Produced and Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring Sally Fraser, Roger Pace, Dean Parkin
Scream Factory has announced a July release for another of the “Arkoff AIPs,” Bert I. Gordon’s War Of The Colossal Beast (1958). It’s a sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), with a different cast (the monster’s mangled face hides the fact that it’s a different actor this time). One thing that hasn’t changed are the less-than-special effects. The last scene was shot in color, though the ads give you the impression that the whole movie would be. It ain’t much of a movie, I guess, but it’s a lot of cheesy fun.
It’s great to have another AIP picture getting the terrific Scream Factory treatment. Can’t wait.
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Clifford Evans, Oliver Reed, Yvonne Romain, Catherine Feller
Hammer and Terence Fisher continued their reimagining of the classic monsters with The Curse Of The Werewolf (1961), with the same results they’d had with Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy. It’s the next installment in Scream Factory’s terrific Hammer Blu-Ray series, and I can’t wait to see what a 4K cleanup does to this one. Highly recommended. Coming, loaded with extras, in April.
Directed by Freddie Francis
Starring Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont, Sandor Elès, Katy Wild, David Hutcheson, Kiwi Kingston
Scream Factory’s Hammer series continues with The Evil Of Frankenstein (1964), the only picture in Hammer’s Frankenstein cycle not directed by Terence Fisher. Freddie Francis did this one.
Hammer went a different route with Frankenstein, following the doctor (Peter Cushing) instead of the monster. This let them come up with a different creature for each film. Since The Evil Of Frankenstein was done in collaboration with Universal, they could approach that studio’s “classic” look for the monster. (You know, the Boris Karloff/Glenn Strange sort of thing.) I’ve always found the results a bit, um, odd.
Nevertheless, this is a most welcome addition to the Scream Factory lineup. So far, the extras have not been announced, but the disc has a release date in mid-May. Highly recommended.
Directed by Earl Bellamy
Starring Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, Debbie Watson, Terry-Thomas, John Carradine
Shout Factory is bringing Munster, Go Home! (1966) to Blu-Ray in March.
The picture gave us a chance to see TV’s Munster family on the big screen in eye-popping Technicolor. It played one of those summer matinee series when I was a kid, and I can still remember the incredible color of that battered 35mm print. And though the DVD of the picture is quite nice, it’ll be great to have it in high-definition.
Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Shane Briant, David Prowse, Madeline Smith, John Stratton
The last of Hammer’s Frankenstein series, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (1974) was also the final picture from Hammer’s terrific director, Mr. Terence Fisher.
Cut quite a bit, sitting on the shelf for a year or so and given a lame release in the States by Paramount, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell has always gotten a bad rap, though it’s enjoyed a bit of a reappraisal in recent years. When Shout Factory kicked off their Hammer series, I was hoping they’d end up with this one — it deserves their level of attention.
Peter Cushing is as terrific as ever as the obsessively obsessed Dr. Frankenstein, his experiments hampered by all the physical damage he underwent in the previous films, namely burns from Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969). David Prowse is a much better monster here than in the unfortunate Horror Of Frankenstein (1970, not part of the Cushing Frankenstein saga). Of course, these two would be reunited a few years later in Star Wars (1977) — Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and Prowse as Darth Vader. As the innocents pulled into Frankenstein’s madness, Shane Briant is quite good, while Madeline Smith isn’t given enough to do. Why make her a mute?
Terence Fisher doesn’t disappoint. His direction is as assured as ever, though the tone of Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell is certainly darker than the previous ones — which were plenty dark already. The cinematography this time comes from Brian Probyn and its color is more muted than Arthur Grant’s work on the two previous Frankenstein films. It certainly matches the tone of the film.
I’m curious to see what Shout Factory will be able to bring to this one in May. Highly recommended.
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora
You can have all 57 Avengers movies and those new Batman and Joker things. Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1968) is the best comic book movie ever made. And it’s a Blu-Ray folks (including me) have been screaming for for years.
Shout Factory is bringing Danger: Diabolik to high definition in May — and at this time, the specs haven’t been announced. There’s been some controversy over the years about the two different English dubs, so it’ll be interesting to see what they wind up with. But one thing’s for sure, Bava’s incredible use of color and whacked-out camera angles, along with Ennio Morricone’s fuzzed-out score, will be well-served on Blu-Ray. Highly, highly recommended.
Why take my word for it? A more qualified movie expert, Glen Erickson of CinemaSavant, is just as nuts over this thing as I am.
Directed by Bert I. Gordon
Starring Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Eugene Persson, Gene Roth, Hal Torey
I absolutely love the 50s Big Bug movies. So I was excited to hear the big news that Scream Factory’s AIP series (of the Arkoff-controled pictures) will include Bert I. Gordon’s The Spider (1958). It’s announced for an April release.
Bert I. Gordon made a number of movies about big stuff: The Amazing Colossal Man (1957, giant guy), Beginning Of The End (1957, giant grasshoppers), War Of The Colossal Beast (1958, sequel to Colossal Man), Attack Of The Puppet People (1958, a switch to tiny people this time), Village Of The Giants (1965, giant teenagers and duck), The Food Of The Gods (1977, giant rats and wasps), Empire Of The Ants (1977, giant ants, naturally).
Originally titled Earth Vs. The Spider (which appears in the film’s credits), the titled was shortened after The Fly (1958) became such a hit. For those who like this sorta thing, this one’s highly recommended. And isn’t that hot rod up top gorgeous?