Category Archives: Retromedia

Blu-Ray News #175: Retromedia Heads For Poverty Row.

Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia Entertainment Group has been bringing some cool stuff to Blu-Ray — including a few great pictures scooped up from Poverty Row.

The Corpse Vanishes/Bowery At Midnight (both 1942)
A couple of Lugosi’s Monogram Nine — these were both produced by Sam Katzman and directed by Wallace Ford. In The Corpse Vanishes, he’s a mad scientist working to preserve his wife’s beauty. In Bowery At Midnight, Lugosi uses a soup kitchen to find guys for his gang of crooks. In the climax, all the guys who’ve been killed along the way come back to life. Great stuff.

The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934)/The Living Ghost (1942)
Another of Lugosi’s nine, The Mysterious Mr. Wong has him playing a Fu Manchu type. The great Wallace Ford plays a wisecracking newspaper man. James Dunn plays a detective in The Living Ghost, directed by the infamous William “One Shot” Beaudine.

The Ape (1940)/The Black Raven (1943)
Boris Karloff had his own Monogram Nine, and The Ape was the last of them. He’s another mad scientist, this time trying to cure polio. At the same time, an ape escapes from the circus. The Black Raven is from PRC, directed by Sam Newfield and starring George Zucco, Robert Livingston and Glenn Strange.

You know, when cheap little movies like this become available in high definition, maybe the world ain’t so bad after all.

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Filed under Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Zucco, Monogram 9, Monogram/Allied Artists, Poverty Row, PRC, Retromedia, Sam Katzman, William Beaudine

Blu-Ray News #173: Retromedia Goes To The Drive-In.

Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia has been putting some good stuff out on Blu-Ray —from Lugosi Monograms to early AIP stuff and beyond. But it’s really hard to sort out what’s available. Here’s a couple things I’ve tracked down. They’re currently available from Amazon.

Wasp Woman/Beast From Haunted Cave (both 1959)

This one I covered over a year ago. The Wasp Woman was produced and directed by Roger Corman and stars Susan Cabot. It was written by character actor Leo Gordon. The budget was around $50,000. Beast From Haunted Cave was directed by Monte Hellman and written by Charles Griffith. It’s a remake of Naked Paradise (1957) with a monster dropped in the middle of it. These actually played as a double feature back in ’59.

Teenagers From Outer Space/Attack Of The Giant Leeches (both 1959)

Teenagers From Outer Space was an independent picture directed by Tom Graeff and released by Warner Bros., who paired it with the second Godzilla movie.  Attack Of The Giant Leeches was from AIP. Leo Gordon wrote it and Bernard L. Kowalski directed. It stars Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers and Jan Shepard.

Next up: Lugosi and Karloff on Poverty Row.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Leo Gordon, Monte Hellman, Retromedia, Roger Corman

Blu-Ray News #133: Rat Fink (1965).

Directed by James Landis
Starring Schuyler Hayden, Hal Bokar, Warrene Ott, Judy Hughes, Eve Brenner
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond

It’s always good when a lost movie turns up. For me, when it turns out to be something from 1965, directed by the guy that did The Sadist (1963), then it’s a really big deal.

Rat Fink (1965) has been presumed lost for decades. Well, a 35mm print has been found and it arrives on Blu-Ray this month from Retromedia Entertainment. Limited to a thousand copies, it’s something you might wanna snag while you can. They say a DVD may come along later. Either way, here’s to another lost movie returning from the Land Of The Lost.

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Filed under 1965, DVD/Blu-ray News, Retromedia

Blu-Ray News #122: Wasp Woman And Beast From Haunted Cave (1959).

This one snuck up on me — and with so many great things being announced, one right after another, it was just a matter of time before something would fall through the cracks. Retromedia Entertainment if offering up this terrific twofer, “2 New Thrill Shocking Hits!” from 1959 — The Wasp Woman and Beast From Haunted Cave. The set’s evidently available now.

The Wasp Woman was produced and directed by Roger Corman and stars Susan Cabot. It was written by character actor Leo Gordon. He’s not in it, but his wife Lynn Cartwright is. The budget was around $50,000. Of course, the Wasp Woman in the movie looks nothing like the incredible poster art.

Beast From Haunted Cave was directed by Monte Hellman, who’s since made some superb movies like 1966’s The Shooting and 1971’s Two-Lane Blacktop. It was shot in South Dakota’s Black Hills; the cave is actually an abandoned mine. Written by Charles Griffith, it’s a remake of Naked Paradise (1957) with a monster dropped in the middle of it. Griffith would dust off the story again (complete with the monster) for Creature From The Haunted Sea (1961). That’s one thing you can count on with a Roger Corman movie — the picture might be lousy, but the production history will always be interesting.

Both films are already available on DVD from various sources, usually looking pretty terrible. Retromedia says the both film will be presented widescreen on their Blu-Ray, which is a huge plus. Not sure what their source material is, but the TV prologue for Wasp Woman is supposedly going to be an extra. If anyone sees or hears anything about what these look like, please let me know.

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Filed under 1959, DVD/Blu-ray News, Leo Gordon, Monte Hellman, Retromedia, Roger Corman, Susan Cabot