Category Archives: Scorpion Releasing

Blu-Ray News #335: Rollerball (1975).

Produced and directed by Norman Jewison
Starring James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn, Sir Ralph Richardson

I love Rollerball (1975). It’s one of my favorite science fiction films of the 70s, coming from the glorious period when James Cann was knocking one movie out of the park after another. (That’s just my opinion, mind you.)

It’s one of those pessimistic future things where the world is run by corporations and people’s pent-up anger is channelled into the sport rollerball, a deadly combination of hockey, football, motocross and roller derby. When Houston’s Jonathan E (James Caan) becomes a superstar with more power than the corporations are comfortable with, they try all sorts of tricks to encourage him to retire — including rule changes to make rollerball more dangerous than ever. But that makes people love Jonathan even more. (The world being lorded over by giant corporations used to be science fiction, but it’s getting less science fiction-y by the day.)

James Caan and the Houston rollerball team.

It’s also one of those have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too movies that pushed its anti-violence message by being really, really violent. Here, it kinda works. And man, it sure is rough along the way.

Caan is terrific, John Houseman is really creepy, Sir Ralph Richardson has a short, very weird scene, but the great Moses Gunn almost steals the movie as Caan’s trainer and friend. They say the actors and stunt men had a good time shooting the rollerball scenes and actually continued playing between takes!

Rollerball is coming to Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing later this month, and I’m really excited about it. It’ll have a killer lineup of interviews, commentaries, trailers, etc. But the star player will be a new 4K restoration, something I think the film richly deserves. (My old DVD was terrible.) Highly, highly recommended. Jonathan! Jonathan! Jonathan!

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Filed under 1975, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Caan, Norman Jewison, Scorpion Releasing, United Artists

Blu-Ray News #326: The Time Travelers (1964).

Directed by Ib Melchior
Starring Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, John Hoyt, Joan Woodbury, Delores Welles, Forrest Ackerman

Who can resist a picture from American International in 1964 that gives you a Playboy Playmate (Delores Welles, June 1960), hideous mutants and Forrest J. Ackerman and promises to let you “SEE women use the Love Machine to allay the male shortage!”

Merry Anders and Delores Welles dig the future.

Ib Melchior’s ideas were too big for his budget, but he still managed to pull off a pretty big-looking sci-fi flick. This thing just oozes mid-century, early 60s cool — from the costumes and hairstyles to the sets and the tacky Pathécolor (shot by the great Vilmos Zsigmond).

Scorpion Releasing is bringing this crazy thing to Blu-Ray, distributed by Kino Lorber, in April. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1964, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Forrest Ackerman, Ib Melchior, Kino Lorber, Scorpion Releasing

Blu-Ray News #318: The Norseman (1978).

Directed by Charles B. Pierce
Starring Lee Majors, Cornel Wilde, Mel Ferrer, Jack Elam, Susie Coelho, Christopher Connelly, Jimmy Clem, Deacon Jones

When it comes to costume films, I tend to prefer the cheap, cheesy exploitation pictures to the serious epic ones. And they don’t come much cheesier than the gloriously stupid The Norseman (1978) starring Lee Majors.

The premise is pretty simple: the Six Million Dollar Man is a Viking who comes to North America about 500 years before Columbus got here — and has to fight it out with the Indians. And in a subplot that’s never fleshed out, the Viking Jack Elam must’ve fraternized with the Native American ladies, since his wild-eyed bloodline turns up in lots of Westerns in the 1950s.

Lee Majors did The Norseman between The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy. He got half a million bucks and a percentage. Cornel Wilde and Mel Ferrer round out the cast. Charles B. Pierce (The Legend Of Boggy Creek, The Town That Dreaded Sundown) wrote, produced and directed it, and American International handled the distribution. It’s pretty terrible, but that’s of little consequence here.

I love to see anything bearing an AIP logo make it to Blu-Ray, and Kino Lorber and Scorpion Releasing are bringing The Norseman to the format in February of 2021. See, once we get out of 2020, things are gonna get better.

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Filed under 1978, AIP, Cornel Wilde, Kino Lorber, Scorpion Releasing

Blu-Ray News #262: The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes (1955).

Directed by David Kramarsky
Starring Paul Birch, Lorna Thayer, Dona Cole, Dick Sargent, Chester Conklin

The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes (1955),  early effort from AIP (called American Releasing Corporation at the time), features Paul Blaisdell’s first monster, was partially directed by Roger Corman (who fired David Kramarsky midway through production) and stars the great Paul Birch.

It’s coming to Blu-Ray from Scorpion Releasing with a new transfer and a commentary by Tim Lucas. Can’t wait.

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Filed under 1955, AIP, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paul Birch, Paul Blaisdell, Roger Corman, Scorpion Releasing