Revenge picks up where Curse left off. Frankenstein escapes the guillotine, flees to Carlsbruck and builds a successful practice under the name Stein. Of course, he’s conducting his usual experiments on the side — and they go horribly wrong. Frankenstein transplants the brain of a willing assistant into the newly constructed monster, giving the crippled young man a stronger, straighter body. Or that’s the idea anyway.

This, for my money, is one of Hammer’s finest films. Cushing is terrific as the brilliant doctor completely taken over by arrogance and misguided ambition (making it quite appropriate during this Presidential election). Eunice Grayson and Francis Matthews are good as the nurse and young doctor caught up in Frankenstein’s mayhem. Michael Gwynn is really superb as the monster, perfectly balancing the sympathy and horror the part requires. His performance is what makes the movie work as well as it does. Jimmy Sangster’s script is more disciplined than usual, free of the diversions that can lead his films astray. And Terence Fisher’s direction is as assured as ever.

The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll (1960; US Title: House Of Fright)
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Paul Massie, Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee, David Kossoff, Oliver Reed

Hammer always put their own spin on the horror standards they tackled, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde is no exception. Their Dr. Jekyll (Paul Massie) is rather boring, but his potion transforms him into the suave, yet lecherous and murderous Mr. Hyde. Minus the murder part, this seems like a precursor to Jerry Lewis’ The Nutty Professor (1963). This framework provides ample opportunity for everything from rape and murder to snake-charming — the kind of stuff censors pounced on, resulting in a cut-up American release from American International.

The Damned (1963; US Title: These Are The Damned)
Directed by Joseph Losey
Starring MacDonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Viveca Lindfors, Oliver Reed

Fleeing the harassment of a motorcycle gang (lead by Oliver Reed), a couple (MacDonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field) winds up in a cave occupied by a group of children — the product an experiment to create a race of radiation-friendly humans.

Hammer sat on this one a while before releasing it, and in in the States it was cut to just 77 minutes. It’s never been given its due, though it’s cherished by fans of Joseph Losey. Indicator, of course, is offering up the original cut, not the chopped-up American thing.

Coming November 18, this Region-Free set loads each picture up with extras — from interviews and trailers to commentaries and photo galleries. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, AIP, Christopher Lee, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hammer Films, Indicator/Powerhouse, Oliver Reed, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher

Blu-Ray News #186: Curse Of The Demon (1957).

Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis

The folks at Indicator/Powerhouse are giving the real Cadillac treatment to Jacques Tourneur’s terrific horror picture Night Of The Demon (Curse Of The Demon here in the States). This was one of the first horror films I remember seeing as a kid, and it scared the hell out of me.

Its troubled production — plenty of “creative differences” (do we show the demon or not?) — isn’t evident in the finished film. And even in its shortest version (the US theatrical cut), it’s a masterpiece.

For this Blu-Ray set, you get four (count em!) versions of the film: Night Of The Demon – the original full-length pre-release version; Night Of The Demon – the original UK theatrical cut (82 minutes); Curse Of The Demon – the original US theatrical cut (82 mins); and Curse Of The Demon – the US re-issue (96 mins). And there’s a slew of extras. Exactly the kind of reverential presentation this thing so richly deserves. It’s absolutely essential and it’s coming in October in a limited run of 6,000.

And, yes, that is one of the greatest lobby cards ever printed.

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Filed under 1957, Columbia, Dana Andrews, DVD/Blu-ray News, Indicator/Powerhouse, Peggy Cummins